BMI can go to he…, well you know.

Working in the fitness and public heath fields, I always enjoy hearing/reading random news stories about how everyone is overweight or obese, and how we are all basically going to die tomorrow… Now, I do hope that you catch the sarcasm in that statement. The real reason that I find it so entertaining is because I know that all of that simply isn’t true and that the numbers do lie.

BMI (Body Mass Index) is simply calculated simply by using a persons height and weight.

That’s it…

It does not take into account fat mass, fat-free mass, or other important health markers that should really be indicating how healthy you really are or are not. It’s a cheap and easy calculation that your health insurer can use to generalize you as healthy or unhealthy, and make a lot of money off you (especially if you are one the millions who are mislabeled as the article below discusses).

I’m not going to blab too much about the topic, because trust me, I could rant about how much I hate BMI for days… but I wanted to share an interested article written by Amina Khan of the Los Angeles Times last week that highlights the findings of a UCLA study and it’s findings. It’s a short read and presents some interesting findings and discussion points.


BMI Mislabels 54 Million Americans as ‘Overweight’ or ‘Obese,’ Study Says



Sixteen in 2016: Tips to Stay Healthy All Year Long

The first month of the new year is almost over… and I am sure there are a few of you who have already kicked your 2016 resolutions to the curb. Did you know that 1 in 3 people ditch their resolutions by the end of January? Even if you have already given up on your resolution, does that really mean that the whole year is already a lost cause? Most definitely not!

The Eating Disorder Dietitian, Megan Raupp, shares with us her Sixteen Tips for 2016 that will keep you healthy and on-track all year long.

Sixteen for 2016: Tips to Stay Healthy All Year Long

As the New Year approaches, people set goals and resolutions to improve their health. However, as the dust settles, many of them have already failed to maintain their resolutions. As a Registered Dietitian, I frequently encounter clients who struggle to maintain strict diets or exercise regimes and find themselves wishing for a better way to get healthy. Instead of focusing energy on the “New Year” bring motivation enough to achieve your wellness goals, why not focus on this; Sixteen for 2016: Tips to Stay Healthy All Year Long.

  1. Set Realistic Goals: One of the biggest reasons people do not follow through with their goals is that they are not realistic. “I want to lose 30lbs in a month. I am going to exercise 6 days a week. I will not drink my calories.” While these goals all have health in mind; they may not be realistic for the person setting them, especially if there is no plan in place. When unrealistic goals are set, often times people are ashamed, unmotivated, and feel disappointed when they are unable to achieve their goals.
  1. Make Small Changes: Step one: set a goal, Step two: make a plan to achieve this goal. If you want to make changes to improve your health it is important to focus on small changes that will lead to larger goals and major improvements down the road. In the long run, it is much easier to maintain small changes than one major change.
  1. Drink More Water: Many people fail to realize the importance of drinking water and being properly hydrated. About 60% of the body is water; therefore proper hydration helps improve overall body functioning, skin health, cardiovascular health and athletic performance.
  1. Add More Steps: America is built for convenience, creating a culture in which physical activity is not “required” in many circumstances. Any opportunity you have to get more steps in and move a little more will be beneficial to overall health. So take the stairs, park a little farther from the store entrance and make one more lap around the park.
  1. Enjoy Your Food: Food is fuel, yes, but it is also GOOD! Food is meant to be enjoyed and when you can do this, you likely will feel more satisfied and consume less overall.
  1. Fresh is Better: Shop the perimeter of the grocery store; this is where the fresh produce and foods with fewer ingredients are kept. These foods can provide a nutritious punch while still being tasty and delicious.
  1. Cook at Home: When making your own food, you have control over the ingredients, their quality and quantity. You also can involve the entire family, children included, in this process allowing everyone to take some ownership and enjoyment doing so.
  1. Eat Family Meals: There is a lot of research supporting family meals because it is a time to congregate as a family. Children who eat family meals together typically do better in school and are higher functioning academically. Having family meals can model healthy eating patterns and encourages a wider variety of food consumption.
  1. Aim for 7-9 Hours of Sleep: Enough sleep is vital for the body to rejuvenate and re-energize. Oftentimes people who struggle with weight are not getting enough sleep, therefore affecting or slowing the body’s metabolic process.
  1. Smart Snacking: Remember #6? Utilize fresh produce, nuts and dairy products as snacks throughout the day. It is importance to maintain blood glucose levels by fueling your body every 3-5 hours, which sometimes means adding a snack or two during the day. As long as the choices are smart, these snacks can provide a nutrition benefit to your body.
  1. Try New Foods: When you stick to similar foods and tastes, you get similar nutrients. By increasing variety and trying new foods, you will introduce a wider range of nutrition to the body, which will encourage more effective and efficient energy metabolism and immune function. Remember, taste buds change, so if you haven’t had something in 6 months, try it again!
  1. Steer Clear of Fads: During the beginning of each year when people have made New Year’s resolutions regarding their health, nutrition fads and diet systems tend to be everywhere. Be cautious of these fads as they promise unrealistic results and are typically not backed by scientific evidence.
  1. Switch Up Your Exercise Routine: Just as the body gets the same nutrients from the same foods, your muscle systems are utilized the same with the same exercise routines. Try something new and to ensure you are able and willing to continue with it all year long, make sure it is something you like to do!
  1. Wear Sunscreen Daily: Wearing sunscreen is important whether it is sunny or overcast, as damaging sun rays can affect people no matter the weather. This habit can also prevent premature aging, brown spots and skin discoloration.
  1. Understand portion distortion: Restaurant portion sizes got you feeling extra stuffed? That is because the average serving has doubled or tripled over the past 50 years. Those mini bagels we see in the stores, used to be the regular ones; “super-sizing” meals was a foreign concept. When eating at home, use smaller plates and when eating out, get a to-go box when your meal arrives and put half in it right away.
  1. Relax & De-Stress: Stress is a major contributor to weight gain and unhealthy habits. It is very important to identify things that help you relax and de-stress, whether it is going on a nice long run, taking a bubble bath or enjoying a small glass of red wine. When you are able to manage your bodies stress response you will be more energized to make healthful decisions each day.

Whether you set New Year’s resolutions or not, these sixteen tips will help you gain and/or maintain a healthy life all year long. And remember, forgive yourself, as becoming healthy is a long-term goal with many potential obstacles along the way!

“Diet” Advice from The Eating Disorder Dietitian

I am not shy when it comes to voicing my dislike of “nutritional systems”, fad diets, and self-proclaimed nutritional “experts”. In my personal training business, I do not offer meal plans of any kind, simply because it’s outside of my scope of practice; however, there are many fitness trainers, instructors, and nutritional enthusiasts who are ready to sign you up for the latest and greatest trend in dieting (because it’s the best thing since sliced bread, didn’t you know?). As great as their claims may be, it’s important to understand why getting your nutritional information and guidance from professionals who have studied nutrition, completed clinical shadowing and rotations, hold certifications and licenses from professional organizations, and who practice nutrition based on evidence-based practices and research every day.

Megan Raupp MS RD LDN holds both her BS and MS in Nutrition and Dietetics and a Graduate Certificate of Study in Eating Disorders and Obesity (EDOC) from Northern Illinois University. She completed a Dietetic Internship of 900+ hours that was supervised by multiple Registered Dietitians in several different settings. Megan belongs to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (IAEDP). She works full-time at a psychiatric hospital on an inpatient eating disorder unit and a transitional living home for females recovering from an eating disorder. Additionally, she works in private practice, specializing in eating disorders, general wellness, weight loss and maintenance, and other nutritional concerns. Her services include individualized meal planning, nutrition education, grocery store tours, and many other nutritional-related services depending on her clients needs.

Ok… let me catch my breath… Can you tell she is more than qualified to give nutritional advice and guidance?

So I asked Megan a few questions about the importance of getting nutritional information from Registered Dietitians and why the every day consumer should be leery of “nutritional systems” and fad diets.

Here is the interview:

Question: Why should people get their nutritional guidance from a Registered Dietitian and be leery of taking advice from nutritionists or nutritional enthusiasts? 

Answer: First things first, we should clarify the DIFFERENCE between a Registered Dietitian (RD) and nutritionist. To become a Registered Dietitian: one must get at least a 4-year degree in nutrition (or a science-like field), complete a dietetic internship consisting of 900+ hours of supervised practice, successfully complete the National exam for RDs, obtain licensure in the state of practice and finally maintain continuing education credits every two years. RDs are monitored and regulated by a national organization to ensure proper information is being transferred, evidence-based practices are utilized and no harm caused. To become a nutritionist: one must have an interest in nutrition. Period. Every RD is a nutritionist, but NOT every nutritionist is a Registered Dietitian. Here is a nice visual,


When looking for nutrition advice or guidance, it is important to get this information from an RD, someone trained to provide accurate and evidence-based information. One wouldn’t seek medical advice from someone with an interest in medicine but no degree or get on an airplane with a pilot who likes aviation with no practice, so why would you trust your health, body and wellness to someone not qualified in nutrition? Dietitians are trained to provide unbiased, science-based information while doing no harm to the client. When researching information, a practitioner or blogs, look for the RD credential.

Question: What are your thoughts on all the nutritional systems being sold today?

Answer: I could talk on and on about all the different nutrition systems, diets, or meal planning guidelines being sold and promoted today; so I will keep it short and sweet. There is no “cure-all” when it comes to health and nutrition; there is no “one-size-fits-all” when wellness and weight management are involved. If something seems to good to be true, if something guarantees results, if something does not pair nutrition with activity and promote lifestyle changes while addressing the emotional component to eating, it is NOT something as a Registered Dietitian, I would advocate or encourage.

Question: What do you think the best kind of “diet” is?

Answer: I hate that the word ‘diet’ has developed such a negative connotation, because it really is just the kinds of foods someone habitually eats. I do not promote nutrition fads or diets, but simply a eating pattern full of VARIETY, BALANCE, & MODERATION. Eating fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, (whole) grains, dairy and legumes, while drinking enough water and exercising regularly: that’s my “diet” of choice. One thing that is important to remember is that nutrition and eating patterns are not “one size fits all”. Being an educated consumer when reviewing nutrition fads or diets is important to ensure the best eating patterns are being developed.

Question: Do you have any advice for someone trying to reach their nutritional goals?

Answer: My first piece of advice, have compassion for yourself! Second piece of advice, be patient! Making any changes related to eating patterns and nutrition can be very challenging & with everyone and their mother making claims about how/when/why/what you should eat it can be very difficult to navigate these changes. Therefore, don’t get down on yourself when you have difficulty on this process, even experts find this challenging! When trying to reach any nutritional goal, I recommend small steps and building on those successes to reach a larger goal. Lets take the example of losing 10 pounds. First, in order to lose 1 pound, you must create a deficit of 3,500 kcals. Therefore, 10 pounds is equivalent to 35,000 kcals! In order to make this dream possible, it should be broken into smaller goals: Lose 2 pounds per week. Then you can figure out how that will be possible; incorporating more produce as snacks, increasing activity level and/or type of exercise, drinking more water during the day, etc. Everyone’s journey for a more nutritious lifestyle is that: a journey. Some days are good and others are better; with hard work, education, and some fun, these goals can be achieved. Last but not least, seeking the help of a Registered Dietitian to help achieve your nutritional goals is a smart step!

Contacting Megan About Her Services

You can contact Megan at and she can help you decide what kind of service/s best meet your needs. To set up an appointment with her at her private office in Naperville (Naper Clinical Behavioral Services), call (630)577-1577.

Healthy through the Holidays: 50-Day Challenge

Wednesday, November 4th – Wednesday, December 23rd 

It can be especially difficult to eat healthy during the holiday season and it may seem like the worst possible time to try to successfully be on a diet. So, rather than restricting yourself with crazy tactics, why don’t you focus on the small steps you can take in your day to remain healthy (or get healthy!) despite all the holiday temptations?
This 50 day challenge will help keep you on track and make your New Years resolutions a little easier come 2016. All you have to do is keep track of your daily points… The more points you have in a given day, the better.
See the simple rules list below.

Rules per Day:
1. Eat at least 5, 1 cup (or 1 piece) servings of fruits and vegetables. (1 Point)
2. Eat at least 3, palm-size servings of protein (meats, eggs, fish, nuts, beans, etc.). (1 Point)
3. Drink at least 64 oz. (or 8 glasses) of water. (1 Point)
4. No sweets (desserts, cookies, candies. ice cream, etc.). (1 Point)
5. No soda or alcohol. (1 Point)
6. Exercised at least 30 minutes. (1 Point)

*Add up your points at the end of each day and make sure to log them on a calendar somewhere. At the end of the 50 days, calculate your total points.

Total possible points = 300.

Now, a few things about this challenge:

  • Notice that grains and dairy are both missing from the list… for a reason. Working in the health and fitness industry, I come across people all the time who are gluten-free or paleo, and on the other end, I come across people who only eat whole-grains and those who are proud carboholics. Same thing goes for dairy. I know people who drink whole milk, people who only drink almond milk, people who only drink coconut milk… and so on. I am not here to change your outlook on food and what the best option is, but I believe that we can all agree that we can all use a healthy amount of fruits, veggies, protein, and water in our diets. I trust that you will still partake in your choice of grains and dairy without it being on this particular list.
  • Fats are also missing from this list. Healthy fats can easily be obtained through eating good sources of proteins, such as fish and different nuts. Vegetables can easily be cooked on the stovetop in a variety of healthy fats (olive oil, coconut oil, etc.)
  • Processed foods did not make the list and are still ok… to a certain degree. It is hard to complete cut out processed foods just because there are so many things that are considered to be processed. Say you make a healthy chili. If you use canned tomatoes, you just used a processed food. Now, those tomatoes may not be as bad as a package of Oreos, but they are still considered to be a processed food. Just to avoid debate and confusion, they are not on the list. Being that most of us doing this challenge probably live in the northern part of the United States where the garden growing season is long gone for the year, we will be relying a lot more on canned or frozen options. Just try to have good judgment when using processed foods (that means stay away from the Oreos!) and try to cook with as many fresh ingredients as possible.
  • There are going to be days where you don’t get all the points, and that is OK. I’m sure that everyone is going to have many holiday parties to attend during these 50 days and no one is 100% perfect. The point of this challenge is to stay on track a majority of the time. So, at the end of the challenge, if you got 75% of the possible points, good for you! This challenge is just to help you not completely fall of the health-wagon during the holidays. Indulge when necessary (trust me, I will be having a minimum of 2 pieces of my grandmother’s homemade pies on Thanksgiving) and keep yourself on track during the regular days so you can enjoy those holiday get-togethers even more.
  • THERE IS NO CALORIE COUNTING. This challenge isn’t about weighing every ounce of your food and logging it on your phone. This challenge is about making good and healthy food choices.
  • Exercise is based on the fitness level of the individual. For some, a 30 minute walk is appropriate, and for others, 30 minutes of high-intensity interval training may be appropriate. Do something that will challenge YOU physically.

Here is to staying healthy through the holidays! Let’s do this!

Achieving Goals with Weight Training

I’ve posted and boasted about Online Personal Training many times before and today I am going to share with you one of my training client’s personal stories about her success.

(For the sake of her privacy, we are going to call her Anna in this post.)

Anna contacted me shortly after I began offering Online Personal Training. She had a lot on her plate… she was getting ready to head back to work full-time after having her second daughter and training for her first half-marathon, but she was stuck at a plateau with losing her pregnancy weight and wanted to gain some strength to help her with her half-marathon. So, we came up with a plan to meet her schedule and needs. 

There were a few considerations I kept in mind when creating her plan… 1) She is a full-time working mother who is raising two little girls. The workouts needed to fit into the little time she had left in her day. 2) She has no gym membership, but does have a some different equipment at home. 3) She was in the midst of training for a half-marathon. Weight training needed to supplement her running workouts, not take them over. 4) She has dealt with diastasis recti from her pregnancies that required special attention with regards to core training. 

Anna’s final plan included one day of upper body weight training and one day of lower body training, along with the running she was already doing for her half-marathon. Each training session could easily be completed in 45-60 minutes and each training included core stabilization exercises to assist with the diastasis recti.  

…Fast forward one month and she was race ready! She completed her first half-marathon and wrote to me about how quickly her body bounced back after running the race, which she credited to the strength training we had added in the month before. 

Here is a side by side of her progress. The left is the day she started training with me and the right is after just one month of added strength training:


Anna’s success is a testament to how weight training can help you achieve your goals. She definitely is the number one reason why she was so successful. She managed her hectic schedule and made things work because she had goals she wanted to achieve. And her hard work paid off!

If you’re interested in Online Personal Training, feel free to send me a message! Remember, you don’t have to have a gym membership and you don’t have to have a ton of time to dedicate to training… I make plans that fit your life and your goals.

The holidays are right around the corner. Let’s get ahead of the New Years Resolution-ers and get you started down your road to being fit and healthy today!

CrossFit Weekend Workout 8/29/15

I had fun with this workout today. Doesn’t look like much but my heart rate never dropped below 145 during the AMRAP. Give it a try sometime! 

CrossFit Weekend Workout:2,500 meter row

20 Minutes AMRAP: (I finished with 45 rounds, using 85lbs.)

-1 Deadlift

-1 Hang Clean

-1 Front Squat

-1 Push Jerk

(Must fully extend hips after each movement before moving onto the next.)

2,500 meter row
Extra Workout:


-50 Wall Balls

-50 Tire Flips

-50 TRX Pull-Ups

-50 Walking Lunges while holding weight plate overhead (I used a 25lb plate)

My Fitness Favorites

One of my favorite parts of being a personal trainer and fitness instructor is the fact that I live in workout clothes and gear. I can wear yoga pants every day with my hair up and no make up and that’s totally acceptable. Best. Career. Ever.

Today, I thought I might share with you some of the brands/products that I have come to love.

Let’s start at the top…


I have SUPER thick hair and I sweat A LOT. It’s tons-o-fun working out with a sopping wet mop on top of your head and trying to keep all of my hair from slipping out from a regular hair tie. I found these about 2 years ago and they work amazing! They keep my hair in one place, keep hair from falling out, and even though they are rubber, they don’t pull out strands of hair when I take them out. I find these at Walmart.


Next on the list is sports bras. My go-to favorite is Champion C9 medium support and coverage sports bras. They come in all sorts of cute colors and are decently priced. I find mine at Target, and if you watch their ads and check their Cartwheel app for discounts and coupons, you can typically get these for well under regular price. I pay no more than $15/sports bra.


My favorite workout shirts come from Muscle Club Apparel. I own six workout shirts from them. Their shirts are made from great tri-blend materials that are super comfy, great for working out in, and have fun, workout references or sayings on them. Most of these are priced right at $23.


My favorite out of the whole group has to be my Polar M400 fitness tracker and GPS watch. There are lots of brands of fitness trackers, but Polar has always been my favorite. The main reason I chose Polar in the first place was because of research I was completing in my undergrad at Truman State. We always used Polar products in our exercise physiology testing, and I felt that if their products were good enough to use in studies that we published, that they were the best choice for me and tracking my own fitness. I previously owned a Polar FT4, which also is a great fitness tracker; however, it does not have GPS capabilities and does not sync data to your phone or computer. This made tracking my workouts a little more difficult. I decided to upgrade to the M400 and I am so happy I did. I can track my workout progress by week, month and year on the PolarFlow app on my phone, and it also tracks my daily steps and sleep patterns. I use the GPS to record anytime I walk my dog, go on family bike rides, or add in sprints or runs to my workouts. The watch also comes with a Polar H7 heart rate sensor that attaches to a strap that you place around your chest. This sensor relays your heart rate information to your watch. This is about as accurate as you can get as far as tracking your heart rate during your workouts and it provides a very accurate number for the amount of calories you burned during your workout (which is also based on your height, weight, and age, which you program into your watch when you get it). You only have to wear the heart rate monitor during your workouts, but your watch will monitor your activity throughout your day. All of their products have a two year warranty. I paid $180 for mine on Amazon and they come in black, pink, blue and white.


Working in a gym where you are constantly picking up random pieces of equipment can be dangerous for your valuable wedding rings. My husband, who does a lot of daily manual labor on our farm, and I decided to get each other Qalo Wedding Bands for Christmas last year. These rings are made of silicone and come in a variety of colors. No more worrying about scratching or banging up my wedding ring! We purchased ours directly from their website for about $15 each.


Old Navy sells my all-time favorite workout capris. I own about 10 pair of them! They don’t sag when working out and they are long lasting. Most of the pairs that I have now I have had for 3 or more years. Just like Target, if you get Old Navy’s emails about specials going on, both in-store and online, you can usually get these for pretty cheap. I try not to pay more than $15 a pair.


One of the most important parts of your fitness attire is your shoes. Reebok CrossFit Nano shoes are my favorite workout shoe. As I have mentioned in previous posts, most of my workouts are weightlifting based. I do cardio only a few times a week, and when I do, I wear more of a running shoe. These CrossFit shoes have completely flat sole and have a wide toe base, which makes them ideal for lifting and CrossFit workouts. I purchase these shoes at the local Reebok outlet, where I don’t think I have paid more than $40 for a pair.