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The Power of Appreciation – The Key to Standing Out in the Crowd

Everyone I know wants “success” however they define it. But, have you ever thought of what success means without special friends to enjoy and celebrate life with? I am known to say, “Relationships oxygenate life,” and who really cares about “the money or the job” if you can’t share it with people you love. 

William James a well- known psychologist said, “The deepest principle of human nature is a craving to be appreciated.” Our deepest needs are to be accepted, acknowledged and appreciated. We manage what we measure. Do you measure how you make people feel or how they make you feel?

We care when our friends are fine and worry when they are not. We show people we care by the actions we take. My favorite way I show people I care and appreciate them is by leaving a singing happy birthday voice mail. I love doing this but LOVE it even more when people call me and sing happy birthday. (Thank you sweet sisters and Tim Thoma!

Every year on my birthday, my God mom Aunt Doris calls me and plays happy birthday on her violin. Isn’t she a beauty! She is 89 years young!

Many  years ago my friend Justine Philllips (whom I met in aqua aerobics class and always came 20 or 30 minutes late and disrupted class EVERY time) called and left me a happy birthday singing voice mail. For two months I played Justine’s deep male-sounding voice singing me happy birthday. I was stumped! It was Justine Phillips! She got me.

Justine happily retired from Carver County and began to teach at a college. She was born to be a teacher as she taught all of us how to live outrageously. Shortly after she “refired” with her new college teaching profession she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had treatments and a huge bra burning ceremony that was written up in the local paper and she seemed to get better.  Her breast cancer returned.

I have certain birthday dates set in my Outlook to remind me to call and sing happy birthday. February 4th was Justine’s birthday. I was too busy and I didn’t call. Every day the reminder came up and every day I was going to call. I was too busy, or needed to “do it later.”

Justine died on February 16th, without me singing happy birthday! Years later I still have her birthday reminder set in my Outlook. I lost! I lost out on connecting with Justine one last time. When was the last time you let your friends know that you love and care about them? When was the last time you told them why you appreciate them?

When you smile, or give a sincere compliment you are making the recipient’s world a better place. At the end of the day we all want to simply give and receive love.

Showing appreciation is a way to get ahead in your work world. People have to know, like and trust you. Is there an easier way to get to know people then to appreciate them?

Positive words beset more positivity (the secret to happiness.) Focus on what people are doing right instead of wrong. What you give you get in return.  The more you show appreciation the more people will appreciate you.

Live today to your fullest with no regrets because tomorrow is not promised! #dietitianlifecoach |… Click To Tweet

Justine held the patent on making a late and grand entrance and she now holds the patent on not taking the next day for granted. Emails and stuff can always wait. So, remember to keep special people close to you before it is too late! My coaching advice for you is to live today to your fullest with no regrets because your tomorrow is not promised.

How do you show your appreciation to others? We can’t wait to hear!


Happiness is Often Risky: 4 Steps to Take Risks

Today we celebrate National Take a Chance Day – a day that encourages us to break out of our comfort zone.

We all have goals and dreams. What if today the day is you take a chance or a risk to make your dreams happen?

I always knew I was not a “normal dietitian.” I will forever remember the day I realized it was not the food people were eating that was important, it was “what was eating them” that proved to be most important. With crystal clarity I remember providing an outpatient diet instruction at Waconia Hospital with a retired, extremely pleasant overweight woman who told me what she ate for dinner and that she always ate her dinner in the living room on her sofa. Wanting to explore “mindful eating” with her I asked her why she ate her dinners seated on her couch. With discouragement and sadness in her blue eyes (I always look at eyes and see if they match their shirt) she explained that her husband Harry ate his dinners in his Lazy Boy recliner while he watched TV.  She just wanted to be with him and grab a morsel of conversation after being (delete all) alone all day.  She was feeling all alone in her marriage and desired more togetherness and to feel more cherished. It was not the food that she was eating, but her loss of “togetherness” in her marriage.  She was grieving and that lead to her overeating and her disgust with getting on the scale.

It’s not what you are eating it’s what is eating you!

Looking back, I know I spent more of my outpatient diet instructions talking about mindsets and beliefs than I did about food. Sure, I showed patients those rubber food models, but they left with more than the portion sizes needed to achieve their new health goals.  They left with a new confidence to question their beliefs. My journey helping others continued until a key pivotal day – March 5, 1999 when I attended a Registered Dietitian meeting and there was “Life Coach” talking about life balance. I thought I do this! Am I a life coach? Three or four weeks later, I attended  a meeting  to learn about life coaching and got so excited I signed up on the spot spending over $3,000 to enroll in a life coaching course. If I signed up that day I could get the Co-Active Coaching book for free. (It cost $25.00)  I was so caught up in the excitement of this new adventure that I totally forgot about Gary. I can still remember driving down 494 and remembering I would need to tell Gary. Let’s just say Gary was not as excited as I was. I signed up and spent $3000.00 to get a free book! Excitedly, I called my dad and I will never forget what he said in disbelief, “…people pay people to talk on the phone? People are going to pay YOU to talk on the phone?” Even though I didn’t get much support, I took a risk! And there has been no turning back!

Many of us have taken risks that never paid off. I have invested in friendships, mastermind programs, speaker programs, graphic designers, and once even purchased a franchise to audit energy bills for companies… and wasted over $12,000 and many sleepless nights. But the bigger question is how many times have you and I lost a great opportunity because we were afraid of risk. Is your life on hold because you are waiting for the risk to diminish? Think about it, your risk could diminish but so could your opportunity.

Your ONLY limit is your desire!

Your only real limit is your desire. And sometimes to get what we want RISK is involved. Risk taking is essential to learning what our limits are and, to being our absolute best. 

4 Steps to Take a Risk

Here are a few ways to become a positive risk taker by Barbara Sahakian, a cool professor of clinical neuropsychology at the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine who has discovered RISK TAKING is one of the primary behaviors that leads to the “good life.”

  1. Increase your risk tolerance. Take small risks that make you feel slightly uncomfortable. 
  1. Expect and prepare to fail. Determine the worst thing that can happen with a particular risk and come up with a plan to handle the failure.
  1. Become more risk aware. Just thinking and learning about risk taking may actually increase your chances of taking positive risks.
  1. Learn the routine/ risk balance that is best for you. Have your routine life filled with some positive risk taking and excitement. A healthy thriving life requires both risk and routine and you need to find the right balance for you.

Author Eria Jong reminds us, “If you don’t risk anything you risk even more.” She is right!

My risk back in 2000 has provided me with priceless happiness, a deep life satisfaction helping others combined with a flexible work life while earning much more money than I ever imagined as a Registered Dietitian…all because I took a risk! 

What is one small risk you would be willing to take today to create the life you were meant to live?

Today is the day you buy that plane ticket, tell your special person you truly love them, or create your business plan.

We can’t wait to hear.

Love Chere

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did.  So throw off the bowline, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover.  ~ Mark Twain



National I am in Control Day

How lucky are we National I am in Control Day is observed each year on March 30th!

With the President being rushed to surgery on a rainy afternoon, a bullet lodged in his lung, a statement was made. “As of now, I am in control here in the White House.” Those are the words of Secretary of State Alexander Haig on March 30, 1981 after the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. He was taken to task for those words by the media. Haig later explained that he only meant that he was in charge until Vice President George Bush could be sworn in. Bush was en route at the time.

This was the beginning of National I am in Control Day.  

What is the best way to help your “out of control feeling?” Focus on your beliefs!

5 Questions to Ask Yourself About What Your Beliefs Are

Life is full of events. And our beliefs can be negative or positive.

Ask yourself:

  • Does my belief serve a useful purpose?
  • Does my belief make me feel better?
  • Is this my belief or someone else’s belief?
  • What can I do to let go of this belief?
  • Who can help me change my negative perception of this event?

Shakespeare says, “Nothing good, nothing bad it is your thinking that makes it so.”

So choose your beliefs wisely.

What beliefs do you need to dump forever?


Do You Know What The #1 Obstacle to Living a Happy Life Is?

Mom celebrating her 87th birthday. She always likes to hold hands in the pictures. How sweet is that.

Negative thinking.

If you are like me, you can over think and over think some more. For instance, I over think and dwell on the fact that my 87-year-old mom does not call me but she calls my sister Laurie.

My mom lives with my caring and kind sister, Michele. On the way home from my morning swimming class at Lifetime Fitness, I call my mom. I know it is a good time to reach her as it is not during her favorite TV shows (I think it’s still General Hospital). When the kids were little I called my mom every Monday and Friday from 7:45am to 8:00am. Back in those days the long distance phone rates increased at 8am. One Christmas, I even gave her a little crystal telephone with the note that she was my “telephone angel.” There is something special about a mother’s unconditional love and support. No matter what. No one else cared that Danielle got another Girl Scout badge or that Brett aced his spelling test.

My dietitian sister Laurie mentions that mom calls her.

One day Laurie mentioned mom called Laurie three times because she kept on forgetting things to tell her. Mom never calls me. I felt bad. I wrote Valentine’s cards to both parents and even wrote in their cards, “call me.” I never heard from dad. He is hard of hearing and does not like to wear his hearing aid so phone conversations are very difficult. I was so sad that mom calls Laurie and not me that I cooked up the plan that I would not call mom several times a week and see if she would notice the missing phone calls. I almost wanted to get “back” at my mom. Well, that lasted for two day. I brought up the fact that she calls Laurie and never calls me. I asked mom, “Why don’t you call me?” She said, “because you always call me.”  I felt like screaming, “you mean Laurie is not your favorite daughter?  You mean you like me as much as Laurie?  You mean you care about me as much as Laurie and the other sisters even if I know I push your buttons?”

What a simple answer. Mom does not call me because I call her!

My beliefs and wrong assumptions the last few weeks were robbing my days of joy, inner peace, and even gratitude. Everyone wants their mother’s love. Did she love me any less than Laurie? No. At this grand old age, I still desired to be treasured by my mom no matter what.

We like to make life more complicated than it is. Our beliefs are not a fact, just our belief. The problem is we get stuck on the same old negative beliefs that rob us of our daily joy.  Our thoughts become words and our words become action. So pick your beliefs that create your best life.

Another grand way to dump negative thinking is to become more grateful.

We cannot have a negative and positive belief or thought in our head at the same time. Whatever we focus on gets bigger and bolder. We can focus on what is not working or what is working in our life. We can focus on abundance or lack. So become grateful for everything in your life. Notice the beauty in your life in your relationships and in your environment. Remember why you are grateful for those special people in your life.

Decide today that you are no longer willing to have the consequence of negative and disempowering beliefs. Replace your negative beliefs with positive beliefs and be grateful for what has blessed your life.

Shakespeare reminds us, “Nothing good or nothing bad…it is our thinking that makes us so.”  The bottom line is you are what you think.  Make sure that you understand that your thoughts, words and actions in this very moment are creating your next one. Your life won’t change unless you change your thinking first.

Chere, Laurie, Michele, Michael and Rachele all love celebrating with our mom.

Call your mom! Life is not getting longer. You have one life to live, just imagine it was one you truly loved.

We can’t wait to hear your mom stories or how you have changed your beliefs to live a happier life.

Love Chere




Celebrate National RDN Day with RDN Spouse Food Stories

What better way to celebrate RDN Day than to share our beloved spouse food stories!!

Has candy ever hit you in the head?  

Almost every year, my beloved husband Gary buys Halloween candy and does not want me to see the amount he buys so he hides it in his workshop cabinet.  The first year, I opened the cabinet and Almond Joys hit me in the head. Gary was busted. It continues every single year and now he buys Halloween Candy “on sale” for his November hunting trips.

Gary met me as a dietetic intern at my Milwaukee County Internship.

He knew what he was getting into.  It used to drive me nuts when he ate ice cream in bed when we first got married. I shut up and woke up to the ice cream bowl stuck to our vanity counter! Kidney stones ended that evening adventure!  Every night we have a salad or soup or both and then an entrée. I am always trying to fill him up. And, we always use placemats and light candles. I try to make dinner extra special. I asked Gary, “What is your favorite part about being married to a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. He replied, “Your attention to details for meals.” I then asked, “What is your most difficult part being married to a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist?” He replied, ‘Your attention to details for meals.”  Like I said I thought when he met me in that little white uniform and hairnet at Milwaukee County Hospital, he knew food would be extra special in our house!

At least 25 years ago, he wanted to start the “SAD group.”  Spouse. Of. Dietitians.  He even had a T-shirt designed. He thinks it is hard to be married to a dietitian! I just remind him how lucky he is to be married to a dietitian as I cook him yummy meals and I tell him I keep him alive. He thinks he could write a book!  So could I.

I asked my fellow dietitian friends what food habits their spouses have that drive them nuts and also how being married to a dietitian helped their spouse. You will enjoy reading these answers!

Madeline Basler MS, RDN, CDN

Ok, what aggravates me (and I shouldn’t let it, I means it’s not like he’s eating fast food haha), but he mixes everything together in one plate and also eats pasta with strawberries and blueberries and salad all together. Drives me insane.  Looks disgusting!

I think it’s helped him as we have eaten really well since he had a heart attack 5 years ago.  Now since becoming an RDN I am even more aware of what we are putting into our bodies! 

Good for you Maddy!

Twitter: @RDNMaddy

Jen Flachbart, MS, RD 

Jen’s husband before and after he lost 50 pounds!

My husband calls himself “patient zero” now! He was the first of my “weight loss clients” (not by choice!) After we got married and I started doing most of the food shopping and cooking he went from having access to a lot of processed foods all the time to just about none and ended up losing 50 pounds! We both encourage each other to make good choices in our diet these days and I love that he has become almost as passionate about food and nutrition as I am! He now eats a whole food plant based diet, has way more energy, runs all the time and feels great! Although that doesn’t stop him from occasionally inhaling an entire pint of dairy free Ben + Jerry’s Ice Cream, but I choose my battles! 🙂 Here is a before and after picture!

Wow Jen what a success story!  

Twitter: @JenFlashRD 

Sonja Stetzler, MA, RDN, CPC

This picture is from our Blue Ridge bike trip.

It’s the night-eating that drives me nuts! After dinner, after everything is cleaned up and put away, he’ll sneak back into the kitchen and start munching on something like chips or ice cream. 

As far as being married to an RD…yes, his eating habits have certainly improved. He’s eating more fruit and veggies, and sometimes he’ll make a fruit smoothie for dessert instead of eating ice cream.

You are a great influence Sonja!   

Twitter: @sonjastetzler

Kim Kulp, RD

My husband Jack says I’ve taught him to enjoy a greater variety of vegetables and grains, and even the occasional tofu. He’s learned to stop eating when he’s full, not stuffed, especially at restaurants. However, the lesson he likes best, is that dessert can be OK, just not every night!  

I love the cereal box in the bookshelf Kim. And, wow, getting your hubs to eat tofu is admirable. I tried that in our house without success!

Twitter: @KimKulpRD

Mary Lane Carlson

In March of 2015, Ken and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary celebrated by doing the Santiago Pilgrimage. We walked about 70 miles to Santiago, Spain from Tui, Portugal.

As my husband and I transition from child rearing to the empty nest, we are experiencing a surge in our life to be healthier.  That is, getting more physical activity and eating foods that promote health.  We accomplish this by exercising together whether it is walking or trimming trees and by cooking together.  We discuss the upcoming week’s menu (review recipes) and go grocery shopping together.  When time permits, we even take cooking classes together.  When we go out to eat, we split the dish and perhaps order a side salad. This has not only improved our health but also strengthened our marriage. 

What a beautiful way to start the next stage of your life together Mary. 

Karla Moreno-Bryce, MDA, RD

A food habit that my husband has is that he gets carried away with certain snack foods at home and eats more than he intends to. We sometimes have dark chocolate, pretzels, trail mix, or tortilla chips and he sometimes needs a reminder to portion control! But this is also a reminder to myself, which he always tells me too, is to not bring home foods that may be tempting.

According to my husband, being married to a dietitian has helped him have a more balanced, nutritious plant-based diet. Since I do the grocery shopping, meal planning, and cooking in our household, this has made it easier on him to make sure he is meeting his nutritional needs.

Karla you are both helping each other. What a team!

Twitter: @kmorenord

Gisela Bouvier, MBA, RDN, LDN

Every time we go out to eat, Richard “HAS” to order a minimum of 2 appetizers. He states we should “wine and dine” every time we go out to eat and doesn’t realize how all of our healthy eating during the week can go down the drain in a single meal. Whether it is the fried calamari, tuna tartar, or appetizer sampler, he always orders one and then some. He then of course likes to eat the largest entree and drink a glass of wine or two. 

Although I complain about his luxury dining, I know that it has significantly downsized since we have been together over the past 7 years. Further, although he always ate relatively healthy, portion sizes, the amount of fat used in his cooking, or lack of fiber weren’t always considered. I help him stay more on track throughout the week. We cook more meals at home and always make certain to include a fresh salad or cooked veggies, lean protein, and high fiber complex carbohydrates at dinner time. He is a food service director and eats very similarly at breakfast and lunch at work as well. 

I definitely know that being married to a dietitian isn’t always easy, but I am sure he would agree it is completely worth it!

Sounds like a food love story to me Gisela!

Instagram: @bnutritionandwellness.

Julia Robarts, MS, MPH, RDN, LDN

Julia and her husband celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary in Puerto Rico.

My dear husband has come a long way since 1987 when we first started dating J The only food habit he has that drives me nuts is his knee-jerk reaction to buying many, many of one item when it’s on sale – leading to 17 boxes of cold cereal, 20 boxes of white pasta, etc. But I can’t fault him for shopping frugally and supporting our bottom line, even if it doesn’t support our other ‘bottom line’ haha.

How has being married to an RD changed him? One word – VEGETABLES. He packs his lunch every single day and has for 25 years. When we were first married he would not put any vegetable of any kind in his sandwich. Now he slathers on avocado, and layers with tomato and lettuce. He pretty much can’t eat his chicken sandwich without it J So, I’ve made him more high-maintenance, but in a GOOD way.

Julia his sandwiches are impressive…all because of you!  

Twitter: @jugglingjuliaRD

Hilary Raciti RDN CDN

So from me (the dietitian) to him- it drives me nuts when he leaves raw meat out in the kitchen for hours to defrost or puts it on the second or third shelf in the fridge… all I can think is contamination and bacteria. He is learning though!  

From him to me: Jared cannot stand when I sometimes eat “darkened” or what he calls “rotten” guacamole. I explain it’s just oxidation but he thinks I’m just disgusting. 

Jared tells me almost daily how much I’ve helped him since we started dating 6 years ago. When I met him he was overweight, but beyond that weight (I believe health at every size) he lived a lifestyle heavy in drinking, take out/delivery and little to no exercise. As we spent more time together I showed him the beauty of home cooked meals, vegetables, physical activity and just cherishing your body. I cannot take all the credit though- jared taught me how to be more flexible and to try various new cuisines.  Sometimes I do get caught in my dietitian head. Together we have gained balance and happiness in this crazy hectic world! 

Instagram: trucenutrition 

Courtney Ferreira, MS, RD, LDN


Dustin’s and Courtney’s adventures always involve food!

Habit that drives me crazy: Dustin doesn’t like to have his veggies touching his other foods!! If it’s green it needs its own plate and for packed lunches they need their own tupperware. 

How has he benefited: He eats out significantly less and has cut down on processed/ convenience foods. Believe it or not, living with him has improved my relationship with food and eliminated some restrictive habits I didn’t even realize I had! Way to go Courtney!   

Twitter: @f00dCOURT

Here’s to putting your best fork forward!!

What food habits bug you? And how has being married to a RDN helped your spouse? We call can’t wait to hear.

Happy Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day!





3 Tips to Help You Be the CEO of Your Morning Routines

This post was creatively prepared by Drew Thomas, a nutritional science grad from the University of Minnesota.

It’s no secret that having a consistent morning routine plays an integral part in setting the tone for the rest of your day. Having an effective routine can boost your energy and motivation levels first thing in the morning, while also laying a solid foundation for the rest of your day- allowing you to be at your best as you encounter whatever the day brings you!

There are tons of resources all over the internet claiming to have the perfect morning routine, but the truth of the matter is that there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to morning routines. Finding a routine that works best for you may take a little trial an error. Once a routine is developed the most important thing is to maintain consistency, especially for that first initial time period after starting, until it becomes a habit and something you automatically do every morning.

Making your routine into a daily habit is no small task and is where the majority of people end up failing and giving up. So today I’m going to be sharing 3 key tips for helping you turn your morning routine into a daily habit and hopefully make it something you not only stick to but hopefully something look forward to each night before you got to bed!

Tip 1: Think Big 

Oftentimes people will embark on an activity without considering their motivations or what they even hope to obtain from the given activity. Before even planning or beginning to think about the specifics of your routine you should be asking yourself 3 questions:           

  1. Do your mornings energize you and set you up to be your best each and every day? – Think about how you spend your mornings and how these activities influence your day.
  2. What would be the best result from a successful morning routine? Would it give you more energy, help you be more mindful during the day, Increase your focus at work? Know what you want from your mornings.
  3. How will this end result benefit what’s most important to you? Will having more energy allow you to increase your physical activity and meet fitness goals, or will it allow you to focus better and get that promotion at work, will it make you a better mother, father, brother, sister, etc.? Make sure that what you want from your morning routine aligns with what’s most important to you.

Looking at the big picture, and how an effective morning routine fits into this picture, will give you a clear understanding of why you’re trying to get into a new morning routine, how the routine is going to benefit you, and how it will set you up to better achieve the things that are most important to you. When you have a clear picture of these things it’s much easier to stick to a morning routine that, at first, might be hard and unenjoyable, but once it becomes part of your every day will benefit you greatly!

Tip 2: Prep

Extra motivation in the morning is often a hard to come by, so making your routine as easy and accessible as possible upon waking will play a huge role in whether or not you’ll stick with it. If working out is part of your morning routine, then set your shoes, clothes, iPod -anything you’ll need, out and ready the night before. If your goal is to journal each morning then open your journal to a new page, set the pen out, and have it on your desk and ready to go before you go to bed. If eating a healthy breakfast is part of your routine, prepare and set out as much as you can you can the night before.

The point here is to make it as easy as possible for you to achieve your morning goals and accomplish your routine. The less barriers in the way of your routine each morning, the more likely you’ll be able to stick with it and make it a positive every day thing in your life.

Tip 3 Make Adjustments

It’s unlikely that you’ll develop the perfect routine right off the bat so it’s important to gauge and evaluate each part and allow for changes when necessary. If something isn’t working don’t be afraid to take it out. If you find something that sounds interesting to try, don’t hesitate to throw it into your routine! The only way you’ll truly know if something works is by testing it yourself, and remember, just because something works for someone else, doesn’t mean it will work for you.

You’re the CEO of your morning and you have the ultimate power in deciding what the best routine is for you. Keep and implement what works, toss what doesn’t.

No matter how you spend your mornings, or whatever you choose as your routine, these three tips can be used to help you find and stick with a routine that works best for you. You can become the CEO of your mornings!

Drew Thomas was my fabulous, “can do” dietetic intern.

He is fortunate that his job marries his passions of nutrition, business and technology.

Sprig is an on-demand health/wholesome food company that allows consumers to have a hot, healthy meal delivered to in about thirty minutes by ordering from an app on your smartphone.

Land’s End park in SF

Golden Gate Bridge from Fort Mason. 

In Drew’s free time he loves to explore all the sights, sounds, and tastes that San Francisco has to offer. On weekends you can find Drew exploring up and down the California coast, skiing in Tahoe, or backpacking in the Sierra’s. 

His goal is to bring Sprig to a city near you.

What habits help you master your mornings? We cannot wait.