weight loss

Yesterday was my first day back to eating solid foods after three days of only vegetable broth. I am now into the third and final phase of CorePower Yoga‘s Seasonal Wellness Cleanse.

The first phase was eliminating all processed food, caffeine, sugar, alcohol, dairy, wheat, gluten, soy, corn, meat and dairy for 5 days.

The second phase–designed to continue cleansing your system, restore the ph balance in your gut, and provide rest to your digestive system–was making and eating several nutrient-dense vegetable broths for three days.

The broth phase went really well for me and I didn’t feel at all overwhelmed with hunger. Unfortunately, the skies dumped almost 20 inches of snow on the Twin Cities so I wasn’t able to get the rest that is recommended for the phase–someone had to shovel the driveway (four times, but who’s counting). Still, I felt good.

Yesterday, as I started Phase III, I was back to hyper-clean eating. In Phase III, we begin introducing the foods we’ve eliminated back in our diets one at a time to determine whether any of them cause discomfort or other issues. Incredibly, I ate very little yesterday despite having not eaten solid foods for more than 72 hours.

I just wasn’t hungry. And, I recognized that.

One of the things many of my wellness clients have shared when we begin working together is that they don’t really know when they are hungry. They either don’t feel it or can’t recognize it. I’ve done a fair amount of reading on the subject, and I believe the lack of hunger recognition has two main causes: 1) We, especially women, spend so much time thinking about how much and what we should be eating, we can no longer separate our brain’s messages from our body’s. Thus we don’t recognize our body’s hunger or cravings; 2) We consume so much stuff our bodies don’t recognize as food (food processed beyond recognition, preservatives, perticides, etc), that our bodies send mixed messages.

When I cut out most processed food several years ago and went back to eating organic whenever possible, I definitely noticed an improvement in my hunger and thirst recognition. It still wasn’t totally clear though. I have often recognized that I need water because of a headache or feeling tired rather than because I felt thirsty.

Since beginning the cleanse, I actually feel thirsty. And hungry. My body’s hunger and thirst signals are clearer than they have been in years. There is no questioning when I feel hungry or thirsty.

So last evening, even though I’d found what looked to be a fabulous recipe for slow cooker chicken chick pea stew that fit the parameters of the cleanse, I had some blackberries and a peach instead. I just wasn’t hungry enough to eat the stew. (Actually, I did take a bite just to taste and it was an amazing recipe–I’ve posted it below.)

The stew can wait. Be well!


Slow Cooker Chicken and Chick Pea Stew (from About.com)

Prep Time: 15 minutes   Cook Time: 6 hours


  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat, and cut into pieces
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced on the diagonal
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 15-ounce can reduced-sodium garbanzo beans/chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes


Coat a 3-4 quart crockpot with nonstick cooking spray. Combine spices and sprinkle over chicken thighs. Add onions, carrots, and crushed garlic to the crockpot. Lay chicken thighs on top, followed by chickpeas and canned tomatoes.Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Serves 4-6


Something amazing happened yesterday.

Well, actually it didn’t happen yesterday. It’s happened over many years, but I recognized it yesterday. While chatting with someone about the Wellness Cleanse I’m doing, he asked me whether I had lost any weight. At that moment it occurred to me that my weight wasn’t even a consideration in my decision to take on the Cleanse.

And that, my friends, is pretty darned amazing. While my weight stopped ruling my life several years ago, I find it amazing that it truly wasn’t even a factor in my decision to participate in CorePower Yoga‘s Seasonal Wellness Cleanse.

It’s amazing when you consider that for most of my life (I first believed I was fat in 2nd grade), almost all of my choices and behaviors were somehow related to my weight–either directly in an attempt to control or reduce my weight, or indirectly as I tried to manage my obsession with my body and my weight, and my disordered eating. What I ate, what I wore, which activities I participated when, whether I went to social engagements, who I spent time with, you get the picture. So this moment was truly amazing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d be happy to drop some pounds while on the cleanse. I currently weight just about 20 pounds more than I did just before I became pregnant with Grace almost 11 years ago, and I’d love to get back to that weight. But I’m not willing to compromise my health and wellness–physical, emotional, mental, interpersonal or spiritual–to get there. I have honestly learned to feel comfortable in my body and have developed incredible respect for it. It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s beautiful. Wow, I just said that!

On a side note, I have weighed myself most days of the cleanse. Not because I am concerned with losing, but because during days 2-4 I felt really bloated and was curious as to whether I had gained weight. I wasn’t freaked about it, just curious. I had not gained. And today I’m at the bottom of my normal 5-pound range. I suspect I will lose weight on the cleanse, since I’m just heading into our 3-day broth phase, but I’m not concerned about it one way or the other. I know my body is getting healthier and that is truly my goal.

Speaking of the Broth Phase, I just finished chopping tons of veggies and putting them in the crock pot for the Alkaline Broth. I made the Bieler Broth yesterday. I’m looking forward to giving my digestive system a rest without depriving my body of the nutrients it needs.

In other good news, all of my aches and fatigue have subsided and I’m back to feeling energetic…and happy. For a couple of days there, as my body worked to release and then eliminate toxins, I felt pretty sad. And, perhaps most importantly, I found a morning beverage I like (not as much as coffee, but at least I’m not cursing every sip). Hot water with lemon, honey and a splash of 100% pure cranberry juice. It’s actually pretty good.

But I still miss my coffee. Be well!

P.S. Thanks to my friend Rita at Yum Yoga! for the photo of Bieler Broth.

Does someone on your holiday shopping list want to improve their health and well-being? Why not support them with the gift of health? (Or give yourself the gift of improved health and well-being.)

Purchase the well.well.well. coaching package before December 31 and save 20% ($200/month versus $250). Whether the goal is losing weight, improving nutrition and physical fitness, sleeping better, reducing or eliminating the need for medications, and/or reducing stress, this coaching package will help you design a comprehensive wellness program that will accomplish your goals and fit your lifestyle. Weekly coaching sessions and follow-ups will help you stay on track as you implement healthy nutrition, activity, and stress-management strategies.

Make 2011 the new of better health. Be well and happy holidays!

One of the simplest ways to reduce your calories and improve your health is to snack only on fruits and vegetables. It’s a trick I often share with my clients and one I use myself when I feel my eating has gotten a little off track.

Limiting snacks to raw fruits and vegetables can go a long way toward getting you to your recommended daily servings of fruits and veggies. Most of us fall short. If you’re unsure how much you should be eating, check out www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov. The site will tell you how many servings you should be eating based on your gender, age, and activity level. You’ll likely be surprised at how many servings you should be eating. (It’ll also tell you what counts as a serving.)

Limiting snacks to fruits and veggies also will probably reduce your overall calorie consumption as well, since most fresh produce is lower in calories than other typical snack foods.

Although fresh fruits and vegetables aren’t typical vending machine fare, they can be quite portable. Apples, bananas, grapes, celery, carrots, pea pods, and more can easily be brought to school or work.

The bonus of this trick is that it will help you determine whether you are truly hungry or reaching for a snack out of boredom, temptation, etc. If you aren’t hungry enough to eat fresh fruit or veggies, chances are you aren’t hungry.

Be well!

How will you defend your healthy eating habits?

For many of us, Halloween marks the start of the season of overeating and weight gain. From the end of October until early January, most of us find ourselves bombarded by opportunities to overeat and otherwise overindulge. Establishing and following an eating plan can keep you on track while enjoying some of the goodies.

Most of us have “trigger” foods–foods that we have a hard time resisting or that “trigger” us to crave more and binge. For many, sweets are the trigger that can undo days, weeks and even months of healthy habits. Planning ahead and developing a “candy strategy” can help you manage temptations and stick to your health and fitness goals.

Eating plans have long been used in weight loss programs (think Weight Watchers’ point system) and in the treatment of eating disorders, and can be a useful tool for anyone facing challenging eating situations. An eating plan helps separate eating from our emotions, and eliminates the need to make eating decisions on the spot–decisions that can be influenced by stress, excitement, group pressure, lack of time and/or a giant bowl of chocolate staring you in the face.

What is an eating plan? An eating plan includes when, what and how much you will eat. In the case of Halloween candy, your plan will be focused on how much and how often you will indulge your sweet tooth. The most successful eating plans take into account where you will be and the types of temptations you will face, as well as the behavior that has worked for you in the past. For some, it’s best to completely avoid the trigger food.  For others, a moderate amount of the trigger food is key. Think about what has worked for you in the past and try to develop your plan around those behaviors and strategies.

The following candy eating plans are being utilized by some of my wellness clients:

  • One client has decided that she won’t buy Halloween candy until Halloween day even though it means the candy may be picked over–after all the intent is to give it away not stock up on her favorites.
  • Another client shared with her coworkers her desire to reduce her sugar intake–there’s certainly no shame in being healthy–and has asked them not to offer her sweets.
  • Recognizing that deprivation can result in binges, yet another client has decided to allow herself one small sweet treat everyday.

Other ideas include:

  • Only buy as much candy as you realistically believe you’ll need. If there’s a hint of concern that you won’t have enough for tricks-or-treats, you’re less likely to indulge before the big day.
  • Keep candy in a cabinet or drawer that you don’t use regularly thereby reducing opportunities for temptation.
  • Further reduce temptation by buying your least favorite kind of candy.

If weight loss or maintenance is a goal, don’t forget to account for your extra calories with extra exercise. A brisk walk can not only burn the calories in a candy bar, it can distract you from subsequent candy bars until your craving passes.

Many find it helpful to write down their eating plan, refer to it daily, and/or share it with someone they trust who supports their wellness efforts. A little bit of planning can go a long way in helping you stay on track as we head into the season of overeating. Here’s to enjoying the season, but still fitting into your jeans in January!

Be well!