Did you just cringe a little reading this title??? I’m not surprised. It’s a dirty little word that makes people feel fat. Well, I’m a big fan of carbs, and perhaps after this little ditty you’ll feel the same way! I found this when I was searching around in my email for other things…I forgot that I had written it for a co-worker’s daughter was heading off to college. Give it a read and see if you can let go of that nasty feeling about these little buggers…

Carbohydrates are your body’s first choice for energy; they also aid in recovery, and preserve muscle mass. Carbs get a bad rap, because our consumption of carbohydrates should be largely based on the amount of energy we expend. We also need to be mindful of our physiological response to them. When we eat a meal, the hormone insulin steps in to regulate glucose or the sugar floating around in the bloodstream after we eat. Insulin is a hormone that comes from the pancreas which helps to promote the uptake of glucose into cells; especially muscle and fat cells. If excess glucose is in the blood stream, it is stored away as fat; in other words, but not utilizing the carbohydrates we eat, or by consuming foods that are easily converted to glucose in abundance, there will be a lot more glucose present: and will be stored as fat.

All that being said, not all carbs are created equal. The foods that quickly increase glucose are generally in the form of “empty carbs”, or simple sugars. Sticking with the less packaged, “complex carbs”, in the form of whole foods is always a better choice. Complex carbohydrates can be found in fruits and vegetables, pastas, whole grain breads, and rice. These foods are a better choice for overall health; as it takes your body longer to break these foods down to be utilized or stored. Anything that is close to sugar, aka baked goods like muffins, bagels, cookies, etc. should be eaten sparingly, as it takes little time to convert them to glucose, and then to fat cells for storage.If you are a long distance runner or cyclist, the foods  that you eat will be mostly starchy carbohydrates, especially during the activity; because these foods in particular take your body little time to convert to the sugar that you need for energy (glucose). If you are moderately active; aka. gym a few times a week, etc. your energy needs will look much different than an elite endurance athlete mentioned above. Good sources grains, legumes, seeds, pastas, fruits, and vegetables.

Something else to consider is that your brain runs solely on glucose, and in extreme cases, keytones. Keytones are mobilized proteins from broken down musculature. This is associated with starvation, and what we’re trying to avoid by consuming enough carbohydrate in your caloric needs. When carbohydrates are deficient, a key component to fat oxidization (burning) is incomplete. “Fats burn in the flame of carbohydrates”. The general recommendation is small frequent meals every 3hrs incorporating the minimum of 200-400 calories per day of carbohydrate.  For every gram of carbohydrate, there’s 4 calories. So, if you have an english muffin with 26 grams of carbohydrate, there’s 104 calories of calories just from carbohydrate.

For recovery after exercise, to help replace glycogen stored in the muscle, and to utilized amino acids to build more muscle, it’s recommended that you consume a mix of carbohydrate and protein within 1 hour of the activity; this is called “the golden hour”, and is when your body’s maximum uptake of nutrients is taking place.  Suggestions for a meal would be an egg breakfast sandwich (1 english muffin, 1 egg), or a turkey sandwich, with whole wheat bread. Use condiments sparingly; I like to use avocado (good fat), and vegetables (relishes) for my condiments. Fuel your body with nutrient dense foods, not empty calories post-exercise, it matters!

The glycemic index is a measure of how different carbohydrate foods consumed affect the body’s blood sugar level.  Foods that are high on the list, are foods which increase your blood sugar (glucose) to high levels for longer, and cause an increase in insulin levels. Better choices for health are low-glycemic carbohydrates.
Here are the benefits to sticking with a low-glycemic diet (copied from:

• Help to fill you up and keep you feeling satisfied for longer, avoiding over eating or too much snacking.
• Lower your insulin levels which makes fat easier to burn and less likely to be stored.
• Help you to lose body fat and maintain lean muscle tissue.
• Reduce your triglycerides, total and ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol.
• Increase your levels of ‘good’ (HDL) cholesterol.
• Reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
• Help to manage your blood glucose levels and reduce your risk of developing diabetes complications.
• Reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
• Reduce your risk of developing some cancers
• Reduce your risk of developing certain eye diseases.
• Improve your skin
• Sustain your energy levels longer, improving both mental and physical performance.

These are some foods Low and Medium glycemic index foods, and good foods to lean toward for your carbohydrate consumption:

kidney beans

all-bran cereal
rice (basmati vs. jasmine)
whole grain bread
Another correlated topic is a low energy dense diet. Similar to the glycemic index, when sticking to foods that are lower in energy density (i.e. lower kcal), can  help to contribute to weight loss by keeping the feeling of satiety, and thus less deprivation. More on that topic at a later date!

Take care of yourselves, others, and get sweaty today!


Up your NEAT!


One of my favorite take home messages from the ACSM (my certifying body: American College of Sports Medicine) was about Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis or NEAT. NEAT is the energy utilized (calories burned) to do all activities during our waking hours except eating or deliberate exercise. It includes the calories burned in yard work, house cleaning, gardening, even fidgeting. Studies show that over the past 50 years caloric intake has actually DECREASED, yet somehow we find ourselves in a trend of increasing rates of overweight and obesity (and it’s subsequent health complications) in this country.

What the heck is happening?

In a nutshell, there’s been a massive decrease in our NEAT.  Due to the industrial revolution and advances in technology we have less physically demanding occupations we are burning far less calories at rest than we have in the past.  We drive to work (sit), get into our offices (sit), go to meetings (sit), drive home (sit), and watch tv or read to relax (sit). We have also gotten more efficient; a good number of occupations are off-site or remote-based and we’re sitting perhaps more than we would in a regular office setting. Or, even more basic, most of us are no longer hand scrubbing laundry and hanging it out to dry on the line. So, what can we do to get our NEAT back?

How Jessica got her NEAT back…

So, a few years ago, I went from being a very busy weight loss consultant seeing clients every 15 minutes for 8 hours with little time to sit,  to a less busy small business owner working on my computer A LOT.  Client meetings, marketing, writing, exercise programming, meal planning, research, continuing education, etc. definitely took up a fair amount of my day.  I quickly realized 2 things: 1) the scale was changing in a direction I didn’t care for, and 2) I was eating and exercising  the EXACT same way I had been.  Actually, I was working out MORE because at that time I was working out with each of my clients.  What happened? Sitting happened! I had completely taken for granted the calories that I burned being on my feet and seeing people all day long! (Side note: my previous employer did say she was going to bring this up at the staff meeting as an added benefit for working there; particularly during the CRAZY times when morale was low. I’m not sure what happened with that or how it was received by the staff at the time…)

This chick got her NEAT back by making client meetings short and sweet or mobile- I would go for walks while on the phone with an initial client, or in person.  I made an effort to get up and move when I could: standing when doing computer work (as I am now!) climbing stairs, taking 20 minute walks, getting out for a hike in the middle of the day with a friend versus lunch. I continued to avoid close parking spots at businesses.  Or better yet, I’d avoid driving at all, choosing to bike or walk everywhere I could safely go. I also increased my weight lifting; increased muscle mass is another way to up your NEAT factor.

So, to up your NEAT-ness what will you do? The key is being CONSISTENT!  Here are some great ideas to put into action TODAY to up your game:

  • Park farther away from the doors to public places.
  • Stand up and take several brisk walks around your home and/or office multiple times a day.
  • Vow to ALWAYS take the stairs. Also, instead of asking a loved one to grab something for you from upstairs, get it yourself; multiple trips=more NEAT
  • Schedule walking meetings- they’ve been proven to be more productive-plus, you get these added benefits: increased oxygen to the brain, more clarity of thought, and you get vitamin D…everyone wins!
  • Get a standing desk! Better yet…a treadmill desk!
  • Do some jumping jacks, lunges, squats and push ups while waiting for the coffee maker, copier/printer, or that email to send.
  • Bike or walk to wherever you’re going versus drive.
  • Start a new routine of going for a walk after meals, especially dinner! The days are getting longer and the weather has been beautiful…enjoy it with your loved ones.

Take care of yourselves and others and get a little (or a lot) sweaty today! See you soon…





No dieting!!!



Don’t diet! A diet is “for now”. There are a lot of things in your life that you can do “for now”;  sometimes a job or a pain-in-the-butt task, some relationships, school, etc. but, eating should be consistent, enjoyable and  healthy for ALWAYS, not just in the short term. Looking for longterm goals and success in health and weight? Avoid dieting-especially restrictive dieting-and nourish your body with whole foods ( whole foods meaning they’re as close to as nature intended them) vegetables, fruits, beans, grains, etc.

Lose the white flour, extra sugar, and hydrogenated oils; yes, they taste good.  But, how do you feel after? Maybe blissful initially, I admit,  but then I’m guessing you feel kinda or mostly crappy after. Get rid of the crappy. Eat food. Food full of vitamins and minerals meant to be absorbed by your body’s natural enzymes. Food that will feed your body, not make it sick and depleted due to a lack of nutrients.

Let’s do this! Let’s get healthy and stay that way!

Oh, and get sweaty, too!!! Take care and I’ll see you soon!


Hello my friend(s), hello!

Now you may have Neil Diamond in your head…sorry about that! 

Just wanted to do a quick shout out!!!

    I hope you’re all doing well and taking good care of yourselves and others…I haven’t written anything in SO LONG. I feel like the last few months have been a wonderful swirling blur of nouns; people, places and things!

It’s been a privilege to work with new faces, and some other really great familiar ones! I’ve seen remarkable healthy transformations and lifestyle changes in the last few months in all of the individuals that I work with. I am beyond proud and ecstatic for everyone continuing to commit to their personal goals. It’s inspiring to see the pride you take in caring for your bodies and overall well-being! Keep up the good work you guys: it’s been fun!

I’ll write more in the next few days…until then, get a little sweaty everyday and keep smiling!


Happy Healthy Thanksgiving!




Hello! I hope you’re gearing up for a beautiful day to spend with friends and family! I just wanted to give you some tips to help today (and any holiday) go smooth and keep you on the right track for health, wellness and fitness!

1. Eat sensible breakfasts and snacks: Don’t save up your calories for the big meal; this can set you up to be so hungry you overeat and leave you feeling overfull, bloated and really uncomfortable.

2. Keep logging: you’ve already created a habit with food logging, don’t abandon it today! You’ve discovered how food logging keeps you mindful by bringing awareness to what you’re eating and today is a great day to heighten that awareness.

3. Be nice to yourself! Let go of guilt! Even though you may find that you over consume things today it’s not beneficial to beat yourself up about it. Be compassionate. It’s one day. Just as one day of healthy eating will not cause you to drop weight, one day of less healthy eating will not cause you to gain weight. You’ve made great strides to get to where you are, one day will not mess the whole thing up; just get back on track tomorrow. You’re still an amazing, good, beautiful person. Now, move on.

4. Move! Although “you can’t outrun your fork”, don’t stay sedentary! Go for a walk, a run, a skip, jump, hop, etc. Move! Get sweaty!

5. Moderation, moderation, moderation! Avoid overeating; eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full. Chew slowly. It takes 20 mins for your brain to register you’re full, so eat slow. Small bites.

6. Moderate alcohol: This deserves its own separate category of moderation…drinks have empty calories that don’t fill you up, lower your inhibitions (why not have that second piece of pie…) and can leave you feeling pretty awful. What’s moderate? Up to 1 drink a day for women and up to 2 drinks for men. 12 oz of regular beer, 5 oz of wine, or 1 1/2 oz of 80-proof distilled spirits.


Take care people and have a fun and wonderful day! I’ll see you next week and I can’t WAIT to hear all about your adventures in Thanksgiving!

A few of my favorite things…

Hello and happy Sunday!

I hope you’re having a lovely day! If you’re in Bozeman, hopefully you’re cozy inside under a blanket drinking some warm tea or coffee; it’s a pretty rainy, windy and chilly day out there so far!

Sunday is one of my favorite days of the week! (The other is Wednesday…) I love Sunday’s, particularly the mornings, because it’s a quiet time of reflection on the week past and the week ahead. For me, Sunday is sort-of like going to Staples or Officemax- every time I walk into those stores I have this premonition about how “together” and “organized” I’m going to be- that’s what Sunday feels like to me; the promise of a perfectly executed week! My laundry will be done and put away, I will have meals planned out and prepared, and all of my administrative duties will be tended to. The “to do” list will be checked off and completed. All of my client planning and programming will be ready to go. Tall order? Maybe? Despite it all, Sunday is a day just for me to do what I want, and I really like that! I hope that you all get similar liberties on your favorite days of the week!

This Sunday is a double-whammy for me; it’s also my favorite season! I love Fall, always have. The days are still long, cool and mostly sunny. It’s the perfect time to get out and recreate without overheating or worrying about your extremities in the cold. I even love days like today. I am planning on hitting up the grocery store in a bit to get some weekly nourishment and the ingredients to make a hearty, healthy soup for this afternoon, and I thought i’d share!

This soup is so tasty and satisfying on a day like today. As with most things, it also gets better with time, so the leftovers are fantastic. Bon appetit!


Turkey Soup with Barley and Mushrooms


1/2 oz mixed dried mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 leeks, including tender green parts, coarsely chopped
1/2 lb (250g) fresh white button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1/4 lb (125g) fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup pearl barley
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 skinless turkey thighs, about 1 1/2 lb total weight
8 cups (64 fl oz) chicken or beef stock or broth
2 teaspoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepperSoak the dried mushrooms in 2 cups boiling water for 30 minutes.

Drain the soaked mushrooms, reserving 1 cup or the soaking liquid. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth (muslin) or a coffee filter to removed any grit. Using a kitchen towel, squeeze the mushrooms dry and cut into 1/4 inch dice. Set aside the mushrooms and their soaking liquid.

In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the leeks and saute until nicely softened, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the fresh button and shiitake mushrooms, carrots, barley, and garlic. Saute for 1 minute longer. Add the turkey and stock, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the barely is tender but not mushy, about 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the turkey thighs from the pot. Discard the skin and cut the meat from the bones. Shred the meat into bite-sized pieces and return it to the pot. Add the reserved mushrooms and soaking liquid to the soup. Stir in the soy sauce and chopped parsley and simmer for 5 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and serve immediately.

Have a great day everyone! Let’s make the week ahead a good one…

Entertaining and Mindful Eating: 8 Tips to keep you eating healthy when out to eat

Good morning!

Summer in Montana means two things: road construction and visitors! I often work with clients that are struggling to meet their goals in healthy eating because entertaining in this culture is often surrounding food; we meet for coffee, go out for breakfast or grab a quick lunch, and indulge at dinner. Sometimes all of the above! Not to mention any company parties or other work-related social gatherings and obligations are surrounding food, as well! Other than being a hermit and missing all the fun, we can incorporate more mindful practices to help us manage and mitigate these meal challenges.

I’ve mentioned the book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think in earlier blogs; if you haven’t picked up your copy, I highly suggest you do! You can also check out his website, here. Brian Wansink, Phd. and colleagues have studied human behavior regarding food choices and tackle the subject of social cues which surround eating, some you may not even be aware of! It can be helpful to understand how the world around us sometimes sets us up to eat more, even on a subconscious level. For example, as mentioned in this book, studies have shown we eat quite a bit more when we eat with others:

When we eat with one other person, we eat 35% more than we otherwise would.

When we eat with a group of 7 or more, we eat more than twice as much: 96% more!

For those of us that are trying to watch what we eat and our waistlines, this can be particularly challenging. So what do we do???

I’ve put together a small list of choices you can make that may help make this a little less daunting, and keep you from abandoning all of your healthy habits. Of course, everything in moderation: sometimes you just want that chocolate pot-de-creme at the end of the meal, or cream cheese stuffed french toast. The very occasional indulgence of these tasty tidbits are okay! (YOLO, right?!) However, if you do this a few times a week you’ll notice your pants are fitting just a wee bit tighter…and you’re moving farther from your goals. Some of the following suggestions may help when going out to eat:

1. Look ahead at the menu and decide what to eat. Preparation is key! Don’t leave yourself vulnerable to that creamy delicious-sounding description, already know what you want and stick to it.

2.  Do you get to chose where you go out? If so, chose a lighter fare. Tapas or Asian fusion restaurants may be a better choice than a steak or Italian joint.

3. When your meal comes, ask for a to-go box right away. This a great trick to eating a smaller portion. If you’re riddled with questions, just say, “This tastes so much better the next day!” or “I’m really thrifty! I get to make this meal into two meals!”

4. Have a healthy snack before you go. Keep some almonds on hand, or if you don’t have time, get a side salad first.

5. Eat family-style. Share entrees! This is a great way to create conversation and get the variety of the menu; tapas are a great choice for this style of dining.

6. Stop eating when you’re full! Leave some food on your plate; there’s no need to be part of the “clean plate club” and your leaving food on your plate does nothing for starving children anywhere.

7. One more social tip: pace yourself with the slowest eater; if you eat slower, you may be able to catch that full feeling a little easier.  

8. As for the actual menu, stick with dishes that are “grilled” and “broiled”; avoid fried or sautéed. When ordering salad, ask for salad dressing on the side. Try to avoid using all of the dressing you’re given, and stick with vinaigrettes; avoid ranch or creamier dressings.


Most of all, enjoy the company, the sunshine and have fun!













A Healthy Life

Hi there New Leafers!
I hope that your summer has been a wonderful journey so far; full of adventure, fun, and relaxation!
I just wanted to write a quick note to remind you all that healthy living is your own life’s mission; it is unique to you and your specific goals.

Sometimes we can fall into a habit of comparing ourselves to others. We covet others motivations and want to know what THEY’RE doing, and how we measure up to some social standard. Unfortunately, we can set ourselves up for disappointment and live in fear of judgement from others this way. Find your own self motivation by exploring the basics: what is one thing you can modify to improve your health?

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” Theodore Roosevelt

Tell that inner critic to take a leap. You know that voice. It’s the one which helps you in the comparison to others, saying things like:
“You can’t do that!”
“You’re not doing it right!”
“You’re not doing enough!”

One foot in front of the other. Baby steps turn to leaps and bounds, and small changes make a big difference. Focus on one healthy living aspect you wish to cultivate (eating more vegetables and fruits, drinking less sugary drinks, drinking more water, going for a 30 min walk everyday) and get that habit down. Then incorporate the next. You’re learning new behavior patterns; it takes time to let go of the old ones. Be patient with yourself and keep your eyes on the prize; a healthier, happier you! Not someone else, or someone else’s version of what healthy means.

Get out there, have fun, and as always; let me know how I may help!

Getting back to basics!

Happy Monday, folks!

I don’t know about you, but I know that I need to up the ante on taking care of myself…starting today! In case you were wondering: yes, fitness professionals, like myself, get off track with eating right, too! At the very least, I’ve been feeling lethargic, constipated, irritable, broken out, and bloated…it’s not pretty. Kind of scummy and dirty on the inside.

My plan, you ask? Getting back to eliminating nearly all packaged foods. Historically, I’d occasionally have a Kind bar, eat a little pre-made quinoa pasta, etc. Not anymore. It’s been daily, and my body is feeling terrible. For a while, I’d like to get back to all grains, veggies, fruits, nuts, lean proteins and plenty of water and green tea!  Who’s with me? Time to lessen the inflammation in this body and to start feeling “normal” again.

The first step? Meal planning! What’s on my plan? Here’s a starter list:

  • Sweet potato chili (recipe here)
  • Stir fry veggies and brown rice (carrots, celery, mushrooms, bok choy, onion)
  • Brown rice with greens, walnuts and cinnamon (excellent breakfast)
  • Homemade black bean veggie burgers (I’m omitting the parm and bread crumbs to lose the wheat and dairy):

1½ cups cooked beans
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup grated Parmesan
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
¾ cup toasted bread crumbs, plus more if
2 tablespoons olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. In a mixing bowl, mash the beans using a potato masher or fork. Fold in the eggs, parsley, Parmesan, mustard, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Fold in the bread crumbs, adding more if the mixture is too loose. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes for the crumbs to soak up some moisture. Adjust seasonings. Shape into 4 patties.
3. In an oven-safe skillet or nonstick sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the patties and cook until browned on each side, 6 to 10 minutes total. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the burgers are firm and cooked through.
▶ Prep and cook time: 30 minutes

Excerpt From: Volger, Lukas. “Veggie Burgers Every Which Way.” Perseus, 2010-08-17. iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.

Check out this book on the iBooks Store:

  • Apple cinnamon bars (I’m going to try these)
  • Big-‘ol-veggie-filled salads with lean protein (sautéed shrimp, baked or grilled chicken and salmon, are some of my favorites!)


Let’s try it for the next 30 days?! Eliminate excess sugar and preservatives. Notice the change in your digestion, skin, energy levels and mood. At least for two weeks? Join me! Let me know about your journey; you know you’ll be updated on mine!

Be well!




A love letter to Montana

Good morning, everyone!
It has been a while since I sat down and shared a blog. Lot’s of things have been going on; my business is in full swing and I am now getting the privilege of working outdoors with my clients in this lovely weather here in Bozeman. It’s such a bonus to live here and help people take steps to living healthier lives.
When I moved here 10 years ago this past April, I had no idea that I would fall so deeply in love with my surroundings and the opportunity for adventure that it provides, practically at my doorstep!
Many things in my life have changed over the past 10 years, and in particular over the past year-and-a-half. Change is good. Experiences, events, and the people we encounter, shape who we are and who we become. This is all part of our story and makes us who we are. I have had some wonderful experiences along this journey in life some painful, others full of joy and love; all have led me to where I am right now.
The other day, I awoke with such a love and joy for where I live that I wrote a little love to poem for Montana, and I thought I’d share:

Dear Montana,
I can’t imagine myself falling out of love with your inspiration, energy and versatile beauty. Thank you for helping me to be whole, good and appreciative of life’s best ways to live: through exploration and adventure.


I encourage you to review the past, gaze into the future, and relish the present! What brought you where you are today? Where do you want to be tomorrow? What steps can you take today to bring you toward your best life FOR YOU?

Eat well. Get sweaty. Be kind. Laugh and smile…ALOT!


Have a great day!