MountainStar Health - March 19, 2021
by Jennifer James

The Ogden Regional Medical Center / Heart Center, “Losing It & Loving It” weight loss class & support group newsletter


Did you know that the only day of the year that is a verb is March 4th? No groaning, please. It is a good metaphor for this month. Many things start movin' and shakin'. Change is afoot. What I love about this month, in spite of its bluster and mud, is that Nature “marches forth”. Humans think about it too much, Nature just does it. What is holding you back? March forth! We celebrate Saint Patrick's Day (for the record, none of my Irish friends would be caught drinking green beer), the spring equinox, Palm Sunday, and Passover.

In good health,
Jennifer James

Success Story

I have a little flowering plant with orange blossoms in my work office. I am trying to do right by this plant, but I can't seem to hit “our stride” with it. It looks sickly, and sheds blossom husks. I think I am overwatering it, so have backed off on this. Some improvement. This plant is a bit mangy, but still alive.

In my personal relationships I am always tweaking things: keeping my ego in check, keeping my opinionated opinions on a leash (or not, to everyone's dismay), trying to be a good listener, and looking for the good my peeps do. Sometimes we don't get along, and have to work through it. They are a work in progress.

Most of us struggle with some extra pandemic pudge, moi included. It is frustrating and disheartening. But, we still work on ourselves (albeit haphazardly), and keep trying.

None of these scenarios are perfect, far from it. But the golden thread that runs through all of them is that we keep trying. We might as well roll over and call the mortician if we stop. Growth, important lessons, self-reflection and striving come to a standstill when we give up. Is that really an option? I hope not. Carry on my friends, you are not alone. All of humanity would still be roaming around Africa if we had stopped striving. It is in our nature to try. We may have to dig to find the desire, but it is there.

Have you Tried…..Infused Water?

Infused water is cold water flavored with fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices and botanicals. It is a good alternative to sodas and fruit juice, especially for those who don't like plain water. It is a DIY project with a lot of room for creativity. Check out the suggestions below.

Tonight is Not the Night

One theme that seems to repeat itself with many of my patients, is this propensity for letting loose after the sun goes down and dinner is a memory. I am not talking about that, I am talking about unrestrained nibbling. Many skip breakfast, often lunch, setting themselves up for failure in the evening when they are so hungry they can't think clearly. That is strike one. Having treats and snacks about is not helpful either. Think of a recovering alcoholic with a cupboard full of booze. Strike two. Enter delusional thinking about how they have deprived themselves all day, and now can make up for it. Strike three. On comes the weight, unless you plan to walk five miles every evening.

How do we NOT end up in this predicament? Well, we go back to the “strikes”. Eat breakfast and lunch, remove the treats and snacks from your domicile, and eat a planned dinner and snack. Track your food intake (yes, that again). Black and white reality always beats human delusion. If you don't care, and just read this newsletter for some yucks, ignore this advice. If you do care, put a limit on those treats, however you can do it. Set a calorie limit, or a time limit. This may backfire, as one support group attendee observed. If you set a food intake cutoff at 8 pm, don't cram in as much food as you can by 7:59! If boredom is driving this, find something more productive to do rather than television or internet surfing. Fold the laundry, empty the dishwasher, sweep the floor, play with the kids, work on a puzzle, figure out your lunch and clothes for tomorrow…. ANYTHING but boredom binging. You can do this, and you will feel better about yourself.

I promise.


I saw a meme some years ago that read, “Karma's a b****, but only if you are”. All of this got me thinking, which I do occasionally. I have observed something lately that has given me pause. I know a number of people who are in very dire health predicaments, but their friends and immediate family are very slow to offer help, or even check on them. It says a lot about how these folks have lived their lives.

Our actions matter… a lot. There are many adages around this…what you sow shall you reap, you've made your bed now lie in it, what goes around comes around, etc. If we treat others with kindness, that kindness will boomerang its way back to us. Not necessarily from the people we were kind to initially, but it will come back. If we treat others with contempt, judgement, (and worse), apathy, guess what baby? The chickens are coming home to roost, and they will roost right above our heads, dropping their blessings upon us. A tad graphic, but you get the point.

Let's practice compassion. Help others without being asked. Be nice to ourselves too. Make friends. Enjoy our precious human lives and stop whining about everything, even if we have a good excuse. The Universe is listening, folks. It will give back to us what we have given so freely to others and life itself.

This we can count on.

Water Works

A common goal in the support groups is to drink more water, often 64 ounces a day. This is a recurring goal for many. Which brings me to the question why is it so difficult to drink enough water throughout the day?

I struggle with this as well. Proper hydration decreases headaches, improves energy levels, prevents infections (think UTIs), regulates body temperature, improves cardiovascular health, lubricates our joints, delivers oxygen and nutrients to cells, improves our mental ability, vision, sleep and mood. We are not as constipated, and our complexions look healthier. I have had patients mistake thirst for hunger, and eat more when they really needed a big glass of water.

How do we make this happen? From my own experience, tying a drink of water to something else we do every day, such as driving to work or watching the news makes it easier to remember. You can also fill up a pitcher of water, at least two quarts, and work on that throughout the day. There is no set amount we all need to drink, it varies with altitude, humidity, exercise and the quantity of fiber we eat. If you are not urinating at least four times a day, the color of your urine is darker than this background, and you are constipated, drink up pardner! Don't drink it all in the evening, spread it throughout the day. Check out the infused water recipes below to liven things up. You can count other beverages in the total, except alcohol. We can all do this with a little planning. One of the support group attendees likes to drink her water from a fancy wine glass. Along that line, buy yourself a jazzy new water bottle to make it more enjoyable.

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, (2021). The importance of hydration. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health News.

Infused Water

Such a simple, yet creative beverage to make. Slice or chop the ingredients, place in a pitcher or water bottle with a filter. Slowly add COLD water. Let steep. Refrigerate after 2 hours. Strain after 24 hours and refrigerate for several days. Some ingredients pack a bigger punch than others, others take a while to let go of their essence. Try sparkling water, such as La Croix, in place of plain water. For example, try coconut sparkling water with chunks of pineapple.

The sky is the limit with different combinations to try. Here are some suggestions:

  • Pear + ginger root
  • Apple + orange + clove
  • Cucumber + jalapeno + lime
  • Strawberry + kiwi
  • Orange + blueberry + cinnamon
  • Lemon + thyme
  • Watermelon + mint
  • Grapefruit + rosemary

Some tips:

  • Citrus fruit: remove rinds after 4 hours, otherwise the water will be bitter
  • Strawberries, melon: good for a few hours
  • Whole berries, citrus, apple: last longer
  • Leafy herbs (cilantro, basil, mint, thyme, etc.): tear before adding
  • Tougher herbs (rosemary, ginger root, fennel, etc.): crush or muddle before adding
  • Calories: very few, unless you eat the ingredients.

LILI rides again!

“Losing It & Loving It” weight loss/wellness class

Tuesdays, April 6-June 22

6:00pm-7:00pm (first class 6:00pm-7:30pm)
Aspen Room, Ogden Regional Medical Center
(Lower level, west entrance)

Register at or call (866) 887-3999

Masking and social distancing enforced

Questions: Call Jennifer at (801) 479-2133, or Email

Support Groups

Mondays, 2:00pm-3:00pm
Tuesdays, 4:30-5:30pm
Free to LILI graduates
Heart Center Conference Room
Or via Webex (download the app)

Mondays - password: 38HWuJ3pChs, Meeting #: 145 779 2803

Tuesdays - password: 8iW3GqtZ9Ud, Meeting #: 145 440 2353

Both meetings can be accessed by phone: (415) 655-0001, use the meeting number for the access code

People pay for what they do,
and still more,
for what they have allowed
themselves to become.
And they pay for it simply: by the lives they lead.

Edith Wharton