'I Lost 50 Pounds, Even Though I Hate The Gym'


"It was just not my scene."

By Alanna Maniscalco as told to Danielle Page

Jun 15, 2018


I've always been on the heavier side—but it wasn't until college that I realized I was an emotional eater

I'd eat when I was stressed out, if I had a bad day, or if I was upset. My core meals weren't necessarily unhealthy—but the amount of emotional snacking I did each day really did me in. Sweets were my weakness: Throughout the day, I'd have cookies, cereal, or chips—as often as I wanted, and as much as I wanted.

During that time, I tried all the diets—Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, various cleanses—but I'd always end up gaining any weight I lost back. 

Continue reading the full article here

Are You Still Planning to Lose Weight & Get in Shape?


It’s time to stop planning and start empowering yourself. The time to move is now, and a group personal training is the perfect way to get started.

Exercising by yourself can be tough.  Nobody knows if you skip, there is no one to push you a little harder, and you don’t have a commitment to anyone else.  One day off turns into two, and before you know it, weeks have passed without you even raising a sweat.  Getting fit in isolation can be done, but it’s much harder and requires a resolve few of us have.

That is perhaps why the popularity of group personal training programs is exploding:  people sign up for them because they work. 

Group Personal Training Benefits

1.  The biggest benefit that a group personal training offers is support.  When you join a group personal training program, you are ensuring that you have like-minded people to motivate you and a qualified leader to help you reach your weight loss and fitness milestones.  If staying motivated is a challenge for you, then a group personal training program will energize you to keep going.  Members of group personal training programs can become close friends as they work hard and celebrate together.

2.  You will push yourself harder in a group personal training program.  During your workouts, there are no distractions to cause you  to lose your momentum or excuses to slack off.  Your coach will expect compliance, and while we will certainly work within your ability, you will be amazed at how far you can go in the right environment. The feeling you get when you know you have pushed yourself a little further than you thought you could will give you confidence in all other areas of your life. 

3.  Cost wise, you can’t go wrong with a group personal training program.  They are led by certified personal trainers (not group fitness instructors), and this means that you get tailored, one-on-one help that approaches the attention that you get when you hire a personal trainer.  But it costs much less!

4.  Ready for quick results?  Group personal training program generally incorporate variations of high intensity interval training or HIIT for short. HIIT training has been scientifically proven to be more effective and more efficient than traditional exercist programs.  We’re not playing games in here.  Our goal is to change your life and have a great time doing it!

5.  It’s fun! Team training takes the torture out of serious workouts.  There is nothing like laughing with each other as you struggle through those last push ups or pant through that last few seconds of burpees.  In fact, a recent study has proven that pleasant distraction reduces pain.1  Don’t worry-we’re not going to torture you, but any serious fitness work has moments of discomfort.  The distraction of having others around you doing the same thing can mean the difference between finishing with a smile on your face and not finishing at all

If you are tired of the same old fitness routine or tired of your good intentions to get in shape leading nowhere, then a group personal training programmay be exactly what you need.  

It’s (Almost) Summer! Beat the Heat with these Summer Workout Tips


Baby, it’s hot out there! 

If you have been working out over the past winter and spring months, you may be surprised at the new challenges that summertime fitness throws at you.  Today is the first day of summer, and you are probably discovering that your body reacts to the heat and humidity differently than it does to cooler, drier conditions.

But don’t let the heat cause you to lose your momentum.  You can keep working hard in the summer, you just have to adjust your approach a little.  Keep the following summertime fitness tips in mind as you continue getting stronger and healthier.

1.  Cool down first!  You can improve your performance in the heat by lowering your body temperature before heading outside.  Taking a cold shower or simply putting ice cold cloths on the back of your neck can help you to better tolerate the heat.

2.  Find some shade.  You may need to move your workout to a different area in order to be in the shade.  If you are a runner or biker, change your route to a wooded area. 

3.  Avoid coffee. Opt for Spark ®!  Because coffee acts as a diuretic, it forces water out of your system.  This is the last thing you want when exercising in the summer heat.  If you must, save your coffee intake for several hours before or after your workout, rather than near the time you will be exercising and add Spark® to your daily routine.  Spark® delivers energy and enhanced mental focus with 20 vitamins, minerals and nutrients!  Purchase product here.

4.  Stay hydrated with water & Rehydrate!  Drinking plenty of water + Rehydrate powder before, during and after your workout will reduce the heat stress on your body. 

5.  Choose your clothing carefully.  Now more than ever it is important to wear clothing that will move sweat away from your body and help it evaporate it quickly.  A cotton t-shirt may be fine in the winter, but you will be much cooler in a fabric designed for exercise.

6.  Change your workout time.  If you are used to exercising during lunch or in the afternoon, you may need to adjust your schedule for the summer months.  Early mornings and late evenings are the best times for outdoor exercise.  On blistering, hot days, even the shade will not bring much relief.

7. Wear white or light colored clothing.  Lighter colors reflect the heat better than darker, more intense colors. 

8.  Take breaks.  Your body can only handle so much extreme heat.  When the thermometer climbs, you may find that you need more frequent breaks to keep performing at your best.  Be sure to take them.  Listening to your body and caring for it is not a sign of weakness:  it’s smart.

9.  Monitor your heart.  The heat places greater stress on your heart.  Keep tabs on your heart rate as you work out in the heat.  If it spikes quickly or stays too high, give it a rest.

10.  Hit the gym.  You may find that it is best to simply move your workout indoors for the summer.  If you would prefer not to put your body under summer stress, work out in a gym.  You will have the added benefit of personal attention and group accountability.  It’s a great time to work on form, increase intensity, and plan out a new and exciting workout routine.  Beat the heat by mixing things up this summer-try a gym workout.

Get Un-Stuck for Mother's Day

This is for you, Moms.  In fact, whether you are a mom or not, this is for all the women out there who feel trapped in a cycle of, “One day, I am going to eat healthy, lose weight and really take care of myself.”

It’s time to get un-stuck, and we are here to help.

We know that it is hard to find time to focus on you.  And when you finally do take some time for yourself, you probably have a vague sense of guilt that there are other things more worthy of whatever effort or sacrifice you are making to work on you.

That’s part of being a mom.  You put others first.


But consider this.  Neglecting yourself is not good for you or those people who depend on you. The only way you can keep attending to your many responsibilities and joys is if your health is optimum.

Once your health starts declining, you will have no choice but to focus on yourself. 

Wouldn’t you rather do it now and know what it feels like to be fit and full of energy and still be there for those people who depend on you?

It’s hard to start

Yes, starting is hard.  In fact, it is probably the hardest part. 

It may be hard because you’ve ‘started’ before and failed.  That doesn’t matter anymore.  You are not doing it alone this time.  We are here to walk with you every step of the way.  We’re looking forward, not backward.

It may be hard because you have no idea where you will find the time to exercise.  We’ll help you with that too.  That’s what we do.

It may be hard because changing life-long patterns of eating seems completely undesirable right now.  We’ve been there.  And believe me; if some of us can do it, you can too.  The amazing thing is that once you get a taste of the energy and vitality that eating well brings, you won’t look back.

Waiting is dangerous

Listen.  The longer you wait to take your health seriously, the more damage you are doing to your body. 

There is only one way to slow down, stop and reverse many of the effects of aging (whether you are 20 or 70 years old):  sensible eating and consistent exercise.  (Well, that’s two, but they have to happen together)

·       Do you want to avoid the ravages of heart disease (the number one killer of women)?

·       Would you like to never experience the pain of a fractured, osteoporotic bone?

·       Do lowering your blood pressure, strengthening your knees and reducing aches and pains sound attractive to you?

·       Would you like to run a marathon (even if you’re 60!)?

It’s Yours

You’ve dreamed about it long enough. 

Make this Mother’s Day the beginning of a new chapter in your life.  Thousands of women just like you are doing it.  And we want to help you do it. 

Be strong, vibrant, fit and full of energy. 

It’s time to start. We’ll get you un-stuck and feeling better than you ever have.

Spring Cleaning: Time to Throw Out the Excuses


Other than New Year’s, there is probably no other time during the year that motivates us to make a fresh start like springtime does.  When the warm breezes start blowing, we want to throw open the windows and let the rebirth all around us revitalize our homes and our spirits.

Because it seems natural to clean out the old during this time of year, it’s a great time to come face to face with our excuses for not getting fit and healthy.  Excuses pile up just like the clutter that we accumulate in our houses, but it’s time to come clean.

What is your excuse for not choosing health?

I don’t have the time to exercise:  This is likely one of the most common excuses.  You are busy.  You have to work all day (or all night), you have to get the kids to school, you have to cook dinner, go to the grocery store, mow the lawn, change the oil in the car, care for your aging parents—there is simply no time for exercise.


Consider this. If you do not exercise, you will almost certainly begin experiencing the illness and disease that comes from an inactive lifestyle.  When you begin experiencing symptoms, you will have to make an appointment with the doctor, drive to your appointment, wait to be seen, schedule additional tests at the hospital, and wait for your prescriptions to be filled at the pharmacy.  And with chronic illness, this scenario will be played out month after month after month.  And it takes a lot of time.

Will you find the time in your busy life to see to your medical issues? 

Yes, of course you will.  You will make sure that you adjust your schedule and your life to accommodate your illness.  So why not adjust your schedule now to accommodate the prevention of illness through exercise? You do have the time; you just have to decide to use it.

The truth is that if you do not make the time for exercise, you will have to make time for illness.  And exercise takes a lot less time out of your life than disease.

I don’t like to exercise:  Again, a pretty common excuse.  But it won’t let you off the hook.  Lots of people do not like to exercise, but they make themselves do it anyway. Do you like feeling tired?  Do you like being overweight?  Do you like having to undergo medical tests?  Without exercise, you will feel tired, be overweight and become sick, so it comes down to choosing your ‘dislike.’ 

I don’t have the energy to exercise:  If you are unfit, you likely have low energy.  And when you don’t have much energy, the last thing you can imagine is exercising.  But until you become more active, you will not have the energy you so long for.  As you begin exercising, you will start having more energy.  You won’t start feeling better until you start moving.

It’s just not the right time for me to start working out.   “I’ll start working out when…

·       I get some decent exercise clothes

·       Summer vacation starts

·       The kids go back to school

·       I get my house organized

·       Work lets up

·       I have more time

·       Life calms down

·       The kids get older

·       The weather warms up a little

·       The weather cools down a little

·       Someday…just not today

It will never be the perfect time to start a fitness routine.

You just have to start.

Surrender your excuses

Decide to stop hiding behind your excuses.  Make a clean sweep and toss those excuses out.  Everybody has excuses for not exercising.  The fit and healthy people around you choose to give up the excuses and just do it.  That doesn’t mean it is easy for them.  It just means that they love feeling energetic, strong, healthy, and empowered enough to push in and get it done. 

You can be that way too.

Top Foods to Eat for A Healthy Lifestyle


Did you know the average person only eats 50 different types of food their entire lifetime?

The following recommendations apply to any meal situation whether you are in your home, at a fast food restaurant, fine dining or traveling.

Prepare or Request your meal to be prepared one of the following methods:

  • Steamed Broiled Dry (without butter or oil)
  • Open Grilled (Grilled with all fat able to drain off)
  • Barbecued (sugar-free sauce)
  • Microwaved (with all fat drained)
  • Raw
  • Poached
  • Boiled
  • Smoked

General guideline:

1. Use the Helping-Hand System for portion control if you have not received your recommended daily micronutrient intake.

2. Select 1 (one) of Protein foods per meal. Approximately one serving the size of the palm of your hand.

3. Select as many of the vegetable foods listed as you wish. Have at least the minimum serving, approximately 1 (one) hand-fist.

4. Eat high density high glycemic (HDHG) carbohydrates only following an intense exercise session if you are in phase 3 or 4 of your program.

Foods to Avoid

  • Processed food
  • Meats high in nitrate
  • Food with added salt
  • Food with added sugar
  • Saturated fat
  • Fried foods
  • Refined foods
  • Ingredients you can’t pronounce
  • Most Dairy products
  • Candy
  • Empty Calories


Vegetables – Frozen or Fresh

  • Alfalfa Sprouts
  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Avocados (Really a fruit and mostly good fat)
  • Beets
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Bamboo Shoots
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Bok Choy
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Collard greens
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Fennel
  • Garlic
  • Green beans
  • Green peas
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Mushrooms, crimini
  • Mushrooms, shiitake
  • Mustard greens
  • Okra
  • Olives
  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes (HDHG)
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Radish
  • Sea vegetables
  • Snow Peas
  • Spinach
  • Squash, summer
  • Squash, winter
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Swiss chard
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnip greens
  • Yams
  • Zucchini

Fruits – Frozen, Fresh or Dried

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Bananas (HDHG)
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe (HDHG)
  • Cranberries
  • Figs (HDHG)
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Kiwifruit
  • Lemon
  • Limes
  • Oranges
  • Papaya
  • Pears
  • Pineapple (HDHG)
  • Plums
  • Prunes
  • Raisins
  • Raspberries

Beans & Legumes – Fresh or Dry (HDHG)

  • Black beans
  • Dried peas
  • Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • Kidney beans
  • Lentils
  • Lima beans
  • Miso
  • Navy beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Soy beans
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh

Grains – Whole or Sourdough (HDHG)

  • Barley
  • Brown rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Corn
  • Millet
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Rye
  • Spelt
  • Whole wheat


  • Seafood
  • Flounder
  • Haddock
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Salmon
  • Scallop
  • Shrimp
  • Sole
  • Squid
  • Tilapia
  • Trout
  • Whitefish
  • Bass
  • Cod
  • Halibut
  • Lobster
  • Mahi Mahi
  • Snapper
  • Tuna (Canned white low sodium)
  • Bluefish
  • Grouper
  • Sea Bass
  • Orange Roughy
  • Shark
  • Swordfish
  • Tuna (Ahi)

Poultry & Lean Meat

  • Beef: Eye of Round
  • Filet Mignon
  • Flank Steak
  • Sirloin Steak
  • Extra Lean Ground
  • Buffalo: Eye of Round
  • Filet Mignon
  • Flank Steak
  • Sirloin Steak
  • Extra Lean Ground
  • Lamb Chops
  • Pork Loin
  • Venison
  • Veal
  • Chicken Breast
  • Chicken Liver
  • Chicken Dark Meat
  • Turkey Breast
  • Turkey Loin
  • Turkey Drum

Eggs & Low-Fat Dairy

  • Cheese, low-fat
  • Eggs
  • Milk, 2%, cow’sMilk, goat Yogurt


Nuts, Seeds & Oils - Raw & Unsalted

  • Almonds
  • Brasil
  • Cashews
  • Chestnuts
  • Cocanut
  • Flaxseeds
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Pecan
  • Pine Nuts
  • Walnuts
  • Chia Seeds
  • Flax Seeds
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Wheat Germ
  • Avocado oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Fish oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Olive oil, extra virgin
  • Sesame oil
  • Walnut oil
  • MCT oil, supplement

 The Rest…

Herbs & Spices

  • Basil
  • Black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chili pepper, dried
  • Cilantro
  • Coriander seeds
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Cumin seeds
  • Dill
  • Ginger
  • Mustard seeds
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Turmeric

Natural Sweeteners, Beverages & Other

  • Agave
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Local Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Raw Sugar
  • Stevia
  • Date Sugar
  • Coffee
  • Diet Tea
  • Tea
  • Seltzer
  • Water
  • Hot Souce
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Sea Salt


    How to Avoid Winter Weight Gain


    With the holidays behind us and New Year's resolutions looming over us, let's get real and take a hard look at the dreaded, yet avoidable, winter weight gain.  Yup!  It’s a common problem—people tend to pack on a few pounds during the winter months.

    Join our 30-day challenge starting January 8th

    We want to fight back and arm ourselves with a plan of action so that when the warm breezes start blowing in, we're looking damnnnnnn good!  So, let's just dive in on ways to avoid packing on those pounds.

    The good, the bad…and the solution.  Oh yes! 

    Although winter weight gain varies from person to person, research shows the average person gains five to seven pounds...yikes!  Some people gain this extra weight because they have Seasonal Affective Disorder—a type of winter depression.  But most of us can’t blame winter depression for our tendency to pick up extra weight during the winter months.

    So, why does winter weight gain happen?  According to Lawrence J. Cheskin, MD, founder and director of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center, it happens because we eat more and move less during the winter months.

    This is bad news and good news.  It is bad news because it would be kind of nice if we could blame our cold-weather corpulence on something exotic like the jet stream cycle and waddle off for another espresso.

    But it is good news because we can do something about it.  We don’t have to greet spring with softer middles and tighter clothes.  So let’s celebrate and walk into the New Year like a badass warrior and tackle winter weight gain with our weapon of choice:  discipline.

    Hour of decision

    According to Merriam-Webster, discipline is a “rule or system of rules governing conduct or activity.”  This is perfect.  In order to fight winter weight gain, we have to discipline ourselves to follow some rules. 

    Join our 30-day challenge starting January 8th

    Ready? Here we go…

    1.  Banned language: For the next several weeks, do not allow yourself to say, “Just this once.”  If you pay close attention, a ‘just this once’ situation comes up practically every day.  You go to a  party.  It's aunt's sister's best friend's birthday dinner.  You've had a bad week and a bag of chips will make you feel better.  Your co-worker brings in leftovers from last night’s party.  Your child doesn't finish their dinner or dessert.  You have to say no every single time.  Otherwise, you will never get ahead.

    Just grit your teeth, resist what others are having and make good food choices.  I’m not saying it is easy.  I am saying it is necessary.

    2Plan your occasional splurge, and do not deviate from the plan. Unending deprivation is never a good idea, but you have to be intentional about the time, place and food that you let yourself splurge on. 

    Love the hot wings at your favorite restaurant?  Then let’s make a deal.  Eat clean for ten days.  No cheating.  And then at the end of those ten days, go have the wings.  Guilt-free.  Just enjoy them.  Then set the next goal.  But you are not allowed to deviate from your plan in the meantime.

    If you do, you lose the wings. 

    Don’t waste your fun calories on something that doesn’t compare to those wings!

    3.  Keep moving.  Exercise is not an optional activity.  Now, more than ever you have to get your body in motion.  Exercise is very effective at preventing weight gain—and that is what we’re after right now.  Don’t even worry so much about losing pounds; just work to keep the winter scale-creep from happening to you. Try to get some cardio in at least six days a week.

    Remember:  a summer body is built in the winter.  Let’s be ready for it, and leave winter weight gain where it belongs.....with Santa!

    Join our 30-day challenge starting January 8th




    How to Prevent Impulse Eating


    It’s happened to all of us.  You know the feeling - you are away from home running errands, or you are out late because you had to stay at work longer.  And you realize that you are hungry.  Not just a little hungry though.  You haven’t eaten for hours, your head is starting to throb, and you can’t even think straight.

    Bottom line:  you have to eat.  Now!

    As you survey your options, you realize that getting something to eat that is even remotely healthy is going to be nearly impossible. But you have little choice, so you grab a burger or a salad with “grilled chicken.” (Do you have any idea how much that piece of ‘grilled chicken’ has been processed and soaked and manipulated and transformed before it arrives in front of you?) Or a small order of fries just to get you through.  

    And just like that you have put food into your body that will lower your immune response, raise your blood sugar, reduce your energy and contribute to weight gain.

    It is a tough situation, and like I said, we’ve all been there.  Sometimes you really do have to eat ‘right now.’  But over time, these eating emergencies add up and significantly impact your health and fitness achievement.

    Emergency Preparedness

    The answer is to stop having eating emergencies, and I will show you how to do this.  It does take some planning, but it isn’t as hard as you might think.

    The first step is to make a list of healthy, on-the-go foods that you enjoy eating.  Make sure that you include things with healthy fats, protein and carbs (if it’s around your workout time).  When you are very hungry, you need to have all the macronutrients covered in order to get quick energy, satisfy your hunger and clear your brain fog.  This does not have to be a complete meal, but it needs to be balanced enough to substitute for one if needed.

    Here are some ideas to help you get started.

    ·       Unsalted nuts.  Walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts.  (These will provide protein and good fat)

    ·       Raw Veggies.  They are crisp, juicy, cold and sweet and full of the micronutrients your body craves. 

    ·       Cheese.  If you eat dairy, having a small slice of your favorite cheese will give you a complete protein, a little fat and be very comforting.  Remember:  the goal is to tame the beast inside you that is calling out for a hotdog from the nearest drive through window.  This is a mental exercise as well as physical!

    ·       Nut butters.  Cashew, almond, peanut...find your favorite.  Almond butter is great on a banana; cashew butter is perfect on whole grain crackers.  Go ahead and put 7-8 chocolate chips on top if you want. This is a tiny indulgence that will go far to settle your craving. 

    ·       Boiled eggs.  Do you like cold, salted boiled eggs?  They are a powerhouse of protein.  Just be sure to get free range eggs.

    ·       Sardines.  Yes, you read that right.  If you like fish, you can buy small packets of wild caught sardines that travel very well. 

    ·       Water.  You have to drink water. 

    The second step seems obvious, but it has to happen if you are going to eliminate impulse eating:  buy the food on your list.  You have to get it in your house, so you have it when you need it.

    The third step is to plan your food kit.  This food has to travel with you, and you have to decide how you are going to transport it.  The secret is convenience.  If you only have five minutes to grab your kit on your way out the door before work, it has to be streamlined.  Ideally you will leave yourself more than five minutes, but life happens. 

    Here are some tips to help you set up your food kit for ease and speed.

    ·       Small cooler.  Purchase a small cooler that will hold an ice pack and several other things.  Keep this in your kitchen so you can grab it on the go.

    ·       Plates, utensils, napkins. Whether you use paper/plastic or your everyday items, get a bag and put a couple of plates, some utensils and some napkins in it.  You will use this same bag every time you use your kit, so it becomes a habit.  It can be a plastic bag, a cloth bag or a paper bag.  It doesn’t matter.  The point is that you can grab this bag on your way out the door and know that it has what you need in it.

    ·       Small storage containers or plastic bags. You need individual containers to put your food in.  Don’t take the whole package of cheese or the whole bag of chocolate chips, because you will end up eating too much.  Put one or two pieces of cheese in a container, and put only 7-8 chocolate chips in a bag.  Toss some nuts in one container, some cut up fruit in another.  Also, you don’t have to prepare everything in advance.  In a pinch, you can eat a big bell pepper just like an apple!  Just have a plan so you can get it fast when needed.  Some things don’t have to be separately packaged, such as your nut butter.  Just toss the whole jar in the cooler…if you can control yourself.

    ·       A tote bag or duffle bag. This bag will be your “picnic basket,” so to speak.  Stuff everything into it that does not go into the cooler.

    ·       Water bottle.  You need something to store a lot of water in.

    Now do it

    You’ve done the hard part.  You’ve figured out what foods will make you happy and help you through the emergency, you’ve stocked up on them, you have gathered what you need for transport and you have your water situation figured out.

    All that is left is making it happen.  You have to take the food with you when you leave the house.  The first few times you do this, it will seem complicated and tedious.  But eventually, you will do it with little thought.  It will be habit.  That is why using the same cooler, the same bags and the same water container every time is so important.  You will likely even find you grab the same foods nearly every time—it’s just easier.  And it has to be easy, or you won’t do it.

    The happy result is that when you are out and realize you are hungry, you will not have to eat food from a restaurant.  You will have an assortment of health and energy promoting foods at your fingertips.

    What's Scarier than Ghosts & Goblins?

    Screen Shot 2017-10-24 at 9.00.35 PM.png

    How about Type 2 Diabetes!

    It’s Halloween, and you know what that means:  sugar, sugar, sugar!  Beginning in late summer, stores begin taunting and tantalizing us with prominently displayed festive treats conveniently packaged in small, easy to eat servings.  By the time the actual holiday rolls around, we’ve been wading through candy corn and “fun sized” candy bars for months.

    All holidays have their peculiar food traditions, but Halloween perhaps wins the prize for being the most focused on candy and other sweet treats as the center of attraction. And no matter how hard you try to avoid it, you will undoubtedly find yourself staring down a confection before all is said and done.

    Will you give in? 

    While one piece of candy won’t make or break your health, few of us stop at just one.  In fact, most of us see Halloween as we see every other festive occasion from Thanksgiving to our neighbor’s cookout:  as a perfectly good time to indulge in whichever kind of sweet temptations are presented to us.

    But that indulgence takes its toll and is manifesting itself more and more in the current epidemic of Type 2 Diabetes. It is called an epidemic because of the shocking increase in new cases of diabetes.  Less than 5% of the population had diabetes in 1990.  That figure is now up to 7%:  a 40% increase. 

    Every 21 seconds someone is diagnosed with diabetes. 

    What is diabetes?

    Much of the food that you eat is turned into glucose for your body to use as energy.  After a meal, your pancreas produces the hormone insulin which helps the glucose, or sugar, move from your bloodstream into the cells in your body where it can be used for energy.

    When you have diabetes, your body either does not make enough insulin or it cannot use the insulin that it produces.  The result is a buildup of glucose or sugar in the bloodstream.

    High levels of blood sugar cause extensive damage in the body such as heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and even amputations.  Adults with diabetes are twice as likely to die early as those without diabetes.

    What’s the connection?

    The connection between Halloween and Type 2 diabetes is simple: the more sugar you eat, the harder your pancreas has to work to produce insulin and keep your blood sugar within a safe range. 

    But the cells in your pancreas that produce insulin are the only cells in your body that actually wear out from use.  If you overwork them, they will eventually cease to perform in a way that can keep up with the demand. 

    Your body can also become resistant to the insulin that your pancreas produces.  The more resistant your cells become to insulin, the more your pancreas has to make in order to have an effect.

    When these situations develop, you have Type 2 diabetes.


    The good news is that Type 2 diabetes is completely preventable.  By adopting a healthy lifestyle, you will never have to experience this disease.  And if you already have Type 2 diabetes, you can do much to control it naturally.

    The best strategy is to keep your weight within normal range, eat a healthy diet full of whole foods and very little sugar, and exercise at least 30 minutes, 5 days per week. 

    These simple lifestyle changes are the enemies of Type 2 diabetes.

    This Halloween, choose future health over present pleasure.  Enjoy one or two treats, and then stop.  It’s not worth the price you will pay later.

    10 Ways to Torch 100 Calories FAST


    Some days you simply do not have time for your usual workout.  Perhaps you are traveling or you have meetings from dawn ‘til dusk.  Or maybe something totally unexpected comes up and your workout time disappears.

    When life steals your exercise time, however, you do not have to forgo your workout.  If you have just a few minutes, you can burn off 100 calories, get your heart pumping fast and redeem at least a little of your workout.

    Here are 10 ways to torch 100 calories 

    Use them on busy days or even to supercharge your normal workout days.  Most estimates are for a person weighing approximately 130-150 pounds.  If you weigh more, you can probably shorten the duration, but if you are lighter, add a few minutes to ensure that you burn at least 100 calories.

    1.     Take the stairs.  Stair climbing for 15 minutes will burn 137 calories.  Have a 15 minute break at work?  Find a stair case and set your phone alarm to alert you when 15 minutes have passed.

    2.     Run a 5-minute mile. By the time you are 4 and ½ minutes in, you will have already burned 100 calories.  If you can’t get outside, just run in place.

    3.     Ride a stationary bike at 20 mph for 4 minutes 54 seconds.

    4.     Work on the lawn.  Pull weeds for 17 minutes, rake leaves for 20 minutes, or dig dirt for 16 minutes.

    5.     Calisthenics. Spending 15 minutes doing some light bodyweight squats, lunges, jumping jacks, get-ups and knee-ins will burn about 137 calories.

    6.     Go for a walk.  A 150-pound person will burn approximately 117 calories by walking at a 4 mph speed for 20 minutes.  Walk in place if you do not have a good area to walk in outdoors.  Try walking in place while you watch your favorite television show!

    7.     Grab the vacuum.  Vacuuming your home or office for 28 minutes will burn 100 calories.  This is a great way to sneak in some exercise at work and get on the good list of your coworkers!

    8.     Chop firewood.  It is hot now, but winter is coming!  Spend 5 minutes chopping firewood and you will burn 100 calories.

    9.     Swim laps.  It only takes 12 minutes to burn off 100 calories while swimming.

    10.  Mow the lawn with a push mower.  14 minutes is all it takes to zap 100 calories.