Coach Dean
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Is it a good idea to exercise when sick? [Infographic]

​Good idea?  Bad idea? Can exercise actually help boost our immune system, even when we are sick?

​by Dean Carlson, Pn2


​It's not an uncommon question:

"Should I exercise when I am sick?"

Well, as with many things, it depends.

​If you are laid out in bed with the flu, the answer is obvious. But what about certain stages of a cold? While we don't want to share that joy with others, can getting some movement in be helpful?

Our friend at Precision Nutrition produced this excellent guide for sorting it all out.​

Print out this infographic for some very specific guidelines on exercise, and how it affects your immune system before, during, and after an illness.

​Reading that infographic makes me feel better already!

Want to share these tips with your friends, family and co-workers (especially the washing your hands part)? Click here for a fully printable version of this infographic.

​Here's to staying healthy!


What should I eat when I am sick? [Infographic]


​Are there foods that help me fight bugs faster, or help me from getting sick at all? Let's find out!

​by ​Dean Carlson, Pn2


​It's true. What you eat can have a direct impact on how quickly you recover from a cold, flu or other yucky thing that can bring us down and make us feel like doing, well, nothing!

It all has to do with your gut health. What happens in your digestive tract plays a huge role in how well you can fight off germs, or whether you come down with something at all.

​This infographic has some great tips for boosting your immune system, as well as helping you feel better faster.

​The take home? Take care of your gut, and it will take care of you! 🙂

You wouldn't want to keep this great info to yourself, especially when the men you know get sick (yes, we are babies). Download a printable copy of this infographic to share, it's the nice thing to do!

Calories count, but counting calories? Part 2 [Infographic]

Part ​2: Calories ​Out

Compiled by Dean Carlson, Pn2. Infographic created by John Berardi Ph.D. and Helen Kollias Ph.D.


​In Part 1, we talked about how "calorie math" doesn't always add up. This article looks at why accurate counting can be so complicated, and gives 4 reasons why daily activity tracking and trying to count the calories we burn on a daily basis isn't as straightforward as it seems.


​It's a question I get asked a lot by clients in our gyms. "How many calories does an average workout burn?" 

​The reason for the query is they want to plug my answer into fitness tracker software, in order to calculate how many calories they are burning daily, and thus how many calories they should be eating.

If it were only that easy. There are SO many factors that go into determining energy expenditure accurately, and unless you are measuring factors such as carbon dioxide output for the duration of training, you just aren't going to get a reliable number.

​ In my experience, most of the clients that try to track calories eventually get tired of doing so, or frustrated because it's not "working".

​Fortunately you don't HAVE to measure calories in and out all the time, if at all. The infographic below tells you ​some of the challenges with counting calories, as well as an alternative method to energy balance that you carry with you all the time. Simple!

Download your own printer and tablet version friendly copy of the infographic to pass around or keep for reference.

​Ever wonder why you track so carefully but you STILL can't lose weight? No matter how good fitness trackers are, they can't compete with reality. The most important measurement is the outcome you are getting from your current plan. If the results you are getting are moving you in the direction of your goals, stick with it. If not, it's time to do something different.

​Want more nutrition know-how?

​As I am sure I don't have to remind you, nailing our nutrition down is not as easy as "experts on the interweb" want you to think.

At The Grateful Plate, we work closely with our coaching c​lients to help them understand what is holding them back, and guiding them to building great eating skills and the habits to get lean, once and for all. When you are ready to take the next step, please reach out and let's talk.

Calories count, but counting calories? Part 1 [Infographic]

Part 1: Calories In

Compiled by Dean Carlson, Pn2. Infographic created by John Berardi Ph.D. and Helen Kollias Ph.D.


Most of us go down the "calorie counting" path at least once in our efforts to lose weight. After all, everybody knows "calories in - calories out" is the key to weight loss success, right? But is it that simple? This article and accompanying infographic outlines 5 reasons why all those food calculators may not be as helpful as we thought.


Actually the principle of energy balance does work:

Take in more calories/energy than you burn, you gain weight. Take in fewer calories/energy than you expend and you will lost weight.

It's not the principle that is flawed, it's the counting that is so hard to actually do correctly and accurately enough to make it worth while. 

There are so many factors working against you, on both ends of the energy equation - in and out.  Part 1 highlights the problems with "calories in".

Download your own printer friendly copy of the infographic right here.

25% Margin of Error?

That would make a very significant difference when trying to figure out while all those calories counting apps aren't really helping, wouldn't it?

Now I am not saying you have to never track your calories, but here are my recommendations if you do.

Understand the limitations of the methodology. If you are not seeing the results you expect, take another look at the infographic for potential reasons why. The important thing is results, not the actual number of calories the tracker says you are eating. If you are working on losing body fat, and it ain't happening, it doesn't matter how many calories the tracker says you are eating, you need to eat less.

There are times that I track calories, usually as a "sanity check". In other words I am not seeing the results I want, and when I track for a couple weeks it is easy to see why. I am usually eating a lot more food or a lot more times than I think I am. But even I don't want to reduce the enjoyment of eating to a math problem all the time. That's just no fun!

There is a better way, and it doesn't involve calculators and fitness apps. It's portable, reusable, and effective. It's the Calorie Control Cheat Sheet.

Stayed tuned for Part 2: Calories Out, coming up in a couple weeks!

The untapped fat loss secret: Sleep [Infographic]


by Dean Carlson, Pn2


You are exercising regularly, your nutrition habits are improving, but you STILL aren't making the progress you think you should be. So frustrating! Here's a question that might clue us in. How is your sleep? If you aren't sleeping well or enough, we might be on to something. Here's how to tap into the power of sleep and make rest a top priority.

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Struggling with fat loss? Just not feeling it, during workouts or in general? Sluggish and tired more than you think you should be? Unfortunately for many of us this is very common, and poor nutrition is not always to blame.

Good quality sleep is really important. Our ability to think clearly, make good decisions, perform at a high level, and even digest our food efficiently depends on it.

It probably won't surprise you that fewer than 1 in 3 adults get less than 7 hours of sleep a night, which is the minimum needed to keep your risk of health problems low.

The sad part of that statistic is how many of us actually overestimate how much sleep we are really getting; studies have shown that number to be in the millions.

This infographic shows you how to monitor if you are getting enough rest before it's too late. Follow the tips to build your sleep habit, which actually starts first thing in the morning!

Download the infographic for your tablet or to print out, and keep it as a hand reminder to prioritize your best sleep, every day.

There you have it! Why sleep is so important, how to tell if you are not getting enough, and how to set yourself up for sleep success!

Print out or download this infographic as a reminder to practice, practice, practice the skill of getting enough sleep. And be kind - share it with a friend who might benefit from it. Thanks!

The real cost of getting and staying lean [Infographic]


Is It Worth The Trade-Off? It's Your Choice.

by Dean Carlson, Pn2


We have a picture in our head of the "ideal body". But are the pictures in the magazines a realistic picture of what is achievable? Do you have to look like superman or a supermodel to be healthy? And at what cost?

Regardless of your goals, there is going to be work - hard work - to lose fat and get leaner. And there are amazing health benefits to doing do. But there are trade-offs, particularly as you get leaner and leaner. This infographic outlines them and shows you what's involved. We'll take a look at the extremes on both sides, and then have you consider what's healthy and achievable.

Click Here for a fully printable version of this Infographic.

For a complete explanation of the infographic, including a review of the research by our friends at Precision Nutrition, check out the accompanying article: The cost of getting lean: Is it really worth the trade off?

Are You Sensitive (to food that is)? [Infographic]

Could giving up make you feel better?

Dean Carlson, Pn2


True story. I had been eating the same breakfast almost every day for a couple years. Greek yogurt with a scoop of UMP whey protein mixed in. It was my favorite! High protein, really tasty, and so quick and easy to make. What I didn't know is that it was also the cause of some of the "intestinal distress" I was having at times.


And then we did our first "21-Day Detox", which is really more accurately called an elimination diet. The purpose is to remove some foods that are associated with allergies and sensitivities, and then gradually add them back in and see what happens. What I found out after adding dairy back in is that it made me really sick! My stomach was not happy at all. And I confirmed it was not a "one off" situation by trying to add it back more than once, and each time things didn't go too well.

It's a possibility that you also have a food sensitivity, and like me, you don't even know it. 

There are a wide variety of foods that can contribute to sensitivities, two of the more common being dairy and wheat, but also certain citrus fruits, nightshades (ask Tom Brady), and even certain spices and sweeteners.

So what?

Well, food sensitivities can affect anything from your general health, your skin, even your mood. And they are not necessarily benign, as the GI issues they can cause can create a damaging cascading effect on the rest of your body.

Elimination diets seek to "hunt down" what might be causing the issue by removing certain foods, temporarily, and then slowly reintroducing them. Like me, you might find a certain food make you feel pretty ucky. Other times you may notice other symptoms, such as a runny nose, which can often happen when reintroducing wheat. Hmmm....

Take a look at the infographic below, and then Print This Guide and see if an elimination diet might be a good idea for you.

Sound like a daunting task? Knowing what to do isn't always easy, but we can help you make sense of it. Contact Us Here to find out how The Grateful Plate nutrition coaching works, and why nutrition coaching can help smooth out the rough spots.

You can also check out the accompanying article by our friends at Precision Nutrition: Food sensitivities and intolerances: How to do an elimination diet.  for a more in depth study of elimination diets.

You po-TA-to I po-TOT-o. Who wins? [Infographic]

There is no debate!

Dean Carlson, Pn2


I'll raise my hand and plead "guilty", because I too have been caught up in this debate. The reality is that choosing between sweet potatoes and "regular" potatoes is like choosing between a BMW and a Mercedes. I think most of us would be happy with either. So it's even cooler when we don't have to choose and can have both!


It's really easy to get caught in the weeds when we are talking about what we "should" and "shouldn't" eat. 

We are bombarded daily with seemingly contradictory "evidence" that this or that food is good or bad.

So it's really no surprise that something as humble as the potato got caught up in one of these fierce discussions. I mean it seems to make sense that since potatoes are one of the dreaded "white" foods, like bread, pasta or rice, that avoiding them is probably better.

And if the only way you are eating potatoes is in the form of french fries, you probably are better off keeping them off your plate. 

But both white and sweet potatoes, as part of a balanced and intentional diet, provide a great variety of nutrients and are just plain tasty!

Download this infographic from my friends at Precision Nutrition to learn more and find out when you can and should consider adding them to your nutrition plan.

Pretty cool huh? Share this infographic with your family and friends by downloading it here.

Want to learn more?

Most of us know that getting enough sleep, moving more, eating well and stress management are important for looking and feeling great. But often there is a gap between knowing and doing, right?

At The Grateful Plate, we help you close that gap and make it easier in the context of an already too busy, stressful life. Check Out how we help people stop dieting and start living healthier lives, one step at a time.

Sugar Free Me Is Here!

Sugar Free Me Is Here!

I can't even begin to tell you how pumped up I am to be teaming up with Dan DeFigio, the bestselling author of "Beating Sugar Addiction For Dummies", to help you get off sugar and help you take back control of your eating.

The goal of Sugar Free Me is ambitious. To give you the education, resources and support you need to overcome your addiction to sugar and carbs, and regain control of your life!

Now some of you may think I am going overboard with the word "addiction". After all while we know eating too much sugar isn't great for us, does it really reach that level? Evidence suggests it can, as sugar has been shown to stimulate the same pleasure centers of the brain as some drugs.

I don't think it's any big secret that sugar and sweets are a big "go-to" when we are stressed, or tired, or lonely. The kick of dopamine that sugar gives us can lead to a very destructive cycle, actually altering our neural pathways , and it's also no secret the cycle of sugar addiction can be hard to beat.

What Is Sugar Free Me?

Sugar Free Me is a 28-day step-by-step education, accountability, and strategy course that helps you understand the root causes of sugar addiction, how to address them to create your plan of action, and help you kick the cycle of eating excess sugar.

What we are going to learn:

  • How to create your "New Normal"
  • The Different Types of Sugar Addicts
  • Meal Planning
  • The Anti-Craving Blueprint
  • Sustainable Nutrition
  • How To Fall Off The Wagon and Still Win
  • What To Do When A Craving Does Strike

We are also going to fill up your "Sugar Free Me Toolbox" with six new tools that are going to help you Avoid Temptation, Find and Avoid Your Food Triggers, and explore What You REALLY Want when you reach for the sweets. (Hint: It's not sugar)

The most valuable thing you are going to get over the course of this course (see what I did there) 🙂 is daily accountability and incredible support from both those taking this journey with you and our incredible team of coaches.

You will have your own account created in a really cool program called "Coach Catalyst". Every day you will get an email or message to your phone that delivers your daily "Sugar Free Me" lesson and asks the question: "Did you avoid eating all added sugars yesterday?" 

Don't underestimate the power of answering that daily question honestly. This simple action does a couple of very important things. It creates a record for you to look back on and evaluate under what conditions and in what circumstances you tend to reach for the sweets. But it also helps your coach know when you need a little extra help to get moving in the right direction.

You also get access to our Private Facebook page, where you can hang out with folks on the same journey and where your coaches can offer more support. We have found these groups are a powerful way to stay connected and see that you are not the only one struggling. Take advantage of this page!

I really appreciate Dan making his resources and expertise in this area available to us. His full online course is priced at $95, but we are able to offer the 28-Day Sugar Free Me course for only $27. This is an incredible deal for everything you get!

The "Sugar Free Me" Challenge Officially Starts Monday, October 2, 2017, but don't be "that guy", and sign up today!  As a bonus, you will get immediate early access into the Facebook Support group. 

A Personal Note from Coach Dean

​For someone who loves sweets (like I do), you may be wondering what you might be getting yourself into.

As with anything we do that is "new", it's going to take a little time to adjust to your "new normal". Here's a thought to consider.

Did you know that one of the keys to success and happiness in life is to practice self-compassion?

We are SO hard on ourselves when we don't live up to our expectations for ourselves, and that usually leads to a downward spiral of guilt and feelings of failure. I have lived it, and it usually meant reaching for more food. That's how I got to 280 pounds.

But I learned really fast that to take it off I needed more than education (I knew eating junk food wasn't good for me), or more willpower (when I am tired or feeling blue I have none). I needed a strategy for dealing with the inevitable stuff that comes up to derail me perfect plans - I think it's called life! 🙂

And that is what Sugar Free Me is all about. Sure there is an education component involved, but more importantly we are going to give you real world strategies to set yourself up to succeed, including what to do if (when) you aren't perfect and fall off the wagon.

No program is magic. Change takes effort and self-reflection. It takes a willingness to step out of your comfort zone and embrace something new. 

Salespeople everywhere are going to shudder, but DON'T invest in this program if you can't or won't take the 10 or 15 minutes a day it will take to read the lessons and get involved with the group. The last thing I want is for you to have another reason to beat yourself up. 

If you want to talk to me or another coach to see if this 28-Day focus is right for you, you can drop us a line here.

To your success,

Coach Dean

28-Day “Sugar Free Me” Coaching

I can't even begin to tell you how pumped up I am to be teaming up with Dan DeFigio, the bestselling author of "Beating Sugar Addiction For Dummies", to help you get off sugar and help you take back control of your eating.

The goal of Sugar Free Me is ambitious. To give you the education, resources and support you need to overcome your addiction to sugar and carbs, and regain control of your life!

Now some of you may think I am going overboard with the word "addiction". After all while we know eating too much sugar isn't great for us, does it really reach that level? Evidence suggests it can, as sugar has been shown to stimulate the same pleasure centers of the brain as some drugs.

I don't think it's any big secret that sugar and sweets are a big "go-to" when we are stressed, or tired, or lonely. The kick of dopamine that sugar gives us can lead to a very destructive cycle, actually altering our neural pathways , and it's also no secret the cycle of sugar addiction can be hard to beat.

What Is Sugar Free Me?

Sugar Free Me is a 28-day step-by-step education, accountability, and strategy course that helps you understand the root causes of sugar addiction, how to address them to create your plan of action, and help you kick the cycle of eating excess sugar.

What we are going to learn:

  • How to create your "New Normal"
  • The Different Types of Sugar Addicts
  • Meal Planning
  • The Anti-Craving Blueprint
  • Sustainable Nutrition
  • How To Fall Off The Wagon and Still Win
  • What To Do When A Craving Does Strike

We are also going to fill up your "Sugar Free Me Toolbox" with six new tools that are going to help you Avoid Temptation, Find and Avoid Your Food Triggers, and explore What You REALLY Want when you reach for the sweets. (Hint: It's not sugar)

The most valuable thing you are going to get over the course of this course (see what I did there) 🙂 is daily accountability and incredible support from both those taking this journey with you and our incredible team of coaches.

You will have your own account created in a really cool program called "Coach Catalyst". Every day you will get an email or message to your phone that delivers your daily "Sugar Free Me" lesson and asks the question: "Did you avoid eating all added sugars yesterday?" 

Don't underestimate the power of answering that daily question honestly. This simple action does a couple of very important things. It creates a record for you to look back on and evaluate under what conditions and in what circumstances you tend to reach for the sweets. But it also helps your coach know when you need a little extra help to get moving in the right direction.

You also get access to our Private Facebook page, where you can hang out with folks on the same journey and where your coaches can offer more support. We have found these groups are a powerful way to stay connected and see that you are not the only one struggling. Take advantage of this page!

I really appreciate Dan making his resources and expertise in this area available to us. His full online course is priced at $95, but we are able to offer the 28-Day Sugar Free Me course for only $27. This is an incredible deal for everything you get!

The next "Sugar Free Me" starts October 2, 2017!

A Personal Note from Coach Dean

​For someone who loves sweets (like I do), you may be wondering what you might be getting yourself into.

As with anything we do that is "new", it's going to take a little time to adjust to your "new normal". Here's a thought to consider.

Did you know that one of the keys to success and happiness in life is to practice self-compassion?

We are SO hard on ourselves when we don't live up to our expectations for ourselves, and that usually leads to a downward spiral of guilt and feelings of failure. I have lived it, and it usually meant reaching for more food. That's how I got to 280 pounds.

But I learned really fast that to take it off I needed more than education (I knew eating junk food wasn't good for me), or more willpower (when I am tired or feeling blue I have none). I needed a strategy for dealing with the inevitable stuff that comes up to derail me perfect plans - I think it's called life! 🙂

And that is what Sugar Free Me is all about. Sure there is an education component involved, but more importantly we are going to give you real world strategies to set yourself up to succeed, including what to do if (when) you aren't perfect and fall off the wagon.

No program is magic. Change takes effort and self-reflection. It takes a willingness to step out of your comfort zone and embrace something new. 

Salespeople everywhere are going to shudder, but DON'T invest in this program if you can't or won't take the 10 or 15 minutes a day it will take to read the lessons and get involved with the group. The last thing I want is for you to have another reason to beat yourself up. 

If you want to talk to Nancy or I to see if this 28-Day focus is right for you, you can drop us a line here.

To your success,

Coach Dean

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