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Category Archive for: ‘Eat Well, Be Well’

A Clue to Long-Term Weight Loss Success?

The National Weight Control Registry, (the largest prospective investigation of long-term successful weight loss maintenance) has shown that only ~ 20 % of overweight individuals maintain their loss after one year. Given this less than stellar long-term success rate, I was intrigued by this article explaining the concept of reverse dieting. Reverse dieting, not a term I was familiar with until fairly recently, is a term typically used in body building circles. Reverse diet describes “a period after a calorically restricted eating protocol (i.e. diet) during which you slowly work to increase calories back to a maintenance level.” In layman terms it is essentially “easing” back into normal eating, after following a strict eating plan & vigorous exercise (i.e. dieting), by adopting sustainable eating habits. The goal of reverse dieting (when used correctly) is to promote long-term weight maintenance (i.e. keep off the lost weight) & to stop the unhealthy cycle of yo-yo dieting. One benefit of this plan is that it gives dieters structure, something they desperately need once they have reached their goal weight. Often people return to their pre-diet habits, resulting in weight gain that exceeds the pounds lost. Working with a nutrition professional, such as a registered dietitian, can assist you in coming up with a plan that works for you.

Is Reverse Dieting the Key to Weight Maintenance

A Clue to Long-Term Weight Loss Success?

The National Weight Control Registry, (the largest prospective investigation of long-term successful weight loss maintenance) has shown that only ~ 20 % of overweight individuals maintain their loss after one year. Given this less than stellar long-term success rate, I was intrigued by this article explaining the concept of reverse dieting. Reverse dieting, not a term I was familiar with until fairly recently, is a term typically used in body building circles. Reverse diet describes “a period after a calorically restricted eating protocol (i.e. diet) during which you slowly work to increase calories back to a maintenance level.” In layman terms it is essentially “easing” back into normal eating, after following a strict eating plan & vigorous exercise (i.e. dieting), by adopting sustainable eating habits. The goal of reverse dieting (when used correctly) is to promote long-term weight maintenance (i.e. keep off the lost weight) & to stop the unhealthy cycle of yo-yo dieting. One benefit of this plan is that it gives dieters structure, something they desperately need once they have reached their goal weight. Often people return to their pre-diet habits, resulting in weight gain that exceeds the pounds lost. Working with a nutrition professional, such as a registered dietitian, can assist you in coming up with a plan that works for you.

Is Reverse Dieting the Key to Weight Maintenance

Fitness Trackers – Love it or Leave it?

I have been a devoted Fitbit wearer for many years now and am always interested in what research has to say about the effects of the devices on not only our weight but other health related behaviors. Despite my dedicated commitment to achieving my 10,000 steps a day, I am under no illusion that achieving my step goals will result in automatic weight loss. In truth, my weight has remained relatively unchanged throughout my years of Fitbit use. Some may find this frustrating, but my purpose in using this device is to remind myself to move throughout the day rather than the goal of weight loss. The health benefits of movement throughout our day has been well documented and this is motivation enough for me. Regarding weight loss, research has shown that fitness tracker wearers are no more likely to lose weight than non-wearers. Part of the reason for this may be due to the fact that users rely on the devices’ daily calorie burn number to determine how much food they eat. Additionally, a recent study showed that 7 popular fitness trackers reported inaccurate caloric burn estimates (the number which many rely on to estimate calories in vs. calorie out). So, what is a fitness device devotee like myself to do?
  
Food First, Exercise Second:
research has consistently shown that diet is more important than exercise for weight loss.
 
Avoid Food Rewards:
food should never be a reward for steps walked or calories burned.  Use non-food rewards to celebrate success.
 
It’s All Relative:
almost all monitoring devices (scales, diet trackers, exercise equipment monitors, wearable fitness trackers, etc.)-have margins of error. Consider the data relative and only use this data as one tool to help you achieve your fitness goals, be it weight loss or just overall health. Data is most useful when it is viewed and compared over time, rather than relying on one variable alone.
 
Waist vs. wrist:
for the die-hard data fans, waist wearable devices are more likely to be accurate than their wrist device counterparts.
 
Remember the goal of a fitness tracker should be achieving good health, not weight loss.  While a fitness tracker can be a useful tool in your weight loss journey (if that is your goal) never rely on this instrument as a single tool for achieving success.

Fitness Trackers – Love it or Leave it?

I have been a devoted Fitbit wearer for many years now and am always interested in what research has to say about the effects of the devices on not only our weight but other health related behaviors. Despite my dedicated commitment to achieving my 10,000 steps a day, I am under no illusion that achieving my step goals will result in automatic weight loss. In truth, my weight has remained relatively unchanged throughout my years of Fitbit use. Some may find this frustrating, but my purpose in using this device is to remind myself to move throughout the day rather than the goal of weight loss. The health benefits of movement throughout our day has been well documented and this is motivation enough for me. Regarding weight loss, research has shown that fitness tracker wearers are no more likely to lose weight than non-wearers. Part of the reason for this may be due to the fact that users rely on the devices’ daily calorie burn number to determine how much food they eat. Additionally, a recent study showed that 7 popular fitness trackers reported inaccurate caloric burn estimates (the number which many rely on to estimate calories in vs. calorie out). So, what is a fitness device devotee like myself to do?
  
Food First, Exercise Second:
research has consistently shown that diet is more important than exercise for weight loss.
 
Avoid Food Rewards:
food should never be a reward for steps walked or calories burned.  Use non-food rewards to celebrate success.
 
It’s All Relative:
almost all monitoring devices (scales, diet trackers, exercise equipment monitors, wearable fitness trackers, etc.)-have margins of error. Consider the data relative and only use this data as one tool to help you achieve your fitness goals, be it weight loss or just overall health. Data is most useful when it is viewed and compared over time, rather than relying on one variable alone.
 
Waist vs. wrist:
for the die-hard data fans, waist wearable devices are more likely to be accurate than their wrist device counterparts.
 
Remember the goal of a fitness tracker should be achieving good health, not weight loss.  While a fitness tracker can be a useful tool in your weight loss journey (if that is your goal) never rely on this instrument as a single tool for achieving success.

Healthy Eating “Headlines” – Part 2

With all the confusing messages about healthy eating & nutrition science I decided this important topic warranted two separate blogs. Last month’s blog focused on nutrition priorities and this month I will discuss some of the popular nutrition headlines.

 

Gluten Free-the cure all?

No one can deny the current popularity of gluten free diets. Books & celebrities are advocating for a gluten free diet for “clean living” and weight loss. What the promoters fail to point out is that cutting out gluten containing foods like cookies, cakes & deep fried battered foods is a positive nutritional change that results in fewer calories consumed (hence weight loss).  This effect is not directly related to gluten consumption. Additionally, three large studies have shown that people with the highest gluten intake were actually 20 % less likely to develop diabetes.  Furthermore, these studies debunk the claim that eating gluten causes weight gain as evident by the finding that there was no relationship between gluten intake and weight. There is no benefit to avoiding gluten if you do not have a gluten sensitivity or allergy.

 

Health Halo Package Claims-Help or Hinder?

While food label reading is a component of healthy eating, it may unfortunately bring out the unwanted side effect of health halos. A halo effect on a certain food or brand causes the person to perceive the product as healthy, thus resulting in overconsumption of said product.  Health claims on a food package does not mean that food provides nutritional benefits, as these claims can be misleading.  Always check the Nutrition Facts panel & pay attention to portion sizes.  Healthy, unprocessed food does not contain (nor need) a health claim.

 

Does Healthy Eating Cost More?

The claim “healthy eating is too expensive” is often cited as a reason for consuming cheap, processed convenience food. Current research contradicts this belief by showing that people who prepare home cooked meals engage in healthier eating habits & actually spend less money on food.  Frequent eating out is associated with poorer health habits.  Processed, convenience “health” foods actually cost more money than preparing a home cooked meal.  If you struggle with ideas for healthy meal preparation, research quick and easy ways to prepare meals at home.  The Internet contains an overabundance of healthy recipes & tips-just know where to look.  Explore websites such as Ellie Krieger’s Real Good Food, Cooking Light & Eating Well (to name just a few).

 

The research on nutrition & health will be ever evolving, this much we know.  However, we can be confident that the basic principles of healthy eating won’t change, consuming real, whole foods with a variety of plant rich foods including fruits, vegetables & whole grains.

 

Source:

Karen Collins-Behind the Headlines

Healthy Eating “Headlines” – Part 2

With all the confusing messages about healthy eating & nutrition science I decided this important topic warranted two separate blogs. Last month’s blog focused on nutrition priorities and this month I will discuss some of the popular nutrition headlines.

 

Gluten Free-the cure all?

No one can deny the current popularity of gluten free diets. Books & celebrities are advocating for a gluten free diet for “clean living” and weight loss. What the promoters fail to point out is that cutting out gluten containing foods like cookies, cakes & deep fried battered foods is a positive nutritional change that results in fewer calories consumed (hence weight loss).  This effect is not directly related to gluten consumption. Additionally, three large studies have shown that people with the highest gluten intake were actually 20 % less likely to develop diabetes.  Furthermore, these studies debunk the claim that eating gluten causes weight gain as evident by the finding that there was no relationship between gluten intake and weight. There is no benefit to avoiding gluten if you do not have a gluten sensitivity or allergy.

 

Health Halo Package Claims-Help or Hinder?

While food label reading is a component of healthy eating, it may unfortunately bring out the unwanted side effect of health halos. A halo effect on a certain food or brand causes the person to perceive the product as healthy, thus resulting in overconsumption of said product.  Health claims on a food package does not mean that food provides nutritional benefits, as these claims can be misleading.  Always check the Nutrition Facts panel & pay attention to portion sizes.  Healthy, unprocessed food does not contain (nor need) a health claim.

 

Does Healthy Eating Cost More?

The claim “healthy eating is too expensive” is often cited as a reason for consuming cheap, processed convenience food. Current research contradicts this belief by showing that people who prepare home cooked meals engage in healthier eating habits & actually spend less money on food.  Frequent eating out is associated with poorer health habits.  Processed, convenience “health” foods actually cost more money than preparing a home cooked meal.  If you struggle with ideas for healthy meal preparation, research quick and easy ways to prepare meals at home.  The Internet contains an overabundance of healthy recipes & tips-just know where to look.  Explore websites such as Ellie Krieger’s Real Good Food, Cooking Light & Eating Well (to name just a few).

 

The research on nutrition & health will be ever evolving, this much we know.  However, we can be confident that the basic principles of healthy eating won’t change, consuming real, whole foods with a variety of plant rich foods including fruits, vegetables & whole grains.

 

Source:

Karen Collins-Behind the Headlines

Healthy Eating “Headlines”

There is no shortage of headlines toting the latest development in nutrition science and I will fully admit that it makes my head spin. We all know how important science is, but sometimes it appears that the science is constantly contradicting itself.  To avoid this conundrum, I only seek out information written by qualified (i.e. science) experts, but that doesn’t mean I can ignore what consumers are readings.
 

Recently I read an article simplifying some of the more confusing messages about nutrition science.   And despite all the hype we hear, it still comes down to the simple message of eating more plant-based foods, less processed meats & lower sugar intake.  The first part of this blog I will sum up the basic messages (which many of us have already heard) and part 2 will address more of the catchy headlines we have seen lately (gluten free among others).
 

Part 1: Nutrition Priorities
 
10 dietary factors that show strong evidence as causes of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure & diabetes.

  • Excess sodium (i.e. salt) intake
  • Low intake of nuts and seeds
  • High intake of processed meats (such as bacon and sausage),
  • Low seafood omega-3 fats consumption
  • Low vegetable & fruit consumption
  • High sugar-sweetened beverage intake
  • Low whole grains consumption\\
  • Low polyunsaturated fats, (vegetable oils)
  • High intake of saturated (unprocessed) red meats (beef, lamb, pork).

 
Optimal dietary intake
 
What does “optimal” dietary intake look like? Optimal daily intakes include:

  • Vegetables-400 grams daily (~ 2 ½ cups) this includes dried beans & peas
  • Fruit-300 grams daily (about 2 medium pieces of fruit or 2 cups)-not including juice

o   Whole grains-at least 125 grams daily (total 5 or more)-1 slice whole grain bread, ½ cup whole grain ready to eat cereals, cooked whole grain pasta, brown rice, quinoa or other
o   Nuts & seeds-equivalent of at least five 1-ounce servings per week

o   Seafood-supplied omega 3 fats-at least 250 mg per day-available from 8 oz of a variety of fish per week or 4 oz /week of high omega 3 fat
 
Source: Healthy Eating Roundup: Behind the headlines

Healthy Eating “Headlines”

There is no shortage of headlines toting the latest development in nutrition science and I will fully admit that it makes my head spin. We all know how important science is, but sometimes it appears that the science is constantly contradicting itself.  To avoid this conundrum, I only seek out information written by qualified (i.e. science) experts, but that doesn’t mean I can ignore what consumers are readings.
 

Recently I read an article simplifying some of the more confusing messages about nutrition science.   And despite all the hype we hear, it still comes down to the simple message of eating more plant-based foods, less processed meats & lower sugar intake.  The first part of this blog I will sum up the basic messages (which many of us have already heard) and part 2 will address more of the catchy headlines we have seen lately (gluten free among others).
 

Part 1: Nutrition Priorities
 
10 dietary factors that show strong evidence as causes of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure & diabetes.

  • Excess sodium (i.e. salt) intake
  • Low intake of nuts and seeds
  • High intake of processed meats (such as bacon and sausage),
  • Low seafood omega-3 fats consumption
  • Low vegetable & fruit consumption
  • High sugar-sweetened beverage intake
  • Low whole grains consumption\\
  • Low polyunsaturated fats, (vegetable oils)
  • High intake of saturated (unprocessed) red meats (beef, lamb, pork).

 
Optimal dietary intake
 
What does “optimal” dietary intake look like? Optimal daily intakes include:

  • Vegetables-400 grams daily (~ 2 ½ cups) this includes dried beans & peas
  • Fruit-300 grams daily (about 2 medium pieces of fruit or 2 cups)-not including juice

o   Whole grains-at least 125 grams daily (total 5 or more)-1 slice whole grain bread, ½ cup whole grain ready to eat cereals, cooked whole grain pasta, brown rice, quinoa or other
o   Nuts & seeds-equivalent of at least five 1-ounce servings per week

o   Seafood-supplied omega 3 fats-at least 250 mg per day-available from 8 oz of a variety of fish per week or 4 oz /week of high omega 3 fat
 
Source: Healthy Eating Roundup: Behind the headlines

The Eager Eater

Life is busy, for all of us.  Multitasking is the story of my life and one thing I can say with a definitive conclusion is that most of the time I don’t do it well. I find every aspect of my life improves when I tackle one task at a time simply by slowing down & paying attention. This certainly applies to eating. Many of us find ourselves rushing through our meals without giving the food we eat much of a second thought.  How can we change?  Below are a few strategies (adapted from Rebel Dietitians) for learning how to eat without distraction.
 
7 Ways to Stop Multitasking While you Eat
 
1. Take a few deep breaths-this could apply to everything we do.  Take a few deep breaths & focus on the task at hand (eating).
 
2. Ask yourself what you are hungry fornormal eating is actually consuming foods you enjoy. Basing your food choices solely on health only leads to overall dissatisfaction to your palate & the endless quest for satisfaction.
 

3. Set the table and plate your food-make your meal an actual dining experience.  Plate your food instead of picking.
 

4. Engage all your senses while eating
 

5. Taste your food-multitasking while you eat actually inhibits the pleasure you derive from eating.  Before you know it, your meal is finished, yet you can’t quite seem to remember what your food tasted like (or even how much you ate).
 
6. Think about ways you could explain this food to someone who has never seen it before.
 

7. Pause in the middle of eating for at least two minutes-in other words, slow down.  Remember your brain takes about 20 minutes to register that your body is full.

The Eager Eater

Life is busy, for all of us.  Multitasking is the story of my life and one thing I can say with a definitive conclusion is that most of the time I don’t do it well. I find every aspect of my life improves when I tackle one task at a time simply by slowing down & paying attention. This certainly applies to eating. Many of us find ourselves rushing through our meals without giving the food we eat much of a second thought.  How can we change?  Below are a few strategies (adapted from Rebel Dietitians) for learning how to eat without distraction.
 
7 Ways to Stop Multitasking While you Eat
 
1. Take a few deep breaths-this could apply to everything we do.  Take a few deep breaths & focus on the task at hand (eating).
 
2. Ask yourself what you are hungry fornormal eating is actually consuming foods you enjoy. Basing your food choices solely on health only leads to overall dissatisfaction to your palate & the endless quest for satisfaction.
 

3. Set the table and plate your food-make your meal an actual dining experience.  Plate your food instead of picking.
 

4. Engage all your senses while eating
 

5. Taste your food-multitasking while you eat actually inhibits the pleasure you derive from eating.  Before you know it, your meal is finished, yet you can’t quite seem to remember what your food tasted like (or even how much you ate).
 
6. Think about ways you could explain this food to someone who has never seen it before.
 

7. Pause in the middle of eating for at least two minutes-in other words, slow down.  Remember your brain takes about 20 minutes to register that your body is full.

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