For the past 10 years, I’ve had a garden.  I usually do raised beds with tomatoes, peppers, carrots, and other vegetables.  I also do some herbs and spices…along with chamomile.

Why do I garden?

It’s certainly not because I’m awesome at it!  In fact, last year, I lost my entire tomato crop to some sort of fungus, which is making me wonder if I want to plant again as the risk of the same fungus affecting this year’s plants is pretty high.

It’s certainly not because it feeds my family – because, truth be told, I’m pretty much the only one who eats the stuff.  My daughter will eat tomatoes and my son love garden carrots.  But I’m the only one who likes the rest of it.

It’s certainly not because I have an abundance of time on my hands during the summer months and I just have to come up with a way to spend it.  Ha!  I wish!

It’s certainly not because it saves me money.  By the time I buy the plants and have my tomato plants attacked by fungus, have my zucchini plants attached by squash bugs…the yield is pretty low overall.  No money saved, really.

I’m in love with the process

I garden because I love the process of gardening.  I love watching things change and grow.  And….at the end of a very long, hot summer I get to have the fruits of my labor on my dinner table.

Cucumber vines attaching themselves to the supports. Nature is so cool!

I garden because it’s something my husband and I do together.  He eats nearly nothing from the garden!  Yet, he’s right beside me picking weeds and making sure we get the tomatoes out of there before it’s too late.  He also reports the first sign of critters, or anything else, that may be attacking my beloved plants.

I garden because my children are watching….they learn where real food comes from and how to grow and harvest it.

What has gardening taught me?

Gardening has taught me PATIENCE for what is possible if enough care and planning is put into something.


It’s taught me that it takes a long time, and a lot of work, for the final result to be worthy.

I’ve learned there is always next year….if a fungus attacks my tomato plants.  And, that I may need to do some research to find out how to prevent, or deal with, it if it happens again.  (Fingers crossed it doesn’t!!)

I can pretty much count on the fact that I’m going to be quite sick of the garden by mid July.  That the sweaty, sticky mess I become in the back yard most evenings will become something I dread but find oddly satisfying.

Why am I telling you any of this??

Because, like gardening, the weight loss journey is one of love/hate.

There will be times you are motivated and nothing can stop you.  But, there will also be times when a fungus attacks your tomato plants and you have to pull the entire crop.  There will be others who won’t eat vegetables from your garden and you must tend to it by yourself….drawing support from the simple fact that you are doing something great for yourself.

You will put in weeks to months of work for very slow, if any, yield.  Watching the plants slowly sprout and grow daily over the summer months, you’ll wonder what kind of success you’ll have when they start to produce.

There will most certainly be times when you must drag yourself off the couch to go pick weeds, or do some watering.  But, you make yourself…knowing that the end result will be worth it.

Finally, there will be times when you are ready to till it all under and just be done with it.  The effort it takes to maintain, even WHEN producing great fruits and vegetables, can become overwhelming and you just want it to be OVER.  Yet….you persist until the end of the season.

In the end…

In the end, the most important thing to know about gardening is how long it takes to get the results you want.  For example, even if you plant tulip bulbs, you will wait an entire YEAR to see those tulips bloom year after year.  For whatever reason, you are patient and understand the process.

If you grow a vegetable garden, you will wait months for most of your vegetables to produce something that you can actually eat.  Yet, you forge on – you put in the time preparing the soil, watering, weeding, pruning, etc.  You UNDERSTAND there’s a process involved to get the RESULT you want.

If you garden, you KNOW the fruit (the thing you want the most) comes at the END of the work.  You also know that to keep GETTING that fruit, you must continue to take care of that plant.  You don’t just pick tomatoes once and call it done.  Day after day, you do what it takes for that plant to keep producing for you.  You are A-OK putting in the time and effort to get the results what you want….knowing they are NOT immediate….but come after weeks to months.

By this time…..

It’s probably obvious what I’m trying to do here.

Everywhere I look, I try to see parallels between what we do in life and the weight loss journey.  What lessons can we learn?  What skills that we already KNOW, or already DO, can be applied to our efforts to lose weight?

Friends, this is what I try to do – show you that weight loss doesn’t have to be anything that starts from scratch.

I guarantee we all have things within our lives, like gardening, that require many of the exact same skills it takes to be successful at weight loss.  And, remember, that has nothing to do with “you didn’t tell me what to eat.”

It has to do with routines…habits…mindset!

It’s all about how you LOOK at the task at hand.

If you’re ready….

If you’re ready to learn more about what skills you already have that can help you with your weight loss journey – book a call with me.  If I can’t help you, I’ll try my best to point you in the right direction.

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Weight Loss

When it comes to losing weight, it’s easy to get caught up in the large end goal. We say things to ourselves like, “I really need to lose 100 pounds” or “I want to be a size 12.” We also talk ourselves into burning a certain amount of calories at the gym.
So often weight loss becomes a numbers game that we forget the small victories that lead the way to the end game. If you have a substantial amount of weight loss in mind, rest assured that you can start shifting your thinking today. With the tips we’ve put together, you’ll be on your way to the body you’ve always wanted, inside and out.

Start enjoying your meals

Many of us pride ourselves in the ability to chow down a piece of pizza in less than two minutes. What exactly is the problem with eating like this? Once you’ve downed your first slice, you’ll eat a second or third as well as a shake, and cinnamon sticks before you realized your stomach is full.

A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Rhode Island examined the relationship between how fast one eats and the amount of food consumed. Overall, fast eaters consumed 55% more food per minute compared to their slower counterparts.

By eating more slowly, you’ll tune into how your body tells you it’s full. Take the time to enjoy the way your food looks, smells, and tastes. Instead of consuming your steak in less than three minutes, try to stretch it to ten or more. This way your stomach has time to adjust to the food instead of being crammed full in a manner of minutes. Another great tip is to put your utensils down between bites.

Follow the principle of hara haci bu

The Japanese have a principle known as hara hachi bu that translates as “belly 80 percent full” in English. This way of eating is practiced by the residents of Okinawa, Japan. In reality, whenever you eat it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach’s stretch receptors to tell the body how full it really is. Stopping at about 80 percent capacity is a great technique to avoid excessive caloric intake as well as obesity. By following this concept coupled with eating more slowly, you will lose the weight in a healthy manner and keep it off.

Plan your meal ahead of time

Are you a planner? If so, now is the time to start applying this skill to your meals. Studies have shown that spontaneous snacks such as a donut from the break room or a bag of chips fro the vending machine add up quickly. Chances are if you grab something from the vending machine near the drinking fountain, you’ll forget about it later after you’ve already consumed it, therefore you’ve consumed extra and unnecessary calories.

Though it might seem annoying at first, planning your meals ahead of time will assist your weight loss in the long run. It also allows you the chance to put more thought into your choices. It’s a lot easier to pick up a frozen pizza at the supermarket, but taking the time to visualize a balanced meal will guarantee you a slimmer and healthier future.


Get this, plus more valuable information, in my new ebook – THE book that prepares you for your next diet.  Weight loss starts with your MIND…not with your BEHIND.  Mindset is ESSENTIAL for success. My book will get your head straight so your next weight loss program can be your LAST weight loss program!

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Is Exercise a Part of Your New Year’s Resolution?

January is filled with the best of intentions when it comes to fitness and health. Unfortunately, most don’t last longer than 3-4 weeks. (Insert sad face here.) When it comes to beginning an exercise routine, there are several things you need to know for your new commitment to be successful. The biggest thing you need to know is why some folks gain weight with exercise (and, no, I don’t mean putting on muscle), as this is one of the common reasons they quit exercising.

Trauma Alert!!

When you go from being somewhat sedentary to being active – particularly intense activity such as lifting, running, etc – your body will be saying “WHAT THE HECK?!?” It may be in a bit of shock. You’ve just taken it from it’s nice comfy place and introduced it to an entirely different activity and routine. You may be sore, built up a bit of lactic acid, and may even feel swollen and stiff. Think about it… you put your poor, untrained muscles through something traumatic. What happens when any part of your body experiences trauma?

When the body undergoes injury, even micro-tears in the muscle as a result of completely appropriate exercise, it will send fluid to the area to begin repairing the damage. This may sound like you are doing something harmful, but you aren’t! It’s an entirely appropriate response! It’s no different than when you sprain your ankle and it swells because of fluid and inflammation. Your muscles can undergo the same process – the fluid and inflammation bring needed chemicals to the area to begin to repair your muscles and prepare them for your next workout.

This fluid comes from the body holding on to excess water as a response to the new activity. This will contribute to extra pounds on the scale. It’s NOT FAT!

Your Body Wants to Make Exercise Easier!

Your body is impressively adaptive. Now that you are working out, your body will take steps to prepare you for your next workout. This happens independent of the process described above – where your body attempts to repair any micro-damage done by hard workouts.

Your body has the ability to be ready for activity by storing sugar inside the muscles so you have immediate energy for your workouts. It says “okay, I’m gonna be ready next time!” and stores glycogen (the storage form of glucose/sugar) within the muscle.

THIS is when people quit their routine because they weigh themselves after a week and expect the scale to be down. On the contrary! The scale may be up several pounds! Your brain says “this obviously isn’t working!”, so you stop exercising and those pounds go away. I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard people say “I gained weight when I started exercising, but lost it all when I stopped.” We know exercise is good for us – so this doesn’t make sense….but, yet – it happens just this way! WHY??

Glycogen Storage – Your Body’s Gift to You

In an effort to be ready for the next workout, your body will store glycogen (stored form of sugar) in the body as mentioned above. This is great! This enables you to start your workout fairly intensely – as your muscles have an immediate fuel source RIGHT THERE! (Of course, after appropriate warm-up and stretching.) However, glycogen doesn’t last forever. It’s purpose is for immediate usage, not long-term usage. It’s used up rather quickly, actually. Your body then turns to fat to fuel the rest of your workout. Your body works harder to use fat as a fuel source…glycogen is EASY to use! Thus, our bodies WANT to store glycogen for us!

When the body knows you are really going to stick with this exercise routine, it will store more glycogen in your muscles. Here’s the kicker….. To store ONE molecule of glycogen, the body has to store approximately 3 grams of water! Yes! That means you will retain fluid to store this precious glycogen! This will lead to a heavier weight on the scale. This is also dependent on what muscles have been worked! What will store more glycogen?…. your glutes or your forearms? So, yeah – when you work those big muscles (glutes, back, hamstrings, quads) – there’s a lot of potential for glycogen (and thus water) storage! This will reflect on the scale, but it isn’t true weight gain!

Losing Weight When You Stop Exercising

This explains why you lose that weight when you STOP exercising. It’s not true weight loss. It’s simply ‘pound loss’ – you see the number on the scale drop, but you’ve lost absolutely no fat. When you stop exercising, your body does’t need to store that glycogen. So, all that water you retained as a part of this wonderful, natural process begins to leave your body. This results in a lower number on the scale. That’s it.

So, What’s The Answer?

The answer is to just stick with it. Tune into your logical, rational brain and KNOW you are doing what is right for your body. Know that this is what is supposed to be happening! Drink lots of water (counterintuitive, I know…but it’s a must!) and wait for the scale to begin to show your true weight loss. Or, don’t get on the scale at all and just wait for your clothes to fit differently, or for others to compliment you on your new physique. Or, simply focus on your performance. Are you getting stronger? Faster?

So, You Must Have Numbers?

One way to truly measure if your efforts are working is to have your body composition tested before and during exercise. Before starting a routine – get a baseline body composition test. Then, about every 4-5 weeks. This tells you so much more than the scale ever could! I have patients who have been working with me for months and have only lost ONE pound according to the scale. However, their body comp shows a muscle gain of 11 lbs and a fat loss of 12 lbs. There’s your ONE pound net loss, but obviously things have changed!

My office uses an InBody to check body composition. There are other brands out there – simply google your area and “body composition” to see if there’s a way to do this. Personal trainers also can do this via skin-fold methods and measurements. The scale isn’t the only number that you should be looking at!

In Conclusion

You know exercising is good for you – stick with it despite what happens with the scale! This weight gain is protective, normal, and adaptive! It means your body is doing what it’s supposed to be doing. Have faith in your body and it’s ability to look out for you.

-Dr. Hodges

This, as well as other essential information for weight loss, can be found in my new ebook!  This new ebook prepares you for your next weight loss program – to make it your LAST weight loss program!  Weight loss starts with your MIND….not with your BEHIND.  Get your mindset right and your chances of weight loss success SKYROCKET!

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Weight loss

Being overweight is a health problem that affects people of all ages from children to adults. Being overweight is having a body weight that is more than what is medically recommended for your height and body mass index. Your weight results from different factors some of which can be managed. They include; genes, environment, lifestyle, metabolism rate, habits, family history of being overweight or obese and feeding routines just to mention a few. You cannot change genes and family history, but you can adopt a lifestyle that curbs unhealthy weight development.

Health risks of being overweight

Coronary heart disease

As your body weight increases, so does your risk of developing coronary heart disease. Coronary heart disease is a health condition whereby a waxy substance known as plaque builds up in the coronary arteries that are responsible for carrying oxygen-rich blood into the heart. The plaque narrows the coronary arteries and gradually blocks them. Narrowing the arteries reduces the amount of oxygenated blood transported to the heart muscles. This, in turn, can cause chest discomfort or pain known as angina or worse still, a heart attack. If the problem is not addressed, it can lead to heart failure where the heart cannot pump enough blood as required by the body.

High blood pressure

High blood pressure also known as hypertension occurs when the blood flows through arteries at higher than normal pressure. Genetic and environmental changes in the body are responsible for causing high blood pressure. Environmental changes include factors like being overweight, unhealthy eating habits and taking certain medicines such as hormonal therapies. High blood pressure also runs in families. As such, there are gene mutations that put you at risk of developing high blood pressure if your parents had the same. If the blood pressure rises and stays high for a long period, it can damage other parts of the body and lead to serious health complications.


As noted above, being overweight causes plague build up in the arteries. With time, the plaque ruptures and causes formation of a blood clot. If the clot gets close to the brain, it blocks oxygen and blood flow to the brain. Lack of oxygenated blood in the brain causes a stroke to occur. The brain cells will die gradually after a few minutes of lacking oxygen. Note that, the risk of developing stroke increases as the body mass index increases. Stroke is a serious medical condition that requires emergency care. It causes long term disability, lasting brain damage or death if not addressed immediately it occurs.

Abnormal blood fats

Being overweight means that you have excess and abnormal fats stored in the body. This includes high levels of bad cholesterol that in turn take up the storage space meant for good cholesterol. Cholesterol is a fat and waxy substance that is present in all body cells. The body relies on good cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D and other substances that help during digestion. High blood cholesterol and fats signify that you have too much unwanted cholesterol in the blood. High levels of bad cholesterol increase your chances of developing heart complications.


This, as well as other essential information for weight loss, can be found in my new ebook!  This new ebook prepares you for your next weight loss program – to make it your LAST weight loss program!  Weight loss starts with your MIND….not with your BEHIND.  Get your mindset right and your chances of weight loss success SKYROCKET!

Subscribe to email list to receive valuable info and announcements

Weight loss

Dear Former Patients,

Please allow me to take this opportunity to issue my sincerest apologies.   Prior to 2011, I was giving out some really crappy nutritional advice.  You came to my office, claimed you were following all of my instructions – yet, you were a few pounds heavier than last visit and your diabetes was still out of control.  I remember thinking you were not being honest with me about your food intake.  And, I remember you looking desperate, wondering what else you needed to be doing, asking yourself how you could possibly try harder.   And, I vividly recall sending you on your way with instructions to increase your whole grains, switch from white bread to wheat bread, and to stop putting sugar on your cereal.  Essentially, I encouraged your high-carbohydrate diet.

I humbly ask your forgiveness.

Prior to 2011

As a medical resident and then a young attending physician, I was regretfully under the influence of some very, very bad nutrition education.  I had been taught that diabetics needed 40-60% of their intake to come from ‘good’ carbohydrates – whole grains, natural starches, fortified breads and cereals.  I was taught that fat was the enemy – one that was sending our nation into a spiral of irreversible cardiovascular disease.  So, I recommended fat-free products to you.  I advised you to purchase skim milk, margarine, and to stay away from eggs.

I humbly ask your forgiveness.

After 2011

However, a single conversation changed my life.  I was discussing my sudden weight gain to a trainer at a gym I had joined.  I was in the best physical shape of my life – trail running in the mornings and doing Crossfit a few times per week.  Within 2-3 months, I put on 15 lbs.  I knew this was not “muscle” – no one gains muscle that quickly.  I was asking her what she thought (and I was on the verge of crying!).

Her first question was “how many carbs are you eating?”  And my first thought was “why the hell does that matter?”  She recommended I try to keep track of my carbohydrate intake and see if I could keep it under 100 grams per day.  (My head was still thinking she was full of it…..limiting carbs was NOT what I’d been taught in medical school.”

My discovery

I left the gym that very day and went home to consult my favorite mentor:  Google.  I spent hours that day reading about lower carbohydrate diets and the history of how fat came to be such a villain in our society.

That was the day my jaw hit the floor – and it’s pretty much stayed there.  I was shocked at what I learned – that our excess carbohydrate intake furthers many disease processes, including diabetes(If you have a problem processing sugar – carbs are sugar – why in the world would it make sense that you eat mostly carbs??) I learned that there really isn’t a “minimum” amount of carbohydrates that one needs – that we’d survive just fine without them.  And, I learned that removing fat from our diets starting in the 1960s (and peaking in the 1980s-90s) was the single biggest dietary mistake our society has made.

My world was forever changed.

In case you didn’t know, I’m a DOCTOR

So, why was this information all new to me?  I’m going over countless studies, not believing what I’m reading.  Flawed research, industry influence!  How was I not privy to this information as a young medical student and physician – sworn to do no harm?

That’s it – I was OBSESSED.  The world has to know about this!  (My friends reading this are all saying…oh yeah, she let us all know about it….over…and over….and over…)  🙂

My new career was born

Since that one conversation, I have been on a mission to fix the mistakes I made so long ago.  I can still see some of those patients very clearly and this helps me stay focused on my goal of re-educating people about what real food truly is – and more importantly – what it is NOT.  Obesity and type 2 diabetes have only gotten worse – particularly in the last twenty years.  The low-fat, high-carb dietary recommendations have done us no favors, friends.  In fact, they have made us an incredibly sick nation.

After becoming a Diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine, I opened Exceptional Health & Weight Loss Solutions, PLC in September 2015 – a clinic entirely dedicated to fighting the untruths we’ve been taught about food.   I focus on responsible weight loss without gimmicks. I basically teach people how to eat.

All of this came about due to one simple conversation after I’d gained 15 lbs.  Going back to that story – I did start watching my carb intake.  I realized for every handful of pretzels I gave my kids, I’d take handful too. (Because, ya know…pretzels are fat free.)  I’d take a bite of every PB&J and every serving of Mac ‘n Cheese.  I stopped all of this and the pounds came off within a couple of months – fairly effortlessly.  (BTW, I no longer purchase pretzels or Mac ‘n Cheese for my children.)

So again….

I am so sorry for the terrible advice I gave so many years ago. (And I’m also sorry my family felt like they had to hide the butter, bacon, and eggs when I went home to visit!)

I was uneducated on this topic.  You came back to me heavier and sicker and I assumed you weren’t following my directions.  When, in fact, you were probably doing exactly as I had instructed.

~Dr. Linda Hodges

You can find this story, plus other valuable information, in my new ebook!  A book about weight loss that focuses on PREPARING for your next diet….MINDSET is ESSENTIAL for SUCCESS!

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