This is a great reminder to us all. Whether we seek to take physical action or action to move us to better place emotionally.

Daily Health Boost

Today’s Inspiration:

“Nothing replaces action. We can read and think about things as much as we can but this not guarantee any succes and improvement in real life. Of course it helps a lot to gain knowledge and understanding about something and sometimes this can really open your eyes to something new. However, often taking action can be the hardest part and this article can help you with that. (and taking action on itself of course 😉 ! )”

How to Take More Action: 9 Powerful Tips

“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”
~Leonardo Da Vinci

To get things done you need to take action. Things seldom happen on their own.
But taking action can be difficult and hard. And so it’s easy to wind up…

View original post 1,012 more words

Keurig Krazy

Behind every successful woman is a substantial amount of coffee.
~Stephanie Piro

I love coffee. The warmth, the smell, the way it warms my throat and scatters the sludge from my brain. I enjoy my first cup every morning snuggled on the couch with the two pups while I check email, Facebook, etc. Prior to (bariatric) surgery, I enjoyed Starbucks every day, sometimes twice a day. My caffeinated drug of choice was a Venti White Mocha with a calorie content in the neighborhood of 600 calories each. Initially after surgery, I gave up my coffee. I didn’t need the acidity in my sensitive little stomach pouch and I struggled quite a bit to get my fluids in every day, so no caffeine undoing the hydration process. After a few years though I began venturing back into the wonderful world of coffee.

I like frou-frou coffee. You know what I mean, the calorie laden, barely beige beverage topped off with a mound of whipped cream drizzled in caramel or chocolate. However, neither my wallet or my waistline enjoy those frou-frou drinks purchased at stores with Mermaids hanging around outside so I’ve spent quite a bit of time investigating how I can have my type of coffee without drinking hundreds of liquid calories.

Flavored coffee beans (or flavored ground coffee) have essentially no calories, <5 per 6 ounce serving (seriously? who actually owns and uses a 6 ounce coffee cup????) Some people are strong enough to just enjoy the flavored coffees black (I'm not one of them, not enough hair on my chest to drink black coffee!); however, I've discovered so many ways to add little to no calories to these flavored coffees resulting in drinks that rival Starbucks. My pre-Keurig favorite was the Millstone Caramel Truffle coffee combined with Splenda and Sugar Free Vanilla Caramel Coffeemate.

A couple of years ago, I was introduced to the wonderful world of Keurig. I had coveted the Keurig for quite awhile and the week after Christmas 2010, it was destiny. The machines were 40% off at Macy’s. I bought the big industrial strength one with the water reservoir for home and the single mini for the office. This opened a whole new world! All those funky flavored coffees I had wanted to try but didn’t think hubby would like I could now try. Single serve, fresh brewed whenever you want it. There are many, many, MANY options available and the best deal is at Amazon. I discovered Gloria Jean’s butter toffee flavor combined with splenda and SF caramel vanilla is as good as any toffee nut latte I’ve had at SB for less than $1.00 and less than 50 calories. I thought I had reached coffee nirvana.

Oh, the best was yet to come…I finally caved in to peer pressure and decided to try the Torani’s sugar free syrups. Oh my! I’m sure the baristas think I have died. I’m quite sure I’ve died and gone to coffee heaven. Between going crazy with the Torani SF sampler and the sample packs of K-cups at Bed, Bath and Beyond, my counter now looks like we run a corner coffee shop! Below are some of my new favorite discoveries (warning, I like my drinks to taste sweet, you may be fine without adding the splenda.)

Start with this K-cup Add this Torani SF Syrup Add this SF Creamer +Splenda
Gloria Jean’s Mudslide Peanut Butter Plain or White Choc Caramel
Gloria Jean’s Butter Toffee English Toffee Vanilla Caramel
Green Mountain Gingerbread Gingerbread Gingerbread
Green Mountain Hazelnut Hazelnut Hazelnut
Van Houtte White Chocolate Mint Peppermint Peppermint Mocha

Those are just a few of my favorites, the combos are endless and just to add another usage for those wonderful SF syrups, try mixing it in with Fage 0% Greek Yogurt for a high protein, low calorie breakfast. Now the pups are fully awake, I’ve had two cups so I’m fully awake, so it’s time to get on with the day. Next dose of caffeine slated for 2 PM at work. You know, I must keep the caffeine level therapeutic at all times to function properly! Share your favorite low cal coffee combo below.


My Television Debut

Today wasn’t the first time I’ve been on TV, but it was the first time I’ve been on NATIONAL TV. CBS This Morning did a segment on the Blame and Shame ad campaign Georgia is running regarding childhood obesity. First, let me say I really applaud the children in the ads for being brave enough to put themselves out there and subject themselves to the many discussions taking place about the ad campaign. The young lady interviewed today stated she is beautiful and she needed to get herself healthy. Again, I applaud her for her attitude and her mother for providing an atmosphere at home where her daughter realizes her beauty is not directly tied to her weight. However, (you knew there was a big however coming, right?) very few pre-pubescent and adolescent kids who are affected by obesity are self confident enough and secure enough to talk about their weight on national TV.

As I explained yesterday, I was the “fat” kid, teenager and adult. I thank God every day for my gastric bypass which helped me get my weight under control and continues to help me keep it under control. At 46 years old and nearly 11 years post surgery, I continue to struggle with my body image. I continue to feel “fat.” As I was sitting in the studio waiting to give this interview, ear bud in place, microphone on, first I was thinking about was what am I going to say? How am I going to get my point across? How am I going to make them understand this blame and shame is wrong, wrong, wrong? I was also thinking, sit up, sit up straight, TV adds 10 pounds, will they wonder why this “fat” person is speaking about childhood obesity? Then, I overheard the conversation through the ear bud…the two letters that strike fear in the heart of every woman…HD. We’re filming in HD, got to have the HD feed going. Holy moley, all thoughts about what I was going to say floated out the window. All I could think of was, HD, HD, I knew I should have put on more concealer! Will my brown spot show? What about my turkey gobbler? Oh no, my turkey gobbler will be in HD for all the world to see!

Well the segment has aired, Chloe is beautiful. She is confident, intelligent and making the right choices. If the campaign was focused on the same topics that she was interviewed on, it could really have a positive effect. Instead, the campaign is derogatory, stigmatizing and simply disappointing.

CBS This Morning Segment: Child in Controversial Ad Campaign Speaks Out You can view the segment here. I feel I did get a tiny bit of my point across. Yes, you could see my turkey gobbler in HD, but my hair looked pretty darn good!


Shame the Kids and Blame the Parents

What is your gut reaction to an image like this?

In case you haven’t heard, there has been a sharp increase in childhood obesity in the U.S. in the last decade. It’s actually estimated the current generation of children being born may be the first generation not to outlive their parents. This is specifically related to the rise in obesity and the severity of obesity related health conditions. While many choose to stick their heads in the sand and ignore the issue, others, such as the Obesity Action Coalition are seeking ways to educate parents, teachers and healthcare providers on how together we can work to address this alarming rise in obesity among our children. Still others, who shall remain nameless (but not for long), feel the best route to address childhood obesity is to shame the children and blame the parents. This alarming campaign uses children affected by obesity on billboards and in ads with statements that make these children and others direct targets for the haters and the bullies. Some of the ads state, “Fat Kids Become Fat Adults,” and “Big Bones Didn’t Make Me This Way, Big Meals Did.” Since the bullies didn’t have nearly enough hurtful, demeaning taunts for kids affected by obesity, I would like to publicly thank Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for providing fresh fuel for the fire.

I was that fat kid in school. On the first day of first grade, I was greeted with, “Hello, Chub Chub.” I heard that greeting for the next 12 years. Of course, that was 40 years ago. There were only 2 of us “fatties” in our first grade class. In middle school, there were 5 of us. Not a single one of us had parents that were obese. I played on the high school tennis team (not very well, but that’s another story), I rode my bike, I grew up on a farm where I helped out by walking behind the tobacco setter and picked up rocks in the field, meaning I ate what my parents ate, I was active, but I was still an obese child and an obese teenager and an obese adult. I have been made fun of my whole life because of my weight and it didn’t help me lose a single pound.

If shaming worked, then in high school I would have been wearing those cute size 3 Levi’s, not the Lane Bryant 18s with the rainbow stitching down the leg. Instead, this is how shaming works. You have someone who is already overweight, obese, “fat”. Chances are pretty high they already have low self esteem, a low sense of self worth and are already self isolating from others as protection from the shame, blame and ridicule of the bullies. You feel miserable and alone. What’s the one thing that may bring a brief temporary feeling of pleasure? Carb laden food (which creates a chemical reaction that stimulates the pleasure center in our brain). Which you eat in private to self medicate those deeply wounded feelings of despair. Then afterward, you feel so guilty and so shameful that a vicious cycle begins.

Wow, shaming is obviously so effective for treating obesity, let’s move on to blaming. Any time anything is not quite right in our world, there has to be fault, right? Not our fault of course, but someone’s fault. The sooner you assign blame to someone else, the sooner you’re no longer part of the problem, but part of the solution, right? I hope by now you’ve realized my level of sarcasm is off the chart today!

When I was a new mom, (24 years ago!) I had absolutely no idea what my son was supposed to weigh or how much weight he was supposed to gain at what intervals. When we would go in for well baby visits and the pediatrician would tell me he was in the 99th percentile for weight or “off the chart” I didn’t know that was a bad thing. I heard 99th percentile and correlated that to making a 99% on a test, it must be good, right? It was never explained to me as a new mother that the target was the 50th percentile. [INSERT OPPORTUNITY FOR EDUCATION HERE!] We bottle fed our children with formula. Since they were “big babies” they needed more food, right? We started putting cereal in their formula at 3 months. [INSERT OPPORTUNITY FOR EDUCATION HERE!] As the boys became older, we continued not to allow soda in our house; however, I now know the amount of juice they were drinking was empty liquid calories. [INSERT OPPORTUNITY FOR EDUCATION HERE!] There are many other opportunities for education of our parents and our children regarding: portion sizes, food choices, how to read a nutrition label, how various foods make our bodies feel and how those foods affect how our bodies run.

Wake up people! We as a nation did not just wake up one morning to find 68 percent of us overweight or obese. We did not wave a magic Twinkie wand that caused 1 out of 3 of our children to become affected by obesity. If we could all just choose our weight, I’m pretty confident very few of us would choose to have a BMI that puts our health at risk and makes us fodder for Jay Leno. I’m equally confident our children would not choose to be made fun of or to be bullied every day simply because of their size. It is time we acknowledge that obesity is a complex, multi-factorial disease process that requires multiple avenues of treatment. We have to begin early to focus on prevention by educating our parents, teachers and children. We have to provide access to all levels of treatment for all levels of obesity. But wait, that might cost money, right? It will, but it won’t cost nearly as much as the treatments for all of the obesity related health conditions we currently treat: diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, reflux, cancer. We do cover treatment for diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, reflux and cancer; we would never dream of not covering those treatments. So why do we not cover the same level of treatment for adult and childhood obesity? Oh, I know, because shaming and blaming is so much more effective, right? Oh, and its cheaper too, right? Hmmm, I believe those billboards, ads, and websites were pretty expensive. Money much better spent on classes, training, education, screening and treatment. But if we did that…it might mean we were treating obesity like a complex, multi-factorial disease process.


When we say our fur babies, it may be closer than you think!

The boys in Mom's lap

You’ve already met our two dogs, Geordie and Brady. I’ve been laughing quite a bit as they’ve been getting to know each other. The first week we brought Brady home, Geordie hardly “spoke” to me. I definitely got both the cold shoulder and the cold tail. It reminded me of when Colin was two years old and Reo brought him to the hospital to meet his new baby brother. Colin promptly took one look at Brandon lying in the little bassinet, then looked at me, and stomped over to sit in a chair across the room with his arms crossed. He wouldn’t speak to me, he wouldn’t sit with me, he wouldn’t even look at me. The whole first week we were home with the new baby, Colin would just glare at me. Eventually, he tried to “play” with Brandon, if you call dropping toys on him playing…

Fast forward to when we took Geordie to meet Brady before deciding to bring him home. We met Brady at the groomer’s (Heavenly Paws in Clarksville who groomed this Tennessee Death Row Dog for free!) I went in and sat in the floor and played with him first. Then Reo came in and played with him for a bit. Then he went to the car and brought Geordie in to meet him. As dogs typically do, they sniffed each other and looked at each other and then sniffed each other some more. Brady (at the time known as Dillard) came around and sat in my lap. Geordie did not like that at all! He kind of play nipped at him to try and get him up. Then Brady went over to see Reo for a few minutes and Geordie decided it was time to make his move. He promptly walked around to my side, started at my knee and proceeded to hike his leg and urinate on my leg from knee to ankle! While the lady from Heavenly Paws and the lady from TDRD gasped (and of course, Reo laughed), Geordie walked away, chest puffed out, looking so proud, you could almost hear him say, “My momma.” I think the fact that I didn’t freak out helped seal our adoption fate with Brady. (It may have also helped that when they asked for proof that Geordie had been vaccinated for rabies that I had a copy of the documentation on my iPhone.)

Now, we’ve all been one [mostly] happy family for a couple of weeks. I still have flashbacks to when Colin and Brandon were jealous of each other (like yesterday? literally, it was yesterday!) when watching Geordie and Brady play. They will run and play and chase each other and get along great, but then…I catch Geordie looking across the room when Brady is in my lap. He has this look like, “Why, why did you bring him here? Wasn’t I enough? Didn’t I deserve all of your love?” That look of course, breaks my heart and I go scoop him up (as much as you can scoop up nearly 50 pounds of dog) and love and kiss on him. While doing so Brady will come put his fluffy little paws on my leg like, “What about me? What about me?”

They have learned how to fake each other out too. Geordie will be sitting beside me when Brady will grab one of Geordie’s toys. Of course, Geordie is going to jump off the couch, bark at Brady and go grab the toy. By the time Geordie turns around to show off the toy he has rescued, Brady is sitting in his spot looking all satisfied and I swear I can just hear him saying, “Na-na, na-na, boo-boo.” I would totally be lying if I said I don’t love all this attention. Fur babies are the best!


Dog People? Cat People? Caring People!

Earlier this week I gave you a little update from the OAC retreat by introducing you to our board members who are by my definition “scary smart.” At every retreat we always begin with some type of ice breaker during our introductions. This year I asked everyone to tell us something work related, something personal and we also tossed the thumb ball person to person to learn fun facts about each other, such as worst job ever, favorite concert, etc.

Icebreaker Thumb Ball

I began by introducing myself, showing off my laptop wallpaper of my two new pound pups. As we went around the room and completed introductions (5 staff members and 13 out of 14 board members), we noticed an interesting phenomenon, all but one of us had either dogs or cats that we included in our introductions and the really interesting fact to me…nearly all were shelter or rescue dogs! It just made me wonder is there a pattern? The people on our board are some of the busiest professionals I’ve ever met. They are also extremely dedicated to multiple volunteer organizations and the OAC is blessed to have every single one of them. Yes, the OAC is lucky to have their expertise, their “free labor,” and certainly their dedication; however, I believe we are most lucky to have their truly kind and caring attitude. We know those affected by obesity are many times not treated kindly. Often we’re ridiculed, blamed, shamed or just plain ignored. Kind of like a shelter dog (no, I am not saying we’re dogs, I’m just drawing a comparison!) When you care about an issue, any issue and are truly passionate about seeing the issue improve, you work really hard, it tends to permeate every area of your life. Hearing this group of people I respect so much describe their pets really allowed a peek into the kind and caring side we know resides within each of them.

What’s the point of this post? Well, since the retreat I’ve not been able to get it out of my head how this group is really working to rescue the rights of those affected by obesity, the same way they rescued their pets, with strength, devotion and dedication. If you’ve not yet joined the OAC, please do so now. It will be the best $20 you’ve ever spent.

If you’re looking for a new pet, let me steer you in the right direction for that too!

Geordie Davis, age 1 adopted from Bonaparte's Retreat

This is Geordie Davis, who came to us in October of 2011 via Bonaparte’s Retreat. Geordie was just under a year old, fully potty trained, crate trained, super smart and super sweet. He is a mixture of sweetness, he has some Scottie in him as well as Basset hound (his front paws) and lab (he is a water dog and obsessed with tennis balls.) He is the best natured dog I’ve ever seen, he lets me dress him up but he hates to be brushed.

Brady Davis adopted from Tennessee Death Row Dogs 12/29/2011

Brady Davis, came to us on December 29th, 2011 via Tennessee Death Row Dogs (who had rescued him from the Montgomery County Animal Shelter.) Brady is a four year old Cocker Spaniel who’s owners turned him in the day after Christmas (I simply canNOT imagine!) He is house broken, we’re working on crate training and he is the best little snuggle bunny ever!
Now, go out and pay it forward, share your dedication, devotion and support to a cause. Might I suggest the OAC?


Who are the Scary Smart?

There is “smart,” there is “really smart,” and there is “scary smart”—so smart that you are glad the person uses their mind for good and not to rule the planet for their own enrichment. ~Professor David Tulloch, Rutgers University

It was my great honor to take over as chair of the Obesity Action Coalition on January 1st. This past weekend we held our annual OAC board of directors retreat. It is such an amazing time where much work is accomplished (we begin our days at 8 AM and typically go until 9 PM only breaking for meals.) I’ve attended 5 of these retreats and every time I leave refreshed, head bursting with ideas and so impressed that I am allowed to hang out with such a fascinating group of people.

This year’s retreat was a little doubly intimidating for me going in to it. This was my first retreat as chair, my first opportunity to “set the tone” for the next couple of years. We also elected not to have a facilitator this year which means the group had to listen to me drone on for the majority of the two days. Thank goodness there was some welcome relief with presentations from Joe, James and Kristy! I cannot over emphasize how excited I am at every retreat just to get to hang out with these folks. While we added three new board members last year and two new members this year, they were people that you just immediately feel like you’ve known forever.

This year we actually built an hour of “catching up” time into the beginning of the agenda because we are such a social group that truly enjoy each other. We then reviewed the Mission of the OAC-
The mission of the OAC is to elevate and empower those affected by obesity through education, advocacy and support.
We next spent a good deal of time developing our Vision. The finished product will be available soon and of course, we’ll look at it here! These two powerful items framed the entire weekend. Truly, if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never arrive at your destination. Last year, we developed several committees and included our general membership as well as the board of directors and advisory board on those committees. We reviewed the work and directives of those committees and well, let’s just say no matter how much we accomplish, there is always more work to be done. A primary focus is how we (no, that is not a royal we) can change the public perception of obesity (much, much more coming on that in the future.)

Friday afternoon as I looked around the room at our board, I was just completely blown away by the dedication and excitement of this group of professionals that volunteer so much of their time to the OAC. I began this post with a definition of the scary smart. That’s kind of funny to me because I thought I had originated that term! Every time I look at our board members and staff, I always think, “Wow, what a great group of people, they are just scary smart!” You may be wondering who is among this list of “scary smart?” I’m stealing this list from the OAC site, I added my favorite links for these individuals.
Current Members of the OAC National Board of Directors

Pam Davis, RN, CBN, OAC Chairperson

Barbara Thompson, MLS, Immediate-Past Chairman

Georgeann Mallory, RD, OAC Treasurer

Titus Duncan, MD

Jim Fivecoat, MBA

Amber D. Huett

Jacqueline Jacques, ND

Robert Kushner, MD

Ted Kyle, RPh, MBA

Walter Lindstrom, Jr., Esquire

Holly F. Lofton, MD

Tracy Martinez, RN, BSN, CBN

Rebecca Puhl, PhD

Lloyd Stegemann, MD

Directors Emeritus

Robin Blackstone, MD

Julie M. Hill-Janeway, BBA, MSA, JD, ABD/PhD

Christopher Still, DO, FACN, FACP

Please know these “scary smart” people are working hard every day to elevate and empower those affected by obesity through education, advocacy and support.


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead

Are you ready to help change the world? Or at least your corner of it? Join the group that is steadfastly working to change the public perception of obesity, please join the OAC.


Yes, I’m Cheating

Okay, I admit it. I am officially cheating tonight. I am dog tired (pun intended) from the OAC board retreat this weekend (I promise I’ll write about it tomorrow) and since I just received the pleasant surprise of seeing an article about me in the Nashville Medical News, I’m cheating and posting the link to their article for tonight.

Don’t hate me, I’ll do better tomorrow. As Scarlett said, “To-mah-ra is anotha day.”


Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Let sleeping dogs lie? Where's the fun in that?

You have probably heard that old expression before, to “Let sleeping dogs lie,” or alternately, “Don’t poke a skunk.” Both warning you not to rock the boat. You should “just go with the flow, accept things as they are, etc.” Enough of this nonsense! If you don’t shake things up every now and then, you’ll never know what coulda, shoulda, woulda been.

I don’t mean you should go out and incite a riot or anything of that magnitude, but if you continue to do what you’ve always done, then you’ll have what you always have. Oh my, apparently I can’t stop myself!

I love going into a job, any type of job whether it’s a new work role, volunteer role or even just a home project and figuring out why things currently are the way they are and how we can work together to make them better. At work, when I’m trying to figure out why we’re doing something a particular way, they know better than to give me the answer, “because we’ve always done it that way.” I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t cut it with me. I am challenging each and every one of you to challenge something in your life. Ask yourself, “Why, why, why am I doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?”

For example, you may be planning to work on your weight “one more time.” Have you always waited until Monday to start your diet? Why? Other days of the week work just fine. If you fall off the wagon, do you view that as a green light to eat whatever you want the rest of the day? Why? So you weren’t perfect, none of us are, start back on track right now, today. Do you feel the need to prepare “special, diet food” just for you and another meal for your family? Why? This time make it a lifestyle change for everyone in your family and focus on how together you can make fun, nutritious meals and not on making anyone feel deprived because they’re on a DIET.

Poke that skunk. Wake up that sleeping dog, ’cause they can be a LOT of fun, they can change your attitude and help you change your life. I’m off to wake up those sleeping dogs!


Procrastin-a-a-tion, it’s making me wait.

It’s not like I purposefully put things off…well, maybe I do a little bit. When you are a bit of a perfectionist and a tad impatient (I prefer things done right, the first time, five minutes ago), it can make for a complex situation when you have multiple projects and multiple deadlines. As it is in so many things in life, you have to learn how you work best. What I have learned is when I finish something really early, I will continue to go back and nitpick it to pieces trying to make it “better.” I’ve also learned I do my best work under a moderate amount of pressure. You know when you get to that moment where you realize, “Holy smokes, if I don’t get this finished in the next few hours, XYZ will happen or not happen?” That moment where you’re heart rate is up a little, you purge your world of all, or at least most, distractions, knuckle down and “get ‘er done.” That’s when I go at it like I’m killing snakes and wind up with a great finished project. There’s not time to obsess over which type of font to use or which photo looks best. There’s not time to second guess what you ‘coulda, ‘shoulda, ‘woulda done if you had more time because you’ve mentally cleared all the distractions out of the path.

I know you may be thinking my life would be much less stressful if I just moved that whole process up by a few hours, or days, or in some cases weeks. I prefer to think of it as my daily prioritization. It’s not like I don’t intend to start earlier, there just tends to be a new priority that comes in every day and when something isn’t due yet, it’s easier to put that off. Like this blog. My plan was to type it up Wednesday so it was ready to post today. However, Wednesday I had to work on the presentations that I needed to review on Thursday before presenting on Friday, and well, there it goes.

Today begins our annual Obesity Action Coalition board retreat so you may not hear from me again until Sunday.