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Coaches’ Tips to Maintain Weight Through the Holidays

December 16, 2018

by Susan Pasqual

With the Holiday season in full swing, many people wonder if it’s at all possible to maintain or even lose weight during the holiday season. I try to always be the “glass-half-full” type of person who believes that anyone can succeed if they set their mind to it, but perseverance isn’t always all you need. Especially over the holidays, little preparation may be in order so I asked a few of our TLS® Weight Management Coaches for some top tips they give their clients for a healthy holiday! Here’s what they said:

TLS® Coach Ellen Levine

Call ahead of time, find out what is being served
to determine if it makes sense to eat there or eat before you go.
I think this healthy holiday tip is instrumental (and pretty easy with the help of Google) if you are going to a restaurant. If you are going to someone’s home, I recommend that you call and simply mention that you are on an eating program for your health and want to know if there is anything you can/should bring. I think stating that you’re doing this “for your health” gets better and more accurate answers than opening with “I’m on a diet”.

Bring something healthy and delicious to share.Instead of asking the host “what should I bring?” you can simply state ‘I will be bringing [insert healthy dish]’. Not only does this healthy holiday tip help the host by letting them know what dish will already be provided, but now you know exactly one thing you can enjoy!

Don’t drink your calories, sugar, fat, and carbs!Read: Avoid alcohol and fancy drinks.

Alcohol typically lowers inhibitions which can cause you to crave foods you otherwise would haven’t thought twice about and the empty calories from the drinks themselves are only setting you back further. Of course, if you are interested in an occasional alcoholic beverage to help foster a little holiday cheer then be sure to stay away from drinks that include ingredients like juice, syrups, creams, and sodas. Instead, opt for ones with soda water and fruit!

Use exercise to burn some extra calories, help avoid weight gain, and decrease stress.In short…fit in your fitness. This healthy holoday tip is especially important over the holidays since you’re juggling so much additional stress and faced with more temptation than usual! It’s as simple as carving out 30 minutes on Christmas morning for an in-home workout, brisk walk, or even shoveling the driveway! You will feel so much better and more in control after a good ‘ole sweat fest.

Always focus on the celebration, not the food!The holidays are about togetherness, love, and gratitude! Focus on what you can bring to the situation, not what you can take from it. Help out at the events as much as you can, be present, and connect with people you don’t see often or those you meet.

TLS® Coach Ellen said it perfectly! It isn’t about the pumpkin pie; It’s the love of those who made it for you.

TLS® Coach Jessica Michaud

Get ActiveCreate a calorie deficit by exercising to burn off a few extra calories before you even begin to indulge in your favorite foods.

There seems to be a theme to this healthy holiday tip…fit in your fitness! Exercise really helps especially during the holiday craziness.

Eat BreakfastEating a nutritious meal with protein and fiber before you arrive takes the edge off your appetite and allows you to be more discriminating in your food and beverage choices.

Just because your holiday lunch is jam-packed with delicious, unhealthy foods doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat your healthy breakfast! Fueling your body with a healthy breakfast not only keeps you full and fueled, but it also prevents you from overindulging on appetizers and starts your body + metabolism off in the right way!

Lighten UpMake your recipes healthier with less fat, sugar, and calories. There’s a great blog post that covers a few baking swaps, but here are a few suggestions as well:

  • Use fat-free and low salt chicken broth to baste the turkey, make gravy, + flavor other recipes.
  • Use sugar substitutes in place of sugar
  • Substitute fruit purees in place of oil for baked goods.
  • Reduce oil and butter wherever you can.
  • Try plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream in creamy dips, mashed potatoes, and casseroles.

Making healthier holiday food that has less fat and sugar seems pretty easy, doesn’t it? And these substitutes are actually great tasting!

Police Your PortionsBefore you fill your plate, survey the buffet table and decide the best and most fulfilling way to fill your plate is, then select reasonable-sized portions of the foods you know you really want. Try to choose whole grains, fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, salads, and other foods with lots of water and fiber to ensure you’re building a balanced plate that boosts satiety. White turkey meat, plain vegetables, roasted sweet potatoes, defatted gravy, and pumpkin pie tend are great choices because they tend to be lower in fat and calories.

Go Easy on AlcoholYou see this healthy holiday tip again here because – let’s face it – alcohol is social! It’s very common to enjoy some family cheer together, just don’t forget that alcohol’s empty calories add up quickly.

Be RealisticFor this healthy holiday tip, I like to believe the holiday season is really just 2 days in my family: Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Those are generally the only days I eat differently, and I won’t put on excess weight from just 2 days. Now, attending holiday parties 2-3 times per week? That might be what causes your weight gain.

The holiday season is a time for celebration and, with busy schedules and so many extra temptations, this may be the time to strive for weight maintenance instead of weight loss.

Focus on Family and FriendsThe holidays are not just about the delicious bounty of food.; It’s a time to celebrate relationships with family and friends! Think of it as a work vacation. You just want to unwind and spend time with family and friends, but we don’t take a week off from work to jump overboard away from our healthy habits. The same goes for the holidays!

TLS® Coach Suzanne Patrick

If you don’t want to be rude by refusing foods OR are around tempting foods,
grab an appetizer size plate + plan to only fill it once!
This is the perfect way to control your intake and not upset your host! Most parties have something healthy (which you can totally be the one to bring) which is an easy way to fill up on foods that won’t set you back.

Did you eat too much? Feel bloated or gassy?
Hot lemon water can help settle an uneasy tummy.
Often times when we eat foods we don’t usually eat, our digestive tract gets affected (and not in a fun way). A great way to alleviate the negative side effects of indulgence is to sip on warm/hot water with the juice of ½ fresh lemon.

Fill up with satisfying and filling foods first.
Start with protein and veggies
then carbs/starches.Start with those veggies, and load up! Whether they’re appetizers or sides, filling up on quality carbs like vegetables helps you not overdo it on simple carbs and white flour foods when the main course comes around.

Cap the holiday or party with movement like a walk, the gym, or a fitness class.
BONUS – Working out with buddies is more enjoyable, motivating, and you can hold each other accountable.Well, there you see it again, but this time it’s recommended to go with a friend! Plan the exercise meeting beforehand and be sure to tell your partner that you are happy that she/he will go with you to ensure you fit in your fitness! It’s hard to skip a workout when you’ve got a friend waiting on you.

Eat mindfully, savor the flavor, eat slowly, and socialize.Do you realize how many people only chew 1-2 times before they swallow? Chewing your food allows your brain and belly to communicate better…meaning you will recognize when you are full before you hit the “oh no, I’ve overdone it” stage! By eating too fast, you set yourself up for bloating, discomfort, and you miss out on the socializing that’s happening around you.

Brush your teeth after a meal to freshen your palette and help reduce the desire to eat.It’s true! Have you ever eaten something you enjoyed with a mouth full peppermint? Nope…me neither

TLS® Coach Dr. Nancy Miller-Ihli

Substitute almond flour/coconut oil for regular flour/fat for healthier cookies.This not only helps reduce the amount of unhealthy fats + high-GI carbs, but they actually are delicious tasting! You won’t even know the difference.

For some holiday fun consider making a veggie gingerbread house.I guess this is where we go against our parents advice and we play with our food! Being creative delivers your food item with love and a little laughter.

I guess it is ultimately true that we can all thrive instead of just surviving the holidays!
Utilizing some of these tips will help you along the way and ensure your end to
2018 is packed with love without packing on the pounds!

Holiday Tips/November 26, 2018


The holiday season is a busy time with so much to do, attend and plan. Despite this being the season of joy, it can feel significantly less than joyful if you’re also juggling feelings of being overwhelmed, depressed, anxious, or stressed. To help get you through, we’ve got 5 tips for mental wellbeing over the holidays.

What Causes Holiday Stress?

Many factors can trigger negative feelings or cause the “holiday blues”: stress, fatigue, unrealistic expectations, over-commercialization, financial constraints, and tension are all included.  The social, time, and financial demands of shopping, parties, + reunions place such a strain on our bodies and emotions that we rarely have the time to address in the moment! Of course, there are also a large number of those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder or chronic mental health such as depression or anxiety.

It’s always helpful to have a few ways to help yourself out so you can actually enjoy the holidays! We’ve got some of the most common holiday triggers and tips for you below. 

5 Mental Health Tips for Holiday Stress


There are so many expenses during the holidays, and gifts can add up quickly! Add in travel, food, and any emergencies that might pop up along the way, and you could be staring down a mountain of debt that you never intended to accrue.  If finances are causing you anxiety or unneeded stress, having a set budget for gifts, food, and travel is a helpful way to stay on track!  Once you have a budget, you can further cut down on costs with one of these alternatives to one-to-one gift giving:

  • Offer to swap gift exchanging for low-cost activities with loved ones
  • Offer to have someone over for a home-cooked meal, or plan a coffee date
  • Set spending limits
  • Make homemade gifts
  • Organize a Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchange

Travel costs can also be a large problem, but you have a few options here as well! You can ask family members to skip gifts in favor of holiday travel money, use video chats when you can’t be somewhere in person, or offer to visit another time of year when travel is less expensive. Remember that you don’t have to feel guilty when looking at what others are spending! After all, the season is about togetherness – not who can rack up the highest credit card debt.

Set Realistic Expectations

If you’ve ever seen a Christmas movie, you know just how far from perfect things can get when perfection is what you’re striving for!  We expect ourselves to be the perfect host, have the perfect gifts, and show up with stories about your perfect life with your perfect family. Is all of that really possible? Nope.

The commercialization of the holiday season often adds a lot of unnecessary stress to an already hectic time. Things don’t often go just as planned them to, and there are two things to do when this happens:

  1. Go in with realistic expectations (read: it’s okay to be human! Everyone else is, too.)
  2. Have a backup plan in place

Stock your pantry with a few extra essentials (chicken stock, butter, eggs) just in case a dish goes away, have a few gifts on-hand in case one gets broken or lost, and expect a few arguments or spills along the way! You can’t control everything, so just do what you can within your means and focus on the good company.

Remember, You Can Say “No”

There are only so many functions you can attend or host! Trying to be too many places or needing your house to look like the cover of Better Homes + Gardens for 6 weeks straight is going to turn those get-togethers from enjoyable to overwhelming!

Don’t be afraid to back out of a few invites or even drop your annual party. Be patient with yourself, especially this time of year; it’s normal to feel like skipping events or breaking from tradition. Explain to others that you’re unwell or simply overwhelmed – we promise you won’t be alone.

If you’re someone who struggles with crowds, don’t push yourself too hard and risk ruining your memory of the season. If stores with too many shoppers are too much, simply shop online and enjoy all of the perks of the holiday deals without the long lines + stress!

Make Time for Self-Care

Schedule some time for yourself on your calendar over the busy holiday season, and treat it like a doctor’s appointment! The idea of self-care is often mistaken for selfishness or neglecting others, but that’s not true! Self-care is actually an act of love and an essential part of stress management. After all, how are you going to be the life of the holiday festivities if you’re feeling run-down + frazzled? Here are a few ideas that only take a few minutes, but could be just what you need to get back to 100%:

  • Take a nap
  • Listen to music
  • Soak in the tub
  • Enjoy some light exercise
  • Make a cup of tea or a healthy snack
  • Read a book
  • Incorporate mindfulness
  • Focus on gratitude
  • Meditate
  • Take your vitamins or grab some Bliss®
  • Call a friend

Don’t Drink Your Feelings

Mulled wine, spiked eggnog, cocktails, and ciders can seem like the perfect addition to your holiday, but it’s important to proceed with caution. The stress of the season can easily build up, causing some to use alcohol to help cope with the negative feelings! There is no doubt that the holidays are an excellent time to unwind with your favorite groups of people, but you should remember that alcohol can lead to an even lower mood and leave you in a position to overindulge or just feel awful at the end of what should be an enjoyable night.

You don’t have to abstain entirely, especially if you know you (not your emotions) are in control, but it’s helpful to set some effective guidelines to make certain that you don’t go overboard

  • Avoid Feeling PressuredJust because those around you are drinking doesn’t mean you have to! If you feel that it could make your mood worse or you plan on driving later, politely decline or ask for a non-alcoholic drink, such as water or tea!
  • Stick to Your Health GoalsIf you’ve been working hard all year to stick to that TLS® Weight Loss Plan, then focus on that when the drinks come around! Chances are, you’ve already indulged in desserts or snacks so ask whether it’s worth deviating any further from your health + fitness goals for a drink. With a plan in place, stick to your goals and you’ll be rewarded when the New Year comes around!
  • Follow the “1-2 Rule”This tip is helpful when you only want one drink but feel strange not having anything in your hand. Plus, it helps keep you hydrated! The rule is simple: for every alcoholic drink you have, follow it with two alcohol-free options like soda water, tea, or even coffee.

By: Tayler Glenn

If you’re worried about how you or a loved one is going to handle the holiday stress, consider reaching out to a professional who can provide the support you or them needs to have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season!

November 2018

Thanksgiving is a great time to reflect for what we are most thankful. Having gratitude regularly helps keep you healthy and in the moment.

I am feeling gratitude for so many things.

With the help of folks here in our community, I was able to become officially certified as a TLS Coach. This is a big deal to me and I am thrilled. This means that I am able to help more people in more ways.
It has been my pleasure to work with you this year and I look forward to working with you or your friends as needed in the future. I appreciate your referrals and welcome your calls, texts or emails.
I am also thankful for the Love of God, family and friends, my health, time to spend with the people I love and my work in Helping people regain their health and maintain a healthier lifestyle
My peace and gratitude to you.

May your holiday be filled with joy, gratitude, love, laughs, and soulful food.

Please join us for our next weight loss event is December 7, 2018. I’ll explain the lifestyle approach to living a healthy lifestyle.

October 15, 2018

How do we manage making good food? I'm glad you asked. It's all about taking the time to prepare it. You are worth the time it takes and in the long run, you'll save time and empty calories for it. This is my plan for success. Go to grocery store with list in hand, shopping the perimeter of the store for the most part because that is where we find our proteins and our fruits and veggies. Once we get all that goodness home, we set out to wash and prepare it for use, either as snack or ingredients for cooking.

We even cook up a few pounds of chicken breasts to add to meals as needed. Boiled eggs are a snap for make ahead. Fish cooks super fast.

Breakfast is the most important meal. We often take our process veggies and sautee them and serve over spinach, either wilted or raw, and a side of eggs 3 - 6 eggs, not whole.

Lunch can be some of the veggies prepared and perhaps some of the chicken we precooked earlier in the week.

Supper often includes chicken and lots of veggies. Have you tried the spiralizer for zucchini and other veggies?

Meals on the go are a cinch once you’ve planned ahead.

Being prepared may help you stave off the hangries and the window foods.

Got questions? email me:


October 15, 2018

By: Tayler Glenn

As soon as October 1st was in sight, we whipped out pumpkin everything with absolutely no shame! While the weather may suggest that summer is still in the air, our taste buds are saying something different – Fall vibes are here to stay! There’s something just so comforting about the thick, chewy taste of pumpkin bites, bars, and breads – but the sugar and unhealthy fats? Not so much.

Enjoy a lighter take on your soul-warming favorites with these 7 essential high-protein pumpkin recipes that are packed full of flavor without all the sugar!

Flourless Pumpkin Breakfast Brownies

These healthy flourless pumpkin breakfast brownies are moist, dense, and packed with protein goodness! Without the addition of flour, sugar, or oil, this recipe qualifies as a great start to the day and a pretty great way to end one, too! Perfect for a make-ahead breakfast or snack, these brownies are gluten-free, plant-based (if using TLS® Plant-Based Protein), dairy-free, and sugar-free. Plus, they even qualify as paleo!

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Serves: Makes 12 servings


  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup nut butter
  • 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1-2 scoops of TLS® Protein Powder – Vanilla


  • Preheat oven to 350 + spray a small loaf pan (6×6) with nonstick spray
  • Mix all your ingredients until a thick batter is formed
  • Pour the mixture into the greased pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out just clean from the center.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan completely. For the best texture, refrigerate after it has cooled and keep refrigerated at all times.


Pumpkin Spiced Power Pancakes

It’s easy for a healthy, whole grain pancake breakfast to turn into a “dessert before 9 a.m.” situation, even with the best intentions in mind.  Overwhelmed with toppings and syrups that pack in empty calories and quick sugars, many of us simply stay away from this higher-carb meal. Worry no more! Low in sugar and high in, you’ll know you’ve done your body a favor with these pumpkin pancakes!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Serves: Makes 1 serving


  • 2 Tbsp. gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 svg. TLS® Shake – Vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sweetener
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 T almond milk


  • In large bowl, mix flour, protein powder, spices, sweetener, salt, and baking powder.
  • In a small bowl, whisk egg whites with the vanilla extract.
  • Add to the dry mixture and stir until you’ve reached a dough-like consistency.
  • Add pumpkin and slowly add the milk one tablespoon at a time until a thick batter is formed.
  • Heat a frying pan on low heat and spray with cooking oil.
  • Once pan is extremely hot, pour 1/4 cup servings of the batter and cover.
  • Flip the pancakes once they begin to bubble and edges begin to brown then cover again for 1 minute.
  • Repeat until all the batter is used

Top these with pumpkins seeds, spices, or sautéed apples for a delicious morning start!

Edible Pumpkin Cookie Dough

If you’re a fan of no-bake recipes (or just eating most of the cookie batter before it makes it to the oven) then this healthy cookie dough just became your new fall staple! You can thicken it up to create a super crumbly texture, add in pumpkin seeds or almonds for a healthy crunch, or add liquid + serve it up with apples as a great dip! However you like it, we love how easy this recipe is to adapt to paleo, gluten-free, vegan, or anything diet between. You can even keep it keto by opting for liquid stevia!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Serves: Makes 1 serving


  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup nut butter
  • 1/4 cup sticky sweetener of choice
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1-2 tbsp almond milk
  • 1-2 tbsp chocolate chips (optional)


  • In a small mixing bowl, combine pumpkin nut butter, and sweetener.
  • Add coconut flour one tablespoon at a time, adding more until desired consistency is reached.
  • Stir through chocolate chips, if desired, and enjoy! 

1-Minute Chocolate Pumpkin Mug Cake

Unlike the typical white flour, butter, oil, and sugar that fills traditional cakes, this one opts to combine the most texture of pumpkin + rich taste of chocolate protein powder to create a more healthful approach! This perfectly portioned treat is a no-mess recipe where the natural pumpkin taste complements the earthy, rich notes of dark cocoa, and it’s ready to eat after only a minute’s prep!

Prep Time: 1 minute

Serves: Makes 1 serving


  • 1 Tbsp. pumpkin puree
  • 1 svg. TLS® Whey Protein
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sweetener of choice*
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 large egg


  • Grease a microwave safe bowl with cooking spray and add the protein powder, baking powder, coconut flour, sweetener of choice, cocoa powder and mix well.
  • Add the egg, pumpkin puree, and add to the dry mixture.
  • Add the milk of choice, continuing to add milk until a very thick batter is formed.
  • Top with chocolate chips and microwave for 60 seconds, or until just cooked.


Pumpkin Spice Protein Bars

Pumpkin Spice deserves its own season, in our humble opinion. Until that day comes, we’re taking in all things #PSL with these flavorful, healthy protein bars!  They’re thick, chewy, and perfect for those days when you need to grab a quick snack or something to tide you over as you’re running out the door.  No matter what, these are always a healthier option than any Pumpkin Spice Latte calling to you from that local coffee shop. You’ve just got to love having a healthier, tastier option, right?

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Serves: Makes 6 servings


  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 scoop TLS® Shake – Vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp. granulated sweetener of choice
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp espresso powder or instant coffee
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup but butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. almond milk
  • Cinnamon and granulated sweetener of choice, to coat bites in (optional)


  • Line a small 6 x 6 pan with parchment paper
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, TLS® protein powder, sweetener, espresso powder, + pumpkin pie spice.
  • In microwave or stovetop, heat nut butter with sweetener until combined.
  • Mix in vanilla extract.
  • Pour wet mixture and pumpkin into the dry mixture and mix well, adding either more milk or flour to reach desired consistency.
  • Transfer to pre-lined tray and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Once firm, cut into bars and coat in cinnamon/sweetener mixture.


Healthy Pumpkin Protein Cookies

This recipe checks all our boxes for the Fall season: easy, fast, healthy, and budget-friendly! Without using butter, sugar, or oil, we’re pretty impressed with this new staple! Whether you pair it with a cup of coffee, grab one for post-workout refuel, or sneak these healthier options into the cupboard for the little ones in the house, you can’t go wrong!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Serves: Makes 16 servings


  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup TLS® Shake
  • 1/3 cup ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips for topping


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees + spray baking sheet with cooking spray
  • In a medium mixing bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
  • Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, then wet ingredients. Combine wet ingredients first, then stir the entire mixture together
  • Scoop 2 tablespoons of dough onto baking sheet for each cookie and flatten slightly as they don’t spread when they bake
  • Top with chocolate chips if desired, then bake for 8-10 minutes, or until set.


Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse

This high-protein pumpkin recipe for a rich mousse is a creamy take on our favorite pumpkin cheesecake, just better! Packed with protein and fiber while remaining low in sugar and calories, this recipe is one that will leave both you and your sweet tooth satisfied without undoing a hard week’s worth of healthy choices. Add a handful of low-sugar granola or some graham cracker crumbles, and you’ve got a crowd pleaser for the 2018 holiday season!

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Serves: Makes 2-4 servings


  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 svg. TLS® Shake – Vanilla (optional)
  • Graham crackers, to serve (optional)


  • Add all ingredients to blender except for graham crackers
  • Blend until smooth then place in freezer to set
  • When ready to serve, top with graham crackers and cinnamon



Our Lunch and Learn series will continue to be a place where we gather to eat and learn about wellness and weight loss. Each month we will give you some tips on better eating and better living. Especially through the holidays that will fast approach.

Call or text to reserve your place now! 828 699-6996

December 28, 2018, @ United Federal Credit Union, 3674 Hendersonville Hwy, Fletcher

January 4, 2019, @ United Federal Credit Union, 1441 Patton Ave, Asheville

It is time for you to make yourself and your health a priority. You are worth it.
We can help you or your family with: More energy? Weight loss? Pain / Inflammation? Blood Pressure, Cholesterol? Digestive health? Stress, Anxiety, Depression? Sleep? Skin health? Reduce prescription drugs?
Taste Some Samples • Enjoy a Nutritional Shake Learn how you can FEEL BETTER & LIVE LONGER while we have some fun.
Bring your own lunch to enjoy during the presentation.
I am your wellness and weight loss coach! Whether you have 5 or 100 lbs to lose. I’ll teach and coach you how to have a healthier body while we focus on losing fat and inches on the way to your goal or optimal weight.
JOIN US - There is nothing more important than your health!
Please RSVP to or text "Lunch" to 828 699-6996

njoy your own lunch while learning.
Please RSVP to or text "Lunch" to 828 699-6996

September 2018

By Ashley Purnell

Close your eyes and think of fall. What’s the first smell that comes to mind? Pumpkin? Cinnamon? Apple? There are so many foods and flavors associated with fall, most of which are unhealthy. It may be tradition to order the seasonal drinks at the coffee shop or spend a day in the kitchen baking your grandma’s famous desserts, but those choices have consequences on your health. Read on to learn what foods you should avoid this fall.

Pumpkin Flavored Coffee

If you’re a big fan of pumpkin, don’t give into pumpkin season at your favorite coffee shop. Skip the coffee shop altogether and make your own at home where you can control how much of what goes into your drink. The flavored coffees contain a large amount of sugar, condensed milk, pumpkin puree, plus add the whipped cream on top.


There’s something about fall that puts people in the mood to bake. Maybe it’s all of the delicious seasonal ingredients or possibly the chilly weather, either way, be conscious about what you eat. Pies are seen more in the fall and winter, especially as the holidays draw closer. It seems everywhere you turn there’s a pumpkin pie, apple pie, or another enticing flavor taunting you. Loaded with carbs and sugar, even fruit filled pies are your waistline’s worst nightmare!

Fall Breads

There are few things better than the smell of fresh baked bread, especially when they are made with fall ingredients. It’s a trap! The tempting aroma may fill your house, and also your clothes! The sugary ingredients turn already high glycemic bread into a decadent dessert loaf. Skip the added sugars and carbs and opt for a healthier delight.

Instead, try these delicious fruits and vegetables that are in season during fall:


Reach for a Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Gala, or one of over 20 more varieties of apple each with their own flavor to add to your salad or eat as a snack. Don’t forget to eat the skin—it contains healthy flavonoids. Remember, an apple a day keeps the doctor away? That’s because apples are full of antioxidants and dietary fiber.

Harvest season: August-November


While pumpkin is on the high end of the glycemic scale, it’s rich in potassium and a good source of vitamin B. If you’re currently following the TLS Weight Loss Solution lifestyle and low glycemic eating, opt for a pumpkin extract to still enjoy the favorite fall flavor.

Harvest season: October–February 

Sweet Potatoes

The way you prepare sweet potatoes makes a difference in their GI. Instead of baking sweet potatoes, opt for the lower GI option of boiling them. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A, a good source of iron, plus have anti-inflammatory benefits.

 Harvest season: September–December


Did you know that there is a difference between summer and winter squash? Winter squash has a fine texture and a slightly sweet flavor, unlike summer squash. Season winter squash with warm seasonal spices such as cinnamon and ginger. Plus, squash contains omega-3 fatty acids and are an excellent source of vitamin A.

Harvest season: October–February

What Supplements Promote Relaxation & Reduce Stress?

Supplements that may help promote relaxation and reduce stress contain vitamins, minerals, extracts, and antioxidants. Some examples are:

  • Certain B vitamins, such as B5, B6, and B12
  • L-tryptophan
  • L-theanine
  • Rhodiola
  • Ashwagandha (or winter cherry)
  • Eleuthero (or Siberian ginseng)
  • Passion Flower
  • Bacopa
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Ginseng

We experience stress when we feel overwhelmed, either emotionally or physically, and our body and mind react accordingly. Everybody experiences stress differently, and the effects of stress on the body vary greatly from person to person. Furthermore, we are all triggered by different things. Events, experiences, actions, or situations that trigger stress are known as stressors. Stress is our body and mind responding to the stressors with which we are confronted at a given time. Again, everybody responds to stress differently, with the body reacting in various ways, and to that end, everybody copes with stress differently. Some people simply remove themselves from the stressful situation, or distract themselves with a certain technique. Other people need assistance in reducing stress, and in some cases, dietary supplements may help promote a healthy response to stress. The vitamins and nutrients in certain Isotonix® products, such as the Anti-Stress Kit and L-Tryptophan supplements, work to support the body’s natural stress response.*

What Happens During Stress? The Brain’s Response to Stress

Stress is such an encompassing term - in fact, the American Institute of Stress suggests it is so highly subjective that it almost defies definition. But we are all familiar enough with our bodies to know what causes us stress, and what we need to relieve stress. To better understand how dietary supplements can help, let’s take a look at the body’s physiological reaction to stress: the stress response.

What is the Stress Response?

The stress response is our body’s initial and automatic reaction to stress. It is a sequence of hormonal changes and physiological responses that helps us analyze and respond to stress. You may have heard of the “fight-or-flight” response, which began as a survival mechanism, and is the basis of our stress response. Initially a mechanism for us to react quickly to dangerous situations, our stress response is also triggered by non-threatening situations - every day occurrences that stress us out, but aren’t necessarily dangerous.

The way we respond to stress begins in the brain, when we are confronted with a situation that triggers our reaction. There are two primary parts of the brain involved in the stress response:

  • Amygdala. The amygdala plays a role in the way we process emotions, and when we experience something stressful, it sends a “distress signal” of sorts to the hypothalamus.
  • Hypothalamus. This portion of our brain is essentially a command center, and communicates with the rest of the body via the autonomic nervous system. There are two components to the autonomic nervous system: the sympathetic nervous system, which provides the body with a burst of energy to respond to the stressor, and the parasympathetic nervous system, which calms the body after the danger has passed.

The sympathetic nervous system is activated first, sending signals to the adrenal gland in our brains to pump epinephrine into the blood. Epinephrine is a hormone that results in many of the physical changes we experience during stress. These changes happen quickly, oftentimes before we’re aware of them, and once that surge of epinephrine subsides, the hypothalamus activates the HPA axis, which is composed of the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the adrenal glands, and relies on subsequent hormones to sustain our “high alert” reaction until the stressful situation has passed.Once we’re out of the situation, or the stimulus has left, the parasympathetic nervous system is activated to calm us down. Certain supplements may impact the process of calming down, or helping us adapt and respond more appropriately to stressors.*

L-Tryptophan Supplements in Daily Essentials ‘Turn Down’ & Vitamins for Stress

Isotonix®, the world’s most advanced nutraceuticals, offers several dietary supplements that may impact the body’s response to stress. What sets Isotonix apart is our revolutionary isotonic delivery system. The nutrients in our products are delivered via an isotonic solution which, when mixed with water, mirrors the concentration of the body’s own fluids. This makes the absorption of nutrients by the body highly efficient, while delivering maximum results.* The phrase “isotonic” means same pressure, and refers to a solution that bears the same chemical resemblance as the body’s blood, plasma, and tears. All fluids in the body have a certain concentration, which is referred to as the common osmotic pressure, and this allows for a consistent maintenance of the body’s tissues. In order for a substance to be absorbed by the body, it must be converted to an isotonic state, but Isotonix dietary supplements are already isotonic, allowing for efficient absorption.* Learn more about the Isotonix delivery system by watching the video above.*

Activated B Complex The Isotonix Activated B Complex, which is available individually or as part of our Isotonix Daily Essential Kit, contains the activated forms of several essential vitamins and minerals. The activated form of vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid allows for a more efficient utilization of these vitamins by the body. Activated B Complex may help maintain healthy levels of serotonin (a neurotransmitter that promotes mood regulation), increase energy, and help decrease stress.* This supplement contains:

  • Vitamin B5, or D-Calcium Pantothenate, promotes proper neurotransmitter activity in the brain, and is also known as the “anti-stress vitamin” because it helps relieve physical and emotional stress and promotes the secretion of essential hormones.*
  • Vitamin B6, or Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate, is involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters in the brain and nerve cell, and may support mental function, including your mood.*
  • Vitamin B12, or Methylcobalamin, promotes the formation of SAMe (S-adenosylemethionine), which has powerful mood-elevating properties.*

Our Activated B Complex also contains magnesium, the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, which supports more than 300 enzyme systems.*

The Bliss Anti-Stress Formula promotes relaxation without drowsiness, and may help your body adapt to stress, while also potentially improving mental clarity.* Bliss contains the following ingredients:

  • L-Theanine. Theanine is an amino acid found in green tea, and may help promote normal levels of serotonin and Gamma Amino Butyric Acid (GABA). GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation.*
  • Rhodiola. Rhodiola Roseroot contains salidroside, which may help support resistance to the harmful effects of stressors.*
  • Ashwagandha. Also known as winter cherry, this Indian herb may have a relaxing effect on the body, and may also help promote normal levels of dopamine receptors.*
  • Eleuthero. Also called Siberian ginseng, this ingredient may help the body adapt to stress, and may have a “balancing” effect on the body, helping the body deal with stressful conditions.*
  • Passion Flower. This flower may help promote relaxation.*
  • Bacopa. This ingredient may help promote cognitive performance.*

We have several ways we can help you gain energy throughout the day that include some powerful sources in addition to the Isotonix Daily Essentials ‘'Turn Up”. Additionally, this kit contains MochaTonix®, a powerful energy enhancer, and Awake Energy Shots, to provide a gradual energy boost. Each of these products contain an array of ingredients to promote energy and help decrease stress.* Specifically, Mochatonix contains:

  • Rhodiola Rosea, a root that helps support the body’s resistance to stressful conditions.*
  • Ginkgo Biloba, extracted from the leaves of the gingko tree, may act as a mood enhancer .*
  • Korean Ginseng, also known as Panax ginseng, may help enhance physical and mental performance.*

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product(s) is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

--Sources: “What is Stress?”American Institute of Stress. Web. 09 Feb. 2017. “Understanding the Stress Response.”Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School. 18 Mar. 2016. Web. 09 Feb. 2017. Nordqvist, Christian. “What is Stress? How to Deal with Stress.”Medical News Today. 14 Dec. 2015. Web. 09 Feb. 2017.

August 2018

Have you ever been on a flight and heard the flight attendant give instructions? There are many. I’d like to talk about two of them in particular as I find them to be quite profound in life as well as air travel.

  1. “Fasten your seat belts as you may encounter turbulence until we reach a comfortable altitude.”
  2. “In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you. … If you are traveling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person.”

Let me tell you why I find these so profound.

The first is quite simple. We all know that life is messy. For me it’s about staying in the moment while looking forward. I attended a conference this weekend that reminded me of this. Sometimes life is a struggle, but if we stay the course, it will even out. Hang on and don’t falter in whatever it is you are striving for.

The second is about taking care of yourself. It’s up to you to take care of you. Only you know what your true needs and desires are. In order for us to take care of everyone and everything else, we must first take care of ourselves.

My father is a wise man and has instilled this principle in us over time by impressing upon us the need for self care. I am the mother of a busy family with a great, supportive husband, four beautiful teenaged children, and two businesses. If I don't care for me first, how can I care for the others?

It's your turn to focus on you, before you take care of everyone else. And one of the best ways you can help yourself is to make your body as well as you can be. We all have many stresses in our lives these days, with family, work, school, errands, bills, travel and so much more.

YOU ARE WORTH IT!!! DO IT FOR YOURSELF and then everyone else.

I’d love to hear from you and how I can help you focus on your wellness.

July 2018

Challenge completed…

I did it… well almost. I was a little shy in riding the distance of the 200 miles in the month of June as I set out. I am celebrating my accomplishment of riding 165 miles even though it was a little short. This is still big for me. I am not sure I mentioned this in my earlier post, but I had not ridden my bike in several years before this. I had intended to warm up to it but it rained for the two full weeks prior to June 1st.

I persevered through as much as I could. I rode 16 days with a minimum of just under 7 miles and the maximum of just over 15 each time with most of them at or just over 10 miles. I am thrilled with this. Each of my daughters joined me a time or two and I saw parts of our quaint little town that I had never seen before. I mostly stayed in the parks though. I rode farther on my bicycle this past month than I ever imagined I would in a single month.

As I did with the running challenge a few years ago, I feel stronger than before. I ride with more confidence. I am hopeful to make the leap onto the bigger road.

I love that this is something I can do with my family. This weekend, I went for a ride with my 87 year old dad. It was short, but sweet. The photo at the top is dad.

June 4

I talked last time about the running challenge that Joe and I participated in 3 years ago. We both felt so strong, confident, more fit, and amazing after completing that challenge and knew I wanted to do something again in the future.

I didn’t know what I wanted to do or what I would come across to peak interest. I toyed with riding my bicycle, swimming, or hiking long distance but had no plan.
This spring I came across the one I knew was right for me. The Great Cycle Challenge. I have already started it. I will ride 200 miles during the month of June, challenge myself and raise awareness and funds to fight

I plan to ride this month and maybe beyond. You can follow my progress on Facebook and/or support me here:

The Power of Challenges

April 17

A few years ago, Joe and I learned about a challenge that neither one of us were prepared for, yet we got excited and decided to make a go of it.

We ran a 5K a day for 50 consecutive days. While we had both run a 5K here or there previously, we found neither of us were conditioned to go that distance for that many days. All the running articles I had read prior to that said that one should not run for more than a few days at a time without a break of some sort. This would allow your muscles to recover and in a perfect world, they were probably right. We did it anyway.

At first, it was more difficult than we expected. We didn’t give up. We pushed through. Some days we ran together. Most days we didn’t. I’ll further explain my journey.
I decided midway through that I should start a detox. This made going that distance a little more difficult. I walked those 7 days, but I always went the distance. While my time was never a worthy record, it was worth every minute of every day I ran. By the time I got to the end of the challenge, I found it to be a wonderful experience, a great place to ‘go’ and I learned a whole lot.

Here are some of the things I learned.

  • There is always time to run, even a slow runner like me can go the distance. It’s not about time, at least it isn’t for me. My time did improve by about 8 minutes.
  • Be prepared. I have four children and this challenge was during the summer and I prefer to sleep in during the summer rather than get up early, much less to run. This meant I had to fit the 35-45 minutes into my time around the summer time activities. I kept a bag with my shoes and running clothes in the car. I’ve run while they are in the dentist chair, getting a hair cut, at the pool, while my car was being serviced, in many parks, University of Maryland, Virginia Beach UNC Wilmington, and so much more.
  • Food is fuel - as i mentioned, in the middle of this challenge I was inspired to detox and what a difference it made in my recovery. I was still sore but much less. I learned how to fuel my body with whole, real food. It ate clean proteins, lots of vegetables, some fruit and probably 80 oz of water per day for me. BTW, I still eat this way.
  • Supplements can help - one supplement in particular i credit to the faster recovery. as part of my detox, i amped up my intake of the antioxidant/anti inflammatory supplement called OPC-3. combining this supplement with the proper food help bring the inflammation in my calves down to a quiet discomfort instead of the screaming tightness i had been experiencing.
  • My body is so strong. and exercise is a great way to relieve stress and take away the blues.
  • Diet and lifestyle changes dramatically change quality of life.

Guess what I did on days 51-54? Yep, I ran a 5K. It had become a habit. I get my exercise in other forms these days and I found a new challenge for this summer. I’ll tell you about it in a later blog.

Challenges are a great way to push yourself to the next level. This challenge was the what I needed to change my body, and lifestyle, creating a healthier me. And I love feeling good, looking good, and being healthy.

If you or anyone you know is struggling to make healthy lifestyle changes, I understand your fears. You have to love and believe in yourself. AskAnnamarie and I’ll do what I can to help you succeed in your challenges.

I love Kale!

April 2

Yep, I can hardly believe it myself. Although I’ve not ever snubbed kale officially, I am surprised at how much I now like it. One of the biggest reasons is because of the way it makes me feel. And I’ve been testing this for a few weeks now, so I can say with some certainty that it is the kale.

I made a kale salad, recipe will be on bottom, about 6 weeks ago for a pot luck luncheon at my friend and mentor’s home. She is also my weight loss coach and trainer in business. So, when I prepare a dish, in my mind, I must choose wisely and want to make it extra good for us to share. When I arrived, I was feeling sluggish and tired. It had been a long week prior to the luncheon and I was beat. I finally sat down to the potluck and heaped a large portion of my kale salad on my plate along with some other scrumptious choices from our lunch. Almost immediately, I was feeling energized and clear headed. I figured I just needed food in general.

Fast forward a week or so later. My family had the benefits of leftover kale salad upon my return and my husband and 13 year old daughter found it and enjoyed it in the fridge. They liked it so much they asked me to make more. I obliged. I packed it for lunch one day while out on appointments and found the same feelings of energy and clarity come over me upon eating it. I have since enjoyed this salad several times. I almost always have it made for us to enjoy at home and to go.

I wanted to know why this little salad was packing such a great powerful rush for me… I did some research.

Of all the super healthy greens, kale is the king.

It is definitely one of the healthiest and most nutritious plant foods in existence and when prepared well is, in my opinion, delicious.

Kale is being called “the new beef”, “the queen of greens” and “a nutritional powerhouse.” Here are ten great benefits of adding more kale to your diet:

1. Kale is low in calorie, high in fiber and has zero fat. - One cup of kale has only 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 0 grams of fat. It is great for aiding in digestion and elimination with its great fiber content. It’s also filled with so many nutrients, vitamins, folate and magnesium as well as those listed below.

2. Kale is high in iron. - Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef. Iron is essential for good health, such as the formation of hemoglobin and enzymes, transporting oxygen to various parts of the body, cell growth, proper liver function and more.

3. Kale is high in Vitamin K. - Eating a diet high in Vitamin K can help protect against various cancers. It is also necessary for a wide variety of bodily functions including normal bone health and blood clotting. Also increased levels of vitamin K can help people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

4. Kale is filled with powerful antioxidants. - Antioxidants, such as carotenoids and flavonoids help protect against various cancers.

5. Kale is a great anti-inflammatory food. - One cup of kale is filled with 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids, which help, fight against arthritis, asthma and autoimmune disorders.

6. Kale is great for cardiovascular support. - Eating more kale can help lower cholesterol levels.

7. Kale is high in Vitamin A. - Vitamin A is great for your vision, your skin as well as helping to prevent lung and oral cavity cancers.

8. Kale is high in Vitamin C. - This is very helpful for your immune system, your metabolism and your hydration.

9. Kale is high in calcium. - Per calorie, kale has more calcium than milk, which aids in preventing bone loss, preventing osteoporosis and maintaining a healthy metabolism. Vitamin C is also helpful to maintain cartilage and joint flexibility.

10. Kale is a great detox food. - Kale is filled with fiber and sulfur, both great for detoxifying your body and keeping your liver healthy.

Recipe I make:

Gratitude is my on my mind today and for so many reasons. Several years ago Oprah had a guest author who spoke of her book on abundance. Part of the author's approach included becoming aware of and writing in a gratitude journal, just a few things that one might be thankful for each day. I did this for a long time and it did help me to recognize all the good around me. I do not journal it in the same way today. I do take the time each week/month to reflect on those things and people I am grateful for, and why, and get a good sense of the power that lies in it. I am also reminded that it is all from God. What might you find yourself grateful for today? Here’s an article on the power of gratitude and it’s positive influence over you.

What is Gratitude and What Is Its Role in Positive Psychology?

Sharing is caring. "Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude." ― Ralph Waldo Emerson There is a variety of things that can conjure positive feelings of appreciation, or gratitude.


April 10

March 15, 2018

It's Spring! The evening hours are lighter longer. This often brings out the natural inclination in us to ready our homes to renew our surroundings. We might clean windows, change curtains, clean dryer vent, dust underneath those hard to reach places, wash walls, you get it… deep clean. This gives our home a fresh start as we let the fresh air in. I want you to consider doing the same spring cleaning for your body. It can start with a 21-Day Challenge.

This is something that I have done for a few years now. By participating in the TLS 21-Day Challenge I feel better, have more energy, lose body fat and simply have fun enjoying life with vim, vigor and zest! It can begin with a detox or a change in diet.

Some of the benefits of TLS 21-Day Challenge and detoxifying are:

  • Flushes out harmful toxins from the body.
  • Improves the immune system.
  • Capacity to metabolize stored fat improves.
  • Reduces the risk of recurring chronic diseases.
  • Improves mental clarity.
  • Helps in making better decisions and also increases the power of analysis.
  • Burn unwanted fat.
  • Reset your palate to continue to make healthy food choices.

Are you ready to renew your body this spring? Take the Weight Loss Profile below to help us identify how we can work together.

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