Tag Archives: weight loss


What’s your reason for quitting smoking or overeating or acting out in anger?  The answer is an important one because the rationale has to be strong enough to keep you on the path.  Sure it could add years to your life, but what are you living for?

As a Pilates Instructor, weight-loss is often popular goal for clients.  I could recite all the health reasons why losing weight is beneficial but like quitting smoking, I think most people already know why excess weight is bad for health. When I pushed them to be specific about why they wanted to lose weight, here’s what I heard:

  • I want to be a better role model for my daughter
  • I want to hike in Vietnam and keep pace with the front of the group
  • I want to look/feel better naked

Specific, personal, and self-determined – that’s a golden combination.

Once you’ve determined your strong motivator, the next step is figure out WHY you do what you do and put some strategies in play. Sometimes the answers can be simple.  For example, a client told me that she whenever she passes a fancy cupcake shop she can’t stop herself from going inside and eating a few.  When asked what she could do differently, she said, “I guess I could take a different bus route.”  Bingo.  She solved her own problem.  And that’s the key.  Good coaches/therapists can help you by asking the right questions so you can develop strategies that work for you.

I recently listened to a lecture by Buddhist nun Pema Chodron. She talked about how patience is the antidote to so many of our struggles and certainly it applies to addictions of every kind.  If we can add the balm of patience – just wait before you eat yet another cupcake or light up another smoke – we are one step closer to making a permanent change.

When we scratch the wound and give into our addictions we do not allow the wound to heal. Pema Chodron.

It will take time.  But keep taking steps toward your goal. Others have done it and so can you.  The choices you make in this moment will and do make a difference.

What one thing can you do right now that can help you quit?

Define it and do it.



When it comes to achieving health and fitness goals, the buddy system has a proven success record.  It keeps you accountable, provides companionship on the journey, and gives rise to a little competitive spirit. Just yesterday a client of mine was talking about how she starting a walking program.  Her daughter, 14 years old, wanted to run but mom didn’t want her jogging around their neighborhood alone. They found a nearby outdoor track where mom could walk and keep an eye on her daughter. Within a short while, mom started running too.

Include both short term and long term goals to help you stay on task.  For example, if you want to lose 10 pounds, set a realistic target weight loss date (say 2 months) then set mini goals along the way (about 1.5 pounds per week). Then work your plan with your buddy.  Hold yourselves accountable and perhaps include a challenge – the person who wins is rewarded with a professional massage, paid for by the loser.  If you both win, treat yourselves to a spa day.


Everyone has a reason for wanting to losing weight or get more fit.  Be specific.  And remind yourself often.  One person may want to lose weight to be a better role model for their daughter; another to more easily trek during the next exotic vacation; or just to look sleeker in a slinky summer dress.  What matters is that it matters to you. 

Purina and Jenny Craig have teamed to help people and their pets slim down. It’s called the Power of Two program. “The support of a weight loss buddy can be invaluable, and a four-legged friend fills the role without judgment,” says Purina Certified Weight Coach Heather Prendergast. She adds that exercising with pets can actually help boost both the duration and intensity level. According to researchers in Canada, dog owners walk nearly twice as much as people without dogs, and a University of Missouri study determined that walking speed increases 28 percent with a dog.

Among the special offers with sign-up is a choice of a free consultation from Jenny Craig, for up to 90 days (plus the cost of food and shipping if applicable), and a $15 veterinary visit rebate with the purchase of Purina Veterinary Diets® OM Overweight Management® Canine Formula, available by prescription only.

So grab a buddy, build plan and reach your goals, together.



Women complain to me about their menopause middle and ask how to get rid of it.  Exercise, good nutrition and sound sleep –  the traits of a healthy lifestyle at any age, are ever more important at middle age.  According to Nancy Clark, author of the upcoming new edition of the best-selling Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook (Human Kinetics, November 2013), women do not always gain weight during menopause. “Yes, women aged 45 to 50 commonly gain weight as fat settles in and around the abdominal area,” Clark says. “But, these changes are due more to lack of exercise and a surplus of calories than to a reduction of hormones.”

STAY ACTIVEPilates ball exercise
In a three-year study of more than 3,000 women (initial age 42 to 52 years), the average weight gain was 4.6 pounds. The weight gain occurred in all women, regardless of their menopause status. According to Clark, weight gain is not caused by the hormonal shifts of menopause, but by other culprits associated with midlife. That is lack of exercise and excess calories.

Middle age women (and men) tend to be less active which is especially unhealthful as we age.  We need to keep our muscles strong and flexible for many reasons: better balance, good bone mass, and for weight control.

more muscle = faster metabolism = increased calorie burn

You’ve probably dieted a gazillion times by now, has it led to permanent weight loss or are you dieting several times year?  That ought to tell you something about how effective that approach is.  There is no magic bullet when it comes to food or fitness.

What does work is eating fresh, whole foods that are nutrient dense. That is foods that pack a lot nutrition for the amount of calories – think apple vs pretzels.  They may have the same calories but your body gets more satisfaction out of that apple.

Choose movement that you enjoy.  If you like boxing – great! Weight-lifting, Pilates?  Perfer bike riding to dancing?  Do what feels good.  Mix up some resistance training with activities that increase your heart rate enough so that you can talk but not sing while you are doing it and you’ve got a good aerobic pace.

exercise 3 – 5x/wk for at least 30-minutes.

Once you experience how good it feels to live in a strong, fit and healthy body, you’ll want to keep it that way.  You only have one body, one life.  It is mostly up to you how you’re going to feel in it.  Of course, you’ll probably reduce or get rid of the menopause middle too.  That’s just the bonus.  Feeling great in your own skin is the real prize.


how to lose a pound a week


A pound has about 3,500 calories.  To lose a pound a week (considered very reasonable and doable by most dietitians) you need to reduce 500 calories a day.  That could be a combination of diet and exercise – the best way to go.

EASY WAYS TO CUT CALORIES: (each tip about 100 or more)

  • use nonfat milk instead of whole milk and a no cal sweeter such as stevia or truvia in your coffee
  • skip the bagel and have a banana, hard-boiled egg or English muffin instead
  • substitute high fiber, high protein extend crisps for potato chips
  • use yogurt or mustard instead of mayo
  • half the rice or pasta and double the veggies
  • eat an open face sandwich with only one slice of bread


Most people burn about 400 calories/hour when at a moderate rate on the treadmill.  You an break that up into 2 30-minute sessions or 3-20 minute sessions in any given day.  Just ensure you’re at a high enough heart rate. An easy way to gauge is if you can talk but not sing while you’re exercising.


exercise 4xweek = 1,600 calories burned

cut 300 calories daily = 2,100 calories saved

total: 3,700 calories (or at least a pound a week down)

Play with these concepts and come up with your own food and fitness plan so that will not only fit in your jeans come Jan 1 you just might be flaunting it in your skinny jeans!


Jovanka JoAnn Milivojevic


Eating healthfully is an evolutionary process – a gradual shift in your food choices and eating behaviors over time.  Naturally, the food you eat and enjoy changes as you grow from a child into an adult. However, young children can teach us a lot about how to eat sensibly as they are born with built-in appetite wisdom. Like the gas gauge on your car that tells you when it’s time to fuel up and when it’s time to stop, children intuitively know when they are hungry or full – they are masters of self-regulation with food.

It is very telling when a child only eats a little and loses interest in food – the child is full. That’s the end of the story regardless of how long you’ve slaved in the kitchen! Fast forward 20 years – that child (now an adult) most likely will keep eating that gourmet meal because it’s not only delicious, but it’s there. Studies have shown that grown-ups tend to eat what is put in front of them – even if it’s too much.  Most of us shut off our internal cues of hunger and fullness – because our natural appetite instincts are overridden by the allure of second helpings and tasty desserts. The danger in this is obvious – overeating and weight gain – not great for health!

So what are some strategies to successfully rewrite your eating script to live a healthier, happier life?  Take a look at the check list below for some sure-fire ways to rethink what you eat and drink forever.

  • Avoid meal skipping, especially breakfast.  While all meals are a chance to get valuable nutrients, breakfast truly is the mac-daddy of your daily meal triad!
  • Do daily food jotting by keeping a notebook or your phone with you to write down what you eat and drink 24/7.  You’ll be surprised where excess, empty calories are coming in!
  • Swap sliced chopped or diced vegetables for refined carbs snacks like white flour-based crackers, cookies and chips.
  • Banish the regular soda for mineral water or zero-calorie fruit infused water.
  • Aim for the better butters such nut butters like peanut or almond butter.
  • Go meatless at least one day a week (it’s better for you and the planet!).  Make meals with plant foods like as tofu, beans, nuts, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.

Excerpted from The Essential Guide to Healthy and Healing Foods by

Victoria Shanta Retelny, RD, LDN with Jovanka JoAnn Milivojevic


Do you want to lose weight? Stress less?  Exercise more?  Thrive instead of just survive?  A wellness coach can get you there.

I know you’ve heard these promises many, many times before.  Weight loss is a multi-million dollar industry.  There are countless books, seminars, and workout DVDs that promise you’ll lose weight and feel great.  Some with outrageous claims like lose weight while you sleep, or the all chocolate diet.

Why does wellness coaching work where other programs fail?

Because it is designed specifically around you. Wellness coaching inspires you to reshape your life using your personal strengths, motivations, and passions.  It’s about looking at what’s right, what’s working and how to use that positivity to fuel your wellness goals.


An athletic coach helps athletes reach their highest athletic potential; a wellness coach helps you reach yours. Wellness coaches are specially trained professional who help you design and reach goals specific to you. No one-size-fits-all diets, fitness, or stress-reduction programs here.  The whole process is designed around you.

How?  By asking the right questions and setting the right goals at the right time.  For example, what motivates you to lose weight?  Motivations are personal and include everything from desiring to play with grand children to feeling sexier to walking pain-free during exotic hiking treks. Motivations inspire your journey. Your existing strengths empower to stay the course.


It’s exciting to discover your unique strengths.  Everyone is good at some thing.  At many things really. In wellness coaching, we use these strengths to catapult you toward reaching your goals.  For example, perhaps “love of learning” is strength for you.  Then reading articles about health and fitness; experimenting with new fitness routines; and/or trying new food combinations might be relevant to you.  Or perhaps “passion/zeal” is top strength.  Discovering what you’re passionate about and using that as tactic will help you reach your goals in way that is interesting and fun.  To discover your top strengths, take the VIA questionaire. (scroll half way down the page for quiz)


The process of wellness coaching progresses through several stages:

  • You provide background information through a well-being assessment so that you and your coach are well-informed on the key issues, including medical considerations.
  • During the first 60-90 minute coaching session, you identify your priorities and develop a personal wellness plan including a vision, three month goals and the first steps.
  • In subsequent 30-40 minute weekly coaching sessions you and your coach review the progress toward your vision and goals, explore and resolve the most pressing issues, learn something new, and then agree on a set of goals for the following week. You will enjoy plenty of ah-ah insights along the way.
  • By the end of three months, you can expect to reach more than 70% of your three-month goals and feel energized and confident to embark on new areas with or without your coach.


We all need someone to believe in us, help us, and inspire us. I believe that we can reach our wellness goals. But we need to give ourselves a true chance. We need to accept that long lasting changes require time, patience, a sense of a sense of humor, and lightness of being.

I’ve helped clients make inspiring discoveries about their motivations and be surprised by their capabilities. As a wellness coach, I can help you uncover and use your strengths to get you where you want to be.  It’s an exhilarating journey!

If you’d like more information or a free mini-session, contact me at JoAnnMil@comcast.net

In Health,

Jovanka JoAnn Milivojevic

Self-Control Secrets

Self-Control Secrets!

It’s not easy to have self-control these days – don’t smoke, eat less, exercise more. At the same time we are bombarded by endless commericals of gooey pizzas and rich chocolate candies. Talk about conflicting messages! It’s a wonder we have any self-control at all.  In my Health Talk, the Seven Secrets of Self-Control, I share what I learned from top researchers and behavioral and sports psychologists. I discovered a lot about what sabbotages self-control and more importantly, what we can do about it. Here are a few insights:


  1. Expect to Fail. Self control is about behavior change and whether we want to lose weight, stop smoking or eat more heathfully, we have to learn to do something new.  Failure is a natural part of the learning process. Like learning to ride a bike, at first you don’t succeeed. You bobble and may be even fall but eventaully you self-correct and riding that bike becomes second nature.  So, too for healthy habits.
  2. Shift Your Attitude.  We often beat our selves up instead of self correcting: I blew it, I’ll never get it right, it’s too hard! Sound familiar? Instead, ask yourself: what happened? Is there anything I can do about it now?  And what can I do to prevent this from happening in the future?
  3. Create a Supportive Environment. It’s easier to avoid the cookies and chips when they’re still in the grocery store.  It’s easier to control portions when you don’t have large bowls of pasta on the kitchen table. Studies show the people with whom we eat can affect our behavior too. If you’re friends eat well and are active, chances are you will do the same. The buddy system works. So grab a buddy and support each other in meeting your health goals.

Click here for more information about my Health Talks.