Christine Hatchard, Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Your Wellness Room Expert.

When you think of the phrase “comfort food,” what comes to mind? Macaroni and cheese? Your mother’s kitchen? The food you reach for when you’re feeling sad or anxious? If you struggle with emotional eating, you are not alone.  A poll of over 1,300 licensed psychologists identified emotions related to weight and emotional eating as the main challenges affecting a client’s ability to lose weight. 

Problems making proper food choices ranked significantly lower, suggesting that barriers to weight loss are often psychological in nature (American Psychological Association, 2013).

The relationship between food and emotions begins when we’re born.  Babies are soothed and bond with their parents through feeding. Food is literally comforting!

As we grow older, we ideally learn new ways to comfort and care for ourselves through the development of emotional intelligence, which is the ability to identify, understand, regulate and respond to our emotions. Individuals with disordered eating tend to have lower levels of emotional intelligence and self-awareness (Costarelli, Demerzi, & Stamou, 2009).  When we have unmanageable negative emotions, eating can actually reduce the physiological arousal related to these emotions (Izydorczyk, 2012). However, using food to “stuff away” overwhelming or unpleasant emotions such as anxiety, depression, anger, stress or loneliness, interrupts the process of identifying your emotions and prevents you from truly caring for yourself.

Because food is part of our everyday lives, we also begin to associate food with other emotional and social experiences. We reward ourselves with a special meal for a job well done. We celebrate, identify and even grieve with friends and family through food. Incorporating food into our lives in these ways can be healthy and enjoyable. However, it can become a problem when the food or external reward, becomes more satisfying than the accomplishment and the related internal feelings of self-esteem or self-worth. It becomes a problem when food becomes a necessarypart of meaningful social experiences. It becomes a problem when we overindulge and feel a loss of control that may be difficult to regain.

Why do we experience such a loss of control? When we’re stressed or sad, we tend to reach for particularly unhealthy food, such as such as those that are sugary and high in fat. These types of foods release hormones in the pleasure receptors of our brains. These “happy hormones” may temporarily calm distressing emotions, however, our bodies remember this temporary high and make it more likely that we will reach for the same food again (Epstein, Temple, Neaderhiser, Salis, Erbe, & Leddy, 2007).  

Individuals with anxiety or depressive disorders may also experience problems with overeating (Masheb & Grilo, 2006) and obesity may influence the development of these mental disorders (Brumpton, Langhammer, Romundstad, Chen, & Mai, 2013). In one study which examined the relationship between depression and obesity, the researchers found a 43% increase in rates of obesity among women with depression as compared to women who were within a normal weight range (Chen, Jiang, & Mao, 2009). This finding is not surprising as both obesity and depression can have components of unhealthy emotional coping with food. A significant change in appetite or weight is also a symptom noted when diagnosing clinical depression (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

The good news is that there are solutions to emotional eating. Here are some successful strategies to consider:

  • Eat Slowly. Your brain needs about 20 minutes to register the chemicals that let you know that you’re full. When you chronically overeat, you begin to ignore your feelings of fullness. Eating slowly while being mindful of your physical feelings of fullness are important parts of healthy eating. Try to eat at the dinner table without distractions such as the television.
  • Enjoy your meals. Focus on the unique flavors and textures of the food that you are currently eating. Develop an appreciation for ingredients. Engage in good conversation with your friends and family. Allow yourself to have a special treat like dessert with moderation and savor the one cookie as opposed to wishing you could have 2 more.
  • Focus on the feelings. We often make statements such as “I feel fat” or “I feel like eating a box of donuts.” These are not actually feelings. These statements indicate that there are underlying emotions such as sadness, anxiety, fear, stress, boredom, loneliness, anger, etc. that have not been properly identified.  If you can identify the underlying emotion, you can focus on what you truly need. Every emotion has a purpose. Don’t confuse emotional deprivation for physical deprivation.
  • Diversify your rewards. Although celebrating with a special meal c   an be a positive experience, consider other ways that you can reward yourself, such as a movie, a casual physical activity like bowling, attending a fun festival in your town or purchasing a new item of clothing. The most powerful rewards for any accomplishment are verbal praise and pride in oneself as they are directly related to self-esteem and long-term positive feelings.
  • Be mindful and plan ahead. The worst food decisions are those that happen without thinking as reactions to emotions, events in our lives or allowing too much time to pass between meals. When making healthy changes to your diet, it’s especially important to plan ahead for success. Keep your pantry stocked with good food choices to cover meals and snacks, to supply your body with the energy it needs.
  • Don't be too hard on yourself.  We all have “off days.” Don't punish yourself for your food choices. Punishing yourself leads to more emotional eating instead of developing healthier coping mechanisms.
  • Seek professional advice.  Mental health professionals can help you formulate a personalized plan for addressing the distressing feelings that lead you to emotional eating.  They can also treat any underlying disorders, such as depression or anxiety which can make it difficult for you to overcome emotional eating on your own.



Dr. Christine Hatchard is a licensed clinical psychologist, forensic evaluator and Director of Mosaic Psychological Associates, LLC in Long Branch, NJ. She is an assistant professor at Monmouth University (NJ) where she teaches and serves as the Director of the Clinical Psychology Research Center. Dr. Christine is also the Executive Director of Making Daughters Safe Again, with her therapeutic retreats attracting attendants from around the world. She has provided talks and trainings on mental health internationally and has been featured in newspaper, TV, radio and film. Check out her two YWR programs: a 21 Day Overcoming Emotional Eating Program and a 35 Day Depression Relief Program. 


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

American Psychological Association, (2013, January 9). Poll of psychologists cites emotions as top obstacle to weight loss. Retrieved October 18, 2014, from loss.aspx

Brumpton, B. B., Langhammer, A. A., Romundstad, P. P., Chen, Y. Y., & Mai, X. M. (2013). The associations of anxiety and depression symptoms with weight  change and incident obesity: The HUNT Study. International Journal Of Obesity, 37(9), 1268-1274. doi:10.1038/ijo.2012.204

Chen, Y., Jiang, Y., & Mao, Y. (2009). Association between obesity and depression in Canadians. Journal Of Women's Health, 18(10), 1687-1692.doi:10.1089/jwh.2008.1175

Costarelli, V. V., Demerzi, M. M., & Stamou, D. D. (2009). Disordered eating attitudes in relation to body image and emotional intelligence in young women. Journal Of Human Nutrition And Dietetics,22(3), 239-245. doi:10.1111/j.1365-277X.2009.00949.x

Epstein, L., Temple, J., Neaderhiser, B., Salis, R., Erbe, R., & Leddy, J. (2007). Food reinforcement, the dopamine D2 receptor genotype, and energy intake in obese and nonobese humans. Behavioral Neuroscience,121(5), 877-866.10.1037/0735-7044.121.5.877

Izydorczyk, B. (2012). Neuroticism and compulsive overeating (A comparative analysis of the level of neuroticism and anxiety in a group of females suffering from psychogenic binge eating, and in individuals exhibiting no mental or eating disorders). Archives Of Psychiatry And Psychotherapy, 14(3), 5-13.

Masheb, R. M., & Grilo, C. M. (2006). Emotional overeating and its associations with eating disorder psychopathology among overweight patients with binge eating disorder.International Journal Of Eating Disorders, 39(2), 141-146. doi:10.1002/eat.20221


Kathy Smith, Your Wellness Room Expert and "America's Trainer"

Milk has long been a staple in our refrigerators. You pour it on cereal, into tea or coffee and even use it as a base for protein shakes. It is a source of calcium and protein, but it also adds fat and calories into our diets. For example, 1 cup of whole milk contains nearly 8 grams of fat and 146 calories, nearly half of which come from fat. You can switch to a lower-fat version, like 1 percent, but that has 102 calories and 2 grams of fat.

If you’re looking to lose weight, cutting back on cow’s milk is one approach, but even better, is to switch it with a milk alternative.

In the 1990s, we began seeing milk substitutes hitting the markets, and soy milk quickly became a top seller. I was a fan for a while, but as more products became available, there were more options promoting different nutritional values, consistencies, and of course, tastes—you can’t forget about taste! Nowadays, my favorite is almond milk. I like its nutty flavor and the fact that it’s super packed with nutrients.

The Superpower Of Almonds

Almonds are one of those super foods! They are low in cholesterol and sodium and high in micronutrients, which are vitamins and minerals essential for good health. The nuts are good for weight maintenance, too. Not only are they often recommended as a smart snack, but a study found that people who ate an almond-enriched, low-calorie diet lost more weight and body fat than those who followed a high-carbohydrate, low-calorie diet.

Of course, the nuts by themselves are great, but almond milk really has become popular. In 2011, it surpassed soy milk in sales gains.

 A lot of people drink almond milk because they like the flavor and its creamy consistency. You can buy it sweetened (usually vanilla or chocolate) or unsweetened, but be aware that the sweetened versions mean added sugar, which adds calories to what is naturally a low-calorie drink. An 8-ounce glass of unsweetened almond milk is approximately 60 calories, less than half of a glass of whole milk.

 In addition to being low-cal, almond milk is low in carbohydrates. This is good news because carbs convert into sugars, which can set you off on the blood-sugar roller coaster. Because almond milk is low in carbs, that means fewer spikes in blood sugar so you won’t feel the resulting drastic drops in energy.

 Also, almond milk is typically fortified with vitamin D and calcium just like cow’s milk. One cup serves up 25 percent of your daily recommended dietary allowance of vitamin D and 30 percent of calcium. Even better, it contains magnesium, which helps your body absorb the calcium. We all know calcium is critical to maintaining strong bones as we age, but it’s also necessary to contract muscles, like when exercising.

 Another mineral found in almond milk is iron. This helps muscles absorb and use protein, which gives you energy and helps muscles repair after an intense workout. And remember, we lose muscle mass as we get older, so maintaining or building that muscle mass back up is very important to healthy aging.

 However, almond milk by itself is not a huge source of protein—1 cup has 1 gram of protein versus 8 grams for cow’s milk and approximately 7 grams in soy milk. So if you’re switching to almond milk from either of those two, make sure you’re eating other foods high in protein, like eggs, fish, chicken, beans and nuts. Or fix yourself one of my favorites, a shake with protein powder and almond milk as its base. I regularly drink protein shakes because I love how energized I feel afterward.

Whether you’re trying to lose or maintain weight or simply trying to up your nutrition, it’s just as important to look at what you’re drinking as it is to track what you’re eating.

Kathy Smith has been known as "America's Trainer" for over 3 decades and is one of dozens of wellness experts who create programs for Your Wellness Room. Inside the platform, she offers a series of daily, actionable fitness programs for Type 2 Diabetes intervention as well as for general health benefits. Kathy has appeared on Oprah and The Today Show, and is regularly featured in leading magazines such as Shape and Natural Health. She is an accomplished author, with bestselling titles including The Feed Muscle Shrink Fat Diet and Moving Through Menopause. Kathy has partnered with the American Diabetes Association and is on the Board of the School of Gerontology at USC.


Kent Burden, Master Nutritionist, Professional Trainer and Vigoroom Expert.

The desk job has become the norm in America and across most of the Western world. Many of us are virtually chained to our desks, working on our computers, answering emails, teleconferencing and doing Skype meetings. For most, the only reason to get up out of our chairs is to take a quick bathroom break, and then it’s back to the desk to type up that report or send out that follow-up e-mail. 

According to a poll of 6,300 people by the Institute for Medicine and Public Health, Americans spend an average of 56 hours each week just sitting. That’s up by eight percent in the last twenty years. We are also contending with longer commutes to work, leaving us sitting in our car fighting traffic for longer periods of time each day, and causing us to be more sedentary than ever before. But it’s not just our jobs that encourage all this sedentary behavior; it’s also what we do when we are off work.

Television, or as my father so fondly called it, the “boob tube,” has been a favorite after-work pastime since the 1950s. Today, Americans spend 151 hours every month watching television, and most of that time is spent sitting down. Each year the entertainment industry is coming up with more and more reasons for us to have a seat and enjoy an ever-widening variety of entertainment options. My satellite provider boasts more than 250 channels including music, sports and movies along with all the network and cable offerings. That’s more than enough to keep the average American glued to the couch almost every night of the week. With websites like Hulu you can stream current and past TV shows at your convenience; add to that video games, social networking sites like Facebook, My Space, Twitter and LinkedIn, and you can see why many of us seem to be growing roots from our butts deep into the couch. What’s the big deal you say? So we spend a little more time sitting around. It can’t be that bad for us can it? The answer to that question is yes it can, and the harm isn’t just what it does to your physical health but also the cost to you, your employer and the overall economy. Is your chair killing you and the business you work for? All the latest research says yes.

Inactivity, stress and poor nutrition cause lifestyle diseases that cause more than 300,000 premature deaths, and cost 90 billion dollars in direct health care costs annually, and this doesn’t take into account the costs of lowered productivity in the workplace, increased insurance rates and missed workdays caused by illnesses related to inactivity, stress and poor nutrition. But how do we avoid these costs? The official Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines and recommendations for exercise to keep us healthy may not be enough, and most of us have trouble even fitting these minimum recommendations into our busy schedules. On the surface this all sounds like very bad news. I mean, if doing 30 to 60 minutes of exercise isn’t enough, then what are you supposed to do? You have to work, but your job has you stuck at your desk. You work hard all day and when you get home you need to unwind and relax. The good news is that there are quick and easy movements you can do right at your desk several times each day. These rejuvenate your mind and body, and offset the harmful effects of prolonged sitting. Inside Your Wellness Room are more than forty easy-to-do “exercises” and tips to get you more active and more productive in your everyday life.

Kent Burden wrote this article for My Life Fitness. For more great articles by Kent, go to:

Kent Burden is one of dozens of wellness experts who create programs for Vigoroom. His “At Work” program takes an innovative approach to addressing the problems of prolonged sitting in the office. He was the long-time Mind and Body Program Director at California’s famed Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. Kent is certified as a wellness coach, personal trainer, Pilates, Yoga and Spinning instructor and Massage Therapist. He is the co-author of AFAA’s Yoga Instructor Certification programs and has been featured in SHAPE, Natural Health, Fitness and Self magazines. Kent is the author of Is Your Chair Killing You? and does workplace consulting for many companies on how to get their employees moving on the job to boost productivity and health outcomes.


Paul Nussbaum, Ph.D. and Vigoroom Brain Health Expert.

For millions of Christians Holy Week is an emotionally turbulent time if one permits him or herself to become immersed in the reality of the events. One can experience a full range of emotions including loss, fear, anxiety, depression, joy, hope, and eternal love. Indeed, this is by design with Easter Sunday representing a day of triumph and celebration of faith.

Today, it is nearly impossible to not experience the same roller coaster of emotions granted us by the seemingly endless parade of evil in our world. Consider your emotions stirred by these events and as we witness horror on our television screens or computers. I watch with obvious concern as to how humans can get to such a point as to hate and to kill fellow humans. I listen to men and women share ideas of how to cleanse the planet from such evil and I continue to be led to the teachings of Christ.

We are again a planet and people confronted by evil while simultaneously living in real time the Holy Week celebrated by so many and understood by even more. The obvious lessons this week teaches all of us continue to be so critical today, especially today. Love will always triumph over hate; forgiveness, no matter how difficult or evil the deed against us, brings us salvation. Our answers we seek will not be found by earth-bound beings. Such answers lie in a greatness far greater than us and I believe our entire human race is in dire need of connecting with the greater power we call God.

For all Christians and all humans, I pray we can take some time this Holy Week and regardless of one's background or religion, consider the teachings of Christ. He was put to death by evil and yet he forgave so that we might also be forgiven. Love triumphs even when juxtaposed to hate and evil.

If you read this anywhere on the planet, reach out to someone and express love to them (perhaps even a simple "high five" for love). It sounds basic, but there are many more of us who are filled with love than those filled with hate. Follow the teachings of Christ this week and let love guide us to a more peaceful planet.

Happy Easter to All.


Dr. Paul Nussbaum is Vigoroom's brain health specialist. He is recognized as an international leader in brain health, with 25 years experience in the care of adults suffering from dementia, head injury and many neuropsychiatric disorders. He serves as Adjunct Professor in Neurological Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and is the Founder and President of Brain Health Center, Inc. The Center’s holistic brain health program integrates mind-body-spiritual wellness with clinical approaches. It works with individuals and organizations, and does neuropsychological assessments of retired NFL players. He has presented his views on brain health at the United Nations, Mensa and CSPAN. Paul is board-certified in Clinical Psychology and Geropsychology with a specialization in Neuropsychology.

Check out Dr. Nussbaum's new book, What Is The Purpose of My Brain?: Spiritual Healing and Salvation


Christine Luken, Your Wellness Room Financial Health Expert and the Financial Lifeguard.

Did you know that you can give yourself a raise?  How?   Of course, you could certainly ask your boss for one, but there’s actually an easier way: being mindful of your spending.  Most of us have our spending habits on autopilot and never really examine our expenditures unless we’re doing a monthly budget. 

I had this experience myself quite a few years ago.  My husband and I were both making good salaries and we only had a small mortgage with no other debt.  We had money spend, save, and invest.  When I started to help others to get out of debt and live on a budget, I figured I’d better walk the talk.  When I examined my bank statements to see what I had been spending in the various budget categories, I was appalled to discover that I was spending $800 a month at the grocery store!  For two people!  And that was over a decade ago.  Just by being mindful about my spending (do I really need a $6 jar of gourmet pasta sauce?) I was able to cut our grocery bill in half.  Now, we had $4,800 to spend on something else that was important to us.  Hello, Hawaii! 

Make it fun and pretend that you are a private investigator, digging up the details of what you’ve been spending on things like groceries, entertainment, dining out, coffee at Starbucks, sporting events, etc.  That daily $4 mocha seems like pocket change, but that adds up to $120 a month… and $1,460 a year!  I’m not saying you should nevertreat yourself to Starbucks, but even if you cut your frequency in half and brought coffee from home, you’d have a nice chunk of change to help pay down your debt or put in your family’s vacation fund.

Here are some places to explore and see if you discover some “found money.”

  • Dining out. Drinking water instead of soda or iced tea will save a family of four an easy $10 per meal.
  • The fast food drive-thru and stops at the convenience store.  Keep portable snacks and drinks in the car to save money and calories.
  • Subscriptions.  Look at those bills that are on autopilot, charging your debit or credit card monthly.  Are you using them?  The usual suspects: gym memberships, movie channels, products on auto ship, etc.
  • Entertainment.  Are you truly enjoying the money you’re spending on social events, or are you attending these out of habit or obligation?
  • Communications.  Are you overpaying for a cell phone plan that you’re not fully utilizing?  A landline that only telemarketers use to interrupt your dinner?

A good friend of mine recently retired from the airline industry, and he said he saved close to $1,000 a month by doing this expense audit on his family’s bills. The best part is that they don’t even miss anything that he cut out.  He just gave himself a $12,000 a year raise!

Being mindful essentially means paying attention.  The bottom line is that money mindfulness PAYS.  So, are you ready to give yourself a raise?


Christine Luken is the Your Wellness Room Financial Health expertthe Financial Lifeguard and a veteran Meal Planner.  Inside Your Wellness Room, she has programs to reduce debt, increase savings, budget, and talk about finances with family members. She helps individuals, families, and entrepreneurs design a financial road map to help them arrive at their Preferred Financial Destination. You can find Christine’s blogs, podcasts, and videos on her Financial Lifeguard Website and her Monday Meal Planning blog.


Dayna Deters, Vigoroom Pregnancy Expert.

The level of fitness before pregnancy is hardly something many women think much about. When you and your spouse decides it's the right time, or perhaps when the pregnancy was not planned for, the only thing left is to make preparations for how to cope physically with the pregnancy.

Prеgnаnсу itself can be easy for some women and hard for others. In an idеаl world, pregnancy would be carefully planned, with аn еxеrсiѕе and nutritional rоutinе ѕеt uр way bеfоrе уоu асtuаllу gеt рrеgnаnt. But wе dоn't livе in аn idеаl wоrld. Wе livе in a buѕу, hесtiс world whеrе рrеgnаnсiеѕ are often not planed for and juѕt come аlоng and hit us “оut of thе blue”.

Althоugh women аrе happy and gratified tо саrrу thеir child inѕidе thеir tummу, it iѕ natural to аlѕо feel ѕоmе level inѕесuritу аbоut thеir арреаrаnсе. Thеrе аrе a lоt оf physical changes during рrеgnаnсу thаt mаkеѕ wоmеn fееl not so great about their арреаrаnсе, аnd thе mоѕt obvious сhаngе is the wеight issue. It is important to gain healthy weight and not obsess with increased pounds that are a natural and positive part of being pregnant. The good news is that women can still work out and eat balanced meals, while gaining healthy extra body weight.

Being physically active throughout the pregnancy is safe for expectant mothers who are having low-risk pregnancies. Exercising can improve your energy level, elevate your mood, boost your self-esteem and create a higher sense of well-being for an easier pregnancy. It also promotes gradual, incremental weight gain throughout the pregnancy cycle, instead of gaining at a rapid pace.

Here аrе ѕоmе tiрѕ tо ѕtау fit while рrеgnаnt:

Gain weight in a mindful manner. Consult уоur dосtоr аbоut thе nесеѕѕаrу weight thаt уоu have tо gain - аnd mоnitоr your wеight. Aѕk for аdviсе on hоw to mаintаin thе idеаl weight аnd ѕtау fit during pregnancy. You should be aware that wоmеn who gain excessive weight during pregnancy аrе аt risk for preeclampsia оr high blооd pressure. If уоu have gained too much weight during pregnancy, уоu are also more likely tо hаvе delivery рrоblеmѕ аnd might end uр delivering thrоugh саеѕаrеаn section. It is important to mаintаin a healthy wеight during pregnancy, nоt juѕt to lооk gооd and ѕtау fit while рrеgnаnt, but also to avoid health problems.

Stау асtivе. When уоu аrе рrеgnаnt, it iѕ not an еxсuѕе to avoid working out and eliminating рhуѕiсаl асtivitiеѕ. The opposite is true. When you’re pregnant, yоu аlѕо nееd tо еxеrсiѕе. There аrе mоdеrаtе exercises and рhуѕiсаl fitnеѕѕ activities that уоu саn dо. Yоu juѕt hаvе to know уоur limitаtiоnѕ аnd know when to ѕtор. Sаfе рhуѕiсаl асtivitiеѕ will hеlр you stay fit while рrеgnаnt.

My number one favorite activity for pregnant women is walking. It's low-impact and easy to do anytime and anywhere. One useful tool to use when you walk is a pedometer, or a tracking device like a Fitbit or Jawbone Up. It's a great way to track your steps, and can even serve as a motivator to keep going.

It's okay to get a good sweat going, but don't overheat, and make sure you don't over-exert yourself. If you cannot talk normally while exercising, you are probably over-exerting yourself. One thing I also recommend to my pregnant clients is to wear a heart rate tracking device.

My number two favorite activity for pregnant women is light weight lifting. Even if you lifted weights before pregnancy, I recommend getting the okay from your doctor. If you did not lift weights before pregnancy, you should definitely consult with your doctor before lifting weights. Focus on moving at a slow and controlled rate. Moderate repetition incorporating low weight or light resistance during this time in your life will help you stay injury-free and promote a healthy pregnancy. The goal is not to get in the best shape of your life, but instead to use weight lifting to support a healthy pregnancy.

Again, getting a doctor's advice before starting a fitness routine is important for both inactive women and women who exercised before pregnancy.

If you have one of these conditions, your doctor may advise you not to exercise:

  • Premature rupture of membranes (when your water breaks early, before labor)
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Risk Factors for preterm labor

You do not have to eat for two. Prеgnаnсу iѕ nоt a license tо еаt all уоu can аnуtimе уоu want...which would be great, right? Buffet anyone?!

This is the time when it is most important tо еаt healthier and more balanced meals for the sake of your unborn child. It is also known that gаining tоо muсh wеight соuld result in pregnancy оr dеlivеrу рrоblеmѕ. So eаting healthy balanced meals, which inсlude fresh fruitѕ, vеgеtаblеѕ, рrоtеin, dаirу products (if tolerated) and whole grаinѕ are best for you and your baby. And avоiding junk fооdѕ and рrосеѕѕеd foods as much as possible are important during pregnancy.

Yоu саn ѕtау fit while рrеgnаnt, if уоu hаvе the OK from your doctor and are willing to dо the work. When pregnant, you have such a huge rеѕроnѕibilitу tо safely tаkе саrе оf and your unborn сhild. Following the fast tips I’ve shared with you will not only help you feel better throughout the pregnancy, but they’ll help you bounce back quicker after you deliver your precious little one.


Dayna Deters is the Pregnancy Fitness Expert for Vigoroom. She offers a video series of trimester-by-trimester exercises, as well as a postpartum exercise program inside Your Wellness Room. Dayna is owner of Dayna Deters Determined Fitness and has helped many men and women overcome their day-to day struggles and achieve their fitness goals. Dayna is a national-level fitness competitor, placing in the Top 10 in two Fitness America Pageants. She is creator of the Determinite Express DVD Series as well as an author of Gluten-Free Momma Fit Cookbook: Healthy Gluten-Free and Fit Living Recipes. A graduate of St. Cloud State University in Minnesota with a Bachelors of Health Education, Dayna has gained expertise in a range of subjects from anatomy and nutrition to psychology and women’s health. Find out more about Dayna here:


Linda Shelton, MS, Vigoroom Fitness Expert.

There are many things you can do to have a heart-healthy lifestyle. They include maintaining a healthy weight, proper nutrition, sufficient sleep, annual medical check-ups and a regular fitness program. When it comes to exercise, all activities aren't created equal, except that everything you do burns calories. The focus here is on the particular benefits and strategies in using cardio exercise for healthy heart maintenance, to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and as a heart disease intervention tool.

Cardio, short for cardiovascular or aerobic exercise, challenges your heart and respiratory system to work harder so your heart beats stronger, pumping more blood with less effort over time as you become more ‘cardio fit.' It helps reduce your odds of getting heart disease and has positive impacts on blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and energy level. As you get in better shape, you're less likely to be out of breath and feel less winded when you exercise or exert yourself, like walking up a flight of stairs or running after a toddler. Your resting heart rate will lower as your heart health improves; this is one of the first signs your fitness level is improving and your heart is working more efficiently.

Your intensity level is dependent upon your current fitness level and what you want to accomplish. Even moderate cardiovascular exercise can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease; lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels; balance insulin levels; and help you to lose weight. When it comes to the various Lifestyle Diseases, they all seem to respond to a similar cardio formula—exercise at a moderate to vigorous intensity for a minimum of 30 to 40 minutes each session, at least 3 to 5 days per week. The key is consistency over time.

To monitor your intensity for any cardio activity, use  a Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale. It’s based on YOUR perception of difficulty and effort. The RPE scale measures feelings of strain, discomfort and/or fatigue experienced during cardio an/or resistance training. Keep in mind both shortness of breath and how tired you feel in your legs and overall body. RPE gives you a sense of whether you need to pick up the pace or slow it down based on how you feel during and after cardio activity. There are variations on the 1-10 RPE scale, but here’s an RPE scale I use in my corporate fitness training programs.

RPE Scale

 1 - Almost no effort

 2 - Very easy; you can talk effortlessly

 3 - Mild; you can talk almost effortlessly

 4 - Moderately easy; you can talk comfortably and effortlessly

 5 - Moderate; you can talk comfortably with some effort

  6 - Somewhat difficult; you can talk, however requires effort

  7 - Difficult; conversation requires a lot of effort

  8 - Very difficult; conversation requires supreme effort

  9 - Intense; conversation nearly impossible

10 - Intense, max effort; no-talk zone

Linda Shelton is one of dozens of experts who create programs for Vigoroom. Inside the platform, she offers a series of fitness programs for Heart Disease intervention as well as for general health benefits. Inducted into the National Fitness Hall of Fame in 2007, Linda pioneered innovative employee wellness program ideas for such leading corporations as Hughes Aircraft, Rockwell and Blue Shield. For over twenty years, Linda served as Fitness Director for all Weider/AMI women’s fitness publications, including SHAPE Magazine. Linda was a founding member of the Aerobic and Fitness Association (AFAA) and served as fitness consultant and program developer for The Biggest Loser’s Jillian Michaels. 


Tens of millions of Americans are on diets each year. And virtually every one of them (about 95% according to most studies) is unable to lose weight and keep it off. This can be really demoralizing. And yo-yo dieting – repeatedly losing weight by dieting and subsequently regaining it – can actually be bad for your health. Most weight loss programs operate under a “calories in, calories out” philosophy. They tell you to follow their simple methodology and you’ll succeed. Yet only about one in twenty people do succeed. Can you imagine an auto company whose safety rate was 5% staying in business? Or a technology company whose products worked only 5% of the time having any credibility? That’s the irony in weight loss – failure is the key to weight loss companies staying in business.

Achieving healthy body weight (note the distinction between this term and “losing weight”) over the long haul involves tackling issues that go much deeper than calories consumed and burned. There are a myriad of critical factors related to your habits, history and lifestyle that cause you to gain weight and make it difficult to achieve your healthy body weight. So many of us suffer from insufficient sleep, high levels of stress, emotional eating behaviors, body image issues and/or childhood trauma. And each of these factors has a scientifically proven, direct impact on your hormones, emotions and sense of control – all of which can cause you to gain weight and make it hard to lose weight. 

The good news is that knowledge is power. Being aware of which of these underlying factors, and then taking an active approach to dealing with them, holds the key to achieving your healthy body weight on a sustained, long-term basis. With these tools and insights to change your outlook, you will achieve a healthy weight for your body and lifestyle. has a free, simple-to-follow meal plan that address the underlying causes of weight gain.


Christine Luken, Vigoroom Financial Health Expert and the Financial Lifeguard.

Did you know that humans are hardwired to avoid pain and unpleasantness?  Avoiding pain is actually a greater force for motivation than embracing pleasant situations.  Fear is a primal, and often irrational, emotion.  Many experience some form of fear surrounding money issues which can hold us back from being financially healthy.  But did you know that our money fears can be harnessed to move us toward positive change? 

We can easily see how negative emotions and experiences cause people to change their physical health.  Think of that middle-aged man you know, who for years ate and drank like a college frat boy… that is until he had a cancer scare or near-fatal stroke.  Turning on a dime, this man is now preaching the gospel of good nutrition and running marathons on weekends.  The promises of good health, better sleep, and fewer aches and pains weren’t enough to motivate this man to take care of himself.  It wasn’t until he was “scared straight” by a health crisis that he was driven to change his ways.  Unfortunately, many of us are this way with our money.  So, do we need to face a monumental financial crisis in order to drum up enough motivation to change? 

Thankfully, that’s not necessary.  With a little help from our imaginations, we can produce this same force to transform our finances.  You see, our brains cannot differentiate between actual events that happen to us and events that we vividly imagine in our minds.  The imagination is a powerful force that we can use as a sort of rocket booster to propel us towards our Preferred Financial Future. 

Here’s an example of how we can apply this to our money goals.  Retirement seems far off and I’m having trouble getting motivated to save money in my IRA on a regular basis. My husband and I want to retire on Sanibel Island, in Florida.  We’ve vacationed there and adore everything about the area:  the beaches, the nearby golf courses, and the fabulous weather.  We have pictures of the house we want to live in on our vision board, plus pictures of the beaches and golf courses on the island.  This gives me a warm fuzzy feeling whenever I see my Financial Vision Board.  But I’m finding that it’s not enough to motivate me to make saving for retirement a priority over spending money now. 

Let’s add fuel to the emotional fire by imaging how my life in retirement will be if I don’t achieve my retirement savings goals.  Now Nick and I will have to remain in our current home, or even downsize to a smaller home.  We won’t be able to move to Sanibel Island, so we’ll be facing harsh winters with bad driving conditions.  (I absolutely love the beach and loathe the cold and snow, so this makes me very depressed.)  I won’t have much money to take vacations or help my niece and nephew with their college expenses.  I may even have to go into a government-funded nursing home because of my failing health and lack of savings.  By letting my imagination go wild with how horrible it will be to fail at achieving the retirement I want, it lights a fire under me to make saving money a priority.  I could even visit a local nursing home for low-income residents and really take in the sights, sounds, and smells to cement that unpleasant image in my mind. 

If you are finding that your money goals and vision board are not giving you the motivational traction you need to make positive changes to your personal finances, consider adding some negative emotion to the equation.  By making the contrast of the upside of achieving your money goal and the downside of failing to reach it as sharp as possible, you’ll maximize the emotional charge and achieve massive motivation.


Christine Luken is the Vigoroom Financial Health expert, the Financial Lifeguard and a veteran Meal Planner.  Inside Vigoroom, she has programs to reduce debt, increase savings, budget, and talk about finances with family members. She helps individuals, families, and entrepreneurs design a financial road map to help them arrive at their Preferred Financial Destination. You can find Christine’s blogs, podcasts, and videos on her Financial Lifeguard Website and her Monday Meal Planning blog.


First think about food. If you went without any food for a full week, you’re probably thinking that you couldn’t survive. You’d definitely be very hungry, feel weak and drop a few pounds. It wouldn’t be pleasant, but the truth of the matter is, you’d be fine. Now think about sleep. If you went without any sleep for a full week, you’re probably thinking you’d be incredibly tired, groggy and cranky. The truth is – you’d be delusional and completely unable to function.

These are extreme examples, but the bottom line is that lack of sleep (even just small amounts of sleep deprivation) can have significant negative impact on: your health, weight, brain function, creativity, productivity, memory and mental health. Insufficient sleep is a public health crisis as it affects more than one in four adults in the U.S. and puts sizeable economic stress on the health care system.

Understanding how important regular, sufficient sleep is to “normal” functioning is critical. And with that awareness, changing our relationship with sleep opens the door to better functioning, less disease and greater overall happiness. has a variety of free programs to help you sleep better, including hypnotherapy-based sessions that cannot be found anywhere else.


Vigoroom has over two dozen elite experts who teach you how to lose weight, get in shape, reduce stress, sleep better, improve your finances and revitalize your relationships. Everything you need to have more strength, energy and vitality in your life…because you deserve it.