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12 Hacks to Grab an Extra Hour and Time in Your Day

We just returned from a two week Caribbean vacation. We attended Blair and Kevin’s destination wedding on the beautiful island of Saba (paradise) and spent several days  on St. Maarten. We lived on the beach, wearing bathing suits and flip flops, drinking tons of bottled water and had all the time in the world. The clock almost seemed to stop. I enjoyed not knowing what day of the week it was or what time of day it was. My body has been in shock with my re-entry to wearing warmer clothes and shoes, using water from the tap and being on a schedule. This transition has been hard so I decided I needed more time in my life and came up with this list of how to grab some more time in each day.

Get up an hour earlier. (This one is obvious)

I have been getting up an hour earlier and feel refreshed and ready to go. This also means I am getting myself to bed earlier. I would like to say an hour earlier but I can tell you I am getting to bed 30 minutes earlier to Gary’s delight. Mr. Swim Man likes to be in bed at 10:30 so he can pop out of bed at 5:00 am to get to swimming.  The thought of getting cold and wet at 6 am does not sound in any way appealing.

Start a news fast

Quit reading the daily newspaper. Try it for a week and see how you feel. What we focus on gets bigger and bolder and lately the world is not exactly a happy place.

Simply meal prep

On Sunday I have my menu planned for the week and have foods in the house for the meals all ready to go. Use freezer meals to save you time. Check out Jen Haugen’s Freezer Meal Menu and Meal Workshop Guide to save you kitchen time and  give you more family time.

Organize lunches ahead of time

At 8 o clock at night I used to dislike making lunches for Danielle and Brett unless I was organized and prepared ahead of time.  Again, on Sunday have your lunch box menu ready with foods in the house for the week. Holley Grainger’s 125 Lunch Box Ideas will dump your “Lunchbox Lethargy” and empower your kids to try new foods and make your lunch box task fun and more creative.

Be efficient at the grocery store

Be organized. Keep an ongoing list of what you need. Create a list of your evening meals for the week.

Create your grocery list to coordinate with the grocery store layout. Shop when others are not shopping. My favorite time to shop used to be at 7 am. The grocery store is humming with the produce guys putting out the fresh produce and the bakery deliveries. It feels happy!  Who doesn’t want more happy!

Keep Saturday morning sacred. (ok this is more than one hour)

I don’t schedule any social outings on Saturday. I reserve the day for “me” unless something pretty delightful comes my way. I savor the morning with a swim. I enjoy a breakfast of bacon and eggs (eggs are fried in the bacon grease just like Grandma Lily did) while I watch my favorite TV show the Kare 11 Saturday.

Quit work an hour earlier or start work an hour later

One of my most favorite clients who has a really stressful job as a scientist starts her day at 5:30 am. She marvels at how much she gets done in the quiet of the morning. And don’t forget the easier commute. What is the price of uninterrupted time? You guessed it. Priceless

Unplug the TV

I know this one is hard but is TV watching aligned with your values? A study released by Nielsen discovered that the average American is watching 5 hours and 4 minutes of TV a day. Four and a half hours is live television, which is television watched when originally broadcast. Thirty minutes more comes via DVR.

Contain your social media time

The average internet user studies show we are on social media and messaging services 2 hours a day.  The average person has twice as many social accounts as 2012. In fact the average user has 7 social media accounts. In 2016 the data showed that the internet is capturing more of our time each day with total hours spent online via PCs, laptops, mobiles and tablets growing from 5 ½ hours in 2012 to 6 ½ in 2016.  I used to tap into Facebook when my day was “done” around 10 pm. When I started to dream about Ben Castle a friend’s son and other people I read about on Facebook I realized I needed to focus on something else. I love Ben’s mom Jill Castle  (America’s Childhood Feeding Expert) but there are only 24 hours in the day and I can use the last hour before I go to bed doing something more meaningful.

Remember your free time is not always available time

Just because you don’t have something scheduled on Wednesday night does not mean you cannot turn down invitations for that night. Remind yourself it is ok to say “no” to others and “yes” to you.

Refrain from scheduling any after work gatherings

No drinks. No coffees. No dinners.

Dump perfection

Like Mark LaBlanc says “Done is better than perfect.” Think of the hours you spend trying to get things done just right when 90% is probably good enough. Registered Dietitian Nutritionists I am speaking to you!  Have you ever given thought to how much time perfection takes?

If you are feeling stuck maybe it is time to measure your time. I am known to say, “We manage what measure.” Life is shorter than we think. We really do not know our “expiration date” so we must create days with meaning, purpose and laughter. Live your life with no regrets. Your someday is now!  

You have one life to live, just imagine it was one you loved! Better get busy!  I am so excited for you!

What did I miss? How do you grab an extra hour in your day?

@cherebork #dietitianlifecoach

More Tips for the Back to School Balancing Act


The Science of Energy

This blog post was written by Jessi Thome a student majoring in dietetics at the University of Minnesota. Since I am known as the “Energy Igniter” I asked her to write about the science of energy.

The idea of eating energy seems a little off. Energy! Don’t you get that from sunlight? There are a lot of questions of exactly what energy is and how you can consume it. So let’s get a better understanding of the science of energy.

15 oct Jessica Thome picture

Her favorite things – she loves Gopher Game Days, cooking using different recipes and then eating it, building relationships and spending time with people, and lazy Sunday’s listening to John Mayer while going for a run (walk) by Minnehaha Falls.


Since I am a student at U, we go into a lot of detail. So instead of me just telling you energy is good, now I am explaining why.

  • Nutrition is a science that studies the interactions between living organisms & food.
  • Food provides nutrients and energy.
  • Nutrients are chemical substances in foods that provide energy & structure and help regulate body processes.

People are drawn to processed and convenient foods that are easily obtainable but do not necessarily provide nutrients. Instead, these foods contain high levels of calories, sodium and fat. These foods can lead you to feeling fatigued and bloated. We need to start eating more whole grains, vegetables, fruits, seafood, and dairy products for the long lasting energy that we crave so much on a day to day basis.

Energy-yielding nutrients include carbohydrates, proteins and fats these foods fall under the category called macronutrients. Macronutrients are needed in the body in large amounts each day to provide us with enough energy.

Carbohydrates include sugars and starches, they provide 4 calories per gram. (Side note: fiber also is a carb however it does not provide energy). Lipids are commonly called “fats” or “oils” they are a concentrated form of energy. They contain 9 calories /gram, and although lipids contain energy they still can be high in saturated fatty acids so be careful to not overconsume certain lipids. Proteins are required for growth, maintenance and repair of the body, they also supply energy. Foods such as meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, legumes and grains can provide protein. Proteins provide 4 calories per gram.

We talk a lot about energy and the importance of it; however make sure to do so in moderation. Energy is used to maintain body functions and fuel physical work. Happy Science! Choose your energy wisely!

Nutrition Science and Application; L. Smolin & M. Grosvenor

Permission Granted: Put Yourself On Your To Do List

The leisure days of summer are a fading memory and the demanding, schedule driven fall is here to stay. You feel like you will never have enough time to get it all done. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day. What if I told you that you were focusing on the wrong measure – your time. Time is finite. There are only 24 hours in a day. Rather, focus on your infinite energy.

The ultimate measurement of a successful life is not how much time we spend on this planet but rather how do we invest in our energy with the time that we have.  There will never be enough hours in the day but there can be enough energy if you invest wisely.


Energy investment begins with discovering the art of self-care. Self-care is the personal foundation necessary for a successful business and the KEY to a rewarding and satisfying life. Every day you have a choice on your investment and expenditures of time and energy. Here are five energy tips to get back your time.

  1. Have 15 minutes of me time every day. Get up 15 minutes early, make your favorite beverage and sit and reflect on the abundance in your life, read a magazine, call a friend. What is important is the daily ritual of 15 minutes of “me time” and your investment in your energy.
  2. Keep a passion and purpose journal. Identify your values and find pictures, words or quotes that make those values come alive in a “Value Journal.” Take photos of people you are grateful for. Gratitude also creates a feeling of energized abundance.
  3. Reclaim your space. Clean out a cupboard, closet or drawer. Organize the energy around you to increase your productivity.
  4. Move your body. The best ideas come when you are taking a walk or exercising. Better have paper ready for all the creative ideas that popped while you were moving your body.
  5. Slow down to calm down. My all time favorite “slowing life down” exercise is from Fred L. Miller and his book “How to Calm Down Three Deep Breaths to Peace of Mind.”
      • Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Then take three deep breaths to calm down and clear your mind.
      • Breathing easily, inhale. Now exhale, silently saying, “Fifteen.”
      • Inhale again. This time while exhaling, silently say, “Fourteen.”
      • Continue inhaling and counting down a number with each exhale.
      • After you reach zero, take a few gentle breaths, all the while noticing how you feel.  When you are ready, open your eyes.


Fred Miller states, “The three deep breaths will calm you down in less than ten seconds. Counting backward from fifteen to zero will relieve even more layers of stress in less than sixty seconds.”

The first step to a rewarding satisfying life is giving yourself permission to put yourself on your to do list. Creating and cultivating your inner rich life will create a personal foundation of calm confidence and a feeling of freedom like you can do anything! Make the decision TODAY to put yourself at the top of your to do list.

Remember you only have one life to live, imagine if it was one you loved!


images: stuart miles and stockimages


Are Zzz’s Important? You Get to Decide


I’ve decided NOTHING beats a day where I WANT to jump out of bed when my alarm rings ready for the start of a great day. My ideal weekday is having a coaching client from 7 to 7:45 am, going to aqua aerobics at 8:15, meditating in the sauna and being home for a 10 am client. It feels so productive, so indulgent and so happy. But, it all depends on one variable – my sleep. If the lights are out at 10:30 pm sharp I can easily get up at 6:45 am. I wish I were like Gary who only needs to sleep from 10:30 pm to 5 am and often does not require an alarm. Some people are genetically predisposed to require very little sleep.  But most of us live in a sleep-deprived society.  And if wasn’t for me honoring Gary’s need for lights out at 10:30, I would be sleep deprived too. I find when we really probe the reason my clients are feeling overwhelmed it often stems from their lack of sleep.

Getting less than seven hours of sleep has the following huge health consequences.

  1. Obesity. The shorter the sleep the greater the obesity measured by body mass index (BMI). By age 27, if you sleep less than 6 hours you are 7.5 times more likely to have a higher BMI. (Getting to bed sure seems easier than being on a diet.)
  2. Increased appetite. Sleep debt increases your appetite due to lower levels of leptin, a hormone that decreases your appetite and higher levels of the hormone ghrelin a peptide that stimulates your appetite. (Weight gain is not about willpower; rather your environment and getting yourself to bed.)
  3. Diabetes. Adults who sleep less than five hours were 2.5 times more likely to have diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance, compared to adults who slept seven to eight hours. (All I can say is that diabetes is an ugly disease that affects your entire body…avoid it if you can.)
  4. Immune dysfunction. Sleep less than 5 hours or less increases mortality risk by 15 percent. (I have not worked so hard to not live happily ever after in retirement. How about you?)
  5. Cardiovascular disease and hypertension.  Five hours or less was associated with a 45 percent increase risk of heart attacks and strokes (The big problem with heart attacks is that often the first sign IS the heart attack.)
Can’t count the number of times I fell sleep and Gary would find Danielle wide awake but still content to cuddle with me. Those were the days!

Can’t count the number of times I fell sleep and Gary would find Danielle wide awake but still content to cuddle with me. Those were the days!

Science tells us that sleep is a critical component of energy and health.  The big myth is that although you can teach yourself to sleep less, you cannot teach yourself to need less sleep.  Please read that sentence again. Your sleep needs are biologically determined.  If you get sleepy when you are bored, sitting quietly in a warm or dark room or when you are trying to read or listen to a lecture you are sleep deprived. Boredom does not cause sleepiness.

When I ask coaching clients if they had one wish what would it be? They reply, “I wish I didn’t have to sleep.” I don’t know about you but if sleep can help you avoid all of these huge disease risks and you don’t have to even sweat, use your brain, or be busy it seems like a no brainer to me to get yourself to bed. If you don’t make the decision to take the time for sleep it may be made for you in the way of a health challenge or crisis.  You get to decide!

We would love to hear your sleep tips.

///image by imagerymajestic with permission///


7 Sleep Tips from my Dietitian Nutritionist Friends

Kim Fox RDN LD CDE and her family

I firmly believe in establishing a bedtime routine about an hour before you typically plan on going to bed. I shut off the computer, get my clothes and other things needed for the following day, set the alarm, wash face and brush teeth, and read for a few minutes before I’m ready for some shut eye. My body now tells me when it’s time for me to start shutting down.

Kim Fox, RDN, LD, CDE ///http://foxnutritionanddiabetesservices.com/

jamila lepore

Stop drinking caffeine by 2 PM (including tea, coffee, soda, and any other caffeinated beverage). It takes several hours to be eliminated by the body so even if you can fall asleep right after consuming caffeine, the quality of your sleep is compromised. This results in that sleepy-groggy feeling you get even after a “full” night’s sleep.

Do 10-15 minutes of stretching or light yoga before going to bed. It helps relax your mind and body, making it ready for a good night’s sleep.

If you’re the type of person whose brain goes a million times a minute as soon as your head hits the pillow, this tip is for you. Instead of keeping your to-do list on your mind, leave a notebook by your bed and write it down. That way, it’s out of your head, you won’t forget about it, and  you can work on it tomorrow. Because right now, it’s time for sleep.

Jamila Lepore, MS, RD/N /// www.nononsensenutritionist.com

Susan Linke photo 3

Magnesium is a very effective sleep aid.   Studies have shown that magnesium supplementation is a safe and easy way to improve relaxation, sleep time, sleep efficiency, and insomnia.    Food sources of magnesium include pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, brazil nuts, peanut butter,  cooked oatmeal, spinach, collard greens, soybeans, sesame seeds, and beans.   A 20-30 minute bath soaking in Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) is a relaxing way to absorb magnesium through the skin.   The quickest way to get some extra magnesium (and zzz’s)  is through supplementation.  Some of the more common magnesium supplements, like magnesium oxide, are not well absorbed and have a laxative effect.   The most absorbable forms of magnesium include magnesium citrate, malate, taurate or the chelated forms of magnesium including chelated magnesium glycinate, succinate or fumarate.

Susan Linke MS RD LD CLT/// www.susanlinke.com


I spend the last hour or so before bed winding down. I turn off my computer and put away my phone and usually read. I spend 10 minutes in legs up the wall pose (literally your legs up a wall), which can calm the nervous system.

Lauren Fowler, RDN, CD, CLT/// mindfulmealsblog.com

Tina Braet Thomas MA RD CDE CLT CWC LD

Having a set bed time most nights certainly allows my body to get in a rhythm. I also use a sound machine with either ocean waves or a light rain sound seems to do the trick for me.

Tina Braet Thomas, MA RD CDE CLT CWC LD/// http://coach.wellcoach.com/tina-braet-thomas/

Krista Ulatowski MPH RDN

I value my 7-8 hours of sleep each night, without a doubt. There certainly are nights where my mind is whirling, and I find that keeping a notepad and pen by my bed allows me to jot down my inspirations, allowing me to revisit them in the morning. Also, avoiding those tall lattes after 5pm is also wise!

Krista Ulatowski, MPH, RDN/// https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristaulatowski


Trying to reverse type 2 diabetes?  It’s not always about diet. Getting 7-8 hours sleep most nights will help your body use insulin more efficiently, which makes it easier to control blood sugar and weight.

Karen Marschel, RDN LD CDE/// www.kmnutrition.com





5 Secrets to Vitality and Enjoying Life

1.       Create a healthy morning routine versus rushing around.

2.       Shift your day like you are on vacation.

3.       Identify unhealthy habits and stop them.

4.       Communicate until you feel understood.

5.       Do what nurtures you every day!