I've spent the majority of my adult life on some diet. I think I may have tried 15 different diets in an effort to be skinny. Skinny was more important than health, more important than strong, more important than sleep. Being skinny was my top priority in life. I stopped breastfeeding my second child early so I could take diet pills and lose my pregnancy weight. I was so brainwashed into believing that being skinny should be a woman's most important quest that I put everything else on the back burner. I spent hours on the treadmill. The more calories I burnt the skinnier I would become. I ate Lean Cuisine and canned soup for lunch, small salads for dinner. I took ephedra (before it was banned) for much longer than recommended. I suffered through the jitters every day just so I would lose weight. I fully admit how crazy this sounds. Forty three year old me wants to take 26 year old me by the hand and take her for a long walk and have a nice, long conversation. I'm certain my behavior back then may have taken a year or two off my life expectancy. Who knows.
After my liver resection in 2013, a lot of things changed for me. I became a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, worked as the in-house nutritionist for a doctor's office and worked with countless people on their weight loss and health journeys. I became a kickboxing instructor and am now in the happy position to combine my passions. I love to teach these classes, help provide people an outlet for their daily stresses and to make some nutritional recommendations as well.
Every time a new client walks in the door at our kickboxing studio, I am curious to understand where they're coming from, what their goals are, and how I can help them reach their goals. And I started noticing something in particular that makes me sad every time. I work with mostly women but also with a few men here and there. The women usually feel bad about their bodies. They are ashamed to show off their curves. They are the ones to warn me that they will probably suck at their first class. They apologize for making my job more difficult. Some go as far as to tell me they take up too much space in life.
I have never heard a man say such a thing. Sure, they want to get in shape. But they give their bellies a friendly pat. Their confidence is always strong. Their goal is never to be more confident. They never apologize for taking up too much space.
Don't get me wrong, I have no issue with men having such confidence. I have an issue with women not having it. The fact that they are so much more insecure and apologetic simply shows me that I am far from being alone in my own insecurities of the past and those that I'm still struggling with. And I want even more to help women become a better version of themselves not only physically but emotionally. I want women to give their bellies a friendly pat. That doesn't mean they shouldn't try to build muscle and burn fat. It simply means that they will be so much more comfortable on their journey because they don't have to hate who they are right now in this moment.
This is why I will start a series of posts on body positivity. I will talk about what this means, what you can actively do to be more at peace with who you are right now, and what you can do nutritionally and emotionally to get to where you want to be. Thank you for joining me.
Have a wonderful day.
Last weekend, I had the great honor of listening to Robb Wolf speak at the annual conference of the Nutritional Therapy Association. You may or may not know that Robb's new book "Wired to Eat" is about to be released in the United States. Many folks in Britain and Canada already have their copies. (No fair, right?)
Robb started his talk by sharing a couple of myths, that we, as 21st century humans buy into all too willingly.
"Eat less, move more."
"Everything in moderation."
If these statements were true, we'd have a lot more lean and healthy people among us. The idea that simply moving more while eating less helps you lose weight and then maintain it is just as wrong as the notion that eating everything in moderation is the solution.
First of all, the body doesn't care about how little you eat while you bust your butt at the gym. I'm a kickboxing instructor. I work out 4 to 5 days a week. But it is only when I dial in my diet to consist of real, whole, unprocessed foods and healthy fats, that I start seeing results.
And everything in moderation is designed to make you fail. There are a couple of reasons for that. First, think of that bag of chips or that donut. Both have added sugars and other crap that make you WANT to have more. You don't want to quit after just 5 chips, because that happens to be a serving size. If you have that donut in front of you, you'll eat that whole thing, not just a serving size. As Robb Wolf put it in his keynote speech, every single study confirms that a lifestyle (paleo, keto, even vegetarian) actually works, while moderation of a crappy diet does not. And if you take the 108 million people trying a diet each year and consider that 4 out of 5 fail, the answer is clear. We have a myth on our hands.
Of course, as a person who actually wants to eat healthy, you are in a bit of a pickle. Boredom of certain foods is actually rooted in our ancestry. We call this palate fatigue. Simply put, you can experience palate fatigue during wine tasting. Too many different wines tried in a short period of time can make your taste buds tired, or as some researchers suggest, your brain grows tired of the similar sensory information. The same can be true for eating the same food every day. Is it any surprise then, that our grocery store shelves are stocked with 50,000 items and 11,000 new items are introduced every single year! All it takes are a few well placed commercials and ads to make you want to try that brand new food, and trust me when I say that you will not want to eat it just in moderation. It won't work.
Secondly, a person eating a healthy diet (say paleo) is still looked at like somewhat of an alien. Walk into a fast food restaurant and buy a burger, fries and large coke, and you're considered normal. Order a bun without a burger, a side salad and a bottle of water and people are quick to call you orthorexic. Think about this! A person trying to eat meat, seafood, vegetables, and fruit is considered somehow abnormal. Don't let that happen to you! You are not abnormal!
That said, boredom of these healthy foods can hit anyone. It takes a committed person to get past it, experiment with new recipes and ingredients, and maybe just find joy in a relatively simple diet. And when all else fails, then... well.... bacon!
I had a conversation with a man who wanted to know more about Nutritional Therapy. This man is in his late 30s, a bit overweight (and not happy about it), a father and businessman. He asked me one question after another. He wants to shrink his belly fat in particular and was hoping for belly shrinking foods.
I explained to him the basics of a good diet. Combine the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates (as vegetables), and fats. I explained what the body does with the food we eat, how it is converted to glucose, and how fat deposits happen. He listened intently, found out a lot of stuff he hadn't known before.
I explained also that he is a sugar burner right now, and as matter of fact, the vast majority of Americans are. After a lifetime of being preached to about eating low fat diets, we've become quite efficient at burning sugar. I told him that the body can relearn to go from sugar burner to fat burner. The question is, how much does he want it? The truth is that the first couple of weeks may be difficult. He'll experience cravings, maybe brain fog, irritability and in some cases even flu life symptoms, as his body rids itself of the inflammation and all the excess water it stores on a high carb diet.
Then he asked me if it is worth it, cutting out those foods (non-foods) and going through this rough time. My initial thought was to say, OF COURSE IT IS! Instead I asked him this: You are now 39. If you continue as is for the next 10 years, you'll be 49. Look at yourself at 49. Where are you? How do you feel?"
I could see his brain working. I knew he saw himself in front of his inner eye. He imagined life at 49.
After a couple of moments I asked, So, is it worth it?
He smiled. He hadn't thought about it that way. In his eyes, there was just the dieting, not feeling good about it, anxiety about giving up foods he loves. It wasn't about a lifestyle change, it wasn't long term. And he never once thought that changing his ways was a reward, not a punishment.
Where do you want to be in 10 years? In 20 years? Are you happy with where you are now? Can you truly say you feel healthy? Would you like to make some changes, but you feel a little intimidated... or a lot intimidated? There are a lot of resources out there on the world wide web. But sometimes you just need someone to hold your hand and guide you through the process. Hit me up if this is you. And I can tell you one thing, it is most definitely worth it!
I've recently acquired the lovely nickname "Poop Lady". That's because someone at my kickboxing gym told someone else at my kickboxing gym that I like to talk about poop, and then I did a video segment for said gym on just that subject. If that makes me the poop lady, then I will gladly accept my new name and carry it with pride!
The reason I do love to talk about poop is because I understand that poop is a direct result of what happens inside our gut. And if the gut is the second brain, that we have a lot of thinking to do about our excrements. When is the last time you talked about your poop to anyone? Not exactly dinner conversation material, right? And unless you have constant and raging diarrhea chances are you never brought it up during a doctor's visit... nor have you been asked the question, "Hey, Patient, how's your poop these days?"
And even IF you have suffered from constant and raging diarrhea you may still not have told your doctor about it, and this is something I know because I have talked to countless clients about it. One of my very first clients came to me after suffering from diarrhea for 5 years. It took less than a week of clean eating and a couple of supplements to stop the diarrhea. The only thing this client had ever been told was that her "liver numbers" looked bad and she needed to change it. No instructions on how. Needless to say, she went back after a couple of months and her "liver numbers" looked almost normal.
If you started today to look at your poop every time you go to the bathroom you'd find very soon that it is a reflection of your lifestyle choices. Solid hard stools are the result of dehydration. Insoluble fibers like corn will pass through you undigested. Fatty loose stool or diarrhea is a sign that you are not secreting enough bile to break down fats. Undigested foods are occasionally fine, but if it's a regular thing and especially if it occurs with diarrhea can be the result of an intestinal infection or even an inflammatory disease that needs to be diagnosed by a medical professional.
Check out the Bristol Stool Chart for more information on what poop should and should not look like and start taking care of your diet now! There is no better moment than the present moment.
Hello, my name is Ute and I am a sugar addict.
This may sound funny at first, but the truth is really not funny, and I know that I am just one of millions of people with this very same problem.
According to this post on Harvard Health Publications, added sugar makes up 10% of the calories of the average American's diet in just one day.
"A sugar-laden diet may raise your risk of dying of heart disease even if you aren’t overweight. So says a major study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Added sugars make up at least 10% of the calories the average American eats in a day. But about one in 10 people get a whopping one-quarter or more of their calories from added sugar."
This is just one of the articles you'll find on sugar these days. The evidence really speaks for itself, what with about 65% of American adults being overweight or obese and suffering from diet related problems including diabetes right there at the top.
Here is the real problem, though. Sugar is in everything, and it is not regarded as an addictive substance. You won't find warnings on cookie or cereal boxes that the consumption of sugar may lead to obesity or even death. As a matter of fact, we mindlessly use sugar as a reward for everything.
Think about it!
The first time we get in contact with sugar is usually when we are small children (or we have small children) who were and are rewarded with candy for using the potty or behaving like a "good girl". We promise a piece of candy if the child can last through the grocery store trip. Dessert will be offered as a reward for eating dinner.
Doctors and even some dentists offer candy to children if they are brave during their visits.
Once school starts, sugar treats are offered for good grades, good behavior (once again) or simply a job well done.
On Halloween (which to this day I'm struggling with as a German girl), we send our kids out to retrieve copious amounts of candy which will send them into a sugar induced temper tantrum followed by "coma".
Vending machines with sugar laden snacks can be found in schools, airports, sports arenas and pretty much any public place.
And what do we find at the register in the grocery store? Trash magazines and candy.
I am the first to admit that I fell victim to the sugar trap, both as a child as well as a parent. I have gained and lost a ton of weight because of my sugar addiction, and yes, I promised sweet treats to my children for jobs well done or good behavior. To this day, I reach for sugar treats (chocolate preferably) when I fall off the real food bandwagon. I am an m&m's junkie! See me blush!
Recently, I spoke with a client (posted with her permission) who told me she would go on diets only to reward herself with a big bowl of ice cream if she made it to the end. Not a new dress, not a visit to the spa, not a movie with a friend... no, she would treat herself to a big bowl of sugar. This would send her on eating binges, and she would regain all the weight she had just lost through hard work, calorie restriction and suffering. She called it suffering. There was no joy in it. The only reason she went on these diets was to lose weight. It never occurred to her that she might suffer consequences other than just regained weight if she fell of the bandwagon. She hadn't made the connection between her headaches, fatigue, brittle nails, and constipation and her terrible sugar habit until she met me. I am pleased to say that she is doing so much better now. She has lost weight, yes, but she really shifted her focus on her health.
As for me, I tried to stay strong during the Christmas season, but of course I was not successful. I fell of the bandwagon, ate a bunch of cookies, drank too much wine, and started feeling like crap. I know what to do. I know how to help people find better health and wellbeing. I love the success stories on my testimonials page. And I know that I will continue to do this work for many years to come. But I cannot kill that demon that is addiction. This is a fight that each person has to fight for themselves.
The desire to beat addiction has to come from within. No amount of outside pressure will lead to the successful elimination of that addictive substance. The good news is that, even after you do fall off the bandwagon, you can jump back on and continue on your path. And I will be happy to guide you through the process of cleaning up your diet and on your whole body approach to health, physically AND emotionally.
In just a couple of days we get to say goodbye to, what lots of people are calling a challenging and sad year for a variety of reasons. They are ready to turn their backs to 2016 and invite 2017 with open arms and high hopes. New Year's Resolutions are posted to social media platforms by some, while others are adamant about the nonsense of it all. After all, January 1st is just another day.
Over the years, my opinion about New Year's Resolutions has changed. One year I'd make them, another year I thought "to hell with them". This year, I say that many of us love the symbolism of a new beginning, and I like the idea of putting this year behind me consciously and purposefully. Let the past be in the past and walk with confidence into the future.
As far as New Year's Resolutions go, I do believe that making them can be helpful, if it is done the right way. I've written about this a couple of years ago. And I still believe a lot of what I said then.
But this year, I would add that resolutions can go much deeper than the desire to lose weight or sleep better. Why not ditch the resolution to lose weight and turn it into "I want to run a half marathon by June. What do I need to do to get there?" Ideally, you'll take a full body approach. This means, you make the necessary dietary changes (a great way would be to join me for my clean eating challenge starting January 5th on Facebook only) and find a training program that will get you from where you to where you want to be.
If you have been dealing with gut issues (constipation, diarrhea, cramps) or even have a diagnosis, then make your resolution for the following year to dig deeper. What may have caused this issue and what do you need to do to get it under control? Heck, work with a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner! (Yes, that would be me.)
Think of what you miss the most in your life. More time to play with the kids or friends? Exercise? Reading books? Writing short stories? Maybe it's just simply time to look at your schedule and make time for the fun stuff in life. Think you're too busy for that? Think again. Did you know that the average American looks at their phone about 150 times in a day? Assuming that a good portion of that time is spent on checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat and/or e-mails that could wait until later, think of the time you're spending on your device. Maybe your resolution is to turn the phone off when you get home from work. Or maybe you set a time limit. We do it to kids. Maybe it's time we do it to ourselves.
My request for you for the coming year is to make it a more meaningful year for you. What do you want? And what do you have to do to get it? Sit down, create a list, and go for the things you KNOW in your heart you can accomplish, then go for it. Make 2017 an awesome year for yourself.
Happy New Year!
I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day. I was asked how it was possible to get in all the necessary fiber if wheat and grains aren't great. This particular person wants to cut all grains from her diet.
First, what is fiber anyway?
The word fiber comes from the Latin word "fibra", which simply translates to string or thread. Fiber is also known as roughage, the undigestable part of plant foods. It travels through the digestive tract, absorbs water along the way and helps with ease of passage of food and therefore easier elimination of food.
There is soluble and insoluble fiber and both are present in all plants, though usually not in equal proportions. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and turns into a gelatinous mass, where is insoluble fiber remains intact. Both can be fermented by bacteria in the colon.
Why are we not getting enough fiber?
Look around the grocery store. The middle aisles are packed with packaged and processed foods. I have never seen as many different kinds of cereal as in the United States. I vividly remember the first time I walked down the "cereal aisle" amazed at the variety of "heart healthy" cereal, fortified with fiber for better digestion.
Did I just say enriched? You better believe I did. As our diets have changed over the decades (centuries and millennia), the amount of vegetables and fruit we consume has decreased significantly, while packaged foods have seen a huge increase, hence the sheer size of grocery store middle aisles.
We claim we're too busy to cook. We just don't have the time. Besides, it is so much easier to just pop that pizza in the oven or eat a quick bowl of cereal. Because all of these "foods" aren't naturally high in fiber, we had to start "fortify" them. We still need fiber or we won't poop!
Can I get enough fiber from fruits and vegetables?
Yes, you can!!
I found this handy little description of just one day without grains on the Paleo Leap website!
Sounds delicious, right? And it's nutritious and of course, full of healthy fiber. When your choice is real food, you will naturally consume all the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your body needs for a healthy life.
What's cooking with Real Food 4 Me, that is! I realize I have been painfully and awfully quiet lately. Never sent a newsletter, and didn't keep my blog up-to-date. I can explain!
I have been hard at work in the real world, teaching classes, taking some of my own classes, too (how to run a successful business!), and getting ready to jump right back into the nutrition world.
You see, I absolutely love my work. Meeting with people and digging deep into what is holding them back from being their best and healthiest self is a little like searching for hidden treasures. I love that feeling of success when I hit on something that nobody has found before and the look on my clients' faces, when they realize that an issue as been staring them in the eye and they never noticed until just now.
I love to help my clients find their inner strength to improve their own health and wellness. It gives me an unparalleled satisfaction.
Of course this is great, but I want it to be even better. I want to reach more people, and I want to have a bigger impact. And that is why I'm writing a book. I really can't give away too much yet, because it's my baby, and if you've ever had babies (or pets you love, or other humans you had to care for) then you understand that desire to be protective. Plus, there is always a little bit of vulnerability. What if they don't like it? ;)
But the truth is, I have good things to say, I feel passionate about my message, and I know that there will be plenty of people embracing this message as I have and still do.
In the meantime, I have created a bit of a plan of what to do with this blog, what new classes to develop and teach, and I am honored and happy that you are here, reading. Please come back for more, and if you haven't done so yet, I'd love you to follow my newsletter as well.
"I'm so fat! I look disgusting!" Be honest, how often have thoughts like this crossed your mind as you looked at your reflection in the mirror? The future will be better, because in the future you will have lost 20, 40, 60lbs and you will look so much better. And if you look better, you'll feel better about yourself. You'll be able to fit into the skinny jeans, the little black dress. You wouldn't admit these thoughts to anyone around you. These thoughts are secret. They are nobody's business. Others don't need to know about your self-destructive talk.
Newsflash! You won't feel better about yourself when you lose that weight. You'll find something else that is wrong with you. Now that you've lost the weight, you'll want to lose the flab. You'll want the six pack abs. You'll still see your imperfections. Sure, you'll be excited about the clothes you fit into now. But at home, naked in front of the mirror, the little nagging voice is still there, still bugging you that you are not quite right the way you are.
The Wellness Cycle
Isn't it high time you started loving you now? Wouldn't it be nice to learn to look into that mirror and thank your body for its hard work? Wouldn't you love to be able to look into your own eyes and say with conviction, "I love you."? Wouldn't it be grand, if weight loss was just a positive side effect of your healthy lifestyle rather than the one thing that you want for happiness? Weight loss alone will not give you happiness. It will not make you suddenly love you. The love for you has to be there already. The love for you is the biggest most important thing in the world. If you don't love you, how can you possibly be kind to yourself when you don't live up to your own expectations? Won't you just stand there and look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself, "I knew you'd fail. What did I expect?"
And would you ever say this to your spouse, your kids, your friends?
I'm asking you to start your day with a positive message to yourself. Practice looking at your beautiful, hard working body and say, "I love you, now and forever." When you do it every day, it becomes a habit. When it's a habit, it is no longer difficult. You deserve to be loved by you. Love from others is nice but it can disappear just like that. It is not guaranteed. But your own love for yourself will never go away. You will have that until the day you die.
Testimonial from my last RESTART class:
"The RESTART program has changed my life! Learning what certain foods do to and for my body was eye opening - a real game changer. Growing up in the corn country of Midwest, the Standard American Diet was king and I feel that I'd never really learned how to eat. I thought I was eating healthy, yet couldn't figure out why I was so exhausted and sick all the time. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to give myself the gift of this class. I have more energy than I've had in years! I have fewer mood swings, I've lost a total of 17 lbs. and I have adopted a whole new lifestyle thanks to what I learned from this class. The online classroom space was supportive and fit my personal schedule beautifully. Ute's instruction is knowledgeable, supportive, fun, and exactly what I needed to get my life back. THANK YOU!!!" ~Whitney, Beaverton, OR
I wrote a blog post about RESTART last year:
I've been talking about the RESTART® a lot lately, and I think it's about time I talked about in a bit more detail!
The RESTART Program is a 5 week nutrition class for anyone who wants to learn how to push that RESTART button, but doesn't want to do it alone. Built into the 5 weeks is a 3 week "detox". I'm not a huge fan of the word detox, so I will call it a challenge instead. It is a challenge to restart your health and wellness, to eat well, reward your body for its hard work.
Why do we make it 21 days? Because it has been proven over and over, that it takes us about 21 days to start a new habit. And we want this challenge to be much more than that. We want to see your success, and we want you to continue on this path to better health and wellness.
Why do we offer this as a group class? Because it is incredibly helpful to have a group of people to discuss problems, to offer support, to share your progress!
What is offered during the 5 weeks? My support as a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner first and foremost. You will receive weekly handouts, recipe recommendations, and of course a platform to chat during the program and after it is over. Check out the details right here!
Week 1: Preparation! You will introduce yourself to the class, fill out a questionnaire, talk about your intention for the 5 weeks, and learn what to eat and what not to eat and why!
Week 2: Digestion! You will learn how digestion really works, talk about poop, dietary fine tuning, and suggested supplements.
You will also start your actual "detox" this week for 21 days.
Week 3: Blood Sugar Regulation! You will learn how blood sugar is supposed to work, stages of dysglycemia, how to find balance once again, and all the different sugars out there. You will also discuss your progress with the group.
Week 4: Fats! What are the roles of fats? Why do you need them? What are some myths and facts, and which fats are the good fats? There will be room for discussion, questions, and always for some laughter.
Week 5: Celebration & Moving Forward! You've made it through 21 days of eating a new diet. You've created a new habit. Now it's time to talk about moving forward on your own. Also, learn how to reintroduce foods after the RESTART Program!
In the meantime I've taught quite a few of these classes, and I am incorporating so much more information than I did in the beginning. I am a big believer in making lifestyle changes in addition to changing your diet. Sleep, play, work, it all plays into your overall well being!! Find out for yourself! New classes start every few weeks!