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Goal Setting for 2012

31 Dec


Setting goals will enable you to eliminate the distractions in your life and help you to focus on the really important things.  By knowing exactly what you want, you’re able to concentrate on specific areas with more accountability and focus. Goals allow you to get more things done so you can achieve more.  Who doesn’t want to achieve more?

We like to take one large goal and break it into smaller, more attainable “mini-goals”.  This will give you the direction you need if you get off track.  Goals create steps.  The old saying goes, “How do we eat an elephant?” Answer: One bite at a time. No matter what task we have to tackle, we often can’t do it all at once. We can, however take small steps toward completing the task.

Always, always, always write down your goals! Set small, measurable, and attainable goals.  Focus on getting the result that you want.  Why did you set this goal?  Why is it important to you?  Make a commitment to yourself, and then take action with your end-result in mind.  Use your time wisely and work hard.  Don’t waste your valuable time and energy with filler.

Tell everyone you know about your goal.  You have probably heard this a hundred times, but it really works.  This will create accountability, and the more accountability, the more likely you are to succeed!  But, be careful with ones who won’t support you, don’t share with them.

One more thing…. “TODAY, not tomorrow” is critical.  Don’t put anything off until tomorrow…it will never get done.  Besides, if it were really important to you, then why would you wait?  Do it TODAY!

What is your Goal?

Let us help you accomplish your goals in 2012.  We want you to have a “NEW” goal in 2013, not the same one you make this year.

Define – Plan – Commit – Take Action – Make No Excuses – Be Persistent- Read Your Goals Daily – & Never QUIT!

Happy New Year!


How to Instantly Curb Your Food Cravings

14 Dec


Food cravings. They can attack us all, from the 5-time marathon runner to the newly-recovering couch potato. Food cravings are unavoidable, and to deny their existence will make you more vulnerable when they attack. The best thing to do is to have strategies in place to combat them and to meet them head on. Here are some great tricks to curb those cravings. Keep them in your back pocket and you’ll be sure to slay the monster.

Stop Cravings Before They Start.

Cravings often occur when your body is missing some nutrient or type of food that your diet has been lacking. You can prevent them by making sure you’re eating small, well-balanced meals and snacks throughout the day. As a matter of fact, if you’re eating non-processed foods every 3-4 hours, your belly will stay relatively full and your blood sugar will stabilized. Without dangerous dips in your blood sugar, you’re less likely to crave quick fixes like simple carbs or bad fats.


Did you know that sometimes what our brains register as hunger is actually our bodies trying to tell us that we’re dehydrated? The next time a craving hits you out of nowhere, make it a point to drink a full glass of water. Not only will it fight “hydration pangs,” it’ll also curb your cravings by filling your stomach.


Distract Your Taste Buds.

Sometimes cravings hit because you’re stressed or bored and your mouth needs something to do. A great trick is to pop a piece of sugarless gum or a breath mint. The burst of flavor will refocus your palate and nip that craving in the bud. Usually when your mouth is already full there’s no room to want anything more.

Don’t Eat. Act.

Sit down and make a list of 10 things that you can do instead of succumbing to your cravings. Keep the list close at hand and refer to it often. It may sound cheesy, but it’s a great weapon against those pesky cravings. Your list might include going for a walk, taking a quick shower, playing with a pet, or chatting with a loved one. The point is to focus your attention elsewhere and recondition your mind to crave something more active instead of the food you don’t need.

Rule Your Cravings with an Iron Fist.

Sometimes it’s less about craving a particular food and more about general impulse control. The next time you are hit with a diet-busting craving, clench your fists as you tell yourself that you will not indulge. Research has shown that the physical activity of clenching your fists can help you assert control and be conscientious in your decision making.

Remember: Sharing Is Caring…For Yourself

If you just can’t resist a piece of cheesecake or that side of fries, try splitting one serving with a friend. There are three reasons why this strategy halts the damage cravings can inflict on your fitness goals. First, you’ll get a satisfying taste, preventing you from feeling deprived and possibly opening yourself up to a dangerous binge later on. Second, by splitting the portion you instantly cut down on the calories and bring your treat down to manageable levels of sugar, fat, and sodium. Lastly, you get instant support in your healthy decision from your like-minded friend. Just make sure you and your cravings-buddy split a single portion – not an entire extra large everything pizza.  


Benefits and Risks of Consuming Soy

7 Dec

You may have heard about soy foods in the news, including claims that soy prevents diseases such as cancer and heart disease. On the other hand, people have complained that they have had bad reactions to eating soy and that is toxic to their thyroid. So should you continue to eat soy or not?  Today’s blog will focus on the benefits of eating soy.  Later this week, I’ll list the risks of eating soy and whether soy should be included or avoided in your diet. 

 What is soy?

 According to, soy (or soybeans) are a type of legume that have been used for 5,000 years in China for food — i.e., tofu, tempeh, and edamame beans – and for medicinal purposes. Soybeans are considered a source of protein, and are processed into many meat and dairy substitutes. Soy contains isoflavones, which are plant hormones that have been linked to the following health benefits.  

What are the benefits of eating soy?

1. Good source of protein: Soybeans are considered by many agencies to be a source of complete protein.  A complete protein is one that contains significant amounts of all the essential amino acids that must be provided to the human body because of the body’s inability to synthesize them. For this reason, soy is a good source of protein, amongst many others, for vegetarians and vegans or for people who want to reduce the amount of meat they eat.

2. Reduces cancer risk: states that several large population studies have shown that consumption of soy foods is associated with a reduction in prostate cancer risk in men, is significantly associated with decreased risk of death and recurrence of breast cancer among women, and may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer in postmenopausal women

3. Reduces heart disease: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concluded that foods containing soy protein, which are included in a low fat saturated diet may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol levels.  (

 4. Contains many healthy nutrients: Soy foods are a great source of protein and contain other important nutrients, such as fiber, B vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids.

5. Reduces osteoporosis: Isoflavones, contained in soy, may help prevent bone loss, therefore lowering the risk of osteoporosis.

 Risks of Soy Consumption

 1. Taste: A common complaint by first-time users is that soy tastes too “beany.” Still, manufacturers believe a soy revolution is coming. Soy-based yogurt, pudding, and hot dogs may soon compete with soy burgers for space on grocery shelves.

 2. Allergies: Soy is one of eight foods responsible for the majority of food allergies, and one of five foods most commonly associated with food allergies in children. People with a soy allergy can suffer everything from hives and diarrhea to breathing difficulties upon eating this food. (

 3. Slows thyroid function: Some people believe that soy is particularly toxic to thyroid patients. Soy falls into a category of foods known as goitrogens — vegetables, grains and foods that promote formation of goiter — an enlarged thyroid. Some goitrogens appear to slow thyroid function, and in some cases, trigger thyroid disease.  (

 To eat or not to eat soy

Some experts suggest that soy itself is not inherently a problem, but it’s primarily overconsumption — and secondarily, the issue of genetic modification — that are the concerns.

There are estimates suggesting that Asians consume some 10 to 30 milligrams of isoflavones from soy a day — and it’s soy in traditional food form that is not processed or genetically modified. In theU.S., however, some people are getting as much as 80 to 100 milligrams of soy isoflavones a day, by consuming soy milk, soy nuts, soy protein shakes, soy candy bars, soy cereal, and foods enriched with soy, as well as soy supplements. Some soy and isoflavone supplements have as much as 300 milligrams of isoflavones. Isoflavones are also increasingly being added as a so-called “healthy” component of foods and other supplements.

They argue that soy that is not genetically modified (aka unprocessed), and consumed in food forms — like tofu, tempeh, and miso — can be safely incorporated into the diet when used in moderation. Avoid processed soy products — including soy powders, textured vegetable protein, soy protein isolates, soy protein, protein shakes, and other processed forms of soy. Additionally, do a pantry, fridge, and freezer check (Boca Burger or Luna bar anyone?) and toss foods with these ingredients. These ingredients are also common in fast food and school lunch programs.

The bottom line

Eat soy in moderation. Soybeans, tofu, and other soy-based foods are an excellent alternative to red meat. On the other hand, there’s no reason to go overboard on eating soy. Approximately two to four servings a week is a good target; eating more than that likely won’t offer any health benefits and it is unknown whether or not it will do harm.


13 Nov



Jennifer Adams, Sand N Sea Fitness
3700 Portola Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Phone: 831-332-9885

Gina Bokariza, Urban Groove
575 7th Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Phone: (831) 476-8160

Holiday Shopping Event Will Donate All Auction Proceeds to CASA of Santa Cruz in Celestial Cassmans Name

Santa Cruz, CA On December 3, 2011, Hot For the Holidays, an exclusive one stop shopping event, will be hosting a silent auction to benefit Child Advocates of Santa Cruz (CASA) in Celestial Cassmans honor. On September 1, 2011, Ms. Cassman, was murdered in Hawaii. She was the City Attorney for Capitola and Santa Cruz and she was a CASA Board of Director.

This one stop shopping event, hosted by Sand N Sea Fitness and Urban Groove Salon, will highlight local Santa Cruz health and beauty businesses. Tickets, which are $10 in advance ($15 at the door), include a complimentary glass of Bartolo wine, a VIP gift bag, bidding at the silent auction, and shopping at some of the hottest companies. The local business include:

Urban Groove Hair Salon
Sand N Sea Fitness –
Bartolo and Equinox Wine –
Chowhound Cooking Classes –
Deann Bokariza-Neff Skin Care
Stella and Dot Jewelry –
Makeup By Sandy
Wallflower Boutique Clothing –
Designer Sunglasses
Simply Complicated Designer Jeans For Women
And more!

For information and to purchase tickets:

For information about CASA:

Phone: (831) 332-9885

# # #

Mind & Body Blog for Santa Cruz Good Times

17 Oct

Check out my new Mind and Body blog for Good Times Santa Cruz:

Does Sleep (Or Lack Of It) Affect Weight Loss?

7 Oct

Too little sleep can make you fat.

Scientists have found that sleep deprivation increases levels of a hunger hormone and decreases levels of a hormone that makes you feel
full. The effects may lead to overeating and weight gain.

It could explain why so many Americans who are chronically sleep-deprived also are overweight. And it could be part of the reason sleepy
college students, new parents, and shift workers pack on pounds.

Researchers say getting enough shut-eye might be a critical component of weight control. And nutritionists one day might routinely advise
dieters to “sleep it off” as well as to cut calories and increase exercise.

“We know the obesity epidemic is due to overeating — too big portions, too much rich food and too little activity — but why do we crave
too much of these rich foods?” says Eve Van Cauter, a University of Chicago sleep researcher who is the lead investigator on one of the new studies. Maybe, she says, it’s because “we are sleep-deprived and unable to curb our appetites.”

Sleep does indeed appear to be an important piece of the weight-control puzzle, says Stanford University sleep researcher Emmanuel
Mignot, who also is releasing new research.

If that’s true, it might be part of the solution to the nation’s obesity problem. Sixty-five percent of Americans are overweight or obese, which increases their risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and other diseases.

This percentage takes on a special significance when balanced against the fact that an estimated 63% of American adults do not get
the recommended eight hours of sleep a night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. In fact, the average adult gets 6.9 hours of sleep on weeknights and 7.5 hours on weekends, for a daily average of seven hours.

Van Cauter has spent 25 years doing research on the hormones that are affected by sleep. She says sleep deprivation activates a small part of the hypothalamus, the region of the brain that also is involved in appetite regulation. She is especially intrigued by, and has done several studies on, two critical hormones involved in regulating food intake: ghrelin and leptin.

They influence eating in different ways. Ghrelin is an appetite-stimulating hormone released mostly by the stomach. When ghrelin levels
are up, people feel hungry, Van Cauter says. On the other hand, leptin, considered a satiety or fullness hormone, is released by the fat cells and tells the brain about the current energy balance of the body.

When leptin levels are high, that sends a message to the brain that the body has enough food, and the person feels full, she says. Low
levels indicate starvation and increase appetite.

The hormones “have been called the yin and yang of hunger,” Van Cauter says. “One is the accelerator for eating (ghrelin), and the other is
the brake (leptin).”

Hungry for sleep — and food

Van Cauter, who directs the Research Laboratory on Sleep, Chronobiology and Neuroendocrinology at the University of Chicago School of
Medicine, examined the effect of sleep deprivation on these two hormones for her latest study, published in today’s Annals of Internal Medicine.
She had 12 healthy, normal-weight men, average age 22, come into a hospital laboratory to sleep, and eat dinner and breakfast.

On one occasion, they were limited to four hours in bed for each of two consecutive nights. At another time, they were allowed up to 10 hours in bed for two nights. Their blood was drawn at regular intervals, and they were asked about their hunger.


• Leptin levels were 18% lower and ghrelin levels were 28% higher after they slept four hours.

• The sleep-deprived men who had the biggest hormonal changes also said they felt the most hungry and craved carbohydrate-rich foods,
including cakes, candy, ice cream, pasta and bread. Those who had the smallest changes reported being the least hungry.

Matt Tierney, 23, who is studying biology at DePaul University in Chicago, participated in the study. He says that after getting only four hours of sleep for two straight nights, he was so hungry he could have “eaten my pillow.” He had no problems with hunger after the longer nights of

Link found to body mass index

Other research released Monday had similar findings.  Scientists at the University of Wisconsin and Stanford University tracked 1,024 people ages 30 to 60. Participants from the Wisconsin  Sleep Cohort Study took sleep tests and blood tests every four years and reported their sleep


• People who routinely slept five hours a night had a 14.9% higher level of ghrelin and a 15.5% lower level of leptin than those who slept
eight hours.

• Those who regularly slept less than 7.7 hours had a slightly higher body mass index (BMI).

“It’s amazing how much people’s sleep is reflected in the hormones in their blood,” says Mignot, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at Stanford. His work is reported in today’s online issue of the Public Library of Science Medicine.

Several epidemiological studies show the same connection, including one out last month from Columbia University in New York that used
government data on 6,115 people to compare sleep patterns and obesity.

Researchers found that people who sleep two to four hours a night are 73% more likely to be obese than those who get seven to nine hours.
Those who get five or more hours of sleep a night are 50% more likely to be obese than normal sleepers. Those who sleep six hours are 23% more likely to be obese.

And, the researchers reported, those who get 10 or more hours are 11% less likely to be obese.

In a way, the latest findings seem counterintuitive “because most people think that sleeping too much contributes to making people fat, but we found the opposite is true,” Mignot says.

He believes that sleep-deprived people eat more because they’re hungrier, they’re awake longer and may be tempted by foods everywhere they go. They often consume far more calories than they burn in the extra hours they’re awake.

People are usually pretty sedentary in that extra waking time —— watching TV, reading, responding to e-mail, Van Cauter says. They may burn an extra 50 calories or so in several hours, but the changes in hormones prompt them to eat far more than 50 calories.

“We believe the changes in appetite regulation are way in excess of the calories needed for the extra hours of wakefulness. We are testing this rigorously in the laboratory now,” she says.

Sleep may ease holiday stress

Obesity experts are intrigued by these findings. “We’ve known that people use food as a pick-me-up when they are tired, but now it appears they are hungrier than we realized, and there is a hormonal basis for their eating,” says Thomas Wadden, director of the Weight and Eating Disorders
Program at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

“The one thing that is clear is that during the holidays people should sleep as much as they can and not get too stressed out. That could prevent some of the holiday weight gain.”

Samuel Klein, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, says it looks as if “we
should tell overweight patients to get more sleep. This is advice that’s easier to follow than eat less and exercise more. ”

“It means watching a little less TV at night and getting to bed earlier,” Klein says. “Who on earth would argue about getting more sleep?”

Getting enough sleep and controlling stress are subtle things that could have an impact on weight, agrees Louis Aronne, president of
the North American Association for the Study of Obesity and director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Other studies are underway. Van Cauter is looking at how sleep loss affects people on low-calorie diets; how shift workers’ sleep habits affect their weight; and how sleep affects the hunger levels of the morbidly obese. She’s also investigating sleep deprivation in women and older people.

Mignot says researchers now must to do an intervention study in which sleep-deprived people increase their sleep time to see if it helps them lose weight.

“More and more we’re realizing that healthy eating, healthy sleeping and regular exercise are three important things that everyone should
do,” he says.

Van Cauter believes that some people might be extra-sensitive to sleep deprivation, which “makes it very hard” for them to control their appetites.

“Our body is not wired for sleep deprivation,” she says.”The human animal is the only one that does this.”

ACE Research Study Finds Toning Shoes Fail to Deliver on Fitness Claims

29 Sep

The American Council on Exercise (ACE), Americas leading authority on fitness and the largest non-profit fitness certification, education and training organization in the world, today released the findings from an independent research study on the effectiveness of popular toning shoes including Skechers Shape-Ups, MBT (Masai Barefoot Technology) and Reebok EasyTone. The study, one of the first from an independent organization, enlisted a team of researchers from the Exercise and Health Program at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, and found no evidence to suggest that the shoes help wearers exercise more intensely, burn more calories or improve muscle strength and tone.

Our findings demonstrate that toning shoes are not the magic solution consumers were hoping they would be, and simply do not offer any benefits that people cannot reap through walking, running or exercising in traditional athletic shoes.

To test the toning shoes effectiveness and evaluate their claims, a team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, led by John Porcari, Ph.D., John Greany, Ph.D., Stephanie Tepper, M.S., Brian Edmonson, B.S. and Carl Foster, Ph.D., designed a pair of studies to evaluate the exercise responses and muscle activation that take place while walking with toning shoes versus traditional athletic shoes. Researchers enlisted 12 physically active female volunteers, ages 19 to 24 years, for the exercise response study, during which they completed a dozen five-minute exercise trials of walking on a treadmill while wearing each type of shoe, including the toning sneakers Skechers Shape-Ups, MBT and Reeboks EasyTone, and traditional New Balance running shoes. To evaluate muscle activation, researchers recruited a second group of 12 physically active female volunteers, ages 21 to 27 years, who performed similar five-minute treadmill trials and were measured for muscle activity in six muscle areas: calves, quads, hamstrings, buttocks, back and abs.

All three toning shoes tested showed no statistically significant increases in either exercise response or muscle activation during the treadmill trials, when compared to the normal athletic shoes tested. There was simply no evidence to indicate that the toning shoes offer any enhanced fitness benefits over traditional sneakers, despite studies cited by manufacturers seemingly proving the toning shoes effectiveness. Bryant warns consumers to be wary of such studies sponsored by manufacturers, many of which are not peer-reviewed and may be of questionable design. ACEs study also addresses anecdotal evidence consumers have shared indicating that they feel the shoes are working their muscles due to localized muscle soreness. Study researchers explain that this feeling is due to the shoes unstable sole design, which cause wearers to use slightly different muscles to maintain balance than they would while wearing normal shoes, resulting in temporary soreness that will subside as the body adjusts to the shoe.

There may be one positive effect these shoes offer, continues Bryant. The motivation factor. If these shoes are serving as a motivator for individuals to walk or get moving more often, that is a good thing, even if they dont produce the dramatic toning and calorie-burning results people think they are getting. Bryant goes on to add that it is important to note that, based on the results of this study, it appears that consumers can more economically achieve the same results wearing normal running shoes.

ACEs study also raised a couple of questions, one positive the other negative: will wearing toning shoes improve balance over time? Or do they alter an individuals walking gait mechanics, potentially causing problems for those who are already at risk for lower-extremity issues? Evaluating both of these issues would require additional in-depth research.

A full summary of the studys findings can be found on ACEs Get Fit website, designed to inform, inspire, educate and motivate people to become fit and lead a healthier, more active lifestyle, located at

About ACE
The American Council on Exercise (ACE), Americas premier certification, education and training organization, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of physical activity and protecting consumers against unsafe and ineffective fitness products and instruction. ACE sponsors university-based exercise science research and is the worlds largest nonprofit fitness certifying organization. For more information on ACE and its programs, call (800) 825-3636 or log onto the ACE website at

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