Enjoy surveys?  Maybe? Not so much? I get it.  I try to do my part if asked.  As a small business person, I want to help those who are in the same boat.  Now I need a little feedback.  Over the next few weeks, I will be posting survey questions both here & on my face book page. You can shoot me a comment on either site.  Here’s the first few questions:

HEALTH, WELLNESS, & FITNESS are (can tell me what applies to you in your comments)

–very confusing & overwhelming with information online & in print

–not geared towards my age/needs/capacity

–something I incorporate into my life in many ways

–think I got it, but would enjoy learning more

–mainly for those wanting to accomplish goals I don’t have (marathon, vigorous strength training, etc.)

–important but not a priority right now


Weight loss isn’t just about MOVING MORE & EATING LESS.  Name 2 challenges you encounter besides wanting the scale to move.

Do you currently have a fitness routine? If so, how many days a week do you engage in it?  Does it change?

That’s all for now.  Really appreciate your help.

Questions?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com



Accountability or liability? They are linked.  Liability for some, fearfully so, puts them on a path to accountability.  The physician, nurse, personal trainer, invests in insurance in case they are sued.  As a nurse, you adhere to standards of practice, in my case the ILLINOIS NURSE PRACTICE ACT, which dictates reasonable care by a nurse, in given circumstances.  Yet insurance as well as that practice act, speak only to legalistic reasons for accountability.

Accountability for some must be dictated; for others it is an innate sense.  It’s a personal compass which guides their actions.

How well does that compass perform when translated to nutrition?  Does it stagger along the spectrum– thinking of food choices as liabilities?  Or does accountability take precedence?  “I’m accountable for my choices; whether it’s the food on my plate, the exercise I skip or do, or whether that extra whipped cream horn is calling my name.”  But I digress.

That continuum is at best for most, a balancing act.

I was recently watching a promo for a weight loss book, on a cooking show.  Sounds a little ironic, but made sense if you saw the show.  What the author said was quite reasonable.  She recommended if you want that candy bar or cream horn, you add 15 minutes of cardio to your routine.  Cookout splurge? Add an extra mile to your walk.  Palate of food combinations?  Had that covered.  She took a paper plate, and divided it with colorful lines, kind of like a pie chart.  It depicted recommended percentages of what should be starches, fruits & veggies, & protein.  I thought it was pretty clever.  All of these ideas are very workable and realistic.


Again, I find these ideas are doable.  They are like breadcrumbs or markers, helping you find your way.  But colorful lines, percentages, adding this or subtracting that staggers between the accountability/liability spectrum. It’s a start–a way to make you more accountable, and put thought into your plate before you put the food in your mouth.  Getting back to my question, however.  Now what?

In my opinion only, this is where many get stuck.  They can’t get off the endless merry-go-round of push this, pull that, eat more fish (yuck!!) eat more protein, this portion is fruit & veggies, no carb, low carb, high fat, low fat….you get the idea.

Very few of us live our lives on portion control.  Those who do, I have found, bust out of their constraints like a double DD cup forced to wear a training bra.  Why?  More often than not, their portion control was out of control.  Their accountability had become a liability.  So you ask “Can you cite any examples Ms. Nurse & Personal Trainer?”

You bet I can.  More to the point, I bet you can too.


What is that balance?  How do I find it?  Is this my license to eat whatever, whenever I want?  Tune in next time boys and girls.  We’ll have a sit down and a look-see.


All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions? Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com



I'm not the enemy   CARBS–bread, pasta, rice, just to name a few–are part of an ever-expanding hit list.  By the way, let’s not forget about this either.milk & bread  Does anyone besides me, recall athletes and celebrities lining up to wear the milk mustache?  You couldn’t open a magazine (especially health & fitness) and not see this ad.  What about the “milk your diet,” commercials?  They’re not that old.

In the quest to become fitter, thinner, and more svelte, seems we’ve lost a few friends (yes friends) along the way; not to mention more than a few nutrients.

Let me back up a minute first.

If you have celiac disease, gluten is definitely not your friend.  If you are lactose intolerant, you know what too much dairy can do to you.  Those who struggle with these issues–I am not making light of your symptoms, or your need to watch your intake.

That being said, let’s take a look at our dietary hit list.


If you are attempting to cut fat, but won’t give up real milk, maybe you’ve switched to skim.  Realize then, you may be cutting back on some key nutrients as well.  Vitamin D and calcium are two.  However, if you are looking for a less caloric alternative, you can try almond milk.  It contains more calcium, with fewer calories.  Almond milk for me though, is an acquired taste.  It is much thicker.  I find myself drinking less of it, because of the density.  Yes you can add H20 to it.  But then, how much of the nutrients are you really obtaining?  Who knows.  Because of this, I’m not sure how much of an alternative to milk this really is; at least for me.  An alternative (however healthy) has to be a substitution which fills or exceeds the expectation of what is being replaced.  This means content, appearance, and in this case–taste.  Vitamin content may be there.  Less fat and calories sound great.  If getting it down you or your family is questionable, how viable is this?  You be the judge.

I am persistent though.  I bought almond milk combined with coconut milk, and find it enjoyable in tea.


Our crusty friend seems to have fallen out of favor–except in private.  He seems to be what one relishes in private, but publically–not so much.  We say we’re cutting back.  Or, “I don’t eat bread anymore.  Pasta isn’t even in my house.  Flour?  I gave that up long ago–and I’ve lost so much weight!”   Bread and pasta especiallyseem to have taken on the persona some people may take in our lives.  But that’s another discussion–one well outside my scope of practice.

Bread has been called the staff of life–and for good reason.  It was and continues to be a staple in most households.  True, our choices may have changed.  We don’t buy the white bread our parents did.  Our choice is usually grainier, lighter or thicker depending upon our tastes, and maybe gluten-free.  If you wonder whether you need to be gluten-free, check out my post “Do I really need to be gluten-free?”  It is dated 7/10/13.

My question as with any deprivation is this:  what am I sacrificing?  We all want weight loss and a healthier lifestyle.  Most of us are willing to make the changes necessary to this end.  Like milk, have you considered the vitamins you may be giving up?  If cutting the fat and sugar is your goal, you may want to re-think your gluten-free choices.  Something has to give that bread or pasta taste and texture.

As with exercise routines, before you jump on the latest trend, do your research.  Side by side label comparisons in-store can be quite a revelation; especially if you’re trying to cut calories.  On a budget?  Then you definitely need to invest some homework time.  If it’s not a fit for you or your family– however healthy, time-saving, or cost cutting it may be, it may not be your best bet.  That being said, your family doesn’t get a pass from eating healthier.  It just means you have to be a little more savvy and creative.

So tell your kids they probably won’t be getting a pass from eating their veggies.  And just to clarify, neither will you.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

meditation in the nudeCleaning up your act.  Not for the faint of heart.

The real question is–are you ready?  Better yet–how ready are you?  Commitments are dangerous ground to tread The very nature of the word implies “something you have to stick to.”

Both in my career as a nurse, now as a nurse personal trainer, I now know what separates want from need.  Patients want to improve their outcomes.  Clients want to lose weight and exercise.  When “need” enters the equation, that’s where that dangerous ground is finally tread.  That need may prompt nutritional coaching after a cardiac event, and the required dedication which follows.  “Lose weight and stop smoking, or you could suffer another stroke.”  Not only does this statement necessitate commitment, it is an ultimatum.

Even if your health is not in question, is your lifestyle?  If so, time to cleanse.


If you read “Clean up your act,” as well as “Detox 360,” you realize for me, cleansing is more than a brief stint on herbal smoothies.  This detox takes time, a little introspection, and a lot of hootsba.

You should now understand that detox is a lifestyle, not a one week starvation or a jumpstart enema.  At this point, eradicating–or at least mitigating pollutants from your life, is a top priority.  It may have meant rethinking your social circle.  Perhaps now, you leave the scene of the latest workplace gossip, when previously you would have stayed.  Maybe there is a 2 second pause, before giving that intellectual, but snarky response.  Looking in the mirror may not be the fault-finding expedition it once was.

If this part of your detox is well underway, now its time to take your body there.

How?  Great question.  My take on what works, next post.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions? Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

healthy living waterfallHow’s that working for you?  This question is usually posed with marginal to overt hints of sarcasm.

Yet for me, it represents something far more critical–it is the final step in the nursing process.  EVALUATION is the finale–or maybe the revamping of your care plan.

Since we are talking healthy living and fitness, your care plan is really your plan of care.   If you have practiced due diligence–thorough assessment, diagnosis, realistic planning, AND implemented your plan, you are ready to see how it’s working for you.

Was inventory/assessment of my lifestyle accurate?  Did I diagnose my situation correctly?  Did my plan work?  Was it too ambitious or not ambitious enough?  Did something keep me from implementing it?  EVALUATION is the phase in which you will answer these, as well as other questions which surfaced.

If your plans fell short of expectation, what needs to change?  Do I need to get up an hour earlier to exercise?  Can I leave my children with the sitter another 20 minutes, to walk–better yet, run around my favorite park?  Even if you don’t complete the trail or park, 20 minutes of exercise at the end of your work day before heading to the sitter–differentiates stressed out mom from a revitalized one (I know this from experience).

Commitments are strange.  Many of us make these covenants in good faith–MOSTLY TO OTHER PEOPLE.  Unforseen circumstances aside, we manage to keep them.  Even if it means we are mildly to decisively inconvenienced, who wants to be known for breaking their word?  Why then, is it ok to break trust with yourself?

Working as a nurse, caregiver to my late mother, and later as a mother myself, two recurring lessons come to mind.  There were many; but these remain the most pervasive as well as evasive.   I have found that illness & sickness are not necessarily synonymous; and if you don’t know how to care for yourself, you really can’t care for, or about anyone else.  The latter may sound a bit trite, and REALLY selfish.  I know you’ve heard it before.  Yet as with most of my posts, I include my results.

Nursing treats the human response to illness.  That’s what separates our discipline from medicine.  Because of this distinction, and because we are with the patient consistently–we witness what family, friends, and physicians do not.   What is that?  Human capacity and response.  Illness isn’t usually a choice (though we may be major contributors to it).  For example, how many of us have awakened with a scratchy throat, stuffy nose, and low-grade fever, yet still go to work?  We feel ill–but refuse to be handled by it Sure we may treat our symptoms–Tylenol, cough drops, or other OTC medication.  Yet we go on.   Need further distinction between these apparently interchangeable terms?  See my last post under “A little strength training please…”

Caring for oneself is not really common; and in many instances is looked upon with disdain.  I’m not really talking mani-pedis, spa treatments, shopping, or a day of “pampering.”  These have their place; but there is more to taking care of yourself.  However, you have to want more–more than a temporary fix. 

I have found–both personally and professionally–that refusal to be handled by any situation, begets a change.  This doesn’t mean you have license to be demanding, caustic, or insensitive to the circumstances.  It means seeking alternatives.  If your PLAN fell short in EVALUATION, don’t be handled by it, change it. 

The nursing process is a dynamic one; ever evolving–never stagnant.  It is upgraded, re-thought, and revamped constantly.  It is what takes the PLAN of care from process to progress.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Need specific help with your fitness plan? Staying on track?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com