Monday, January 28, 2013

Am I Overweight or Am I Obese?

Before I address today’s topic, let me share with you some interesting information.

Several years ago I was impacted by an article I found in an AARP magazine (it was in a doctor’s office, not my home). 5,000 readers over the age of 60 took part in a survey. The survey asked the following question, or close to it. If you were to live your life over…what 2 things would you change or do differently? The resounding answers were consistently the same: (1) take better care of my health (2) save more money and have healthier finances.

There’s a message I got from this article that stays with me today. Good health is a gift and we need to protect it so our “golden years” are quality years. Being overweight limits activity and sets us up for many debilitating diseases.

Being a health coach and primarily working with clients who want a healthier lifestyle by losing weight and changing habits, it only seemed appropriate to write about the “terms” used to decide when a person is at a weight that sets them up for many health risks (and an unhealthy retirement not to mention the costs associated with being overweight).

The terms “Overweight” and “Obese” are ones a medical professional will use regarding the amount of excessive body fat you are storing. It’s that stuff we accumulate when we take in more calories than we use for energy each day.

An adult who has a body fat percentage between 25 to 29.9 percent is considered overweight.

An adult who has a body fat percentage between 30 to 39,9 percent is considered obese. Anyone with a body fat percentage of 40 and above is considered morbidly obese.

For longevity, and in order to stay healthy, it’s important to know where you are regarding body fat. If you do not have an active lifestyle your healthcare professional will suggest a healthy diet so your weight does not continue to increase. .

This chart illustrates each BMI range for a person 5’ 9”:

Weight Range
5' 9"
124 lbs or less
Below 18.5
125 lbs to 168 lbs
18.5 to 24.9
Healthy weight
169 lbs to 202 lbs
25.0 to 29.9
203 lbs or more
30 or higher

There are several ways to obtain an accurate measurement of body fat. The most common is the Body Mass Index Chart that you have probably seen at your doctor’s office. This chart is also called a BMI Chart.

The BMI Chart is readily available at a doctor’s office or you can use the online calculator found on my website (bottom left corner).

There are a few drawbacks about using this chart for accuracy, and the main one pertains to athletes. If you are very active, the best way for you to determine what your BMI is would be to contact a weight loss coach or a trained professional at your local gym.

Other methods of estimating body fat and body fat distribution include measurements of skinfold thickness and waist circumference, calculation of waist-to-hip circumference ratios, and methods such as ultrasound.

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CDC:  Center For Disease Control and Prevention

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gardein Chick' Yakitori Skewers

Clients are always asking for good meatless/vegetarian Lean & Green recipes. A client of mine, recently found the Gardein brand in her local supermarket and ask me about their products. They are great!

There are (2) dinner entrees that work for the weight loss phase of the program. They are the Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Wings and the Chicken Strips. The others are all great dinner options for the Maintenance Phase of the Medifast program.

This recipe has been modified to fit the Medifast Lean & Green meal plan.

Servings: 3 

Per serving
1/2 Lean protein
3 condiments


12 gardein barbeque wings (save sauce packs for another use)
  2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce or tamari
  4 tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
  1/2 cup vegetable stock
  1 packet Splenda or Stevia
  1 garlic clove, minced
  1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger


In a saucepan over medium heat stir together soy sauce, mirin, sake, stock, Stevia/Splenda, garlic and ginger. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until sauce has reduced to ½ cup. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain sauce into a bowl discarding solids in sieve. Set aside.

Preheat grill. Lightly oil grates.

Spay a non-stick frying pan with 2 sprays oil. Heat pan over medium heat. Working with one batch of frozen gardein chick’n at a time, cook, turning occasionally, until starting to brown on both sides, about 4 minutes. Remove from pan to a plate and set aside. Cook remaining gardein chick’n, adding very small amount of oil to the pan if needed.

Meanwhile trim scallions and cut into roughly 2 inch long pieces. Scallions should be about the same length as the width of a gardein chick’n piece. Alternating, thread 3 pieces of gardein chick’n and 3 pieces of scallion onto a wooden skewer.

Brush a light coating of oil over skewers and grill over medium heat for 3 minutes each side. Baste skewers on both sides with sauce and continue to grill while turn often to keep sauce from burning. You may need to move the skewers to a cooler part of the grill.

Grill until skewers are nicely glazed. Remove from grill and serve immediately.

Stay tuned for a great recipe using the Gardein Chicken Strips:)
         from Your Diet Diva

Monday, January 21, 2013

Why We Gain Weight

As sad as it sounds, America has been named the “Fast Food Nation”. A book has even been written, with that title, by Eric Schlosser. It’s available on Amazon. The obesity factor in America hit a high note in 2001 when a Surgeon General's report called obesity in America an "epidemic."

In 2012 the CDC (Center for Disease Control) issued a report stating that more than two-thirds (68%) of Americans adults are either overweight or obese. The numbers can be staggering when you look at the reports. In 2009, about 2.4 million more adults were obese than in 2007. Now in every state, more than 15% of adults are obese, and in 9 states, over 30% of the adults are obese! Two states, Hawaii and Colorado use to be exempt from the statistics but now, they too, join the ranks with over 15% of adults being obese.

My focus today is not about the food industry and how it impacts our choices but rather why we gain weight.

Why Do We Gain Weight?

We eat more calories than what our body needs
Our bodies are designed in such a way that in times when it was harder to find food, our bodies could be prepared by having stored extra calories as fat. Now, with the convenience of food on every corner, and the tendency to eat on-the-run which in turn causes us to overeat, we are storing fat for an entirely different reason. This is a severe problem that causes many to become overweight or obese. 

• Genes play a factor
People have a greater risk of being obese if one parent is and an even greater risk if both parents are. However, genes only determine a tendency towards a higher or lower metabolic efficiency, not what your actual body metabolism will be. You are in control of what determines that factor.

Eating patterns
A person’s eating habits make a huge difference in determining their weight. When foods high in fat or sugars are eaten, this of course can cause much weight gain. Also, how you serve the food, i.e. do you bring it all to the table and serve it the food family style where everyone can take as much as they want and as many servings as they want? Portion size is one of the main reasons people eat too much. It is too easy to keep taking more when the food is sitting right in front of you. Also, how have you learned to eat? If you are a fast eater, you may not even realize the cues your stomach gives you that it is full.

Your metabolic rate
Besides genetics, your metabolic rate depends on how active you are. It is said that every ten years past our mid-twenties we lose about 10% of our metabolic rate. This probably does not have to do completely with age, however, but instead with how active we are. The more active we are, the more muscle mass we can retain, or even build, and in turn the more fit we are because muscle tissue is metabolically active whereas fat is not. On the other hand, if we lead a basically sedentary life, we are much more likely to be able to gain weight as we lose muscle mass.

Larger portion sizes
Over time, larger portions of food have become the norm, especially at many restaurants. A large majority of people have seen an increase in their waist sizes for this reason. Weight has also gone up because of this. I was asked to do a presentation on the Take Shape For Life program for a group of care-givers last year. The restaurant where the event took place was a very popular local Mexican restaurant. I had ask each attendee to make a fist and hold it out in front of themselves, over their plates. I’ll never forget the look on their faces when I told them to imagine that their fist was approximately the size of their stomach when empty. Portion size matters!

Exercise is essential
Exercise is essential to a healthy lifestyle and to maintaining a healthy weight and a sense of confidence. When you exercise, especially when you include strength training in your workouts, you gain muscle mass and raise your metabolism and in turn the muscle helps to burn more fat. In turn, you will weigh less and you will look leaner and firmer because muscle takes up less space than fat. Movement of any kind is better than doing nothing. Start out slow. I have clients that have simple started out by walking to the end of their street and back. Pretty soon they were walking an entire block, then two. Some have even become marathon runners after they lost their weight.

There are several different ways for you to determine if you are overweight or obese and need the help of a healthcare professional or the support of a health coach. The most common method used is the Body Mass Index Chart. An online tool to determine your Body Mass is available here.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Glazed Tofu and Peppers

This is a great recipe that allows an additional 4 oz “Lean Protein” to be added to your breakfast or lunch when using the Medifast plan in order to get in your full protein serving for the day.

For a nice presentation; serve over fresh. salad leaf.

Glazed Tofu and Peppers

Servings: 4

Per serving
¼ Lean protein
2 fats
3 condiments
1 ½ vegetable servings


• 1 (15-ounce) package Mori Nu extra-firm tofu, drained
• 8 teaspoons sesame oil,  I use the dark sesame oil. divided – 8 fats
• 3 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce, divided – 4.5 condiments
• 1 cup julienne-cut red bell pepper – 2 vegetables
• 1 cup yellow bell pepper, julienne-cut – 2 vegetables
• 1/8 teaspoon salt – ½ condiment
• 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced – 4 condiments
• (6-ounce) package pre-sliced shiitake mushrooms – 2 vegetables
• 1/2 cup organic vegetable broth – ½ condiment
• 1 tablespoon Medifast pancake syrup – 1 condiment
• 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar – 1/3 condiment
• 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper – 1 condiment
• Cooking spray – 1 condiment  (my preference is always olive oil from a spray bottle).


1. Cut tofu in half and again in half lengthwise. Pierce tofu all over with a thin skewer then place tofu in a shallow dish. Combine 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon soy sauce in a small bowl. Pour soy mixture over tofu; let stand 15 minutes, turning once. Set aside. The tofu will absorb the soy mixture for more flavor.
2. Heat a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil; coat skillet. Add bell pepper, and salt; sauté for 3 minutes. Remove from pan. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil; coat evenly. Add garlic and mushrooms; sauté 4 minutes. Add remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, broth, Medifast Pancake Syrup, vinegar and crushed pepper. Simmer 3 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat.
3. Remove tofu from marinade and reserve the marinade. Heat a grill pan over high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add tofu to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side, basting occasionally with reserved marinade. For each serving, top with approximately 1/3 cup pepper mixture and about 2 tablespoons mushroom mixture.

Modified from Cooking Light to be 100% Medifast Plan Compliant

More Medifast recipes can be found at


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Key to Weight Loss and Maintenance Success


A friend sent this article to me this morning and I had to share it with everyone.  

This article is from Dr. Judith Beck, founder of the Beck Institute of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and is a great “read” as we move beyond the holidays. 

Recovering from Mistakes: A Key to Weight Loss and Maintenance Success
Dieters often make resolutions this time of year to lose weight and keep it off. Many dieters have made this same resolution in previous years and have ultimately not been successful. One of the biggest stumbling blocks that dieters face is getting back on track after a dieting mistake, often because they say to themselves things like:

I've made a mistake. I've really blown it for the day. I might as well keep eating whatever I want and start again tomorrow.

But it takes most dieters much longer to get firmly and consistently back on track -- perhaps a week, a month, or even a year. As a result, they likely gain back any weight they had lost.

We teach dieters many techniques to get back on track after making a single eating mistake. One such technique is the use of analogies to demonstrate that making one mistake is never a valid reason to continue making more mistakes. For example, we might say:

If you were walking down a flight of stairs and stumbled down a few, would you think, "Well, I've really blown it now!" and throw yourself down the rest?
If you were washing your fine china and dropped a plate, would you throw the rest of your plates on the floor?

If you were driving on the highway and missed your exit, would you continue to drive 5 more hours in the wrong direction?
We help dieters see that it makes no sense to compound one eating mistake with a second (or more).

Once they accept that all mistakes, even dieting mistakes, are a part of life and learn how to recover from them right away, they're able to lose weight and keep it off without disrupting and undoing their hard work and weight loss achievements.

         From Dr. Judith Beck, founder of the Beck Institute of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. 

I smiled as I read the three about you?  Lennie Campbell Your Diet Diva

Sweet and Spicy Pork Roast

This recipe is so easy and so good!

4 servings

Per serving
One Lean Protein
3 condiments


1 ½ lbs. Pork Tenderloin, trim off fat
½ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground allspice
¼ tsp. ground chipotle chili powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. garlic powder
1 Medifast sugar-free syrup packet
1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 ½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce ( I use TABASCO® brand Chipotle Pepper Sauce)


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Using a small roasting pan, lightly coat it with olive oil spray. If you do not have a “mister” use a paper towel. Set pan aside.
3. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a small bowl.
4. Rub or brush the pork evenly with the olive oil. Then rub evenly with the spice mixture until coated. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
5. While waiting for the pork, combine the Medifast SF Syrup, garlic, and hot-pepper sauce. Whisk to mix. Set aside.
6. Place a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until it is hot enough for a spritz of water to sizzle on it. Using an oven mitt, briefly remove the pan from the heat to lightly mist with olive oil spray. Place the pork in the pan. Cook for 1 minute per side, or until browned on all sides.
7. Transfer to the prepared roasting pan. Baste with the roast with the Medifast SF Syrup, garlic & hot pepper sauce. Roast the tenderloin in the oven for 16 to 18 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted in the center reaches 160°F and the juices run clear.
8. Remove from the oven. Cover the pork loosely with aluminum foil. Let stand for 10 minutes.
Serve immediately.


From Lennie ~ Your Diet Diva