Health and Wellness Blog

How To Protect Kids With Extra Weight From Bullying

Healthful Life MD Abby Bleistein

Too often, kids and adults alike suffer from name-calling, taunting, rude gestures, pranks, and other cruel teasing and bullying because of their weight. The following recording and handout are thanks to Dr. Abby Bleistein, who is a board certified physician in Internal Medicine, pediatrics, and obesity medicine. Abby has a practice specializing in medically managed weight loss for adults and kids. She uses Kidpower to provide support and skills for her patients because they face a much higher risk of being bullied about their size. She includes this knowledge in her presentations on pediatric obesity at educational conferences for pediatricians.
As a Kidpower Board member who has participated in our Skills for Child Protection Advocates Institute, Abby partnered with us to create a handout and plan for what health care providers can say and do to help protect their patients who carry extra weight in their bodies from bullying.

Please put your name and email in the form below to download our handout for health care providers and other supporters. 

Kidpower Tips and Resources for Health Care Providers: Protecting Overweight Youth from Bullying

In the following audio recording of a telephone meeting with some of our instructors and board members, Abby discusses how she is partnering with Kidpower to educate pediatricians and other professionals about how to use Kidpower skills and resources with their patients.

Although the focus of the handout and discussion was about young people, all of these tools have also been useful for adults. At any age, people who want to lose weight in a healthy way often struggle with image and boundary issues that diminish their sense of self-worth and confidence. Health care providers and other people in positions of authority have the opportunity, even in just a minute or two, to communicate powerful information that can make a big difference.

To learn more about Abby’s excellent resources for helping people make healthy lifestyle choices, visit her website at:


Kidpower Founder and Executive Irene van der Zande is a master at teaching safety through stories and practices and at inspiring others to do the same. Her child protection and personal safety expertise has been featured by USA Today, CNN, Today Moms, the LA Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Publications include: cartoon-illustrated Kidpower Safety Comics and Kidpower Teaching Books curriculum; Bullying: What Adults Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safe; the Relationship Safety Skills Handbook for Teens and Adults; Earliest Teachable Moment: Personal Safety for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers; and The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults: Personal Safety, Self-Protection, Confidence, and Advocacy for Young People.Click

Friday Fitness Tip

Friday Fitness Tip

Exercise Helps You Resist Temptation

They don’t call it a “runner’s high” for nothing! Whether you’re addicted to sugar, cigarettes, or even heroin, exercise could play an important role in resisting your substance of choice.

In one study, scientists found that the endorphin rush released during exercise acts on the same neural pathways as addictive substances.

The result?  Mice in this study opted for the treadmill over the high from an amphetamine-laced solution, suggesting that humans could do the same.

If you are in the Metro Denver area and ready to get started loosing weight and getting fit, book your FREE 30 minute session with Dr. Abby who is located in Golden, CO here:


Creativity Can Help Keep You Healthy!

Creativity Can Help Keep You Healthy!

Creativity reduces stress and keeps you healthy

Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn, like singing, dancing, or acting?  Or perhaps you have a love for horses and want to take riding lessons? Don’t brush it off as a silly extravagance or something you just don’t have the time or money for — giving into your creative desires is not only fun, it’s also good for your emotional health.

Creative Thinking: Why Creativity Is Important

Creativity is important for a number of reasons, including:

  • It’s fun and enjoyable. Doing things that you like reduces stress and improves overall well-being.
  • It boosts self-confidence. Trying new things can improve self-confidence and make you a more interesting person.
  • It stimulates the brain. Creativity sharpens the brain, which can stem the advance of dementia in old age. The more new things you learn, the more use the brain gets — and the sharper it will remain. It’s often recommended that seniors learn new skills and challenge themselves with new opportunities, but this recommendation is appropriate for any age.

Creative Thinking: A Balanced Life

You already know that all work and no play do not make for a healthy life — and can result in a pretty unhappy you. But that also doesn’t mean that all play and no work is good either, and that’s why striking the right balance is so important.

Working and being productive helps keep you sharp, organized, and even happy — as long as it’s well balanced with leisure and creativity. Whether it’s at your daily job, taking care of your children, or cleaning up your home and yard, you feel a great sense of accomplishment after a productive day — and that does a lot for your emotional health. But we all need time to rest and rejuvenate, and do something fun and stimulating. So block off some time each day or each week for a little creativity.

Creative Thinking: Making the Most of Your Time

During your “you” time, do anything that you enjoy or anything that’s new and different to you. Make it something that’s challenging, stimulating, and that you look forward to. Here are some good ways to challenge your brain, learn new skills, and get your creative juices flowing:

  • Write in a journal or do some creative writing
  • Tackle a crossword puzzle
  • Take a knitting, crochet, or cross-stitch class
  • Take up gardening
  • Visit the theater
  • Take a painting or sculpture class
  • Take a dance class
  • Learn yoga or tai chi
  • Listen to lectures
  • Take a cooking class
  • Learn to sing or play a musical instrument
  • Learn to speak a new language
  • Go back to school and take some academic or other classes of interest to you

Most importantly, whatever you decide to do, make it fun. Sure, it’s one more thing to add to your busy schedule, but taking time for creativity is one of the best investments you can make for your body and spirit.

Article written by:  Diana Rodriguez
Medically Reviewed by Christine Wilmsen Craig, MD
Original Article Link

Strategic Goal Setting Seminar Identifies Top 5 Values

Strategic Goal Setting Seminar Identifies Top 5 Values

Mindfully Moving Toward a Highest Self

In this seminar, we identified values and created a vision and set goals that aligned with those values.

We identified powerful goals and deep motivation to help participants to stay on track with their plans.

During the seminar, we used interactive exercises to clarify values and then created a vision aligned with these most meaningful and compelling aspects of their lives. The final product, a personal vision board, can now be used as a visual tool to keep the participants moving toward their highest self.

If you are interested in signing up for upcoming events, contact Dr. Abby today!


Friday Fitness Tip ~ March 3, 2017

Friday Fitness Tip ~ March 3, 2017

Exercise & Eating Right Makes You Happy!

It also builds your self esteem, your confidence and lowers negative thoughts.
An apple a day keeps the blues away, say researchers from New Zealand. Their study found that on the days young adults ate more fruits and vegetables, they reported feeling calmer, happier, and more energetic than they normally did.
We all know that working out makes you look better on the outside, but scientific research adds that it also makes us feel better about ourselves on the inside. In an analysis of research on the subject, exercisers report higher self-esteem and lower incidence of negative thoughts about their bodies. Plus it boosts confidence at work and other in areas of life too.
SO, get started making yourself feel better by exercising regularly and eating right.
Let’s get you STARTED with a FREE Goal Setting Session with Dr. Abby!
Friday Fitness Tip ~

Friday Fitness Tip ~

Exercise Protects Your Eyes!


One of the MANY reasons to exercise:

It protects your eyes.

If you are reading this you are staring at a screen right now.   Welcome to the eye-strain club!

Recent research found that one of the best ways to protect your eyes and stave off age-related vision loss is regular cardiovascular exercise.

In one study, active mice kept twice as many retinal neurons as the sedentary fur balls.

But it isn’t just a benefit for the four-legged; a separate study found a similar correlation in humans.

Interesting right?

Make sure to get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily,it helps YOUR  WHOLE  BODY!


Have You Found Your “Big Why”?

Have You Found Your “Big Why”?

What Motivates YOUR Weight-loss Journey?

We are now in the second month of 2017….

Many of you may have made New Year’s Resolutions, commitments to change that seem to come and go often without achieving the goal set out.  Have you stuck with any of your resolutions you made?

As an Obesity Medicine specialist, I am particularly keen to notice the commitment many many individuals make to lose weight.

People often use the new year as a time to commit to dieting so that they can reach that ever-elusive number on the scale or size on the clothing tag.  In fact, how we appear actually has very little sway on long-term motivation.  The number on the scale has little to do with how we feel about our appearance on any given day, and most people will feel good or bad about their appearance at any weight.

For sustainable motivation and true lifestyle change, we need to find a “big why.”

Why do I want to change my lifestyle that goes beyond weight?  My patients who lose weight are often surprised by the benefits they achieve when they have lost weight, and those benefits occur throughout the weight-loss journey.

One reason I love this work, medically managed weight loss, is sharing in those successes with patients all along the way.

  • Most of my patients who suffer from reflux find that it has resolved within 2 weeks of nutritional change.
  • I enjoy seeing improvements in respiratory conditions with even a ten percent weight loss—decreased need for CPAP or improvement of untreated sleep apnea.
  • A patient told me that he no longer feels like “a weight is on [his] chest” when he lies on his back to sleep.
  • I have had patients whose asthma has improved so that their pulmonary function tests are better than they have seen in years, even without yet reaching their goal weight.
  • One patient was able to get of continuous oxygen and expressed great joy to me when she walked up the stairs to church without stopping to rest.
  • For many patients, weight loss has meant a decrease in blood pressure or cholesterol medications, and for others decreasing insulin dosing or preventing the onset of diabetes.
  • Many of my patients are surprised to find that their mood improves, they concentrate better, and that their motivation improves, even prior to significant weight loss.  Nutritional change and exercise alone bring about these emotional changes.
  • One patient expressed excitement that she had such improved concentration and motivation, that she was able to start a writing project that she had put off for more than a year.
  • I also see improvements in confidence and self-esteem that begins with very little weight change.
  • With great joy, I also share in the decrease of fatigue and chronic pain that prevents patients from living their fullest life.
  • Many patients find that chronic pain improves within weeks of nutritional change, as does fatigue.
  • One patient was able to hike for 11 hours through the ice fields of Patagonia and he attributes his ability to do that to weight loss, exercise, and nutritional change.

I believe our patients are finding success because we give them a new, unique approach to weight loss.

I believe that finding a deeper motivating factor, choosing to live better, to function better, and to feel better, helps my patients make positive choices, even when it is hard, because the success they find is present throughout the journey.

The rewards have meaning that makes life better.  Think about what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it.  How can your life be improved by focusing on your health and wellness?  These are the motivations that will help propel you to success.

If you are looking for a life style change, schedule your FREE Consultation with me and let’s see how we can get YOU Healthy and Fit!

If you enjoyed this blog and think others might like it, please share.


Dr. Abby

Healthy Recipes for Super Bowl Sunday

Healthy Recipes for Super Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl Sunday is almost here!


Delicious food for your Super Bowl Celebration is an American staple.  Super Bowl parties and Super Bowl
food is typically fatty unhealthy dishes and dips.   Here is a “winning lineup” we have designed for you that
will help you stick with your eating program and not feel like you are missing out!


Baba Ganoush

2 medium egg plants
Juice from 1 lemon
1 clove garlic (more or less to taste)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup tahini

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Cut the egg plants in half length wise.  Place cut side down on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
or foil sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake the eggplant for about 20 minutes until it is soft.  Peel the skin
off the eggplant leaving the pulp of the eggplant skinless.  Puree the pulp in a food processor or blender
with the other ingredients until smooth.

Serve with cut up veggie stick: carrots, jicama, red pepper, zucchini, celery, cucumber…


Loaded Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce

Spring Rolls

Rice wrappers
Assorted Julienned (cut into match sticks) Vegetables: carrots, red pepper, snow peas, jicama, beets,
zucchini, cucumber, etc.

Soak rice wrapper in water for about 30 seconds, until soft Place on a plate.  Line with lettuce.  Fill with
assorted vegetables.  Fold two sides toward the middle; roll the spring roll up like a burrito.  Cut in half
on an angle to serve.  Serve with peanut sauce for dipping.

Peanut Sauce

1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons white miso

Blend ingredients in a blender until smooth.


Coconut Curry Chicken Fingers with Mango Salsa

Coconut Curry Chicken Fingers

4 Chicken breasts cut into strips
1 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup flour (can use almond flour for gluten free)
1 Tbsp Curry Powder
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1/8-1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper (optional)
2 eggs beaten
1 Tbsp coconut oil

Mix together coconut, flour, curry, cumin, sea salt, and cayenne (if using) and put in pie tin or on plate.
Dip chicken strips in egg then coat with dry coconut mix.  Heat coconut in sauce pan.  Saute chicken
strips until lightly brown on each side.  Set aside on paper towel.


Mango Salsa

1 Mango, finely diced
1 Red pepper, finely diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 avocado, finely diced
1/4 cup Fresh cilantro, chopped
Sea Salt to taste
Juice of 1 lime

Toss ingredients together in a bowl. Serve with cooked chicken strips.


Lime Mint Spritzer

Juice of 1/2 lime
8 oz seltzer water
3-5 drops stevia
3-4 fresh mint leaves

Muddle mint leaves with lime juice and stevia. Add seltzer water. Serve over ice.

I hope you enjoy these recipes and and that the team you are rooting for wins!!!

If you would like more tips on how to eat healthy, click here for your FREE consultation,
let’s chat . . . .

Take Care,


Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

Your Holiday Survival Guide to Realistic Expectations

By:  Lindsay Jones, MS, RD–Registered Dietitian



Halloween is over and it is starting to feel like fall here in Colorado which only means one thing…the holidays are upon us, or will be before we know it! The holidays can be synonymous with stress, weight gain, indulging, and lack of exercise which can lead to kicking off the New Year with unwanted pounds to lose.  But it is possible to not get stuck in this pattern this holiday season! Believe it or not, the holidays can be the perfect time to implement some healthy habits or put your already healthy habits to the test.


Here are a few of my favorite holiday tips to keep you and your family on track this holiday season:


1. Be realistic. Don’t try to lose pounds during the holidays, instead try to maintain your current weight.

2. Plan time for exercise. Exercise helps relieve holiday stress and prevents weight gain. A moderate and daily increase in exercise can help partially offset increased holiday eating.

3. Don’t skip meals. Before leaving for a party, eat a light snack like raw vegetables or a protein smoothie so you will be less tempted to overindulge when you get there.

4. Survey party buffets before filling your plate. Choose your favorite foods and skip your least favorites. Aim for half of your plate to be fruits and vegetables, a quarter of your plate carbohydrates and a quarter of your plate protein.

5. Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Savor your favorite holiday foods and be mindful of when you feel full. Feeling full is a delayed response so the slower we eat, the less likely we are to feel uncomfortable after a meal.

6. Be careful with beverages. Whether it’s a hot chocolate or a hot toddy, most holiday beverages are full of calories and sugar and can induce overeating.

7. Practice portion control. Some of our favorite foods are served only at the holidays but that doesn’t mean we need to eat enough for the whole year. Take a small portion and enjoy each bite.

8. Take the focus off food. Plan group activities with family and friends that aren’t all about food. Try serving a holiday meal to the community, playing games or going on a walking tour of decorated homes in your neighborhood.

9. Bring your own healthy dish to a holiday gathering. This is the only way you can know there will be a healthy option when you get there!

10. Practice healthy holiday cooking. Preparing favorite dishes lower in fat and calories will help promote healthy holiday eating.  Incorporate healthy baking and cooking alternatives to cut back on fat, sugar and calories.

Creeping Calories

Which One of These Scenarios Tend to Sneak Up On You?

by Liz Daeninck MS, RD – Registered Dietitian


Creeping CaloriesIt is estimated that 37.9% of U.S. adults aged 20 or older are obese, compared to 13.4% of adults in the 1960s. That means that one in three people are considered obese compared to 1 in 7 people (from the 1960s).

To help clarify what it means to be obese, a 5ft 6in female is considered obese when she weighs at least 186 lbs, whereas a male 6ft tall weighing 222 lbs (or more) qualifies him as obese.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the average US woman now weighs 166.2 lbs compared to 140 lbs in the 1960s whereas the average man now weighs in at 195.5 lbs, a nearly 30-pound increase since the 1960s, when he weighed 166.3 lbs.

So why do all these statistics matter?

Being obese puts us at greater risk for various diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, heart disease, cancers, dementia, polycystic ovarian syndrome and non-alcohol fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

But what is behind these overwhelming trends?

There are certainly many factors that play into the obesity epidemic, but one that I want to highlight is how calories can ‘creep’ into our diet so easily, in some cases without us even knowing. With Halloween candy now in grocery stores and Christmas treats soon to follow, I felt it timely to be having this conversation…


The Energetics of Body Weight: Balancing Energy In, Energy Out

At the most basic level, to maintain a consistent weight, our energy intake (what we eat and drink) needs to be the same as our energy requirements (the number of calories necessary for our regular body functions and our movement, including exercise). When we consume more than our body requires, we gain weight.  When we eat less energy (in the form of calories) than our body needs, we lose weight.  The type of calories matter as well, but for this discussion, we are going to look at just straight calories.

With this in mind, I want to demonstrate how easy it is to accumulate calories and ultimately gain the weight described above.  I have selected a few of the more common examples I see, where almost unknowingly; we accumulate small amounts of calories over time.


Iced Tea Tracy:

Tracy had been increasingly thirsty over the summer, being outside with her children doing fun, summer activities.  Tracy had been steadily losing weight, but as the summer progressed she found her weight was plateauing which she could not understand because she was more active with her kids than she had been in years!

When she visited with me, we discovered how Tracy had started to drink sweet tea to help quench her thirst.  She was drinking 1 bottle, 5 days per week.

Calorie Impact:

 70 calories, 19 g sugar per 12 oz serving
 3 servings per bottle: 210 calories, 57 g sugar total per bottle
 Weekly impact: 1050 calories, 285 g sugar

Over the summer (3 months): ~ 3 ½ lbs weight gain


G2 Gary:

Gary had started to use G2 Gatorade because he had read that it is a good thing to drink with his increased level of exercise.  He had started going to the gym and exercising for 45 minutes per day.

Calorie Impact:

 1 – 32 oz bottle, 6 days per week
 80 calories, 19 g sugar/32 oz bottle
 Weekly Impact: 480 calories, 57 g sugar

Over 6 months: 3 ½ lb weight gain


Cheez-It Chester:

Chester started to eat 1 bag of Cheez-It crackers for snack every day at work – his wife was so kind to pack it in his lunch every day.

Calorie Impact:

 140 calories per bag, 5 days/week
 700 calories per week

Over 6 months: 5 lbs weight gain


Hard Candy Bowl:

Jolly Rancher Jim passes his receptionist’s desk frequently throughout the day.  She has Jolly Rancher candies in a bowl for guests atop of her desk.  He picks a candy up frequently throughout the day – he decides to count how many candies he eats for a day.

Calorie Impact:

 5 candies (23 calories each) = 115 calories per day
 115 calories, 5 days per week = 575 calories per week

Over 6 months: ~ 4 lbs weight gain


Licorice Love:

Tara LOVES Twizzlers.  She had bariatric surgery and used to eat 3 bags per week.  Eighteen months after surgery, Twizzler Tara started to snack on Twizzlers, but limited herself to 2 pieces per day.

Calorie Impact:

 40 calories per piece = 80 calories, 9.5 g sugar per piece
 80 calories, 7 days per week = 560 calories, 66.5 g sugar per week

Over 6 months: ~ 4 lbs weight gain


Strawberry Love:

Tara decided to eat strawberries instead of Twizzlers – here is how that looks as a substitution:

Calorie Impact:

 ½ cup strawberries: 25 calories, 3.5 g sugar (natural), 1.5 g fiber!
 Per week: 172 calories, 25 g sugar, 10.5 g fiber

When compared to Twizzlers: Strawberries (fruit) has 69% less calories, 62% less sugar and 100% more FIBER!!


Nutty for Nuts:

Tom loves trail mix, and started to snack on nuts – he had read that they were healthy for his heart.  He would eat a handful her and there throughout the day, as he keeps a bag of them at his desk.  He decides to measure exactly how much he would eat in 1 day:

Calorie Impact:

 2/3 cup trail mix: 466 calories, 31 g fat, 14 g protein
 Per week (5 days at work): 2330 calories, 155g fat, 98 g protein

Over 6 months: ~ 17 lbs weight gain


Ultimately nuts ARE a heart healthy snack, but they are also dense in calories, because they are a high fat food.

Here are some ideas in how to eat nuts responsibly:

 Measure out a portion of nuts into a snack bag – goal is no more than ¼ cup (which can amount to as much as 200 calories!)
 Avoid the snacking/grazing – you can do so by not having your snacks in a place like your desk that is so easily available.
 Eat your heart healthy nuts as a part of your meal – add 2 Tbsp. chopped nuts to a salad

These examples serve to help you identify where small ‘add-ons’ in your diet may be sabotaging your efforts at maintaining or reaching a healthy weight.  None of these foods are ‘bad’, they simply need to be accounted for in the total daily dietary budget so as to reach your specific goal of maintaining, losing or gaining weight.

If you need more specific guidance on calculating your dietary budget and where you may be accumulating unsuspecting calories, contact Healthful Life MD for a FREE Consultation at



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