Author Archive for: ‘smeyer’

The Number One Reason You’re Not Losing Weight

losing-weight

I recently came across this article on a popular fitness blog. I almost immediately dismissed the article as another piece telling the reader they are eating too may calories, not fasting enough, not burning enough calories, etc, etc. I was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case. It is not a topic that is often discussed when talking about weight loss, but “too much” dietary restriction is often the culprit when weight loss fails.

Metabolism 101 is that the body will go into starvation mode and store what food it does get when it’s not being fed. I see this often when working with college students who believe extreme calorie restriction is the answer to their weight problems. We all know calorie restriction can be a slippery slope, so what is the best approach? As the author states, eating enough calories to keep you satiated, but enough to create a calorie deficient that results in a 1 to 2 pound weight loss per week. It’s not a glamorous recommendation or a magic bullet, but one that is proven to work.

Long-Term Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors

veggies8jul2015

“Bikini season” is now in full force. I will admit giving into this phenomenon by purchasing a DVD that claims to have your body bikini ready in one week.  Full disclaimer, I do not buy into this marketing ploy, I just happen to be a fan of this fitness person’s exercise regimen   As I sweat through the vigorous workout and listen to her drone on about getting bikini ready, I do wonder how many people actually believe this work out will result in bikini worthy abs.  Realistically, working out for a week will not result in Olympic style abs, but that doesn’t mean you should give up exercise and healthy eating all together.  Establishing long-term healthy lifestyle behaviors will enable you to enjoy food and meet your health & wellness goals.

A few healthy eating tips courtesy of appforhealth:

  • Reduce overall calories to promote fat loss. Excess fat is quickly mobilized from the middle, so you’ll quickly see changes to your mid-section, if you lose just a few pounds.
  • Reduce or eliminate nutrient-poor carbohydrates (read: candy, soda, baked goods). Simple sugars cause rapid rises in blood sugar and have been linked to excess belly fat. To know the 46+ names food manufacturers use for sugars in their product, use this tool. 
  • Keep saturated fat to recommended levels (7-10% of total calories) Again, saturated fat has been shown to be linked to larger waistlines, so eat more poly and monounsaturated fats in place of foods rich in sat fats.
  • Avoid man-made trans fats, which are still in many foods. To tell if a processed food contains trans fats, look for partially-hydrogenated oil in the ingredient list.
  • Eat more whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Diets rich in these foods are consistently associated with smaller waistlines.
  • Enjoy nonfat or lowfat plain Greek yogurt.  Yogurt may help whittle your middle and the beneficial probiotics may help alter your gut bacteria to keep your GI tract healthy.

5 Words You Should Stop Using When Talking About Food

food-words

This blog post by Ellie Krieger completely resonated with me simply because these are words commonly associated with food that are negative, shame inducing & scientifically inaccurate. 

Though the actual blog provides much more detail, I have summarized Krieger’s main points below. 

Detox: As Krieger points out the word “detox” implies that your body is unable to rid itself of harmful compounds & unless you engage in a radical eating plan, your body will be filled with toxins. What many detox proponents fail to mention is that our kidneys & liver do this job adequately.

Cleanse: Same idea as detox (Krieger likens these terms to cousins). A promise of body purity that never lives up to its claims.

Skinny: Our world is inundated with images of skinny bodies. When skinny is used to describe food products, we fail to see the purpose of food, which is to nourish our body.

Never: Applying the term never to any situation almost always backfires, especially when it comes to foods. The term never sets the stage for food obsession & rebellion.

Perfect: A toxic term when used to describe food behaviors and body image.

Spotting Added Sugars in Food

cookies

Calorie In, Calorie Out. That is a term I heard over and over again in my training and continued research into the science of weight loss.  Of course, this old adage doesn’t take into account the complexities of human beings and what drives us to eat (or not eat).

The latest villain in the diet world is sugar and although we know large consumption of sugar can be harmful, sugar is not toxic when ingested in modest amounts.  Carbohydrates (i.e. sugar) is the primary fuel our body uses to give us energy.  What type of sugar should we be ingesting?  Natural occurring sugars from fruits, vegetables, low fat milk/dairy foods.  The sugar that increases our risk for diseases such as obesity & diabetes comes from “added sugars” that simply contribute empty calories (calories with little to no nutritional value).  Added sugars include: brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, molasses, honey, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, evaporated cane juice, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose & table sugar.

For more information on how to spot added sugars in foods check out this blog on appforhealth.

 

The Gluten Free Diet Trend

wheat

There are endless trends when it comes to nutrition but the one that appears to be taking center stage is gluten free diets.   It is estimated that around 22 % of adults are trying to avoid gluten, creating an estimated 8.8 billion dollar market.  It goes without saying that this is big business for food companies.  But, is a gluten free diet really the way to go?  Is the big boom in gluten free diets out of necessity?  Anyone who has considered going gluten free should read this article The Gluten Enigma appearing in the March/April issue of Eating Well.   This article explores gluten sensitivity and addresses the myth of gluten free diets for weight loss. Although this article is unlikely to totally clear up the controversy regarding gluten free diets, hopefully it will help consumers make the best decision when it comes to their diet.

Ways to Eat Smarter this Spring

asparagus

We all could use a little help with our eating habits and Appetite for Health has provided some great tips to get us started with healthier eating for the warmer months.

 1. Snack Smarter.

Start by changing the “snack ratio” in the house. Slowly and gradually have more fruits, veggies, and healthier snack choices around, rather than the typical, higher-calorie junk food. Fresh produce is abundant in the spring season – so make watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, peaches, blueberries and other fruits your “go-to” sweet snack items in place of  cookies, ice cream or candy bars.  I love to combine fresh fruit with non fat greek yogurt as a way to keep me full between meals, while maximizing taste and good nutrition. Want more great snack ideas?  Check out Julie’s list of “Skinny 100-Calorie Snacks”.

2. Get a “Hand”le on Portions.

Regularly consuming super-sized portions is one of the quickest ways to derail your diet.  Develop a healthy habit of selecting sensible-sized food portions. If your plate has a serving of rice that can’t fit into the cupped palm of your hand then you’ve probably taken too much. Using this “cup of your hand” technique is a good way to mentally measure the amounts of foods that go onto your plate. For a good guide to estimating healthy portions using your hand, check out this chart.

3. Slash Your Soda Intake.

Can you commit to going soda-free this summer?  Why not! Try slowly weaning yourself off calorie-containing soft drinks.  Delicious, thirst-quenching alternatives include unsweetened iced tea or water with slices of orange or lemon . If you want to keep your ‘fizz’, try a beverage of ¼ cup 100% fruit juice mixed with seltzer.

4. Choose Low-Calorie Sauces and Dips.

Take advantage of great summer salads for main courses and appetizers, but have sauces and dressings served on the side. This step alone can save you hundreds of calories. Instead of dousing salads with rich dressings, dip your fork into a small dish of dressing and then pick up your food. This will impart the flavor of your dressing with every bite, but without adding too many calories.  If you find yourself at a party with lots of chips and dips… either avoid them altogether, or portion out a handful of chips (better yet – opt for veggies if they are available) and pair with a few tablespoons of healthier dips like hummus, salsa, or bean dip.

5. Eat Breakfast.

Really.  I mean it.  This one can make a big difference in how many total calories you consume for the day. A healthy breakfast choice may establish your hormonal appetite regulation system for the day.  A scone or muffin with coffee might sound good, but won’t tame your cravings or temper your appetite as much as a protein-rich breakfast from eggs (6 grams protein per 70-calorie med egg), egg whites (the protein is split between the yolk and white but the white is lower in calories), oatmeal with peanut butter or yogurt (esp Greek yogurt); yogurt or cottage cheese with fruit; or nut butters with a protein-rich whole-grain bread. If you’re eating cold cereal, look for brands that provide at least six grams protein per serving and have with a cup of skim or 1% milk will add an additional 10 grams protein.

For good ideas on what to eat for breakfast, check out our article on 10 Healthy Breakfasts in Less than 10 Minutes.

6. Make Mondays Meatless. 

You may have heard the “Meatless Mondays” slogan, which started as a way to help the war effort during WWI. Now it’s a nationwide movement (meatlessmonday.com). Why take the pledge? Going meatless just one day a week can decrease your risk for cancer and other major health issues.

7. Expand Your “Grain Universe”.  

You’re into quinoa? Great! Now venture a little deeper into the world of whole grains. Not only do they taste terrific, there are many health benefits to be gained by expanding your “Grain Universe”.  Studies show that eating whole grains instead of refined grains lowers the risk of many chronic diseases. While benefits are most pronounced for those consuming at least 3 servings daily, some studies show reduced risks from as little as one serving daily. The message: every whole grain in your diet helps!  Don’t know how to cook more exotic whole grains?  Check out this great guide from Cooking Light.

Source:appforhealth.com

Focus on Eating Real Food

veggies

Even a science based professional finds their head spinning with all the contradictory information about dietary fats.

Recently another study was published disputing years of recommendations to keep our total fat consumption to less than 30% and saturated-fat to less than 10% of our calorie intake. Although this particular study I am referring to was not the ideal way to measure the effect of dietary fat on cardiac mortality (i.e. death), it helps put things in perspective. Rather than demonizing one specific macronutrient, be it carbohydrate, fat, or protein, we should focus on eating whole food. When we consume whole food we naturally eliminate processed foods with little nutritional value. Perhaps this is another lesson to teach us that it is far better to focus on real food rather than individual nutrients. When you eat a balance of real food there is no need to count carbohydrates, protein or fat because you naturally get what you need.

Bottom line, consume whole foods such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, nuts and seeds, vegetables and fruits and whole grains; and limit (or avoid) consumption of processed foods. You don’t need a science background to understand that.

Recognizing a Good Whole Grain

italian bread

While the Internet is filled with propaganda about how grains are killing us, I am still a firm believer in the importance of whole grains as part of a healthy diet.  While the bulk of our diet should be from vegetables & fruits (think leafy greens, plant based proteins, whole fruits, etc.) there is still room to incorporate a variety of whole grains.   My current favorite whole grain happens to be quinoa, which is a quick and easy protein source (my Pinterest board is filled with quinoa recipes).  However, my preferred whole grain is bread so I am constantly experimenting with different whole grain varieties.  My latest accomplishment is whole-wheat pretzel rolls.  I have a great love for pretzels rolls, although most I have encountered are of the refined flour variety.  I modified a recipe by exchanging the unbleached flour for whole wheat with beautiful results. Serve these warm with butter of perhaps an egg sandwich (egg, spinach, pick your fancy), so many possibilities.

Recognize a good whole grain

Soft pretzel rolls (I used 100 % whole wheat flour with beautiful results)

 

Nutrition Tips from the Experts

Nutrition

There is no shortage of nutrition information on the Internet, but whether or not this information is scientifically accurate is another story.  Countless purported experts are giving advice on how to eat right & exercise.  That is why I loved this recent blog from appetite for appetite for health, which highlights nutrition tips from the real nutrition experts, registered dietitians.  As they so aptly puts it “Dietitians follow nutrition research, and our recommendations always stem from human clinical trials conducted at reputable universities and published in top-tier medical journals. How we eat and live aligns with the totality of the science (not one new study), too, so while our tips may not be new — they do work.”

Read on for nutrition advice from the Nutrition Pros, courtesy of the nutrition experts at appforhealth.com

Healthy Eating Tips from Nutrition Pros

Enjoy a daily treat

There’s a certain mental satisfaction that comes with knowing you don’t have to eat perfectly 24/7. And although I’m a total health nut (understatement!), I appreciate having the wiggle room to be spontaneous with my kids or sample something truly special at an event or party without any guilt.

The payoff

Giving yourself the allowance for a portion-controlled daily treat removes feelings of deprivation, which in turn enables you to stick with an overall healthy eating regimen. Win-win. — Joy Bauer, MS, RD, Today Show Nutritionist

Eat more of the good stuff

While nothing is really off limits, I aim to load up on the healthier foods and enjoy smaller amounts of less healthy food. For example, instead of a bowl of ice cream with a few berries on top, I’ll have a bowl of berries with a spoonful of ice cream on top. I’ll fill half my plate with veggies and have a smaller portion of protein and grains. I also choose satisfying nutrient-dense “real” foods and eat them in smaller amounts. For example, I’d rather have a little bit of a flavorful full-fat cheese than a reduced-fat cheese with not much satisfaction.

The payoff

I can eat whatever I want and never feel deprived, while still maintaining my weight and getting important nutrients in my diet. — Patricia Bannan, MS, RDN, nutrition expert and author of Eat Right When Time is Tight

Eat every few hours

I plan on eating something every 3 to 5 hours. Once I’m comfortably satisfied after eating a meal or snack, I stop before becoming too full. I remind myself that I can finish what I’m eating or eat something else again in a few hours, but only if I’m hungry.

The payoff

When I set myself up for regular meals and snacks throughout the day, I’ve found it’s the easiest way to keep my craving for refined, carbohydrate-rich foods like cookies and other baked goods in check. — McKenzie Hall, RD, NourishRDs

Choose an activity you love

I do an activity that I love every day — and that’s usually yoga. I find yoga extremely challenging for my body and my mind. I tell my patients all the time that exercise shouldn’t be torture, but rather enjoyable. And for every person, that could be something totally different.

The payoff

If you exercise on a regular basis you could have more energy, better weight control and a little less stress. — Keri Gans, MS, RDN, author of The Small Change Diet

Make easy substitutions

I don’t believe in deprivation, so I enjoy just about everything… in moderation. I’m always looking for ways to make everyday favorites healthier without sacrificing taste. For instance, when baking, I’ll cut the sugar by 25 percent and I use canola oil in place of butter, margarine or shortening because it’s lower in saturated fat than most vegetable oils and has more beneficial omega-3s. I also love chocolate, so I make sure I eat dark chocolate rich in beneficial flavonoid antioxidants.

The payoff

I don’t feel deprived so it’s easier for me to stick with an overall healthier diet 90 percent of the time. — Katherine Brooking, MS, RD, co-author of The Real Skinny

Monitor your movement

I stay active on most days (typically six times a week) and keep tabs on my daily physical activity by wearing a fitness tracker. It keeps me accountable as I strive to meet my daily goal of 10,000 to 12,000 steps (the equivalent of about five to six miles).

The payoff

Wearing my tracker not only helps me track my fitness stats, but it actually motivates me to move even more than I might otherwise. I have been active for years, but I’ve learned that I really like knowing not only how far I’m going when I walk around the city or on the beach or hike, but how much time I’ve spent being sedentary. I’m always so proud when I surpass my goal and know that staying accountable gives me the positive reinforcement I need to continue. – Elisa Zied, MS, RDN, CDN, author of Younger Next Week

Make it simple

My meals are always delicious, but simple. That means no sauces, gravies or extras that often pile on a lot of extra calories. For example, at dinner I have a piece of simply prepared lean protein (grilled salmon, beef or boneless chicken), a side veggie off the grill or steamed with a squeeze of lemon and a big green salad. I also exercise every day — even if it’s only a 30-minute walk.

The payoff
I get to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner and weight maintenance is easy. — Kathleen Zelman, MS, RD, Director of Nutrition, WebMD

Eat fresh with frozen

I stock my freezer with plenty of frozen fruits and vegetables that I can grab at a moment’s notice for a variety of meals and snacks. I use frozen veggies to add to soups or egg or bean or casseroles, and I always have frozen berries to make my favorite smoothies with almond milk and Greek yogurt.

The payoff

I get more fruit and veggie servings in my diet because I don’t have to rely on what’s in-season or what I have that’s fresh at home. Studies also show that frozen foods are often as nutritious as — and sometimes even more so — because freezing locks in the nutrients of fresh-picked produce. (Frozen raspberry-beet smoothie recipe.) —Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD, Wellness Manager at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute

Balance your plate

I strive to fill half of my plate with fruits and vegetables, a quarter for lean proteins and a quarter for whole grains. My “quarter plate” of lean proteins rotates between legumes, nuts, seeds, chicken, seafood, yogurt and milk. And my quarter grains are almost always whole grains. I indulge in good meat at restaurants, and enjoy a bit of dark chocolate, coffee and wine almost daily.

The payoff

Following the balanced eating plate method and paying attention to hunger cues allows me to enjoy beautiful, scrumptious whole foods until perfectly satisfied. — Michelle Dudash, RDN, chef and author of Clean Eating for Busy Families

Uninspired? Improvise!

veggie-bowl

My bookshelves are lined with many cookbooks.  Despite my wide variety of culinary instruction my wish list on Amazon remains filled with desired books.  However, overflowing bookshelves does not always lead to motivation to create meals.  Feeling uninspired this weekend I stared at my farmer’s market purchases-green beans, zucchini, squash, carrots & tomatoes. Because no particular cuisine was calling to me I thought what better way to combine this produce then a colorful late season vegetable soup.  I remembered a gem of a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, Herb and Garlic broth.  Not having all the ingredients on hand, I improvised with garlic, carrots, fresh thyme & parsley to come up with a quick stock for my impromptu vegetable soup.  Dinner ended up being a delicious, warm, homey soup served with a side of cornbread muffins. Not bad for an uninspired dinner.

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