Healthy Holiday Tips

As we head into the holidays we are often tempted into overindulgence and mindless eating. Here are a few tips to stay on track:

1) Don’t show up hungry! Skipping meals won’t save you calories and if you sit down and are ‘starving’ you will just eat more.

2) Eat small portions of your favorite ‘indulgences’. Use a tablespoon to serve yourself a small portion and skip the food you don’t absolutely love.

3) If you are not in charge of the meal bring a healthy side dish. This will ensure you have something healthy to eat!

4) Return to your routine. If you overindulge in one meal don’t sabotage the entire weekend. Get back into the gym or take a walk and drink your water. The faster you get back on track the less chance you’ll have of gaining weight.

Have a fun and healthy holiday season!

Tina Schumacher
PN Certified

Winter Nutrition Tips

For many of us, December means not only holidays but lots of gatherings and food! Here are a few tips to help you navigate the food scene with confidence and success!

1. Avoid the RESTRICTION mindset, instead try adopting the mindset that you’ve made a CHOICE for yourself and your health? It’s been shown in studies on willpower that when people go into diets or settings with the mindset that they’re not allowed to have something, it becomes the focus of their attention and depletes their willpower. What’s more is that when willpower diminishes, blood sugar decreases, and you actually become hungry? especially for that little something which you’ve been denying yourself! Never fear, there are a number of actions you can take to avoid breaking.

a. Load up on fat, protein, fiber, and greens! Rather than completely denying yourself and depleting your willpower, try planning ahead. Get your nutrients in early in the day. When you enter a holiday dinner, eat veggies first! Or if you’re headed to a gathering where there aren’t likely to be healthy options, have a small healthy snack before you go so you’re not as hungry.

b. Find a high protein/fat snack to munch on if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the goodies you’re trying to avoid. Remember that blood sugar crash that happens when willpower is used up? If you can find something else to eat to keep your blood sugar stable, you’ll feel less inclined to eat all the cookies on the platter.

2. Stay physically active! As a member of Bellingham Athletic Club, you have access to spectacular facilities! If you find yourself tight on time or unable to get to the gym, a simple walk will do too. Ask your friends or family if they?ll join you on a walk after dinner, you may be surprised by how many are happy to partake in a bit of movement.

3. Don’t forget to enjoy yourself! You’re not making a mistake when you enjoy a slice of pie your sister baked or meet with your friends for holiday drinks – that is part of being human and enjoying life! Allow yourself the freedom to enjoy yourself, knowing that you can still achieve your goals without alienating or completely restricting yourself. Plan ahead, try your best, and remember that the holidays are a time for rejoicing.

If you have questions or would like to learn more, please contact me at!

Shelby O’Hagan
Nutrition Consultant

Healthy Holiday Tips

As we head into the holidays we are often tempted into overindulgence and mindless eating. Here are a few tips to stay on track:

1) Don’t show up hungry! Skipping meals won’t save you calories and if you sit down and are ‘starving’ you will just eat more.

2) Eat small portions of your favorite ‘indulgences’. Use a tablespoon to serve yourself a small portion and skip the food you don’t absolutely love.

3) If you are not in charge of the meal bring a healthy side dish. This will ensure you have something healthy to eat!

4) Return to your routine. If you overindulge in one meal don’t sabotage the entire weekend. Get back into the gym or take a walk and drink your water. The faster you get back on track the less chance you’ll have of gaining weight.

Have a fun and healthy holiday season!

Tina Schumacher
PN Certified

Stress & Digestion

Fall has arrived! Though this time of year is often joyous and fun, it can also be the source of tension and stress. As we become overwhelmed with social obligations or work, it may be tempting to wolf down meals quickly or turn to sweets for comfort… only to feel lethargic and less-than-best later. Below is some information about how digestion works and tips to keep you feeling good all holiday season long!

Did you know that digestion starts in the brain? Before you eat, the brain signals for the production of digestive enzymes and juices, but this only really works if the parasympathetic (“rest and digest”) system is activated!
– Before eating anything, stop whatever else you’re doing and focus on your food! Don’t drive, don’t watch TV or look at your phone — simply stop. Take a few deep breaths and relax to allow your body to switch from the active “fight or flight” mode to the necessary “rest and digest.” It helps to smell and think about your food too!

Next digestion moves to the mouth where food is mechanically and chemically broken down. How well are you chewing your food? Are you giving your body time to produce saliva? The goal of digestion is to break down food into particles so small that the nutrients can be absorbed and used by the cells of the body. Our stomachs don’t have teeth, so it?s important to chew well!
– Next time you eat, try setting your utensil (or the food itself) down between bites. Let yourself taste and enjoy each bite! Not only will eating slower encourage more chewing, but this stimulates more saliva production which is important for breaking down food!

The stomach is where we imagine most of digestion happens — and that’s mostly true! Acid in the stomach breaks down proteins, and churning helps to break down the particles so they’re small enough to absorb. Stress can affect acid production and
make it harder to break down food particles. This can lead to discomforts like heartburn and bloating!
– If you’re experiencing discomfort from eating, but you’ve already mastered eating slowly and mindfully, enjoying something bitter before a meal (arugula is wonderful!) or something acidic (like water with lemon juice or a small splash of apple cider vinegar) can help boost stomach acid production and prevent some of those discomforts.

For more information please visit my website and blog at or email me at! I’d love to help you!
Shelby O’Hagan
Nutrition Consultant


Looking to improve your nutrition and lose body fat the right way? Check out FUEL, an individual or small group class with our Certified Nutrition Coach, Tina Schumacher. Fuel your body the right way, lose body fat, develop lean muscle and create habit-based changes striving for long term health and performance. This program provides accountability, support, and the most recent science-based nutrition information to get the results you want.

When: Six session nutrition program–not six week–starts week of Jan 29 – day and evening times available.
Cost: $249 for members – $259 for non-members for small group; $300 for members $320 for non members for individuals.
Sign up today at the Front Desk!

Please contact Tina Schumacher at (360) 393-7777 or to answer any questions.

Holiday Staying on Track

As we head into the holidays we are often tempted into overindulgence and mindless eating. Here are a few tips to stay on track:

1. Don’t show up hungry! Skipping meals doesn’t save calories – if you sit down ‘starving’ to dinner, you’ll find yourself eating more than necessary.

2. Eat small portions of your favorite indulgence foods?. Use a tablespoon to serve yourself a small portion of something you truly want, but skip the food you don’t absolutely love.

3. If you are not in charge of the meal, bring a healthy side dish. Not only does this put a little less stress on the host and add a healthy option to dinner, it will ensure you have something healthy to eat!

4. Return to your routine after Thanksgiving! If you overindulge in one meal, it does no good to sabotage the entire weekend. Get back into the gym or take a walk and drink some water. The faster you’re able to get back on track, the less chance you’ll have of gaining weight.

Have a fun and healthy holiday season! Remember that group and private nutrition coaching is available here at BAC. Check out the current FUEL session to learn how to fuel your body with the right foods and burn body fat to get lean. Current nutritional science education combined with the accountability you need.

Tina Schumacher, Certified Fitness and P.N.
Nutrition Coach

10 Helpful Habits to Maintain a Healthy Weight

  1. Evaluate your eating habits. Are you eating late at night, nibbling while cooking, finishing the kids’ meals? Take a look around, and it will be easy to identify a few behaviors you can change that will add up to big calorie savings.
  2. If you plan, plan to fail. You need a strategy for your meals and snacks. Pack healthful snacks for the times of day that you know you are typically hungry and can easily stray from your eating plan.
  3. Always shop with a full belly. It’s a recipe for disaster to go into the grocery store when you are hungry. Shop from a prepared list so impulse buying is kept to a minimum. Easting right starts with stocking healthy food in your pantry and refrigerator.
  4. Eat regular meals. Figure out the frequency of your meals that works best in your life and stick to it. Make a one-week menu in advance – buy the appropriate groceries – and simplify your life.
  5. Eat your food sitting down at a table, from a plate. Food eaten out of packages and while standing is forgettable. You can wind up eating lots more than if you sit down and consciously enjoy every bite.
  6. Serve food onto individual plates, and leave extras back at stove. Bowls of food on the table beg to be eaten, and it takes incredible will power not to dig in for seconds. Remember, it takes about 20 minutes for your mind to get the signal from your belly that you are full.
  7. Eat slowly, chew every bite, and savor the taste of the food. Try resting your fork between bites and drinking plenty of water with your meals.
  8. Don’t eat after dinner. This is where lots of people pack on the extra pounds. If you are hungry, try satisfying your urge with a non-caloric beverage or a piece of fruit. Brushing your teeth after dinner helps reduce the temptation to eat again.
  9. If you snack during the day, treat the snack like a mini-meal. The most nutritious snacks contain complex carbohydrates and a small amount of protein and fat.
  10. Start your day with breakfast! It is the most important meal of the day. After a long night’s rest, your body needs the fuel to get your metabolism going and give you the energy for the rest of your day.

Slow Down the Aging Process

Did you ever hear anyone say, “I swear I don’t eat more than I used to but I’m gaining weight,” or “I weigh the same as last year but I can’t fit in the same size?” What in the world is going on?

We lose between 1/2 to 1 pound of muscle each year as we age beginning at age 20, just as a natural part of the aging process. Here’s how that effects us: A pound of muscle burns roughly 50 calories a day. A pound of fat burns -2 calories a day, because it’s actually part of our fuel supply.

Now imagine what happens when we lose a pound of muscle. We now eat 50 calories a day more than our body burns. So naturally that extra 50 calories is stored as fat. That translates at 3500 calories a pound to a pound extra every couple months. Add more muscle loss and fewer calories a day burned and more and more fat storage. This leads to slower metabolism (your body burns fewer calories a day) and weight gain.

That’s bad enough but read on! A pound of muscle is about the size of a bar of soap. A pound of fat, however, is the size of a pound of lard. Multiply that by 5 and see how that effects your clothing size!

We lose muscle and replace it with stored fat and we get bigger and softer and flabbier. It sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Sounds like the “normal” aging process. The good news is you can change all that by strength training regularly.

By building muscle to replace lost muscle we can overcome the losses that seem inevitable with the aging process. Think about it. As we build muscle we burn more calories (faster metabolism). When we use more calories than we are taking is as food we start using our stored fat which slims us down. As we take off that layer of fat the tone and shape of our muscles show through and we look firm. Now think of exchanging fat the other way around. If you lose 5 pounds of fat and gained 5 pounds of muscle, there would be no change on the scale, but look again at the difference between a bar of soap and a pound of butter and imagine what would happen in the way your clothes fit.

Yes, aerobic exercise is essential, and it does help to burn fat, but it won’t maintain and build the muscle you need to keep your metabolism active.

The best news is that strength training is no longer the domain of only body builders and the young. It has been found to be the very most effective use of exercise time. Three times per week for about 20 to 30 minutes per session is all that is necessary to strengthen and tone your muscles.

Studies abound on the benefits of strength training; lower blood pressure and heart rate, more stamina, better circulation and general body functions, etc. It is never too late to start. Huge benefits have been achieved by men and women of all ages and ability levels.

Before beginning any exercise program, get your doctor’s approval. Then make an appointment with a certified personal trainer to get started on the right foot. Don’t wait another day. You CAN slow down the aging process!

Nutrition Myths Debunked

Will eating jalapenos increase your metabolism? Of course not, but diet dogma has a life of its own. Even when science reveals the truth behind a diet fad, the myth often lingers. Here’s some popular nutrition myths and the real scoop behind them.

#1: Margarine contains less calories and fat than butter.

The truth: Both margarine and butter are 100% fat. All fats (olive oil, margarine, butter, etc) contain 9 calories per gram or 40 calories per teaspoon. Some “diet” margarines, however, are whipped with water, which cuts the amount of fat and number of calories per teaspoon.

#2: Chicken has less fat than beef.

The truth: Not necessarily. A skinless chicken thigh contains more than twice as much fat as an equal serving of an eye of round roast although the beef is slightly higher in saturated fat. Skinless chicken breast is a low-fat alternative to beef, as long as it is prepared without fat.

#3: Fortified foods are healthful.

The truth: Fortified milk is the only reliable food source of vitamin D, but fortifying some highly processed foods with vitamins and minerals is often a nutritional cover-up that mistakenly implies “more is better.” The products, including some cereals, are often no better but are more expensive and sometimes higher in sugar or fat than their less-fortified counterparts.

#4: Fiber gives foods a coarse texture.

The truth: You can’t tell a food’s fiber content by looks or texture. In general the less processed a grain, vegetable, fruit, or bean the higher its fiber content. Cooking may soften a food but has little effect on the fiber content.

#5: Natural vitamin supplements are more effective than synthetic ones.

The truth: The only difference between natural and synthetic vitamin supplements is the price (natural supplements cost more). The exception is vitamin E. The body uses the naturally occurring form more efficiently than the synthetic form.

#6: Foods labeled “natural” don’t contain preservatives and additives.

The truth: “Natural” on a label simply means that at least one ingredient remains in its natural form. The product may still be processed and contain a number of additives or preservatives.

#7: Athletes should take protein supplements.

The truth: Protein supplements generally are not a good investment. Athletes have the same protein needs as sedentary people – about 50 grams a day for a woman, slightly more for a man. Hard-core bodybuilders may need more protein than other people. Americans typically consume 2 or 3 times as much protein as they really need.

#8: If you feel like eating, you must be hungry.

The truth: Thirst, boredom, fatigue, anxiety, and a desire to avoid unpleasant tasks are often mistaken for hunger. Try a large glass of water, taking a nap, or going for a walk before heading for the refrigerator.

#9: Brown sugar & honey are better for you than white sugar.

The truth: All 3 supply 4 calories per gram (about 20 calories per teaspoon), provide insignificant amounts of nutrients & promote tooth decay.

#10: Yogurt is a health food.

The truth: Not always. Some fruit-on-the-bottom yogurts and frozen yogurts contain more sugar than a candy bar, while whole-milk yogurts are high in fat. Try plain, nonfat yogurt flavored with fresh fruit.

#11: Salad is a diet food.

The truth: A no-fat tossed salad is transformed into a high-fat meal when you add a generous helping of dressing. Potato and pasta salads are often laden with mayonnaise-based dressings, which contain 200 or more calories for each 1/2 cup serving. Use fat-free dressings to return these salads to their nutrient-dense status.

#12: Diet is the best way to lose weight.

The truth: As long as “diet” implies a short-term effort, it’s doomed to fail. A lifelong commitment to low-fat foods & regular physical activity is the only solution to long-term weight management.

#13: Sugar is a quick-energy food.

The truth: Sugary foods may temporarily raise blood-sugar levels, but extra insulin released often overcompensates, dropping them to lower than before. A starchy snack, such as a bagel with peanut butter, sustains a moderate rise in blood-sugar levels and is a better energy food.

#14: Skipping meals is a good way to lose weight.

The truth: People who skip meals bum calories slower, are more likely to overeat later in the day and store fat easier than people who nibble.

Work Out With A Buddy

For some, starting an exercise program may be a daunting prospect. Even if you get started, there are always those days when you just don’t feel like going to the gym or out for that run. And once you skip that first day, it sure is easier to skip the next. How do you stay committed to your fitness program? Try finding a workout partner. If there is someone who will be let down by your no-show, you will be a lot less likely to skip exercise.

Numerous studies have shown that there is a high dropout rate in workout attendance within the first six month – approximately 50 percent.

In my experience working with fitness enthusiasts, it has become evident that to achieve maximal gains in both muscular and cardiovascular fitness, there must be a specific goal in mind that will motivate you to be consistent in your training efforts. Ultimately, this motivation is often best provided by a training partner.

Although many of the positive aspects of having a training partner relate to strength training, most apply to cardiovascular conditioning as well. Here are some ways training with a partner can benefit you…


One of the most important functions a partner can perform is spotting. A spotter ensures the safety of the person lifting the weights. A good spotter is the cornerstone of good, productive workouts. Proper supervision should be one-on-one. By knowing the lifter’s workout style, the spotter will be better able to “push” the lifter to achieve more repetitions, in good form, that he or she would have been able to do alone. Your spotter can help you attempt that extra repetition as you approach momentary muscular failure – whereas you might have prematurely ended the set for safety reasons if you were lifting on your own. Proper overload will lead to a faster and more efficient progression.


Motivation is the key to success in any facet of life. Before you can motivate someone else, you must be highly motivated yourself. By having particular goals in mind, you will be more able to motivate yourself and your partner throughout your training program.

Motivation must be practiced daily, both psychologically and physically, through verbal encouragement. A spotter can encourage his or her partner while reinforcing proper form and technique. Physical motivation can be achieved through actual workout results. Motivation leads to maximum effort that, in turn, leads to maximum gains.


As previously mentioned, continued commitment to exercise after the first six months is particularly low. Having a workout partner, however, will make you far less likely to skip days or arrive late for training sessions. In the end, you will become more dedicated to your exercise habits if you establish a consistent training program that you and your partner adhere to.

Social Interaction

For some people, the social aspect of working out in a gym is just as important as the exercise. When two or more people train together, loyalty, trust, and friendship develop between partners. When your partner is your spouse, time spent working out can be quality time together. No matter who your partner is, conversation can help your training become less monotonous and help it flow more smoothly.

Friendly Competition

Friendly competition between partners can add fun to working out. For example, if you both share a common goal, you may want to see who is the first to achieve it. It leads to better workout adherance and a higher level of awareness of your short-term and long-term goals.


A training partner often knows your eating habits, exercise habits, attitude changes, and level of commitment. At any level, the more educated you are about your partner, the more you can help him or her achieve personal goals.

A partner will allow you to progress to the next level, while supporting your efforts. If your goal is a higher level of fitness, a workout partner can effectively provide the necessary tools, motivation, and positive outlook for your workout efforts.