Wellness Coaching

Kick Emotional Eating’s Butt!


Today’s topic is being addressed by an emotional eater so we’re all in this together. For those who isolate themselves in being the worst case of emotional eating, I challenge you to keep reading.

I prefer to not slate the statistics of emotional eating because truthfully, human beings are emotional no matter which way you slice the cake. When I needed to feel something physically and immediately, food replaced the hug. Since we can’t snap our fingers for a hug, we’ll settle for the next fast relief which for us will always be food. WHY are we programmed this way? And HOW can we keep the urge at bay for good?

If you really think about your family and previous generations, you’ll notice that food surrounds a lot of your memories. Apart from holidays, food is a Band-Aid after a rough day at school or work. Your elders were likely to implement that which is not an act to be blamed for your issues. It would be wise however to recognize the pattern so we can make a connection to that particular comfort. HOW you deviate from emotionally over-eating starts with one idea…

You know how we visualize potential escape routes to get out of awkward situations? Think of your urge to reach for food worthy of creating options to get out of. For addictive, impulsive personalities, our downfall is that we trap ourselves in this one-way street mindset- There is no other option. If we take a second to remind ourselves that life is all about options, we give ourselves control again. It’s like a sport and you must create a strategy to win this one. When a full moon is out, I retract into my room, close the door, and just sit for a few minutes. What I really wanted to do was tear apart the entire kitchen but instead I created another option for myself. Yes, I was edgy for the rest of the night and I’m sure others in my household noticed my flaring mood swing but the people that matter in life, love and accept all of who I am. That thought alone will always be your hug.

So to kick emotional eating’s butt, work on an exit strategy. Stylize it anyway you want, but definitely take a moment to consider the other options.

...Because this is not a good look.

…Because this is not a good look.

Neither is this.

Neither is this.

***Small assignment for emotional, impulsive personalities: make a “Top Five Reasons Worth Living For” list. Not intended to be morbid but it’s nice to remind yourself especially for when those tough times roll up. This also helps our fleeting emotions re-fixate on things we love which eliminates a binge. One of mine happens to be music which is cool because if I’m feeling off, I can dive into a great song, dance to it, go for a drive filling my eardrums with it. There are so many other options that can keep us from taking it out on our bodies via calories. What’s in your Top Five? ;)

Nutritional Balance

In a world where the green mermaid and big golden arches can be found at every street corner, we easily forget the way to attaining healthier meals. In a way, it’s like cheating in a relationship. We know the formula to a healthy outcome but of course that route takes extra work so we choose the easy way out. If there’s any relationship that deserves to be addressed, the one you have with your body should not be cheated.

One thing to always keep in mind when it comes to making healthier dietary choices is PROTEIN. Protein takes priority in it’s delivery to repairing body tissues, muscles including the heart, internal organs and skin. Over the years however, the protein portion in Western diets has dropped which contributes to the rise of obesity. This is where cheating is evident! Foods made from industrialized extracted sugars, starches, and salt are easily accessible and we fail to recognize that our bodies are not adapted to chips, cakes, frozen meals and sugary drinks.

Anthropology 101- Hunters and Gatherers (aka: Neanderthals, the first humans) diet comprised of 20% protein. Protein = survival = reproduction = evolutionary success! There is something to be said about this hunting/gathering formula that has been replaced by agriculture’s stressful demands. When humans turned to agriculture as a means of living, population increased which created this rushed process of getting food to mass populations. Humans now have this conflicted relationship with nutritional balance and to top it off, fad diets and media entertainment don’t help.

It pays to learn how to speak the protein lingo. However, navigating your way through the balance of the protein/carbohydrate/fat fair can be the tricky part. Essentially, nutritional balance eliminates the battle between appetite systems. Achieving the correct nutritional balance of proteins, carbs, and fats is way more important than measuring your meals based on calories. Nutritional Ecologist from the University of Sydney, David Raubenheimer, conducts various lab tests with mice in order to investigate how the balance of carbs and fats affects our health. He advises, “A simple rule for healthy eating is to avoid processed food- the closer to real foods the better.”

Each person needs a different amount of protein, carbs, and fat to satisfy nutritional balance. Sometimes crunching the numbers ourselves can be difficult but making an appointment to find out what those numbers are is super helpful! A single evaluation with a nutritional expert can wake you up and get you started in the right direction.

At the core of it all, awareness in what you eat can be saving. When it comes to nutritional health, don’t cheat!

If a Neanderthal wouldn't eat it, think twice.

If a Neanderthal wouldn’t eat it, think twice.

Good Sources of Protein:
Chicken Breast
Low fat cheese- cottage cheese or mozzarella
Pork Loin
Lean beef and veal
Yogurt, milk and soy milk
Nuts and seeds

The Body Issue

Had enough of bikini season?

Had enough of bikini season?

It’s that time of the year again! We’ve all been there. Approaching the cashier at our local pharmacy when your routine is interrupted by the reminder of what month it is; Colorful magazine covers containing images of palm trees and super models in bikinis fill the racks conveniently right next to the self-rewarding candy bars. It’s July and the monologue you begin with yourself goes a little something like this- “I haven’t done any squats or Pilates. And I definitely haven’t given up pizza. Darn that Heidi Klum. It must be photo shopped! That woman has had babies and a busy schedule. How the heck does she look like that?! Screw my metabolism and my family genetics and the stressful job that keeps me from going to the gym. Everyone else is at fault for my body issues!” And that’s when you reward yourself for an Oscar worthy performance by reaching for a Butterfinger.

Here’s some advice for our self-loathing tick itching at the checkout stand: Buy the magazine featuring the swimsuit model along with your favorite candy bar. You’ll be surprised to find out that the celebrities honored for their hot beach bodies are also human beings that occasionally dive into instant gratification via Snack Aisle. In the June Issue of Us Weekly’s “The Body Issue” featuring Heidi Klum and 100 celebrities inside the cover, they each share their challenges with dieting and the pressure of bikini season. What’s so refreshing to know is that there isn’t any “one secret works for all” to become beach ready. Not one person had the same routine as far as exercise or food they ate. In fact, some were advocates for simply staying on their feet for a majority of the day and breaking the candy bar in half, saving the other half for later indulgence.

Changes in diet are usually a turn-off because people tend to think of the immediate “elimination” of favorite foods when what you’ll discover from the bikini Gods is to create space between indulging. If you can tackle this part of the process, next on the list is adding an activity you’re comfortable doing. Comfort is key. If you don’t want to lift weights, get to work on that pile of old school books in your room. Cleaning burns calories. Movement burns calories.

Most of this information is common sense however it’s not common-doing. The barrier between common sense and the doing is based on our behavior and how we handle life situations. How we manage stress says it all. You could have your plan to be healthy and hit the gym after work when wham! A simple phone call from someone takes ahold of your brain and gets your anxiety going and your response is accompanied by a couch with a bag of potato chips. You made the choice to give that situation your attention in such a way to deviate from your initial plan. Instead, you could let that phone call hit your voicemail (if it’s that important), hit the gym for half an hour (if the missed call is still bugging you) then give that person your attention. Some of us are very immediate in our response to situations which isn’t a bad quality by any means but when it chips away at your self worth and time, remind yourself that you are your biggest priority. Your body is worthy of your undivided attention and you only get one precious shell so treat it well.

If seeking extra guidance outside of your home seems ludicrous, think again. There are many professionals who are passionate in helping others make better life choices when it comes to stress and food. Yo-yo dieting and extreme work outs aren’t the answer to achieve confidence in your image. Even the photo shopped stars eat nachos and take a day off.

Learning how to moderate our favorite indulgences is a learned process, not a light switch. So be patient in your classroom of life and invite Heidi Klum to your study sessions. She has good notes. ;)

Sugar Free Foods linked to Weight Gain

Sugar free foods linked to weight gain

Sugar free foods linked to weight gain



It’s old news that sugar can cause weight gain, but what about sugar-free foods and drinks? Few Americans know the disastrous effects of Aspartame. They may know it is “bad for you,” but it is not as well known that Aspartame can actually cause weight gain due to insulin spiking and fat storage. This is bad because the food industry is literally using foods containing artificial ingredients and deemed “sugar free” and “fat free” and marketing them as foods and drinks that are helpful for weight loss and maintenance.

A recent article published by FashionablyFamous, addresses the issues surrounding artificial sweeteners and summarizes the findings of a study conducted by Dr. John Olney, a neuroscientist at Washington State. Dr. Olney recently conducted a study measuring the effects of Aspartame. The rats that were given Aspartame showed a physiologic change in brain chemistry , unlike the rats that were not given Aspartame. In addition, aspartic acid was found to cause holes in the brains of the rats who were given the ingredient.

Remember to exercise extreme caution when drinking or eating packaged foods labeled “sugar free” or “low fat.” These foods are actually causing weight gain- the exact opposite of what consumers buy them for. It is always best to stick with the foods that are natural and unprocessed.

Are Your Hormones Causing Weight Gain? Tips to Fix Hormonal Imbalance!

Are Hormones Causing You to Gain Weight?

Our hormones play a big role when it comes to our health and weight, but many of our patients are usually unfamiliar with our  hormones actually are and how they influence our bodies on a daily basis. I usually explain to our patients that hormones are important because they transport chemicals in our bodies to various organs that we need in order to function properly. Our bodies produce hormones through our endocrine glands and our sexual reproductive organs (Testes in men, Ovaries in women) and can affect everything from our development to our metabolism, reproduction, and our mood. According to Marc David, Published Author and Founder of the Psychology of Eating Institute, there are many things to consider when it comes to hormonal imbalance and trying to lose or maintain weight. Here are some of the basic tips that I recommend and try to practice regularly:

1. Avoid “Man-Made Fats.” We’ve all heard it before, “fats are good for you, as long as they’re the GOOD type of fats!” But this can get confusing (even our  Nutrition Coach admits that she sometimes gets confused!) As a rule of thumb, anything that has been made by man should be avoided when it contains fat, ESPECIALLY trans fat. Trans Fat (think Margarine, Oreos, Burger King, Snickers, Movie theatre popcorn, etc) has been linked to Obesity, Heart Disease, Diabetes, and many other diseases that are literally causing death in humans. Trans Fats are so bad for you that some states are working to remove “partially hydrogenated oils” (another name for trans fat) from grocery stores and restaurants. You should try to consume “healthy” fats that are not man made, which include coconut oil, fish oil, avocado, and nuts, to name a few.

2. Get Proper Sleep!  Lack of sleep can increase our hunger and appetite through a hormone called Leptin. According to David,  Leptin is a “master hormone” and if it is not balanced in our bodies, none of our other hormones will function properly! This is extremely important! Lack of sleep has also been linked to Cortisol, which is the “stress hormone” that increases our risk for Heart Disease, Hypoglycemia, Strokes, and the storage of belly fat.

3. Avoid Too Much Caffeine. Your cup of Joe (or 3 or 4) can cause major dysfunction. It can cause your hormones to go haywire; especially when you are under stress or are pregnant. Try to limit your consumption of caffeine if you cannot remove it from your diet. Herbal teas are a great substitute, and you can also add 1 tablespoon of blended coconut oil for a “healthy fat coffee!”

4. Exercise Lightly. Exercising too intensely can cause problems if your hormones are  imbalanced. Try to focus on your sleeping habits and routine while performing low- impact exercises such as walking and swimming. You should try to avoid high-impact exercises until your hormones are regulated.

5. Take Advantage Of Supplements- they can work wonders for your waistline and  regulating your hormones if paired with a proper diet and lifestyle. We often give our patients our Magnesium and Vitamin D supplements to help them improve their weight loss/maintenance habits and moods.

These tips can help you regulate your hormones and manage your weight more effectively. Remember, hormones are “messengers” of the chemicals in our bodies, and we need them in order to function appropriately.

– Information from the desk of Lisa Waldrep,CPC, PES

Reflecting on Rosy Esparza rollercoaster victim and obesity

 In light of the recent death of a woman, Rosy Esparza,  while riding a roller coaster at Six Flags in Texas, I am reminded of all of our patients who come in before surgery with the simplest of dreams:  “I want to pick up my grandchildren, I want to paint my nails, I want to ride a roller coaster….” So many overweight  and obese people are afraid of doing the simplest things, and for good reasons. It is literally dangerous for morbidly overweight people to ride a roller coaster, because the restraining belt isn’t made to safely close properly on the lap.

Roller Coaster Credit : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/20/six-flags-roller-coaster-death-investigated_n_3628204.html

I am not saying that this is the case in the recent situation at Six Flags.  Although the woman who died was obese, that isn’t necessarily the cause of the accident.  But I triggered in my memory of all those conversations with OUR patients where they expressed a desire to do things that the rest of the world takes for granted.
I think that is one of the reasons I am so passionate about what Dr. Waldrep and I do to help patients achieve their weight loss goals and weight management.  It might not seem grand or exciting… but facilitating someone to have weight loss surgery is like helping someone to gain back their life. We have learned from our patients and through personal experience just how drastic the toll obesity can take on daily living and activities.
Some of my favorite clients have expressed not only an increased energy after surgery (imagine carrying around 10 ten pound bowling balls and being able to finally set them down!) but also the release of fear and shame associated with being obese.  I know that patients, typically afraid of  flying, can finally get on a plane – simply because they don’t have to face the embarrassment of asking for a seat belt extender.  I wonder in the back of my head if Rosy Esparza didn’t wonder if the restraining belt didn’t seem to slide into place as it should, but was perhaps too embarrassed to bring it to anyone’s attention; fearing the shame of being led of the roller coaster because they determined she was ‘too fat” to safely ride it. Just a thought….
Regardless, my prayers go out to the family.  I cannot help but admire a woman who obviously lived her life to the fullest and had many people who loved her.
~From the desk of Lisa Waldep, CURE Program’s Certified Professional Coach & Psychology of Eating Specialist

Summer Recipes for Weight Loss and Wellness

I want to spend as much time as I can outdoors during the summer. However, I would like that desire to not interfere with my waistline. I need quick and easy meals that are healthy,  nutritious and support my weight loss goals. I stumbled upon Cooking Light’s Superfast Summer Recipes and thought I’d highlight my favorite with you.

One of my favorite summer foods is strawberries.  I love their color, smell, and juicy sweetness at the height of summer. Their low calorie  nature makes them a guilt free snack or addition to any summertime meal. This Strawberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing is only 78 calories!  Paired with a grilled chicken breast, this salad has all the flavors and colors I want.



  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free milk
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted


  1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.
  2. Place lettuce in a large bowl; add strawberries and almonds, tossing to combine. Divide salad evenly among 6 plates. Drizzle 1 tablespoon dressing over each serving.

But for me, summer (whether I am trying to lose weight or not) is not complete without a frozen treat! Then, I found this Pina Colada Sorbet from Gina’s Skinny Recipes Summer Desserts. I can enjoy a frozen treat of less than 100 calories! I can pretend I am sitting on a island paradise while tricking my taste buds with this healthy summer slim dessert. There is a bit too much sugar in it for my taste, so I would probably try unsweetened applesauce. Generally, I think the pineapple is a sweet enough fruit as is and opting out of the added sugar is definitely a step in the right direction for summer weight loss.



  • 3 cups fresh pineapple, peeled and cored
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp dark rum (optional)


  • Cut the pineapple into chunks
  • Puree in a blender with sugar, coconut milk, and rum if using until smooth.
  • Chill thoroughly then freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturers directions.

Makes 1 quart.

Enjoy your summer!

CURE Program Before & After

CURE Program Before & After

CURE Program Before & After: We love helping our patients transform their lives through weight and wellness programs. If you’re struggling with your weight, body image, or relationship issues, visit our website at www.CureProgram.com to learn more about how we can help!

Five Smart Tips for a Healthy 4th of July

Healthy 4th of July

Many of us will be enjoying the holiday tomorrow, but are also wondering about how to enjoy the food and spirits without jeopardizing our waistlines! There are a lot of healthy “secrets” that you can easily take advantage of. Whether you’re socializing with friends and family or cooking at home, there are many different things you can do to maintain your weight. We’ll share some of our favorite healthy tips with you so that you can have fun and enjoy the holiday while eating still eating healthy!

1. Have a healthy snack- It’s always a good idea to have a healthy, balanced snack about an hour prior to arriving to the party. Make sure you eat some protein to keep you satisfied and full. A medium apple with a couple of tablespoons of almond butter or a handful of unsalted almonds will help you feel more in control and not as tempted when you arrive.

2. Bring your own 4th of July dish- Bringing a healthy dish is the best way to enjoy the holiday without feeling like you’re depriving yourself. By bringing your own dish, you can be sure that you’re still eating healthy without having to worry about the extra calories. Check out some of our favorite 4th of July dishes here.

3. Avoid foods that will jeopardize your goals- Healthy choices aren’t always plentiful at bbq’s or parties, but you need to avoid the bad items if you want to continue to maintain your weight. Steer clear of anything fried or refined including chips, bread, desserts, and heavy sauces or dips. Enjoy healthy foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables, lean grilled meat, and whole-wheat pasta dishes. Beware of salads with heavy or creamy dressing- it’s best to bring your own!

4. Be smart about what you eat- If you do decide that you absolutely have to have a not-so-healthy beverage or sliver of apple pie, make sure that you limit it to one drink or a small slice. Remember that a glass of champagne or wine is okay- but not in addition to dessert and bread.

5. Stay active & have fun- Getting physical activity can help you feel great and can also help work off any of the extra calories that you eat during the day. Go for a walk or a jog in the morning to get your cardio in. High Intensity Interval (HIIT) workouts will help boost your metabolism and keep your body burning calories throughout the day. Alternate 30 seconds of jogging or sprinting with 1 minute of walking for 25 minutes. It will save you time, you’ll have great energy, and you’ll also work off any unwanted calories!

The most important thing is to remember to enjoy yourself and to not worry too much about your diet the majority of the time. Remember to relax and to enjoy your time with friends and family. Happy Independence Day!

Transformation for Life

Transformation of your life is within reach-you just have to believe in yourself. We all struggle with life. We all want the picture perfect dream: a successful career, the perfect body, a beautiful house, children who mind what we say. Being a woman today is no easy task. But it is possible to live a healthy, happy, fulfilling life! You just have to look inside and figure what it is that you truly want. I am often asked what ultimately led to my decision to become an Empowerment Coach. The reason that I decided to become a coach is simple- my dream, purpose, and passion is to help others overcome their struggles and to reach out to those who are at the end of their rope. I have made it my mission and purpose to help other women transform their lives. I absolutely love it. I have worked with hundreds of women who come to me discouraged, confused, depressed, and tired. In order to empower and encourage women to access their deepest dreams and inner knowing to reach their goals, I use techniques that I have acquired and used both personally and professionally to help women visualize potential gains and focus on things they can never lose, even through “tough times.” I am very excited to share my thoughts with you and look forward to getting to know each and every one of you. I value your opinion, so please comment and ask any questions that you may have.

Until next time,

Lisa Waldrep

Lisa Waldrep, JD, CPC, PES is our Certified Life Coach & Psychology of Eating Specialist at CURE Program. She helps our clients by teaching them how to empower themselves through nourishment of their mind, body, and soul.