A Decade-Plus Later: TLN Reboot

In what seems to be a blink of an eye, ten plus years have passed since cranking out posts on Tough Love Nutrition.  Between changing occupations, raising kids, family stuff, domestic duties, lazy times, etc, it was shelved.  The cool thing is that my commitment to staying healthy through nutrition and fitness did not waver.  Now in my fifties (yikes!), I'm hanging in there quite well, thanks.  No, I'm not 9% bodyfat or run ultra-marathons.  

But I do feel free pretty darn proud of maintaining a competitive level of activity, and more importantly, all of the medical checkpoints such as blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and even the celebrated mid-life colonoscopy are all in great standing.  Best yet:  No meds!

Now that I am part of the MedHealthFit.com advisory team, in coming months, I am very much looking forward to blowing the dust off of the TLN blog, and getting a fresh coat of paint on it--with updated articles and new material to share with all looking to obtain, retain, or maintain a healthy and fit lifestyle.  Stay tuned!


Nutrition 411: 9 Realistic Nutrition Resolutions

(TLN Editor's Note: Here's another timeless gem that I love to cycle in at around this time each year. Read on and get back on the wagon...in a more sensible manner!)

Now that we are several weeks into the new year, how well is your New Year's resolution to get in shape and eat right holding up?

If your best intentions have already fallen by the wayside, don't feel too bad. You are not alone. The numbers are countless of those that made grand resolutions to lose X number of pounds, quit eating junk food, exercise every day, etc.

Good intentions indeed. However, these resolutions are all long-term goals, so it is difficult to get instant gratification or see any positive results on your efforts. This results in abandonment and sliding back into old habits.

Rather than trying to make leaps and bounds, baby step your way into better health!

Here are nine realistic resolutions (goals) for you and the family to work on for the remainder of the year:

1. Take a multivitamin - It is not going to replace poor eating habits, but taking a daily multivitamin is an inexpensive way to help provide the entire family with the vitamins and minerals they are not getting from meals and snacks. Parents can eat chewables too!

2. No soda - Any way you slice it, soda is simply the antitheses of good nutrition. It does not matter if you drink sugar-free, diet or caffeine-free. Manufacturers replace these ingredients with other unfavorable or questionable additives. At the very least, keep soda out of the house!

3. Drive right past fast food joints - Let's not let our short-term memories forget all of the documentaries, books and articles that paint a crystal-clear picture of our nation's addiction to fast food. With so many good, convenient and affordable food choices available, there is no need to subject your family to fast food restaurants. It's just not worth it!

4. Eat more of these superfoods - Yogurt, olive oil, oatmeal, fresh fruits and veggies, fish, tofu, eggs and garlic just to name a few. To get the most out of these superfoods, order or prepare them without heavy sauces, breading, frying, sweeteners, etc. You get the picture!

5. Have at least one sit-down family meal per week - With more parents both working and all kinds of after school activities these days, breaking bread together as a family unit every night has rapidly become a thing of the past. It is hard to believe that only a generation ago, being present at the dinner table was pretty much mandatory for all family members. Commit to at least one family bonding night a week for everybody to help prepare and sit down to a home-cooked, healthy meal.

6. Read food labels - Get a better grip and gain control on what you are putting into your shopping cart. For starters, avoid food products that contain any of the following ingredients: Partially Hydrogenated Oils, Monosodium Glutamate, Sodium Nitrate, Aspartame, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sucrose, Artificial Flavors and Certified (Artificial) Colors (i.e. FD&C Yellow No. 5).

7, Don't buy a diet book or fat burning supplement - Save yourself thirty bucks or more and abstain from buying the hottest diet book or supplement. It is the same bull, just a different year! Modern diet books, even the good ones, are doing nothing more then reinforcing what we already know: Portion control, healthy choices and regular exercise equate into weight loss. Why pay? You can get tons of this information for free on the internet (i.e. Tough Love Nutrition)! As far as fat-burning supplements go: With the billions of dollars in diet pill sales each year, our country should be a heck of a lot slimmer. Allow me to repeat myself: Portion control, healthy choices and regular exercise!

8. Get fit as a family - It is commendable if you are monitoring your children's video game, computer and television time and balancing it with organized sports or other regular activity. However, how is your activity level? Just as important as eating well, parents need to be a fitness role model too, and there is no better way than staying active as a family. Biking, hiking and skiing are super group activities, but simple things like taking a walk, shooting hoops, playing catch or kicking the ball around outside are all it takes to keep the family unit active on a regular basis.

9. No excuses - The single-biggest road block for making better food and fitness choices is copping out with, "No time.", "Too expensive." or "Don't know how." Fight through these totally bogus excuses and make the effort to improve your lifestyle and health education. Reaching these goals is there for the taking and a heck of a lot easier to accomplish when the whole family is involved!


Phil's Journal: Welcome to My World!

(TLN Editor Note: Before you start reading my banter below, I do most of my posting these days on Facebook and Twitter. Follow me for a daily dose of Tough Love Nutrition!)

To this point of my life, I have heard every "Wait until you..." prediction as to when I am going to fall out of shape. They include: "...get out of college and start working all the time.", "...start traveling a lot on your job.", "...get married.", "...have kids." and last but not least, "...turn 30, 40, etc".

Well, I'm now in my 40's and none of the above appear to have done their due diligence. I decided a long time ago to make a commitment to staying healthy. And through every stage of my life thus far--and as crazy as it has been at times--I’ve stuck to my word.

When it comes to eating right and continuing to exercise throughout the years, I sometimes go through what may seem to be great lengths to do so, but in the end, I keep beating the “Wait until you…” odds.

I want everybody else to do so as well.

This is why I created Tough Love Nutrition (TLN). It contains everything and then some to increase your knowledge and motivation AND most importantly, to stop making excuses for why you eat like crap or can’t seem to find the time to exercise.

Nevermind celebrity trainers, diet books and bogus supplements. It is all about learning (or learning again) the basics and how to get a grip on making good, consistent food choices and some form of regular exercise.

All of my professional and personal experience is rolled into the TLN Blog and TLN Group. Everything is here for you and your family to gain better health through proper nutrition and fitness.

That said, join in on all the TLN fun and, wait until you…start feeling a whole lot better!

Enjoy and be healthy,

Phil LeClair
View Phil LeClair's profile on LinkedIn


Nutrition 411: Eating Around the Holidays

(TLN Editor's Note: Every year around this time, I recycle this article. It's probably been a decade or more since I wrote it, but it continues to hold its relevance and represent our traditional [over]eating habits around the Holiday Season. Read on and Healthy Holidays!)

Without a doubt, there is not a more difficult time of the year to stay focused on keeping good eating and exercise habits than the Winter holidays. Each year Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s lure us into their festive grasp with relaxed atmospheres and food galore. The same thought is on virtually everybody’s mind, “I am not going to worry about what I eat during the holidays, but it’s back to normal January 2nd”. Unfortunately, as days and weeks pass following the holidays, many individuals continue to be stuck on January 1st. With proper eating and exercise habits falling by the wayside, unwanted weight gain is inevitable.

When eating holiday meals do the following:
  • Avoid the one meal trap
  • Go easy on the appetizers
  • Keep your portions in check
  • Eat more protein and less carbohydrate
  • Go for a walk
  • Limit leftovers
  • Get back into your good nutrition and exercise habits right away

For even more info on this topic, Read Full Article!


Lose Weight, Feel Great By Just Saying "No" to White Carbs for 30 Days

You want a quick and effective way to start losing weight, feel better, and dramatically improve your eating habits?

It is as easy as making a 30-day commitment to yourself not to indulge in any foods containing processed grains, sugars, or corn sweeteners.

More specifically these concentrated carbohydrate bombs:
  • Bread, bagels, muffins and other baked goods
  • Pasta and instant rice
  • Cold and hot breakfast cereals
  • White potatoes in any form
  • Soda and other cold and hot sugar-infused beverages
  • Chips, puffs, doodles...basically, munchies in any form
  • Candy and other sugary treats
  • Fast food
So what can you eat, right? Whether you agree or not, the good stuff!
  • Fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables (excluding potatoes)
  • Beans and legumes
  • All lean protein sources including eggs, and lowfat dairy products
  • Healthy fats from vegetable oils, nuts and seeds
Do not be crazy and think this is bland and boring! There are tons of different types of healthy whole foods to choose from. It's up to you to open your mind, make the effort, and try something new.

Here is an idea of how your daily meals will transform:


Before: Breakfast skipped or muffin and large coffee with 4 sugars and cream

After: Low-fat yogurt mixed with crushed almonds and a water (or coffee with no sugar and milk)


Before: Sandwich with mayo, meat and cheese

After: Salad with tons of veggies, grilled chicken breast, and low-fat dressing


Before: Pasta with sauce and breadsticks

After: Steamed vegetables with poached salmon


Before: Via office vending machine or gas station convenience store

After: Hard-boiled egg and piece of fruit

Following The Three "Be's" is Key!

1. Be prepared

Cutting out white carbs results in losing most of your grab-and-go meal and snack choices. This is great from a nutritional standpoint, but a bummer in the convenience department. So you never leave yourself hanging, stock the fridge and pantry with plenty of good food choices. Pre-pack meals and snacks for work or any activity away from home. When preparing healthy home meals, make extra servings. The leftovers work fantastic as tomorrow's lunch! Nutrition bars and protein shakes are saviors when there is little time to eat, or a situation arises where you cannot get to a whole food meal.

2. Be aware

Avoid cocktails, sports drinks, fancy coffee drinks, fruit smoothies and other beverages that contain high sugar content (anything greater than 10 grams of sugar per serving). They seem innocent enough until you read the Nutrition Facts and realize they are big time contributors to overall daily carb consumption! Lay off whole-grain foods during this 30-day period. They are much better choices than processed grains, but even so, whole-grain foods such as bread and pasta still contain concentrated amounts of carbohydrate. Avoid foods high in saturated fat like fatty meats and whole-fat dairy products. They are low in carbs, but chock full of unfavorable calories!

3. Be active

If you are not active, now is the time to get off your butt and start moving. Regular activity with a favorable diet helps boost metabolism so you can burn more bodyfat. If already exercising, try to slip in an extra 30 minutes per week of aerobic activity.

For additional guidance on what to eat, or how to create a balanced meal, I created a simple meal guideline which is Part 2 of the TLN Just Eat Right Guide. Follow the steps for selecting foods without white carbohydrates and you are covered for every meal at home, restaurant, and even trips to the grocery store!

After 30 days you may be so happy with the results, you can keep rolling on with the eating plan, or decide to reintroduce white carbs back into your diet in a more moderate and controlled manner. Either way, continue to use the healthy meal guideline to help accomplish the next 30 days and beyond!

Please remember that there is no negotiating or compromise when just saying "no" to white carbs for 30 days. You probably chose to read this article because you are interested in losing weight. So why fight it? Just eat right!