Tag Archive for Success Story

Success Story: Pain Gone and Weight Off

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love it!  Another client who’s lost weight, eliminated pain, and – this isn’t in her story – got rid of daily bloat and IBS.

Its. The. Food.

But it’s not “diet food” that you need, as a matter of fact, Chrissy lived on a diet.  A typical low fat, healthy whole grain diet.

That doesn’t work, not for weight loss, and not for inflammation; no matter how intuitive it might sound that to lose fat, you shouldn’t eat fat, it’s the exact opposite of the truth.

Chrissy didn’t see me for weight loss, she already looked great.  Her weight loss was just a bonus side-effect of eating for health.  She came to me because of the daily pain she experienced, which wasn’t getting resolved despite multiple attempts with doctors-tests-drugs.

Her back pain, and her bloat-IBS, were just symptoms of inflammatory chemicals in the foods she was eating.  “Healthy” foods by normal standards, but foods I believe are causing terrible health, pain, and weight gain in most people.

Grains and sugars and chemicals aren’t good for any of us, that goes for our children who often recover quickly from any acute damage they cause.  No one can recover forever though.  Eventually, the side-effects of grains/sugars/chemicals will present themselves, every day.  

If you have issues you’re dealing with, from PCOS, to headaches, to sore joints, poor immune system, issues other than just weight, you’re not deficient in medicines, you’re nutrient deficient and damaged.  You can fix that!  

Read Chrissy’s story, and then get in touch with me.

“I’ve been dealing with terrible back pain since September 2013. I’ve had every medical test you can get – sonograms, X-rays, CT scans, MRI, back injections, physical therapy, blood work and finally a colonoscopy. I was tested for celiac. No one could give me an answer as to why the pain would come and go and vary in intensity. Meanwhile, I was LOSING days every single month because I couldn’t get out of bed due to the extreme pain. I was becoming very depressed and starting to lose hope I’d ever be out of pain. Until a follow-up with the gastro doc in January – 16 months after the pain started. They said all this pain could be food related. Rather than go on the diet they wanted me to go on, I got in touch with Debbie Brockett Abbott -a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner – and she has absolutely changed my life! Within 5 days of going grain and gluten free, 95% of the pain was GONE. ALL the pain was gone within 1 week of the diet change. Very quickly I realized that I have a terrible reaction to corn and that corn is in everything! I’m back in pain if I get even the tiniest bit of corn – corn starch, dextrose from corn, corn syrup, etc. It’s crazy. Yes, this way of eating takes time in the kitchen cooking and it took hours just to de-grain my kitchen. But my family has been incredibly supportive because they finally have a happy and FUNCTIONING wife/mom back in the house! And I’ve lost 6 pounds in the almost 2 months of eating this way and have a ton of energy – total BONUS for me! If you are dealing with any sort of pain, do some research. Look at food labels. See if eliminating certain foods could be an answer for you. We’ve all heard we are what we eat – I was eating way too many processed foods and cooking with things that had hidden ingredients I wasn’t even aware of. And if you are local, meet with Debbie!! She’s truly awesome. I’m learning so much about food and nutrition and am finally PAIN FREE! Whoo, hoo!!

Success Story! Use It to Motivate and Inspire You

Terry’s Success Story is going to sound awfully familiar to many of you.  So many men and women today feel doomed to a negative, self-destructive relationship with food, regardless of weight or age.

You can be free from “Diet Prison“, I promise.  When you’re finally free, it’s amazing.  It’s like angels singing on high – LAAAAAAHHH!  The guilt, the burden, the self-recriminations, the anxiety driven eating, it’ll all go away.  You are not sentenced to an entire life of Misery By Food,  YOU CAN JUST BE NORMAL, I promise, I swear.  But you have to take action steps, because deeply engrained habits and addictions don’t just change spontaneously; it takes a plan, and a different belief system.  Enjoy Terry’s story and let me know what you think.

When Debbie asked me to share my “success story”, I told her that I just didn’t feel all that successful when it comes to eating. It is difficult to look back on my life and see it as a success story. I think back on all the bad choices I have made, all the damage I have done and all the years I’ve focused on my weight in a negative way. Where was the success in my story?

My terrible habits began at the young age of 14. I was only in 8th grade when I was recruited to run track and field at a high school level. I was a good runner, I loved the competition and I especially loved winning. I was tall (5’9) and skinny which was an asset to my sport, but my coaches feared that I would gain weight. That negative attention towards my body made me very self-conscious and I began to hate my height and, more importantly, my weight. I was never overweight but any negative feedback during such a delicate developmental age was taken to heart. My fear of becoming fat made me crazy. I obsessed about it and started to search for anything and everything that claimed to be “fat-free”. I read labels, I counted fat grams and I watched the scale like a hawk. Bagels, pasta, bread, candy, yogurt were all “fat free”.  I became addicted to carbohydrates and sugar but the self-imposed diet seemed to be working because I never gained a pound. Maybe it was because I was so young or maybe because I worked out at such a high intensity. It doesn’t really matter why I didn’t gain weight; to me it was proof my diet was working.

Sadly, weight fluctuations aren’t the only negative side effect of a bad diet.  Looking back, I suffered from many side effects. I had terrible acne, I was depressed, I experienced moods swings, compulsive behavior, low self-esteem and body dysmorphia. I slowly began turning to food to eradicate all my irrational feelings. When I was tired, I’d eat. When I was sad, I’d eat. When I was happy, I’d eat. Eating was an outlet that brought me relief and eventually, like with any addiction, things progressed. Binging soon followed. After I binged, I would panic and need to get rid of it. These irrational feelings grew into an uncontrollable eating disorder that followed me through high school and into college. It wasn’t until my early 20’s, when I started a job as a nanny for three small children that my eyes were opened to the impact of my disorder. I was watching two little girls and a baby boy and I feared that I would pass my problems onto to them. I never wanted those sweet kids to do what I was doing. They saved me from self-destructing and I never did it again.

Writing about my past is weird. I rarely think about what I went through much less talk about it. It is not who I am anymore but it is an important part of my story. I abused my body for over 10 years – binging, purging, yo-yo dieting, excessively working out and eating chemically enhanced “fat-free” foods. I suffered through years of sadness, anger, low self-esteem and self-loathing. Changing my past behavior took time, healing my mind and body took more time but forgiving myself has taken the most time. The lesson I have taken from my journey is that you have to forgive the past you for the mistakes you’ve made. I cannot change what I did but I can forgive myself so that I can move forward and take better care of myself now.

Moving forward has been really exciting. I have been cooking real whole food meals for my family and friends for two years now. I have been writing for a blog, 11 Magnolia Lane, and I share many of my recipes there. I’ve also started cooking for friends who either work outside of their home, don’t like to cook or just need help with eating healthier. Cooking for my friends has turned into a huge blessing for me. It has helped me through a very difficult year and it gives me purpose. I feel like I was meant to help people reach their healthy goals. Debbie has been a huge part of my success. She has mentored me through this whole process and I have learned so much from her over the past two years. She has been generously sharing her knowledge through her blog and nutrition classes with me. She simplifies the physiology of digestion, she explains why certain foods are toxic and she provides healthy recipes and alternatives to processed eating. Debbie has opened my eyes and my heart to this real whole food movement. She inspires me on a daily basis to take better care of my family through education and nutrition. She has challenged the way I shop and she has encouraged me to prepare and cook nutritious food for my family and for others. Debbie has inspired me to take something that I was interested in for myself and turn it into something that I share with others. That 14-year-old girl who used to view food as the enemy now sees it as an ally – – something that will improve her life and the lives of the people around her and that is what makes this, in my mind, a success story.

Success Story: Conquer Your Blood Sugar and Your Food Addictions

dominos energy liftYou’re going to love today’s Success Story.  Aida has been working with me since last Fall, and so far, she’s lost more than 30 pounds ( so has her husband ). She’s also reduced and eliminated several medications, become a regular “packer” and
“cooker”, and broken her food addiction.  Really broken, as in, it’s amazing.  Thank goodness she listened to her “fear”.  Too many people AREN’T afraid of the state of their health, they think their prescription drugs actually make them well.  They don’t.

If you’re on meds, say like, BP pills, statins, mood meds, migraine/headache pills, pain pills, stomach pills, etc, you’re got  problems.  These medications aren’t making you better, they’re suppressing and managing your symptoms;  the CAUSE of the symptoms is still there and still doing damage. If you want to get healthy, you have to (1) eat for health (2) figure out the root cause of the symptoms and address that (lifestyle changes).

Aida’s a Type 2 Diabetic; diabetes 2 is a LIFESTYLE disease.  It can be reversed lucky strikethrough lifestyle changes.  Insulin and blood sugar rise and fall according to our food choices, exercise/activity, and stress management. No One has diabetes because they’re deficient in diabetes drugs.  Did you know that by 2020, the CDC predicts that 50% of the US will be diabetic, and that it will cost 3.35 TRILLION dollars to “manage” it.  Not CURE it, or REVERSE it, but MANAGE it.  No health care system EVER could afford that.  EVER.

What about Food Addiction, because this is HUGE.  I know I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: if you’re trying to get healthy/lose weight with Low Fat, No Fat foods, or Diet Processed Foods, you’re just feeding and nurturing your addiction and furthering your inflammatory state.   You’ve got to ditch Grains, Sugar, Chemicals, and Hydrogenated Oils, and you’ve got to focus on a diet full of healthy fats, good proteins, TONS of vegetables, some fruits, some nuts and seeds, some dairy if you can tolerate it.  Grains, sugars, and chemicals stimulate the Addictive Areas of Your Brain.  Always.

Think you can’t live without your Cereal, your Bread, Your Beer or Wine (liquid donuts)?  You can.  Lot’s of people break their addictions, why couldn’t you?

7UPMoms and Dads, are you raising future Diabetics, or future Food Addicts? If you’re raising your kids on a diet of pop tarts, cereals, sandwiches, pizza, and junk food, rest assured, you are.  And it will happen to them far quicker than it happened to your generation.  No One can eat those foods without accumulating damage.  No One.

Take control of your thoughts, instead of nurturing your addictions, nurture positive habits and attitudes about food, yourself, and exercising. Forget everything Big Food, Big Pharma, and our government has told you about Healthy Whole Grains.  All carbohydrates are broken down to single cell sugars in our gut; that means ALL CARBS BECOME EITHER GLUCOSE OR FRUCTOSE.  ALL OF THEM. High blood glucose and fructose levels and high insulin create an inflammatory state, and inflammation’s the cause of EVERY DISEASE OUT THERE.  You can change yourself.  Honest.  You can be an inspiration and example for your children.  You can feel energetic and well; you can be a healthy weight, start with Real Whole Food.

Here’s Aida’s story:

Last fall, I was scared. I was tired. I was frustrated.

I had let my health go unchecked, even though I knew better, and was on a lot of medications.  I had let my appetites go unchecked, knowing that it was hurting my body, but I was addicted.  Now, my doctors were getting really serious with me, and it made me scared. They kept adding more and more medications.  I had to do something, but I felt as if I had tried everything before and failed. Why try it again to just fail again?  When I tried to do what the doctors told me to do, it seemed as if I never improved, and sometimes got worse.  I was also seeing my husband’s health getting worse as well.  We didn’t want to do another weight loss diet. We needed to get healthy.  We wanted to get healthy.

Someone suggested I look at this website, and enter Debbie! Debbie sat us down together and began teaching us.  This is the first time I had heard most of the information she was sharing.  Her plan for us began with just eat real whole foods!  Our health would begin with what we put in our mouths, and our attitudes towards our foods.  Stop wheat and other grains – which we had done before and were somewhat successful with.  We knew we could do that.  Stop sugars, including most artificial sweeteners,  which would be tougher, because I was addicted.

We listened to what she had to say and began implementing this new approach and were shocked that almost immediately we saw improvement in our health.  Hunger went away.  Cravings went away.   For me, my blood sugars normalized within days!  I began to look forward to my next round of doctors, just to make sure that this new way of life was really working.  And it was!  All my “numbers” showed improvement within a couple of months, and have continued to improve with each doctor visit.  I have been taken off some of the medications.

Through monthly meetings and daily emails, Debbie has continued to teach and encourage.  She has helped me understand what makes me personally healthy. She has helped me with my food addictions. My husband’s health also reflects the changes we have made.

Now, I am looking forward to this spring, with clarity, with energy, and healthier (and lighter) than I have been in over 30 years!

Aida M. Kling



Want To Lose Weight? It’s Simple, Honest. & Another Success Story – Use It For Inspiration.

jigglemacineI was checking out at the grocery store the other night and the lady behind me, who had a few pounds to lose, was unloading her items onto the conveyor belt.  She had a cart full of Diet Products: diet bread, diet soda, diet ice cream, diet frozen meals, diet cookies, diet cheese.  She looked at me and said,” time to do this again because I’ve gained so much weight with this snowy winter”.  I wish I could have said something, but that would have been rude.  She was a stranger. I save unsolicited advice for my kids and husband, (who appreciate it tons and hang on my every word).

Just an hour earlier, I’d wrapped up a nutritional consult with someone who’s under a tremendous amount of stress (seriously, if there were a competition, she’d win.  I don’t know how she does it.)  She comes from a heritage and country where rice and noodles are common and normal. (sounds like America, but it’s not.) She’s lived here several years and feeds her family traditionally.  She and I have met before about her weight and her willpower, and my advice is the same now as it was then.

To both ladies, and everyone out there trying to lose weight:  Traditional dieting,fat banished w tapeworms where you cut calories and fat, and maybe use Diet Products, is PROVEN to MAKE YOU GAIN WEIGHT.  PROVEN, in study after study.  You might lose a few pounds or several initially, but if you lost the weight DIETING, you’ll gain it back.  Unfortunately, the havoc you wreck with your hormones (thyroid, estrogen, neurotransmitters, insulin, cortisol) and your liver, will slow your metabolism and create signals in your brain that are focused on GAINING weight in case the starvation situation happens again.  

Let me repeat:  If you’re eating products like pasta and bread, or any sort of Diet Product, you’re putting substances in your body that make you GAIN WEIGHT and cause disease.  Also, those foods are addictive.  “Moderation” doesn’t work with these foods.  As long as you’re eating flours, sugars, and chemicals, you’re nurturing the addictive areas of your brain.  If you want to lose weight you’ll have to Ditch Those Foods Forever.  Scary?  I know.  And sad too.  Trust me though, once you’re free, you’re FREE. You won’t miss them once the addiction is gone; as a matter of fact, fake foods and processed foods will taste horrible once you switch to Real Whole Foods.

Here’s the amazing thing:  we’re all smart people.  In most of life, if we try something and it doesn’t work, we move on.  That’s normal.   That doesn’t happen with Dieting.  It’s NEVER worked. Ever. In all these years.   I’ve counseled people now who’ve literally done more than 20 attempts at losing weight through several different and some repeat Diet Methods.  There’s some initial weight loss, regain, additional gain, and eventually, NO WEIGHT LOSS AT ALL using methods that previously worked.  And yet, there’s this odd willingness to keep trying the same old thing over and over and over.  What’s the definition of Insanity?  Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Listen to what your body is telling you:  Flour, Sugar, and Diet Products make your mind and body sick.  You’ll never lose weight permanently, feel energetic, and be healthy as long as that’s your paradigm.  Ever.  If you read this and you think, “no way can I give up my cereal/crackers/wine/girlscoutcookies etc, know this: your addiction centers are calling your shots.

You can quit, you can change, you can lose weight and feel great, but ONLY on Real Whole Foods.  Really, google “keep weight off after dieting” and read the depressing headlines that pop up.  If you’re struggling, get in touch with me.  People with the same addictions to food that you have have successfully changed their life because they developed HABITS and ATTITUDES about their health and their food that makes their body happy and calm, as opposed to the stress and anxiety of Dieting.

Here’s that Success Story, use it for strength.  Cindi is a single mom with a more-than-full-time job and 2 boys who play lacrosse every day up and down the East Coast.  She’s busy, and she’s managed to make Real Whole Food work for her and her sons.  ( No, she doesn’t have a cook.)  It’s just an attitude, a lifestyle pattern, remember that other quote I love: It’s just an effort until it’s a habit.

I am a 54 year old mother of two teenage, very active boys.  I am the Program Execution Director for a large business unit of a major defense contractor.  I commute roughly four hours each day and have a demanding job while at work.   I am active and energetic and am used to feeling good most of the time.  I have suffered from periodic migraines for many years along with annual bouts with colds, bronchitis and allergies.  Overall, I felt pretty healthy and other than my migraines, I viewed the colds, etc as somewhat routine.  I love to cook and make many of our meals but we eat out often or I turned to convenient meal options at home (tacos with taco seasoning mix, recipes including packaged ingredients, lunch meats) due to my hectic work and my boys’ hectic lacrosse schedules with year round games and tournaments.  Over the last year or so, I began feeling increasingly achy, particularly in my knees and joints.  I also was unable to shed the extra 10 pounds that I had gained over the last couple of years despite following multiple regimens (very, very frustrating and demoralizing!).  I was tested for arthritis and went to the orthopedist as well for a knee check…..nothing abnormal.  I continued to exercise regularly by walking, lifting weights, doing yoga and ballet barre work but always felt very stiff even after yoga stretching and ballet.  Given that there are so many variables to how a person feels, along with the marching of time, I just assumed I felt bad because I was getting older and had a stressful life.

I have known Debbie Abbott for over 9 years and have trained with her regularly throughout this period.  She is extraordinarily positive, compassionate, educated, and interested in learning and teaching friends and clients about nutrition and health in a non-judgmental, kind manner.    I value immensely my time with Debbie as I always feel good after being with her.  I mentioned how I was feeling to Debbie during a training session and she suggested I do a nutritional analysis.  I completed the paperwork.  Debbie also suggested a simple 10 day detox that consisted of organ supportive supplements and easy-on-the-liver-and-organs organic whole foods such as a fruits and vegetables, homemade broth, lean protein AND NO CARBS other than those from fruits and vegetables.  Debbie was very supportive leading up to and during my detox, offering to gather the foods that I needed and bringing over homemade bone broth to kick start the process.   I have to admit that I did not have very high expectations for this 10 day period as it just didn’t seem like I was doing that much that was different from my regular eating routine.  Boy, was I wrong.  I got on the scale routinely during the 10 day period and the number was going down almost every day.  At the end of the detox period, my weight had dropped almost 10 pounds and my general feeling of achiness was subsiding.  I did another 10 day detox.  After the 20-day period, I had dropped 14 pounds and my knees and joints felt much, much better.  It was as though my system had been clogged and my revised diet and supplement regimen had freed the clog to enable my body to function normally again!  I went through the detailed nutritional analysis with Debbie after the detox and she recommended specific supplements and enzymes for me to correct what appeared to be a general inflammatory condition that had probably developed over years.  I have now been taking the supplements and eating (for the most part) a sensible whole foods diet with very few carbs for over 15 months.  I do not place limits on any real foods, including the use of butter and nuts.  My weight has remained stable within a pound or two over the 15 months and overall I feel very good.  I have not had a migraine in 15 months which is remarkable as I was having one almost every month prior!  I have not had a cold or any digestive upsets in 15 months.  As a matter of fact, this is the first 15-month period since I was in middle school that I have not gotten bronchitis and had to go on antibiotics!  I am mindful of the things that I buy and eat by asking myself if the food will do anything for me and my boys nutritionally……..sounds like a little thing, but over time it works.

I am thrilled that I now have a sensible diet that is flexible with few restrictions.  I eat well and feel good almost every day.  I am thoroughly convinced that the marching of time is not a leading indicator for feeling bad and that what we eat is hugely important!  I am very grateful to Debbie for her insight, support, and nutritional guidance.  If you have the opportunity to work with her or interact with her, seize it!  You will be rewarded in many, many ways.  – Cindi Shelburne

Success Story! Recipe and Meal Ideas:)

You’re going to love this Success Story – I do!  Aimee so perfectly describes a Diet Roller Coaster that it should be in a dictionary.  Here’s her story:

After years dieting and just coming off of a strict low/no fat, 750 calorie diet AND topped off with 10 days of a Liver Detox, my body was MESSED UP. I came off the cleanse with out of control cravings and immediately gained 45lbs in a matter of three months, not to mention that I was a weepy, grouchy, exhausted mom. Did I mention that I was grouchy? I could not stop eating things that I knew were wrong for me – especially at night – I couldn’t stop to save my life! I heard of Debbie Abbott from a good friend of mine who said “Debbie has a gift of explaining things so that they make sense.” I signed up for a class that she had on Digestion and it really answered many things that I had been struggling with for a long time. Following the advice has completely changed my health around from the inside out:) I hadn’t realized that even though I was eating, my body was literally starving for nutrients. It is taking a while to undo all of the damage that I have done but Wow! what a difference in my energy and mood! The inflammation in my joints has significantly decreased as well. It is such a relief to know that I have the information that I need AND that I trust. I was also able to relay this message to my mom who had a blood sugar of 210. She and I rejoiced in the fact that within a few months of monitoring and eating correctly, her blood sugar is now staying around 80. No medication…just eating correctly and exercise. Thank you Debbie for all of the words of wisdom that you are so willing to share with everyone. You have truly made a difference in my life:)

If you want to be a healthy weight, and have a healthy mind and body, you’ll need to give your body what it wants.  And it doesn’t REALLY want ice cream, crackers, wine, or cookies.  Honest.  That’s your self-destructive urges talking there.  Your body wants the Nutrients necessary to perform all it’s functions.  Let’s look at just a few.

Your body needs to build your brain, which is 60% fat/25% cholesterol.  Glucose/sugar has a devastating effect on brain cells/neurons/connections. Glucose “glycates” parts of the brain, that means function and communication is ruined.  How well do you think a low fat, high carb diet is going to make your brain function?

Your body needs to digest food and then absorb the nutrients from it so that those nutrients can be sent throughout your body.  If you’ve compromised gut function by taking acid suppressors, then food breakdown and nutrient absorption isn’t happening.  Pretty soon, all those warnings on the antacid box will start coming true:  weak bones, weak immune system, vitamin B deficiencies, etc.

Your body needs to make Neurotransmitters, so that you can feel Even and Normal.  You’ll need protein, fat, and minerals to do that, which are absent in Cereal, Pasta, and Bread.

Your body demands a certain level of calories or it’ll TURN OFF your thyroid gland, and quit making Serotonin (a feel good neurotransmitter).  Low calorie diets also force your body to take muscle proteins and convert them into fuel, slowing down your metabolism even more.

Your body wants a LOT of healthy fats (saturated animal fats, coconut fats, olive/avocado oils), Tons of vegetables (everything from leafy greens to cruciferous, to starchy), some protein, some fruit, and some nuts and seeds.  Real Whole Food.  Eat enough at each meal that you’re not hungry again in 2 hours, that’s ridiculous.  We shouldn’t need to be on an all day eating schedule for several reasons; two are: (1) to go into hormonal Fat Burning Mode, glucose levels need to be completely NORMAL, 80-100mg/dcl of blood  (2) the gut’s not meant to function constantly, it’s a long explanation, but it needs rest periods.

I’ve posted enough Success Stories now that you should be seeing the pattern:  no one improves by going on a diet and adding medications.  No one.  Your body doesn’t want to starve, and will resist you, and NO ONE IS DEFICIENT IN A MEDICINE.  No one.

To reinforce that starving yourself isn’t necessary, and is in fact, disastrous, here’s a chocpbcakecake that we made Friday night for a family dinner, it was Delicious!!!  I got the recipe off of All Day I Dream About Food.  We served it after eating a dinner of 10 hour chicken (put a bunch of breasts in a big pan, a cup of water, lots of S&P and herbs,cover w foil,  200*, then shred), a bunch of broth/kale/onions/tomatoes/garlic/asiago cheese,  and roasted sweet potato (lots of butter and salt).

Honestly, Honestly, I SWEAR, if you want to be a healthy weight, with a healthy mind and body, low cal/low fat/tons of exercise ISN’T the way to do it.  You have to, you MUST, work with your body.  Give it the nutrients it uses to build every cell, every tissue, and give it the calories it needs to NOT SHUT YOU DOWN.  Go back and look at Aimee’s Diet Roller Coaster description.  Then make the decision to get OFF the Diet Roller Coaster like she did.  You can do this!

P.S. I didn’t make that cake, 2 of my daughters did.  I actually never make anything that has that many ingredients; I trend towards shorter recipes, like this recipe here.


Success Story! Weight issues, Fatigue, Joint Pain, and Reflux – sound familiar?

motivation and habitI love when I get to post a Success Story because they always hit home with so many people.  This one will also:  smart woman, years of weight issues, several diet attempts, stomach problems, joint issues, fatigue.  Ring any bells?  Rebecca solved all this without counting any calories, or following any traditional diet paradigms.

Here’s her story:

Like most women, I have struggled with weight my whole life; it wasn’t until I really started to have some significant quality of life issues, that I realized that something had to change….and fast!
I had met Debbie Abbott years ago where my husband Tim and I belonged to Old Town Athletic Club where she was a trainer/instructor, but had not really seen her in years. As God would have it, she ended up coming to Grace Bible Church where I had been a member of for years. Debbie was offering the women of the congregation some nutritional counseling classes and that was when I became aware of her nutritional training. I was unable to make the classes due to my work/life schedule in the Fire and Rescue Department, but took this as an opportunity and prompt to call her to make private appointments with her which I shared with my Mother, who was also having some health concerns.
It was February 2011 that we first got together, prior to our meeting, Debbie asked me to read some information on Mark’s Daily Apple “with an open mind” so I would have some knowledge on the subject of Paleo eating before we met. Well let me paint the picture of what my life was like at this point: in early 2011, I was 44 years old, a wife, mother of two children ages 24 and 6, and a 21 year Firefighter/Paramedic/Supervisor. Overall, I have always been active, considered myself healthy and obviously my job demands a certain minimum level of fitness. With the exception of a few very short periods of time in my life, I always seemed to be carrying that extra “20 or so pounds” around and praying/wishing/making new years resolutions that they would go away! Sound familiar? I followed every conventional diet known to human kind and with each one, I would loose some weight and it would come right back because it was never anything that I could maintain or feel good enough to want to. I had a life long history of elimination miseries and lactose intolerance, food sensitivities that would cause my skin to itch and break out, brain fog etc….. Finally, I had hit a wall, I went to my Doctor and had every known test done to find out why I was having chest and back pains, severe joint pains with weakness and disability, fatigue and trouble sleeping. I truly was fearful I had something really seriously wrong with me. I knew if things didn’t turn around soon, the state of my health was going to end my career long before I could really afford to retire! Well of course the Doctor said I was “fine”, maybe a little vitamin D deficiency but otherwise all my vitals looked great, BP 100/60, resting heart rate of 56, cholesterol and all blood levels NORMAL. I can tell you, I was far from normal or healthy!!! Now I had just given up cream in my coffee cold turkey to stop having the chest and back pain that the dairy was causing, but when I met with Debbie that first day and we talked about “grains and processed foods” something in me just clicked! I had tried conventional wisdom, the standard American diet and the laughable food pyramid to no avail. I was ready to really make a change that would be permanent and not only take my pain and fatigue away but lengthen my life and it’s quality….remember I had a six year old at the time and I really want to be able to enjoy the eventual grandchildren from both of my kids!
So I really took to heart everything that I was learning from Debbie about blood sugar and digestion, that is where it starts folks! After that very important first revolution and enlightenment, it is an adventure in real whole foods that has been so rewarding! The kicker is that not only did I start to feel better right away, no more roller coaster of ups and downs but the weight literally started falling off me : ) Everywhere I went, people would say something about how good I looked and asked me what I was doing. My self esteem had really taken a beating all those years with all the weight I had been carrying. People would always tell me that I was not overweight but “large framed” but I knew better, I felt terrible in my own skin. I was an educated health care provider for Pete’s sake! I was supposed to be an example to those I work with and here I was, unsuccessful in loosing the weight and keeping it off despite my “healthy lifestyle”. Oh we all thought we were doing everything right, grilling, baking, eating salads, using all the right oils and eating a “balanced” diet full of veggies, lean meats and fruits and yes lots of whole grains…the complex carbs, Hah! I felt so betrayed! After I got over the “I wish I had learned this 30 years ago, I got busy. I had to rethink everything I ever knew about healthy eating….low fat, high complex carbs, taking a multiple vitamin daily…blah blah blah! In a matter of weeks, there was such a noticeable difference both on the inside and out. The pain in my shoulders, elbows and wrists had just about disappeared, (caused by the inflammation in the grains I had been consuming daily) I was sleeping better, my mind was clearer and get this? I would eat three meals a day, with out snacking and I was really satisfied (and not hungry an hour after just eating a normal sized meal) throughout the day where I hadn’t been before following all the other “diets”.
I love to shop for and cook fresh food and I am blessed to have a wonderful, supportive husband, which I know is a big part of my success! My Daughter (who has lost 70 pounds!) my Mother,and my Husband have all experienced improved health and weight loss due the changes we have made in our daily eating, choosing real whole foods. Debbie frequently says , “leanness is a side effect of good nutrition”, and “nutrition is 90% of it”! I have adopted another saying from “Paleo Mom” when sharing this lifestyle with others,”It is only effort until it becomes routine”, that is so true!!! If you know me, you know that if I believe in something, I will talk your ear off about it! I just love telling people about real whole foods and staying away from anything processed or artificial. What breaks my heart is seeing all the people who you know could be so much healthier and happier if they could just get past the “I can’t give up this or that”. If they only realized that they would be getting so much more out of their lives and enjoy each day more if they would just “open their minds” and give real whole food a try. I am a true believer, never going back to the old way of eating, why would I? I have maintained a 25 pound weight loss for almost 3 years now…without dieting, exercising to excess or feeling hungry or deprived.

I am starting my 25th year in the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department as an EMS Supervisor/Captain II, and I no longer doubt that I can do my job and I look better in my uniform and feel like I am being the positive roll model for others in the department that I have always wanted to be.

I am so very grateful to Debbie Abbott for her tireless dedication to bringing the truth about real whole food nutrition to me; her passion is contagious and I hope everyone gets “the bug”!

Inspiring Success Story; and How To Be a Real Whole Foodie

lunch on beachOh gosh, I love reading my email!  Here’s another great Success Story that will absolutely inspire you:)  I know this woman and she is fit and healthy and looks fantastic.  How eye-opening that even young, beautiful women who honestly don’t need to lose a pound, stress over their weight.  That’s because we’ve been conditioned since birth that a normal standard of beauty is a Victoria Secret model.  Or, if you’re in the fitness world, a Victoria Secret model with great muscle definition and a few slight veins showing through the abs.  It’s awful. It’s unattainable for most, or if it is attained, it’s impossible to stay there for very long.  And…it fills your headspace with worthless thoughts about food and calories and weight and data that are so completely, totally un-important.  That’s what Dieting and Calorie Counting do though.  They mess up your brain and actually interfere with Real Life.

Don’t let that happen to you. Don’t let Dieting sabotage your brain and your energy and your focus when there’s so many other worthwhile things you could be doing.

How do you start?  Differentiate dieting from health; then realize that dieting never works (more than 95% of the time). Acknowledge that Dieting is an Industry, a Business, and it’s business agenda is to make money by promising you the secret to weight loss. ( Can you think of any other business in the world that continues to fail over and over and over and yet makes more money every year? )

I’ll tell you the secret:  Eat for health, and weight loss will be a side effect.  Look at food for it’s nutrient value, become a nutrient seeker.  Learn to cook if you don’t know how already.  Get out a notebook and plan, then shop, chop, cook and pack.  That’s it.  That’s the trick.  You are what you eat.  If you eat crap, you’re going to feel and look like it.  Eat good meats and proteins, tons of vegetables and fruits, lots of healthy fats, some dairy if you can tolerate it, and you’ll exude health.  If you need help with this and want to work with me, get in touch.  It’s not that hard to shift your brain patterns with a little guidance.

(Oh, about the Victoria Secrets mags:  I have 4 daughters.  I don’t let those magazines, or any woman’s magazine, be in our house.  They tick me off and I didn’t want my girls comparing themselves to the airbrushed, starving women in them.  It’s worked.  My girls are ardently opposed to women’s magazines and love to talk about how demeaning they are!  See Moms, we do have influence!)

Now you have to read Mandy’s story, she’s a hoot!

“All the eye opening knowledge I’ve gained from you and your website has TRULY changed my jaded outlook on food…you have no idea how much better I feel not constantly trying to figure out what “diet plan” I’m going to try next. I eat ONLY whole foods when I’m hungry, no measuring, NO CALORIE COUNTING…It’s like I’ve been released from diet prison.  Being in the intense martial arts training I had with a traditional Korean instructor, I was forced to get my body down to certain weights for certain fights and the constant reminder of “lose weight; train harder; eat less” gave me a HUGE complex. I’ve struggled with body image and eating disorders practically my whole life and you have definitely played a big role in healing my mind from that.

I’m by no means a picture of perfection haha but I have definitely come leaps and bounds from the jaded health (aka dieting) I used to obsess over.  It’s all about the REAL health now…I could kick myself repeatedly for the horrible things I’ve done to my body in the past, but I praise God that the veil has been lifted from my eyes at a young age. I hate that we live in a world where no one can see what real health is….It’s just not fair.  Having worked as a bartender/food industry for 10 years I’ve seen it all….low carb menus…Skinny cocktails…fat free dressing….diet coke with rum to watch your calories….HOLY COW…I struggle to keep my mouth shut, so I don’t sound like a know it all, cause I’m definitely not. The way I NOW see it is… “low carb” cheesecake=pancreatic cancer….preparatory binge cocktails..”fat free” but God bless your liver to process it…..and I don’t honestly know what’s worse rum or diet coke…. probably diet coke…If I was stranded on a desert island I would drink the rum not the diet coke.” 

Well, you could use the rum to kill bacteria if you were stranded on an island – I know that from watching Reality TV.  And Jesus drank wine but He never drank diet soda, so the rum over soda is probably a solid choice:)

Seriously though, Mandy puts forth a brilliant statement:  “We live in a world where no one can see what real health is..”   YES!!  That’s my message!! Dieting doesn’t give anyone “health”, but we’ve been conditioned to think of “skinny” as healthy.  It’s not. Healthy means that you have great energy, your immune system can fight off invaders, your arteries are clear, your digestion rocks and you poop every day, your skin glows, your joints move well, you can handle stress, your blood sugar stays normal, you think clearly.  That’s real health.  That’s Real Health.   Eat to support all that, and your weight will be perfect.  Be a Real Whole Foodie.

Success Story – See if you can’t relate!

Who doesn’t love Success Stories?  Mary writes about stomach pain, fatigue, bloat, belching, back pain, weight loss and food sensitivities.  Sound familiar?  She’s resolved all of it with smart nutrition:  Real Whole Food, avoiding foods that irritate her gut, supplementing her digestion, and focusing on what makes her feel good and what makes her feel bad.  Here’s her story:

For years, I ignored the signs.  It was always there, waiting to be discovered, but I never put much thought into it.  Eventually I started to piece it together, but even then I was missing the motivation to do anything about it.  It was much easier to dismiss everything and proceed as usual.  If I go back into my history far enough, I would say it began with a doctor’s appointment when I was still in my 20’s.  I was on the table being examined for a run-of-the-mill physical or chest cold.  The physician was checking my heart and we both noticed my middle abdomen thumping to the beat of my heart.  It was so weird, you could see it plainly.  He put his hand on me and it was moving, bumping up and down.  It looked as if my heart was in my belly.

A few years later, I was in with my chiropractor, who is an astute healer.  He too, noticed my hard stomach and obvious discomfort.  It was easy to dismiss with the recollection that I had eaten half a box of Kraft Macaroni late the night before and had skipped breakfast aside from my morning cup of joe (extra half/half.)  Nonetheless, he encouraged me to consider that I may have food allergies…dairy in particular.  He asked me to do two things, reduce my sugar intake because he detected I had an abundance of yeast, and to eliminate dairy from my diet.

I was open to the first, for sure, but give up dairy? Entirely?  I had already reduced it in a lot of ways.  I never drank much milk, and I knew ice cream sometimes turned my stomach.  But his timing was really bad, because I had just purchased a huge load of groceries, with gourmet cheeses, and heavy cream and sandwich Havarti.  This idea of going dairy free was going to have to wait a month because I was not throwing out $50 worth of dairy.  No way.

I also developed eczema sometime during college.  Looking back, it all started back then.  I went to the Doc and received a hydrocortisone Rx and it was on again, off again for years.  When I finally quit drinking coffee and changed my soaps it went away for a number of years.  I went back to the dermatologist two or three years ago for a horrible rash on my fingers and got a tube of steroid cream.  I pressed him for insight on what could be causing this outbreak and he just dismissed it too.  Use the meds.  They worked.

The next sign was much harder to dismiss.  Back Pain.  I noticed it the most during my yoga workouts.  Pain in my low back, hip, tailbone, sometimes down in my leg.  It was almost always exacerbated by exercise.  I attributed it to my hips being out-of-whack due to pregnancy and child birth and figured that eventually, it would go away.  But it did not go away.  So then I attributed it to carrying my baby on the same hip all the time.

I spent the entire month of December going to the Chiropractor three times a week, usually right after my Yoga class, for regular adjustments.  It was time to put everything back into place and if that didn’t work, then I’ll try massage. I was committed to getting myself put back together so I could get back into working out to my full ability.  It didn’t work.  Neither methodology worked.  One of my massage therapists pointed to my sciatica.  I’m 35 years old.  My SCIATICA? Are you serious?  Those stretches never worked.  I was resigned to feeling this way, defeated by my own age and body.

Thankfully the timing was right for me to meet with Debbie Abbott, Certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner.

But first let me back up one more time.  I have known Debbie for years.  She was my instructor the very first week I joined Old Town Athletic Club and started taking “yoga-ilates” style classes.  My motivation was, not surprisingly, a New Year’s Resolution to “start stretching regularly.”  I am not a big fitness person.  I like to swim, but at the time, there was no gym available with an indoor pool, so I toured the Club and joined.  From then until now my routine remains the same.  I take Centergy (Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates) three days per week.  That is all I ever do.

This journey is and was never about weight loss for me.  Thankfully, I don’t agonize over weight and battle with food.  I just like to better myself and I like to feel good.  I notice that when I am working out, I tend to eat better and sleep better and for me, that is why I do it.  I lost a little weight when I first joined, and then all bets were off when I had my two children.  I pretty much weighed the same prior to my children as I did after.  I am lucky my tall frame stretches everything over pretty well.  And the low intensity yoga workouts were a welcome part of my weekly routine and have helped me maintain my weight.

So Debbie and I see each other once, sometimes twice a week on a regular basis.  And may I just interject here and say that Debbie is easily one of the MOST cheerful, happy people I have ever met.  She is so positive and she seems to really care, sincerely.  She often begins or ends her class with a little tidbit, a golden kernel of knowledge or wisdom she’d picked up from somewhere that week.  She is and was a teacher and healer even way back when.

She used to dispense what I would describe as our little ‘minute-clinics’ before or after class.  I would complain about this or that and she would offer insight on what to do or try.  I remember mentioning to her that I always fasted before class, because I felt my performance and ability was greater when I had not eaten anything beforehand.

Another time, I complained about ‘my sciatica’ and how it was preventing me from certain poses, and taking on more vigorous work outs and that I was discouraged that I had not the same ability before my pregnancies as I was experiencing after them.  I just could not get over the hump, despite my weight/body rebounding in due time.

Thankfully, one day, she pulled me aside and asked that we meet for nutrition counseling.  I was complaining that my belly was always hard when I was in a prone position (face down on the mat) during the Pilates back exercises.  Sometimes, so much so, that I would not participate in the exercise at all.  She brought up food allergies and also mentioned the words “leaky gut” which I promptly googled.

We set up a time and she sent me a link to a questionnaire that covered all topics from diet, to sleep, to moods, to sex, to digestion.  She compiled the insight and I came to the consult armed with a recent blood test, a bag full of supplements, a blank notebook and about two pages of questions for her.

For all reading this, I recommend that you absolutely take my advice and do the same for yourself.  I cannot begin to tell you how important this meeting was for me and how long overdue it was.  Nutritional Therapy changed my life.

I met one-on-one with Debbie for just under two hours.  It was jam packed with all her ‘golden kernels’ of insight.  She ought take the surname Redenbacher for the quality and density of what she puts into her consultations and wellness classes, but I digress.  She sat me down and told me that almost all the red flags in my answers on the survey pointed to ‘problems in my upper-digestion.’  She took a pen and paper and showed me what was supposed to happen, what wasn’t happening, and began to crack the seal on what I could do to make it better.  We also talked a lot about glucose, blood sugar, and how it works through the human body.  It is worth mentioning now that I had a very healthy diet to begin with, my weight was good and my blood work was all excellent.  Our pursuit was not improvement in these areas, but more about feeling better, stronger, and free of the chronic discomfort I was experiencing.  I asked her point blank what I could and should do and she outlined about four or five things to try straight away.

One was to eliminate gluten from my diet.  Though I did not have leaky gut nor did I have Celiac’s or a serious allergy to gluten, she thought there was definitely enough of a sensitivity that it was not good for me.  (In hindsight, I feel as though I was slowly poisoning my body with wheat and other grains, and it would not have been long before I DID have leaky gut or worse.)

The second was to remove all dairy from my diet…everything…for a temporary amount of time.  She encouraged me to let my body ‘heal’ and reset and that perhaps in a few months’ time, I could try to re-introduce dairy and its many benefits back into my regular diet.

She prescribed me to take 4 new Natural supplements.  She told me what to get and where to get them.  This is when I pulled my bag of nutrition supplements up on the table and started showing her all the different things my Doctor, Gynecologist, Chiropractor etc. had persuaded me to take over the years.  It was 8 or 10 different things.  She looked at me and said not to take any of it.

“Are you sure?  Not even a multivitamin?  Seriously?”  And her reply was, “don’t take anything for a month and see how you feel.  Take the stuff I recommend, and cut out the foods we talked about and see how it goes for a month.”  I felt liberated. Hell yeah, I don’t have to sit down at a table and take 15 horse pills every morning.  Yeehaw!  She was so right.  Boy was she right.  With these new supplements, I could get all the goodness out the foods I was already eating.  It made a huge difference in a lot of ways.

Here’s what did, and in some cases, didn’t happen to me in one month:

I started feeling GREAT.  I mean great.  Call it placebo effect if you want, but I went into my yoga classes feeling typically the same and leaving feeling like The Hulk.  All of the sudden I was able to do those extremely hard balance poses, and I was able to rock out a Pilates Core workout with sweat dripping off my forehead only ramping up the energy and stamina with each new attempt.  I felt like I had a new body!

My back pain withered away to completely unnoticeable.  That helped me to grow stronger…to get back into those core strength poses I had been missing for years.

I stopped needing a nap.  I mean stopped.  I used to take a 2-3 hour nap a couple times a week when my kids were down or when my husband was home to watch them.  Especially after a big deli sandwich with baguette and cheese.  One of those knocked me down like clockwork for a long midday slumber.  Now, I have so much energy,  I cannot fall asleep if I try.

Cravings were gone.  When I gave up gluten, I started eating more meat and veggies.  One of the supplements she turned me on to was instrumental in allowing me to process red meat and hard to digest proteins.  It was amazing.  I could eat this huge steak and pig out on veggies!  I started eating all these foods I had previously denied myself.  I almost never got hungry between meals.  My blood sugar cozied on down to the perfect level where I felt fine all day. No spikes and crashes.  If I was busy and couldn’t stop to eat a meal, a tiny snack was enough to tide me over. Before I would have grabbed any carbo in sight and mashed it in my face to stave off my hunger pangs and jitters.

A smoothie actually became enough to comprise an entire meal.  Before, I would not have been sated.  Not without a half sandwich or some chicken salad with it or something else.  My body was somehow reconditioned to require less food at any given meal provided that my other meals were nutrient rich and substantial enough to satiate my appetite.  I didn’t want those salty crunchy starchy foods anymore.  The impulse just went away after a few months’ time.   My brain finally stopped giving me that impulse to go grab a bag of pita chips at 9pm.

Another unexpected perk was the complete absence of belching and indigestion.  My husband would always complain about me burping during meals, but I honestly couldn’t help it.  I mean, how do you keep in a burp without making your stomach even more upset?  On my new plan, burping was a thing of the past…instantly!  By the way, if you burp during meals, YOU HAVE FOOD ALLERGIES!!

Something I didn’t expect was the overall improvement of my immune system.  I used to get sick all the time. I would have sinusitis multiple times every winter.  I would get chest colds, and I always suffered through whatever my kids brought home with them from school.  Amazingly, I get sick a lot less.  When I do get sick, it is for only a week instead of three or more.

Top to bottom my body is performing so much better in every possible way.  I feel better, I look better.  My body is getting the fuel it needs with better choices and improved digestion.  I am more productive. I am stronger physically.  This is not a fitness thing. This is just from better nutrition.  Young and old, overweight or trim, we all need this.

A year and a half later I still feel great.  I am stronger than ever.  And the bonus everyone envies… I lost 20 lbs.  I actually weigh less than I did when I was in high school on the volleyball team.  I believe that I currently weigh what I SHOULD weigh.  The perfect, fit and healthy weight for Mary.  I am minus the birth control weight, the college beer and munchies weight, the pregnancy boob gain.  I lost the chin and the midsection ‘cottage cheese’ and my husband can’t take his hands off of me.

I went to the clinic for my physical a year after starting my new regimen.  My blood work was practically identical despite the fact that I eat eggs every other morning, and steaks and that I dump butter and coconut oil into and on everything I cook, eat or drink.  Triglycerides were about the same.  I had the same overall cholesterol count but I switched 8 points from Sith (LDL) to Jedi (HDL).  Not that I care about cholesterol anymore.  Through her blogs and classes I have come to view cholesterol in a whole new light.  The best thing Debbie taught me on this subject was something she learned from another health professional.  “Blaming high cholesterol for death due to heart disease is like blaming the fire fighters for the fire.”  If you are confused about this, then you need to take one of her classes.

As far as weight loss, after one year my doc recorded I had lost 17 lbs, weigh in to weigh in.  I’ve since dropped three more.  I am not obsessive about weight but I think it demonstrates the transformation in a relatable way.  I never liked scales before.  I didn’t trust them, because I would get on it one day and it would say 168 and then the next day it would say 162.  I hated that. I felt like I didn’t even have a TRUE weight because it fluctuated so much day to day. I put no stock in it at all.  We bought a scale for shipping and now when I get on it, it seems to be more convincing.  I can stand on it when I am feeling super fat (yeah, as a woman I still have those days) and again when I am feeling super slim and it always reads the same.  What happened to all that water weight, well I guess it went wherever the gluten went to die.  I’ll take that 148!  I even let it blink five times and then go solid just to enjoy the moment.

I’ve given up a lot of things I love to get to this point.  (read BEER) And I would say that I have excellent discipline, but I could not have gotten to this point without Debbie Abbott as my guide and motivator.  Her blog is not to be missed.  Not only does she help me to understand all the confusion and misinformation about diet and nutrition, but she is really funny.  One of my favorites is about the origins of Crisco and the advent of margarine.  It had me practically cheering after I read it, “Stick it to em’ Debbie!”  Her series “Looks Healthy But It Isn’t” is so insightful.  She shares her struggles too, which is such a great way to relate to people and encourage them.

Nutrition counseling was such a wakeup call.  I am so grateful for Debbie’s direction and insight.  She has done so much to change the way I feel about food, how I cook, how I plan meals, how I snack or space out my meals.  I read her blog and I continue to learn so much.  She always preaches about how you can’t view your diet and nutrition in terms of calories in and calories expended.  She taught me that you can’t ‘burn fat’ and that dieting, in all its forms and variations, is so temporary.  Rather, the ideology is to CHANGE YOUR BRAIN about food.

If you want to learn more you have to educate yourself on whole foods.  Lean toward Paleo, but don’t go all the way lest you become frustrated.  Identify any allergies you may have.  You have to educate yourself on fats, and blood sugar, and GMO, and gluten, and soy.  We all know that processed food is bad for us.  But perhaps the difference between me and you, is that I have decided that, as much as I would like the taste of that Banquet Pot Pie on my tongue, the winning argument for me is how disgusting that food really is with its chemicals and its sodium and sickening processed chicken.  For me, it is not about will power anymore–Standing up to the foods or whatever.   It is more a change in my view of said foods.  Ignorance IS bliss.  And you can decide to stay right where you are.  But the more I learn, the more I run far far away from things that are bad for me.

This is my body. It is perfect.  It takes care of me.  And yet, for years I did not respect it.  I abused it with spikes and crashes in my blood sugar, with caffeine and alcohol.  I slowly poisoned and ruined my digestive tract with inflammatory foods.  I put it off.  I dismissed it.  I excused it.  I didn’t really care until I finally got to the point where enough is enough.  Lucky for me, I was only 35 years old.  Move on from there and you might not be able to undo all of the damage.  Debbie taught me all of this.  She put me on the path of discovery and RECOVERY.  That is when and where real change can occur.

She was like this ‘Nutrition Tarot Card Reader.’  I came to her, and we put all the cards on the table.  We talked about each card. She took some away, she put some new ones on the table.  In the process, she eliminated a lot of the confusion I had and buttressed what I was doing right with a few essential cards I had been missing and it all clicked in to place, Finally! It was like she knew all along but she recognized I had to process my ‘reading’ for myself for it to really make sense and carry me forward.

It is so easy.  It requires some effort in the beginning, and self-control.  It requires you to reformat a lot of your processes when it comes to shopping, dining out, cooking and putting meals together.  But I can honestly say that I eat like a HOG.  I mean, I am seriously not on a diet here.  And we’ve arrived at the dreaded words where everyone stops reading….I Eat Whatever I Want.

Can this be true?  Hell Yeah.  Because you know what?  I respect my body now.  I will not puncture the lining of my gut or overrun my bloodstream with damaging insulin.  I have no desire to eat a frozen pot pie.  Lasagna for dinner at a friend house?  Hopefully there is a salad, or if not, I have an apple and some nuts in the car.  Sure, I miss Coronas and Mojitos, but I finally figured out that I get that horrible rash on my fingers from squeezing the limes.  What do you think it is doing to my insides?  Those days are over for me.  The cleaner I eat, the more easily I now read the signs.  I have an allergy to citrus.  Yeah, it is a bummer.  But I am done ignoring it.  This is my one perfect body.  I am not about to make it suffer.

When you change your mind this way, it becomes so liberating in other ways.  Yeah, so I can’t have citrus, but now I can experiment with pineapple or cranberry in my cocktails.  I can’t have mac n cheese.  Well, when I am desperate, I can find a gluten free version and the realm is once again at peace.  Dinner?  I will grill a fat ribeye and not feel a bit bad about it, and it won’t keep me up all night with indigestion.  No cheese on that broccoli, how ‘bout a tablespoon of Kerry Gold BUTTER?  Oh yeah.

The box is all in how you look at it.  In my case, I win some, I lose some but either way I am doing what is best for me and my perfect body…my perfectly designed body.  My miracle of a body, given to me by God.  I will take care of it.  I will not ignore it anymore.  I will work to improve it in every way that I can.  I will teach my children the same.  I am grateful to Debbie for helping me tip the scales and for guiding me to find a way to make it work for me.  I’m certainly not perfect.  I cheat on some things (dairy) and I stand firm on others (beer) but in the end, it has worked for me.  I found a way for it to work.  Swapping one thing for another, or selecting the lesser of two evils.

I am a shining example of what can be done, and conversely what can be undone.  I have more to do and much to aspire for with Debbie Abbott as my example.  I don’t see myself undertaking as many things as she does to stay healthy, but I know where to turn when I am ready to step it up in my own journey.  Her knowledge and enthusiasm are always available to me.  I think that, as a Nutritionist, because she began as a fitness instructor/trainer, she has this very welcoming means of getting you on board.  She truly wants to build a better you.  Because of your trust in her, she is invested in it…in the overall improvement of YOU.  She wants you to make small changes and realize your goals in a manageable way and once you get there, you can decide to step it up a little more.  Like adding more weight, or increasing your stamina bit by bit until you feel Supremely Awesome, like I do now, thanks to her.

Success Story!! and What I’m Eating: Real Whole Food Ideas

I’ve got a Happy Success Story for you today, meal ideas, and Sad Stats on our Kids.  The sad stuff first, so we can get that out of the way:

All chronic diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and weight issues are on the rise, with no end insight (according to CDC predictions).  That means our children, who right now might be thin and active, will eventually become even heavier and more unhealthy than we are.  Studies show they’ll live shorter lives too.  Did you know that Fast Food companies are spending 5 Million dollars A DAY to advertise to our kids?  That the food and beverage industry spends more than 2 BILLION a year marketing TO OUR CHILDREN?  That the average American kid sees more than 4,000 food commercials a year?  That the average American kid doesn’t eat any vegetables outside of ketchup and french fries?

Some advertising is blatant, and some is very subtle, like when professional athletes promote crappy food to our kids, a la Subway’s SuperBowl commercial last night:  Michael Phelps, Apollo Ohno, and more Olympians promoting the new Frito’s Chicken Enchilada Melt. OMGosh.  Frito’s smushed in a sandwich! Subway’s done a good job of insinuating that they’re a fairly healthy choice (eat fresh, Jared, blah blah blah).  It’s not. It’s a giant bunch of chemicals put together to look like Real Food.  It’s not even close.  Please, please, look at the ingredient lists I just highlighted.

I often get asked questions like: what is Real Whole Food, and what else is there besides pasta/bread/cereal for kids.  I’m going to post some picture ideas this week of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, including dinner this past Saturday in a hotel (again), that we shared with our daughter Macy.

Keep reading, because after the pictures is the “good” news – another Success Story!

breakfast This is Shelby’s breakfast most mornings lately ( she’s my last one still at home, 11th grade).  Turkey bacon, one egg plus egg yolk ( I always have extra yolks because I make a lot of macaroons).


To the right is a typical lunch for her:  turkey/cheese roll-up in the aluminum foil, 2 clemmies, a big bag of nuts/dark shelby lunchchocolate/seeds/dried cranberries, and a macaroon.

sardinesBack to the left here is one of my lunches, a tin of sardines, parsley, salt/pepper, and sea kelp flakes ( iodine!), a macaroon, 2 carrots, and some pumpkin seeds.

Nothing tricky.  And last, over to the right, is our latest hotel dinner:  tomatoes, broth, brussels, carrots, cauliflower, onion, and fish – Oh my gosh was it good. dinner:hotel

Now for the Success Story, and when you read it, look at it from the angle that food makes or breaks us.  It matters what we put in our mouth. Feeling tired, feeling depressed, feeling bloated and bad, it’s not normal.  Food and lifestyle changes can fix these issues!

For the past 15 years, I would have considered myself a healthy eater. I’ve always been very ‘food’ conscious…and weight conscious. However I also have felt there was something missing in my ‘healthy’ diet. It left me never feeling quiet full and satisfied. As I got older, I was often drained and run down. I also have always experienced huge fluctuations in my blood sugar level-which often left me in a not so chipper mood! In May 2013, Debbie put forth a challenge of eating better, cleaner and less processed. I had to completely change the way I thought about fats and grains. I had to stop the mentality that I needed carbs (bread, grains, rice, etc.) for running and working out. What seemed difficult (even impossible) at first, has now become a way of life. A way of life I do not see myself ever changing. Within 2 weeks of the challenge I felt like a different person. I had so much more energy and a new zest for life. The addition of healthy fats has made brain function much more efficient. I was so excited about this new way of eating, I wanted to learn more about what was making me feel so nourished and ‘normal’. I took several classes from Debbie on digestion and read everything I could about eating grain and processed free food. It is truly amazing to see the difference in my life. Everyone in my family has noticed this change (and are joining in to the life of cleaner eating). I now eat primarily whole foods and have a new love of cooking. I’m excited to cook b/c I know what I prepare is going to make my family and myself feel good and nourished. I can easily run and exercise after a carbohydrate free breakfast. I NEVER crave bread, chips or crackers. It just doesn’t taste good to me anymore. My body now craves the food that makes me feel good…whole real foods!


Success Story Inspiration!

debbie (12)I’ve got another Success Story to share with you, from a client who’s 68 and struggled through years of different diets.  She’s helping to illustrate – again – that “diets” don’t work, none of them.  As long as you’re focusing on the perfect meal plan, or the right amount of calories, or even worse, tracking calories in- calories out, all that happens is obsession, craziness, and incredibly powerful backlash-binges.  Remember, almost 100% of everyone who loses weight on a diet gains it back.

The secret to permanent weight loss and ZERO FOOD STRESS?  Start in your mind.  Work on deleting the deeply ingrained notions about dieting that you’ve heard your whole life.  A healthy weight and a healthy body comes from FEEDING it, not starving it.  Starving your body just makes it scream more loudly at you.  That temper tantrum is actually for nutrients:  good fats, quality proteins, carbohydrates from vegetables and fruits, vitamins, minerals, water and phytonutrients that your body needs to make and repair cells.  There are no nutrients in fat free pretzels, low fat Starbucks lattes, or Weight Watchers Frozen Meals.  They’re all crap food, and your body will protest – loudly.

Read Carolyn’s story; think about your own history of health and dieting, and be determined that today is the day you start making permanent changes to your foods, your habits, and your thoughts.  Check out my What I Eat page for ideas, it’s all about Real Whole Foods.

I’m a sixty-eight year old woman who has been dealing with weight issues since my last child was born in 1977. (Seriously!). I kept on a extra 10 pounds after her birth and then every year or two, I added another pound.  (That doesn’t sound so bad).  Well, adding a pound every year meant that now I was up another 10-15 pounds.  Weight gain in spite of buying all the latest diet books and magazines that were published each year.  I tried low-carb , low -fat, high carb, vegetarian ( which I hated and made me feel horrid),  low calorie, portion sized diets. None of these diets made me feel good and any weight lost was quickly regained.  Plus, an added result of the weight gain was high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  Next came an anti-depressant because I was experiencing a lot of anxiety and didn’t feel so good about myself.
    I’m a strong person, not weak willed, but for some reason couldn’t get a handle on my eating habits. I have an addictive nature so when I got on to something, especially something made with sugar, I was hooked.  I felt like I was fighting myself all the time.
    Because of a very lovely person, Debbie’s Mom, I was introduced to Debbie and her passion for health and fitness.  We hit it off even though we’re long distance. She got me on a road less traveled– common sense.  Everything she taught me made sense-  sugar is addictive! Preservatives are bad! Diet Coke is terrible!  Grains are inflammatory.  She said focus on real food that we evolved eating.  Don’t measure, don’t weigh! 
    Well, I gave it a try.  The worst was no snacking because I evolved snacking.  But I persevered and felt great and lost a few pounds along the way.  I’m off all medication except the antidepressant.  And I don’t obsess about my weight, my body is slowly giving up those extra pounds.
    I feel so good for my age!  I exercise too. Pilates is my passion.  I’m so fortunate to be enjoying good health and I have Debbie to thank for getting me off the diet mentality and unto a much healthier lifestyle.”