You would think your doctor would know about nutrition. After all, Hippocrates, the person the Hippocratic Oath is based from said “let food be thy medicine…” What you put in your body affects your body. Therefore, the person you trust with your overall health, should understand how food affects you. Bitch, you thought. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals just how much your doctor has been taught regarding nutrition. The study surveyed 126 medical schools and out of the 106 that responded, students in less than half of the schools were receiving more than 20 hours of nutrition education. Those 20 hours do not even come from a separate course. Say what? Their knowledge of nutrition comes from their chemistry and biology classes. Here is the problem with that: just as food can heal you, it can kill you too. For instance, if you eat a high-protein, low-carb diet, you are bound to beat the shit out of your kidneys. In fact, many doctors will recommend this type of diet to patients that need to lose weight. Can we all just give our poor kidneys a break and stop taking shitty advice from doctors who think carbs are the enemy.
In all honesty you should be eating more plant-based, COMPLEX FUCKIN’ CARBS! Our cells take the sugar we get from our food and they turn that into energy. You should remember that from your 7th grade science class. If you are feeling sluggish you shouldn’t be running to a piece of chicken to help you. What you should be doing is fueling your body with sugar. That’s what it runs on, you know? That said, don’t be eating a damn Snickers bar when you feel too sluggish to move. Your ass is going to sit back down on that couch and where will that get you? Nowhere. So eat some fruit, go outside, and let your metabolism do its job.
Why shouldn’t you always listen to your doctor? Times are changing; healthcare has become a business, and healthcare is SICK care. You cannot rely on your doctor to always be right. Given, sometimes they will give you good advice that benefits you, but they can also give you some crappy advice that benefits them. You must do your own research. A trip to the library or a simple Google search is easy enough, and you must have access to the Internet or you wouldn’t be reading this. If you want verification as to the validity of the site’s advice, ask me. You know the Mean Nurse tells it straight.
You’ve heard friends and co-workers lament, “Oh my God, I eat like a bird, and I still can’t lose weight. I don’t know why!” Well, I’ll tell you why. You’re eating the wrong shit. No one eating a diet of mostly raw vegetables, fruit, and a little grain can’t lose weight or keep it off, because that’s what a bird eats. They don’t eat a couple of Oreos and down a diet soda, or a bag of chips and a bottle of Arizona or a Gatorade. Domesticated birds, eat vegetables — lots of them, if their owners love them and want them to live a long life. Some eat fruit, nuts, and a little cooked grain and seed.
Eating like a bird is really easier than you think, and if once a week you take the time to chop up a big container full of raw vegetables, your prep for the week’s cooking is more than half done. The other day I was swamped and had such a busy day that I wanted something fast for lunch. Unfortunately, we’d eaten all the leftovers so cooking was going to be the only route to go. Then I spied a can of tuna. I detest eating a whole can of tuna by myself because I’m the consummate meal stretcher. I stood there with the can of tuna in my hand, knowing the fridge was full of raw vegetables that could be added to the tuna, but I didn’t have spare minutes to chop up a bunch of them. Then I remember the bird’s food! — the container of raw vegetables already chopped up for our convenience in feeding them. It contained broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts, red cabbage, celery, and carrots. YAY! I scooped out a cup of it, mixed in the tuna and a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil. It made enough for two servings – double YAY!
The lesson — eating like a bird doesn’t mean eating very little, it means eating little things that are healthy. So chop those vegetables up ahead of time. It makes for a beautiful and appetizing salad, with or without the tuna. You can just as easily add the mix to scrambled eggs, pasta, or even a meatloaf.
Daily weigh-ins are not typically advised on any weight loss program. Yeah, the Mean Nurse doesn’t give a rat’s ass about typical. Daily weigh-ins work. Why? Because it keeps you fucking accountable.
My godmother has weighed herself on a daily basis since she was a teenager. She allowed herself a three-pound gain at any one time before she’d take steps to take it off. That woman has weighed roughly the same for 60 years (a few pounds… LESS THAN 10!!!….have crept on over the past few decades). She attributes this phenomenon to daily weights. After doing exactly that for myself over the past year, and seeing a steady decline, I’d say she’s right!
Here’s what I recommend for everyone. Get a digital scale. Weigh yourself daily. Track weight loss ONLY on an app for your smartphone. I like MyFitnessPal. Record only those numbers where you see weight loss. The line graph on this app gives you a positive visual of the downward movement towards your goal. It does not matter how long it takes you to get to your goal, just as long as you get there. So if you only lose ounces every couple of days, that’s okay. Do you really want to go a week before you discover you’ve gained 5 pounds, which could have been stopped at 2? Allow no more than a two-week plateau or a two-pound gain before you take measures to get yourself back on track.
Now for food journals. Hate them. Why? Because they remind me of something a mother would do…. constantly monitor every little thing that goes into a kid’s mouth. In the past, I’ve had to keep a food journal for some commercial asinine weight loss program whose spiel I believed. I’ve had to record the time, date, mood, location(?), my thoughts and finally WHAT, I consumed. So when a food journal looks like this…..
Breakfast: 7 a.m. 1 piece of toast, standing over the sink, pissed off because I poked myself in the eye with my mascara wand and pissed because I have to eat breakfast on this stupid plan when I’m not hungry and breakfast makes me sick unless it’s at 10, but that’s the time for the flippin’ mid-morning snack. I can’t eat a vegetable at this hour or protein, because I absolutely will throw up.
Midmorning snack: 10:30 a.m. Walking from my kitchen to my computer. 12 grapes, which should have been 9 but I’m not leaving 3 grapes in the refrigerator because that would be cruel to my daughter. I really don’t care for fruit much, but I have to eat something I don’t like to lose weight, jeez that sounds really stupid.
Lunch: 2:30 p.m. Tuna out of the can sprinkled with balsamic vinegar, still not hungry, but I’m eating this anyway because I’m supposed to. Is a can of tuna, one serving of protein or two I wonder? Green beans, 1/2 bag frozen @ 3:30 p.m. Couldn’t eat the beans with the tuna because BLECH!, and these were the only veggie I had on hand because I’m saving the others for dinner, so I had to wait.
Midafternoon snack: I think that was the beans. Standing in the kitchen. Probably should have had more to eat by now, but I’m drinking coffee and water. Eyeing a banana because I should eat another piece of fruit. Why do I have to eat something when I’m not hungry? Seems stupid. Animals don’t do that.
Dinner: 7 p.m. Finally hungry. Breaking the “no eating after 6p rule” most plans advocate, but what if I’m not hungry until then and I go to bed at 1a.m.? Plus, learned to eat dinner later from living in Europe and that really works with my body clock. Fuck it, I’m eating. Sitting in livingroom watching Ed Show because diningroom table is covered in sewing and daughter not home. 1/2 grilled chicken breast, tri-color pepper mix plus more onions, mushrooms, zucchini and yellow squash, tossed in red-wine vinegar and BUTTER, yeah, that’s right… BUTTER!
…. and a weight loss counselor says “you need to sit down at the table and take time out for yourself and really think about the food you’re eating and not do ANOTHER THING while you’re eating — like standing over the sink……,” I want to smack them. I do not need another mother. I do not need someone standing over me (the food journal), watching every little crumb that I put in my mouth. I do not have time to sit and write down my feelings about what I’m eating, because I do not want to EAT MY FEELINGS. I want to EAT MY FOOD. If I have to think about my feelings when I’m eating, I’m going to “feel” like eating chocolate or my go-to comfort food, macaroni and cheese.
It comes down to this: You ONLY need one bitch slap a day and that’s the scale. Start your day off with it, and it will set you right. You’ll either be soooo happy and ready to buy your scale flowers, or be soooo pissed off that you’ll make better choices THE REST OF THE DAY. Start your day off with the motivation it takes to honor your commitment to yourself. You don’t have to look back at your food journal to see where you went wrong. When you see that extra 2 pounds on the scale, I PROMISE YOU that you’ll remember exactly what you ate. You are allowed to swear at that point. (My scale knows lots of bad words in lots of languages.)
Now, relax, and just don’t do anything to piss yourself off tomorrow too.
You’ve heard for years that the equation is simple: burn off more calories than you take in, and you’ll lose weight. Seems simple enough, right? I mean, even people that aren’t good at math should be able to understand the concept without a calculator. The truth is, that logic is a bunch of hooey!
Case in point: One person consumes an 80-calorie popular brand energy drink with Sucralose. The other person consumes an 80-calorie piece of homemade chocolate cake (yes, it’s a small piece, but bear with me) with chocolate frosting made with whole, organic ingredients, and yes, that means butter. Which one of these 80-calorie concoctions do you have a shot at burning off in its entirety with your evening session at the gym? You got it, the cake. Why? Because the cake isn’t loaded with chemicals, and all the chemicals in that energy drink were most likely encased in fat and STORED. Yes, that’s right, STORED IN FAT.
Our digestive systems are fantastic machines and know how to recognize the nutrients we need. It extracts them and sends them throughout the body for immediate use, or storage for later use. The “storage” includes muscles which will hold sugar. So the sugar in the cake can be stored for later use by the muscles OR later release, if the body needs it. When our digestive system encounters something it does not recognize, e.g. a CHEMICAL COMPOUND, it says “yeah, I don’t know what the fuck this is. It might be poison that could hurt the kidneys, liver, colon, etc., I’d better throw a blob of fat around it, and put it somewhere until I can figure it out.” Your 80 calorie concoction just got surrounded in a bunch of fat. And remember one gram of fat is 9 calories. What if each molecule of the chemicals that are inside the 80-calorie drink got surrounded by a gram of fat? That’s 9 extra calories per chemical molecule that it is now going to take to burn it off. Damn that’s a lot of gym time. I’ll take the chocolate cake and do 30 minutes on the treadmill. The fat molecules in the cake don’t need to be surrounded by more fat molecules to store them. The fat in the cake is sort of “what you see is what you get.” If the cake was made with applesauce in place of the fat, guess what… you’ve only got to worry about the carbs.
It makes me crazy when I try to explain to a coaching client that it doesn’t matter how many calories are in something, but what is making up the calories, and they turn a deaf ear. I’m committed to my clients. I’m committed to their health. I adopted the coaching philosophy of the late great Dallas Cowboys head coach Tom Landry when he said, “A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, who has you see what you don’t want to see, so you can be who you have always known you could be.”
I’d rather see them eat the chocolate cake, even though the more chemicals they eat, the longer they’ll need my services. It isn’t a win for me. It’s a loss for both of us.
A couple of evenings ago, I was faced with a dear friend who was upset about recent lab results that he’d received. This man is a smart one and has investigated better ways of eating and exercising and his efforts had met with success, that is, until his doctor got word of a study, and promptly changed the supplement regime my friend had been on, which shot his levels back up. His doctor had assured him that it was a good study, and that the regime should be changed just in case. How many times have I heard that? With a sociology minor I know that sociologists teach medical doctors how to do research. That’s right. Someone with a Ph.D in sociology has to teach medical doctors how to do research. So I immediately hopped on the Internet to read the study. Shot holes in the study design immediately. Found it wasn’t published in a peer-reviewed journal. Sorry, doc, but you’re full of it. Shit like this makes me crazy.
So sitting before me was a very smart man, who wondered why he couldn’t “get this stuff right.” I saw the frustration in his eyes, and my heart fell, not just for him, but for everyone who listens to a so-called expert – and for cryin’ out loud doctors should be experts! – and is still faltering. It’s not his fault. It’s not their faults.
Is it any wonder that there is so much misinformation passed around when it comes to health and good choices we make for it? I modify my stance on healthy practices when I read new research that HAS been peer-reviewed. Every time I hear a news anchor say “a new study shows……,” I turn off my listening and wonder, “Where is it published? How many times have results been replicated? What was the study design?”
I’m fortunate because I have a doctor that does get it, and years ago when I couldn’t reconcile in my mind the amount of food that the country’s most successful weight loss program was touting that I should eat, he simply said “Americans eat too much food anyway and should only eat when they get hunger signals and stop when they stop, and eat it like it grows.” What a concept, huh?
My best advice when it comes to healthy eating is also his: eat food in as close a natural state as possible – the way it is grown – and eat a variety of foods in lots of different colors, organic is best. That’s it. It’s not more complicated than that. You can steam it, stir fry it with some spices and herbs, find interesting and flavorful combinations, but it really is that simple. There is NOTHING new under the sun when it comes to healthy food as far as new food products. We already have all the variety of foods that we are ever_going_to_have. Anything new is a chemical experiment, and should not be eaten. AND, if you’re doing it right, you shouldn’t be spending more than 15-20 minutes preparing it. It really is that simple. And I’ll gladly coach anyone who wants to know more about how to do it.
If you want to know more about how to eat healthy and melt weight off naturally and quickly, contact me.
I was recently asked by a fellow writer about my recommendations for getting started with yoga. This is a PERFECT question for the impending new year. Come January, many people will start out strong with a new exercise and diet routine. Who hasn’t made these resolutions? You know the best time to start reforming your lifestyle and getting healthy would be now, right? You know, BEFORE you set yourself back even farther with all the temptations of holiday goodies and lavish spreads in the workplace AND relatives’ homes. Yeah, you heard me, BEFORE. So that means now. Starting where you stand. Come on, given the plethora of food we are surrounded by this time of year, it’s easy to pack an additional 1000 calories into your day just by nibbling. Do you really want to do that? IS THIS YEAR’S SERVING OF AUNT JUNE’S GOLDEN CARAMEL CHEESECAKE worth the five hours it will take you to burn it off? (And that’s a conservative estimate — I wish I were kidding.)
Yoga Fact: Yoga isn’t just stretching. It can be quite aerobic and challenging.
So, yes, this is a perfect time to get started with yoga. If nothing else, it can alleviate a lot of holiday stress! First off, you’ll need a yoga mat, which you can pick up at Walmart, TJ Maxx (I really like their selection), or even the Goodwill (just make certain you disinfect the heck out of it) for $10-20. (If you’re tall, get a 72″ one. I’m 5’10” and my feet still want to slide off the ends. The mat is about all you’ll need. If you want a DVD, go for one of the beginner ones from Gaiam. You can either buy them on their website at Gaiam.com or on Amazon. Stay away from DVDs by fitness gurus, such as Jillian Michaels. They are far too challenging for beginners. I like anything that Sean Corne puts out as well. I just love her energy and her voice isn’t distracting. I find Rodney Yee, although an amazing teacher, talks too much through his videos and that’s just annoying to me – or maybe it’s just because I’d rather look at him than follow what he’s doing. If you don’t want to invest in a DVD immediately — I RARELY work out with one and my daughter who has been a devotee of yoga for nearly a year has done a yoga video exactly ONCE — go to the YouTube channel of Tara Stiles. You may recognize her from the runway. She’s a former model turned yoga guru, and the girl quite possibly has the longest arms of anyone I’ve ever seen. Yes, she’s skinny, leggy and pretty, but she’s always completely kooky and doesn’t make yoga about judgment. I love watching her videos that just catch up her fans with what she’s been doing. You can follow her on Facebook as well. I LOVE her book Yoga Cures, which gives yoga poses for health and lifestyle challenges… like “Office Brain” where you’ve got too many things to do in too little time and don’t know where to begin!
What you should not do when beginning yoga is sign up for a class immediately and buy blocks, straps, mat sprays, gloves, bolsters, etc. When you do yoga correctly (and I’m not talking about your form), you’ll know when you need anything extra, like blocks. I didn’t buy those until I was into yoga for a couple of months. I made my own strap by going to the fabric store, buying two yards of belt webbing and tying knots in both ends! Waaaaay cheaper than the stuff sold. I also made my own bolster, but I sew. Go to Walmart and find a sturdy neck pillow – instant bolster. Yoga is not about how well-equipped you are to get each posture perfect. It’s about what is perfect for you. In yoga, you need to let go of your ego because ego tells you that you must be perfect. And ego will stand in your way of gaining the full benefits of yoga.
One thing you should know about yoga as a beginner is that no two days will be the same. One day you’ll float right into a pose, and the next day you won’t be coordinated enough to bend or stretch or balance that way. Why? Because your muscles are changing. They are getting stronger. The muscle fibers will develop their strength unevenly, and one side of your body may be coordinated one day and the next day it’s a sloppy mess. When this happens, and it soooo will, calm your frustration. Let it go. Remember that this is a process and the next day or the day after, will be different. Your body wants to do what you want it to do, and it’s trying, but there are some internal changes taking place that you don’t know about just yet. Trust your body to do what it needs to do. It’s “workin’ on it!”
Congratulations on choosing to give yoga a try. It’s easy, and then it’s difficult too. It all depends on which poses you choose to make part of your routine. My favorite pose? Dancer. Because of its grace. Do I ever fall out of it? Yep. Because even after 20 years, I’m still not perfect and some days my mind wanders and ego gets in the way.
If you’re just giving yoga a try, let me know. I’d also be happy to answer any questions you have.
Or if you just want to tell me about your journey to yoga, what your favorite pose is, or how you’ve handled difficult poses, feel free. I love hearing funny, interesting and even frustrating stories!
I know it’s been awhile. I took time out to get involved in local theatre, see lots of productions, get my daughter on track to visit colleges, start my graduate degree application and generally just learn to relax a bit more.
Now that that’s handled, it’s time to be mean again. Well, I’ll ease into it anyway… I’m still all relaxed and mellow from a nice summer. But don’t expect it to last, my lovelies!
Let’s start with EXERCISE. Do you hate the word as much as I do? Yeah, probably. That’s why I keep a pedal thingy under my desk, so I’m always working without realizing it. BUT, if you don’t have one of those thingys, you can still walk.
When Christmas decorations start showing up in the stores, it’s time to get proactive about those holidays pounds that will surely creep up on you because God only knows that next month begins the feasting, and the easiest workout to keep the pounds off is walking. You’ve been doing it all your life, so you’re already an expert. Think of it that way.
YOU ALREADY HAVE MAD SKILLS WHEN IT COMES TO THIS!!!
It’s also the least expensive workout you can do, and the following links teach you how to do it better.
I like the easy, breezy tone, of this first one, and I’ll be incorporating some of the ideas into my walking routine.
For this next one, I’ve done the walking/jogging backwards thing and even the side gallops – note, start slowly with the side gallops until your feet get comfortable with the movement. But, this video take treadmill walking to a whole new level and it_is_awesome!
Bookmark this site to watch on your phone or tablet the next time you’re at the gym! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/08/treadmill-whole-body_n_4039718.html?utm_hp_ref=healthy-living
You’re going to be walking later today anyway, or even in a minute or two…. so take a longer one. Add a few minutes to it. See? You’re already working out.
Serving sizes on products have grown in the past few years. The link below contains a great visual that will give you a clue as to how much of that favorite food you can enjoy. Remember a snack should be under 150 calories, so if you reach for that afternoon candy bar, don’t eat the whole thing. I don’t care what the “serving size” states.
And for goodness sake, don’t drink all that balsamic vinegar that you see in this link! It will literally kill you. (I don’t care if they do serve it as an apéritif in Italy.)
Let’s see, if we look at the label for the fat grams…. 5 + 2 does not equal 13. Soooo the rest of the fat would be polyunsaturated (a middle of the road fat) and monounsaturated (the healthy fat). Then we have to account for the lab errors in determining the nutritional content. Don’t know how much that can be?
My nutrition professor once stated that the FDA allows nutrition labels to be “off” by as much as 30 percent. Shocking, I know. The FDA website guidelines state the label has only a 5 to 10 percent allowable margin for error. So who’s correct? I figure the truth lies somewhere in between, so I allow for a 20 percent error myself.
Think about this for a minute. Suppose my professor was correct and the label could be off by 30 percent. I’ll bet those companies don’t inflate the numbers so I doubt the label will report higher numbers than the reality.They’re going the other way and Americans’ waistlines prove that. Is it any wonder that it’s so difficult to lose? I think we’re safe eating the raw stuff. No hidden ingredients or fat grams there really. Just pesticides. Funny how I have a garden, and I have no problem with bugs eating my vegetables. Probably because I pack smelly marigolds and lavender around my plants and the bugs don’t seem to like those much. I also plant tasty pansies for their munching.
There is hope that companies have heard the public outcry and are changing their ways. Companies have finally realized that high-fructose corn syrup has packed on pounds to everyone, including themselves and they’ve changed the labels to read “corn syrup.” Well, that’s almost better. The last time you used corn syrup was it sticky and sweet? Thought so. Changing the name doesn’t make it healthier. So now we have to cry “no really, take that shit out of there!” They’ll listen eventually. Or they won’t. I know there hasn’t been any of that stuff in my house for years. Except for that one time I made pecan pie cookie bars…. but it was only a small bottle, of course. LOL
I LOVE LOVE LOVE cinnamon! So imagine my glee when I discovered that cinnamon helps stabilize blood sugar. Why is this good news? Because it can help you lose weight! When your blood sugar remains at a constant, you don’t get those cravings for carbs, you don’t get that spike in blood sugar that causes the body to produce more insulin and put yourself at risk for metabolic syndrome. Although studies for cinnamon’s positive effects on blood sugar have been limited, the proof is in your own experience. A group of my writing friends and I embarked on a one-week trial of cinnamon’s effects. We vowed to simple add cinnamon to our morning coffee or tea (both turn out like a chai latte or a chai tea). At the end of the week, a couple of women lost seven pounds; no one lost less than three. None of us changed our routines as far as adding more workout time, and we still lost LBs. Weight loss without working out? I’ll take it.
I recently read, although I might be a bit behind the times, that spicy food containing capsaicin, the compound that gives hot peppers their heat will actually dissolve, yes, that’s dissolve, fat. Now for years we’ve all heard that fat cells can only shrink, never dissolve and that yo-yo dieting results in accumulating more fat cells because the old ones never die and are not refillable. I really never believed that they never died off. The cockroach of our body? I don’t think so. I simply believed science hadn’t caught up to reality, but it seems now it has. Capsaicin turns white fat that’s packed into our trouble spots into cells more closely resembling brown fat. Brown fat can dissolve through energy expenditure… the fat we use for energy to complete our daily tasks. I don’t know about you, but I’m all for doing as little as possible to burn calories. I’d rather work in the garden or around the house, than pull time on a treadmill. If you can toss some Tabasco sauce on your morning scrambled eggs or sprinkled some cayenne on your morning OJ (you don’t taste the hot, really you don’t), and drop some poundage, imagine the results if you added 20 minutes of exercise. Imagine if you added 30 to 90 minutes.
I’m giving this a whirl. I’m adding Tabasco to everything I can think of this week, and doing the cinnamon thing. Although I wasn’t one of the women who dropped seven pounds with the cinnamon alone, I’m more than willing to be one by combining the two. Really…. I’m willing.