Get Inspired with ‘From Fat to Finish Line’

Original Image by From Fat to Finish

By: Nikki Nies

Wanting to jumpstart your health regime, but seeking a team of encouragement and accountability to help? ‘From Fat to Finish’ may be the community you’ve been waiting for! Through this community

‘…of dedicated runners with one goal, to help each other.’

you are not only given a real time, virtual community of people that are working towards their own fitness goals,  but ‘challenges’ that can keep the tasks exciting and twists to up the ante and find local events to get to know your fellow runners. Besides, you never know how you can be an inspiration to others by sharing your story too!

Therefore, whether you’re just getting back into walking a few blocks a day or training for your ‘nth marathon, From Fat to Finish can meet you anywhere you are during your journey!

Needing a bit more inspiration? Check out the 2015 documentary directed by Angela Lee that walks through 12 runner’s experience with 200 mile race from Miami to Key West Florida while losing over 1200 pounds!  Initially, many of the runners dealt with Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and other by products of obesity, but through the use of digital community and working together to meet their goal of shedding pounds to run the race, they once again proved that if you set your mind to it, it can happen! One pound at a time! Get your copy today via rent, download or purchase!

Learn more about how you can join the community and get moving today! Site | Blog | Twitter | Facebook Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Youtube 


How Sporty Is Your Sport?

It’s not a coincidence that there are a myriad of sports. Whether you’d rather go at it yourself or love the camaraderie of a team the benefits of taking up sports always outweigh the costs. Yet, the amount benefited from the sport depends on the intensity, amount of time spent and weight.

Surprised to hear golf burns almost as many calories as baseball? Surprised how many calories you can burn while sitting? I know, sitting isn’t a sport, but it’s still worth mentioning the amount of calories burned!


Seventh Day Adventist’s Mindful Practices

Original Image by Bobbi Bowers via Flickr


By: Nikki Nies

While studying for my RD exam, I’ve come across and have been quizzed on various ethnic cultures and dietary restrictions. As you have seen, I’ve read more about dietary practices during the Lenten season and have delved further into what Kosher really means. Up until now, I’ve had a pretty good idea about what those dietary practices entailed, but the diet of Seventh Day Adventist is foreign to me. Do you feel the same way? Not quite sure what Seventh Day Adventist means?

Join me in the fun of learning all the details now! While the Seventh Day Adventist church promotes autonomy, the relationships in the church are meant to call one another higher, to live as positive examples of God’s love and devotion. In regards to diet and health, this means:

  • Gluttony and excess are to limited
  • The key to wellness is balance and temperance
  • Limit alcohol, tobacco and mind altering drugs, which can affect clear minds and wise choices
  • It’s believed a well balanced vegetarian diet that emphasizes legumes, whole grains, fruits, nuts, vegetables and sources of vitamin B12 will promote optimal health
  • Like the MyPlate guidelines, Adventists are advised to limit processed foods, sugar, sugar substitutes and food additives.

To remind you, a vegetarian diet has more benefits than the costs of the abstinence of meat. A vegetarian diet continues to provide evidence of lower risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes,obesity and/or high blood pressure.

Being vegetarian isn’t a requirement to be part of the Seventh Day Adventist church, yet many of the church go beyond the vegetarian diet,either eating raw foods or vegan. One of its founders, ellen White’s vision for the Seventh Day Adventist included eight principles for a healthy lifestyle: fresh air, sunshine, abstemiousness, rest, exercise, nutrition, water and trust in a divine power. The second part of the White’s vision included the establishment and devotion of health reform, health education and treating the ill in a new way.

As you can see, Seventh Day Adventist’s dietary practices are very similar to those of vegetarians, if not more strict. I’m proud to see the founder, White’s vision and principles for the church have been upheld since inception in the 1860s. For any of you that are practicing Seventh Day Adventist’s are there any key practices that I’ve missed? What personal practices do you follow in your daily life?


Small Changes–>Big Steps!

By: Nikki Nies Sugar-Addiction

High sugared foods– the more refined sugars we eat, the more we crave. Cutting unhealthy habits can be a challenge.  In regards to the highly addictive substance, sugar, it is best to go cold turkey. Find options that work for you as reliable replacements and be sure to never leave home without them!
Like the title of this post states, but incorporating some small changes into your life, can lead to big results! The initial changes can be a test, but is important in building the confidence that you don’t have to turn to sugar or chips, but with the nourishment of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts, one can develop a healthy lifestyle.
While changes and goals must be realistic and individualized to your own needs, it’s important to just get started!
Potential Suggestions:
  • Start your day off with a protein, fat and carb packed breakfast
  • Make a list of activities to do besides eating to have on hand for when you want to eat, but your body isn’t necessarily hungry
  • Record your food intake including portions, time of day and emotion during that meal
  • Opt for three meals and two snacks a day or 5 small meals.  Listen to your body’s hunger cues!
  • Try your hand at the spice cabinet.  Experiment with different flavor combinations to find what you like best! Grab the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, coriander and/or cardamom and go to town!
  • Get moving! When one exercises, it helps reduce tension, boosts energy and decreases sugar cravings!
  • Be open to exploring emotional causes of sugar cravings.  One can turn to sugar as a means to meet emotional needs that aren’t being met
  • Limit use of artificial sweeteners as this won’t help you with your sugar cravings! If you must use an artificial sweetener, opt for Stevia as it’s the healthiest.
  • Change your environment, whether that means removing tempting foods from kitchen countertops to rerouting the drive home to bypass ‘must have’ fast food!
  • Grab an accountability partner can help on the days when more support is needed!
  • If you find yourself in a tempting situation, grab an apple, carrots and/or a handful of almonds to stave off the unhealthy foods!

Again, don’t overwhelm yourself with too many changes.  No need to overhaul your life and adopt ALL of the above suggestions.  Perhaps, incorporate one or two of these changes into your week and slowly add in more changes as you build your confidence and reduce your sugar cravings!

It typically takes two weeks of dedicated healthy eating for sweet cravings to subside.  Yes, change can be hard and takes work, but are you ready for the challenge to become a healthier you?  What steps are you taking today to get there?!

Photo Credit: LA Beach Fit 



Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)

Original Image by Andrea Parrish - Geyer via Flickr
Original Image by Andrea Parrish – Geyer via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

If you were to ask a group of girls or guys if they have body dysmorphic, it’s not an appropriate or useful question to ask. Many of us have at least one feature about our body and/or appearance we would like to change.  Although, we may notice these features, we accept these aspects of our body and it doesn’t interfere with our daily lives.

How do you differentiate the mere notice of one’s beauty imperfections versus body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)? Those with BDD (aka dysmorphophobia)  fixate on their perceived imperfections and flaws for hours to days.  Common perceived flaws are associated with body weight, teeth, lips, wrinkles, skin, hair, nose, chest or stomach. These negative thought battles are a constant presence in daily life, with one struggling to accept and believe other’s compliments and praise.  Missed days of work, plastic surgery, withdrawal from social events and/or social isolation may occur as it’s perceived it’s easier to retreat to solitary activities to limit opportunities for criticism of flaws.   While those with BDD find the flaws prominent and significant, in reality, these flaw minor or nonexistent.

1% of the American population are said to have BDD, with men and women equally diagnosed.  The specific causes are unclear and can be multifactorial, including environmental and genetic predispositions.

BDD can lead to: low self-esteem,; camouflaging with clothing, makeup, body position, hair; comparing body parts to other’s; seeking surgery; repeatedly consulting with medical specialists; fixation with one’s appearance in mirror; extreme self-consciousness; feeling the need to be housebound; the need to seek reassurance about appearance from others; avoiding mirrors; strong belief that imperfections make one’s ugly; skin picking; excessive grooming; excessive exercise and/or changing clothes excessively.

It’s common for those with BDD to also suffer from anxiety, depression, social anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and/or eating disorders.  Identifying BDD can be hard as it has a lot of the same overlapping symptoms of eating disorders, but it is a precursor for the development of eating disorders (i.e. anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, EDNOS, etc.).  By curbing negative BDD actions, one can prevent or curb impending negative thought and eating disorders.

A scientific diagnosis can only be obtained by someone with expertise in BDD.  However, taking a self test for adults and adolescents can help one assess current thoughts and status of BDD.  With the help of a trained health professional, use of group therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and/or antidepressant medications, BDD symptoms can be alleviated.

Please talk to your primary care physician or reach out to a loved one for help, if you find yourself struggling with BDD like symptoms.



gapaBy: Nikki Nies

The Global Advocacy for Physical Activity (GAPA) is part of the Advocacy Council of the International Society of Physical Activity and Health (ISPAH).  They aim to globally increase the amount of exercise.

With the help of other global advocacy groups, it creates and measures principles and actions to increase global health-enhancing behaviors.

Importance of GAPA:

  • Physical inactivity is the 4th leading risk factor for global mortality
  • Large share of deaths that are contributable to deaths occur in low and middle income countries
  • Will help support and advance WHO Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health
  • Multifold of benefits: environmental, cultural, sports, economic and overall health
  • Help countries investigate and compose strategies to inform, motivate and support individuals, families and communities to be physically active in a safe, enjoyable way

Become a member of GAPA and join the efforts to curb worldwide physical inactivity.


It’s All in the Name of the Diet

FAdDiet-BAd-Diet-1By: Nikki Nies

I was working recently at school in a computer lab and a student walked up to me asking to fill out her survey.  After filling out the typical female/male question, I already had questions regarding her survey.

Her first survey question asked, “Do you believe diets are healthy?”  She said what do I mean? I asked if she meant by diet as “eating healthy” or the more name brand diets, such as Atkins or Low Carb Diet. After some thought, she finally stated she was surveying on people’s perception of fad diets.

Of course, as a nutrition major I “strongly disagreed” with all claims that a fad diet is the most effective method of long term weight loss.  However, I started thinking about about “why” and “how” diets have evolved to be effectively hyped up and marketed.

It could be argued everyone’s on a diet–whether it’s a diet consisting of daily trips to McDonald’s to only chicken nuggets as main source of protein or eating 1/2 of one’s plate of fruit and veggies.  They’re all describing a type of diet.  A diet is:

 kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats

To help you decide what kind of diet you want to go ahead with, let me give you some things to ruminate about certain diet features:

  • Rapid Weight Loss: Not only is weight loss more than .5-1 lbs. not the most effective way to lose weight, one will also lose muscle, water and bone.  With too much weight lost in a short amount of time, it can lead to the regain of weight
  • Complete Restrictions of Foods or Foods Groups: Mind you, I’m not talking about eating foods if you’ve got an intolerance, sensitivity or allergy, but be wary of diet claims that either state unlimited quantities of certain foods (i.e. cabbage soup or grapefruit).  You may think substituting a food group with a multivitamin will help compensate with missed food groups (i.e. no carbs), but you’ll still be missing critical nutrients.
  • Exercise is not needed: Regular physical activity is needed for optimal weight management; it’s recommended one gets at least 160 minutes of exercise per week
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!  
  • Lose weight without making any changes!: Be wary of diet claims that you can eat as much high calorie foods and still lose weight.  In truth, it’s recommended to slash calories by 500 for a healthy, gradual weight loss.
  • Once and for all magic pill! Permanent weight loss requires the implementation of healthy lifestyle changes.  Doctors, dietitians and other leading experts are adamant that no “magic pill” exists.
  • Every body will lose weight: there’s no one size fits all solution.  Every one’s situation, body and needs are different! Contact a dietitian and/or your local health care provider to design a individualized nutrition and exercise plan.

The above claims are tempting to believe, but when looking for what you want to merge into your daily “diet”, think about the health claims that the latest diets have to offer.  To help you decide if the  latest diet is for you, ask yourself  “Can I eat this way for the rest of my life?” If the answer is no, the diet isn’t for you.


The Pros and Cons of Fad Dieting

50 Reasons To Exercise


Constant Restraint Can Backfire

By: Nikki Nies dietaryrestrictions2bhp

I’m sure I’ve mentioned several times that whenever I’m introduced to someone new as studying nutrition or I share with someone what my degree’s in, they exclaim they have to talk to me as they could use my help!

I get a kick out of it because 9/10 they don’t follow up, yet I’m “waiting” to be able to help them.  I want to share one encounter I had with a college student.  We share a lot of the same friends and I’ve seen her a couple times, so I was more than willing to help her out (it’s not like if she was a stranger, I wouldn’t have helped her though!)

This young gal moved here from Africa to go to school.  While she holds onto a lot of African traditions, she has quickly adjusted and assimilated to American culture.  She wanted my help on what else she should be doing to lose weight.  She mentioned when she gains weight, it’s in her stomach, which I told her is very normal and that classifies her as an apple shape.

As she was telling me her list of foods that she doesn’t eat, her dietary restrictions seemed longer than what she allows herself to eat.  I was happy to hear that she doesn’t eat prepackaged foods or fast food, which can be a culprit of weight gain and can interfere when one’s trying to lose weight or maintain their weight.  I was also glad to hear that she reads her food labels and I praised her for being a head of the curve.

Yet, she wanted “more” information.  From what I heard from her, she was doing everything “right” nutritionally.  The only thing I recommended was reminding her to eat a consistent amount of fruits and vegetables.

She kept pointing to the fact that she doesn’t like how her legs look or that her arms are flabby.  I asked her about exercise,which she said she did very little of.  I suggested doing more toning exercises, but I profusely admitted that exercise is out of my scope of practice.  She kept asking me what the “go to” exercises are and I didn’t want to give her the wrong information, so I kept telling her that everyone’s body’s different, but a lot of it is trying different machines and exercise routines to find what makes her most comfortable and/or comfortable.

My point in sharing my interaction with this gal isn’t to criticize her restrictive eating, but to point out how it can backfire.  I’m not sure where this thought process of “can’t have” started for her, but it’s definitely not the road to go down to be eating healthy and to feel good!

I wanted to help her, but I’m not sure how much I did.  I didn’t give her the magic pill answer she was looking.  She seems annoyed because she restricts so many types of foods from her diet.  I asked her if she ever indulges herself and she said I know.  I encouraged to indulge in chocolate once in a while, which she abstains from, just to treat herself.  She recognizes the concept of complete restriction making you want more, but she doesn’t adhere to those concepts herself.

At this time, I’m not sure she’s ready to change her restrictive food patterns.  Yes, sometimes we’re our own worst enemy in regards to fruitfullness and happiness.  I hope she is able to recognize she can have her cake and a few bits of eating it too!



By: Nikki Nies constipation-picture

Although, not the most appealing topic to discuss, with 2% of the world dealing with constipation on a regular basis it’s worth talking about.  Constipation occurs when one’s bowel movements are less frequent and/or more difficult.  The numerical definition of what’s “regular” varies among people, yet going more than 3 days without a bowel movement is concerning.  After 3 days, the stool becomes harder and more difficult to pass.  It’s important to recognize acute (recent onset) constipation, which requires urgent assessment as there may be an underlying cause.  Severe constipation is defined as having less than one bowel movement per week. One’s classified as constipated if he or she demonstrates 2/3 of the following symptoms over a 3 month period:

  • Straining during a bowel movement more than 25% of the time
  • Hard stools more than 25% of the time
  • Incomplete evacuation more than 25% of the time
  • Two or fewer bowel movements in a week

Often times constipation is due to a bowel function disorder,  not a structural issue.Causes may include: inadequate water intake, inadequate fiber in the diet, disruption of daily routine–traveling,diseases that impact the colon, lack of bowel muscle function,  immobility, inadequate exercise, consuming large amounts of dairy products, stress, gastrointestinal tract problems (i.e. adhesions, celiac disease, colon polyps, diverticulosis), hypothyroidism, overuse of laxatives–>weaken bowel muscles, neurological issues (i.e. Parkinson’s diseases, MS), antacid medication that includes calcium and/or aluminum, narcotics, antidepressants, iron pills, depression, eating disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, colon cancer and/or high levels of estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy. Prevention and Treatment Measures:

  • Consume a diet with at least 20-35 g fiber a day (i. fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole-grain bread and cereal)
  • Stay hydrated! Aim to drink 1.5-2 quarts of water daily.  Drinks that contain caffeine (i.e. soda) have the tendency to have a dehydrating effect
  • Regular exercise
  • Don’t resist the urge to move bowels when needed!
  • Try drinking warm liquids in the morning
  • Use of nonstimulant laxatives
  • Biofeedback therapy
  • Surgery

While sharing your issues with complication may be embarrassing, it’s important to let your primary care physician know before further complications arise.  If left untreated, it can lead to anal fissures, hemorrhoids, rectal prolapse and/or fecal impaction.  Now no one wants to deal with that, so take care of before it gets out of hand!

Photo Credit: Home Remedies for you