Etch-A-Sketch And Martians

Okay, even if you believe in evolution, you’re certainly not going to claim our nutrition and exercise needs have changed in the last 10, 50, or even 100 years.  So why then would you allow these ever changing and always conflicting definitions of what it means to be healthy into your head?  Twenty years ago, you may have believed a diet rich in carbs was the key to health. Today, you may actually hide your head under the kitchen table at the mere mention of white rice.

Let’s look at this another way:  If you were a Martian sent down to earth to learn the eating and exercise habits of earthlings, your three little Martian eyes would most likely glaze over from confusion.  And even if you stayed awhile, giving yourself amble time to learn our human ways, not only would you end up more confused then you did before you arrived, but your two little Martian heads would assume a permanent spinning pattern, from all the opposing and conflicting information.  Do you get where I’m going with this?

People are, and have been for a long time, so confused when it comes to diet, exercise and weight loss; they don’t know what to believe, and here’s why:  We don’t get our health information from experts we get it from Madison Avenue. Advertisers “educate” Americans about what it means to be healthy and, no big surprise, $$$ is behind the educational system.

When people describe the latest diet they are on and ask me what I think, I get this visual in my head and it looks like this:  I picture myself holding an Etch-A-Sketch that has wires attached to the region of their brain that holds all the diet and exercise information they’ve been holding onto their whole lives.  Before I politely try to tell them why I don’t believe in any diet, especially the one they just described, I picture myself holding my ramped-up Etch-A-Sketch, upside down (because everyone knows you have to hold it upside down) and I shake it and shake it until all the diet, weight loss and exercise beliefs that have been swirling around in their head disappears and the Etch-A-Sketch is blank.

You see, I’m swimming a bit upstream when it comes to educating people about what it really means to be healthy. I’m competing with “Quick” and “Easy.” If I could just go on “Shark Tank” and get those judges to invest in my Amped-up Etch-A-Sketch, I believe I could really make a difference in the world.

Peace, Martians and Open Minds,



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Feed Me!


Have you ever heard the term, “intuitive eating?”  It means exactly that.  It’s when your internal voice, that’s the intuitive part, tells your brain you’re hungry and you need fuel, then you act on the hunger by giving your body food, that’s the eating part. Intuitive eating is a bold concept because it actually suggests…brace yourself:

Your body has the ability to regulate what it needs.  Crazy talk, right?

Particularly for women, the idea of listening to your body, when it comes to what, when, and how much to eat, isn’t just a foreign concept, it’s a scary thought.  Intuitive eating is the opposite of dieting; there are no big rules, which makes women nervous when it comes to eating. In a weird way, the diet structure offers comfort and security. It’s complicated; on one hand, dieters hate food restrictions, on the other; they love not having to think. Diet plans lull us with their promise of quick and easy. I think women innately know diets don’t provide long-term success, but logic is trumped by a strong desire to lose, even when we know the results are temporary.  It’s the, “I’ll think about it tomorrow, Scarlett O’Hara mentality that prevents us from looking for the answer within.  We don’t stop to connect the dots – between our bodies and our food -because connecting dots takes too much time.

At any given point, women in our culture live in one of three worlds:  They’re either on a diet, in between diets, or just coming off a diet.  And although they’ve never ever had long-lasting results with a specific diet, or diets in general, they wouldn’t dream of giving up the baby…or the bathwater. But I say, if your body is savvy enough to keep all those intricate systems working and can regulate itself to the degree of miraculous efficiency it does, wouldn’t it stand to reason it can be trusted to give you important information about food?

Oh seekers of weight loss, don’t be afraid to trust your body and give it what it’s asking for. It’s time to step back and re-evaluate your game plan. I ask you, “Is what you’re doing now, or what you’ve done in the past, ever really worked?”  Make peace with food.  It’s not your BFF but it’s not the enemy either. I know you’re scared, but don’t be.  I’m just asking you to consider the concept of eating when you’re hungry, from a common sense angle. Start by being more aware of your body’s request for food, then go ahead and give it some. Eating when you’re hungry doesn’t mean your character is weak or you suck at willpower, it just means you and your body are aligned, simpatico.  You intrinsically know way more about what you need then magazine cover promises or celebrity diet endorsers.

To learn more about Intuitive eating and the originator of the apporach go to:

Until next time,

Peace, Scarlett O’Hara, and Your Grateful Tummy

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Food Is Like Urine


I can remember sitting on the floor of the school nurse’s office, Mrs. Dombrowski, listening to a “health lesson” about food, back in third grade.  I remember the food pyramid slide she put up on the cement block wall, and those simplistic pictures of eggs, a glass of milk and an apple, floating in their assigned boxes.  It wasn’t a difficult or complicated lesson to grasp; you’ve got your food groups and you’ve got your recommended daily allowances. Funny to think about it now…my intro to healthy eating gave me only the nutritional facts about food…as if that’s all it takes to eating a healthy diet.

Mrs. Dobrowski’s food lesson didn’t address the alluring and gratifying nature of eating.  Food, unlike its cousins, water and air, touches a visceral nerve in us and here’s the main reason why I think that’s so:

It’s the taste thing. The pleasure principle. Eating is fun.

It’s those foods on Mrs. Dombroski’s slide, the ones that reside in the teeny, tiny triangle at the top of the pyramid that dance on our taste buds and makes us happy. Our connection to food is intimate; we have a “relationship” with a life sustaining property!  You don’t hear the U.S. Surgeon General advising us to reduce the amount of air or water we take in, there’s’ no need. We have no problem listening to our internal ques when it comes to breathing or addressing our thirst, but food is a complicated and different animal. We don’t see food like we do air and water.  We’ve been “educated” about eating by advertisers, magazine cover, and movie stars who write books about nutrition and weight loss. The thought of answering our bodies request for food the same way we do for oxygen and water, sounds like a ludicrous notion.

Dear Reader, eating something when you’re hungry is no different then taking a deep breath when you’re out of breath or relieving yourself when you need to go to the bathroom. Think about it: When you have the urge to go, you acknowledge it, find a bathroom, and move on. I wager you’ve never tried to figure out ways to fool your body into peeing less, asked friends what their secret to less urination is, or read books like, “Ten Quick and Easy Ways to Less Pee.”  I would also venture to guess that you’ve never counted the amount of times you’ve gone in a day or berated yourself for not holding it longer? Silly, right?

Food is like urine.  The desire to eat when you are hungry is an internal indicator just like the urge to “go;” it has nothing to do with willpower, internal fortitude or character. Listen to your body and trust it more.  It knows way more about what you need then the newest celebrity diet endorser.

Until next time,

Peace, pee pee, and listen to your body!

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To Run Or Not To Run. That Is The Question.



A snippet of conversation I shared with a client, today:

Kelly:  “I’ve been sooo bad, lately.  I haven’t run in 2 weeks.”

Me:  “Why do you want to run, especially since you told me you hate it?”

I can see she’s perplexed. A health professional, not joining her on her self-chastising bandwagon…for not running?  Inconceivable.  I take a deep breath and offer up my perspective on why running could very well not be right for her, or right for the majority of well-intended exercisers.

So here’s the problem with running, I tell her: “Most people hate it.  If you hate it now, chances are you will always hate it. If you don’t accept this fact, you will always be pulling and probing yourself along, trying to motivate yourself to do it.  And sure, there may be weeks when you can muster up the hootspa to get out there and run, but 99% of  people who don’t like running (I’m being generous here with the 99%) don’t stick with it.  If you can’t maintain a healthy behavior for life, it ultimately does no good. It’s pointless to run for 2 week or 2 months and then stop.   To make matters worse, when your running bout does come to an end,” I continue, “you’re left feeling really bad about yourself because you feel like you quit.”  Double wammy.

Here’s the truth: No matter how good we believe something is for us, exercise, food, whatever…we stop, if we don’t like doing it.  That’s just how humans are programmed.  So to all you non-running wannabees out there, I say this:  If you don’t like to run, stop beating yourself up about it.  Walk!  Or do anything else that keeps you moving.  The good news is your body doesn’t count miles, it only responds to energy needed for the activity.  If the activity you like requires less energy then running, like say walking, just tack on more time doing it.  Chances are you will mysteriously find time to exercise if you find something you like to do.

A caveat:  If you’re reading this blog and you are a “runner,” that’s great. You’ve found an activity you like.  Some of my best friends are runners; I won’t hold that against you. My message is to those who want to be active, but simply loathe the act of running.  The reason for your disdain, my dear reader, is likely because you keep trying to change who you are, and don’t recognize both the value of many kinds of activities and the enjoyment these activities can bring.  The adage, “No Pain, No Gain” is as pointless as the leg warmers worn by the movie stars who coined this phrase.  Exercise science has come a long way since thong leotards were popular.   We know that physical and mental discomfort is counter productive to long-term exercise adherence.  Here’s my last finger wagging suggestion, I promise:  Choose exercises, first and foremost, you like doing. Running isn’t the be all and end all…and for the majority out there, not the answer to your question.

Until next time,

Peace, Hootspa and Walking Shoes

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Lions And Tigers And Bear Claws, Oh My!

Ever feel like the weight loss information you get is about as clear and as helpful as the advice The Scarecrow gave to Dorothy at their first encounter in the corn field?  And If I have to tell you what movie I’m referring to, you probably should stop following me on Tumblr; I rebuke you, we have nothing in common.In my scenario, The Scarecrow will be played by the diet industry and the part of Dorothy will be played by you. I hope you look good in pigtails and gingham. Dorothy comes to a fork in the road and doesn’t know which path she should take to lead  her to destination. Enter Dorothy and Toto:

“Now which way do we go Toto?

“Pardon me but that way’s a very nice way.”

Toto begins to bark at The Scarecrow,   “Don’t be silly Toto, scarecrows don’t talk.”

“Of course some people do go both ways.”

Poor Dorothy! How’s she going to reach Oz?  She’s confused, perplexed and frustrated about which way to go to reach her goal…and maybe so are you.

My name is Bren and the sole purpose of this blog is to challenge you to question then rethink everything you think you know about weight loss and how you can actually live a pleasure-based, healthy life. Warning to purist and all-or-none thinkers!: this blog is based on both my experience and non-deprivational philosphy that allows and sometimes encourages the consumption of all form of chocolate (not just the dark kind…oh yeah, I said it.) as well as the sweet intake of wine and various other foods and beverages that bring a little “Oz” into everyday life.

My first challenge to you:  If you come across a diet answer that seems fantastical, just plain hard to believe, or something you can’t do for the rest of your life, it’s for certain a short-lived answer to a long term issue. Sometimes the answer to what you’re looking for isn’t so complicated or so far away from what your inner-voice tells you to be true.

Until next time,

Peace, Chocolate and Ruby Slippers!image

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