Mitzi Dulan, RD
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Monday, December 29

It's a New Year for a New You- Lose Weight in 2009!

Lose weight, eat right, exercise, spend more time with family and friends, get out of debt, do any of these resolutions sound familiar? Probably, since they are several of the top 10 most popular New Year’s Resolutions. With the holidays behind us, it’s that time again- time to make your New Year’s resolutions. In fact, you might have already made your resolutions and if you are like millions of other Americans many of you have already put losing weight at the top of your list. Kudos to you for making your health a top priority in the New Year!

The gym is bustling in January with people wearing their new workout clothes and committed to getting healthy after their most recent visit with the bathroom scale. By February the blame game is rearing its ugly head. People start deciding it is just too much work and fall off the exercise and eat right bandwagon and fall into the “I’ll start again next week” trap. Next week turns into next month and before you know it you will be swimsuit shopping at the same weight you are now. To learn how to avoid this from happening to you this year read on.

Achieving your weight loss goals can happen and the good news is that it’s completely up to you! Most Americans want to lose weight but simply don’t want to put forth the effort to exercise and eat better. Reality check- that rarely works! It really comes down to one thing. That thing is making choices. Just as you talk to your kids about making good choices, you also make dozens of choices every single day which will affect your health, fitness and fitting room experiences in the months to come. Delete your excuses and avoid blaming, complaining or justifying why you are not doing something and just do it. Save yourself the energy and put it into lifting weights or going for a walk. I have heard it all and counseled some of the most successful CEOs, CFOs, venture capitalists, professional athletes, working moms and ultra-busy stay-at-home moms who do make their health a top priority. So the “I’m too busy” just doesn’t fly.

So what else can you do to avoid the common traps that prevent most people from sticking to their resolutions? Simple, you can understand and apply the “just a little bit” principle. In a nutshell, this means that if you consistently do “just a little bit” day after day, month after month, eventually you have created enough compound interest to feel and see very noticeable improvements.

Here are some additional tips to help you stay on track to achieve your weight loss goals this year!

Write Down Your Goals
If you are serious about losing weight in 2009, write it down. This is such an important step to successfully reach your weight loss goals. Just the act of writing down your goals makes a thought three-dimensional. You can write your goals in a journal or simply on a piece of paper. I prefer to always keep a composition notebook with me and write my ideas, goals, and notes. It is so nice to go back through and look at my goals, reflect and make new ones. I also suggest writing your goals in several places so that you see them on a daily basis which will make you more likely to take positive steps towards your goals. Be very specific and set a specific date that you want to achieve your goal. A sample goal could be: I want to lift weights 4 days a week for thirty minutes by February 11, 2009 or On the 1st of every month I am going to write family time into my calendar and on those days I will not touch or even think about work.

Eat Less and Move More
These four words are pretty much the magic bullet for weight loss. Okay, so not really a magic bullet, but believe me, it works.

Log it
People who are most successful at losing weight and maintaining write it all down. Start writing down every morsel you put into your body on a daily basis. You would be surprised at the number of clients who tell me “I just don’t understand, I don’t eat that much and I’m not losing any weight”. Bottom line- you can be unconsciously eating hundreds of calories everyday and sabotaging your weight loss efforts. Let’s just say, eating the rest of your kids mac and cheese and being the family garbage disposal to avoid wasting food is the first habit to break. Writing it down makes it real and helps you stay accountable.

Say “Cheese”!
Okay, you might think I’m crazy on this one but get out your digital camera, put on your swimsuit and take a photo. Pictures don’t lie so you can get a reality check and it will be a great way to follow your progress. Take a picture each week and put it along with your food log and personal weight loss goals. Avoid overreacting or letting a two-pound weight gain on the scale discourage you. Lean muscle weighs more than fat and I’ve had many clients lose weight in cycles. You might not lose weight for 2-3 weeks and then in one week lose 4 pounds. A healthy goal for losing weight is aiming to lose 1-2 pounds a week.

Create a Successful Environment
Make it easier on yourself by creating an environment which will help you to be less tempted and make better choices.
-Keep fruits available and visible on your kitchen counter
-Keep bite-sized chocolate and a few other treats tucked away in the pantry and get rid of the rest of your junk food
-Keep a case of bottled water in your car and at home
-Have some healthy snack foods on hand (non-fat cottage cheese, almonds, dried fruit)
-Fill your refrigerator, freezer and pantry with nutrient-rich foods (fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, lean protein and whole grains)

Start Good Habits Early
Be mindful that you are the best role model for your children and it is very important that your children see you exercise and make healthy eating choices for your family.

These tips should give you a great start but more importantly help you to understand the key to success is consistently doing “just a little bit”. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. You didn’t gain the weight overnight and as Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, said “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”.

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Tuesday, December 16

Food, Beauty and Nutrition with Honey at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood

I recently attended a fabulous food, nutrition and beauty event at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. I always love getting back to the beautiful weather in California- especially since it is snowing in Kansas City right now! The event was sponsored by The National Honey Board and I was the nutrition spokesperson along with executive chef, Neil Fraser, of Grace Restaurant and celebrity beauty expert Christopher Watt. His clients include Halle Berry and Jennifer Lopez. The photo is of myself, Alain Gayot of, and Christopher Watt.

Chris was doing facials for the media guests while Neal and I were busy mingling and answering questions about ways to use honey in food and the nutritional value of honey.

I was surprised to learn that a recent survey showed that 30-40% of people think that something is added to honey between the beehive and bottle when, in fact, nothing is added to honey. Honey really is a pure sweetener with no artificial ingredients added. My family enjoys eating honey on whole wheat bread with peanut butter as a quick snack or added it to a marinade for fish (this recipe will be in the book that Tony Gonzalez and I are writing- August 2009).

Of course you still have to be mindful of calories- so as with any food, don't overeat it, but with the sweetness of honey a little bit can go a long way.

I also had the opportunity to taste several delicious dishes made with honey and a honey margarita. It was a fun-filled night meeting several very nice members of the LA media and I did my first Spanish speaking television interview!

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Monday, December 8

10 Holiday Eating Tips to Avoid the Weight Gain!

I made two gingerbread houses and frosted sugar cookies (using my great new Crate and Barrel cookie cutters) with my daughters this weekend, attended a Santa brunch, and have 4 holiday parties this week including a cookie party I host every year. Next week I have two parties.

It's not easy to maintain your weight and prevent taking your body on the sugar roller coaster ride. Just because the holidays are around the corner doesn’t mean that you need to choose between food deprivation and weight gain. With a little thought and planning, you can avoid overindulging at parties this holiday season and still have fun!

Here are some holiday party tips- try two, three, or all ten and you will be ready to hit the party scene without expanding your waistline.

1. Don’t skip meals! Going to holiday parties feeling famished only leads to overeating. Eat a snack or small meal prior to your party.
2. If you don’t love it don’t eat it. Ever pick something up because it looks so yummy only to be disappointed after your first bite? If you try a food that looks fabulous but tastes marginal, stop eating it, save the calorie and spend them on food you really enjoy.
3. Drink lots of water. Drink water before and during holiday parties. It will help to fill you up so you are less likely to consume excess calories.
4. Plan your alcohol consumption. It is okay to drink but set some goals to limit your consumption. For example, have no more than 4 drinks per week or two drinks per party.
5. Eat smaller portions. This is the best way to enjoy the foods you love without gaining unwanted weight.
6. Load up on vegetables and fruit. Holiday parties typically have a vegetable and/or fruit tray. This is a perfect opportunity to load up your plate with these tasty, nutrient dense foods.
7. Write down what you eat. A little bit here and a little bit there can quickly add up to 600-800 calories. So, write it down to improve accountability and make it easier to fit into your little black dress.
8. Take it easy on yourself. You do not have to attend every holiday party you’re invited to, and it is okay if everything is not perfect, including your eating. Enjoy the food at holiday parties, just in moderation.
9. Give thanks. It is so easy to lose focus during the holidays since it can be a stressful time. Remember, the holidays are a time to be thankful for all of the blessings in life and to spend time with family and friends.
10. Give the gift of health. The holidays are the perfect time to give the people you love a gift to improve their health. Consider a great book for mental nutrition (not a romance novel), a healthy cookbook, a personal training or nutrition sessions, or a relaxing spa treatment.

Fun Holiday Party Idea
Even though I am a registered dietitian and certified personal trainer, I love tasty treats just like the rest of you! About seven years ago I started inviting my girlfriends over for an afternoon in December to have a “Holiday Cookie Exchange”. You can host your own holiday cookie exchange by simply inviting your guests ( and asking each to bring 3 dozen holiday treats. Then you exchange and take your goodies home to your own family.

Happy Eating!

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