Archive for the ‘weight’ Category

Five Ways to Ignite Your Spark

In holistic health, weight, wellness, on May 13, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Having a really crappy day?

No matter what life dishes out, your physical, emotional and spiritual health depends on you remaining positive. Sometimes people get so overwhelmed with stress that they acquire eating disorders which can then lead to digestive problems, weight problems, sleep deprivation, confidence and esteem challenges, and more.


In fact, did you know that 43 percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress—and 75- 90 percent of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints?

It’s also important to remember that we attract what we put our energy on—so if you’re thinking and dwelling about the negative, chances are you’ll just attract more of the same. As the saying goes: “Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want.”

Here are some ways to cope when you’re having a bad day:

  1. Give yourself a “time out.”  Do something pleasurable, whether it’s playing with the kids or the pets, taking a long walk, gardening or bicycling.  If you’re in the office, close your door, stretch, move around– and take a few minutes to breathe deeply.
  2. Practice self-care:  It’s easy to neglect ourselves when we’re so busy taking care of other things.  But we can’t be much good to others if we’re not feeling up-to-par ourselves, right?  Get some “alone time”–take a hot bath, get a massage, read a good book—whatever you need to feed your soul.
  3. Eat Mindfully:  Eat slowly, savor every mouthful and give your body a chance to digest and your brain to register satiety.  Working through lunch?  Everyone has at least five minutes to eat calmly and peacefully; close the door, shut down the computer and let the phone go to voicemail.
  4. Breathe!  We tend to engage in shallow breathing when anxious, but when you feel that way, stop, take a few deep breaths and exhale.
  5. Strengthen your sense of community: Make a phone call to someone to whom you haven’t spoken in a while.  Re-connect with someone whom you haven’t seen in a long, long time (Hint: social media, like Facebook, is great for finding old friends.) Make it a point to say hello and speak to that neighbor with whom you’ve never connected.

Ok, so I’ll just keep saying it—have a consistent gratitude practice. Every night, make a list of 3-5 things for which you are grateful; even the worst day has positive moments.



ABOUT IRENE:  Irene Ross is an integrative nutrition and holistic wellness coach who helps people alter unhealthy habits so they can transform their lives into one of vibrant health and happiness.

Her website is:

Author of the e-book, Sugar’s Sour Story. and of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways to Fire Up Your Day:  Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time, Balance Your Life, she also writes a pet wellness blog called





Spring’s Around the Corner, So Time To Lighten Up!

In skin, Uncategorized, weight, wellness on March 9, 2013 at 5:47 am

All winter long you’ve probably been eating warm, heavier comfort foods. Now it’s time to bounce into spring, and what better way to start than this easy 3-day detox, found in the  IIN Spring Detox Guide.  You’ll look and feel great, because:

A. Your skin will glow
B. You’ll have more energy than ever
C. You’ll balance your moods
D. You’ll cleanse that liver
E. You’ll shed some pounds



…and more….

Listen, you even get a grocery list to really simplify things.

About Irene:

Irene Ross, CHHC, AADP is a certified integrative nutrition and wellness coach. She helps people alter unhealthy habits so they can balance their lives.

Author of the e-book, Sugar’s Sour Story, and of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways to Fire Up Your Day: Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time, Balance Your Life, her website is:

Why You Should Care About National Sleep Awareness Week

In sleep, stress, Uncategorized, weight, weight gain on March 6, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Sleep Deprivation is probably one of the worst things that can happen to the human race; yet, over 70 million U.S. adults experience sleep disorders, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

We all have a sleepless night here and there–whether it’s thinking about a big deadline or finally getting that date with the love-of-your-life. When it’s chronic, though? Well, it can affect every one of your systems, from the immune to nervous and skeletal.

Everyone should try to aim for 7.5 or 8.0 hours of sleep per night. Easier said than done, right?  I’ve seen numerous articles telling us all how to get better sleep–but let’s take a look at the causes.

Why should you care?  Because, without proper sleep, you wake up feeling irritable, anxious and moody.  You probably want to exercise, but can’t because you’re just too tired.  Here’s the clincher–you’ll probably also gain weight, because sleep has a direct effect on three hormones that regulate appetite.

So take this week, March 3-10 to reflect on your sleep patterns to see how you can remove some of those things that are known for keeping us awake.

  • Stress: Things like mind-chatter, impending deadlines and other events can make us toss and turn. Here’s where it is a cause, though; we awaken tired, anxious, irritable, depressed and lacking mental clarity—which means decreased or non-existent–coping mechanisms, adding to our ever-increasing stress load.
  • Pain: “If we consistently do not get enough rest it opens us up to the daily aches and pains we feel, as well as more serious injury,” said Michael Gazeleh, DC.  Guess what?  That pain keeps us awake.
  • Illness: The constant stress of sleep deprivation can trigger chronic and degenerative illnesses, but you also want to explore reasons for  not being able to stay asleep: “That might be caused by something like pain or even hunger,” said Dr. Peter Bongiorno, ND, Lac. “Hunger might either mean that there’s a problem with the liver or simply that the patient needs to eat a little more before bed.”
  • The bedroom isn’t dark enough. Melatonin is the body’s natural substance that’s produced at night, and a decreased level results in lower immunity, increased risk of infection. “Even the slightest light can cause a decrease in melatonin  levels,” says Dr. Bongiorno ND, Lac.
  • Pets.  I’m not passing judgment; in fact, I freely admit that I love sleeping with pets; to me, they’re like warm furry pillows.  However, the Mayo Clinic conducted a study finding that more than half of its patients seeking consultations at their sleep clinic were pet owners complaining of nightly sleep disturbances, caused by things like cover-hogging, kicking, growling, meowing, or even scratching. If yours keeps you up, maybe it’s time to give your pet a sleeping place of his/her own!


About Irene:

Irene Ross, CHHC, AADP is a certified integrative nutrition and wellness coach.  She helps people alter unhealthy habits so they can balance their lives.

Author of the e-book, Sugar’s Sour Story, and of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways to Fire Up Your Day:  Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time, Balance Your Life, her website is:


Staying Stress-free During the Holidays: Everything Feeds Us, Not Just What’s On Our Plates

In heatlhy eating, holiday season, holistic health, Uncategorized, weight, wellness on December 6, 2012 at 4:38 am
At a workshop this weekend, the instructor reminded us that, in an emergency, airlines require you to first put on the oxygen mask before helping others.  The take-a-way?  You can’t help others until you help yourself first.

That’s an apt analogy for every day, but especially so during this hectic, frantic holiday season. canstockphoto2607600 Remember to take a little time each day for:
  • Self-care: Massage, a good book, journaling, a hot bath, skiing or skating–whatever it takes to nurture your spirit.
  • Stress reduction: Yoga, meditation and breathing can stimulate AND calm us. See below for two breathing techniques.
  • Sleep:Try to get at least seven to eight hours. Sleep deprivation leads to fatigue and accident proneness.  Chronic sleep deprivation can also make you gain weight, because it has a direct link to three hormones that affect appetite.
  • Eating mindfully and healthfully. In fact, practice the “Rule of 1.”  When you do go to those gatherings, keep your caloric intake in check by only filling your plate with a tiny amount of one protein, one green, one drink, etc. “That way, you get to taste everything and don’t feel deprived, but you’re still practicing portion control,” says naturopathic physician Dr. Laurie Brodsky, ND.=

Two of my favorite breathing exercises, both from Dr. Andrew Weil.  To learn more please visit:

  1. The Bellows (Stimulating) Breath:.Inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose, keeping your mouth closed but relaxed. Your breaths in and out should be equal in duration, but as short as possible. This is a noisy breathing exercise.

Try for three in-and-out breath cycles per second. This produces a quick movement of the diaphragm, suggesting a bellows. Breathe normally after each cycle.

NOTE: Do not do for more than 15 seconds on your first try. Each time you practice the Stimulating Breath, you can increase your time by five seconds or so, until you reach a full minute. This increases energy and helps keep you centered and focused.

2. The 4-7-8 (or Relaxing Breath) Exercise:

This exercise is fast, easy and can be done anywhere. Best to sit with your back straight and feet flat on the floor. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.

  • Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
  • Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.

This exercise is a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. Unlike tranquilizing drugs, which are often effective when you first take them but then lose their power over time, this exercise is subtle when you first try it but gains in power with repetition and practice. Do it at least twice a day. You cannot do it too frequently. Do not do more than four breaths at one time for the first month of practice. Later, if you wish, you can extend it to eight breaths. If you feel a little lightheaded when you first breathe this way, do not be concerned; it will pass.

Once you develop this technique by practicing it every day, it will be a very useful tool that you will always have with you. Use it whenever anything upsetting happens – before you react. Use it whenever you are aware of internal tension. Use it to help you fall asleep. This exercise cannot be recommended too highly. Everyone can benefit from it.


About Irene:

Irene Ross is a certified nutrition and health coach who helps people get off the diet roller coaster–to lose the weight, keep it off and let your
“fabulousness” shine.

“Healthy weight is a lot more about simply walking away with a list of so-called good foods and bad foods. It’s about a lot of things. Like learning how to balance blood sugar and knowing about the connection between hormones and processed foods and the adrenals and thyroid; and like learning how chronic stress and sleep deprivation affect our weight–among other things. And people need to know that everything feeds us; for instance, career, relationships, self-care, because if just one thing is out of balance they’ll always be, well, hungry.

“In short, I don’t just focus on the action (i.e., list of foods), but on the proper ecology (root problem) so that real and lasting transformation happens.”

Irene sees people individually or in groups and presents workshops and lectures and creates employee wellness programs.

There’s something for every budget, from tele-seminars to a  platinum “Six Step System”  to VIP Days for those who want fast, concentrated results.  There’s even a “3-Step System for Kicking those Sugar Cravings to the Curb in 30 Days” program.

Author of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways to Fire Up Your Day: Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time, Balance Your Life, Irene is also a nutrition and wellness pro for our 4-legged furry friends and writes frequently on the topic of pet wellness.

To learn more, please visit Irene’s website:  Her free, twice-monthly newsletter, “Power Wellness,” is full of information, tips and recipes for healthy eating and lifestyle. Subscribe to her awesome newsletter here.

What Do You Think: Will Health Coaches Shape the Future of Health Care

In career, Uncategorized, weight on August 28, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Posted on August 28, 2012

It’s not unusual for me to hear those questions “So what do you do?” or “How can you help me?

Health Coaches are sometimes referred to as “change agents,” because we’ll help you implement transformation in your life. Here’s an example: I always ask every new client what they’re “wake up” problem is–you know, that thing that eats at you, whether you’re tossing and turning at 2:00 AM or rising at 7:00 AM.

My client said she was unhappy and frustrated that she had gained over 65 pounds in a relatively short time and, no matter how hard she tried, she just couldn’t lose it. So we took baby steps, first getting her blood sugar balanced, teaching her how to eat healthfully even with little or no time, showing her the most effective way–for her body–to exercise at the gym. She didn’t know how to read food labels, so off we went on field trips to the supermarket and health food emporium.

After about seven sessions, however, what we uncovered was her ROOT problem, a severe time management problem. That problem affected every single thing in her life, from how she ate to how she managed her career. Needless to say, there was no such thing as a work/life balance in her life.

I ran into her recently and she was glowing. Everything changed instantly, she said, once we figured out what the real problem was. To quote the old cliche, “knowledge is power.” Once she understood her problem, she knew how to handle it–and then rid herself of it once and for all.

What health coaches DON’T do is:

•Send you away with a list of so-called good and bad foods. Everyone reacts differently to a food, so what could be a good food for you for could be poison to ME.

•Leave our program open-ended with no end in sight. Starting with day #1, we’ll write down and discuss your goals and challenges. Midway through your program, I review them to see if you’re on track–or if we need to reset in order to reach them within your timeframe.

•Mask issues-we get to the root of the problem, so you can get rid of it once and for all.

Many feel that health coaches will transform the health care system. One is Dr. Mark Hyman, who’s also a guest lecturer at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (where I graduated from).

Irene Ross, CHHC, AADP is a certified nutrition and health coach who helps people get off that diet roller coaster and live a lifetime of health, wellness, energy and passion.. To learn more, please visit her website:

Seven Ways You Can STILL Get in Summer Shape

In heatlhy eating, summer, Uncategorized, weight, wellness on June 30, 2012 at 6:10 pm

It’s almost July 4th—but if you’re still despairing over those last few winter pounds—that just won’t seem to come off no matter what you do–don’t worry. 

Here are a few simple strategies from me that will help you get rid of those extra pounds once and for all!

  • Try to stay with natural foods as much as possible. Here’s the problem with those overly processed “convenience” foods—they can be very high in sodium, which can make you bloat.  They often have chemicals and hormones—which can wreak havoc on your system (i.e., metabolism.)

One of the great things about summer is the abundance of fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables. Fill up on them!  Remember, the more colorful your plate the better, because every color includes a different set of phytonutrients–those things that keep us healthy.

  • Never skip a meal.  Ever.  The body’s a really smart machine and, if you do, it will think you’re starving—and it will protect you by lowering your metabolism.  The result?  No weight loss and you’ll possibly overeat at the next meal to make up for the lost calories.  You’ll also become tired and, let’s face it, we don’t exactly make the best choices when we feel that way.
  • Cravings?  Your body is giving you important information.  If you have sugar cravings and want to know what they’re all about, opt-in on my website’s home page and get a free copy of my mini e-book, Sugar’s Sour Story.
  • Sleep: Everyone should get at least 7.5 hours a night. When we don’t get enough sleep, we often, naturally, turn to comfort foods that often have high fat, high sugar, high sodium treats. These are energy zappers in themselves, not to mention the havoc they wreak on your diet and moods.

Sleep also has a direct effect on three hormones that regulate stress, energy balance and appetite.  When you don’t get enough sleep, cortisol, the stress hormone, elevates glucose and appetite. By the way, cortisol is frequently blamed for thickening mid-sections. Ghrelin and Leptin are also affected. Ghrelin, which increases appetite, becomes elevated; Leptin, which suppresses appetite and moderates energy balance, is decreased.

Naturopathic physician Dr. Kathia Roberts explained the connection between sleep and that all-important exercising.

“It’s a negative cycle,” explains Dr. Kathia Roberts, Ph.D., ND, D.PHYT.  “Some of my patients tell me they can’t sleep without exercising but then, again, they’re too tired to exercise


Here are a few other things to keep in mind:

  • Superfoods: Some foods have very high nutrient levels, and they are called superfoods. They include berries, citrus fruits, and greens, such as broccoli, kale, collards, bok choy, yogurt, pumpkin, chocolate (Yes! but it must have over 65% cacao) and more.
  • Water: This substance transports nutrients and oxygen to every cell and you’ll end up feeling more energetic—which means you’ll be more active, burn more calories and spend more time at the gym. How much? Divide your weight in half–that’s how many ounces you probably should drink per day.
  • Nutritional Cleansing: While a cleanse isn’t a weight loss program, per se, the happy result can be the loss of a few pounds and you rid your body of toxins, rejuvenate it (who wouldn’t like to look younger and have a lot more energy??), and provide the body with the necessary enzymes to transport nutrients. There are a lot of ways to cleanse, whether it’s with juices or products. By the way, if you want more information on that, and more, see:
  • Self- Care: Never minimize the importance of a good massage or any other self-care item! Self-care helps to get your body back in balance and one of the happy results is a lack of depression, fatigue and other energy-zappers. You’ll eat more healthfully, too!

How To Have Healthy, Yummy “Ice Cream”

In food, nutrition, vegan, weight, wellness on February 28, 2012 at 3:44 am

Yeah, I admit it.  I’m love ice cream; in fact, I’ve been known to eat it even in the dead of winter when most people crave warm things like soup.

I hate all the sugar, fat, calories and dairy, though.  But last week I had such a great treat my taste buds are still dancing!   

It’s really simple, because there’s only one ingredient:  Blended, frozen bananas.  When blended, the bananas have a smooth and creamy texture, and they taste just like ice cream–but without sugar, fat, calories, and dairy.  It’s also usually vegan, unless you add a non-vegan item.

For different flavors, use the bananas as a base and add things like berries, peanut butter, pecans–whatever you crave.  You can also turn it into an ice cream sundae with chocolate sauce and whipped cream; of course, it becomes less healthy and more calorie-laden.  On the other hand, though, you aren’t getting all the “gunk” of regular ice cream.

Since it’s only one ingredient, there really isn’t a formal recipe.  Just cut up frozen bananas and blend them in a food processor, vitamix or powerful blender.

Oh–and forget about waste–because those overripe, blackened bananas are perfect.


Irene Ross, CHHC, AADP, is a nutrition/wellness coach who helps people instantly double their energy so they avoid that mid-morning or afternoon slump, get more done in less time and balance their lives.  She is author of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways To Fire Up Your Day:  Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time, Balance Your Life.  Her website is:

She also writes a popular pet wellness blog:

Seven Ways To Eat Healthfully When Out

In food, job, lifestyle, restaurant, vegetables, weight, wellness on February 24, 2012 at 2:44 am

Many of my clients don’t have time to pack a healthy lunch, so they need to rely on deli, restaurant or even fast food during the day.  Still others have frequent work dinners.  How do they eat healthfully, they frequently ask?

1.  Choose salads and grilled entries.  Speaking of salads, remember, they can easily become unhealthy and calorie-laden if they’re loaded with high-sugar, high-salt, fatty items, such as cheese, mayo, salad dressings, fried toppings.  Choose fresh vegetables, a little fruit, grilled toppings–and lemon wedges or other light dressings.  If you’re in a restaurant, order the dressing on the side and dip your fork into it.

2.  Chinese food:  Stay with steamed dishes and ask for the sauce on the side.  Go with brown, instead of white, rice.  Sure, things like egg rolls are yummy–but, remember, they’re deep-fried.

3.  Drink water, not soda, caffeinated drinks or even juices (it’s better to eat your fruit, not drink it.)

4.  Think moderation!  If you must go into a fast food restaurant, try to eat only a few fries or part of the burger.  And none of those fatty desserts!

5.  Exercise portion control.  Don’t supersize your meal–select the smallest sizes you can.

6.  Are you a bread lover?  Scoop out the inside and just eat the crust.

7.  If you’re like me, you love desserts–but hate all the fat and sugar of pastries.  Stick with fruit cups, sorbets, or other healthier versions.

Irene Ross, CHHC, AADP is a certified nutrition and wellness coach.  Author of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways To Fire Up your Day:  Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time, Balance Your Life, she is also an Ezine Expert Author and creator of a popular pet wellness blog:

She can be reached through her website:


Five Wellness Resolutions For The New Year

In cooking, fitness, health, sleep, Uncategorized, weight, wellness on January 10, 2012 at 8:43 pm

According to Medical Daily, 60 percent think they’ll break their New Year’s resolutions!  Here are five you should keep, though.

1.  Cook More Often At Home.  Cooking feeds the mind, body and soul.  And think about it:  When you do your own cooking, you control what you put in your body.  You’ll probably save money, too, since you won’t be spending as much on eating out–or on those highly processed, chemicalized convenience foods.

2.  Always Eat Breakfast.  Breakfast breaks the overnight fast and will start your metabolism. If you skip breakfast, or any other meal, your body will think it’s starving and will go into protection mode by lowering your metabolism.  That means–you guessed it!–you could actually gain weight by not eating a meal.  You’ll probably overeat at the next meal, too, since you’ll probably be very hungry from skipping before.

3.  Exercise! It can enhance your mood,  control weight and even help to fight fatigue (exercise carries nutrients and oxygen to the cells.)  It can even help promote sleep.  “Some of my patients tell me they can’t sleep without exercising,” said Dr. Kathia Roberts, Ph.D., ND, D.PHYT to me last spring.

4.  Get More Sleep.  I was recently told by Dr. Peter Bongiorno, ND, LAc about a study by the Archives of Internal Medicine where 153 people were given the rhino virus (common cold) by nose drop.  It was found that those studied who got at least seven hours of sleep per night were 300% less likely to catch a cold. So here’s the bottom-line:  Sleep deprivation leads to exhaustion which can lead to chronic illnesses and injury.

5.  Always be prepared for the Snack Attack!  Rather than running out daily for coffee, donuts, cookies or other calorie-laden, energy-draining snacks, keep them fit and healthy. Be prepared for the Snack Attack! Carry little bags of vegetables, fruit, nuts or seeds. Some people even carry a couple of turkey or chicken slices.


Irene Ross, CHHC, AADP, helps people instantly double their energy so they avoid that mid-morning or afternoon slump, get more done in less time and balance their lives.  Author of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways To Fire Up Your Day: Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time, Balance Your Life,  she is also an Ezine Expert Author and a Manhattan Life Coach Examiner  for Examiner.Com.

Irene’s website is:  While there, please sign up for her newsletter, “Power Wellness.”

She also writes a popular pet wellness blog:

Here’s Why Nutritional Cleansing is So Important

In diet, fitness, health, nutrition, Uncategorized, weight, wellness on December 9, 2011 at 9:48 pm


Is it me, or has anyone else noticed that we almost never see earthworms anymore?  When I was a kid, the soil was full of them, and when it rained they were all over the sidewalk.  While I hated that then, I now understand their importance in agriculture.  Some even refer to them as free farm help, increasing air and water and bringing organic matter into the soil.

The other day I was speaking to a 35-year-old woman; she told me that her skin was fresh, pink and acne-free during the teenage years, but now, as she’s getting older, she constantly fights acne and skin rashes.  I explained that the environment is full of toxins.  “You don’t even need to do anything, ” I said, “because they can be easily absorbed through the skin.  Then it was perfect timing–a nearby construction site started to blast.  As for my own skin, it just seems to get more and more sensitive every year.   I can easily end up with red, botchy, itchy skin–and it’s not only cosmetics, but hair products.  My hair is chin-length and, when I’m particularly sensitive to a hair product, I start to itch where the hair grazes the face.

One of my clients was shocked, because she was recently diagnosed with anemia.  “How can that be,” she asked.  “My diet’s full of iron-rich vegetables like spinach.”

So what’s the point of these stories?  To emphasize the importance of nutritional cleansing.  At a recent symposium at Harvard Medical School, Jim Rhoades, an internationally-known educator, nutritional counselor, motivational speaker and former member of the Isagenix Field Advisory Board, spoke on the current state of health in the U.S.  Nutrient-depleted soil (hence the lack of earthworms), nutrient-deficient food and environmental chemical toxins were just a few factors contributing to the decline, he said.

When you do a cleanse (which isn’t a weight loss program, per se–but the happy result can be the loss of a few pounds) you rid your body of toxins, rejuvenate it (who wouldn’t like to look younger and have a lot more energy??), and provide the body with the necessary enzymes to transport nutrients.

There’s a lot of ways to cleanse. Want to know more?  Please don’t hesitate to visit my website and contact me: –or send me an e-mail  directly at:


Irene Ross, CHHC, AADP is a board certified wellness and nutrition coach who helps people alter unhealthy habits to bring their lives into balance.  She’s author of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways to Fire Up Your Day:  Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time and Balance Your Life.  She writes a twice-monthly newsletter, “Power Wellness,” which can be subscribed to from her website:  http://www.eating

An Ezine Expert Author , she also writes apopular pet wellness blog:







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