Ask Courtney

A local fitness and nutrition guru takes on your toughest health questions.


How do suggest controlling food cravings? – Julie, Manhattan Beach

CH: Most people on diets would say to simply eliminate foods that you crave from your diet. 

Our body does not crave sugar in the form of cookies and candy, nor does it crave salt in the form of potato chips and salted treats. What it does crave is sugar in the form of sweet vegetables and fruit as well as minerals that come from greens and different whole grains. 

Unfortunately many of us misinterpret these cravings and choose the foods that sound good in the moment. The cravings will not go away when you do this, because you are consistently not giving your body what it needs. 

There is nothing wrong with enjoying the occasional cookie, ice cream or plate of French fries, but maybe you can’t have them in your home … or in your office desk drawer. Go out and mindfully enjoy these types of foods by splitting with a friend and always choosing the smallest serving size. 

It’s not about what you can’t have; it’s about what your body can and should have. Restriction is for dieters. 


Any important health advice for an incoming freshman college student? – Alex, Palos Verdes

CH: As someone who blew the freshman 15 out of the water (I gained close to 30 pounds while playing college soccer), I have a lot to say about this topic. I first and foremost suggest keeping water and only water in your dorm. There is no need for juices, sport drinks, soda or energy drinks. I drank my calories daily, and they definitely did not provide me with any type of nutritional benefit. 

When eating out at the dining commons, be mindful of your portions. Those breakfast burritos and tater tots will really add up. Choose more nutritious meals like Greek yogurt parfaits, omelets and low-sugar cereals and oatmeal for breakfast. Every once in a while, you can hit up that waffle maker by splitting a waffle with a friend and enjoying some fruit and a hard-boiled egg on the side. 

Lunch is the same idea. Stick to the salad bar the majority of the time, or make half your plate veggies and fruit instead of filling your plate with pizza, burgers and fries, or burritos all the time. You can still choose to indulge in these types of foods, but do it mindfully.


Courtney Hermann, CHHC, AADP, is a holistic health, nutrition and lifestyle coach based in Hermosa Beach.
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