Challenges Often Catalysts to Personal Transformation

We all experience challenges in our lives: mine have included an Amtrak Train derailment (severe back injuries), an eating disorder and cancer. I know….a train wreck…really?….No, I am not kidding!!

But the train wreck gave me a career in fitness and the eating disorder gave me tremendous insight and personal experience in dealing with difficult emotional issues with food. I understand!

Here’s a short video of a testimony I received from a client who has lost 70 pounds to date.


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Study shows that if you restrict chocolate while dieting, you only crave it more.

Channel 12 interview with Clinical Nutritionist Geri Zatcoff:

What kind of chocolate is best and why

We know dark chocolate is good. Geri reveals the other things you need to know that makes chocolate a healthy treat.


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Geri Zatcoff, M.S., M.S.Ed., C.N.S.

(download PDF version)

  1. Never cook for just one meal. Cook once–eat for days!
  2. Plan meals for at least 2 to 3 days.
  3. Wash a whole head of lettuce; wrap in a dish towel put in a plastic bag; leave end open.
  4. Keep pantry and refrigerator stocked so you’re prepared.
  5. Always have food (nuts) and water with you.
  6. When you travel, take nuts/dried fruit in zip-lock bags.
  7. Keep frozen organic berries for smoothies.
  8. Cut bananas in one inch pieces and put in zip-lock bag in freezer for smoothies.
  9. Use almond and nut butters instead of peanut butter.
  10. Avoid products with hydrogenated oils.
  11. Avoid high fructose corn syrup.
  12. Avoid artificial sweeteners. Use stevia or xylitol.
  13. Use organic sweet butter instead of margarine.
  14. Always eat grain products with fat or protein.
  15. Wash herbs, pat or spin dry; wrap in a paper towel and put in a plastic bag, but do not seal. Basil will keep for 3-4 days. Parsley will keep longer.
  16. Buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts (organic only). Cut in half lengthwise and put in small plastic bags. Put those in a freezer bag.  Defrost as needed.
  17. Cook a “mess-o-greens” (1-3 lbs) and put in containers.
  18. Slice leftover meat, and put in small plastic bags in freezer (3-4 oz.  each). Defrost as needed and eat on top of salad or cooked greens.
  19. Peel and slice fresh ginger in 1 inch pieces and keep in a zip-lock bag in the freezer.
  20. Organic food is preferable, if for some reason you cannot get it, there are a few items that are imperative that you buy organic: dairy products like milk and butter, eggs, chicken & coffee.

ZATCOFF WELLNESS • Westport, CT • Tel 203-454-5560 • Fax: 203-454-5569 Geraldine Zatcoff, copyright © 2005, all rights reserved.

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Here’s my list of hot and very effective holiday survival tips that anyone can follow and that are guaranteed to keep you smiling when you step on the scale come January 1st.

1. Don’t skip meals and don’t go to a party hungry. Imagine yourself as Scarlett O’Hara and eat a small snack before you go. Have 10 raw nuts or a hard-boiled egg so that you can control yourself in front of tempting treats.

2. Don’t eat like it’s your last meal. Wear great lipstick and something snug around your waistline. A holiday party is no place to be wearing an elastic waistband!

3. Step up the amount of exercise your getting. This is NOT the time to blow off the gym. At a minimum, take a quick 15 minute walk and take advantage of dancing at all the holiday parties.

4. Don’t go on a diet. Make a conscious decision to eat healthy during the holidays. Recognize what you are eating. Pick and choose the healthiest offerings such as shrimp, chicken skewers and vegetable crudités.

5. Pass on everyday foods like crackers and cheese or dips and chips. Save it for special holiday items.

6. Pick your poison. If you want to have a cocktail, skip the dessert. Or better yet, have your alcoholic beverage as dessert so you won’t be tempted to overindulge. You may find that you don’t want it then. Beware of sugary mixers and after-dinner liqueurs.

7. Skip high-calorie beverages like soda, smoothies and coffee drinks which add as much as 250 to 600 calories.

8. Don’t stand next to the food table and never eat while standing up. Keep a glass of sparkling water in one hand and a napkin in the other so you can’t grab anything.

9. If it’s really worth it, allow yourself 3 POLITE bites of it. Pretend you are being filmed for a national TV show while you are having these bites, so make them dainty.

10. In a buffet situation, go with the healthy offerings first and limit the decadent choices to the 3-Bite Rule (see above). Take one plate of food and nibble from that plate.

11. Engage an ally. Have a friend keep an eye on you and gently remind you if you are going over the edge.

12. Keep a food log. Research shows that people who write down what they eat during the holidays stick with their program and don’t add on any holiday pounds.

13. If it’s a potluck, bring one of your favorite healthy dishes. Whenever possible, be the host. When you are the host, it’s easy to sneak in healthy favorites cleverly disguised as holiday fare like roasted root vegetables, rosemary-crusted leg of lamb or smashed sweet potatoes.

14. One over-indulgence does not a binge make! If you blow it with one meal, it doesn’t mean the day is shot. Get yourself together and recommit to healthy eating and sticking to your program.

15. Be mindful. Think how heaping plates and overeating looks to your kids. Children learn from their parents. Is “stuffing your face” an example they should see?

16. If the party’s at your house, send the leftovers home with guests.

17. Reward yourself with whatever is a treat for you for sticking with your commitment.

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High Fructose Corn Syrup: A Cancer Threat?
Does high fructose corn syrup cause cancer?

This is the title of a question asked and answered on Dr. Andrew Weill’s website today. It got me thinking (angrily) about the recent advertisements on TV for what is now called “corn sugar”.

Listen up people…. high fructose corn syrup by any other name is still high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). World renowned nurtrition expert, Robert Crayhon referred to HFCS as “a weapon of mass destruction to be be avoided at all cost”.

What you need to know is this: HFCS is not metabolized like sugar. That’s what makes it so dangerous. It goes straight to the liver where it is metabolized as fat. That’s why we are seeing young children with fatty liver. HFCS is considered by many, including Andrew Weill, to be one of main causes of the obesity epidemic.

The 0ther problem with HFCS is that there is no feedback loop to the brain to tell you that you’ve had enough. That’s why a six year old can drink a 40 oz. soda and not vomit.

According to today’s article, new research indicates that HFCS might promote the growth of cancer cells. While the study looked specifically at pancreatic cancer cells, it is believed that other cancer cells will behave similarly.

So there you have it. Call it corn sugar or call it high fructose corn syrup but don’t call it healthy or safe. The good news is this: if you eat fresh food and avoid packaged, processed foods, you are unlikely to ingest it. It’s in the usual suspects like soft drinks, ketchup, ice cream and sometimes even bread.

But be sure to look closely…I found it lurking in Worchestershire Sauce….boy, was I bummed out! What a way to make a Bloody Mary unhealthy!!

Yours in good health,

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Just in time for fall, good fortune delivered a fabulous venue where I can resume offering the previously very popular ” Easy & Healthy Cooking” classes.

Two classes have been scheduled in this beautiful and elegant kitchen. The dates are Tuesdays, September 21st and October 19th. Class size is limited so reserve your spot today.

Both Class 1 and Class 2 are about vegetables and getting your family to eat them. Getting the recommended 9-13 servings a day is challenging for adults and even more so for children. One of my goals is to create recipes that can be modified for different dishes and morphed into subsequent meals. These recipes are are no different and will not dissapoint! You’ll learn several different recipes in each class that are easy, quick, delicious and healthy and the best part is, you can “cook once and eat for days” !!

Classes start promptly at 6:30 and go until 8:30 or so, if the discussion gets going. The cost of each class is $65 and includes dinner. The venue is divine and will be revealed only to those who reserve a spot and confirm with a check!

Reserve today by contacting me at 203-454-5560 or at gzatcoff@snet.netI promise a fun, inspirational and educational evening in a beautiful and elegant kitchen.

Yours in good health,

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Many of you are already on board with high intensity, shorter duration workouts but now the research is conclusive! What used to be called “interval training” is now called “bursting” and I’m here to make it easier than ever to jump start that same old fitness routine of yours and ramp up the fat burning and help you shed a few pounds of fat.

Even if you are at or near your ideal bodyweight, improving your body composition should always be high on your list of priorities. Yes, people…. that means burning body fat and increasing lean body mass which includes, but is not limited to muscle.

So, what is bursting and why does it work? Bursting is a strategy utilizing very short, very high intensity bursts of whatever mode of cardio you are doing. After a brief warm-up, simply crank up the intensity to a level that makes your heart pound*, makes your legs burn and renders you speechless. That’s right, speechless….barely able to utter a word because you are gasping for air! Then you bring the intensity down until you are fully recovered and then do it again, and again, and again.

Now for the exciting news. Here’s how you can do this workout in your office or at home all throughout the day without ever breaking a sweat. Drum roll please……..

Here is the X-iser on my office floor.

Here’s mine. It’s on the floor in my office and whenever I pass it, I hop on it for 1 minute (I’m working up to 2) and give it my best shot! And I never break a sweat. So even though I do high intensity workouts at the gym, I can ramp up the fat burning all day, every day. And it works!

Why does this work? Because the hormones that your body secretes during high intensity workouts are different from the hormones that get secreted when you do a longer, moderate intensity program and those hormones promote fat burning. Who knew? And guess what? Not only do you burn more calories for that workout, you burn fat, yes fat, for up to 48 hours post exercise. Doesn’t happen with that 45 minute moderate intensity walk or slow jog on the treadmill. Distance and time don’t matter as much as intensity.

And there’s more good news. Order an X-iser from this link and get free shipping. It’s not cheap but it’s light-weight, portable and extremely durable.

So, if you’re interested in learning more about “bursting” and why it’s so effective, give me a shout and definitely check out the videos on the X-iser link. And remember, *high intensity workouts are not for everyone so always check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.

Yours…..always in good health,

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I recently went on vacation with my sisters down in Virginia Beach, VA., my old stomping ground. I was born in southern Virginia in a small town called Petersburg which is 25 miles south of Richmond. I went to graduate school at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA and lived in a small studio apartment two blocks from the ocean in Virginia Beach.

Who says you can’t go home again? I sure did. Not only did I get more sun than I usually do, I ate like a little piggy. Every day I ate either fried soft shell crabs or fried oysters (or both!!) accompanied by french fries and cole slaw that was smothered in dressing. I thought about going to the gym but most of the time I could be found on the beach by 10:00, having lunch at 1:00 and back on the beach at 4:00 or 5:00. My sister made fabulous cocktails every day and we watched the tide rolling in and out till about 7:00 when we prepared to go out for dinner.

What a life! It was grand. My point in telling you all of this is that I did not gain a pound. Unbelievable! Truth be told, I was prepared to gain a few. This is why I didn’t. I picked my poison. I walked most mornings, for a mile or two; I did not eat between meals and I passed on the bread and dessert. I made a conscious decision. I was there for the crabs and oysters and that is what I was going to eat and enjoy every mouthful. Dessert….not so much.

Gaining weight on vacation is not fun. You don’t have to. Treat yourself but pick your poison carefully. It’s what you do 90% of the time that has the most impact on your health. Make the remaining 10% count. Whether or on vacation or a staycation, make a conscious decision. Want a cocktail? Skip dessert. Want dessert? Skip the bread and don’t order pasta. Pick your poison and enjoy yourself!!

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Access Consciousness…The Bars

Instead of spending the entire holiday weekend on the beach, I went to New York and took a class in energy work. Offered through Access Consciousness, it is called “running bars” and I can only tell you that after two sessions that day, I not only felt as if I had had the most fabulous body massage, but my brain felt massaged too. The process is not difficult. You simply identify the points on the head (from the manual, of course) and hold you fingertips to them. The energy is palpable and you seem to know when the point is no longer active. It was incredible how relaxed I felt. The fog felt lifted from my brain. I’m sure I looked ten years younger too! No seriously, well, maybe I just felt ten years younger!! In any event, I cannot wait to get my grubby little paws on the heads of some of my friends. Trust me….you’ll like it. xoxo

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