Just wanted to post another invitation to follow me at my new website, lmwellness.com. I notice that there are still a number of people who are visiting this site (kimthedietitian.com), yet I have not posted in many months. I fear they must think I am lazy! Not so. I have just been posting in a different place. Join me there!
Tag Archives: nutrition
How you eat matters. A recent study supports what seems obvious to me: a pleasant, relaxing eating experience leads to healthier food choices and better health.
So many people race out the door, grabbing something as they go, or they graze all day long without ever sitting down to enjoy their food. The study looked at the eating habits of over 1000 college and university students and found that those who prepared food at home and had a set eating schedule ate healthier than those who ate “on the fly,” grabbed food at school or were distracted by video games or TV.
What a shame to miss the experience of eating! It should be pleasurable; in my opinion, eating is one of the great pleasures of life. Being more mindful of the experience is not only healthier, but it’s also much more enjoyable.
I know we are all in a hurry, but we can all stretch ourselves a bit to improve the experience surrounding eating. If you never cook at home, why not try a slow cooker as the weather gets colder? There are easy recipes that take only 10-15 minutes to assemble. It doesn’t take any longer to order and grab takeout food.
And how about just sitting?! If you grab something on the go, sitting really doesn’t take much more effort than standing. In fact it is so much more relaxing. If you are someone who drives and eats . . . bad idea! You could have an accident or arrive somewhere with embarrassing stains on your clothes.
Start where you are and build a more pleasant routine surrounding meals. When was the last time you lit a candle and set the table? Even if you live alone, this transforms a meal into a relaxing moment. It may be the only time you get to relax all day, so making it a habit makes it happen.
Did you know that Friday was National Donut Day? I did not.
This was brought to my attention – alas, too late! – by a client who updated me on this very important holiday. While giving an update about the past week, she mentioned that she and her husband had to have a donut on Friday for this reason. She chose it, enjoyed it, and did not feel regret later, so this was viewed as a successful choice.
This got me thinking: How many days like this are there on the calendar? I was surprised, but now I am so much more educated on the subject! Yes, there is a National Pizza Day, a National Cupcake Day, a National Cheeseburger Day, and a National Jelly Bean Day. There are also days to celebrate chocolate, chocolate chip cookies, and chocolate ice cream. Is anyone surprised?
Hmmm. Is there a National Carrot Day? It turns out there is . . . AND a National Carrot Cake Day. National App Day? Sure, AND National Apple Pie Day. There is no National Cauliflower Day, nor is there a National Collard Greens Day, but there is a National Brussels Sprouts Day. Go figure!
Anyone looking for an excuse to splurge on sweets every day of the year is probably in luck. Today is probably something like National Cinnabon Day, but don’t take this as a reason to run out and get one . . . unless you decide to consciously choose it, enjoy it, and not regret it later – and you don’t need a special day on the calendar to do that.
Right here. Right now. I am going to reveal the secret to the question that drives people to try every eating plan under the sun, spend billions of dollars every year, and endure endless suffering in pursuit of its answer. The answer to the question – what is the secret to lasting weight loss? – is not as complicated as many make it.
I have watched many people as they move toward the answer. Many start out thinking that they just need to know what to eat. “Just tell me what to do, and I’ll do it! Tell me EXACTLY what to eat and when, and I’m good to go.” Some remain stuck here for a long time, moving from one diet to the next, waiting for “the one,” the magic plan that will be discovered any day now. In fact, each plan provides new hope, but little else.
Others think the answer is having something or someone control them, to save them from their out-of-control tendencies. A task master who penalizes lack of results is what they think will help. Fear of not following orders drives them to comply to avoid shame and disappointment. This usually works for a while, but when results are not as expected, derailment usually happens, along with plenty of feelings of failure.
Supplements and formula diets appeal to many dieters, especially when magical claims are made. Advertising can make it sound like the secret has finally been discovered in the form of a pill or powder. “Melt fat instantly. Lose inches and pounds in days.” Don’t get too excited. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
So what is the secret? Well, it’s not quick, or easy, or sexy, but it is real, lasting, and bound to improve the way you look at your entire life. When I notice a client has stopped panicking and fighting with themselves, and is moving toward a more self-compassionate acceptance of their abilities at this time, I know they will succeed at healthier eating that will become a part of their lives.
When this happens, I hear things like, “I don’t know when it happened, but the healthier habits are just what I do now. I don’t think about it, and it isn’t hard. I’m not perfect, and I allow myself to have what I want, but what I want has changed.”
Asking “What is the best I can do for my health today” is a good practice. Do the best you can at any moment. If today seems hard, just know that not every day is the same. Ride the waves. Be kind – yes, to others, but mostly to yourself. Feel good about what you can accomplish, and move on when your eating is disappointing. This is a life-long process, because we are always changing.
When every eating experience feels like your choice, and when the choices feel kind most of the time, that’s as good as it gets. But that is certainly good enough!
I came home hungry today with no patience for a complicated lunch preparation. The wrap I made was so easy, and this was the best lunch I have had in weeks! I had leftover roasted veggies – always a good idea – and the homemade hummus was leftover from the weekend.
The wraps I found are new at my grocery store. They are high in fiber and protein and made with sprouted wheat instead of flour. As long as you tolerate wheat, this is a great choice since it is less processed than flour products.
Sprouted wheat tortilla (or other kind)
Hummus (homemade is easy; try the Barefoot Contessa’s super quick and delicious hummus recipe)
Roasted veggies (I used mushrooms, fennel, red onion, eggplant, and carrots)
Just wrap and eat!
One of the biggest problems with eating healthy is lack of planning. I’m not talking about the kind of planning some people do: make a list for a week of meals, go to the store and buy the ingredients, cook all afternoon on Sunday to prepare for the week, freeze some . . . .
No, no, no! That is definitely not what I mean by planning. Most people will not do that. They don’t have time, or quite frankly, there are other things they wish to do with their precious spare time.
When I talk about planning, I mean the basics. Just be prepared for those times when you are starving, creativity is limited, and there are very few options in the refrigerator and/or pantry. That means you must go to the store sometime! That also means you must keep a few staples on hand and have a few ideas for quick meals that can be made with these basics.
Some items I keep on hand for times like this, mostly non-perishables or foods that last a while before going bad:
canned salmon (I like the red, not the pink)
plain fat-free or 2% Greek yogurt
whole grain tortillas
Today was one of those days for me. I was so glad I had at least attended to this level of planning. I came home hungry and needed a hearty snack. It was so nice to be able to open a can of salmon, add a chopped cucumber (from our little garden), a little onion and avocado, some plain Greek yogurt and a dash of seasoning to create this beautiful and satisfying mini-meal. Now I think I will make it until dinner!
The Milwaukee Business Journal published a story about my phone app yesterday in their online edition.
More exciting app news: the Android version is almost finished and will be available at Google Play soon!
I am a big believer in the power of our thoughts – and the actions they create – to either make us healthier or sicker. The environment is constantly acting on our genes to create our health status, and part of that environment is the quality of your thoughts. Are your thoughts defeatist or hopeful in nature? Are they leading you in the direction of a healthier lifestyle, or are they convincing you it’s not possible?
If you would like to be healthier – who wouldn’t? – I think you will find that Deepak Chopra knows a thing or two about this. His recent blog post is very encouraging, and much to my liking, also based on solid research about the human body.
Attention Dieters: Do you realize that you may be creating your own cravings and lack of control with food, at least to a certain extent? I read with interest a recent article in the New York Times that discusses the results of a study on kids and food restriction. It came as no surprise to me.
In fact, I see this same kind of pattern in adults who place overly restrictive rules on their own eating. I often tell clients struggling with intense cravings that at least a part of it may be the feeling of deprivation they have placed around eating. What researchers found in children’s snacking behavior was:
. . . children who grow up in homes with restrictive food rules, where a parent is constantly dieting or desirable foods are forbidden or placed out of reach, often develop stronger reactions to food and want more of it when the opportunity presents itself.
While the researchers acknowledge that genetics may contribute to the quantity of food consumed as well as taste preferences, there is clearly an environmental influence as well. This is what I observe in adult dieters. You may know what I mean. Most of us have experienced the feeling: Whatever you try NOT to eat is exactly what you cannot stop thinking about eating!
The solution? The advice offered for children is no different than what I tell my clients struggling with overly restrictive (and SELF-IMPOSED) rules:
. . . be aware that tight control over food can set off overeating in some children. The solution is to control the quality of the food in the home.
Don’t buy soda, candy and chips and place them off limits on the top shelf of the pantry. Stock the house with healthful foods, and then allow children access and a reasonable amount of control over what they eat.
Occasional treats outside the home are fine. “Take the kid out for ice cream once or twice a week, but don’t keep it in the house,” Dr. Birch said.
“I don’t like the concept of telling a hungry child you can’t eat,” said Dr. Ludwig. “Ultimately, we want children to gain better connection to their inner satiety cues. So if their body is telling them they are hungry, don’t ignore that — just pay close attention to the quality of the foods that are offered.”
I tell my clients that they cannot expect to solve the problem by just telling themselves to “knock it off” (the binging or uncontrolled eating). I believe the solution has to include stopping the deprivation that ultimately contributes to overeating and cravings.
Can you be the adult in your life and set yourself up for success? Can you give yourself some reasonable boundaries, yet still allow yourself a feeling of free choice based on real curiosity about your needs? Can you clean up your food environment and still hear the occasional messages that tell you it’s time for a trip to your favorite ice cream store for a special treat you can truly savor, not devour desperately with guilty feelings?
The first step is realizing who is creating the rules – YOU!