How to Feel Better About Your Weight and Diabetes Control on Thanksgiving

What if you could really enjoy Thanksgiving dinner without stuffing yourself to the point of misery?Thankful

My Challenge to You is to pick 1 or 2 of the tips in this article and practice them at your Thanksgiving meal.

I am choosing 3.



1. Decide how I want to feel when I am done.

2. Check my fuel gauge and notice how hungry I am before and during my meal.

3. Pause – which actually for me will mean slowing down my eating to notice the flavors, aroma and colors of the foods.

You don’t even have to tell anyone what you are doing but the ideas in this article will help you enjoy your food and not feel so guilty and miserable at the end of the day. Plus your body will thank you too!

Let me know how it goes!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Is Drinking Sugar Soda as Bad as Smoking?

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at

I read an interesting research study that found drinking sugar soda on a regular basis could lead to the premature aging of immune cells, leaving the body more susceptible to chronic disease like diabetes. And they compared it to the way smoking increases our risk of disease, by damaging tissues, causing inflammation and insulin resistance.
We always say that eating or drinking sugar does not cause diabetes but maybe we as health care professionals will need to re-evaluate that answer.
If you have diabetes or prediabetes you might be thinking “How bad can it be to have a soda now and then?”    In my experience teaching and coaching on diabetes, I have seen many people bring their blood sugars down to normal or near normal just by weaning off regular soda.  Plus you are also likely to get healthier teeth, more energy and easier weight control.
How much is too much sugar? The American Heart Association guidelines for added sugar consumption recommend women get no more than 100 calories a day from added sugar, or about 6 teaspoons. That’s only slightly more than a half of a 12 ounce can!  For men, they recommend no more than 9 teaspoons.

What can I drink instead?  Check out this comparison of sugar in drinks for some ideas.

Is there any benefit of drinking regular soda? Drinking liquid sugar is great if you need to get your blood sugar up fast from hypoglycemia but there is no other benefit to health from drinking soda.  It’s too easy to get too much sugar too fast and like drinking too much alcohol it can be toxic if your body can’t process it quickly enough.

My Thoughts and Suggestions:  Excess intake of sugar leads to weight problems, health problems, which leads to higher health care costs, similar to smoking. So do we start banning soda like we do cigarette smoking in many places? Do we tax soda?
Companies are marketing high sugar food and drink everywhere but I am not one to promote more government control. So here’s my take on it . . .If we don’t buy it they won’t make it, so instead I would encourage personal responsibility. If you don’t care about your own health then look at the example you are setting for your kids or grandkids. If we care about their future and all of our health care costs in the future then we need to start with our own personal habits. It’s not easy to quit soda but instead of me rambling on I want to recommend a great resource to you. Check out the kindle book Breaking the Sugar Habit: Practical Ways to Cut the Sugar, Lose the Weight, and Regain Your Health by Margaret Wertheim, MS, RD.

I would love to hear your comments, especially if you have been able to kick the sugar soda habit!

3 of My Favorite Fall Foods

Do you find it challenging to eat healthy this time of year?

As the weather turns cool I seem to crave heavier foods and more carbs like fresh baked warm cookies! But if you are like me you can’t make those too often and still fit into your favorite jeans. So I thought I would share 3 of my favorite fall foods that are a little more waistline friendly.

All 3 of these foods are great for helping lower cholesterol, slow blood sugar rise and control hunger! iStock_000012570640Medium

#1 Apples: There is a lot of truth to the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Apparently there are several ways that the phytonutrients in apples help control blood sugar.

My favorite apple is SweeTango. Just like the name it’s a crunchy, juicy apple with a sweetness and tang all in the same mouthful. Take advantage of apple season and take a trip to an orchard where you can sample and find your favorite.

#2 Bean Soups. Chili is one of my favorites. I almost always make it in the crock pot and here’s a little tip . . . when you are browning ground beef make and extra pound, throw in freezer and when you want to make chili you just have to pull it out and dump everything in the crockpot.

Chili is packed full of body healing nutrients for your immune system, diabetes, digestion and cancer prevention.. Plus, if you are low in iron, the beef, cumin, and beans are all great sources of iron. The cumin is also a good source of manganese, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin B1. Did you know that magnesium is a natural blood pressure medicine that helps relax blood vessels?

Here’s my favorite Chili Recipe  (with helpful hints)

1 lb lean ground beef browned  (keep a pound or two in freezer for meals like this)

1 cup chopped onion (I usually add the onion and garlic at the end of browning the meat or saute them for a short time in a little olive oil before adding to the chili – but it’s not absolutely necessary)

1 clove garlic minced (or 1/8 tsp garlic powder if you don’t have garlic cloves on hand)

28 oz canned tomatoes (chopped or pureed, or better yet home canned stewed tomatoes)

2 cans kidney beans (or whatever beans you like- I have used black beans and pinto beans also)

1 15-oz can tomato sauce

1 Tbsp chili powder (can use more or less depending on your taste preference)

1 tsp cumin

Salt and pepper to taste (I use a small amount of sea salt but you may prefer not to add salt)

Put all ingredients in the crockpot, stir and let it cook according to your crockpot instructions, usually 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.

#3 Oatmeal: If you like oatmeal there is nothing better on a cold morning than a warm bowl of oatmeal with a little brown sugar and plenty of cinnamon. That’s my favorite but maybe not yours. You can add honey or fruit or any other natural sweetener but my point is to find the combination YOU like. Try to avoid the instant and find your own combination of flavors. For some great ideas check this blog post at FoodHappy.

Hope you enjoyed these tips and please share your favorite fall foods in the comments!

“True health-care reform starts in your kitchen, not in Washington” -Anonymous

5 New Ways for Busy Women to Take Charge of Carb Cravings

Having thoughts of guilt for overeating this weekend? Thinking of finding a new diet? Pasta Carbs

I would bet that is a common theme today, being the last holiday of the summer and especially since Labor Day is on the 1rst this year. Just seems to be a good time for getting a fresh new start.

How about this year you try something NOT about a new diet?

1. Try NOT dieting. Try a new approach to stop the cycle of craving – overeating – feeling guilty – dieting. It’s not really about the food but the way we THINK about food. I recently found the AM I Hungry? program to be the missing piece in helping my clients get off the diet roller-coaster.   Check out this helpful handout and if you would like more information on this program contact me.

2. Step back and get a Vision. Connect your life goals to where you are now. What do I want to be able to do that I can’t do now because of my eating, my weight, and my health? Consider hiring a life or health coach to help you along the journey so that you keep moving forward and reach your goal.

3. Take a Journal Time-Out. Are you too busy taking care of others and neglecting your self-care that you treat yourself, thinking “I deserve it” Instead of sitting down with your comfort food as reward for your hard work, first take 5 minutes to journal your thoughts about it and then if you still want it, go ahead and enjoy!

4. Get Positive Feedback. Feeling down on yourself and in a rut? Perfectionism got you in a diet-overeat-guilt -start over cycle? Realize that we have good days and bad days, success and failure and all of this is a learning experience to do better the next go-around. Start reading or listening to inspirational podcasts or books. This is especially important if you have others around you that talk negative or bring you down. You need to rewire your thought process!

5. Connect to Your Life Calling. Find your motivation for health in your life calling. If you are in your 40s or older and you have not figured out what work God has put you here to do, then take some time to reflect, read, talk to someone, join a Bible study group – something that helps you figure out what your purpose in life is.

Believe you can and you’re halfway there.
Theodore Roosevelt

5 Step Food Fix to Help You Get Control of Diabetes

Once you have made up your mind to change your diet to get control of diabetes, try these meal-by-meal tips to get started on better blood sugar control.

  • Stop drinking sugar.

You can get a dramatic drop in blood sugar, lose weight and feel better by stopping all soda pop, juice and other drinks with added sugar. Eventually you can add some 100% juice back in small amounts but to start it is best to avoid completely. You can temporarily transition to diet drinks but the best alternative would be to drink water, even if you need to flavor it with frozen fruit or a little juice. Water is necessary for all the functions our bodies need to maintain, especially blood sugar control.

  • Eat breakfast every day.

Our bodies do much better when we start out the day with some type of energy source. If you can’t stand the thought of eating in the morning or are in a hurry, try a breakfast or protein shake. There are several options for protein shake beverages that are low in carbohydrate for diabetes. Whole grain cereal, oatmeal, yogurt or peanut butter toast are other options.

  • Plan a light lunch.

Avoid the fast food or restaurant meals unless you can choose a healthy, low calorie meal under 600 calories. That may even be too much if you are trying to lose weight. Be careful not to assume that because you are having salad that it is healthy. Some salads can be over 1000 calories, depending on what’s in it. You can look up calories in many restaurant meals at Better yet, instead of eating out, pack a salad or sandwich or even just nuts and fruit.

  • Eat less starch and more veggies at your evening meal.

Potatoes, pasta and rice are heavy starch foods that are difficult to eat in small amounts. Try some meals without those starches and instead have more vegetables such as greens, carrots, cauliflower or other veggies you like. The key to enjoying eating more vegetables is to understand how they fight disease, and find great tasting ways to prepare them.

  • Snack between each meal if it helps control hunger and blood sugar.

Do you ever work all day with barely anything to eat and then go home and eat non-stop until bedtime? That is a common problem that can be solved with 2 words. PLAN SNACKS! Take snacks with you daily or keep them at work. Ideas: fresh fruit, nuts, trail mix, energy bars, yogurt, whole grain crackers with cheese, veggies and dip.

Is it okay to eat some sweets?
You can usually still eat small amounts of sweets even when you have diabetes. When blood sugars are high it is best to avoid them if possible. Blood sugar monitoring can really help you figure out how much and how often you can have them and still keep control of diabetes.

Keep in mind that if you are on medication for diabetes, most need to be taken with food. If you have any questions about that always ask your doctor.

Sign up for the free report “10 Strategies to Control Carb Cravings” so you can receive ongoing tips on diabetes as well as updates and discounts on programs!

Grapes: Good or Bad for Diabetes?

grapesI get this question a lot. Many people have been told grapes are too high in sugar and if you have diabetes you should not eat them.

Grapes are actually very heart healthy and have a low glycemic index, in the 43-53 range. One serving is about 15-20 grapes, a small handful. The equal amount of carbohydrate in grape juice would be about 1/3 cup.

More Health Benefits of Grapes

  • Resveratrol: grapes have more than any other food and it may help prevent damage to blood vessels.
  • Manganese, vitamin K and potassium: grapes are a good source of these nutrients and 19 different phytonutrients.
  • Helps control blood pressure: the flavonoids in grapes help keep arteries elastic so they can expand when needed for increased blood flow.
  • Helps lower LDL cholesterol (the bad stuff) by slowing LDL oxidation: LDL sticks to the walls of veins and arteries when it gets oxidized. This leads to inflammation and plaque, which narrows the blood vessels and increases the chance of heart attack or stroke.
  • Decreases activity of platelets, which are responsible for clotting. If platelets are too active it can cause clots to form inside blood vessels and lead to heart attacks.
  • Helps the release of nitric oxide, which is also helpful in preventing neuropathy, the nerve damage that causes numbness and pain in feet and hands.

Concord grape juice is also great for heart health and you can even make your own flavored water by diluting the juice. This can be a healthy alternative to regular or diet soda. (Just be sure you are buying 100% grape juice).

Of course if you are on certain medications you don’t want to interfere with levels of vitamin K or potassium so always check with your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions.

Don’t Let Diabetes Get You Down.

Now I want to talk about the other effect of diabetes related to our heart . . . the emotional effect of having diabetes. Having any chronic disease is stressful, but diabetes is so much about food that it can often trigger more emotional eating just trying to deal with it all. And if you have high or low blood sugars, that can affect your mood.

Why am I mentioning this? If you are struggling with managing diabetes and need help problem solving, email me to schedule a complimentary 15 minute chat and learn more about how I can help you take control of diabetes. Coaching sessions are customized to your needs and can be done from the comfort and privacy of your own home by phone.

Sign up for the free report “10 Strategies to Control Carb Cravings” so you can receive ongoing tips on diabetes as well as updates and discounts on programs!

Tips for Getting Off the Addictive Carbs Eating Pattern

If you are also struggling to get back on track with healthy eating and weight control take a look at these ideas. You might find a few tips that help you take a different approach instead of feeling like you have to go hungry.

  • Transition with “safe” sweets/snacks. Get the addictive sweets and snacks out of the house. Those are the ones that you can’t stop eating until you have stuffed yourself. If you know you are still going to get a sweet craving keep something around that you can have a small amount and walk away easily from. Those are what I call “safe” sweets/snacks. My choice is semi-sweet chocolate chips. I like to have a little chocolate but definitely don’t care to eat handfuls of chocolate chips. Lately, vitamin C drop candies have also been helpful.
  • Focus more on the healing foods you CAN eat instead of what you should NOT eat. Hopefully those foods will gradually replace the less healthy foods, and it keeps your thoughts about food, eating and weight positive.
  • Try a semi-liquid diet day. This does not mean starving but can work to get you jump started on losing a few pounds. For breakfast have a low calorie smoothie or a meal replacement drink such as Boost or Slim Fast. You can get them both in low sugar, high protein versions. Drink unsweetened tea, coffee or water. No sweetened beverages or artificial sweeteners if possible. They may trigger cravings. For lunch have a low calorie soup. These recipes look great! (Tip: make a crock pot of soup on the weekend to have ready to go meals for the week).
    Then if you want a meal for evening have a salad with lean meat, egg, fish or cheese added, and some salad dressing. For a little carbohydrate you can add a few whole grain crackers or croutons. Or switch it up and have salad for lunch and soup for dinner. Just remember . . . don’t add crackers or bread with your soup.
  • Practice eating until you START to feel full and then stop. This takes practice and if you know you have been overeating it takes practice to eat a little less each time until you no longer feel full and bloated after eating. This may mean eating a little more often but that’s okay because it will still help you over time eat less overall.
  • Take on a project that you really enjoy so you get involved and forget about wanting to eat. Rearrange a room in your house or start planning your spring garden!
  • If nothing is working do something to get inspired. Read a great book. Take a walk in the fresh air and sunshine. For me watching my daughter at tennis lessons inspires me to get active again.

Make sure you are signed up for the free report “10 Strategies to Control Carb Cravings” so you can receive ongoing tips on diabetes as well as updates and discounts on programs!

4 Ways to Get Your Mind Set to Fight Diabetes

Motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you chances are it will burn very briefly.”    Stephen Covey

Free image courtesy of

This quote sums it up. The motivation for lifestyle change has to be yours.  You want to change not because your doctor tells you  . . . not because your family or friends want you to . . . but because there is something that matters to you enough to make you want to change your life!

If you are searching for the motivation to get healthier and fight diabetes I hope that you find some tips to inspire you and help you find the spark that lights your fire!

1.     Find the Strong Motivator Within You

What is your reason for wanting to make changes in your life and your health?

What do you envision yourself doing 5-10 years from now that diabetes might interfere with?

Sometimes we don’t think we are worth spending the time or money to improve our health. But think about it from the perspective of how your health will affect your ability to help others with your unique talents and gifts. What is your life purpose? We are all here to serve others in some way. What has God intended your work to be?  If you have less burden from diabetes you can help others so much more.

This may take some time to think and reflect on your life.

For example, one of my big motivators to stay well and beat diabetes is thinking about my “bucket list” of places I want to see and things I want to do and being able to do things with my kids and future grandchildren.  If I let diabetes take over my life and my body I won’t be able to enjoy all of those adventures! 

. . .Not to mention that I plan on working for many years helping others find better ways to manage and conquer diabetes.

2.     Post Your Goal

Post Your Daily or Weekly Goal where it will be a reminder.  I LOVE sticky notes but you can post it any way you like. Post it on your computer, on your desk, in your car, on your fridge!

Or you can post a picture related to your goal. Just make sure it is an inspiring picture.  For example if I want to start exercising to get in shape for a vacation to Europe, where I will be walking a lot, I could post a picture of the place where I will be going on vacation.

3.     Enlist Help

We all need support to reach our goals. Here are some ideas:

  • Online forums where you can discuss concerns with others working toward the same type of goals.
  • Ask family members to support your goals, such as not having tempting foods around the house.
  • Get a group of friends or coworkers together that are working on similar goals and email each other or meet periodically.
  • Start a health challenge at work.
  • Hire a coach for accountability to help you stay on track.  Email me at  to set up a free informational phone conversation.

4.     Start Your “Re-Energize” List

As you are working day-to-day to beat diabetes, realize that you will have days and maybe weeks where you have no motivation to do this anymore. That does not mean you have failed. You are human and that is normal. We cannot eat perfectly, exercise perfectly or do anything we know we should do perfectly. We can only do our best every day.

When you have those no-motivation days it will help to have a list of things you can do to re-energize. Here are a few ideas:

  • Forget about it. Take a break and forget about your goal for a day.  Maybe you have been thinking about it too much and just need to free your mind and focus on something else. You might find you come back refreshed!
  • Read an inspiring article or book. This can be any topic or any type – just pick something that feels inspiring to you!
  • Watch a move that inspires you.
  • Go to an event that you enjoy. This might be a sporting or other event or just getting together with friends.
  • Talk to someone that makes you feel good about yourself.
  • Tell yourself something positive about you every day . . . . Say it out loud and better yet, write it down in journal or notebook.  I like to think of it as a compliment to myself.  This positive self-talk can be powerful in helping you change your life!

Now . . Here’s your challenge for the week: Take time to think about the motivation from within you, write it down somewhere or type it in your phone as a reminder.

Controlling Diabetes is Like Taking a Road Trip

You Need to Map Your Destination

When you take a road trip you need to figure out the best way to get there right? I was going to say you need to get out the map but now we just pull out our GPS and let it guide the way. Too bad managing diabetes and weight control is not that easy!

Knowing your targets for blood sugar control is like knowing your destination for a trip. The road we travel to get to that destination may be paved with a food plan, exercise plan and maybe medication.

So once you know where you are going and you have planned your route you are ready to hit the road! Sounds easy enough right? Have you ever had directions that seemed easy but for some reason you keep going in circles and can never get there? You look at the map or plug your directions into your GPS but it takes you to a completely different place. How does that happen? In my experience it is usually because one part of the address is typed in wrong.

Trying to keep up with healthy eating and exercise for weight and diabetes control is a lot like that. You know where you are trying to end up but you seem to keep going in circles.

Have you heard the quote “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”? If you think about it that is what we often do with our diet and exercise habits. We keep buying the same food or doing the same routine and we think magically the outcome should be different. So what is the answer?
CHANGE! Change your routine. Change the way you eat. Change the way you exercise. Change whatever it takes to get on the right road that will take you to your destination.

You Will Run in to Road Blocks

A favorite saying in my state of Minnesota is that we have two seasons . . . winter and road construction. So if you are taking a trip in Minnesota there is a good chance you might run into detours or bad roads depending on the season.

You might run into road blocks when trying to changing your diet or exercise habits also. Family commitments, finances, job stress, illness are all common road blocks to making lifestyle changes. Don’t give up. That is simply life happening. Figure out a way to get around the road blocks or take an alternate route. Get support from a group, other family members, friends, or hire a diabetes coach.

I recently ran into a road block with my 5K training . . . my own motivation. I lost interest when I got up to running 20-25 minutes on the treadmill and soon I just quit. At first I felt like a failure but then I realized that I was still motivated to exercise but just not THAT type of exercise. All I had to do was revise my exercise routine to be interval training with a variety of different types of exercise instead and now I am back on track.

Rumble Strips Help Keep You on the Right Path

You may or may not be familiar with rumble strips but I am talking about those bumpy strips they put on the edge of the road to keep you from going off the road or on the yellow center line to keep you from hitting oncoming vehicles. If you are about to drive into danger they definitely wake you up.

Too bad we don’t have something like the speed bumps or the rumble strips at stop signs that would get our attention when we are about to eat too much!

What are the rumble strips of diabetes? What is it that lets you know when you are going the wrong direction and diabetes is getting out of control?

Doctor visits, daily blood sugar checks, calorie counts, carbohydrate counts, food records, clothes getting tighter all can be rumble strips that keep us from getting too far off course.

Are You Ready for a Diabetes Road Trip?

Decide on your destination. Map your route. Find ways to get around the roadblocks. Use your rumble strips to keep you on track.

Reach your destination!

Make sure you are signed up for my newsletter so you can receive ongoing tips on diabetes as well as updates and discounts on programs!

To Your Best Health,


What You Don’t Know About Diabetes CAN Hurt You

I often hear people refer to Type 1 Diabetes as “the really bad diabetes” because people have to take insulin with type 1 diabetes. However, did you know that with Type 2 diabetes blood sugars start to go higher than normal up to 10 years before you are diagnosed?

This means that for up to 10 years blood sugars higher than normal can start to do damage to the body and by the time someone is diagnosed they can already have permanent damage to nerves and blood vessels. So the reality is that one type of diabetes is not worse than the other but rather the key to avoiding debilitating effects of diabetes is to stay in control no matter what type you have.

With Type 2 diabetes the earlier you catch it the easier it is to control and reverse. Since most people do not have any symptoms, even when blood sugars are in 200s, the only way to know if it is high is to do the blood testing.

I challenge you to change the way you think about diabetes and change the way you take care of your health.

Know Your Risk: Take the ADA Risk Test
Risk Factors include inactivity, extra body weight particularly around the waistline, family history of diabetes or personal history of gestational diabetes, and high blood pressure.

If you want to stay off diabetes medication you need to catch diabetes early – not wait until it takes control of your life.

Know Your Numbers: Don’t depend on your doctor or clinic to keep track for you.
Do you really expect one doctor to keep track of hundreds of patients? Even with electronic medical records your elevated blood sugar level may get overlooked. Ultimately it is your responsibility to take care of your diabetes. Know your A1c, and if you have diabetes get a monitor and learn what the numbers mean. Always get a copy of your lab results and keep it in a file.

Know the Symptoms: Remember that by the time you feel symptoms blood sugars have usually been high for a while.
Blurry vision, thirst, frequent urination, hunger, numbness or tingling in hands or toes, fatigue, or sores that don’t heal can all be symptoms of high blood sugars. If you have any of these symptoms see your doctor.

Know the Power of Nutrition: Don’t underestimate how what you eat and how much you eat affects your blood sugar.
Nutrition therapy is EXTREMELY underutilized in getting you well and keeping you well.

If you catch diabetes early nutrition can keep you off medication in 2 ways: weight loss and healing nutrients. See a registered dietitian to get recommendations on food changes you could make. Learn how to shop, cook and eat healthier.

Know Your Medications: Ask your doctor, pharmacist or diabetes educator about the medications you are on.
Keep a list of your medications with you. Learn what each medication is for, what the side effects are and potential interactions with foods, other medications or alcohol.

This is a lot like knowing your numbers. Take time to look over your medications with your pharmacist or doctor. Tell them if you are having trouble with cost, side effects or symptoms you think might be related to a medication.

Know the Power of Muscles: Move More!
Do you know what insulin resistance is? That is the biggest problem with Type 2 diabetes. Your body is making insulin but not using it very well. Guess what moving your muscles does? Exercise is your medicine for insulin resistance. Move Your Muscles More!

Know Yourself
I have listed a lot of things you should know but this one is very important. Be realistic about what you can accomplish. You can’t change eating and exercise habits overnight. Get a team of experts on your side so you can go to them with questions. Know when you need help and support and don’t be afraid to ask family or friends for support.

If you would like more information on any of these topics about diabetes sign up to receive my free newsletter twice monthly and check out diabetes services offered here

To Your Best Health,