Hi, I'm Diana. Several years ago I lost a bunch of weight by completely changing my attitude toward food and exercise. Since then I've learned a few things about keeping it off and I'm still learning. Even if I'm constantly fighting off a few pounds, I can't imagine where my weight would be now if I hadn't made such a drastic life change. I'm a health coach for the Prevent program by Omada Health, and previously I was a Weight Watchers leader. Hopefully my silliness will help make your journey to health a little more fun. More about me here.

Photo by Karl Ko

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Healthy and Enticing Food on a Budget

I'm in the middle of a food photography project for work and it was super fun to walk around the store and think, "What looks beautiful today?" All this food was bought in one trip to a single store and it was $63. That includes specialty items like Hawaiian papaya, blackberries, pre-cut butternut squash, coconut, nuts, seeds, and pre-washed mixed greens. Add some protein foods from a big box store or local farm distributor and you've got the ingredients for lots of delicious, nutritious, and budget friendly meals. Take a few hours on the weekend to prep for the coming week and you can make it even easier to grab and go!


The tough questions: sugar cravings

The second installment of my coach Q & A series

Q: I've always turned to sugary foods as a reward or treat. Whether I've survived a stressful day or done something worth celebrating, I feel entitled to a cupcake or some ice cream. How do I break out of this mindset?

Being consistently responsible is tiring and sometimes you just need a break. But the guilt of a sugar indulgence is enough to make us feel like we’re being pulled in both directions, needing the treats and also needing to resist them. How can we skip the sweets but also feel relaxed and replenished after a long day?

Let’s take a look at the underlying assumption of the junk food habit:

My responsible behavior earns me sugar.

Is that necessarily true? Why? Is it possible that I’m LOOKING for a reason to eat sugar with a clear conscious? Does the fact that I’ve worked hard today actually clear my conscious? Not really, since I’ll feel even worse after the snack session is over.

Let’s re-work this statement in a healthier way:

My responsible behavior earns me rest, recovery, and non-food reward.

I do need to re-charge after a long, stressful day - I just need to find a better way to do it. Since emotional eating is a deeply ingrained habit, it’s going to take some creativity, discomfort, and lots of practice to replace that habit with one that’s less destructive.

Thoughts, behaviors, and outcomes are all connected, so building a new habit starts with new thinking. To change our thoughts we have to make time for them, as impulsive, quick behavior will likely reinforce the existing habit. Take a moment to notice your craving, breathe slowly in and out several times, and formulate a plan. Remind yourself that you are in control and you have the power to choose your behavior.

The motivational gold is WHY you choose not to eat the sugar. This will be different for everyone, so take some time to brainstorm your reasons for wanting to be healthy. Eating brownies isn’t a logical decision, so you can’t logic your way out of it. What are your emotional reasons for turning them down? More years with your loved ones? Pride in your appearance? Freedom from guilt and self doubt? Think about all the emotions and know EXACTLY why you choose to pass. Keep those reasons at the top of your mind for the moments when temptation arises. Old thinking tells you you’re missing out on something by passing up junk food. New thinking tells you you’re missing out on everything that you want by eating it. Envision yourself at your best and act accordingly.

To truly eradicate an old habit we need to replace it with a new one. Rest, recovery and reward are legitimate needs, and we need to have strategies for getting them without food. Reduce your stress by leaving junk food at the store, making sleep a priority, and exploring new ways to recharge. Taking a quick walk outside might help if you’re stressed, calling a friend could ease loneliness and boredom, a book or bubble bath may be the perfect way to wind down before bed. Don’t worry if you fall back into the old habit occasionally - it’s all part of the process. Keep trying new strategies until you find something that hits the spot.

Saying no to junk food is tough, but being unhealthy is so much more difficult long term. We’re making the harder choice in the moment in exchange for a longer, happier life. Trust me, when your reach your goal weight and look back on the journey that took you there, you won’t miss the food at all.


How I turn Mistakes into Motivation

I'm so honored that my blog post How I Turn Mistakes into Motivation is featured on the Prevent Blog today! I've recently started working in content design at Omada, and I'm super excited about this post. In addition to the writing, I was also able to do the design work for the header image. I've spend a lot of time and effort learning Adobe Illustrator over the past four months, and this illustration is the first piece I've truly felt proud of in that medium. I hope you enjoy it!


The tough questions: When you're dreading the scale

The first installment of my coach Q&A series! Let's dive right in...

Q: I dread stepping on the scale. Seeing that number is demoralizing because it reminds me how much I have to lose to reach a healthy weight. How could that possibly motivate me?

The scale: our dreaded adversary. A reminder of just how much we don’t measure up. Sure it can be discouraging to dwell on the length of the journey ahead. But might there be a way to adjust our thinking and use the scale’s powers for good rather than evil? Let’s reframe the weigh-in experience to represent something else: an empowering reminder of your commitment to the small daily choices that will change your life.

Reaching your goal weight will require effort, patience, and trust in yourself - but most of all it will require consistency. And consistency is something you choose each and every day. That’s what the daily weigh-in symbolizes, your commitment to the healthy habits that will get you to your goal and beyond. 

Yes, the number will fluctuate. Yes, it’s an imperfect indicator of your success on a daily basis. But over time it provides important feedback to help us stay on track and make adjustments or seek support when needed. In fact, research shows that daily weigh ins correlate with more weight loss than weekly or monthly frequency. And those who use their scale daily are over four times more likely to lose 7% of their starting body weight than those who don’t.

Admittedly, there’s more than one path to any goal, and you may decide to keep track a bit differently by using measurements or or weighing in once a week. You are the expert on your life, and I trust you to be honest with yourself about what works.

In the end, the number itself is a snapshot of where you are, but much more important is where you’re going. Every pound lost is a victory and a step toward a longer life with your loved ones. Don’t let the length of the journey discourage you, the time will pass anyway. Be empowered by the fact that your health goals are in your reach and you have all the support you need.

The scale is a tool to help you on your way, but making progress towards a healthier life is so much more than a number. Consider this: In a world without scales, how would you track your progress? What does the you of today want to promise to the you of one year from now?


Healthy Mocktails

On Friday our office manager made some refreshing beverages for everyone. Omada's stocked foods are almost always super healthy but I was still impressed by this. It's muddled mint and muddled strawberries with lime flavored sparkling water and a lime wedge. So yummy! This is what I call practicing what we preach. 

What would you put together in your refreshing summer mocktail?