Monday, August 28, 2017



MFN Contributing Author
Medical Fitness Network

I am honored to be a part of the Medical Fitness Network Professional Group team.

Lisa Dougherty's passion and dedication is what attracted me to MFN. She is inspiring and has created an organization that will improve the health and care of many people dealing with medical issues and more. Here is a description from the MFN website:

"The Medical Fitness Network (MFN) is a free online resource directory for people to locate fitness & allied healthcare professionals who provide services for those with chronic disease/medical conditions, including but not limited to: Alzheimer’s, Arthritis, Cancer, Diabetes, Fibromyalgia, Heart Disease, Mental Disorders, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Respiratory Disease, Stroke and women’s health issues including pre & postpartum care."

PLEASE read the articles/blogs and read how MFN can help you or a family member. If you are a fitness professional, I highly recommend becoming a member of the MFN team.

Lisa Dougherty

President & Founder




Lisa graduated from the University of Ca, Irvine, Fitness Instructor Program, and went on to get her Certified Personal Trainer and Health Coach Certifications through the American Council on Exercise. She has many specialty certifications to work with those with medical conditions, post surgical/rehab as well as pre & postpartum fitness.  Course work includes  Heart Disease, Breast Cancer Recovery, MS, Parkinson’s, Diabetes, Dementia, Arthritis, Osteoporosis, Respiratory Disease, Fibromyalgia, Knee & hip replacement, and Pre & postpartum fitness.



The MFN Mission

The MFN believes that exercise is valuable for those with chronic health & medical conditions. Developing a plan for a regular exercise & wellness program can be difficult for these people; The MFN mission is to improve the quality of life for those with chronic medical conditions or who need pre or postnatal care help by connecting them to fitness & healthcare professionals with an interest and background in the treatment and rehabilitation of various diseases and medical conditions.
The MFN donates its services as a national database management company to medical, health organizations that do not offer resources for locating fitness & allied healthcare professionals interested in working with their populations.
The MFN helps market on their behalf to create and maintain a registry for the following professionals: acupuncturists, chiropractors, dietitians, fitness/yoga, health & wellness coaches, massage therapists, mental health professionals, and physical therapists.
The MFN also works with consumer-based magazines for community outreach to promote this network.


Monday, August 21, 2017


The following food-log email exchange between myself and my client, Elaine, is the reason I started this blog. As I read through over 15 years of food logs, I continue to see how each one is like a golden nugget. The lessons that were  learned (myself included) about personal behaviors, eating patterns, food addiction, self-sabotage, self-confidence, etc. are all here in these food logs. I cannot think of a better learning tool than reading other people's experiences that you can relate to (concerning food/body image/control-issues, etc.) and realizing  you are not alone.  Through my one-on-one sessions and these emails, I have uncovered secrets, fears, shame, guilt and dug deep with my clients to find solutions and answers. Please read...


6:30 Coffee
8:30 Two Ezekiel toast with peanut butter. (Left my damn banana up in my room)
1:30 Amy's Veggie and Bean burrito with Greek Yogurt. Applesauce. Still hungry but don't really want any of my snacks. 
Okay, some spicy pumpkin seeds. Meh. 
4:00 So, so tired. Mainly because I was up late last night and a lot of stress of school stuff. Decide to go to gym. Multiple times during the drive I almost get off highway to go home and take a nap, but make it there. So tired, so I do the treadmill, slow walking at 12 incline. Feels good. Sweating. Tired though. Friend texts who cancelled our walking date, but is available now, so I leave after 30 min. We walk around the park for 40 minutes. Felt good. Energized now. 
6:45 Scarf down like three pickles and a slice of turkey. But not hungry. 
Meeting friend for dinner at City Winery...and then it all goes downhill. You can disown me at any time. 
7:00 We are conned into the 5 for $5. Not so much conned as it is an ounce of five different wines, but more so that the woman decides to talk our ear off and probably pours more than an ounce for each. I'm good with the water for each sip. 
8:30 So...I seriously thought about lying, but the point is that I have to learn that when I slip up or treat myself or whatever that I'm aware of it. I wish it wasn't right after having fries last night...but I definitely got a burger. And three more glasses of red wine. Yup. That happened. And it was really good with some aioli sauce. I wish I could say that I didn't eat the bun or didn't put the sauce on, but I did. So, this is where I need help. I'm really good at justifying things and there are going to be a lot of instances where I just get the good thing. But i have to learn the difference between a splurge/treat night or a just eating shit night. Progress is that I'm even thinking about this, and glad that it's here for us to discuss. This is what I need support on because I know how to order better, but I didn't. I am for the most part eating well and I don't want to deny myself stuff, but this wasn't a special occasion or place or anything, it was just good. I also know that I have happy hour with coworkers tomorrow. Grrrrr. Guilt. Oy vey! 

You know what is so interesting, fascinating and why I just keep finding so many things that I love about my career??? YOUR EMAIL!!!!! Your is why: 
I read your "confession" as I have with other clients and my first reaction and instinct is..."that is normal..." I sense the extreme "shame" in having to say it "out loud" and the intense internal struggles of "oh, shit...what did I do, why did I do that?" and "wait, this is a burger and it is so good and I want it...and I do not want to have to think about all this shit and I do not want to have to feel guilty and I just want to eat a fucking burger...and I am eating it and it is amazing." And what it makes me realize and experience in myself and with my clients and in every person on this earth is that we all have these areas in life that are, for lack of a better term, good vs. evil. There is a control issue internally with what we want and what we do. But for me, when I read your email...damn, I am having a hard time trying to get the feeling I have inside out here on this page so bear with me...
Okay, it was like...hey, its no big had a burger. Guess what??? For the past few weeks you have made changes that are sooooooo HUGE and so out of your comfort zone and you have listened to me and trusted me and paid attention and the work you have done and are doing in this process is golden. So, when I read that you almost did not tell me...and what that means is the shame involved or just the acceptance of confessing to the only person who would care about you eating a burger at this point, it just breaks my heart because that goes very deep into our fears of being judged and yelled at (by another or our own inner voice.) 

And I guess what I  feel is that I know my own feelings of shame and it is a painful place to be...and having worked on my shame for many years, I have let so much of it go but there is always some that can creep back in at times. I want to have you get to a place where the balance of being able to enjoy a burger and fries along with eating clean and healthy takes over any shame or guilt or feelings of being judged. You nailed it when you said just by writing to me and taking the ownership and asking for the help to figure out how to balance this struggle is the beauty of what we are doing together. And yes, when you said the other day that this is "therapy,"  it is and it has to be because there is not one person who comes to me with food or body issues and struggles that just needs a food plan. We, who struggle, need to go much deeper to become aware and to kick the shit out of some of the evil and embrace the balance. And, this is BRAND NEW for has only been a few weeks. So, be kind to yourself...I know you are probably someone who puts a ton of pressure on herself to get it right the first time and do not make mistakes and do not screw up...but with me and this process...each time you have "screwed up" you have come away with a HUGE learning tool. So, in this process it is about each step of the way, seeing what happens and each road block you come to is exactly what we need to have you learn the tool to put in your tool box. So, keep "screwing up" because soon you will not have "screw-ups" because you will have been in every situation that you needed to learn from and if you use your tool, great and if have it for the next time. But for now, you need to see all the progress and learning that you have done and that it is not the end of the world that you had the burger but that you  learn from it. And now...after this very short are the physiological reasons for last night:
From 830 to 130 you had toast and pb without that damn banana that keeps running away.
From 130, when you were still hungry but did not eat anything because you did not want what you had,  until 645 you had nothing...except a few seeds.
Here is a lesson and where we have to become the adult!!! We might not WANT the snacks but if you know that you are hungry and you NOW KNOW that if you do not fuel it will backfire for the rest of the day and night...get out your tool...EAT whatever you have because you know that it will save you  and your guilt and shame and energy and fat-loss and sugar cravings and the "fuck-its" for the rest of the day...especially if you are going out that night. We can whine and say, "ew, yuck, it is not what I want." or "It is not my first choice but I need the fuel so I do not fall off the wagon and crash and burn later."
You went to the gym instead of a nap...WHICH IS FABULOUS!!!!!!!!!! But what happened is that without any fuel in your body, you exercised (I am very proud of you for this step!!!!) That means you burned your "sugars" and you were on extreme empty. Even though you felt good and energized and even though you were not very hungry at 645 (because you were on overload, you did not have time to think about being hungry and your body had already shut down from not being fed or fueled) your body was burning all of its glycogen...sugars..and that will make you RAVENOUS and crave sugar, alcohol, starch, carbs, food...once you finally sit down and the body all of a sudden just crashes.
The minute you SAW the food...smelled the food...and your physiological body was SCREAMING for the starch, alcohol, sugar, fat, you was all downhill. This is about 70% why it happened. 20% hormonal. 10% you wanted it. This is the tool...please do not put this tool away yet...if you can carry this one with is the support you are looking for. You will continue to have these "burger" experiences because you need more of them to really see and understand this whole process. But you do have the tool, maybe you can start to let go of some of the guilt and shame and just know that it is now about practice. 
Whew...I hope this all made sense. I love you for letting me express myself to you this way...and I love you more for all your hard work...keep it up!!!! Hugs...

I will save this email. There really is so much psychology involved. I reread my writing today and, yes, it's all about the shame! Ugh. I think I wouldn't have been so hard on myself if I had planned the splurge, but instead I made a game-time decision. I think another big takeaway (besides eating more throughout the day - definitely having more food at school) is that at least I'm noticing now. Like, wow, I ate that. It was delicious, but now I need to be extra good to my body today. 

There's another woman at school who I saw eating Engine 2 veggies and rice. I was like "I was so confused. I thought I had left those in the freezer." Turns out she also couldn't remember if it was her Ezekiel bread or not. So, I have a new lunch buddy. 

Thank you for your email and the reminder that this is brand new and that you are here to help me. Amazing that it all comes back to shame. You have not once made me feel bad about a choice, yet I still have that defense up. You are so good at explaining why I should make certain choices, but you've never made me feel bad about it or made fun of an attempt. The human mind is weird. Or at least mine is. 

Thank you so much! 
I know...there is so much that we can discover about our behaviors. Sometimes I feel like it would be better if I didn't "get" human behavior because in certain situations it is not always great to be on this end. Ugh!!!
I love that you want to save this email and that you went back to read yours. And yes, something I keep talking about is the awareness...noticing...the behaviors. I only just started understanding how just the ACT of the awareness is so powerful. We do not need to ACT on the awareness right away...but the more we notice what we are doing...the awareness will take over and become bigger than the older behavior. I saw a video about action vs. consequence and how the process does not work correctly in people with sugar/food addiction/addictions in general. They said as a younger kid the inability to stop and think about the consequence is normal...that part of the brain is not developed yet. But it should be in adults. We should be able to stop and think about the consequence of robbing a bank before  actually doing it...whereas a teenager might not have developed that skill. Addicts do not have that part of the brain developed or it is missing and if a friend calls and says..."let's rob a bank and make a lot of money" they will go right ahead and do it without thinking. Same as seeing a cake and eating it...and THEN after, feeling like shit about doing it. Most adults have the ability to stop and think and then decide...but in is 90% harder because of the lack of brain development. I am probably not describing this exactly as it is...but I hope you get the idea. I only developed this skill/ability in my mid-thirties. It was kind of like that saying...if you do the same thing over and over and get the same are insane (or something like that.) Well, I finally got to the point where I literally, STOP, and you really want this? Do you want to feel like shit you want to feel you want to feel your pants are it worth all of that...can you wait for another time...and if the answer is ..."I am fine with that and I thought about all the consequences"...then and only then will I eat it and be 100% fine with the choice. Holy shit, Emily, you have the ability to make me write a lot...I hope you are not overwhelmed by are lucky we are not on the phone because you would be asleep...heheheeeee.
 I LOVE that another woman is eating clean and yummy foods. Do you like her? If so, it would be cool to share some food ideas, etc. 
Thank you so much for letting me know that I have not made you feel bad or uncomfortable. And that you feel that I have explained the choices, that you understand what, why and how you are doing it all. (exactly what I have as my description for my blog.) There is nothing better for me than the reward I get from hearing that from you and seeing your success. So, this weekend, try and be aware of action BEFORE  consequence and consequence BEFORE action. Hugs!!!!!!

Monday, August 14, 2017


To all you fabulous people visiting my blog, today's Monday Morning Post is a little different. I value your opinions and it is important to me to hear feedback on your views or experiences with the subject I am writing about today.


Well, here I opinion...ready???

First, let me say that most people who know me could tell you what I eat on most days of the week. I do not change my eating plan too often because it is easier for me to keep it simple and well, let's say "contained." 

I spent many, many years counting calories and obsessing over fat grams and portion size and thinking about how many calories I sweat  out at the gym and will that cover the calories I ate for that day and thinking about the next day and the next meal and not eating the last row of cookies that are calling my name from the kitchen and if I should just eat the whole row to stop the insanity in my mind thinking about those cookies and if I ate them, maybe I would be fine if I just do an extra hour of cardio at the gym the next day.

So, you can tell that I had quite a few issues with food and calorie counting and have always been hyper-aware of what I am eating etc. Over the years I learned to let go of calorie counting because I started to look at food as fuel and not a number. 

I also became more honest with what works best for me because I am not good with too many choices and I do not have a lot of self-control when faced with foods that taste great but that are empty in nutrients. Those empty foods  end up making me feel physically sick and angry at myself because I cannot just eat a normal serving, I need to eat the whole bag. 

So, for myself, I keep my food simple, nutrient dense, tasty and easy without counting calories and always allowing myself treats and splurges, here and there.

Last night was the second time I was out to dinner at a restaurant where the calories were listed after each item. The first time I noticed this, I was at Portillo's. Yes, I was there (to all of you that just gasped.) I would never choose to go there because I cannot find anything that is "Deb Approved" but I also do not impose my way of eating on anyone else. 

If that is the chosen restaurant, I am fine with that and usually eat something at home and then get a small salad (they are not that great at Portillo's) and enjoy the company of the people I am with. 


WHY, OH WHY would they put the calories on a menu at a place like Portillo's????? You KNOW I promote healthy and clean eating and I care about all of us that struggle with food/body/weight issues. That is and has been my life. BUT AT PORTILLO'S?

Portillo's is the place you go when you want to splurge and treat and leave with a food hangover. It is the place you plan to go a month ahead so that you can eat all the Portillo's famous, greasy food . 

I can understand if you are going to a restaurant that serves healthy food for people who do want to count calories and want to eat at a place that allows them to stay on track of their healthy eating plan. But if you are going to Portillo's,  why in the world would you want to know how many calories are in your COMBO BEEF & CHAR-GRILLED SAUSAGE (920 Cal) or in your PEASANT PASTA (2160 Cal) or in your Portillo’s CHOCOLATE CAKE (720 Cal.) 

In my opinion, this takes away all the fun of eating at a place like Portillo's. If you choose to eat at a place known for its 720 calorie slice of chocolate cake and its BIG BEEF (640 Cal,) doesn't it defeat the purpose to show the calories? 

It is like a sick and twisted game of guilt and self-sabotage. If you know you could have the meal that is less than 500 calories but you choose the meal with 720 calories, there has to be an internal emotional response and I would think it would be  negative. But this is where I need some comments/responses/opinions/feedback from all of my readers.

And last night I was at the Cheesecake factory, a place I am not that fond of but a place diverse enough for most people, and there it was again, in my face, on the menu, telling me how many calories I was going to eat with each item. 

I know I must sound dramatic but I think this ruins the experience of eating at a restaurant. Now, I know I am not the norm, I am very picky and I do not go out to eat all that often. Because I had such an extreme reaction to these two places and the calories listed on the menus, I wanted to hear from other people who do eat out often and like or dislike the calories listed on the menus.

 I think it would be a great idea if there was a calorie menu available to those who want to see the calories but to leave them off the regular menu. I believe it should be a choice to see those numbers, not having them forced on the diner. 

What have I learned in the past 51 years? Please listen...

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