A Small Positive Change Forever

bottles-774466_640Have you ever wondered why you keep falling off the health bandwagon over and over? Even more important, how can you get healthy and stay that way?

Everyone knows that you can’t just do pushups for a while, then stop, and expect that your body will stay as strong as it was before. You also know that you can’t just eat healthy for a while, lose some weight, then eat a bunch of junk food, and keep your weight where it was.

So how can you make positive changes in your life, and stick with them forever?

I think the best way is to make very small changes over time.

A lot of people jump into a diet and exercise program, all excited that something will finally work for them, but a week or so later, the excitement has rubbed off, and they quit.

I’m pretty sure a lot of that has to do with toxic shock syndrome — no, not a dread illness you’ve heard of, but often the shock of changing everything  at once is way too much.

How about instead, you write down 10 things that you would like to change to get healthier. They could be things like

  • Adding exercise 3-4 times a week
  • Drinking half your body weight in ounces every day (if you weight 200 lbs., drink 100 ounces a day)
  • Eating 6 small meals a day
  • Eliminating excess sugar
  • Eliminating carbonated beverages
  • Eliminating artificial sweeteners
  • Adding healthy fats
  • Cutting our processed foods
  • Taking time to relax
  • Going to bed at a decent time

If you do all of the 10 things listed above all at once, you will probably quit almost as soon as you’ve started. It’s too much, too overwhelming, and most likely a recipe for disaster.

If your focus truly is to become healthy, why not try to take each thing you’ve put on your list, and take a whole 30 days to implement each one. For instance, to me, exercise was the more important thing on my list when I first started my journey. So I purposefully set out to find exercise that I could enjoy, and made sure I got into the habit of doing it.

The funny thing about habits is, you will actually miss that activity after 30 days if you don’t do it. Trust me, it truly becomes part of your life the longer you do it.

After the first thing on your list truly is a habit, try adding one more. If you chose exercise as your first goal, you might have realized that you’ve already begun drinking more water. So now your next challenge will be to make sure you’re getting enough water for the next 30 days, and so on.

Now don’t get frightened on me here …. but your goal is to make very small changes that you can stick with FOREVER. If something should come along to make you misstep, don’t panic. Take a few minutes to reevaluate what caused your failure, and what you will do to change it. That’s it.

Be mindful          Be purpose driven      Be intentional

Don’t make excuses for yourself. Own your decisions. Find out what you can do to make things easier on yourself.

If you have a job where you travel a lot, or work late and can’t have supper, then come home and go into a big sugar binge, what could you do to change that? Most of us can’t change a work or travel schedule, but we could take along a bottle with a protein drink in it, or have a handy healthy snack in our pocket so we’re not starving.

Make a plan and stick with it and you’ll be happier (and healthier) for it!

Make some healthy, lasting, lifestyle changes!


The Stinkin’ Truth About Acid Reflux


A huge problem for most of us as we age, is heartburn and acid reflux problems. I used to have it so bad, that even drinking water would start the painful burning! Pardon me if this is TMI, but I regularly had acid shooting up into my mouth. That’s a dreadful feeling and taste for sure!

When I went to the doctor, he prescribed a strong acid reducer. It worked sometimes, but as time went on, neither that, nor the OTC meds helped for long.

It’s easy to believe that if acid is shooting up into your mouth, or you’re clutching your chest in agony from heartburn, that your stomach is making way too much acid. That’s why a doctor will prescribe you an antacid – a medication to reduce acid in your stomach.

This is actually a horrible solution, because as you can see in my case, and other cases, the acid problem gets worse and worse.

Listen to what a friend of mine said about her GERD (acid reflux) and the medications that her doctor gave her:

“When I got up, I got the package inserts and stuff out for the medicine I’ve been taking for my acid reflux and was sitting at the kitchen table with it for a good while.  Bob (husband) asked me what I was doing and I said I was trying to decide if I was going to put that poison in my body today or not.  I finally decided not to take it and went and got one of my Pepcid Complete to take instead.  Why this decision, you ask?  Well, because, last night I happened to look down at my feet and I didn’t recognize them!!!!  My feet and ankles were swollen, and that can’t be a good thing!!  That was the final straw.  In the list of stuff that might happen (side effects), I’ve had muscle aches and cramps, bones hurting, itching (my left palm itches a lot lately), and now the swollen feet and ankles.”

If you see from what she said above, she grabbed the Pepcid that she used to take instead of the prescription, because it has less side effects than the prescription.  She’s terrified not to take anything because of the side-effects of going off the meds quickly, and the horrible discomfort of the heartburn.

What’s the shocker? Research shows that heartburn and acid reflux is due to your stomach not having enough acid in it, not too much!

So why does the acid come up into the esophagus and mouth? Well, when not enough acid is produced, the food that we eat ferments in our stomach, instead of digests.

I would hazard a guess that most people with heartburn and acid reflux are also constipated. When the food sits in your stomach and ferments, you will have gas and bloating.  The gas and bloating pushes the stomach up into the diaphragm, and then into the upper valve so that acid goes up into the esophagus.  There’s enough acid in this fermented mess to burn esophageal tissues leading to what is called “acid reflux” or heartburn.

The only way to make this situation better is to supplement your meals with HCI (hydrochloric acid). This is the exact same acid that your stomach makes. Especially when your adrenals are out of whack, your stomach quits producing the acid it needs to digest the food, leading to heartburn and the whole digestive mess that is very common to us as Americans.

HCI is readily available, and it only takes a few tablets along with your meals to end your digestive nightmare!

The best kind I’ve found is Metagest from the Metagenics Company. I take at least one with my meals, or if it will be a heavy meal, I take several.

So, back to my friend with the acid reflux problems…..did she listen to my advice? Even when I told her the relief I got from HCI? No she didn’t. She told me it was nice that I had gotten help, but she wasn’t interested. Am I discouraged? No, just dreading hearing more of her GERD stories….

What about you? Do you want to join me in actually digesting your food, instead of it sitting in your stomach fermenting into a smelly mess?

To your health,


Beci’s Story

Beci has been a friend of mine for a long time. She wanted to share her story with you, and hopefully will be an encouragement on your health journey!

I’m such an advocate of eating healthy as the #1 goal, then adding exercise as you can, especially if your weight has caused mobility issues. These two things will always work, 100% of the time. It might not be the fancy way of doing it, but it will always work when done correctly. So over to Beci….


“Hi, my name is Beci. I’m a 57 year old woman and I’ve struggled with my weight since forever, it seems. About a year ago I developed osteoarthritis (accompanied by high grade cartilage loss) in my knees.

Last October I ventured into the Gastric Bypass venue, thinking it was time. I was 319 then. If GBS is for you or has helped you, more power to you. I personally found all the information overwhelming. Even so, I talked to many friends about it, who had done the surgery.

In the end, several things made up my decision. First and foremost: my family and friends were more con than pro. Secondly, and this may seem silly, but not ever being able to chug water again (and I *love* water) really had me thinking “eh?”. But most importantly, I was told I had to lose 10# to qualify.

When I went back a month later I had lost 19#. I’m no stranger to losing and gaining weight. But this time, with my knees, I knew I needed to not only lose weight but also keep it off.

Losing that 19# was the jump start I really needed. How’d I do it? Funnily enough, exercising is almost out, due to my knees. So I’ve been asked countless times how I lost 50# by sitting on my butt. 🙂

I don’t really always sit. The dishes won’t do themselves. Nor will the laundry. Or the housecleaning. The body is a constant mass of motion. However, I did adopt the 20 Minute Meal ideal. That’s where you take small bites of your food, eat slowly, put your utensils down after every bite, drink lots of water before and during, and stop when you’re feeling satisfied and not full.

What do I eat? I have a limited budget so I’m not eating WW or Jenny Craig-type meals. I’ll have a small bowl of Rice Chex with fresh strawberries, plus a hard boiled egg for breakfast; a chicken/mayo/pickles/diced red grapes in a wrap for lunch; fish, rice and veggies for dinner. Just eat .. but eat only until you’re satisfied. Trust me, you’ll know.

No, don’t deny yourself. Once every six months I’ll treat myself to Caribou.The thing with eating well is that the stomach starts to acclimate itself to those things. When I had Caribou at my six month mark, I barely drank it.. the sweet was upsetting to my stomach. Now, I’m a HUGE fan of sweets. Or I was, before. If I feel a need now, I’ll find something. It’s usually a small bowl of vanilla yogurt and frozen fruit.

A biggie and a must: try to include some protein with every meal. Eat from salad size (8″) plates and not the regular size plates (10″). You’ll eat less.. but you’ll eat more of what’s good food you.

No, I’ve never taken drugs to help me lose weight, whether prescribed or OTC. Forget the doctors or what anyone else says — only YOU know your body and you can’t fight its stubbornness.

I’ve lost 50# … then nothing for two months. I never let it get to me…we all reach plateaus. Just keep doing the good stuff. Sure, I have a scale but I don’t let it consume me. I’ll step on it every couple of days, just for fun.

Don’t get discouraged. You have to love yourself *no matter what*. You are beautiful…always. One day at a time. You can do it! :)”

– Deborah Leaverton

Are We In Control Of Our Food Cravings?


One of the most common complaints I hear from people when it comes to dieting is that they do well for a few weeks, but then it seems like after one bad weekend they just can’t get back into it.  Well, there may be a scientific reason behind this.

While it is true that dieting is extremely psychological, we may not be in control of our cravings.  Let me explain.  Inside all of our digestive systems live millions of different kinds of bacteria.  While this may be kind of disgusting to think about, these bacteria play a very important role in our digestive processes.

Each bacteria plays a role in the breakdown of different foods.  For example, one type of bacteria may break down carbs/sugars, while a different type may break down protein in meat.  Most people understand this much.

However, what you probably didn’t know is that the type of foods you eat affect which types of bacteria populate the majority of your gut.

For example, when you eat healthy, the bacteria that break down these healthy foods actually reproduce and multiply, making up the majority of the bacteria in your gut.

Inversely, if you eat fatty, greasy, high sugary foods, the bacteria in your gut that feed on these substrates will multiply and make up the majority of the bacteria in your gut.

So why is this a problem?  This is where my research comes in.

The bacteria in your gut get hungry just like we do.  Remember, since these bacteria only feed on certain substrates, they need certain types of food otherwise they die and can no longer reproduce.

So how does a bacteria that feeds on greasy fat survive if you’re eating fruits and vegetables?  Well, if these bacteria make up the majority of the bacterium in your gut, they send signals to your brain in the form of chemicals in your blood telling your brain to eat that food.

How does this equate for you?  Well, do you ever crave sugar?  Fat?  Grease?<

While these bacteria don’t know what foods contain fatty grease, your brain does.  These bacteria trick your brain into craving certain foods in order to satisfy their hunger.

So in reality, your cravings for bad food may not be your fault.  HOWEVER, we can combat these bacteria in a number of ways.

First, start by eating healthy foods.  Fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, sweet potatoes, brown rice, oatmeal, etc can help you grow the healthy bacteria in your gut that feed on these complex sugars while slowly starving the bad bacteria that feed on simple sugars.

The longer you stay on a good diet, the less you will crave bad foods (we normally just say we have acquired the taste for these foods when in reality the healthy bacteria in our guts are signalling our brain to eat good foods).

Second, you can promote the growth and reproduction of healthy gut bacteria by taking probiotics.  It seems that in the last few years probiotics have exploded in today’s grocery stores.

You can find probiotics in Greek yogurt.  But beware, buying flavored Greek yogurt is full of added sugars.  I suggest buying plain Greek yogurt and then adding your own natural sweetener or fruit.

Also, make sure you check the yogurt container so that it says “contains live colonies of bacteria x.”  This way, you know you are getting healthy bacteria that will feed on the bad bacteria in your gut and promote healthy bacteria health.  If it doesn’t say that it contains live colonies, then it is full of dead, worthless bacteria.

So to summarize… your cravings for fast food or fatty/sugary foods may not always be your fault.  However, you can control what you do or don’t eat.

Remember, falling off of your diet for one night is not the end of the world.  But, beware that after that you may crave more of that food initially since the bacteria that feed on that type of food are thriving and are sending chemical signals to your brain to consume these foods.

The longer you stick to your healthy diet, the less you will crave bad foods and the more your body will respond to good foods.  So the next time you have a craving….are you going to let some little disgusting bacteria control your actions?

Posted by permission and researched by Jordan Mitzel, Athletic Trainer


Hi, my name is Deborah Leaverton. I’m a wife and mom, I homeschool my children, teach individual piano lessons, and have been an entrepreneur for the past 9 years.

My parents were always interested in natural health, some of which was fueled by their own health struggles, and even though they never found success for their chronic health problems, it put a desire in me to think that there was that possibility that the body can indeed heal itself when taken care of properly.

I’ve had so many failures as I’ve tried to deal with my own health problems that I’ve faced the past 15 years. My list includes severe fatigue, chronic debhilitating migraines, weight gain, depression, lots of stomach and gallbladder problems, panic attacks, and the list goes on.

For the past year and a half, I’ve had a great amount of success in dealing with my health problems naturally and have been losing weight — and keeping it off too! That really excites me, and I will be sharing my successes and failures with you on this blog. For more details about my journey, please visit my About Me  page.