Healthy Tips About Sugar from Weight and Health Coach

If you are Trying to Avoid Too Much Sugar then You will Want to Know that it Ends Up in Many Foods and You Don’t Even Realize Because You Didn’t Know it Was Sugar

The sugar class of molecules consist of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen arranged in a ringed structure. Carbohydrates (a “macronutrient” category of foods) is the group sugar belongs to.  Other carbohydrates include starches, (You know, that piece of cake you had?  Bread, pasta, but even bananas, fruits, potatoes and grains).  Still others are celluloses, and gums produced only by photosynthetic plants.

What do we mean by “macronutrient”?  Carbohydrates are large molecules made up of lots of smaller “building blocks” in the form of simple sugars.  Put enough simple sugars together in a chain or group and you get a carbohydrate. Simple sugars are an essential structural component of living cells and the source of energy for all animals, including humans. They are easily broken down for the body to use to make something called ATP (the energy molecule).

So why should we avoid too much sugar?  That will be in my next blog so definitely come back to read more.  Suffice it to say that sugar, in its white, processed form of sucrose is highly addictive and has more adverse side effects than raising blood sugar and adding empty calories that put on weight.  For now, realize that sugar has many names and forms. It is also necessary in the diet. The brain depends on it. So does our level of energy. Unfortunately, mankind is now inundated with the wrong kinds of sugar, as evidenced by skyrocketing heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.  So know your sugars.  Let’s first learn the different names.  There are dozens of different kinds of sugar under a variety of names:

  • barley malt
  • brown sugar
  • cane sugar
  • corn syrup
  • dextrose
  • fructose
  • fruit sugar
  • glucose
  • high-fructose corn syrup
  • honey
  • icing sugar
  • invert sugar
  • jaggary
  • lactose
  • maltose
  • maple syrup
  • molasses
  • powdered sugar
  • raw sugar
  • rice syrup
  • saccharinose
  • sucrose
  • sugar beets
  • turbinados
  • and more….

So now you know what to look for when shopping.  Next we will learn more about why sugar (simple sugar) is stay tuned for my next installment about the addictive nature of sugar…

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As a Parenting Coach and Parent, Stepping Back and Looking at the Forest While Implementing Your Action Plan is Key

Parenting is the hardest job in the world.  Keeping an objective focus, bouncing ideas off of an objective third party, and keeping it all in perspective is key to sanity – and good parenting.  Having a parenting coach sounds goofy to some – it did to me.  But, really being able to keep perspective and to help talk through ideas to improve your skills in one of (if not the) most important job in your life – doesn’t sound so silly when the job and the joy of parenting is put in perspective.

Let me put my money where my mouth is, and share a very personal story that led me to believe that investing in a parenting coach will result in more confidence, better parenting (which in part is from confidence), more well-rounded kids, and perspective.  Here is my story:

When we got the news, we were sitting at a gas station – somewhere in West Virginia.  We were on the way to Williamsburg – a week vacation that we had planned for a long time.  It was hot and humid, and we had been driving for only a couple of hours on our second day of travel.  The kids were all awake, had been well behaved, and they were all laughing.  Henry, of course, had the loudest and deepest chortle – with a smile from ear to ear.  His laughter and happiness are infectious, and really have been a medicine for all of us. 

As I climbed back in the van, having gassed up, with the kids laughter in the background, Kristen was on the phone.  The conversation was serious, but Kristen, as she always does, brought comfort to the caller – she was gracious and kind – knowing at some level how difficult it was for Shirley to deliver the news that afternoon.  I quieted the kids down, and soon wish that I hadn’t.  Quieting the laughter, in retrospect, was so wrong. 

I knew Shirley; she was Henry’s neurologist’s assistant – she was to call about his biopsy results.  Before Kristen got off the phone, I knew the news.  I am no sleuth.  Kristen talked about the team that would be assembled, she talked about scheduling, and was being given websites to browse.  His biopsy confirmed the feared diagnosis.  Henry has a mitochondrial disease.  When Kristen pressed, Shirley specified that he had a form of the Complex 1 mitochondrial disease. 

To receive the news at a gas station somewhere in West Virginia was ironic and definitely consistent with our journey.  For years, we had been in search.  In search for answers, a diagnosis, a treatment, a reason.  And, we had seen dozens of doctors, in many hospitals, in three states all across the country.  We moved, in part, to be close to the program where Henry could get the treatment.  And in that program, they tell us that he has a much bigger problem. Our poor little Henry sent off again to more (and different) doctors for more tests, more procedures, more unknowns.  So, after all of this, we sit at a gas station in West Virginia to be given the diagnosis.  Right now, it is an answer (though not the one we wanted), that creates so many more questions.  The journey continues.

When Kristen got off the phone, we did not lose our cool.  I said “he has it.”  Kristen nodded, and we started a movie for the kids.  In our own bubble in the front of the car, with Scooby Doo muting our conversation, Kristen told me her conversation.  The most I remember from those several minutes were my impression that Shirley was kind in her delivery.  The type of kindness that we never wanted to have to face.  And hadn’t before.  She told Kristen that Henry would be a candidate for the Mitochondrial Clinic, and that we would have an appointment with the neurologist, geneticist, and a genetics counselor.  She also said not to despair – that everyone responds differently and that there could be development in the field.

Those later comments took me back to Dr. DeGraw (Henry’s neurologist) comment to me when I pressed him about prognosis – if Henry had a mitochondrial disease.  He told me not to research it, not to cross the bridge before we get there, that medicine is miraculous, but “to answer your question, the prognosis is not good.  There is no cure, and there are no survivors so far.”

The kids engrossed with Scooby, Kristen and I used the gas station parking lot as our internet library.  Both of us on our Blackberries, we went to the site that Shirley directed us to.  Like with many things, Kristen was faster than I.  At first, when she said “Complex 1,” I thought she said it is a “complex one” meaning difficult.  So, I am slow.  She grabbed my hand and said, it is neuro-degenerative and progressive.  Could result in hearing and vision loss – before the mulit-system failure.  The one we didn’t want to have – of course.  Essentially, Henry’s cells do not have the energy necessary to have his organs do what they need to do.  It is system wide, and with age, the energy drops more and more, affecting new systems in different ways, in no particular order.  The disease progresses until there is not enough energy for life function.  So, he will pass with this – unless our prayers are answered (and medicine comes a long way fast).  The fact that several of his systems have already been affected (called early onset) is not a great sign – just from a pure time standpoint.  The literature points out the obvious – the later the onset and the slower the progression, the longer the life expectancy.  But, it is all very individualized.  So, we are not defeated. 

After our internet café parking lot picked up with traffic, we got back on the road.  As tears streamed down her face, I could show no emotion.  My stomach was in knots, and I’m sure that my next questions seemed like what a medical student would ask a mentor – not a father of a sick son.  I asked, “Will he degenerate cognitively?” (as I can’t imagine our smart little boy in that state).  Then, I asked “What about Luke?”  Kristen knew the questions were almost rhetorical, and we just exchanged painful glances.

On the trip, for the first time, we both noticed (though we didn’t discuss for the week) that Henry was quite drained.  He refused to walk, saying he couldn’t for a few days.  The trooper was tired.  Many days, he was too tired to laugh.  Henry, too tired to laugh, was very painful for us.  It could be emphasized because we knew, but it was what it was. 

Our next discussions turned to what we have always come back to – making sure that our family is whole, happy, and complete.  The goal has never changed from the start.  We love our family so much, and are so lucky to have each other.  We are focused on giving all of our kids the most full (but “normal” – whatever that means) life that we can.  The kids are all very happy, and we plan to keep it that way.  There is a bit of an ominous burden in the back of our minds – that we want to make sure we know what full is (we think it is love), and the journey ahead and the time we have is uncertain.  As is whether Luke will also fall victim to the disease, or his recent symptoms (gastrointestinal, eye issues – and his hypothyroidism) are just coincidental.  So, we will take it one step at a time, get Henry his treatments (whatever they may be – there are some experimental ones out there), and cherish every day.

Of course, our story is not unlike many others.  Everyone has a challenge – some more difficult than others.  But, keeping perspective and the eye on the ball – providing the opportunity for a full and happy life (whatever its length) to our children is the lesson here.  I know that as well as anyone.

And the bottom line, our story is just the beginning. What we needed, got and continue to get, were specific ideas and ways to achieve these goals.  Not just the “be happy” goal.  We captured our ideas in starting a non-profit for kids like Henry – Henry’s Hope, Inc. – www.henryshope.org.  That was a specific and effective strategy – that, we as a family, work on.

Good parenting coaches provide specific ideas to try out (we don’t have the answers as there aren’t right and wrong in parenting) – but you deserve someone that has experienced a lot, fouled up, got help, and can provide kind, useful, and helpful insight into the issues we all face as parents.  Choosing to get the help – whether through a parenting coach or other means – is a brave and humbling act as a parent.  Call today for a free consult.

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In honor of Father’s Day, the NY Times ran an article “Now Dad feels as stressed out as Mom”. 

The author claims that fathers are struggling just as much or even more than mothers to fulfill their responsibilities at home and in the office

Even in dual career families men remain the primary breadwinner. When a father has the desire to spend more time with his children, work is reluctant to give him necessary time flexibility. Taking time to be with kids is discouraged and viewed as compromising his work commitment.

When men do contribute to child care at home, studies have found that mothers do not value their husband’s contribution enough.

A father helps to put children to sleep, make sandwiches for lunch, or give kids a bath. But his wife is not likely to value that contribution as much as he does.

Therefore, men have both stresses at work and at home.

Work-related stress varies between industries and choosing a corporate culture supporting fathers can be done prior to accepting a job.

The home stress results from the expectations related to the primary family roles. With father as primary breadwinner, mother often assumes the role of primary caregiver. This includes the physical and emotional care of the children and most often the upkeep of the household as well.

Therefore, when a man helps he is entering her domain of primary responsibility. Often when he spends time caring for children there is a sense that he is helping his wife. Since a mother only gets short reprieves from those responsibilities she often feels her husband’s contribution is minimal, or certainly less significant than he thinks it is.

A helpful suggestion is for father to take on primary responsibility for a period of time, with mother being out of the house. This can be at night or on a weekend.

Just as men must acknowledge their wives hard child caring work, a wife must communicate appreciation for what their husband is doing as a father.

Jennifer Davis made the distinction between being a father and being a daddy. Anyone can be a father she wrote, but being a daddy is something special to appreciate

I would suggest you read the beautiful essay she wrote on Father’s Day for a moving expression of appreciation for daddies. 

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I cannot think of a need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection” Sigmund Freund

This Sunday is Father’s day across America.

It’s no surprise that having fathers around is in the best interests of children’s emotional as well as physical health. Historical studies document that fact. Their primary, not exclusive, responsibility is different than a mother’s.

As a faithful Bible reader, I believe this model for mothers and fathers originates in the third chapter of Genesis in which God tell s Eve in the Garden of Eden: “your desire will be for your husband and he shall rule over you. “

Woman’s desire for a husband is the female inclination to value monogamous heterosexual relationships more than men. It is a reflection of a higher premium women place on human relationships, which is in the best interests of children and family.

During the past thousands of years, women were faced with the challenge of attracting males and encouraging them to maintain a monogamous relationship. That insured greater safety and regular sustenance for the family. Women’s greater skill in nurturing and caring for children required her to focus on that task, and have a male partner providing and protecting her and the children.

Despite the modern women’s movement belief that men and women are psychologically indistinguishable I think that the reality of caring for children and providing for the family has adjusted those roles but not changed them fundamentally. When taking responsibility for a family, just like a business or a sports team, it is important to have defined roles with primary responsibilities.

For a woman to maximize her potential in the role of nurturing parent she is dependent on a supportive male. Without adequate male support the emotional security and physical sustenance are weakened and stresses increase.

For a male to embrace the role of father, and not just provider, takes an investment of time and a lot of learning. Some tips include: spending positive quality time with your children; disciplining with love; being a positive role model; be a teacher; listen before you speak; and make time to eat as a family.

The best father is one with a loving relationship with his wife. And children thrive when mother and father respect and value each other’s importance as parents.

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In a study conducted in the 1970’s psychologists interviewed some lucky people who had won between fifty thousand and one million dollars in the Illinois State Lottery. Strikingly, less than a year after receiving the potentially life changing news of winning the lottery, they reported being no more happy than regular folks who had not experienced the sudden windfall. This led to a belief that happiness came from within. You were internally peaceful and happy or not, and changing your financial status would not affect your happiness.

Obviously that is not the case for people with severely limited resources. They worry more about satisfying basic needs such as food, shelter, and clothing with little concern for life happiness. But it has been proven that once you have attained a level of income above poverty level, increases in money does not translate directly to increase in happiness. Therefore, for many of us, deciding how to invest our resources to maximize happiness is a challenge.

In his book Luxury Fever Robert Frank wrote about this challenge. He wondered why, as nations rise in wealth, their citizens become no happier. He examined why we are devoted to spending money on luxuries and other goods, which we take for granted quickly, rather than on things that would make us lastingly happier.

For Frank it is a question of how you spend your money. Whether you spend it on “Conspicuous or inconspicuous consumption”. Conspicuous consumption refers to things that are visible to others and that can be used as markers of a person’s relative success, where their value comes not so much from the objective value as from the statement they make about their owner.

Conspicuous consumption means the consumption has an objective tangible value. It is the difference between driving a Chevy Alero, Ford Focus, Honda Accord, Lexus 350, BMW 740 or a Porsche Targa. The differences are tangible, measurable, and conspicuous to all.

Inconspicuous consumption on the other hand, refers to activates that are valued for themselves. They are usually consumed more privately and are not bought for the purpose of achieving status because they are much more difficult to compare their value to those of others.

Two examples of conspicuous versus inconspicuous consumption relate to our salary and vacation at work. Which job would you rather have, one in which you earned $90,000 a year and your coworkers earned an average of $70,000 or one in which you earned “$100, 000 and your coworkers earned on average $110,000? Many people chose the first job, thereby revealing that relative position is worth at least $10,000 to them.

Another question is whether you would rather work for a company that gave you two weeks of vacation year, but other employees were given, on average, only one; or would you prefer a company that gave you a four-week vacation a year but other employees were given, on average, six? The great majority of people choose the longer absolute time. Time off is primarily an inconspicuous consumption.

Frank’s conclusions are bolstered by recent research by the psychologists van Boven and Gilowc, who identified the benefits of “doing versus having”. Their primary conclusion suggests that people derive more enjoyment when they use their discretionary income on experiential purchases than from discretionary material purchases.

They gave some interesting reasons why experiential purchases make people happier.
Experiences are more open to positive reinterpretations to the fact that they are more open than material possessions to increasingly favorable interpretations with the passage of time. People are not limited by reality in their evaluations of past experiences as they are with material possessions. We forget incidental annoyances and distractions that detract from the experience. It allows the “great storyteller” the opportunity to embellish and reconfigure to create a much rosier retrospective view than the event enjoyed originally. Even if we don’t verbalize it, or do to consciously work on it, our memory naturally is included to it for us.

With the material purchases, its value and perception to us remains constant or even detracts over time.

Experiences are happy because they have great social value and are more pleasurable to pleasurable to talk about. Social relationships which are closely associate with happiness … Furthermore, experiences are more likely to have a typical story narrative structure with a beginning, middle, and end. People like listening to and telling stories. Both listeners and storytellers may enjoy talking about experiences more than about possessions

Experiences are also more central to our identity. A person’s life is quite literally the sum of his or her experiences. The accumulation of rich experiences thus creates a richer life. That is why in working with parents if there is a choice between buying something for a child or panning a fun entertaining experience together the experience wins out all the time. It is a positive investment in relationships that enrich our lives.

When you invest your money remember that “doing” beats “having” all the time. Money can buy more happiness when you make the right decisions.

“Money is only a tool, it will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace the driver.” Ayn Rand”

Morris N. Mann, Ph.D.

Authentic Happiness Coach

Moving Forward to Happiness and Success

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As you know from my posts, my kids are grown and I have worked with hundreds and hundreds of frustrated people, coaching parents and kids about this very issue.

Some of the things that I have tried successfully:

When my kids were around 6 and 10, I decided to teach money management skills. This lesson worked really well with managing TV- and the beginning of the play station nightmare.

On Sundays, I gave the kids each 4 envelopes. They were labeled: Weekly, Long Term Savings, Lunch $, and Charity.

The kids were given a set allowance(depending on age and need). My dad always said that allowance is what you are allowed and has nothing to do with chores.  There was a bottom line amount that had to be placed in each envelope. The weekly money could be used to buy TV /Computer Time.

Certain shows cost more or less and some educational shows were free. The kids needed to learn how to budget their money and how they spent their time. The shows that I found absolutely horrid- obviously cost more.

I had a box, which they dropped the coins into. Of course I figured out how many hours I was allowing based on the amount of $. My kids felt in total charge of TV/Computer viewing. The benefits were amazing.

As to the other envelopes, my kids learned lots of lessons about putting off what they really wanted, making choices that impacted their lives.(ie. I let my son borrow from one envelope to get something he wanted sooner, with the stipulation that he had to put an IOU in the envelope. He later informed me that he was never doing that again! ( I believe that he borrowed $ from Weekly to buy a video game — there wasn’t any $ left to play the game!!)

As the kids got older, we just had a bottom line rule. No TV/Computer Sunday- Thurs- during the school year except if parents offered. They weren’t very happy about this but years of making choices had made them fairly discriminating TV viewers anyway.

Over the years, as I approached my kids with a new idea, they would usually be receptive. They got it that I was trying to give them some control over their lives and they also knew that they were my test subjects for ideas I would pass along to my clients!

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Susan Epstein, my friend:

What are your views on limits around television, computer games, video games, etc.? The rules at our home are: 2 hours of tv time Saturday, 2 on Sunday, only 1 on weeknights assuming homework and piano practice are done. Then, weekends only 3 hours a day are allowed on computer or video games combined. None during the week. I happen to think that’s a great deal. Naturally, my 10 year old son disagrees.

What is your experience?


Coach Christina

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I have been aware for some time that I was on the cusp of a huge shift in my relationship with my 21-year-old son and 17-year-old daughter. They are grown and both live 3000 miles away from me.

My children are both full of confidence, driven and are stepping out into the world in a very big way. Here I am, life coach, fighting my mothering instincts to stop them, wanting to make them come home and do it “my way”.

I received some great coaching this week from fellow (sister) Feroce Coach C.J. We spoke about my needing/wanting to connect with my kids but at the same time support them in their creative journey into adulthood. I realized that I could have it both ways(at the same time).

My kids called last night. My daughter was telling me about different living possibilities she was considering in L. A. I did not say anything, but, “great! I’m glad things are working out.” She replied, ” Some of the rents cost more, but I am going to live in a safe neighborhood…..”

There you have it! My baby is growing up. She doesn’t need me to protect her. She needs me to listen.

Thanks- CJ!

Italy June 2006
My kids- all grown up!

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131_3174.JPGFor some reason I woke up this morning at 3 am thinking about love, self-doubt, and karma. I was having a nightmare about a brake up with an x-boyfriend. I was dismayed by how much anger and negative energy I still had stored up about a relationship that happened 15 years ago. Why was this invading my dream time? It was something I thought I resolved awhile ago, or more appropriately just ignored and thought it would go away. Weird how the unconcious keeps you honest.

MY STORY: What really disappointed me is the way this relationship ended was how I thought that I openly hearted approached him with an apology with love and how the sentiment wasn’t returned. My intention was love. What I took away was self-doubt, anger, etc. That just seemed cruel and injust. For the last 15 years that was how the story ended in my book.

THE TRUTH:Well, I was contemplating this idea at 3 am this morning… I started really thinking about the true unfolding of the story. I broke up with the guy without a ton of notice and created self-doubt in him and likely whether my love for him was true. While he received and probably appreciated the love. It was too little, too late. Kind of a convenient part of the story I forgot in my rendition:) Upon reflection, I was expecting him to give me this story book response sort of like you’d see in a movie. What I realized that instead of the love loop I was hoping for, the only loop was self-doubt. The doubt I gave him came back to me and was not resolved until yesterday night, when I let go of the story and came to grips with the reality and the full picture.

So, last night I did a Buddhist prayer and sent him love..true love and asked for forgiveness ending the karmic circle of self-doubt and creating one of forgiveness and love (in whatever form that may take). Here’s what I now realize 15 years later. Love cannot be given with expectations. You give love with no expectation of getting it returned or returned in the same way it was given. My husband reminded me of all the love that my father had given me. While I gave back the love in my own way (operative word…my own ) it was probably not proportionate with the love I received. However,years later my father’s love for me pours out in the love I shower our children with… so it continues on. Loving someone means giving love with no expectations, no conditions on how it will be expressed back, or if it will ever be expressed back. This is true unconditional love.

So, why the heck was I dreaming about all this anyway? Oh… the joy of our minds. I was just pouring love into my child yesterday and thinking how it some times feels like an endless well. What my dream reminded me of was that I had to let go again of my story book picture of my child showering me with the same number of kisses, and just give love without any expectations. This is true unconditional love.

Namaste, C.J.

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Parent Coach Susan

Well, school is right around the corner and everyone from parents to kids are having the jitters. Parents are wondering how to make the transition from summer freedom to hectic and stress free school schedules.

Let’s first consider how you felt last school year went. Were you burned out? How many after school activities did your children/teens participate in? How many nights did you drive through the fast food windows and eat dinner in the car? How many nights were you arguing with the kids about homework, bath, and bedtime?

If you are like most parents I know, you probably answered, “way too many!” Would you like to have a different experience this year? Would you like to create a family life where eating together means sitting down in your own home and eating food that you prepared? In my article, A Parent Coach’s Six Tips for Less Stress at Home, I give you ideas that you can implement tonight.

So, the first step is taking a good hard look back. Take inventory and wait for instructions for the next step. Parent Coach Susan will guide through this overwhelming and often times guilt ridden job of PARENTING. If you are like me, you are craving a close connection with your family. Let’s work together, parent + coach and create the family experience that reflects how you want to live!

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