Author Archives: WLDadmin

Some thoughts on a herniated disc….

The weekend of July 13th, I lost function of my right foot due to a severely herniated disk that is pressing up against the nerves behind my spinal cord. Here is

the MRI for your viewing pleasure, the circled area at the L5 vertebra is the disc that no longer lives in its home inside the spinal cord, but instead has decided to hang out with the nerves (white part) and put pressure on them.  There are several reasons why this happened to me, including Crossfit, sitting too much, driving too much, and basically ignoring back pain that I have had for well over a year. But, let’s not dwell in the past as we cannot change it. For the last 3 weeks, since I lost my foot, I have been devastated, afraid, ANGRY, resisting every moment of this whole process and complaining to anyone that will listen. I have had several other medical complications in addition to the foot drop and that has not added to my happiness or acceptance AT ALL.

This week, due to support from several friends and my “Power of Now” group, I decided to change that. Today in my “Power of Now” group, the question was asked “How do you know that this illness is exactly what you need?” and the answer was “Because you have it”. SIMPLE AS THAT. This foot drop is what I need for my spiritual, emotional, psychological growth because HERE IT IS, RIGHT NOW. All the stories I have been telling about it, about how I can’t walk or wear cute shoes, or do this or that, are just stories…and many are untrue. Today I am determined to ACCEPT this situation and identify why I am being faced with this current challenge, so here goes:

1. About a month before the foot issue, I had a bad attitude. I was upset with my current life situation and was constantly resisting what was. The foot has made me stop and realize, that maybe all the stuff that was making me angry, was really just ANOTHER story created by my mind. None of it was real and therefore the anger can no longer be there.

2. I was working too much, focusing on financial gain, instead of taking a step back and doing what I REALLY want to do (write). The doctors took me off work, so I was forced to stop. I was also angry about this at first and scared I wouldn’t have enough money or would lose respect from coworkers. Now, I realize that pushing myself did get me a few extra bucks, but it also may have cost me a piece of my health and well-being. Not worth it. And guess what, even though I took a few weeks off, I still have more than enough money! Another story created in my head.

3. Pre-foot drop I felt lonely. All the time. And the lonely feeling controlled my whole outlook on life. Even though my social situation hasn’t really changed that much, my friends are still my friends, I have realized that the loneliness was another story I was telling. During this time several friends have been texting, calling, taking me out for Shabu Shabu, and trying to make me feel better. Mark, who is always loving and kind, spent 5 hours with me in the ER on a Friday night. My sweet Manny-kins, came all the way to my house to massage my foot and watch “Celebrity Ghost Stories” with me. Terry, who always seems to teach me something, was able to see me through the bad foot, horrible rash, and accept me exactly as I am. A lonely or alone person does not have these loving friends in their life. I am a lucky, blessed girl to have so much love and support.

I am not going to sit here and say that I have accepted my gimpy foot 100%. But, what I can say, is that I am willing to do the work it will take to get better: physically, spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically. I am willing to look deeply at my life and find the blessings and lessons hidden in this experience. I am unwilling to look at the foot as a limitation, but instead am going to choose to look at it as a blessing and a lesson. This gimpy foot is everything I need RIGHT NOW.


Several years ago I weighed just under 350lbs, I came to Ana after losing a portion on my own through fad diets and weight watchers. But I was stuck and in bad need to help break this vicious weight cycle. Ana started having me keep a food/mood journal to jot down the good, the bad and sometimes ugly things I was feeling and doing to my body. Each week we would meet and discuss a new element towards healthy eating and successful weight loss. I would turn in my Food/Mood Journal and receive feedback and support.

The biggest thing I learned about myself was that I was not eating enough. I was restricting my caloric intake too drastically and relying on prepackaged meals to help me reach my weight goals. I learned from Ana that starving myself and depriving myself of essential nutrition was not the true answer to successful weight loss.

As painful as it was for this old dog to learn new tricks, I did with Ana’s expertise and wonderfully innovative ideas. I began to eat more than I had ever done in months past, I continued with my exercise and the pounds finally started to melt away. I am happy to say the tools Ana has taught me have really satisfying rewards towards achieving long term weight loss. I have 180lbs lost and just had my first baby. All of this would not be possible without the support of Ana.

Forever Grateful,
Jessica B.

My name is Charletta and I am a General manager of a restaurant. I struggled with my weight all of my adult life. I tried diets, pills & starvation. Nothing worked,  I would lose some and gain back more. On July 29, 08 I was told I was morbidly obese.  I was shocked. I knew I was big but I was beautiful and happy. I was 279 lbs with a BMI of 49. I had sleep apnea, my body hurt so bad at times I would cry and I had borderline high blood pressure. I was offered a weight loss program which would be a 6 month class 1 time a week for a hour. I was desperate and figured what do I have to lose?  On Sept 9, 2008 I had my first class with Ana Johnson. She was the nutritionist assigned to my group. She was young and really not what I expected. Ana was very forward, open, and honest. Ana’s approach is the best as she has the knowledge and desire to help. Ana talked about food diaries (if you bite it write it). Ana gave me the knowledge and direction to achieve and maintain permanent weight loss. Every class I listened, learned, and lost. My first week I lost 7 lbs and by the end of my 6 month class I had lost almost 60 lbs and my BMI was 38.  I was starting to live life and not watch life happen. I am truly blessed to have been saved by Ana. I would recommend her and her knowledge to anybody who need or wanted guidance in health and nutrition. She saved my life. It has been over 3 years since Ana has been my nutritionist she gave me the tools to lose weight and keep it off I am now 143 lbs and my BMI is 25. Three years later I can still call her for guidance and she always helps me get back on the right track.


Healthy Lifestyle Day 5

I can safely say that the new eating plan is still going super well on day #5! I have lost about 1.5 pounds (even though the Livestrong widget says only 1 lb- its a little more than that I promise!). Some of the weight loss might be water, but I’ll take it! Generally, one can expect to lose 2-5 pounds of water on the first week of any weight loss diet. You might see slightly more weight loss if you are following a low carbohydrate program because since your body is using up its storage carbohydrates for energy, it is also getting rid of water at the same time.

So, last night Mr ZM and I had a delicious dinner I was super proud of! I picked up some pre-seasoned chicken at Fresh and Easy (only 360 calories for 1/2 the package), some small multicolored potatoes (160 calories for 1/2 package), and some green beans.

Mr. ZM was a little hesitant about green beans because he told me he hadn’t eaten them in over a decade (WHAT???). He also refuses to eat asparagus, but I will eventually prevail on that too! One step at a time, right? Anyway, we didn’t even finish all the chicken or the potatoes and were both pretty full. With a glass of wine each and an orange for desert, our whole meal was about 550 calories. At the end of the day, we both still had calories left over and were feeling pretty satisfied.

One extremely annoying thing, Mr ZM and I are about the same height and about the same weight….we have both been on the diet the same amount of time and eaten several meals together and he is about 1.5 pounds ahead of me in weight loss! I know men lose faster than women for several reasons, but it is so aggravating. This weekend we are going to go away to the mountains for a bit and I know we will have a few higher calorie dinners. I am going to try to set those off with some extra walking or exercise during the day. Lets see how it goes! Onward!

I have prevailed!

So, Mr ZM and I decided to get away for the weekend and spend it up in Idyllwild, a little mountain town about an hour from the OC where my parents have a cabin. We had gone there for New Year’s Eve and really enjoyed our time up there so we wanted to hang out a little bit more.

We headed up on Friday and spent all day Saturday walking around and then did some work at the local coffee shop, as I had an article to write. At about 4pm, we decided to start happy hour so we headed over to the Idyll-a-while Wine Shop for some wine tasting and conversation. Of course, we had to get a cheese plate as I rarely pass one up (I have been so good on my diet, I figured one would be ok this weekend).

The cheese plate had some veggies with it on the side, one of which was asparagus….and Mr ZM had said he would NEVER eat asparagus. Well, maybe people change because here is PHOTOGRAPHIC PROOF of Mr. ZM munching on a spear of asparagus! I guess pigs do fly. And now back to reality and back to the re-commitment to health…but at least we can have asparagus now.

Genetically Modified Foods

In case you don’t live in California, Proposition 37, the mandatory labeling of genetically modified food, did not pass in the last election. This was a surprise to many of us in the nutrition/health industry because we didn’t understand why people wouldn’t want to know if their food was genetically modified. Overall, there were two issues with the election. First, there was a big ad campaign on TV that talked about how all the grocery prices would go up. In this economy, no one wants to pay more for groceries! Second, it is unclear if people understand why it’s important to know if food is genetically modified. Here are some important points on genetically modified foods (GMOs):

  • There are over 40 plant varieties in the US that are genetically modified. The US produces 68% of the GMO crops in the world.
  • GMOs have been changed in a laboratory to have certain desirable traits such as resistance to pesticides, improved nutrition, or better appearance.
  • Mostly found in processed foods in the US, most whole fruits and vegetables are not genetically modified. 54% of the soybeans grown in the US are genetically modified.
  • GMOs may cause harm to other organisms and disrupt certain ecosystems. For example, pollen from GMO corn will kill a monarch caterpillar.
  • Plant genes can transfer from one plant to another. There is a fear that the GMO plants will transfer their pesticide-resistant genes to other plants, causing weeds to become resistant, leading to the formation of “super weeds” that cannot be controlled.
  • Increasing levels and severity of allergies to peanuts and other foods in children has been linked to GMO crops.
  • GMO crops have not been tested for long-term consumption and potential effects on human health.
  • GMOs are modified so that the plants are sterile and cannot reproduce. This forces farmers to purchase new seeds yearly.

Several countries have either completely banned GMOs or have labeling requirements so that consumers can make their own decisions. Although GMOs can help solve important world-wide problems, more research needs to be done on the potential long-term effect on human and environmental health.

The 2 Day Diet Giveaway!

Great news! The great people at Random House, who send me books to review from time to time, sent me an EXTRA copy of the new book “The 2 Day Diet” by Dr. Michelle Harvey and Professor Tony Howell. An extra copy for me to give away to my readers! Woot!

The 2 day diet is based on the principle of intermittent fasting/dieting. You can read more about that in my blog I wrote for HUM Nutrition here. This principle basically says cut your calories low on a few days a week to balance out what you do the rest of the week. Now, this won’t balance out a terrible diet the rest of the week, but the authors of this book don’t recommend you going crazy on the 5 non-diet days. Instead, they recommend you follow a Mediterranean diet for the 5 days. Great advice!

Anyway, whoever wants the extra copy and wants to learn more about the 2 day diet, comment below. I will choose a winner at random on July 10 and announce it on the blog. Good luck!

Day 2- Healthy Lifestyle in 2013

So far, this new healthy eating and exercising thing is going great!! I went to spin class after work today (I can’t even remember the last time I worked out after work) and am even 300 calories short on what I am allowed to eat because I burned over 400 calories at the gym. WOOT!

I was proud of myself because I went to Trader Joe’s yesterday and picked up some snacks (turkey slices, string cheese, cherry tomatoes, carrots, celery). I have been munching on those after work and this evening. Since I moved in to this apartment, I have not had much in my fridge and have not really been to the grocery store very often. I am kind of unmotivated to cook for just myself, especially since I eat at work for free…I end up feeling like its not worth it because I already ate a pretty good meal at work. Anyway, lets keep this motivation going!!

One Response to Day 2- Healthy Lifestyle in 2013

Clean eating is not a new concept! Nor is it a fad diet to shed weight. Clean eating is about sticking to what is closest to natural products and avoid processed foods that come out of a box. It’s not about restricting what you eat, but rather about making conscious choices to eat better quality foods. This means more natural products and less chemicals and additives. Although some people may be able to jump right into clean eating and never look back, most need to ease into this lifestyle. A sure way to get started is to firstly drink more water; secondly eliminate processed foods; thirdly balance your meals; and finally control portion size.

Re-committing to Health and Blogging In 2013

I am going to be honest, this blog and my own health have been on the back burner the last half of 2012. I started 2012 off great, with some great stories about my times in Brazil and re-committing to yoga and my overall health. Once I got back to the US, I started a new writing career and then lost function of my foot due to a really bad herniated disc. The disc and the busyness has led me to neglect exercise, sit on the couch more often (to write), and overall baby myself when it comes to food and health.

So I am going to declare, starting today, that 2013 will be different. Although I am still limited on what I can do in terms of exercise (sadly Crossfit will never be a possibility again), I can do spin class and walk. I also have some new motivation in that my boyfriend, who I will call Mr. Zen Master (Mr. ZM) is also wanting to do better with his own health and is willing to support me.  One of the companies I work for HUM Nutrition, also motivates me with their health-oriented approach and awesome supplements (some of which I will incorporate into my plan). So, here goes:

1. Log my food daily on my Livestrong ap. Stick with under 1400 calories/day. This will mean a significant reduction in my consumption of happy hour cheese plates and wine.

2. Spin class 2x per week and walking daily at work. I can take a 20 minute walking break which will really add up. Also, maybe I can convince Mr. ZM to go on some weekend hikes with me.

3. Stop giving myself treats and babying myself because I “deserve” it or had a bad week. What I really “deserve” is to be healthy and not tired or lethargic all the time.

4. I am going to add some of the HUM supplements to my regimen: Vitamin D (linked to weight loss), Omega-3 (reduces inflammation, also helps with weight loss), and an AM/PM Cleanse Product. I am also going to use the Arbonne Protein powders to substitute meals when I am busy or don’t have time.

Overall, my goal is to lose 10 lbs and get exercise back into my life. I feel tired all the time and I know it has to do with poor diet and lack of physical activity. So, who wants to join me on my quest to get back my health in 2013?


Welcome to Whole Life Diets!

Whole Life Diets mission is to create a new, more powerful way to use nutrition to improve your whole life in order to achieve complete wellness. My goal is to provide clients with the tools and support to help them identify the habits that are preventing them from living the healthy and fulfilling life they truly want.

My story

As a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator I am in a unique position to help clients make permanent changes in their lives. I have extensive professional experience in both clinical nutrition practice and nutritional counseling.  My love for helping others started in high school when I was a volunteer for a “teens counseling teens” suicide hotline. After completing a degree in psychology from UCLA, I felt that I wanted to focus on helping people in a tangible way in order to truly see the changes they were making in their lives. I have combined my experience in psychology with my degree and expertise as a Registered Dietitian in order to help hundreds of clients achieve their goals. My mission is use all of my experience to bring you innovative nutrition information to help you achieve whole life wellness.

Week 2- Yoga Retreat

Today starts week 2 of my Brazilian diet plan. Last week I walked every day on Ipanema beach with my dad for about 45-60 minutes in the morning. I injured my back somehow last year (according to my chiropractor because I sit too much at work and was trying to hit it too hard at Crossfit) and I have realized (after A LOT of fighting it and denial) that I really can’t do intense exercise anymore, at least for awhile. I tried to do to the Insanity DVD with my brother, but that aggravated my back. I had to go to get a massage and it took about 5 days for it to stop hurting. I think my days of running and Crossfit are over for a bit. Maybe some day I will go back. For now, walking and yoga are going to be my primary forms of physical activity.

I started the free yoga class on the  beach today.  It was AMAZING! The yoga was super chill and was exactly my speed. There were a few challenging moves, but it was mostly stretching which is what I really needed to try to rehab my back. The teacher handed out a flyer about an up-coming 3 day yoga retreat and I have signed up! I’m really stoked because I have always wanted to go on a yoga retreat. Its in a beautiful mountain location called Teresopolis, which is a few hours outside of Rio. It seems like its going to be an awesome experience! The best part is it will be about 1/3 of the cost of what something like this would be in the US. Awesome!!

So even with the walking and yoga, I didn’t lose any weight this week. I think that this week I am going to focus more on what food I am eating. Its difficult here because there are so many delicious things to eat that I haven’t eaten for awhile. The worst of which is probably this delicious mini French bread that most Brazilians eat for breakfast. My dad stops by the bakery and picks up warm bread every morning. Its hard to resist. I know I can’t eat refined carbs like that in the morning, especially not topped with requeijão (the Brazilian equivalent of cream cheese but MUCH tastier). I think I have been kind of lying to myself about what I am eating and indulging too much in delicious, deep fried, Brazilian street food. I have 10 weeks left until I go back to the states. I think its reasonable to think I can lose about 1 lb per week and come back about 10 lbs lighter. And tanner….got to hit the beach for that. Wish me luck!