5 Foods to Eat for Weight Loss

While there are not any magic foods to eat for weight loss, these are my favorite foods to eat for weight loss or weight management.  I will recommend foods from the common food categories and that can easily be found and any grocery store.

These foods can be incorporated into a low calorie diet by ensuring the proper serving size. If you are on a low carbohydrate or ketogenic diet, the sweet potato carbohydrate content is too high.  Soups can be used on all programs with the proper ingredients.


1. Brussel Sprouts

One of my favorite vegetables is Brussel sprouts (and I actually don’t like many vegetables). This vegetable comes from the cabbage family, but they aren’t baby cabbages. They grow on a stalk. ¾ of a cup of Brussel sprouts have a measly 80 calories. They can be eaten fresh, or frozen. They are high in fiber which helps with satiation. They are also high in vitamin C, calcium, Vitamin A and iron.

One of my favorite ways to prepare them is cut them in half, coat them in healthy olive oil, salt and pepper and bake until crispy.

2. Chicken

Chicken without the skin is a versatile protein source that will help with weight loss because it is satiating. A proper sized portion is approximately 3-4 oz. Adequate protein is necessary for weight loss so that you can preserve your muscle mass while in a calorie deficit. A serving of chicken will provide approximately 190 calories, 35 grams of protein, 4 grams of fat.

My favorite preparation is to pound the breast slightly flat, season with salt and pepper and cook in a teaspoon of healthy oil.

3. Raspberries

Some nutritionists would recommend not eating fruit on a weight loss program but if there was one fruit that could be included it is the raspberry. Raspberries are little packages that pack a punch. They contain naturally occurring ketones that some companies have capitalized one. The raspberry ketones are said to assist the body in accessing fat from fat cells for energy. You could use the raspberry ketone supplement, but you can also just include the fruit itself. I am a fan of eating natural whole foods rather than eating supplements. Raspberries are a low calorie fruit; in 1 cup you will consume only 65 calories. They pack a fantastic amount of necessary vitamins as well. They are rich in fiber, potassium, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, B-6, and even protein.

My favorite way to eat raspberries is eating them fresh out of the package (after washing).

4. Sweet Potato

Yes, even the sweet potato can be used for weight loss. They are high in fiber, which helps for satiation, and have a low glycemic effect, which helps prevent sugar fluctuations that can lead to over eating. One 5 “ long sweet potato has far fewer calories than one would imagine. The calorie count for this size vegetable is approximately 112 calories. This amazing vegetable provides substantial amounts of Vitamin A, and significant amounts of fiber, potassium and B-6, and lesser amounts of Vitamin C, and iron.

My favorite way to prepare this vegetable is cut it into 1 inch wedges and coat with a healthy oil and salt and pepper and bake. I also love sweet potato soup.

5. Soups

Ok this isn’t actually a food, but it can be a simply fabulous staple to any weight loss and weigh maintenance program. Homemade soup will be the healthiest choice because you will be able to manage the ingredients, and fat content. Broth based soups with copious amounts of vegetables and some tasty lean protein can fill you up easily.

My grandmother made the most delicious tomato/broth based soup that I have ever tasted. It was full of green beans, carrots, and maybe a potato or two.

No Magic Foods

In my experience the best eating plans that are sustainable include the foods that people like to eat in the proper portion size. Portion size is incredibly important as portions eaten are usually 2 to 2 1/2 times larger than they should be.

There are no magic weight loss foods. Eat a clean healthy diet. Eat foods in their most natural form. Eat them if they walked, swam, flew or grew. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store.

If you want more guidance on how to gain health with clean eating order my book, Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating.

Food Sources of Vitamin D

Natural foods rich in vitamin D.

Vitamin D is important to maintaining a healthy body. Vitamin D deficiency is rampant in our modern age for a variety of reasons. The main reasons include our indoor lifestyle and use of skin protectant.

Science is not infallible, we must change our thinking when new information is exposed, and this pertains to the importance of vitamin D. In this post I will describe what Vitamin D is, how it helps our bodies, symptoms of deficiency,  the recommended amounts to consume each day and the foods that you can eat to obtain your Vitamin D.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that we obtain from food or our environment via the sun, or supplements. Vitamin D is stored in the human liver and fat from exposure during the sunny periods, for utilization during the winter, less sunny season. We have circumvented this natural process by limiting our exposure to sun in the summer months with sunscreen, clothes and a lifestyle of avoiding the sun.

The dermatologists have scared us to the point of damage. Skin cancer is a concern, but so is vitamin D deficiency

What does vitamin D do in our bodies?

  • Regulates the immune system
  • Regulates neuromuscular function
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Required for bone strength
  • Regulates blood pressure
  • Decreases the risk for depression
  • Reduces risk for type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
  • May reduce risk for certain cancers

What are signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency?

Classic signs are rickets (which is an old disease of the bone) and osteomlacia. This is related to the interaction of vitamin D and calcium for bone strength. Subtle bone pain and fatigue can be symptoms that are missed with a Vitamin D deficiency. We do know that low Vitamin D can result in osteoporosis. Additionally, there is some evidence that colon cancer, diabetes type 2, hypertension, glucose intolerance, and multiple sclerosis.

The medical conditions above demonstrate the broad array of physical effects from inadequate Vitamin D, and can seem nonspecific. However, a lab test can be a good place to start to identify your levels.

Who is at risk for vitamin D deficiency?

Certain people are at risk for Vitamin D deficiency and some of them include those who have indoor lifestyles, dark skinned people, infants who are nursed for a prolonged time. Additionally, men and women who have had gastric bypass or have inflammatory bowel disease appear to have limited ability to absorb it via their gut. Older adults are also at risk; this may be due to their tendency to be indoors. Medications can also put people at deficiency. It is known that steroids and certain cholesterol medicines as well as anti-epileptic medicine can interrupt the absorption and result in a deficiency.

What are the most common sources of vitamin D?         


Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin. It is synthesized in the skin, by a certain wavelength in the sun’s rays; wave length 290-320 nanometers, penetrates the skin and synthesized through a chemical process to previtamin D which then converts to vitamin D.

We know that sun is a source, but this article is about the food sources of Vitamin D. The food sources are limited, but let’s review them now.


Vitamin D is not found naturally in many foods. Cow’s milk has been fortified with vitamin d for years.

Interestingly, the foods that are high in vitamin D are ones that are found in the sea. I always wondered why Eskimos who lived in the north- who had no sun for months, survived. Well, once again, God takes care of his humans. Blubber or muktuk, as its called by the Inuit/Eskimos of Alaska and Canada is high in vitamin C and vitamin D. Citrus is difficult to come by in the arctic, God is good.

 Ok, so we won’t be eating whale blubber, but we can eat wild caught salmon, wild caught mackerel, cod liver, tuna, and sardines.

The cow is a good source of vitamin D in the flesh and the calf liver. Egg yolks also have vitamin D. Dairy products that are fortified with vitamin D are also a good source, like cheese, or yoghurt made with the fortified milk.

Enhanced mushrooms have been developed to be an additional food source.

This is a table from a trusted website, National Institute of Health (see references) for food sources.

Food Sources
Food IUs per serving* Percent DV**
Cod liver oil, 1 table-
1,360 340
Swordfish, cooked, 3 ounces 566 142
Salmon (sockeye),
cooked, 3 ounces
447 112
Tuna fish, canned in water, drained,
3 ounces
154 39
Orange juice fortified with vitamin D, 1 cup 137 34
Milk, nonfat, reduced fat, and whole, vitamin D-fortified, 1 cup 115-124 29-31
Yogurt, fortified with
20% of the DV for
vitamin D, 6 ounces
80 20
Margarine, fortified, 1 tablespoon 60 15
Sardines, canned in oil, drained,
2 sardines
46 12
Liver, beef, cooked, 3 ounces 42 11
Egg, 1 large (vitamin D is found in yolk) 41 10
Ready-to-eat cereal, fortified with 10% of the DV for vitamin D, 0.75-1 cup 40 10
Cheese, Swiss, 1 ounce 6 2


Recommended Numbers and Blood Levels

Recommended Daily Amounts of Vitamin D (RDA) varies depending on age and gender. Middle aged adults should be consuming 600 IU.

The lab value to aim for via a blood test for 25(OH)D is >30ng/ml.

This level should be the goal via sun, food and supplements.

Vitamin D research continues and its importance is becoming increasingly clear. To optimize your Vitamin D levels to reduce your risk for deficiency, ensure that you go outside for 20 minutes during the day without sunscreen, include food sources weekly, and take supplements to ensure that your levels are optimal.

You can go to your primary care provider to obtain a blood test, or you can go to my Ulta website and order it yourself and take the results to the doctor if they are abnormal.

Choosing healthy foods and staying active is paramount to reduce your risk for experiencing lifestyle related diseases. My book, Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating can help you find the best eating plans and movement plans for you!


1. Vitamin D for Health Professionals/Fact Sheet. Retrieved from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/

10 Things to do Every Day in 2019

New Year’s resolutions are in the planning stages for most people. Even for those of us who don’t typically make “official” resolutions it might be a good idea to consider these suggestions.

Perhaps 2018 was the best year that you ever had and you hope that 2019 will bring as much joy. Perhaps your 2018 was worse than bad and you can’t wait to see it in your rear view mirror. Or perhaps, 2018 was just a “meh”year. Regardless, 2018 is over. Keep those good memories, discard the past, and take wisdom into your 2019.

Here is a list of ten things to do daily (and the why’s) in 2019 for health, wealth, prosperity and joy.

  1.  Be thankful: being thankful for what you have, and for what you desire. The act of being thankful tells your body that it is a fact, and often the universe acts accordingly.
  2. Be generous: decide to give a certain percentage of your money away. There is a force that works in this world that is antithetical to selfishness. When we give we get. Period.
  3. Walk more: the benefits of walking physically, emotionally and spiritually are hard to underestimate. If you walk outside with a friend or spouse, this can be a time to catch up or a time to just “be” together”. Sun and fresh air are good for the soul. Aim for 10 K steps per day.
  4. Pray: prayer will change your life and others. Petitioning prayer is the act of commissioning a higher being to act on your behalf or another’s. This helps you AND the person being prayed for. Sometimes this is all we can do, and it IS powerful.
  5. Write in a journal. Writing in a private journal can keep your dreams alive. It can keep your anxieties at bay and when re-reading the future it can be interesting to read.
  6. Eat an apple a day. Eating an apple a day is good for digestion, skin, teeth and overall health. The smallest ones are the proper serving size. My favorites are Macintosh and granny smith.
  7. Greet your spouse and children with a smile and enthusiasm when you see them at the end of the day. A positive greeting and a smile will set the stage for a pleasant evening. When my children would come home one by one I would say to them, “How is my favorite 8th grader?Or “I am so glad to see my favorite youngest child”.  Think about how your family dog greets you when he sees you…with unadulterated joy…just because you are you…give that feeling to someone else.
  8. Dock your electronic devices and/or only use for business purposes. Limiting screen time will improve your sleep, your posture and your mood.
  9. Eat more vegetables. Ensure that you eat vegetables at each meal. This helps ensure that you get the vitamins and fiber that your body needs to be healthy. Frozen fruits and vegetables are just fine to eat if you can’t keep fresh on hand.
  10. Keep a tidy home. Make your bed every day. Order improves your mood, your mind and your emotions.
  11. Laugh more. Laughing improves the amount of good feeling hormones, and who does not want to feel good. Your body does not know the difference between a fake laugh or a real laugh. Try it…fake laughing turns into real laughing within seconds.

This list is not a magic list, but they work…so maybe it is a magic list.

If we fail to plan then we plan to fail. Make 2019 a crazy joyful and peaceful year. You are in control of you, only you can take steps to be happy and healthy where you are.

If you found this post helpful, please like and share.

If you want help to learn to love active living and clean eating, order my book called Second Chance at Health: Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating. It is a short, easy to read guide to regaining your health, even if you are on medicines.

How Being Critical Affects our Health

Did you know that chronic emotions affect your health? I think we all know that acute emotions, like fear or grief will affect our bodies, but chronic emotions take a toll as well. 

In this post I will describe what it looks like to becritical, who it affects and how to make changes if this describes you.

What does it look like to be critical?

Critical people are the ones who never learned the lesson “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.  This is a learned behavior. Critical people will judge (often without knowing the facts), voice their opinions unsolicited, make rude comments, and point out flaws in others (often relentlessly). The critical person may be you, your mother, father, boss, co-worker, spouse or friend.

Who is affected by a criticism?

Criticism hurts both parties, the one doing the criticizing and the one receiving it. Chronic criticism is destructive. Period. The criticizer is often characterized as a negative and overly self-righteous. This person believes (incorrectly), that they are right…about everything. This negative thinking pattern pervasively identifies what is wrong with their environment.It has been found that those who are chronically critical of others are themselves suffering emotionally. This is not an excuse.

The person being criticized feels attacked, anxious and worthless. It can have long term damaging effects, especially if the critical behavior comes from a parent.  

Are you critical of others?

I find myself…

  • Judging how people look, talk, eat
  • Pointing out peoples “flaws”
  • Giving my opinion unsolicited
  • Laughing at or pointing out details about others
  • Making rude comments to or about people I don’tknow
  • Making rude comments to people I know

Of course this list is hardly exhaustive, but you get the drift.

Being overly critical of other people (being self -critical is a whole other topic) reveals more about you than it does the person being criticized.

How can being a critical person affect your health?

Those with critical personalities tend also be more hostile and cynical.  Science has linked negative emotions that science has linked to increased risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease and heart attacks. Chronic negative emotions affect our hearts, minds and bodies.

Recommendations if you are the critical person

 If you see yourself in this checklist, thank goodness…there is hope! Identification is the first step to change. You do not have to remainin the criticism role. You can change.

“Any fool can criticize, complain and condemn-and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving” 

Dale Carnegie

 Steps to take to stop being critical of others:

  • If it’s not nice don’t say it (even if it is true)
  • If it could hurt the persons feeling if they heard it, don’t say it
  • Think about what you are about to say before you say it
  • When you think something negative look for something positive instead and say THAT
  • Look for the good in others

I have to tell you, I am a recovering critical person. I have a soon to be DIL who speaks into my life quietly and has helped me become less critical of others and has shot me her “look” many times.

Becoming less critical, negative, cynical and hostile starts with being thankful, kind and generous to others is a great way to improve your health.

Our minds, emotions, food choices and activity level affect our health. Choose to become healthier today.

Seek counselling if you discover that you can’t make thesechanges yourself!

If you want assistance with how to love active living and clean eating, then check out my book, Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating. This is a simple, guide to help you identify the best sustainable plan(s) for you.


Can Negative Thinking be making you Sick? Retrieved from https://www.health.com/heart-disease/can-negative-thinking-make-you-sickcc

Insulin Resistance and Fitness After 40

Blood sample test and empty tube blood for blood test screening.

The human body is amazing and complicated and when if functions properly we feel healthy. However, when there is an interruption in function we begin to feel unwell. One common condition involves changes in how our body responds to insulin. When our bodies fail to manage insulin properly, this is insulin resistance and our health  will begin to deteriorate.

Insulin resistance occurs when the body loses the inability to respond properly to the hormone insulin. It is often related to obesity, although there are other medical causes.

Insulin resistance can lead to diabetes type 2 but it is not inevitable. With changes in diet and activity level, and perhaps medication, you can reverse insulin resistance. In my book, Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating, I provide you with tools and ideas how to find the best eating plans and movement plans that can ameliorate this condition.

I will discuss the type of insulin resistance that is seen in overweight and obese adults in this post, and what you can do to avoid it or improve it.

What is Insulin Resistance?

Insulin is a hormone that is produced in the pancreas that is produced to transport sugar into the cells for use as energy or to be stored as fat. When the cells become resistant to insulin, two significant changes occur. First, the insulin levels rise in order to have more available to transport sugar, which does help in the short term, but then the body becomes even more resistant. Subsequently blood sugar elevations occur as the cells are unable to use the sugar in the blood, and this is when pre-diabetes and diabetes is diagnosed. Too much sugar in blood negatively affects nerves, the cardiovascular system and more.

It is known that elevated insulin (hyperinsulinemia) and insulin resistance often precedes diabetes type 2. Hyperinsulinemia can be identified with the measurement of insulin level by a lab test. You may go to my Ulta Lab Test NurseChrisP site to determine your insulin level and then present the results of the test to your doctor for his/her direction of your care.

What does Hyperinsulinemia or Insulin Resistance Feel Like?

There are no symptoms of insulin resistance. Any symptoms that do appear are related to the elevated blood sugar that ultimately occurs when the sugars cannot be moved out of the blood into our cells and used. The symptoms of elevated blood sugar include fatigue, difficulty concentrating and hunger. Measurable signs include elevated blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, and fat around the middle. These are also the signs for a condition called Metabolic Syndrome.

What can Cause Insulin Resistance?

Poor diet and lack of exercise and the resulting obesity can cause this condition. Additionally chronic stress can play a role too. Steroids taken for other medical conditions can also contribute. Certain diseases, such as Cushing’s Disease or Poly Cystic Ovarian Disease can also be a factor.

How to Avoid Insulin Resistance

Avoiding insulin resistance that is related to inactivity and obesity is as simple as maintaining a healthy weight and living an active lifestyle. Using BMI (Body Mass Index) can be useful as a guideline and maintaining a BMI of less than 24.9 is the recommendation. Activity should be, at a minimum 150 minutes of moderate exercise or equivalent per week. 10K steps per day is a great goal to set.

If you already have insulin resistance simply increasing your daily physical activity can improve your insulin sensitivity. One study has shown that insulin sensitivity increases by 20% after just one hour of aerobic exercise and persists for approximately 20-48 hours thereafter,

Lab testing recommendations

Blood testing is the only way to determine if your blood sugar or insulin level is elevated.  Fasting blood tests are the most accurate. Fasting for 8-12 hours will give you the best and most reliable results. If you have a fasting blood sugar that is over the normal, it is recommended that you recheck it every 2 years. That is not frequent enough for me. I do not recommend waiting for 2 years to go by before addressing it. If you have elevated blood sugar or elevated insulin levels, lifestyle changes should be made immediately and then I recommend rechecking again in 3-6 months. Ulta Lab testing offers a Metabolic Syndrome Package with insulin.

However, lab testing is not necessary. If you are obese, have a waist circumference of more than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men, with confirmed high cholesterol, you can fairly say that you have insulin resistance.

Reversing Suspected or Confirmed Insulin Resistance with Lifestyle Changes

Reversing suspected or confirmed insulin resistance is simple.  Halting insulin resistance that is not related to another serious health condition it possible.  Changes to diet and activity level are recommended to improve how our bodies handle insulin and sugar.

The recommended diet changes include ketogenic diets, very low carbohydrate and very low calorie diets. Significant exercise and a healthy diet can reverse insulin resistance.

Simply increasing your physical activity daily will improve your insulin sensitivity, even if you don’t lose any weight. Aim for 40-60 minutes per day. Dividing up the physical exercise through out the day is an option that yields similar benefits.

By using my book, the Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating , you can choose the best diet and the best exercise that can possibly reverse the condition and  reduce your risk for this condition.

If you are overweight or obese, and feel fatigued and have difficulty concentrating why not check your insulin level?

Visit your.  doctor and ask if he or she is concerned about this condition. You may also use my lab test link here Ulta Lab Test NurseChrisP and check for yourself. You could also measure your waist at just above your hip bones, and if you are over the recommendation, and obese (BMI <30), have high cholesterol and high blood pressure, then you most likely are insulin resistant to some degree.

Disclaimer: always seek care from your primary care provider for any health issues or concerns that you have.

In summary, lifestyle changes will improve or eliminate insulin resistance that is not the result of another serious health condition. Improving or eliminating hyperinsulinemia can help you avoid the progression to diabetes.

Order my book now to reduce your risk for diabetes by choosing to love active living and clean eating!


Ross Can J Cardiol 2008 PMC: 2794451).

A “NEAT” Way to Improve Your Health

Housewife lifting a sofa and vacuuming underneath it

This was a guest post for Coleman Ashworth, the owner and operator of South Coast Pressure Washing . Thank you for allowing me to tell you about a method to get fit and healthy after 40! I am here to tell you that don’t have to spend hours at the gym! I will show you how you can use Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis in your life and feel better as a result!

Do you feel tired? Are feeling sluggish? Do you need more energy to do the things you love to do? Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis or NEAT can improve all of these troubles and make you feel better! NEAT is a method that you can start using today to get fit and healthy!

What is Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis or “NEAT”?

Neat is the energy that we use that is not related to sleeping, eating or exercise. Historically, adults and children did more physical work! We did more of our own housework, lawn care, and fewer people had cars! If you ask them, it was up hill both ways! Basically, NEAT includes activities that we did as kids and what our parents and grandparents did to stay lean and mean in the 1960’s!

Go find and old movie and you will see very lean adults and children! They never had went to LA Fitness or spent hours on a treadmill.  But really, there was more activity in a day and no one was heading to the gym to work out until the 1980’s.

WHAT changed? The amount of NEAT changed that’s what!
Fast forward to 2018, and you see few lean adults and a few skinny kids.

Modern conveniences gave us more time to pursue what made us happy…but in return we have sacrificed our health.

Alright, I don’t want to do laundry like my grandmother did, with an open basin, a wringer and a clothes line…and we can’t go back in time. I certainly don’t want to live off the grid without modern conveniences, so how do we become more active so that we don’t have to spend hours at the gym? NEAT is your answer!

How to have a NEAT Filled Life

In keeping with the type of site that this is,  Let’s consider NEAT around the house. It’s easy to find NEAT activities around the house! Simply identify the activities that you pay someone else to do! Is someone else mowing our lawn? Is someone else managing your garden? Do you have a pool company? Does someone coming to wash your windows? Do you hire someone to come and clean your home? Do take your car to a detail shop for a vacuum, wash and polish?  These are all fantastic activities that you can do and you will not only save money but you will also save your health!

I do recommend that you use a company like South Coast Pressure washing to clean your home as there are chemicals and special equipment needed to do this safely!

How much is this NEAT worth?

Well, when I vacuum my home, it counts as 2 miles on my Smart Watch! Two miles can mean about 5K steps, and if your goal is 10k steps per day then you are half way there! What about mowing your lawn? Depending how big your yard it, you could potentially get 5k steps! So by mowing your own lawn you save money, and improve your health. Not only that, but when you see how awesome your lawn looks you feel a sense of pride and that is priceless!

You may object and say that you don’t have time; however, I say that any time spent on your health is NOT wasted and improved physical and emotional health is something worth making time for!

What are some ways YOU can introduce more NEAT activities into your daily routine?

So don’t discount your daily routine as a way to gain fitness and health after 40!

How Can I Help?

If you need more help to regain your health I have the guide for you! Order my ebook, Second Chance at Health- Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating

Buy now orange .


Health Guide You Can Trust

Fit or Fat after 40?

scale f
BMI Versus Tanita to determine Fitness or Fatness

In my book, Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating, I discuss that the first step to determining one’s health status is weight. One of the most commonly used measurement is the Body Mass Index. Body Mass Index is a height to weight ratio and while it is a valuable starting point, there are a lot of variables that make it less reliable. Since this blog is mainly for middle aged people, I love to use the example of Arnold Schwarzenegger! When he was a beast, his height and weight ratio, that is his Body Mass Index (BMI) had him at >30, which put him in the obese category. Clearly the man, at his peak of training, was anything but obese and this illustrates that not all pounds are equal.

One of the more specific tools that can be used to assist in determining health status is the Tanita scale. If you’ve been reading any of my blogs you will know that I tout this scale relentlessly. It has useful data about body composition rather than just a ratio number. Monitoring your body composition is an important aspect of health management. The Tanita company is one provider that has this technology in the bag. According to their website they have been in business since 1944, and their only business is scales. Please see their website link at the end of the article.

The technology uses bioelectrical impedance that is measured as it passes through hydrated body tissues (muscle, fat, bone).This type of body composition assessment has been supported by science and validated by many studies. Their website states that their accuracy is within 50-100 grams!

As you know if you’ve been reading my blogs and Facebook posts, I only talk about what I have personal experience with and this Tanita brand is what I have used professionally and personally.

Professionally I used this when I worked at a fabulously successful weight loss franchise in Austin, Texas, Med-Weight Loss: The One that Works! They used the professional Tanita scale product and this was one of the program parameters that really helped people stay on track.

The parameters that I find helpful include:

Weight Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
Fat % Metabolic Age
Fat Mass Visceral Fat Rating
Fat Free Mass Ideal Body Weight
Muscle Mass Physique Rating
Total Body Water %
Total Body Water
Bone Mass

How Does this Magic Work?

It does seem like magic, but there is science behind it. Bioelectrical Impedance is a safe, (if you do not have an implanted medical electrical device) low level, electrical signal that enters your body through your feet for the step on scales and your hands for the hand-held types. The signal passes quickly through tissue that is highly hydrated like muscle and body tissue and more slowly through fat tissue. This difference is measured by the computer in the machine and uses special scientifically validated formulae to calculate the body’s composition.

These scales should not be used if you have any implanted medical device such as a heart pacemaker. Additionally, it is not recommended that pregnant women use this technology!

Why Do I Recommend Using the Tanita Scale?

I recommend using scales that give this data because weight alone is not the best indicator of a healthy body! Being overfat can cause a multitude of serious health issues. Analysis can reveal if body composition is in the healthy range. For example, being skinny fat, this is a condition when one is within the normal weight range, however they have higher than acceptable body fat percentages. This normal weight person then has an increased risk for developing some of the same serious health condition associated with being obese. In average cases the BMI is a fabulous starting point to assist in determining if exercise or eating plan adjustments need to be made, but for specific plans I recommend using the Tanita scale information! Indeed, if Arnold Schwarzenegger had his weight measured on the Tanita scale, I am sure his body fat percentage would be lower than 8% (that is a guess so don’t hold me to it and but the internet estimates it between 6-8%).

The Tanita scale company provides many options for models that offer the parameters that I listed, some models have more features and some have fewer. Some of the models are blue tooth ready even!

I have always had access to the professional models which are priced in the thousands. Consumer models are priced much more affordably at between under $100 to under $600 for the top models with many more features than I am familiar with!

In my opinion, the Tanita brand is the Cadillac of scales that offer these features, and in keeping with my brand of recommendation, I have used it with success and recommend purchasing one of these machines. (Oh and I am certainly not paid for this recommendation….they don’t know me from Adam, but tell them nursechrisp.com sent you!)

If you are middle aged and are healthy and want to stay that way, using the Tanita scale can help.

If you are middle aged and have some health issues, my ebook Second Chance at Health: Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating can help you!

Buy the book now!

I look forward to hearing from you!

And just for the record if you have any medical electronic implantable devices… or are pregnant… DO NOT USE THIS SCALE…


Abs After 40


Once we hit our forties, we have to admit that our physiques are harder to maintain than ever before. What worked in our twenties and thirties does not seem to be working in our forties! Is it over? Are we destined to fade away into our senior years?

I say NOOOO! As we age, our hormone balance changes, which is natural, and along with those changes body composition will also change. Mid-life means that there will be gradual increased fat deposits and muscle loss (called sarcopenia) but we can maintain healthy and attractive bodies beyond our middle years with some adjustments to our diets and exercise regimens. In my book Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating, I discuss diet and exercise regimens that work for middle aged people.

In my experience middle age men and women will often ask me what the best exercise, and my answer is the one that you will do. They laugh, I laugh, but it’s true. More knowledge is not going to change your middle. Applying your knowledge will!

The Six Pack Abs are Just in the Cooler

Abs after 40 are NOT impossible to obtain! The first bit of information that a middle aged person should obtain is their body fat percentage. I have found that many of my clients do not have an absence of abdominal muscles, but as the saying goes “their four or six pack is just in the cooler”. If this is the case, and there is abdominal fat around the trunk of the person versus visceral fat, which I will discuss later in the article, then lowering the body fat will often be what reveals their abdominal muscles.

Body fat percentage recommendations vary depending on age and gender, but generally speaking for an adult middle aged male the body fat percentage should be between 8-19.9%, and 23-33.9 % for adult females. When body fat percentage is higher than these, the muscles that are there are covered in fat tissue! The way to reduce body fat is by changing your diet!

The Tanita scale is a specialized scale that will give you data using electrical impedence to determine many parameters, but the ones that I find most important are total body fat and visceral body fat percentage (for this article). Visceral body fat is the fat that is located around the body organs in the abdominal cavity. Those with high visceral body fat tend to be apple shaped, and have a large protruding round abdomen. This type of abdominal fat is more resistant to fat loss than fat that is not considered visceral fat. Losing visceral fat is not impossible, but it takes more dedication and more time to lose than the other type.

Lose the Cooler

So my suggestion for those with body fat higher than their recommended is to LOSE to the highest number in the range, 19.9% for males and 33.9% for females, and then assess how you feel about your abs! I bet you will be pleasantly surprised that they ARE there, and had been all along! If you feel that you want more definition, and then seek to be closer to the lower end of the normal range.

For those with visceral fat, your goal will be the same body fat percentage; however, losing fat in the abdomen will be later than in other areas of the body. I have seen men get frustrated that they lose their butts and then still have a large protruding belly. I tell them to persevere and eventually that visceral fat will disappear and then they can remodel their bodies through proper exercise.

So how do you get abs after 40? FIND them! Lose your body fat to within normal range and on the lower range if you want smashing abs.

Good Ab Exercises to Do

Of course I have some suggestions to build them as well! The best exercises for abs over 40 include the old school sit ups, crunches, side crunches, lower leg lefts, flutter kicks and planks (regular and side)! The BEST exercises for abs are the ones that you will do.
You can start out with 3 sets of 10 progressing to 5 sets of 10. My rule of thumb for the number of repetitions that I aim for is my age! Progress to doing the number of repetitions to your age in years! That way you will always be doing more! So your goal will be 3 to 5 sets of say 42, then next year 43 and so on!

Mid-life is not the time to give up on yourself, indeed, at mid-life you can take your second chance at health and head into your retirement years looking and feeling awesome! You won’t be looking like a twenty something, but you will look and feel like a healthy 50 something!

I have written a book just for us in middle age, called Second Chance at Health: Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating! In my book you will find suggestions for eating plans and exercise plans that can help you get your body fat percentage to within normal limits to find those abs!

Order my book now to discover the BEST diet and exercise plans for YOU!

Buy Book

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Screenings for Health

The Importance of Health Screening

You’re sick, you need to see a doctor now before you die… well that’s how it feels anyway. But you don’t have your own doctor. Your only option is to go to a walk-in clinic or urgent care and while you get good care, you really don’t feel cared for. Establishing a relationship with a primary care doctor or provider when you are not sick is the easiest way to be able to be seen quickly. Health screening visits are important and also a good way to establish a relationship before you is sick.

Patient/doctor relationships are important to establish before you are sick for a number of reasons. First, if you are an established patient, you can usually get seen the same day by someone you know. Secondly if there is a serious condition your own doctor will be able to take care of you through the whole episode.

But why would you go to the doctor if you are not sick?

Health screenings should occur at various intervals depending on age. If you are a parent, you likely managed to keep the well-baby and well child visits, but what about your well visits? In keeping with my target audience, I will be focusing on health screenings that are recommended for those in their 30’s and beyond.

Screenings vary depending on gender, and for this blog, I refer to men as those with male organs (internal and/or external), and women with female organs (internal and/or external). Unless you have removed the organs that you were born with and regardless how you present yourself socially, gender specific health screenings are very important.

The screening’s that I recommend are typically performed during a “wellness” visit. These visits can take up to one hour. Some of the testing may require additional visits to other specialists. If you are already experiencing lifestyle related diseases like diabetes type 2, high cholesterol and high blood pressure you will see your doctor more often than once per year.

Annual Wellness Visit Screening Recommendations for Healthy Individuals

These are common screenings, and your doctor/provider may recommend fewer or additional testing based on your personal situation. It is important to follow their advice regarding your health screenings.

Every 1-3 Years ages 27-49: General Health Screening

Health history, blood pressure (goal <120/80), BMI (a simple height to weight ratio: goal <25), physical exam, eye exam, blood cholesterol, fasting blood sugar, diabetes screening for over- weight or obese people.

Cancer Screenings

Females: pap smears every 3 years with HPV screening every 5
Males: testicular and prostate screening if recommended by doctor/provider

Specialized Screening

Diet counseling for adults at higher risk for chronic disease
IBS and Digestive Screenings
Mental Health Screening/Depression Screening
Immunizations Health Screenings
Sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention counseling for adults at higher risk
Statin preventive medication for adults 40 to 75 at high risk
Abdominal aortic aneurysm one-time screening for men of specified ages who have ever smoked
Alcohol misuse screening and counseling
Tobacco use screening

Every 1-3 Years ages 50-70: General Health Screening
The above screenings PLUS any of these additional:

Mammogram screening
Cholesterol screening for adults of certain ages or at higher risk
Colorectal cancer screening for adults 50 to 75
Diet counseling for adults at higher risk for chronic disease
Falls prevention (with exercise or physical therapy and vitamin D use) for adults 65 years and over, living in a community setting
Lung cancer screening for adults 55-80 at high risk for lung cancer because they’re heavy smokers or have quit in the past 15 years
Obesity screening and counseling
Statin preventive medication for adults 40 to 75 at high risk
Syphilis screening for adults at higher risk
Tuberculosis screening for certain adults without symptoms at high risk

As you can see there are many health screenings available to help you remain as healthy. This list is certainly not exhaustive but is a good start!

Good nutrition and the proper amount of exercise will set your body up to remain healthy. Screenings can assist you in early identification and perhaps save your life.

Schedule your annual wellness exam today.

If you want help regaining your health, order my downloadable book, Second Chance at Health: Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating to begin your journey back to health!

NurseChrisP, PLLC Disclaimer

All content found on nursechrisp.com website, including text, images, audio or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of our doctor or other qualified medical health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


Technology to Help You Stick to Your Resolutions

How and why to use technology to lose weight and stick to your resolution’s for 2019

Apps for Health

The first week of January 2019 has passed and how did you do? Were you able to stay focused on you’re the goals that you set? In our technological age, no matter what our goals are, we don’t have to do it alone. Historical and recent studies show that support from technology can help you stick to your resolutions.

In this blog I will discuss my  top picks. I will describe 4 apps that you could use to help you stick to your resolutions and stay on track and why you should use them.

Why use technology as a tool for weight loss?

Changing our habits, any habit requires alterations in our behaviors, which is what makes it so difficult. Our behaviors are learned. They are learned from our culture, our family interactions and from our own experiences. Although we may feel that changing is difficult there are many high quality and easy to use smart phone apps that can encourage us, keep us on track and reward us for a job well done!

Self-monitoring for food intake and physical activity are not new. Tthese behavioral modification techniques have been around since the 1960’s. What is new are the plethora of applications that are available. Research has shown immediate reductions in weight when food logs are used. The reduction in weight was attributed to more awareness as well as concern of what the nutritionist or dietitian would think of them. The smart phone applications eliminate the concern about what another person thinks, but often just realizing you have to log it and look at the resulting number is deterrent enough.

What Are My Top 4 Apps for Self-monitoring?

My top picks for self-monitoring applications are (and these are in no particular order). I have never had a paid subscription to any of these applications as I was always able to meet my needs with the free subscription and did not mind the advertisements.

All of these applications allow for personalization of goals, food and exercise tracking and food analysis with other variables. I cannot recommend one or the other, however, My Diet Coach is pretty fun to use and it offers tips and other specific helps.

1. MyFitnessPal
2. Carb Manager
3. Lose It!
4. My Diet Coach

Here is a brief description of each one:

1. MyFitnessPal-

This is a highly rated application that has a free and a paid subscription. This application in the free modality allows for documentation of foods, hydration and activity via free entry, bar code scanning and has a robust search and find option for both. MyFitnessPal is easy to use and is customizable to your macros, nutrition and weight loss goals. It offers a recipe importer, restaurant logging capabilities, food insights, and nutrient calculator. In addition this application also has connectivity to over 50 other apps and devices so that you can log your exercise and movement with ease.

This application also allows for community building so you can ensure that your support stays right by your side, or you can join their community for tips, advice and motivation. Charting your progress is easy and it is so nice to see progress in an easy to read graph. Macros and nutrition data are visible on easy to view charts. Your success is also sharable if you want to do that! There is a paid subscription which offers more features, but like I said, I never needed more than what the free one offered.

2. Carb Manager-

This highly used application (they state that over 3 million users strong) is perfect for those on low carb, ketogenic, Paleo, Adkins, and macro diets. This application provides the nutrient information for NET carbs, which automatically calculates by subtracting sugar alcohols and fiber as well and total carbohydrates easily. You can track your exercise and activity as well, and it also interfaces with other applications. This application has an extensive food and exercise data base which makes it very likely that your selections are available. Carb Manager also offers bar or product code scanning.

Visual charts are available to track your BMI and weight. Macros and nutrition data such as total carbs, net carbs, fat, calories, protein and more are viewable on charts or lists. This application also offers a neat feature that allows you to log your food with a picture or you can choose to voice log your food and exercise! Additionally there are recipes for users as well. I only used the free subscription, but the paid subscription offers many perks that are not available for free such as, exclusive recipes, advances reports of streaks, meal and macro analysis and more.

3. Lose It!-

This popular application (they boast over 35 million users), utilizes proven principles of calorie and movement tracking. This application will calculate daily calorie budget based on your personal data entered. This application can customize your macronutrients, water, health and body measurements goals. Lose It! Utilizes a status bar making it easy to monitor your progress at a glance. This app allows you to connect to other devices and friends. You can create private or public challenges with other Lose it! users. The application will offer insight into your habits as your log your foods and activity and will offer advice on how to address them.

This is a small team of fewer than 30 people that offers a big payoff for those wanting to right size their weight through healthy eating and exercise. Additionally, this application supports a newer niche in the health market that uses personalized DNA evaluation to recommend foods, drinks and activities personalized to you through embodyDNA.

4. My Diet Coach-

This was my first diet application that I used. It is fun, motivating and easy. This one helps you “find your inner motivation, stay on track, make lifestyle changes, resist cravings and avoid exercise laziness.” You customize your reminders to attend a scheduled class, to exercise, or take motivational photos. It offers inspiring quotes and tips that will motivate you to stay on track. You design your own avatar and earn fashion items to “dress” yourself.

The app has a slim-down animation that is so fun to use that helps you visualize your success, because your avatar slims with you. Like the other apps there is easy food logging, bar code scanning, exercise and calorie counter, and water consumption monitoring. It remembers your meals and commonly eaten foods, and even has a recipe calorie calculator. This application also integrates with Apple Health and others. It offers daily food challenges and even a food craving panic button.

I hope that you found these descriptions helpful. Using apps is a fun and effective way to support your goals. If you are still uncertain of which one to try, just start with one and try it for a few weeks. and you don’t like it you can try the others.

If you need assistance in determining the best exercise plan and best diet plan for you, my ebook Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating can be that guide. It is an easy to read book that outlines the importance of making the decision for health. I have included decision trees for you to follow that can be used repeatedly as your needs change.
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Weight Management: State of Science and Opportunities for the Military. (2004) Weight Loss and Maintenance Strategies Chapter 4. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK221839/

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