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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I haven't been feeling very inspirational lately. I've been dealing with myofascial pain and it's keeping me from doing a lot of the stuff I want to do. But I'm pushing myself to learn more, clean up my diet, and do my very best to live as healthily as I can. In the meantime, I'm so focused on getting better that I'm missing the things I'm getting right. Here's some highlight reel from the last three months. This is mostly to cheer myself on and remember that I'm still making progress even if pain is dominating my day-to-day thoughts.

I completed and passed the Apex Movement teaching certification course. We were all swapping our self-care tactics for bodies that are frequently overtrained. I got my first voodoo floss band from Kyle of Movefree Acadamy. He introduced me to Mobility WOD (workout of the day), and I learned that two softballs taped together is a magical back massager. Of all the coaches in training I was the newest to Parkour and I was the only female in the group of goofballs above.

I started my teaching apprenticeship at Apex Movement NorCal. I'm now helping another instructor show beginners how to not break themselves while doing Parkour. Most days we succeed.

I deadlifted 250 pounds which is the same as the weight of an average panda bear! I picked up a PANDA BEAR! Because of this, pandas are now one of my favorite animals.

I've read eight books (and will soon read the ninth one) to help myself better understand myofascial pain, trigger points, inflammation, intestinal permeability, stress, how to correct vitamin deficiencies, the benefits of pasture raised foods, interval training, hormone balance, carbohydrate and fat metabolism, muscle building and recovery, and ketogenic diets. I've been eating a diet free of grains, legumes, processed food, plus most dairy and sugar for over two months.

And today my friend Ryan decided that it was bring your kitten to work day, which was awesome. This isn't an achievement but it made me ridiculously happy. No one can be sad when snuggling a kitten. Especially one with a name as dashing as Walter.

And all of this while I've been feeling incredibly overwhelmed with all the time and effort I'm spending to improve my pain, my diet, my vitamin D deficiency, my detoxing, my sleep, and my stress (now there's a catch-22). I think the moral of the story is that when you have good habits in place like regular exercise and eating well, they can carry you through tough times even when you're not feeling up to it.

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. . . . In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness."

Henry D. Thoreau


Tuna Fish Sandwich

Sandwiches are my all time most compelling comfort food. A million ways to make it but one thing almost universally remains the same, the stuff that holds it together, the bread.  As a nutritionist, I can tell you that if everyone would stop eating bread, flour, and sugar, I would be so happy.

But alas, it's easier said than done. Oh bread. Such a love hate relationship. This is what people really think about you:

Well which is it?!

Bad news: it's the second one.

And that's because it's delicious, easy to eat, stimulates a huge insulin response, and makes us even more hungry than we would have been without it. Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.

(Actually, considering the role that flour plays in chronic inflammation, it might also be the fourth one too, ouch!)

But what about the French people you ask? Surely bread can't deserve it's terrible reputation if the French are thin. Well, I can tell you that the so-called French paradox does not, in fact, defy thermodynamics. My husband's French family walks 1 mile to and from the bakery once or even twice a day! That's four miles of walking for about three or four small slices of bread per person. Totally boring non-magic.

But anyway, back to my sandwich. There's lots of ways to make a sandwich without bread for sure. I found this fantastic list of ideas for creating sandwich containers out of veggies, you should definitely try a few.

But today we're not talking about veggies, we're talking about tuna fish. A tuna fish sandwich. Kinda like the one that brought Calvin and Hobbes together but with a few tweaks.

The big surprise here is that the tuna is on the outside and looks and behaves remarkably like bread. I got this recipe from a reddit user very appropriately named TunaMiracle. Judge for yourself if it's a miracle, but it certainly is delicious.


Tuna Bread

1 6oz. or 7 oz. can of tuna in water, drained

1 egg

spices to taste - I used a pinch of salt, and a dash of poultry seasoning and paprika

Mix ingredients together. Place tuna mixture in between two sheets of parchment paper. Flatten slightly and fold the parchment paper into approximately an 8" x 10" rectangle. Use a rolling pin to roll the tuna into a flat rectangular sheet. Very carefully peel off the top sheet of parchment paper.

Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Take it out of the oven and using a flat spatula or pie server carefully flip the tuna bread. Bake for 10-20 more minutes depending on how thick the bread is. Slice your bread into two pieces to make a sandwich.

Get your sandwich ingredients ready. I used tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, spinach, laughing cow light swiss cheese, avocado, and turkey. Assemble and enjoy!



Just the beginning

Where have I been!? Well I've been working very hard on this submission video and training to become the next American Ninja Warrior. And all my friends tell me I’ll be amazing and perfect but I’m intensely nervous and excited at the same time. And I haven’t even been accepted yet.

Let's back up. What is American Ninja Warrior you ask? Well it's a TV show where super fit humans compete against each other on an obstacle course. Except that I've been repeatedly assured that we shouldn't think about it as competitor versus competitor but rather each competitor versus the course. Which sounds kind of the same if you ask me, but apparently it's an important distinction in the culture of Ninja Warrior.

So what has happened is some people I'm friends with have convinced me to apply to compete against the American Ninja Warrior course in Venice Beach. The casting crew is actively seeking female competitors so it appears that in the application phase I have a small advantage over my male counterparts.

But the Ninja Warrior course has, in the past, welcomed female olympians, acrobats, and professional fitness models. In case anyone needs reminding I am none of the above. What I am is a beginner traceuse and an intermediate powerlifter who is looking for an adventure and is determined not to shy away from a challenge.

I was initially suspicious that I would fill the role of the tragically over confidant reality show contestant. You know on American Idol, where they bring people on in the first few episodes just to laugh at their obvious ineptitude? I haven't actually seen American Ninja Warrior so I didn't know if they do the same. But I've been assured by avid viewers as well as the casting lady that this is not what happens. Apparently a few underprepared competitors may make it but only because they sell themselves as a character in their submission videos and wear silly costumes on the show. Additionally, everyone who competes fails at some point, and many top level competitors have gone out on the first few obstacles.

Only one female competitor has ever made it past the first stage, so I have low expectations on my side! And theoretically since I train at Apex Movement NorCal where I can practice a lot of the obstacles, I stand a chance of not embarrassing myself. We have a warped wall, salmon ladder, cliff hanger, jumping spider and even the exact same kind of mini tramp that is used on the show, ha! If I get past two obstacles I’ll be super happy. Three and I’ll be ecstatic. But I’m very much ahead of myself because I haven’t been accepted yet!

My application is in, there’s no turning back now. My mind is overrun with the many hypothetical ways in which I might fail the obstacles. I had a dream that I succeeded at getting up the warped wall (I’m actually currently about a foot short) but then I couldn’t do the climb up to get myself on top of the wall. Oh dear. Well, I have one month to make sure that doesn’t happen. I better go hang on something.

Enjoy my submission video!


You were made for greatness

Have you ever found yourself awake at 1 am and having an epiphany about the great things you are capable of, all the things you want to do? You make a pledge to yourself, things will be different from here on out! You'll finally do the thing, win the points, and play the Rocky theme song while you're doing it. There's a rush of euphorea as you imagine yourself as a superhero of productivity. You fall asleep with a sense of pride in the changes you'll make, the epic battles you'll win.

Then morning comes. Oh morning. Didn't I just wake up yesterday? You know what sounds really excellent? Some coffee, puttering around on the internet, and a nap. But why?! I was going to be awesome today! Sigh. Maybe tomorrow.

So, in all seriousness, why do we tend to have such grand plans to be productive tomorrow but have trouble following through today?

We know that in the long run work is more valuable than slacking. But slacking pays off right now, while work usually pays off later. And our brains aren't very good at weighing future benefits against current benefits. We tend to overvalue things that are enjoyable right now.

Unfortunately, we can only ever make progress by implementing good choices in the moment. Thinking about making good choices in the future may make us happy temporarily, but it won’t actually do anything for us unless we follow though. So we have to make an effort to always make the harder decision in the moment. This exact moment. As in, right now.

I have failed recently to update my blog as often as I would like to. I am currently at a friend's house waiting for a New Year's Eve party to start in less than two hours. I figured this would be the perfect time to write this post. It's not the most convenient time, but it's what I have. It's right now. I could put off posting for a little longer, but it won't be any easier to write tomorrow.

So this year, make the best choices everyday and you'll see all the little victories carry you towards your goals. If you want to be a writer, write. If you want to be an athlete, practice. If you want to lose weight, eat lots and lots of vegetables. Be the person you want to be! Our character is the sum of all the hard choices we make in the moment. 

You were made for greatness, not comfort.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Pumpkins are my favorite flavor, and I'm thinking that it's about time I combined them with one of my other favorite things, Chia Pets. Err, chia seeds that is, the same lovely little seed that formerly brought us our favorite childhood gardening project, Chia Pets. These seeds are packed with all kinds of good stuff: omega-3's, fiber, calcium, and triptophan. Yes, the same chemical blamed for our sleepy after-tukey food coma (because it couldn't be just plain old over-eating) is actually great for seratonin production. Seratonin of course is a happy brain chemical, helping us on our way to feelings of calm and relaxation. I certainly could use an extra dose of emotional stability.

The other cool thing about chia seeds is that they soak up liquid to make a kind of gel, a lot like tiny tapiocas, so you can use them as a thickener in recipes like smoothies or pudding. Plus they're low in calories and slow down digestion, which helps regulate blood sugar. Pop a tablespoon of them into your breakfast smoothie and you'll get a much thicker consistancy, plus 5 extra grams of fiber and only 60 calories.

This is a delicious oatmeal recipe created by my friend Sara, a registered dietician. She's made all kinds of lovely recipes with chia seeds, but this one is my favorite! It's perfect for a cold morning or a pre-workout meal. I definitely ate several servings of this at once the first time I made it, but the nutrition info is so stellar that I didn't feel bad at all. You've been warned.

Pumpkin Pie Chia Seed Oatmeal

Recipe by Sara Ansari, RD from

1 cup uncooked steel cut oatmeal
4 cups water
1/4 cup dried chia seeds
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (no sugar added)
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
(optional) sweetener to taste
2 Tbsp maple syrup or honey for garnish

In a deep medium pot, boil 4 cups water. Add 1 cup steel cut oatmeal and cook according to directions. 
While the oatmeal is cooking, soak 1/4 cup chia seeds in mixture of 1/4 cup water and 1 cup almond milk. Seeds will form a paste/gel like consistency.
 When the oatmeal is done cooking and water is absorbed, add the chia seed mixture, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon to the oatmeal. Divide into servings bowls and garnish with a drizzle of maple syrup or honey and additional cinnamon if desired.
Serving size is 3/4 cup. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving:
185 calories
5 grams fat
33 grams carbohydrate
10 grams fiber
8 grams protein
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