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