Tag Archives: Weight Loss

VIBRANCE Nutrition’s Spotlight on: Kendra Madden

One of the strongest motivators and greatest rewards of the work I do is being able to be witness to someone completely transform his or her life. Kendra Madden has, in many ways, been one of my greatest inspirations since she first came to me in 2011. She had reached a place where she was committed to living her life differently and wanted some extra support in making the changes she desired stick and last.

Every step of the way she has pushed for excellence, demanded vitality and vibrancy for herself, and has not let the challenges and obstacles that have shown up for her the last 18 months stop her. To date, she has lost approximately 70 pounds! She has gone from hating exercise to making fitness a priority, completing a 5k and working her way to a 10k+ this fall and sharing her enthusiasm for exercise with her family!

There is no doubt that Kendra’s experience has had a strong ripple effect among her friends, family, and students in told and untold ways – and this is the true power of transformation; how the changes we make for ourselves inspire and empower others around us.




Below is, in her own words, her story:

1. What was your breaking point? Tell us about the moment you decided you were going to take action.
a. I was stuck in a rut. I think I had decided that changing myself was going to be too hard and that I’d just accept the I-Let-Myself-Go version of me I’d become. My dad convinced me otherwise.

2. How do you imagine your life would be today if you had not begun working with VIBRANCE?

a. I don’t know that I would have stuck with any other program or trainer. The fact that you designed VIBRANCE to fit my life and not the other way around, which is how most other programs works, absolutely suited my goals, my vision, and my ability to persist. I might just be see-sawing back and forth between twenty pounds, without having made it to minus SIXTY! (this interview was conducted in late April 2012; Kendra has since continued to lose weight *without* me physical present to train with her)

3. What is an unexpected result of your commitment to yourself and the work you’ve done?
a. A different outlook on food. It has always been such a looming entity in my life- whether as something I had to resist and deny myself or something I gave myself over to. Now food has become what I always wanted it to be: one element of life that I happen to enjoy, of many.

4. What has been the greatest challenge you’ve overcome in your time with me?
a. Learning to navigate my head and body. Figuring out what are old habits vs. real responses. I still struggle with this: how do I confidently tell the difference between a viable reaction to something and just an obstacle I need to overcome? (For example, if my body aches, do I push it or pamper it? If I crave a food, do I eat it or let the craving pass?)

5. What do you consider your biggest accomplishments in the last year?
a. Losing sixty pounds while loving life! A close second is learning to say no and doing it well.

6. Where do you see yourself a year from today?
a. I am maintaining (not trying to lose) weight and health: eating clean foods that I prepare myself, keeping fit, relatively stress-free and happy, in a place where I am living proactively and not reactively.

7. What are some tangible results of your work with me?
a. Weight loss, smaller clothes that are CUTE and look good on me, compliments from people, consistently increasing strength I can feel and see, a healthy lifestyle.

8. What guidance would you offer to someone who is where you were when you began this lifestyle change?
a. I’ve actually had this conversation with a friend of mine. She was saying she wish she could afford a trainer both in terms of money and time and I told her that the trainer is a huge piece, but that SHE has to come to terms with wanting the change before anyone else can help her. She has to learn why she keeps finding herself in this place of unhealthiness so that she can change her behaviors for good.

9. What are you most looking forward to in the next six months?
a. A summer where I feel confident wearing less clothing in warm weather (and looking much better in a swimsuit!) Finally meeting a goal where I am not trying to change my weight, but living to sustain it. Being strong enough and fit enough to take on many physical challenges and keeping up with other people too (maybe even surpassing them?). Continuing to love life and feel great!


CONGRATULATIONS, Kendra! It has been such a gift to be able to work with you! I’m excited for this summer and fall! We are gonna rock it!


The Importance of Mindfulness

I set this to post while I am away meditating. It seems appropriate, as meditation is an act of creating mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a key element in successfully maintaining weight loss, determining which foods work best for your body, and for staying healthy and balanced in all areas of life. With countless external cues creating an environment suited to overindulgence, vigorous attention to our body’s cues is perhaps the most effective tool for health available — and it costs nothing!

We can all agree that what we eat has a huge impact on our health and energy, but what is less commonly known is how what we eat affects our appetite, our moods, and our thoughts. With hectic, busy lifestyles, we are no longer aware of the impact that our food choices have on our level of functioning, and many have lost sight of what high level functioning feels like.

[Tweet “When we begin to pay attention, our entire world becomes possibility for change.”]

By noticing how the foods we eat affect our body, we empower ourselves to make different choices. One of the key things clients who work with VIBRANCE experience is a greater connection between food and body wellness, and a greater understanding of the language their unique body uses to communicate with them.
When we begin to make different choices based on how our body feels, we capitalize on the body’s ability to restore and heal itself and experience a greater sense of wellness and vitality.  [Tweet “When it comes to weight loss, mindfulness is mandatory for sustained success.”]

When I first started setting everything aside to enjoy my meal, I found it boring. Painfully so! I wanted to rush through my meal so I could get back to whatever seemed more pressing at the time.
Then I slowed down even more, focusing instead on the food that was in front of me — the gloss of the dressing on my spinach leaf, the sensation of biting into a crisp bite of apple or celery, the feel of different textures and tastes in my mouth as I chewed. I became aware I only chewed about 6 – 10 times before swallowing, so I tried to quadruple that and I found I needed to take smaller bites. Then I noticed I was full long before my plate was empty.

So I started putting less food on my plate…  You can see where this is going.

Multi-tasking is registered in the brain as stress; inducing a fight or flight response because the brain is divided between important duties.  The adrenaline kicks in to increase our attentiveness, but ultimately this has negative impact on our short term memory as well as our overall health and well-being.

When we multi-task while eating, we do not pick up on the very food cues that initiate digestion. The smell of food, even the thought of food starts our systems preparing for digestion and assimilation. Chewing begins the process of tearing down a meal and key enzymes located in saliva are responsible for digesting carbohydrate.  The sight of our meal cues the hormonal cascade that lets us know we are full 20 minutes after we begin eating.

[Tweet “When stressed or distracted, our digestive system takes the back seat.”] The body isn’t interested in extracting vitamins from an orange when it’s white-knuckling it through a stack of emails or preparation for a board meeting.  Consequently, digestion is impaired and stomach troubles, fat storage, and blood lipids increase while the ability to detoxify, extract vitamins and minerals, feel full and be satisfied decreases.

Simply sitting down, looking at your food, and paying attention to how it feels will make you feel more satisfied. Make it a habit and you’ll likely drop some weight, improve your digestion, and you may even find out you don’t actually like the convenience foods you’ve been eating all this time. (it’s happened before!)

Give it a try for one meal a day for the next 10 days and let me know what the effects are.  I’d love to hear back from you.

More information:

The Pitfalls of Multi-tasking

Why Being Mindful Matters

VIBRANCE Recommends: Nutriiveda Weight Management Shake

I like to try new things.  A lot.
I’m a dabbler. If it holds up to my quality standards and seems like something my clients might benefit from, I’ll give it a try.

Right now I am playing with a lot of new products, which I will be talking about here in the coming months, but I wanted to share this one first.

NutriiVeda is a weight management shake that is based on Ayurvedic herbs and modern nutrition. At first I thought it probably wouldn’t be that much different than anything else. My experience had been that protein powders generally feel the same in your body (unless one has a food sensitivity) and it is really a matter of taste preference and quality assurance.

In this case, it’s a little different.

While the basis of NutriiVeda is whey protein (which research shows to be most beneficial to retaining muscle and providing highly absorbed amino acids), the most notable difference is the addition of seven plant botanicals which very effectively curb cravings and appetite.

I tried it. I can vouch for it.
I currently exercise between 7 and 10 hours a week, which means that I get hungry often. I eat about every 2-3 hours, be it a handful or trail mix or an all out meal. When I received my first jar of NutriiVeda and mixed it as directed (just the powder and unsweetened almond milk) I found that no thought of food crossed my mind until nearly 4 hours later.

People, this is unheard of.

That got me pretty excited. It exceeded my expectations, which is hard to do!
Not only this, but being sensitive to dairy I was a little wary of a whey based shake, even if it is listed as casein and lactose free. My digestive system handled it quite well and I have found it to be a tasty, quick snack during busy work hours that allows me to focus more on work and less on snack. I find my blood sugar stays balanced, I stay focused and am actually as productive as I am on caffeine, without the nasty side effects.

NutriiVeda also comes with a 12 week weight loss program that introduces the follower to the concepts of Ayurveda and eating for one’s dosha to find balance in the body (which is designed to facilitate weight loss).  What I love most about the program is it’s incorporation into MINDFULNESS as an essential component; journaling and meditation are key elements to this program. Beginning in January, VIBRANCE will be offering the 12 week program in a group format and include other concepts of healthy living and more detailed information on Ayurvedic eating.

I am considering keeping a supply of it on hand for clients to try.  In the meantime,  if you are interested in trying it out contact me and I can assist you in getting started. The product is currently available through distributors only (unless you live near the Chopra Center in Carlsbad, CA) so it is pretty hard to stumble upon unless you know someone (and you do!)

For more information on the product and to check out the NutriiVeda Diet Program, click here. Want to try it yourself? Click  “join” on the top right corner to give it a try!

Losing Weight on a Vegetarian Diet

People often believe that weight loss is going to be a effortless bonus to living a more cruelty-free, planet-conscious lifestyle.

For some, this is definitely the case. When I became a vegetarian at 13, I dropped about 10 pounds without any effort on my part. I did gain it back, but I was still a growing child. Whenever the diet is restricted in any way, the odds for increased weight loss tend to occur.

Others find it harder to lose weight on a vegetarian diet, or have difficulty feeling full, satisfied, and energetic.  The differences between individual metabolisms and genetics mean that each person needs a different dietary lifestyle to have the health, energy and body they desire. For some people, a vegetarian diet is not suited as a life-long choice and a transition back into a omnivorous lifestyle needs to be done with attention paid to physical health, ethical beliefs, and any emotional implications of such a transition (especially if vegetarianism is due to ethical or religious convictions).

If you are a vegetarian and find it difficult to lose weight, here are some tips that work and take YOUR needs into account:

  1. Vary Your Protein Sources: Protein plays an important role in satiety and retaining muscle mass on a low calorie diet. As a vegetarian, it is easy to rely on soy deli slices, soy cheese, soy protein, and other forms of highly refined soy to keep your protein needs up. The problem with this is that soy is very difficult to digest, 90% of it is genetically engineered, and the rates of soy intolerance (especially among vegetarians) is rapidly rising. Mix it up by including hemp or rice protein, quorn, eggs and dairy (if tolerated) and whole beans (canned or boiled) to stay satisfied. A benefit to the beans is the fiber which, as you’ll see below, is also an asset for weight loss.
  2. Up the Fiber: This post details the benefits and recommendations in using fiber for weight loss. Adding vegetables to every meal, psyllium husk or ground flax to your morning smoothie, and consuming whole and sprouted grains will keep you satisfied for much longer. If you consume bread, Ezekiel 4:9 ensures you receive maximum fiber and nutrition in every slice – naturally!
  3. Practice Mindfulness: regardless of what is on your plate, knowing how hungry you are and when you actually feel satisfied is the biggest secret to sustained weight loss. This alone prevents overeating, mindless nibbling, and being lured into unnecessary snacks and extra portions due to cues in our environment. In addition to food education, much of the work with weight loss clients is learning tools to increase mindfulness and identify sources of food cravings.
  4. Get support: I cannot say it enough — supportive atmospheres increase your likelihood of success, regardless of the endeavor you are undertaking! Join a group, hire a trainer or nutrition professional, team up with a coworker, enlist your family members, but do what you need to to have the camaraderie and support to make your goal a reality!

These tips apply to anyone, regardless of dietary choices. Losing weight needn’t require hours of counting points or calories, nor does it mean limiting yourself to canned shakes or dehydrated, freeze-died diet meals. Instead of further disconnecting from your food, re-connecting to your meal and to yourself is how sustained weight loss can be assured.  If you are struggling to lose weight and need additional support, check out my services to see if a package can work for you, or contact me to create a more customized option to suit you, no matter where you live!

Celebrate Summer – Without Gaining Weight!

There’s always a big push to lose weight for the summer, and then we engage in all sorts of activities which encourage weight to come back on — heavy BBQ’s, travel to new and exciting places, summer parties and celebrations all centered around lots and lots of food.

The unscheduled nature of summer interferes with routines which keep weight more easily managed, and often people notice a couple of extra pounds in preparation for the winter months.

Given that we don’t opt to hibernate, this extra weight isn’t necessary! Here are some of my top tips to avoid gaining weight when traveling and enjoying summer festivities:

1) Grill It! Use your grill for good, not evil. Instead of ribs and hot dogs, grill a variety of vegetables, chicken kabobs and use a cedar plank to grill fresh fish. Use exotic spice blends for flavor and BBQ sauce on the side to dip your chicken in if you are sensitive to sugars.

2) Bring a healthy dish to potlucks so you can ensure a healthy option is available. Others will appreciate it as well!

3) Crowd out caloric drinks with water: Summer slushies, cocktails, and blended coffee drinks can have as many calories as your main meal. Keep caloric drinks to a minimum, and when you do have one, have a tall glass of water (with lime for flavor) before and after you have your high-calorie beverage.

4) Plan you vacations to include healthy options and physical activity: If it’s very hot, exercise in the morning or evening – stroll the beach at sunset, play in water parks with the kids, hike in the shaded woods. Pack picnic lunches, utilize grocery stores for healthy snack options, and plan ahead whenever possible. I often research restaurants in locations I am visiting to get an idea of options available to me. For road trips, this post may be useful to you.

5) Keep tabs on yourself! Don’t turn a blind eye. If you are prone to overdoing it on vacation or during the summer, keep tabs on your size with a specific pair of pants or measuring tape. Some clients find it helpful to keep a food log in high-risk situations to keep them honest and accountable. Do what you need to without sacrificing the joys of the summer months!

Boost Your Winter Workout for Extra Weight Loss

If you have the winter workout blahs or have hit a weight loss plateau, there are some easy, effortless ways to boost your fat loss and calorie burn WITHOUT spending more time in the gym.


1) Add in some plyometics:
Plyometrics is a fun, easy way to get your heart pumping. These moves (jumping, skipping, leaping) bring out the kid in us, boost happy brain chemicals, and can double your calorie burn in a single workout. Aside from the direct increase in calorie-burn from added intensity, they foster use of different muscle fibers and “shock” the body into using more energy to create stronger muscles overall. This can allow you to exercise at a greater intensity and for longer periods of time much quicker. Caution to those with knee problems — utilize plyometrics only underthe supervision of a trained professional.
Some ideas:

During your daily walk, add 30 high-knee marching movements every 15 minutes. If running, skip for 30 seconds each mile or two.

Turn and move into a side squat slowly – 5-10 on each side – followed by 10 squat jumps (slight squat down, then use your arms to propel you as you jump forward) mid-workout.

Repeat as desired for even greater results.


2.) Add hills on your route: “Hills give you strength”, my running coach used to say. He is absolutely right! Driving your body uphill against gravity is a great way to boost your calorie-burn and sculpt your rear. It can be an easy way to add speed to your overall pace by building greater strength and resiliency and power to your legs. Add hills to 10-20% of your workout outside or bump the treadmill incline up 2% for 5-10 minutes of your workout. Continue to up the incline 1% per week to keep your body guessing.

3.) Add in some intervals: Interval training is simply doing short bursts of higher intensity in your workout. Fartleks are a great way to do this if you are a runner (race you to the stop sign!) ; if you walk as your primary form of cardiovascular exercise, you can toss ten 1-minute speed-walking sessions into a 30 minute brisk walk to double your calorie burn. This is also a fantastic way to break into jogging or running from walking. Jeff Galloway revolutionized injury-free running by making this method of walk-running popular.

These are just three, easy and funw ays to add variety and results to your existing fitness routine. If you have any existing or chronic injury, you will want to speak with a knowledgable fitness professional about the best way to boost your workouts for maximum results. As with any new endeavor, add the change in slowly (for one or two workouts a week) building up slowly to allow the body to adapt and prevent injuries.


Have any readers benefited from these methods? I know hill training was key to my Boston marathon qualifying time last May. How have some of these methods benefited you?