Archive for Food/Nutrition

DO-RE-MI + FOOD

We all know the song, “Do-Re-Mi”, from “The Sound of Music”. The first line says, “Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.” For so many of us, we need to start at the very beginning when it comes to food.

I can’t tell you how many clients come to me completely bewildered. Not only are there so many diet plans, but studies frequently come out contradicting previous findings.

EGGS ARE A GREAT SOURCE OF PROTEIN, AND HEALTHY. (JUST KIDDING, NO THEY’RE NOT)

WE NEED TO CONSUME LOW-FAT DAIRY PRODUCTS. (NOPE……FULL FAT IS THE ONLY WAY TO GO.)

CARBS ARE EVIL. (SOME CARBS ARE PACKED FULL OF NUTRIENTS LIKE WHOLE GRAINS)

It is beyond confusing to navigate through all of this information and that’s even before we get bombarded with messages about our bodies. We need to look a certain way, dress a certain way, and are held to an impossible standard. We constantly see images of beautiful women, who have had hours of hair and make-up, along with a touch of photoshopping. No wonder we feel the way we do!

Before you can make any kind of healthy eating plan,  you first must understand what foods you like to eat. I know this seems very basic but I have a lot of clients who are eating foods that they do not like but are ONLY eating them because they believe that they’re healthy. They are choking down things like egg whites and spinach, quinoa, and celery juice. I can tell you with certainty that this method NEVER works in the long-run. Without feeling satisfied, all of that “healthy” eating will go out the window the minute a bag of Goldfish crackers comes into view.

If this sounds familiar, take a week off to be curious and to explore. Go back to the beginning and think about what you’re in the mood for instead of automatically reaching for things that you don’t like. Once you have a better understanding of what you like, you can then tweak your diet to make it healthier. You might discover that you actually DO like broccoli but can only enjoy it when cooked with a sprinkle of cheese. Maybe eating a salad is good in theory only, since it always leaves you yearning for more. Maybe you will decide that you will NEVER eat an asparagus again. Do this experiment so you can build a solid foundation, instead of living with a flimsy one that keeps collapsing. (Hence the need to keep “starting over”, every Monday!)

 Start at the very beginning because it’s a very good place to start!

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A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS

Recently, a client of mine, let’s call her Samantha, was contemplating losing weight. I made a suggestion: I told her to start a food journal and to send it to me. Journaling is the best way to understand what’s going on. Plus, if Samantha had to send it to me, she would naturally start cleaning up her diet. She wasn’t happy with this suggestion—food journaling, if done right, is tedious. I would not only need to  know what she was eating, but would also need to have an idea about portion sizes and how the food was prepared. Once I saw the look of horror on her face, I came up with another idea that was MUCH easier: I wanted Samantha to send me a photo of everything she was eating. She was in!

Within a day or two, I got clarity!  Where were the fruits and vegetables? There were some, but not nearly enough.  Once I pointed this out to her, within days, her photos started to change! Look at this before and after:

Here, she was eating some Japanese food, which is fine—this was seared tuna and beef rolls. But look at her plate! No colors.

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Compare that to this colorful plate!

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These photos told us a lot!  Samantha was starting to change her habits, and was religiously journaling through photos. I was thrilled! It’s too early to know if Samantha will lose weight but I know for sure that she’s eating healthier and that’s what’s most important. (Stay tuned for Samantha’s progress! 😉)

Unless photos are photoshopped, they don’t lie.  If you want to figure out what’s going on, start taking photos with your phone. The pictures will tell a great story, which might help you get clarity on where you’re going wrong.

 

 

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JUST MAKE IT BETTER

A client of mine, let’s call her Cindy, has been struggling to eat healthier. In the past, she’s gone on several diets and like most people, was only successful in the short run. In Cindy’s case, being on a diet reflexively makes her feel denied, which is never a good thing.  Since I hate diets, we are creating new plan, which includes a different way of thinking about food. Our plan is called: JUST MAKE IT BETTER

JUST MAKE IT BETTER means you get to eat foods that you love but have to “doctor” iStock-1131794876.t5d482e40.m800.xtDADj9SvTVFjzuNeGuNUUGY4tm5d6UGU5tkKM0s3iPk-620x342them up to make the meal healthier. For example, if you love chicken Parmesan from your local pizzeria, instead of eating the whole portion, cut it into thirds. Eat 1/3 with a giant salad. Eat 1/3 with bowl of broccoli. Eat the last 1/3 with a bunch of raw fruits and vegetables. I would  rather Cindy eat a small portion of food that makes her feel satisfied, than eating something she doesn’t like but chooses it only because it’s “healthy”.  That strategy never works.

JUST MAKE IT BETTER can look like this:

Instead of eating two pieces of white toast with jam for breakfast, change it to one slice whole-grain toast, and add some avocado slices and/or an egg.

Instead of eating 2-3 slices of pizza, have one small slice with a large salad or veggies.

Instead of eating a large carton of greasy Chinese food, get a small container along with a large container of steamed veggies. Mix ½ of the small with all of the large and you have just made your meal a heck of a lot better!

JUST MAKE IT BETTER gives you freedom to stay clear of feeling denied. You can have fun being creative. You can slowly include more and more fruits and vegetables and swap out most processed foods. If you do it slowly and have an open mind, you might find this way of eating a perfect plan for you, too. You don’t have to overthink…..you have to JUST MAKE IT BETTER!

 

 

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KEEP CALM AND JINGLE ON

If you are reading this blog it means that you have survived Thanksgiving. Congratulations! It also means that we are officially embedded in the holiday season. This translates into more exposure to treats, parties, treats, stress, treats, crowds, treats, shopping, treats, family, treats, chaos.

It is so easy to get caught up in all of the holiday eating. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that January 1st is right around the corner so you’ll rein it in then. It’s not. It’s a full month away and you can do damage in 30 days if you’re not careful.  I’ve seen this pattern with many of my clients: The holidays bring a few extra pounds that, come January, don’t come off. This is not a problem if it weren’t recurring. However, several years down the road, you might find yourself shocked to be 10-15 pounds heavier. This weight gain is sneaky!

While it will be harder to eat healthier during this time, you can do it. Thanksgiving keep_calm_and_jingle_rustic_holiday_party_invite-r1ec2da3de3334414b7f618dae591eb41_6gd4r_140.jpgwas just one meal. One party is just one party. Christmas dinner is just one dinner. If you are more vigilant at your very next meal, you will walk away from the holiday season unscathed.

Many of my clients find that they eat healthier when exercising consistently. This holiday season, JINGLE ON! (Think of it as the holiday word for exercise.) If you keep calm with your holiday eating and jingle on, you won’t be stuck feeling overwhelmed in January!

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CAN’T GET STARTED? BE CURIOUS!

Many people come to see me wanting to lose weight. (I would love for people to focus, instead, on being healthy, but that’s a topic for another blog.) In most cases, the greatest obvious nutrition obstacle is the time needed to plan, prepare and prep. Even if you’re not cooking a lot, eating healthily still requires having a plan and executing one takes time. My clients and I also talk about the fundamentals needed to be successful, which include:

  • Paying attention to hunger and satiety
  • Drinking a lot of water
  • Trying to eat as many whole foods possible. (Or, trying to eat as little processed food as possible.)
  • Having healthy snacks on hand
  • Watching the amount of unhealthy carbs consumed
  • Moving your body as much as possible

Then, we proceed to the specifics of their life—their lifestyle, their food preferences, their willingness to cook, their family unit, their work, how social they are, and how much time they are willing to dedicate to good nutrition. All of these will factor into creating the right plan for them. Since we are all different, no two plans will be identical.  Once armed with some structure, many people do very well. And many don’t.

If you are stuck and can’t seem to get started, I want you to be curious. Curiosity is a IMG_1275positive!  Unlike self-deprecation, curiosity keeps your mind open. It makes you take a closer look at your behavior, without judgment, so that you can unpack WHY you act (or not) in a certain way. Often times there is a less-obvious obstacle preventing you from achieving your goals. Being curious might uncover something much bigger—something deeper, that you need to address.

A client of mine wanted to lose weight and so we had several discussions and created a plan. When she got stuck, she became curious. And after some painful introspection, she realized that the underlying issue was that she had to  start focusing on her social life (or lack of one). It was much easier for her to zoom in on weight loss—she kept convincing herself that losing weight would be the answer to all of her problems. Once she uncovered this, she was able to address her deep-rooted issue, which was far more important than simply losing some weight.

From my experience, the worst thing that you can do for your mental sanity is to keep starting something, not being able to maintain it, and stopping. This is so damaging and deflating to your sense of well-being. In this blog, I used the example of weight loss but it applies to anything in your life that you keep starting and stopping: exercise, cooking, meditation, making time for yourself, reading more, learning something new, spending more time with loved ones, etc. Instead of yo-yo-ing, take a breath, stop and be curious. Be a detective so that you can uncover the deeper, hidden issue. You will then be better able to tackle your obstacles once and for all!

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