Monthly Archives: January 2011

Elizabeth Sommer, author of Eat Your Way to Happiness

Elizabeth Somer, M.A., is a registered dietitian who has carved a unique professional niche as one of the few, if not only, dietitians who is well-versed in nutrition research. For 25 years, she has kept abreast of the current research, packaging that information into easy-to-read books, magazine articles, lectures, continuing education seminars, and practical news for the media.

Elizabeth Somer has written nine books.  Her latest is Eat Your Way to Happiness. We both share the same fantastic editors at Harlequin. For the past year they have been raving about Elizabeth both personally and professionally, and I wanted to meet her myself.

You will love Elizabeth’s  “I’ve Still Got It!” moment!  It is a reminder to embrace the surprises in life!

Question: What inspired you to dedicate your life to nutrition?

Elizabeth: I had always been interested in health and after stepping down from my last
career, I investigated the option of nutrition. It must have been the right
choice because everything I needed, from sequence classes at the university
to part-time jobs in the nutrition field to pay for my tuition all fell into
place from the very start. I graduated in record time as a result and
immediately got a job in nutrition education.

Question: How would you describe your nutrition philosophy?

Elizabeth: I am passionate about taking care of our bodies. Put high quality fuel into
them and they will repay us a million-fold well into our 80s and beyond with
unlimited energy, happiness, joy, and disease/medication-free health.

Question: What separates your books from other “diet” books?

Elizabeth: My books are based in sound and thoroughly reviewed research, so you can
trust that the information is accurate and, most importantly, I promise if
you follow the advice you will feel, think, look great today and down the

Question: When you hit your 40s (assuming you are in your 40s, you barely look
30) did you have to eat differently? Why? Why not?

Elizabeth: I am 60-years-old. No, I’ve eaten well since my early 20s. My cholesterol
did take a jump after menopause at 55, but by cutting back on cheese and
desserts, I got it to drop back down to below 200mg/dl. I am on no
medications and feel as good, if not better, than I did in my 20s and 30s.

Question: Do you believe eating healthy can help women going through menopause?

Elizabeth: Absolutely. Other than a few hot flashes, I sailed through menopause. No
mood swings, no fatigue, no weird food aversions. I even lost 10 pounds and
have kept off the weight. It’s not just diet that I attribute the ease of
menopause. I also exercise daily.

Question: What is your secret to being healthy, happy and fit?

Elizabeth: I am enormously grateful. Every day I am so thankful for all I have that it
typically brings me to a moment of tears. I work at that joy with positive
thoughts, eating well, lots of exercise, surrounding myself with wonderful
family and friends, taking chances and jumping at most adventures that come
along, working at a job I love, living in the country with red-tail hawks
and deer in my yard.

Question: What do people do to sabotage good eating? How can they overcome it?

Elizabeth: I wrote the book on this one! (10 Habits That Mess Up a Woman’s Diet) In a
nutshell, we eat mindlessly, lie about what we eat to ourselves and others,
give lipservice to exercise and vegetables then gorge on junk, value the
care of our cars more than ourselves, have no plan for how to succeed at
permanent weight loss, jump on every stupid fad diet bandwagon that comes
along, have an excuse for why we don’t get around to exercise or why we don’t
deserve to eat better, have an all-or-nothing attitude toward dieting, and
drink away our waistlines with bottled sugary drinks and alcohol.

Question: What are your passions outside of good nutrition?

Elizabeth: Life! Family, friends, exercise, my kids, biking, hiking, traveling the
world, doing television, having dinner in a nice restaurant, drinking wine,
taking walks, movies, good music, dancing, gardening, …..the list is

Question: What advice do you have for female baby boomers who want to lose

Elizabeth: Eat real food, not processed, exercise every day, and your weight will take care of itself.

Question: What is YOUR “I’ve Still Got It!” moment?

Elizabeth: I have always been happy and full of energy. But, by a year or two after my
divorce, it was clear to me that I was much happier, felt sexier, was more
confident and comfortable in my own skin than I had ever been. That regained
joie de vivre and passion must have sent out waves to the universe because
almost two years ago a very dear friend came back into my life, almost as if
it was destined, and we are madly in love. And, there is nothing like great
sex to put the spring back in any girl’s stride, no matter what her age!

Elizabeth Sommer still has it and is going strong! What’s YOUR “I’ve Still Got It!” story?
Leave a reply and inspire others.

More on Elizabeth

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Posted in I’ve Still Got It

How to Maximize Your Workout

meno-fitnessresizeAre you exercising at your target heart rate?

Once you commit to an exercise regime, your secret weapon is utilizing your target heart rate ensuring an effective workout. The target heart rate (THR) is your pulse rate per minute, and it can guide you through safely exercising while maximizing your routine.

What is your target heart rate? Click here.

Wear a heart rate monitor when exercising to track your target heart rate. During cardio sessions your target heart rate range should be between 60% (fitness zone) and 80% (aerobic zone) of your maximum heart rate. Monitoring your target heart rate is a great way to make sure you are pushing yourself hard enough to get the fat burning and cardio results you want.

Set goals using your target heart rate. Pace yourself if you have been inactive. If you are not at 60% of your target heart rate, push a little harder and watch your fitness level improve. Within six months of regular exercise you may be able to exercise at 80% of your maximum heart rate.

Always discuss your exercise choices with your healthcare provider.

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Posted in fitness

Irregular Periods During Perimenopause

Wendy Klein MD150One of the first symptoms you may notice during perimenopause is irregular periods.

Interview with Dr. Wendy Klein, leading menopause expert and co-author of The Menopause Makeover

Staness: What is one of the first symptoms of perimenopause?

Dr. Klein: The hallmark of perimenopause, which is the phase prior to menopause, is irregularity. We all grow up thinking that when you enter the change of life and become menopausal, your periods just stop. That is not the case.

What happens is your periods start to become irregular. You can have too many periods, you can have too few, you may skip a period and then get regular again, and you may skip a few periods. You may think, “oh my, I am in menopause,” and suddenly your period comes back again.

Staness: Why does this happen?

Dr. Klein: Prior to menopause your periods are usually very regular. The amount of hormone that you are producing is very regular and predictable. However, as you approach menopause, entering the perimenopausal phase, the ovaries are unpredictable. You will have months when you don’t ovulate, and that causes irregular bleeding.

Staness: How long does period irregularity last?

Dr. Klein: How long that lasts is highly individual. Could be a year, could be two years, could be three years and that is all normal variation. I like to say that the ovaries are stuttering. You don’t always ovulate and your previous hormonal milieu begins to change.

Eventually you will experience fewer periods and finally your periods will stop. You are not officially in menopause until you have skipped 12 consecutive periods.

Staness: How does a woman know her periods are irregular?

Dr. Klein: You may get too many periods. You may get too few. You may skip them. The bleeding may become heavier, or it can become lighter.

Staness: What should a perimenopausal woman with irregular periods do?

Dr. Klein: Well the easiest thing to do is keep track of your periods. Write them down in the your calendar and track them. Keep a record of when you are having your periods and what your symptoms are, so when you visit your clinician you can discuss the changes using actual dates.

If you are troubled by irregular periods, you can discuss the option of low dose birth control pills. This can help with regulation, with excessive flow, and also with contraception.

One of the issues of which you should be aware is that even in perimenopause you can still become pregnant and since your periods are not regular you have an increased risk of unintended pregnancy. Birth control is still necessary as long as you continue to ovulate, even if you are irregular.


Menopause is a normal and natural part of a woman’s life. Arm yourself with knowledge, build a strong relationship with your clinician and manage your menopause empowered.

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Posted in ask the expert

Menopause Makeover Tips

Tip #1: Document your symptoms and health concerns

Tip #2: Discuss your symptoms with your doctor

Tip #3: Understand your health options (alternative, complimentary and medical)

Tip #4: Practice healthy eating habits

Tip #5: Exercise most days of the week

Tip #6: Modify your beauty regime

Tip #7: Wear sunscreen daily

Tip #8: Pamper yourself

Tip #9: Ask for support

Tip #10: Love the new YOU!

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Posted in tips