Thursday, November 15, 2012

Nutrition tips for Thanksgiving....REALLY?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Well, if you happen to Google "Nutrition Tips for Thanksgiving" you will get over 24 million results from nutrition experts (and many non-experts) telling you to "eat this, don't eat that", "avoid dessert, have fruit instead", and it goes on and on.

What's the reality? Well, my reality is that this is one day of the entire year that I get to enjoy Nana's pumpkin pie, Auntie Becki's deviled eggs, Papa's mashed potatoes, and Mom's turkey stuffing. Am I going to avoid all of those things in order to stay on my nutritional plan? NO! So I'm certainly not going to advise anyone else to avoid their favorite Thanksgiving food that they get to enjoy once a year.

What is the best nutrition advice for THANKSGIVING festivities?  PORTION CONTROL!
Portion control is the key to all sound nutrition plans, and it also allows you to occasionally enjoy your favorite foods, including those Thanksgiving favorites that you look forward to once a year.

Here are a few suggestions to help with Portion Control:
  1. Please eat breakfast (or something healthy) before the big dinner. Many people think that if they starve themselves the entire day until the big dinner that they may be controlling their calories. The exact opposite happens! When you avoid eating until the big dinner, your brain does not have the energy to think rationally. Plus, your morning "starvation" gives you a false sense of accomplishment and a license to overeat - as soon as you see food, you may immediately take larger portions, overeat everything, and feel completely and uncomfortably stuffed after the meal. This in fact results in higher calorie intake for the day.
  2. Avoid "over-snacking" on the chips, dips, and fatty snacks that may be out and about during the early festivities and football games. These extra calories will add up. If it is the Thanksgiving meal that you want to enjoy, then snack lightly. 
  3. Eat slowly and wait at least 20 minutes before you go back for "seconds".  It takes our brain at least 15-20 minutes to realize that our stomach is full, so if you eat slowly and wait that amount of time, you may realize that you are already full, avoid getting "seconds", avoid overeating, and avoid excess calories.
  4. Use your plate as a Potion Control tool. Enjoy a smaller portion of each of the Thanksgiving foods. If you can't fit it on your plate, then you probably should take smaller portions of your favorites. 
I would like to wish everyone a safe, fun, and Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner. Take a nice after-dinner walk with the family or play some football to help burn some of those Thanksgiving calories. May we all be blessed with family, food, and health.

Friday, November 9, 2012

One Pound at a Time! A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip O

The Facts and Figures:
  • The average American adult gains 1-2 pounds per year. It is gradual, and seems to creep up on many adults. 
  • The average duration of a weight-loss diet is only 4 to 6 weeks, then people "fall of the wagon".
  • 80% of people attempting weight loss diets are unable to keep the weight off for more than a year.
  • Americans spend approximately $40 billion a year on weight-loss programs and products.
  • More than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) are OBESE. Not just overweight, but OBESE! Sadly, this number is climbing each year. Apparently, the fad diets and weight loss pills are not working. 

The Bottom line:  

Weight loss is gradual, just like weight gain. It takes time. We don't gain 20 pounds in 2 weeks, so when we decide it is time to lose the weight, we cannot expect it to be lost quickly. This is not realistic. Weight gain is gradual, and successful weight loss is too. The best way to achieve long-term weight loss success is through slow, gradual, and permanent alterations in your activity level and eating habits. 

                                                    Fat loss is the key:

Proper weight loss is EXCESS FAT LOSS. It's not just the number on the scale changing. If you dehydrate yourself with crazy fad diets, juicing, or detox diets, then, yes, the number on the scale with go down, but it is just water weight being lost. It will return upon hydration when you eventually eat real food again. Also, please know that those so-called "quick fix" diets ("Lose 20 lbs. in 2 weeks") result in more lean muscle loss than fat loss, something we do not want. We want to KEEP LEAN MUSCLE TISSUE and LOSE FAT; that's what keeps our metabolism higher and keeps us healthy.

The Realistic, Successful Approach: 
The best, most realistic way to do this is by losing ONE POUND (of fat) A WEEK.  By losing weight gradually through small changes in your eating habits, exercise habits, and lifestyle, the weight loss will be gradual, but PERMANENT, because you are adopting new ways to live your life over time. These new, healthy changes may become healthy habits that last FOREVER. Therefore, your weight loss will be long-term and permanent, not short-lived like after those fad diets fail. Slow, steady weight loss is more likely to last than dramatic weight changes.

How to lose ONE POUND of FAT per WEEK - Time for some math and creativity:
  • To lose one pound of fat, you need to create a 3,500 Calorie deficit for the week. This equals a 500-Calorie deficit EACH DAY. A Calorie deficit means you must eat fewer calories than you burn each day.
    • Step 2: Aim to eat 250 fewer calories than your calculated amount above. See below for some easy ways to cut daily Calories; these can become your new, healthy habits. 
    • Step 3:  Aim to burn 250 Calories through additional exercise/activity each day.  See below for some ways to burn additional Calories each day; these can also become new, healthy habits.

Steps 2 & 3 can add up to give you the 500-Calorie deficit you need each day to lose ONE POUND of fat every week.

If this doesn't sound like a lot, how does 7 pounds of fat loss before New Year's Eve sound
How about 25 pounds of fat loss before summer swim suit season?
If you get started now, you will be on your way to a healthier 2013. 

Lifestyle changing tips to help you achieve your Calorie deficit:

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics -Ways to Shave Calories 

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics - Cutting Calories while Dining Out

CDC - Using Fruits and Vegetables for Weight Management 

CDC- Adding Physical Activity to Your Life 

USDA - Tips for Increasing Daily Physical Activity  

American Diabetes Assoc - Tips for Exercise 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Halloween Nutrition Tips- Simple "tricks" to avoid overeating the "treats"!

This is a re-post of one of my very popular seasonal blogs.  
Tis the season.....

Halloween is the official beginning of the holiday season. For those who are watching their weight or trying to follow a diet plan, this can be a VERY difficult time of year.

Here are a few tips or "tricks" to help you avoid overeating those Halloween "treats".
  1. Start at the store. Avoid buying the Halloween candy you love. For me, it is Kit Kat or Reese's PB cups, so I buy other types of candy to hand out at the door. After the big night is over, I won't have a bunch of leftover candy that I know I will eat.
  2. Out of sight, out of mind. Avoid setting the big bowl of Halloween loot on the kitchen counter where you can easily walk by and eat several pieces without even realizing it. Put the candy in the pantry or cupboard, and instead put sliced fruit or veggies on the counter.
  3. Help friends and coworkers too. Avoid bringing all your extra candy to your workplace. I am a big advocate of workplace wellness. They too are probably watching their weight or trying to be healthy, so no need to sabotage their efforts. If you really want to get rid of the candy, just throw it out. Yes, it may be wasteful, but it's better than you and your coworkers being "Waist-FULL". 
  4. Be real. Allow yourself some treats, but do so in moderation! Make a deal with yourself about how many treats you will allow yourself each day and account for those calories in your daily calorie plan or workout schedule. 
  5. If you do go overboard on Halloween treats, DO NOT beat yourself up about it! Avoid the negative thoughts about yourself. It doesn't mean that you are "weak" or "worthless".  Avoid the all-or-nothing talk, like "I should just start my diet over again after the New Year."  Try to stay on track. Just own it, move on, and stay focused one day at a time. The holidays can be a challenging 3-month period for weight loss, so weight maintenance may be a more realistic goal.
  6. Use physical activity to help you through the Halloween munchies. Below are samples of some common Halloween candies and their calorie contents. As a guideline:  To "burn off" an additional 200 calories of Halloween treats you need to: walk 40 minutes, run 20 minutes, bicycle 25 minutes, or swim 25 minutes (based on a 150 lb. person). Walking the kids around the neighborhood on Halloween night is a great start!
Candy Corn, 20 pieces = 130 calories
Little Fun Size Bars of Nestle’s Crunch, Snicker's, Milky Way, Kit Kat, Hershey's chocolate, Reese's PB Cup, Butterfinger, Twix, Almond Joy, or similar = 70-100 calories each
Peanut M&M’s – 2 Fun Size Packs = 180 calories
M&M’s – 2 Fun Size Packs = 140 calories
York Peppermint Pattie – 1 pattie = 70 calories
Milk Duds – 1 treat size box = 40 calories
SweetTarts – 1 treat size pack = 50 calories
1 Tootsie Pop – 1 pop = 60 calories
1 Tootsie Roll – 1 small roll = 13 calories
Twizzlers – 1 treat size pack= 45 calories

Happy Holidays 
and don't forget to "Fuel Excellence!"

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Nutrient Density - A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip N

Consuming "nutrient dense" foods is critical to losing weight and keeping it off. 

Many scientific journals have published the benefits of a nutrient-rich diet, such as maintaining wellness and promoting healthy weight loss.

A study published in 2009 concluded that a high nutrient dense diet "may provide sustainable, significant, long-term weight loss and may provide substantial lowering of cardiac risk in patients" as well.

Nutrient Density relates to the amount of nutrients per Calorie in a food item. A food item with High Nutrient Density has a high amount of essential nutrients per Calorie while a Low Nutrient Dense food has a lower amount of nutrients compared to its caloric content.

The example above illustrates this point. The apple and the tortilla chips both represent 100 Calorie snacks. However, the apple is packed with essential nutrients we should get more of, such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber, while the the chips are loaded with things we should limit in our diet (fat and sodium), and they have minimal amounts of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Therefore, by choosing the nutrient dense apple instead of the chips, we ensure we get plenty of essential nutrients that keep us healthy and fill us up for the same amount of Calories as the chips which are not healthy, loaded with fat and sodium, and don't fill us up. The apple provides us "quality calories" while the chips result in "empty calories".

Another example is soda vs. non-fat milk. Both contribute fluid to the diet. However, the glass of non-fat milk also provides high-quality protein, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, and riboflavin while the can of soda only provides Calories in the form of added sugars.

Here are some great online resources to help you
get started on a Nutrient Dense diet.

Nutrient Rich Foods Coalition
Non-profit organization dedicated to helping educate people on how to get more nutrients in their diets.

Nutrient Dense Recipes
Recipes to increase the nutrient density of your home-cooked meals!

Nutrient Density- Eat Out and On the Go 
Get nutrient-dense foods while dining out and on the go!

Grocery Shopping List for Nutrient Dense Foods
Shop nutrient-dense! Print and take with you to the grocery store.

Go Nutrient-Dense to help you reach your weight-loss goals!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Motivation- A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip M

In previous blogs of this weight-loss series, I have been discussing tips on "how to" achieve long-term weight loss success. However, if you can't think of a reason to achieve it, then the "how-to" won't happen.

"providing with a reason to act in a certain way."

Motivation gives us the reason to change,  but finding the motivation to eat healthy, exercise, and lose weight can be challenging. We might know that we have to eat healthier and exercise:  "My doctor told me to lose 20 pounds!", but is that the motivation that gets us off the couch and exercising? Is that what helps us choose the piece of fruit over the cookie? Research says, probably not.
Research continues to tell us that autonomous motivation is the more powerful type of motivation, while controlled motivation is not as effective for long-term success. 
  • Autonomous motivation comes from within ourselves; we are motivated from internal forces (self-control, self-esteem, achieving our goals). 
  • Controlled motivation involves being motivated by external forces, such as perceived pressure from others, being told what to do, or feelings of guilt. 

Therefore, think of a specific, intrinsic, powerful motivating force (or forces) that can help get you started on your weight loss journey (and also keep you going). It should be something that motivates you internally, not something that someone else tells you to do or that you feel guilty about. 
  • Some people use psychological motivators: "I want to feel better about myself and have more self-esteem".
  • While others use physiological motivators: "I want to have more energy".
  • Setting goals works for some people: "I completed a 10k race and now I want to train for a half-marathon."
  • For some, the motivating message is clear and straight forward, and comes with a startling health event: "I now have diabetes and I want to start a healthier lifestyle".
  • Inspiring others can serve as a motivating force: "I want to set a good example for my kids by eating fruits and vegetables".
Notice all these examples start with "I", not "my doctor told me...." or "my husband says....".

Find your motivation. Do it for you, not because you feel pressured by others.

If you can't seem to find your motivating force, ask yourself what is really important to you.
What positive outcome could result from you becoming a healthier person? 
That one thing could be your reason to change; your MOTIVATION!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Learn to Read Labels- A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip L

Learn to Read Labels! 

 Know what you are eating and how many calories you are consuming. This is critical for weight loss and eating healthfully. Let's take a quick look at the Nutrition Facts labels. 

Start here:

Serving Size:      The nutrition label always lists a serving size, which is a standard amount of food, such as 1 cup of mac 'n' cheese, 6 crackers, or 3 cookies.  The rest of the nutrition facts label tells you how much of each listed nutrient is in that serving size of food.


Servings per Container or Package: The label also tells you how many servings are contained in that package of food. If there are 2 servings in a box of mac 'n' cheese and each serving is 1 cup, then eating the whole box would mean you ate 2 cups. You would then have to multiply all the listed nutrients by 2 in order to know the amount of Calories, grams of fat, grams of carbs, and other nutrients you just ate. Math is necessary when learning to read and use food labels. 

 Check calories:

In the label above, a serving size is one cup which has 250 Calories. Therefore, if you eat only 1 cup, you will consume 250 Calories. However, if you eat the entire container (2 servings per container), you will consume 500 Calories. Keep this in mind, especially if you drink those large flavored drinks like Sobe, Arizona Ice tea, Gatorade, 20 oz sodas, etc. These large containers generally have more than one serving per container. If you drink the entire bottle, you need to multiply the Calories listed on the label by the number of servings in the bottle. You can see the calories really add up quickly! Pay attention to the Calories per serving and the number of servings you are eating or drinking.  


%DV (%Daily Value): 

This is probably the most confusing part of the Nutrition Facts Label, and I am not a big fan of this. I am hoping they change this in the next revision. It is based on someone eating 2000 Calories per day, but many people need to eat less and some, such as athletes, need to eat much more than 2000 Calories. Nevertheless, here's a quick guide if you want to use these.

  • If the %DV is 20% or higher for a certain nutrient, the food item is considered a HIGH source of that nutrient. Example above: the amount of SODIUM is labeled as 20%, therefore one serving of this food item is a HIGH source of sodium.

  • If the %DV is 5% or lower for a certain nutrient, the food item is considered a LOW source of that nutrient. Example above: the amount of IRON is labeled as 4%, therefore one serving of this food item is a LOW source of iron.



    Total fat, saturated fat, trans-fat, cholesterol, and sodium are nutrients that many people need to limit in their diets. Looking at the example above, this food item is too high in Sodium (%DV of 20%), a nutrient that we need to limit. Someone who is limiting sodium in their diet should steer clear of this food item.


    Fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, and Vitamins A  and C are nutrients many Americans do not get enough of, so they are emphasized on the Nutrition Facts Label.  Looking at the example above, this food item is too low in iron (%DV of 4%), a nutrient that we need to be sure to consume in adequate amounts. Someone who is looking to increase iron intake should seek out a better source of iron.

    If you would like more detailed information, please click the link below to the FDA website. 

    How to Understand and Use Nutrition Facts Labels

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Keep It Simple! A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip K

You have probably heard that a lifestyle change is critical for long-term weight loss success. I have even written that statement in previous blogs. However, this lifestyle change DOES NOT need to occur overnight! In fact, trying to change too many things in your life at one time can seem overwhelming and impossible. These negative feelings can destroy your motivation and determination, ultimately leading to the inevitable "fall off the wagon", sending you back into your old, unhealthy habits.
Solution: Keep it simple!  
Pick 3 behaviors you want to change and work on those until they become your new habits, then move on to 3 more things, and so on. Since we are talking about weight loss, these things should focus on either reducing your intake of high calorie foods or increasing physical activity.
For example:

Current behavior: daily caramel machiatto from Starbucks. New behavior: choose lower calorie options at Starbucks like tea or drip coffee and enjoy the machiatto only on Fridays.

Current behavior: no daily exercise at all. 
New behavior: power walk 30 minutes after lunch or dinner Mondays,  Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Current behavior: drinking soda every workday with lunch.
New behavior: switch to water and enjoy soda once a week instead.

Current behavior: eating high calorie desserts every night.
New Behavior: enjoy fruit or yogurt instead of ice cream or cookies on some of the nights.

Current behavior: snacking on candies and chocolate at desk
New Behavior: fill the candy jar with dried fruits instead.

We all have behaviors we can change to help us live more healthfully. Work on a few at a time; keep it simple!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Journal it! A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip J

Journal It! 
Research shows that a significant predictor of successful weight-loss is utilizing a food journal or food log (Hollis, et al., 2008). Most people grossly underestimate portion sizes and calories eaten when they do not measure or record their food intake. These researchers found that the more detailed food records that were kept by study participants, the more weight they lost. Plus, they were able to keep the weight off as long as they continued to record in their journals. The National Weight Control Registry reported that keeping a food journal is the one strategy used by the majority of successful weight-loss participants

Many people think they have a good idea of how many calories they eat, but most of us only consider or recall the main meals. However, if you think about it and write it down in a food journal, you’ll discover those “oh yeah” moments:
  • “Oh yeah, I had that package of peanut butter crackers from the vending machine at work this morning.” (220 calories)
  • “Oh yeah, my co-worker and I were feeling really tired this afternoon, so we made a Starbucks run and I had a Venti latte.” (240 calories)
  • "Oh yeah, I remember when I went to see Sally in accounting she had some M and M’s on her desk so I had a couple handfuls while we were talking.” (100 calories)”
  • “Oh yeah, I sampled a piece of garlic bread when I was making dinner, and I had another piece while doing the dishes after dinner." (120 calories). 

Once they are counted in a food journal, those “oh yeah” moments can really add up; potentially leading to the frustration of no weight loss. 

Writing down your food intake in a food journal throughout the day can help you become more mindful of what and when you are eating and avoid the mindless snacking. A food journal can help you make wiser food choices too. 

If you knew you had to "Journal It":
  • You may choose a lower-calorie option from the vending machine or bring a healthier snack from home for the mid-morning munchies. This could save you 100 calories. 
  • You many choose a different drink at Starbucks, perhaps a regular coffee with cream. This could save you 200 calories.
  • You may choose to have only a few M and M’s at Sally’s desk instead of 2 handfuls. This could save you 80 calories.
  • You may avoid the extra piece of garlic bread after dinner, especially since you are already full, saving you 60 calories.

So, try the food journal today! To make it easier and more fun, use a free or inexpensive online food journal. Apps for smart phones and tablets are also available that track calories and your weight for you. Here is a review of some popular weight-management apps, reviewed by the nutrition experts, Registered Dietitians! 

Journal It!  You may be surprised at where those extra calories are sneaking in to your daily routine.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Incorporate Fruits & Veggies into Every Meal & Snack- A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip I

Fruits and Veggies into
EVERY Meal and Snack

Eating whole fruits and vegetables will add super nutrients to your meal, bulk and fiber to your diet, and may help fill you up more quickly and for longer periods of time.  Enjoy a banana with your cereal, have a whole apple with lunch, and eat broccoli or a quick spinach salad with your dinner. Eating these fruits and veggies first, BEFORE you eat the rest of the meal, may help you reduce the amount of calories you eat at that meal. Also, incorporating fruits and vegetables into snacks help you curve cravings between meals, making your weight-loss journey easier and more successful.

Try these easy ideas to incorporate fruits and veggies into meals and snacks.

  • Simply add a side veggie or fruit to your meal and eat it first to help you fill up before you eat the higher calorie foods.
  • Use vegetables as pizza toppings: try broccoli, spinach, green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and zucchini. 
  • Mix up a breakfast smoothie made with skim milk, frozen strawberries, and a banana. 
  • Make a veggie wrap with roasted vegetables and low-fat cheese rolled in a whole-wheat tortilla. 
  • Prepare instant oatmeal with skim milk in place of water. Top with raisins and almonds.
  • Stuff an egg-white omelet with broccoli, squash, carrots, peppers, tomatoes or onions with low-fat cheddar cheese. 
  • Jazz up your PB and J sandwiches with sliced bananas or apples. 
  • Top a baked potato with broccoli crowns and low-fat cheese.
  • Microwave tomato, butternut squash, vegetable, or minestrone soup for lunch.
  • Sneak them in: add shredded or chopped vegetables such as peppers, zucchini, spinach and carrots to meatloaf, casseroles, lasagna, and pasta sauces.
  • Make your main dish a salad with dark, leafy greens like kale and other colorful vegetables. Add  edamame (fresh soybeans),grilled chicken, or albacore tuna for some high quality protein.
Snacks and Desserts:
  • Enjoy celery, carrots, cherry tomatoes or peppers instead of chips with your favorite dip or low-fat salad dressing. 
  • Banana split: Top a sliced banana with a scoop of low-fat frozen yogurt. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of chopped nuts. 
  • Stuff a small whole grain pita with ricotta cheese, apple slices, and a dash of cinnamon.
  • Add blueberries or raisins to 6 ounces of low-fat yogurt.
  • Dip a banana in yogurt, roll  it in crushed cereal and freeze for a healthy after-dinner treat.
  • Make ants on a log: spread celery sticks with peanut butter or low-fat cream cheese. Top with raisins. 
  • Make a fruit parfait: Layer vanilla yogurt and berries in a tall glass. Top with a sprinkle of granola.

Recipes for incorporating more fruits and veggies into your daily diet:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hunger Scale- A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip H

 Use The Hunger Scale as a tool for weight-loss.

A typical scenario for an adult woman attempting to lose weight: She wakes up feeling full of will-power and ready to start her diet. She skips breakfast in an attempt to reduce calories. Ignoring her hunger, she has a very light lunch (salad and water) and feels happy she was able to ignore the hunger and stay below 400 calories for the day so far.  As the afternoon wears on, she becomes tired and fatigued (lack of food energy!), so she reaches for a 5-hour Energy shot to perk up. 5pm rolls around, and the hunger feelings have taken over her rational thoughts. She feels cranky and tired so she stops by Starbucks on the way home from work to grab a Venti Frapaccino. When she arrives home, she starts dinner while snacking on some Girl Scout cookies her daughter's troop was selling. She also samples dinner as she cooks. When dinner is ready, she piles her plate full of food, and feeling ravenous, finishes every bite in 10 minutes. Still feeling hungry, she goes back for seconds and finishes that too. A half-hour later, she feels bloated and stuffed, wishing she did not eat so much. Time for some Pepto. As the evening goes on, the kids decide to have some ice cream. She thinks to herself, "I skipped breakfast and had a healthy lunch, so I deserve some ice cream too". Still full from dinner, she eats a cup of ice cream with chocolate syrup. 

Many unwanted calories are eaten when we do not listen to our hunger cues. We eat when we are not hungry because we may be happy, sad, stressed, socializing, celebrating, or mourning. We don't eat when we are hungry because we are busy, sad, stressed, on diets, etc. Use the chart above and the descriptions below to help you determine your stage of hunger. This will help you in your weight loss/weight management goals. Hang the Hunger Scale chart in your office, on your refrigerator, or in your pantry as a friendly reminder.

The Stages of The Hunger Scale
    1. Physically faint from hunger: You may have a headache. You can’t concentrate and feel dizzy. You may have trouble with coordination. You are totally out of energy and need to lie down. This may happen during a very restrictive diet. 
    2. Ravenous: You are famished.  You’re irritable, cranky and have little energy. 

    Do not let yourself get to a 1 or 2. It is at these stages where we make poor food choices & overeat. We then find ourselves uncomfortably full at a 9 or 10. 
    3. Fairly Hungry: You have a strong urge to eat. You are feeling an emptiness in your stomach and your stomach is "growling". This might be a good time to start eating.

    4. Slightly Hungry: You start to think about food. Your body is giving you the signal that you might want to eat. You are a little hungry.

    5. Neutral: Your body has enough fuel to keep it going and is physically and psychologically nearly satisfied.

    6. Pleasantly satisfied: You’re fully at the point of satisfaction. It is time to stop eating.

    7. Full: You’re past the point of satisfaction. You should have stopped eating by now.
    Stages 3 through 7 are the safest stages. We should not let ourselves get hungrier than a 3 and we should avoid letting ourselves overeat past a 7.  
    8. Stuffed: You are actually starting to hurt (need to unbuckle your pants?).  Maybe you shouldn’t have had more, but it tasted so good. 

    9. Bloated: You overate, and need to grab the Pepto or Rolaids and sit down for a while. The after-effects feel really uncomfortable. This often happens at a buffet or "all-you-can-eat" event. Maybe you didn’t eat all day, got yourself to a 1 or 2 on the Hunger Scale, ate too much too quickly, and ended up here at a 9.

    10. Nauseous: BEYOND FULL. Think Thanksgiving Day. You are physically miserable, don’t want to or can’t move, and feel like you never want to look at food again. (Food Coma)

    Obviously, we want to avoid Stages 8, 9, & 10 because over-eating and large portions lead to weight, it just plain hurts! 

    Avoid playing the Hunger Game. Try using the Hunger Scale today. See if you can break the vicious cycle of letting yourself get ravenously hungry and then overeating until you are stuffed and bloated. It will help you feel better and also help control your weight.
    "May the odds be ever in your favor."

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012

    Get Up & GO!! A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip G

    GET UP and GO!

    So, I have been discussing "A-Z weight-loss tips" related to nutrition, but we cannot live a healthy lifestyle without engaging in the other side of the energy balance equation:  Exercise!

    Bottom line for weight loss:
    The Calories you eat need to be less than the Calories you expend.

    How much exercise do we need? Well, that depends on the person. 
    However, for long-term weight loss this is the recommendation from the
    American College of Sports Medicine:

    60 to 90 minutes of physical activity on most days

    If you are currently not exercising at all, it may feel impossible to fit in an hour of exercise into your already hectic day. The good news is the exercise can be accumulated throughout the day by doing:

    • Four, 15-minute bouts of exercise
    • 30 minutes in the morning, 30 minutes in the evening
    • or do one hour (or more) at one session
    Whatever works best for you! 

    Here are some ideas to get you up and GOING:
    • For those who have a gym membership: Use it! There are plenty of resources there to burn calories: cardio classes, circuit training, etc.
    • Power walk or jog at your lunch break.
    • Walk the kids to and from school at a brisk pace.
    • Do you work in a building with stairs? Walk the stairs during your breaks and lunch. 
    • Instead of sitting and watching your child at soccer or ("insert sport here") practice, jog around the field.
    • Hint for game days: Most kids need to show up early to their games, meets, matches, or tournaments to warm up. This is a good time to do your jogging or walking.
    • Take a family power walk, hike, or bike ride after dinner.
    • Get a running "Buddy" (especially the 4-legged ones) to join you on your jogs or power walks.
    • Join or create a walking/running group with your friends at work, school, or church. Most people enjoy having a work-out buddy to keep them motivated.
    • Like to shop? Wear your running shoes and power walk in the mall, but avoid the food court!
    • Housework is no fun, but with the right intensity, it counts as exercise! Vacuuming, mopping, and mowing the lawn are great ways to get the heart pumping and burn calories. 
    • Instead of watching the kids play, join in! Shoot hoops, jump rope, or play tag.
    • Rainy day? Turn on the tunes and DANCE like nobody is watching! 
    • Can't miss your favorite show on TV? While watching, do jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups, jump rope, etc. during the show. 
    Set a goal to try at least 3 of these ideas this week. Add in another one next week, and so on. Eventually you can build up to one hour or more of exercise on most days of the week and achieve long-term weight loss and health!
    Now that you are done reading this, GET UP AND GO!

    Thursday, March 1, 2012

    Fill up on Fiber: A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip F


    The biggest complaint when people are trying to lose weight is that they feel hungry. 
    How can you prevent hunger but still manage to cut calories? 
    One simple answer is Fill Up On Fiber!  Fiber is indigestible carbohydrate, so little to no calories! Plus, foods that contain fiber tend to stay in the stomach longer, helping you feel fuller longer. 

    Think about a medium Apple vs. 1 cup of Apple Juice:
    The Juice: 120 calories, no fiber, 27 grams of sugar, &  it goes down fast with little feelings of fullness.
    The Whole Fruit:  100 calories, 4 grams of fiber, 19 grams of sugar. Plus, it takes a while to eat it and is more filling than the juice.

    There are many benefits of eating foods rich in fiber:
    • usually low in fat and calories 
    • studies show that people who consume more fiber tend to weigh less than those who consume less fiber
    • studies also show that diets high in fiber might reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, and Type 2 Diabetes.
    The recommended intake of fiber for adults is 25-38 grams PER DAY. The average adult in the U.S. consumes only 12-15 grams per day, and the obesity epidemic keeps getting worse...correlation here? Perhaps?!?

    What are some foods high in fiber that you can include in your diet to help you feel fuller longer, increase the bulk of your meal, and perhaps also reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases? Think plant foods: whole grains, whole fruits and veggies, and beans.

    Grains: 3-8 grams of fiber per serving (choose Whole Grain versions of your favorites)
    Bran cereals, Oatmeal, Whole wheat pasta,Whole grain breads, Brown rice

    Vegetables: 3-5 grams of fiber per serving (most veggies are good sources of fiber)
    Green peas, Brussels sprouts, Sweet potato, Winter squash, Asparagus, Spinach, Broccoli, Carrots

    Fruits: 2-4 grams of fiber per serving (most fruits are good sources of fiber too)
    Raspberries, Blackberries, Strawberries,  Apple or Pear (with peel), Orange, Banana, Apricots and Peaches (with skin), Dried fruits like prunes, raisins, and apricots

    Beans: 4-8 grams per half cup serving (beans have a high fiber content!)
    Kidney beans,  Black beans, Chickpeas (garbanzo beans), or any cooked dried beans

    TIP: GRADUALLY increase fiber intake slowly. Your body will need time to adjust to the higher fiber foods if you normally have low fiber intake. Another tip, drink more water and exercise to help keep things moving along nicely in your colon. :-)

    Friday, February 10, 2012

    Eating Out Hints. A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip E

    Eating Out: Easy Tips to Keep You on Track

    It's your friend's birthday and you decide to take her out for a fun dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. You both start off with a glass of wine and share an appetizer of Thai Lettuce Wraps.You enjoy the Grilled Portabella Mushroom on a Bun with fries. You treat her to a House Salad with Ranch and the Thai Chicken Pasta. You are both full after eating all of that, but you both decide that you can't go to the Cheesecake Factory without getting some cheesecake, so you decide to split a slice of Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake. 

    So, what's the damage?
    You just consumed about 2800 calories, and your friend a whopping 3000 calories!

    This is much more than most average adults 
    need in an entire day!

    Eating out can be tough on your weight loss plan, because it is more difficult to control portion sizes and food preparation methods. Plus, people generally enjoy a drink and/or dessert when eating out at a restaurant. However, eating a meal outside the home or office is an important, and many times, fun event for many people. It happens for many reasons: celebrations, business lunches, parties, no plans to cook at home, didn't have time to grocery shop, etc. Eating out is inevitable for many folks, so try these helpful survival tips next time you dine away from home.

    Eating out survival tips:
    • Walk (or bike) for that meal, but don’t forget comfortable shoes!
      • Dine somewhere that is a 10 to 15 minute walk from your home or office. You'll enjoy your meal plus get 30 minutes of physical activity, AND no parking to worry about. The walk home will also help digestion and burn a few calories! 
    • Cut the calories you consume by controlling the portion size of your meal. (Your wallet will thank you too!) 
      • Instead of a large entrée, order an appetizer and a leafy green salad. 
      • Order a kids meal or the junior sized portions. Many offer low-fat milk and fruits and veggies instead of fries.  
      • Enjoy your meal TWICE!: Ask for a doggie bag as soon as your meal arrives. Place half in the box to take home and only eat the half that is remaining. This saves calories, time, and money. Lunch for tomorrow is ready to go!  
      • Split one dessert with the whole table. Sometimes just a bite or two is all you need to satisfy your sweet tooth.
      • Share the main entrée with a pal. It saves both of you calories and money! 
    • On the side! Control calories consumed by asking for sauces, condiments, gravies, and dressings "on the side".  This puts you in control of how much is put on your meal. 
      • Dressing on the side of your salad
      • Ketchup, BBQ sauce, and mayo on the side of your burger
      • Gravy on the side of your mashed potatoes or steak
      • Cream and cheese sauces on the side of your pasta
    • Use the Nutrition Info available
      • Many restaurants have calorie information on the menus, menu boards, or available upon request.
      • Research calorie information online before you arrive at the restaurant. Many chain restaurants have this information available online.
      • Order items off the "lite", "enlightened", "heart healthy", or other similarly named portion of the menu.

    Yes, I have tried all of these myself, and they can help reduce calories consumed. I feel much better leaving the restaurant comfortably content rather than bloated and uncomfortably full. Plus, we save some money too!

    Thursday, February 2, 2012

    Dangerous Diet Don'ts! A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip D

    Dangerous Diet Don'ts

    Healthy weight loss = Excess fat loss  
    Weight loss means more than a change in the number on the scale. The number on the scale will also fall when you lose muscle and water (dehydration), but these are NOT what you want to lose. Dehydration causes many negative side effects including constipation, fatigue, headaches, poor exercise performance, electrolyte imbalances, and in severe cases, death! Muscle loss can lead to slower metabolism, weakness, and poor exercise performance. 

    Water loss from dehydration diet techniques and muscle loss from starvation diets are NOT HEALTHY, can be DANGEROUS, and are INEFFECTIVE for long-term weight (fat) loss success. 

    Here are Dangerous Diet Don'ts that
    should be avoided.

    • Avoid starvation diets: A starvation diet (sometimes called "detox diet") is an extremely low calorie diet. Sometimes these diets call for a "no solid food" phase for 10 to 14 days or consumption of weird potions and concoctions.  These diets allow very limited food choices and generally require you to eat less than 1000 calories per day. Evidence-based research and medical professionals all recommend that people should not eat less than a minimum of 1200 calories per day. Why? Most importantly it can be dangerous and cause nutrient deficiencies. It is nearly impossible to get all the required nutrients your body needs to run properly and healthfully with less than 1200 calories per day.  In addition, when you don't feed yourself enough calories, you will actually slow down your body's metabolism, making weight loss even harder. Plus, when you "starve" yourself, your serotonin levels will fall. Serotonin is an important brain chemical that makes us happy, relaxed, and satisfied; a drop in this neurotransmitter will make you feel agitated and just plain cranky.  Finally, at this low energy level, it will feel almost impossible to exercise. Exercise is CRITICAL for long-term weight loss success. These "detox" diets promise quick weight loss, but they are not realistic long-term solutions to weight loss. As soon as you go off the diet and start eating real food, you will gain the weight back, and probably more. They are the quintessential catalyst of yo-yo dieting. Avoid these at all costs!  

    • Avoid dehydration techniques:  Losing body water will only change the number on the scale temporarily. As soon as you re-hydrate, you will gain the water weight back. Normal body water weight is healthy and fine. We need it for all bodily functions to run properly. AVOID these ineffective techniques for weight loss; they really only cause temporary weight loss and can be dangerous:  sauna suits, excessive exercise in the heat or with heavy clothes, detoxification and "cleansing" products (code word for enemas or laxatives) that cause diarrhea, and diuretic pills that make you urinate frequently. 

    • Avoid diet pills:  They don't work. Period!  Think about it: if all the magic diet pills marketed and sold actually worked, would the obesity epidemic continue to get worse?  Scientific research continues to show that diet pills don't work. Plus, many of those diet pills sold are considered "dietary supplements" and do not require FDA approval or scientific evidence to prove efficacy or safety. They may contain unsafe ingredients that can negatively impact your health. The herb Ephedra was marketed and sold as a weight loss drug and ergogenic aid for years, but it was finally taken off the market due to its severe side effects and its implication in the death of several athletes. If you notice and read the fine print on the bottles of many diet pills, they all state that they are effective only when coupled with a healthy diet and exercise. It is the healthy diet and exercise that causes the weight loss, not the magic pill. 

        Eating a healthy diet coupled with daily exercise is the key to long-term weight loss success. Avoid the unhealthy diet practices discussed above.