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healthy living summit. session notes.


Keynote speaker

Christine Palumbo, MBA, RD

  • Our society bombards us with toxic food messages, eating on the run, and meals that are extremely high in calories.
  • We are consuming about twice as many calories from snacks today as we did in the 1970s. Beverages are a huge factor in this!
  • Gluten free diets are all the rage right now; however, 93 percent of people eating gluten free do not have Celiac’s which is the primary reason for the lifestyle.
  • Cooking skills are diminishing in the millennial generation. Only 1 out of 3 cook for themselves five or more times a week!
  • Only 1 in 3 Americans are at a normal weight/BMI, and this continues to get worse. In the 1960s, the average woman was 5’3″ and weighed 140 pounds; today, she is 5’4″ and 165. The average American gains one pound a year. In 1993, 14 percent of Americans were obese; in 2008, it was a 90 percent increase to 26.5 percent!

11 tips for healthy eating:

  • Fill up on smart foods: real, whole, unprocessed, balanced. Your first meal of the day sets the stage for your whole day and how your metabolism will function. Eat your nutrients rather than taking a supplement for them. You can get the same nutrients from canned/frozen foods as from fresh. In some cases, they may be higher than those imported to your local grocery store.
  • Rethink what you drink: Moderate your intake of soft drinks. Smoothies are great when you make them at home, but commercially produced smoothies are high in calories and sugars. Coffee drinks can go as high as 800 calories! Alcohol is not necessarily bad; some drinks such as red wine do have health benefits. Most importantly, we were programmed to drink water!
  • Mindful eating: Pay attention; eat slowly, enjoy your food! How much to eat. Most of us wait too long to eat; start eating when you’re in between lightly hungry and stop when you’re almost (80 percent) full. It takes about twenty minutes for your stomach to trigger your brain when it’s full.
  • Sleep: Only 60 percent of Americans get enough sleep! When you don’t get enough sleep, it highly affects the hormones that affect your eating.
  • Natural stimulants: Exercise is better than coffee. Eating a well balanced diet will keep your blood sugar balanced.
  • Go out and play! Change the outlook on exercise from working out to finding something you enjoy. Make it fun! Natural, outdoor spaces can improve your mood!
  • Make the right thing the easy thing to do. Keep your kitchen counters clean and ready to cook. Don’t keep snacks out in the open, ready to be eaten. Use small plates to make it look like you’re eating a lot when you’re really not.
  • Laugh! Laughter is good exercise and helps reduce stress levels.
  • Chill. We are a society of multi-taskers! There needs to be a balance between work and rest. Our bodies give us signals when we need a break: fidgeting, drowsiness, etc. Rather than listening to our bodies, we find artificial ways to ignore the signs
  • Close enough is good enough. So many of us are perfectionists, which can result in procrastination, having a hard time enjoying life.
  • Eliminate “all or nothing” thinking! Remember that life happens; if you get off track, that’s okay, but get back on track.

Fueling for Fitness: Perform well and recover quickly from your workouts

Rebecca Scritchfield, RD and Heather Calcote, RD

Carbohydrates: are an energy nutrition with 4 calories per gram; we need 3-12 g/kg/day. Natural sugars and starches, grains, and beans are the ideal source.

Proteins: a body tissue nutrient that also has four calories per gram; we need 1-2 g/kg/day. You do not need animal proteins to be healthy!

Fats: an energy reserve nutrient with nine calories per gram. Fats provide energy at rest and during low intensity exercise. Unsaturated fats such as oils, avocado, nuts, and seeds are an important and healthy source.

Casual exercises versus endurance athletes:

  • Casual exercisers: Most Americans only get an average of 17 minutes per day. The recommended is 60 minutes per day. Guidelines include a meal or snack 1-2 hours before workout, water 15 minutes before the workout, hydrate throughout, and have a meal or snack within an hour after finishing.
  • Endurance athletes are those who are training, exercising 3-6 days a week, sessions last from 40 minutes to several hours, and are sometimes two a day (brick workouts).
  • Tips for endurance athletes: high carb, moderate protein, low fat meal, and 16 oz of water 1-2 hours before the workout.; 2-4 ounces every 20 minutes during exercise; get recovery nutrition as soon as possible afterwards and a meal or snack within 1 hour afterwards.
  • Fueling plans: above all else, whatever the athlete tolerates! Pre-workout food includes fresh/dried/frozen fruit, low fiber carbs, oatmeal, and peanut butter crackers. Things to avoid include dairy, juice, and too much fiber, too much caffeine or alcohol.

Hydration and recovery: Key sports nutrition essentials

  • Goal: prevent dehydration! Aim for only 2% body weight loss.
  • Goal: avoid heat illness; maintain a safe core temperature
  • Goal: avoid Hyponatremia which is water intoxication causing your body’s electrolytes to get out of balance. Eating salty foods leading up to endurance activities is important. Early signs are nausea, muscle cramps, confusion and disorientation.
  • Recovery goals: replace fluid/electrolyte losses, replete muscle glycogen, repair musicle tissue, provide “quick energy”, and avoid muscle soreness. Carbs, protein, water, and electrolytes are all important to achieve these goals. The ideal ratio in a recovery meal is 4 grams of carbs to 1 grab of protein; keep the fat low because it is hard to digest and can fill up you too much.

Promising foods:

  • Sports drinks: starting 30 minutes before, during, and 30 minutes after.
  • Fueling on the go: Your body generally stores enough glycogen for 60-75 minutes. It is important to fuel before you feel tired; 100-250 calories every hour after the first hour is a general guideline. The main thing you’re aiming for is sugar! Gu or even honey/agave are great options
  • New to the scene: tart cherry juice, coconut water
  • Recovery with chocolate milk: research shows that fat-free chocolate milk beats out car sports drinks in refueling musicles after exercise! Soy chocolate milk is a great non-dairy option.

Metabolic efficiency training: A new approach to fueling for endurance athletes

  • New book by Bob Seebohar, a sports dietician and exercise physiologist that asks: Can we teach the body to use more fat stores for energy? If you cut back on carbs at the right time in training, it trains the body to naturally burn fat more efficiently as an energy source.
  • This is a very new, hotly debated topic without a lot of research to back it up.

Take home point: We need to healthify our body image, not just “accept” ourselves! Use our voices to counter negative diet messages. Stop seeking skinny and start seeking healthy! There should be no foods labeled exclusively “good” or “bad”, but it’s all about moderation. When you restrict, it leads to binging. Normal eating is moderate restraint. Weight, measurement, and clothing size should not be the focus of health. Focus on behaviors like what you do to get and stay healthy!

Stepping Up Your Blog Photography


Note: I spent a lot of time playing with the settings Nicole was talking about during this session, so my notes aren’t the best!

  • Good lighting is so important. Knowing how to work with natural light will take your photographs to the next level.
  • Turn off the flash!
  • Step out of the direct sunlight: lots of light is great, but too much will cast a harsh shadow. You can diffuse light by putting a white sheet over the window and use white cardboard as a backdrop to bounce light back.
  • If you are in low lighting, turn up the ISO.
  • Keep it simple, avoid a crowded background.


  • AV (aperture priority mode) how to get a blurred background. You choose the aperture and the camera decides on a suitable shutter speed.
  • Aperture: relates to light. You set this by choosing F-stops. A small number is a large sized opening, and a large number is a much smaller opening. Bigger opening/smaller number = MORE LIGHT! Aperture controls the depth of the field.
  • TV (opposite of AV) you choose the shutter speed and the camera decides the correct aperture.
  • Shutter speed is measured in seconds. In low light situations, you’ll have to slow down your shutter speed to allow more light to come through. With this, you’ll be able to see the slightest movement.

Composition: rule of thirds; in a photograph, make a grid of nine sections and you want the subject to be on those lines to create interest. Create unique or interesting shots by shooing from different angles, switching between portrait and landscape, using negative space, and macro (wide-angle) shots.

Other resources: Gimp is a free software similar to Photoshop. Also, The Pioneer Woman has got some great information and ideas!

The Ups and Downs of Pressing Publish: Getting Real about the Blogging Community

Anne, Heather, Julie, Sana, and Andrea

  • New bloggers can become more well-known in the healthy living blog community primarily through participation. Be active on Twitter and in conversations in comment sections on other blogs.
  • Get registered on Healthy Living Blogs, a great new resource for healthy living bloggers around the globe.
  • The most important thing a new (or any) blogger can do is find your own voice. Don’t try to copy the well-known bloggers, but do what works for you!

The 5 W’s of Strength Training

Who: everyone!

  • To be strong and perform everyday activities with ease!
  • Increase/maintain bone and joint healthy
  • Decrease risk of diseases
  • Improve sports performance
  • Rev up your metabolism!
  • Assist with weight loss
  • Maintain healthy body fat percentage

Where: virtually anywhere (home, the gym, hotels, the park…the possibilities are endless!)


  • Time of day: personal preference
  • Before or after cardio: personal preference, but it depends on your goal. Some studies say you should do it before, but others say if you’re training for a race, do it after so your muscles are strong and fresh for the run.
  • How often: 2-3 times per week on nonconsecutive days. Do 8-10 exercises that hit all the major muscle groups, with 1-3 sets of 8-12 reps


  • What equipment do I need: varies; body weight, resistance bands, free weights, gym machines
  • What type of routine should I do: Super sets (2-3 exercises back to back, break, repeat), circuit (8-10 exercises back to back, break, repeat), or split (different muscle groups on different days)

Strength training and metabolism: Muscle is responsible for more than 25% of daily calorie burn. A pound of muscle burns 6 calories per hour, but a pound of fat burns only 2. Metabolism slows due to muscle loss, thus more lean muscle leads to a higher metabolic rate.

How do I build a routine?: Consider your goal and build an exercise selection that includes a warm up, 8-10 exercises, and cool down/stretching. To build strength/endurance, focus on higher reps, fewer sets, moderate weights

How do I…

  • Learn execises/form?: Magazines such as Self or Shape have great circuit routines; practice in front of a mirror to develop your form. When all else fails, ask a trainer.
  • Get over fear/intimidation?: Focus on yourself, not the people around you.
  • Not feel dumb or new? Remember everyone is new at some point! Journaling what you’re doing will help you see your progress over time! Keep track of what you did, what weight you used, and how it felt.
  • How to I make it fun and stay motivated?: Take a class, recruit a friend, make it a game/challenge, such as the 100 pushup challenge, listen to music!, take it outside, and mix it up!

Stop Starting Over Your Shoulder: How to Avoid the Self-Comparison Trap

Caitlin and Gena

Blogging about Food: The Upside of Food Blogging

  • Inspires us to choose new ingredients and try new foods like chia seeds or green monsters
  • Many of us would have never learned to cook without blog-spiration
  • Helps us to be more courageous and daring with what we eat and be more inclusive
  • Inspires us to eat more healthy diets, by and large

The Downside of Food Blogging

  • Food fads: allergy free, raw, diet plans, specialty lifestyles
  • Obsession with perfection: feeling that one’s diet is never perfect or “clean enough” because other bloggers eat cleaner
  • Orthorexia: “the new eating disorder” with a focus on eating healthy foods
  • Inability to draw a line of separation between oneself and others
  • Forgetting that nutrition is remarkably variable from person to person, and the field of nutrition has very little proven “right” or “wrong”

The upshot
We should focus on things like recipe ideas, culinary inspiration, inspiration to re-evaluation set ideas about other lifestyles. We should not focus on dietary advice, comparing plates to other bloggers, sudden questioning of foods we love.

Blogging about Fitness:
The good:

  • Blogging can inspire us to get out there and try something new
  • Blogging can encourage healthy workout habits
  • Blogging can help attain goals
  • Blogging can motivate us to overcome bad habits

The bad:

  • Social pressure can create Superwoman Syndrome
  • Blogging can lead to perfectionism or inadequacy

What’s your fitness reality?

  • Distinguishing your reality from other people’s reality: Can’t run? Stand out from the crowd with your own unique workout. Hate the gym? Be a unique voice for outdoor workouts. Too busy? Create a recognizable brand by squeezing in workouts in fun ways. Remember that different does not equal bad!
  • Not just blogs – magazines can pressure women to perform to certain unrealistic standards
  • Fighting Superwoman Syndrome: Look internally!

Takeaway message: Perfectionism is not healthy. You need to do what’s right for YOU.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. 08.21.10 11:59 am

    I used to feel badly about myself because I don’t like to run. But I have been loving alternating between strength training videos and yoga, with some cardio thrown into the mix. I can be fit without comparing myself to everyone else’s habit. The all or nothing thinking is horrible for me. I try to think in the “gray zone” but I am such a perfectionist!
    Thank you for all of this information. I may have to bookmark this site!

    • 08.21.10 9:32 pm

      Finding what works for you is definitely so important – you want exercise to be something fun that you can enjoy! I definitely think it’s okay if you’re not a runner! 🙂

  2. 08.21.10 6:07 pm

    Thanks for sharing all the sessions! I think the upsides and downsides of blogging sounds the most interesting. I bet that sparked lots of discussion.

  3. 08.21.10 11:40 pm

    Wow! Remarkable recap! Thanks for all the tips 😉

  4. 08.22.10 2:16 pm

    I am SO excited to have found your blog! I live in Fennville, MI. Probably an hour from Grand Rapids!

    I just found your blog through Faith, Fitness, Fun blog. Feel free to check out my blog The Nutritionist Reviews too!

    Have a wonderful day!

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