Tuesday, May 30, 2017


“A long time ago, when you were a wee thing, you learned something, some way to cope, something that, if you did it, would help you survive. It wasn't the healthiest thing, it wasn't gonna get you free, but it was gonna keep you alive. You learned it, at five or six, and it worked, it *did* help you survive. You carried it with you all your life, used it whenever you needed it. It got you out--out of your assbackwards town, away from an abuser, out of range of your mother's un-love. Or whatever. It worked for you. You're still here now partly because of this thing that you learned. The thing is, though, at some point you stopped needing it. At some point, you got far enough away, surrounded yourself with people who love you. You survived. And because you survived, you now had a shot at more than just staying alive. You had a shot now at getting free. But that thing that you learned when you were five was not then and is not now designed to help you be free. It is designed only to help you survive. And, in fact, it keeps you from being free. You need to figure out what this thing is and work your ass off to un-learn it. Because the things we learn to do to survive at all costs are not the things that will help us get FREE. Getting free is a whole different journey altogether.” 

― Mia McKenzieThe Summer We Got Free

Slightly falling apart, just a lot of stressors right now.

Tues morning started good, I got up at 6am, took the dog for a walk, then went to gym to do 45 min of cardio and back exercises. I would like to do this every morning. The main issue is I need to go To bed around 10pm, and with my schedule, I can't usually go to sleep till 11/11:30pm.

8am- shake
11am- crackers, hummus, turkey
1pm- chili, brown rice
4pm- watermelon, pistachios
7:30pm- chicken, broccoli. Gin and tonic. Piece of chocolate.

Tues was pretty good, minus drink and chocolate.

8:30am- Ezekiel bread with PB and Deb Approved TJ jam
12pm- went to lunch with my
Business partner, had tempura shrimp and veggies, and half order of pad Thai
7pm- dinner at a work event. Couple pieces of salami, foccacia, carrots with dressing for appetizers. Dinner was Italian salad, chicken, cold pasta salad and a roll. Had 2 glasses of wine.

Had to get up at 6am today cause had I leave for warehouse at 7am so no workout.
7:30am- Ezekiel bread with PB and jam
10:30am- other half of my pad Thai
1pm- crackers, hummus, turkey
4:00pm- pistachios
5:30-7:30pm- networking event. 2 glasses wine. Some bread with cheese and salami.
Came home upset- my mom was crying on the phone for 30 min and then had several work issues driving me crazy. 
8:30pm- edamame with soy sauce- 2 gin and tonics

Should have ended there
9:30pm- pasta with my homemade sauce, 2 more gin and tonics


Going to bed now so I don't eat anymore, and hoping to get up tomorrow to work out. Sorry I was not great.

You never have to say you are sorry for your behavior. I am never going to judge you and I am always going to understand what is happening. You eat unhealthy food and drink alcohol  as a coping mechanism and as the quote above says, there is a reason. And I get it and am here to work through these issues and keep you aware and open to change when you are ready. Just keep writing to me and let me know what you are eating and how you are feeling. Hugs!!!

 Thanks for checking in. Just in a depressed rut. Family issues again- my dad admitted to there being someone else, my mom overdosed on meds and booze and went back to the hospital. My dad left today, and I'm trying to help my mom come up with plan B. Sucks. I've not been good, turning towards wine instead of the treadmill to deal with it. 


I have a request, PLEASE read this over and over and use food, alcohol, work, whatever it is as the coping mechanism. I am not sure if it is just that I, myself,  am ready to hear it, or that reading this was so spot on for me that it has changed my life and the way I am viewing myself. I hope it helps you and if not now, when you are ready. I love you and send you warm hugs...:)

"A long time ago, when you were a wee thing, you learned something, some way to cope, something that, if you did it, would help you survive. It wasn’t the healthiest thing, it wasn’t gonna get you free, but it was gonna keep you alive. You learned it, at five or six, and it worked, it *did* help you survive. You carried it with you all your life, used it whenever you needed it. It got you out–out of your assbackwards town, away from an abuser, out of range of your mother’s un-love. Or whatever. It worked for you. You’re still here now partly because of this thing that you learned. The thing is, though, at some point you stopped needing it. At some point, you got far enough away, surrounded yourself with people who love you. You survived. And because you survived, you now had a shot at more than just staying alive. You had a shot now at getting free. But that thing that you learned when you were five was not then and is not now designed to help you be free. It is designed only to help you survive. And, in fact, it keeps you from being free. You need to figure out what this thing is and work your ass off to un-learn it. Because the things we learn to do to survive at all costs are not the things that will help us get FREE. Getting free is a whole different journey altogether."

Friday, May 26, 2017


Over the years, I heard many women say that their metabolism slowed down or just stopped working and they gained a lot of weight. I remember saying to myself, "I am going to find out why this happens and what it means and if I can, I will fight back at it." After doing a lot of research and right before my  40th birthday ( I will be 51 in July,) I read  the best and most helpful  piece of information on fighting the battle of peri-menopause/menopause weight gain.  If only our doctors/obgyn's explained it this way when we were young, growing girls. I bet there would be so many more women doing the work to build lean muscle and not just giving up on fighting back against weight gain. When I actually understood the process of WHY lean muscle is so important to women and why we need to strength train (other than just to support our bones, which is very important, too) it changed my life and my body. 

I have always worked out but I was doing much more cardio than strength training. Because I had been strength training for years along with the cardio, I was ahead of the game but realized that I needed to change my focus. I got a heart rate monitor, ate more lean protein  and started concentrating on building more lean muscle in order to  burn my fat. This is the golden ticket to burning fat as we age. Most of us hear that it is our metabolism that slows down and we just gain weight. What does THAT mean? If I heard that I just needed to start strength training to build muscle because muscle burns our fat, which helps us stay fit,  that would have made more sense. And it would tell me that there is something I can do to fight this process of gaining excess weight as I get older instead of just giving up.

 Now, is it easy? No. Does it take time and effort. Yes. Do you need to find a personal trainer or another person that knows the correct way of strength training. Yes. But it is worth all the effort. Every women should have this information given to her when she is a teenager and reminded of it throughout her life. Having the information is crucial, what you do with it is up to that individual. But if we do not have it explained this way, women think they just have to give into saying, "well, it is my metabolism slowing down and that is why I am gaining weight and I cannot do anything about it. "  No, you are losing muscle and you need muscle to burn your fat, so start strength training and you can turn your body into a fat burning machine. And the younger you start strength training, the more muscle you will have when you get older and the more fat you will burn.

We (women) lose muscle very fast as we get older. Muscle is where fat is burned. If we have lean  muscle mass on our bodies,  our bodies burn fat in the muscle all day long. And if we do not build and grow and maintain muscle as we grow older, there is nowhere for the fat to be burned and it just stays and sits on our bodies.

Start young, start in your middle age, start older, it can be done, but do it. It is what keeps the fat burning. It is what fights AGAINST menopause weight gain. If you catch it BEFORE it happens you will have a fat burning machine built into your body. I explain this to all my young female clients.  If our doctors/obgyn's, teachers, parents, personal trainers, etc. explained it this way, don't you think most women would want to build muscle and not be scared of strength training? 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


Yes...you had a very busy and emotional weekend full of activities and not a lot of time for yourself. So, I totally understand the exhaustion  and empty fridge. 

Yes, your food was very good yesterday and I LOVE hearing that your energy was good but that you were also  tired. It is great that you can feel the difference between being very low energy from food vs. life. When we started working together , I am not sure that you even knew what that meant or that you understood what that felt like. Think about that for a minute. YOU changed your lifestyle/food/exercise so much for the better that you now have the ability to feel/see/understand that you can be tired from life but that because you are taking care of yourself and fueling your body with nutrients and fueling correctly by eating at the right times and eating the right foods you have ENERGY. And having energy is different from being tired. And the big lesson to learn and "get' is that when life is stressful or full of activities that make us TIRED , if we make sure to  have ENERGY from fueling correctly and exercising, life is so much easier to handle and we can get through those TIRED patches so much better, mentally/emotionally/physically

 I do have to say "thank you" to YOU because as I write this, I realize I never actually saw it this way. Tired and energy as two different states of being/feeling/understanding. We have the ability to make sure we have energy by controlling our fuel/eating correctly  but we do not always have the ability to control life/stress/activities. And this is another very important reason to fuel the body and mind correctly with the right nutrients: to aide life stress, to counter-act life exhaustion , to balance out the demands of life that drain our minds and bodies. Learning what we have control of and how to use that to make life's demands easier to handle will make our lives better and help us succeed in work/relationships/self-improvement/exercise  and so much more. You rock!!!! Again, thank you for all that I am learning from you in your journey.



Wasn't hungry at home this morning and didn't make smoothie. So, part of having a busy weekend is that I did not make it to the store. I am out of bananas and so is the cafeteria. They are also out of Naked juice! Gah! I became too dependent! 

7:30 Coffee
8:30 Two Ezekiel raisin toast with peanut butter

1:00 Amy's Low Sodium Black Bean Enchiladas with Greek yogurt and an avocado. Apple sauce. 

5:30 Lara bar (peanut butter) 

Went for a 3 mile walk with a friend

8:00 Peach. Hard boiled egg. Hummus and cherry tomatoes. Cauliflower rice with olive oil and grilled chicken. A couple of strawberries. 

Really tired. Good energy day from food, but just tired from weekend and life in general. :)

Monday, May 22, 2017


Dear Followers,
I am posting my response to Jackie's email first,  so that you can read her food logs and comments with a new perspective on how to deal with food and alcohol self-sabotage.

Oh my darling!!! The ole' question of self-sabotage...I know it well!!!
Here is what you can concentrate on...how horrible you felt...and how you do not want to feel so awful  again. The more you have these self- sabotage-attacks...the more it will become less attractive. Meaning...you have to get to the point where the good feeling outweighs the bad feeling. Keep on track with the good eating long enough...and the bad eating will stop before you even start because you will have trauma recall of the heartburn and guilt and feeling awful. I LOVE that you found Instacart...I am going to check it out...it sounds great. And planning ahead is perfect. Have you looked at the menus for when you go out of town? Checking out menus ahead of time of places you will be eating is a great way to be prepared. It helps to go in with a plan. If you already know what you can order, once you are there you can focus on the company of friends and not stress over making food  choices in the moment. Think about the holidays, make sure you do not fall into a trap of holiday eating for the whole month. Choose the days that you will enjoy the food and drinks but make sure it is limited. The problem becomes when you tell yourself that the holiday eating/drinking is from Thanksgiving until New Year's Eve!!! I recommend knowing you will eat and be merry on Thanksgiving day, Christmas Day and New Year's Eve OR Day.  Let's plan this out together and make sure you feel good about your choices!!!

I  Should preface the weekend…it was a very social weekend, which lead to very bad weekend, and I felt awful and horrible heart burn on Saturday, but kept going on a binge bad eating session. Friday night had friends over for birthday dinner celebration, Saturday we met up Nick's sisters for a dinner and walking to zoo lights. Never would have made the workout Friday, I was supposed to leave the warehouse by 3pm, didn't leave till almost 5pm, and as a result I was running around like a crazy person and dinner was late.


8:30am- Deb's oatmeal

1pm- pizza with prosciutto and basil- they had personal pizzas and I ate the whole thing :(

4pm- peanut butter cookie Lara bar

8pm- appetizers- crackers with salami and boursin cheese :(
9pm- beef mexicano (like beef stew, cooked in casserole dish in oven for 3 hours with onions, tomatoes, 1TBSP jam, honey, and chutney), mashed potatoes (mixed with smart balance butter, light cream cheese with chives, Canadian bacon, sprinkled shredded cheese.

Slice chocolate cake. This evening had 2-3 gin and tonics, 3 glasses red wine.

Woke up Sat. morning not feeling great, heartburn, felt gross. So started morning off good with food and gym, then spiraled downhill again.


11am- 2 slices Ezekiel bread with turkey and 2 over easy eggs, guac and salsa on top
2-3pm- went to gym…glimpse of a good part on a bad day
3pm- coffee with skim milk and truvia
4pm- left over beef mexicano with mashed potatoes- BAD MOVE
6pm- 5 pastor tacos from big star (pork, onion, pineapple, and cilantro on corn tortilla). 3 skinny girl margaritas- REALLY BAD MOVE
7-9pm- spiced cider with rum, 3 cupcakes :( - SUPER BAD MOVE

Sat. I felt bad, but then I ate a bunch of crap again. Sat. night I felt so bad I was taking acid reducers, but still felt like crap up until I went to bed. Only redeeming part about this day, other than gym, was I walked 25,000 steps (my goal each day is 10,000), which was about 12 miles.


Woke up this morning feeling good, no heartburn. Having shake for breakfast, and I think I will have one for lunch. Going to do a Deb  cleanse!

This morning I also placed an order on Instacart (like Peapod, but goes to Whole Foods, Mariano's, and Costco). Ordered food for the week that is all Deb approved. I am going to make home made turkey chili for the week as well to replace the canned stuff I was eating.

Hoping this week is better, I want to get back on track, I don't know why I keep sabotaging myself.

Monday, May 15, 2017


Look at that incredible little girl and that face!!! Her mom and dad are Betty and Rob who wrote the testimonial on my blog. I worked with them about 7 years ago when I lived in LA. This is what I received Friday morning in Chicago, from them in LA,  in my FB messages. This is the meaning of life and my career...having my "students" send me pictures of their new families, eating "Deb Approved" foods and showing me that I am still a voice in their head for healthy eating. My heart is so full, thank you, Betty and Rob. Here is their message: "Good morning, Deb! This is our daughter, Emme, enjoying a Deb classic and "Deb Approved"  Ezekiel English Muffin with almond butter, banana and cinnamon! Hope you're well!❤️" caption

Food Print for Life "Deb Approved" muffins. Cacao and regular. Egg whites, flax seed, applesauce, cacao powder, small amount of almond milk. Full of protein and Omega 3s, fiber and antioxidants. They are moist and very satisfying.
Thank you to my client, Mike, for making my Friday morning when he sent me this picture of his healthy, "Deb Approved" breakfast. Egg whites, avocado, spinach and Ezekiel Toast...perfect!!!!
My new Food Print for Life "Deb Approved" whole eggs, flax-seed, sea salt and almond milk muffins. I made twelve to have at work for a protein/omega3/fiber filled snack...easy to eat and very filling and satiating. Who ate the 12th muffin???

Thank you, Jenny, for this great idea.  "Bread" the chicken with chickpea crumbles (only chickpeas) add spices and bake (she recommended a whole chicken breast next time.) And her lentil, tabbouleh salad with Israeli spices. "Deb Approved" and yummy!!!!


Monday, May 8, 2017



Last night I went to a very close friend's wedding. For the last year we have talked about all the decisions she had to make about every little detail, including all the food. This was at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago. Yes, one of Chicago's finest. After she had her food tastings and chose the  appetizers that were passed around, the breads that were offered, the entrees that were served, wedding cake to be eaten, sweet treats for the dessert table and massive amounts of candy to be taken home by each guest, she explained each in detail. So, for a a few months I had this to look forward to and to panic about. I looked forward to the joy of being there to see my friend get married. I looked forward to being able to share this experience and talk about every detail with her after the big day. I panicked about having to dress up, which I have never enjoyed. And, at first, I panicked about the amount of unhealthy, sugar-filled, white-flour based foods that would be served. See, I love these types of foods  but I know when I eat them, I feel horrible the next day. I feel physically bloated, my mood is low, I get bad headaches and my eyes get so puffy I can hardly open them. Yes, this all happens because my body is not used to eating a lot of refined sugars and white-flour starches. As much as I love how they taste (not just love, I could live on just  white-flour breads and chocolate, forever)  I have chosen not to eat them very often due to how I feel, physically, mentally and aesthetically. However, this time, for the wedding, I took the advice that I give all my clients. I put the consequence BEFORE the action. I had a wonderful talk with myself in the morning before the wedding that evening. I thought about the food. I knew what was going to be served and I made a deal with myself. This was going to be an evening that I enjoy without any restrictions. I made my decision that even though I knew I might feel physically, mentally and aesthetically bad from all the sugar/white-flour starch, I would enjoy it all and deal with the consequences and get back to my healthy eating the next day. By thinking ahead and making this decision in the morning, I went to the wedding fully prepared to have an amazing time watching my friend get married and enjoying the incredible food served by the Four Seasons Hotel and hand picked by the bride.  I went. I watched. I enjoyed. Do I feel horrible this morning. Yes. Am I bloated, do I have a headache, is my energy and mood low, are my eyes so puffy I can hardly open them? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes. Did it make a huge difference to think ahead to know what the consequences would be so I could be fully aware and prepared for them today. YES!!! There are no regrets, no guilty feelings , no angry feelings toward myself for overindulging. So, remember, consequence (talk to yourself and be aware of what will happen) BEFORE action (eating foods that make you feel physically, mentally and aesthetically bad.) I am left with only  memories of a great evening of joy and celebration. And am I ready to go workout today  and eat my chicken and broccoli tonight? YES!!! I like taking my own advice. :)

Monday, May 1, 2017


To my followers,
I am going to start sprinkling in  excerpts from past emails/support groups that I know will be helpful and inspiring, along with the food logs. I feel like I have opened an attic and have found a box full of old letters. These are golden letters/emails because there is so much honesty about emotional eating, questioning alcohol consumption/excess and body image issues. When I read these (this particular thread was from 12/2013) it just reminds me how incredibly blessed I am to work with clients who can be honest with themselves and with me and work on figuring out their own solutions.

Hey my friends,
In the last week I have had conversations about the struggles of food/exercise and body image  with 4 different clients that ended with "Am I the only one who feels this way? Do any of your other clients feel as crazy in the head for being out-of-control with my eating? Do they feel the same shame, guilt, self-sabotage and worthlessness around food and their bodies?"
And my answer was...YES...we all feel this way...or have felt this way and we all struggle with these issues. I include myself because I have the same struggles...I have learned how to deal with them and have learned healthy ways of working with them...but they are still there...and always will be.
It made me realize that I want a support group for all of you...to share, listen, scream, cry, laugh and to help each other in this struggle. Instead of trying to get everyone together, I thought doing an email support group would be the best way to get everyone involved. NOW...you all know I am NOT good with technology...so any suggestions of ways to do this that are easier than emailing...please let me know. But for now...who is willing to be a part of this conversation?
It is so painful to hear 4 clients in one week say how much they hate themselves for eating too much...for gaining weight...for losing control...yet, I know that feeling. Let's talk about it...let's be open and honest and see that we are not alone. WHO IS WITH ME???? :) Please "reply all" when responding so we can all be a part of this. If you do not want to be a part of this...please let me know and I will take your name off the list.
I love all of you so much...you have no idea how full my life is because of all of you...

I'm in.  It's taken me over 40 years to learn how to be kind to myself and I still sometimes find myself saying the nastiest things to me.  If I heard anyone say to someone else what I say to myself I'd probably punch them in the nose.  So, I totally get it.

Wow! That is something I did not even think about. If someone said the nasty things we say to ourselves...to a friend, mom, daughter, father, son, etc. we would be furious !!!! Great point. We must pay attention to our own self-talk.
 I would like to start this off by asking a question that I would love all of you to answer...
"When was the first time you were aware of feeling your  negative body image?"

When was the first time you were aware of feeling your  negative body image?"
Hi guys, Sara here. The first time for me was when I was 5 years old. My mom took me to a gymnastics class (in South Carolina). I was a cute kid, maybe a little pudgy, but what 5 year old isn't? Anyway, I wore a second hand black leotard and probably had a kool-aid mustache and goofy pigtails in. I was hanging out next to the foam pit. A little teeny tiny blond girl, the same age, wearing a pink sparkly leotard came up to me. She poked me in the tummy and in a sing-song voice said, "You are fat, you are fat!!!" She kept singing it and laughing and taunting me. She made the other kids join in. They all sang it. 

Wow Sara! I am sure I am not the only one who just got a pit in my stomach...a tear in my eye...and a gasp in my throat. Isn't it amazing how we remember these things from years ago...the bad things said to us. I also had a dance teacher tell me I was having a "BigMac attack" because my stomach was so big. I always felt HUGE...and when I look back at pictures...I was a cute little girl, too. Chubby...but cute...and just the right size for a little girl. Thank you for the story...anyone else??? Hugs...

Hey, it is Nancy. I  wanted to respond quick to the negative body image issue too……I have always been heavy.  When I was a kid I remember having to shop in the “Husky” section, yes the jeans if you remember were regular sizes and Husky sizes.  This question is hard for me because even though I knew I was fat I never really felt bad about myself and it was never a real issue in my life.  I chalk that up to the fact that the people around me are amazing, I knew my parents wanted me to be healthy but they never made me feel bad about myself and I always knew I was loved.   The first time I decided to get real serious about losing weight was when I was 28 and my size 20 pants weren’t fitting anymore and it was time to go up to the 22, and then I went to the Doctor and weighed in at 272 on their scale…..OUCH!  At that point I knew something had to change and it was probably the first time I felt really negative about myself and my body. 

One other thing about me…..denial is probably one of my favorite states.  In my world if you don’t acknowledge it isn’t there or isn’t happening.  So, I spent a large part of my life in denial about my health and my body.  So, yet another thing I’m working on.  Over the last year (almost happy anniversary Deb  ) Deb has dug in and made me think about some things and start to acknowledge and deal with some of the emotions and thoughts.  As they say, this is truly a process most people have issues that they don’t even realize that are contributing to their weight problems.  I’m happy to say I’m a work in progress…..I still think emotions suck for the record though!

As I sit here and see all of your emails...I again have goose bumps! Having you all take the time to write these emails...to share your emotions..to be so honest...it is exactly what I was hoping would happen...so thank you!
 First off...I must express that I have a problem with...and always have...the F-word...not fuck...FAT!!!! I will never tell you guys what to say or not too say...but when I hear someone call themselves fat...or someone else...it makes me sad. Just my input!!!

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