Enjoy your food, but eat less. This was a statement that is rather confusing and created a lot of buzz in the nutrition world. Eat less of what, how much less? The USDA new “Super Tracker” may help the public with this. You can see based on your specific profile how much you should be eating and eating for optimal health from all the food groups. Perhaps you can consider a SMART goal or two related to using the “Super Tracker”. Today, I’ll give you some guidance that has worked for my clients in the past and even in my own household
So step one is start to record and track your progress. The Super Tracker has some great tips and tools including food-a-pedia, activity tracker, and more. It even has a place for your top 5 goals, once you personalize your plan. I think it is a pretty user friendly website-much easier than previous versions. Personally, for me, it is motivating to see everything tracked right in front of me. Used appropriately, the tracker can be a great tool. If this tool does not work for you, search for one that will! There are plenty of trackers-even on smartphones.
One thing that I suggest that you try is measuring your food (measuring cups and a food scale can be very affordable). It can be challenging when decipher a food label or even the tracker to eyeball what the portion should look like on the plate. However seeing what exactly you eat vs what is a serving is quite interesting! I’ve tried it with my husband lately (shh don’t tell him I am talking about him). He was surprised at what he saw and has started to make an effort to think about the amount of food he put on his plate (even without the measuring cup). Are going to measure forever-no eventually you will be able to it without measuring cups or scales. Also you probably won’t pull out your cups at a restaurant or party, so it is good to learn at home and then you can visualize the portions when you are out. Ultimately, if you see your portions creeping up go ahead and start to measure your food again to get you back on track. You can also use household items for portion sizes, although this only works well for some people.
Remember that it a lifestyle change you are looking to achieve and new habits must be formed. It can take some time to get used to something new. Some say 21 days is the time it takes to create a sound habit. So will you feel hungry at first? Perhaps-you may be used to overeating and will need to learn how it feels to be satiated without being stuffed. Will there be struggles-yes! It is part of the experience, but move on to the next meal or snack- it is a mind game that you can win.
There are awesome tools to help you achieve your year (and lifetime) of health! You do not have to do it alone.
This time of year many people start to think of New Year’s Resolutions. We have the best intentions, but many of these resolutions are not kept for more than a few days or even a month. Why not think of this year as the year of health and instead of resolutions, consider making achievable goals. Encourage your clients/patients to do the same. Suggest and make goals that can be built upon throughout the year and are lifestyle changes, not “quick fixes”. Keep record of these goals and when choosing goals consider overall health-nutrition, well-being, physical activity and even goals such as financial ones. It is best to include the whole family and have family goals as well.
The best goal is a SMART Goal.
Resolution: I will start exercising.
SMART Goal: I will exercise on the treadmill for 30 minutes 5 days a week.
So while you or your clients are considering you SMART goals, think of making eggs a healthy part of your lifestyle. With all the benefits an egg has to offer, it is an easily achievable goal. Remember eggs are not just for breakfast! We recently released a press release that discussed some of the reasons eggs are a great choice in a healthy lifestyle. Registered Dietitian Mary Donkersloot also provided a few suggestions that can fit in any lifestyle. Take these and make them your own SMART Goals.
Lead yourself in to good health in 2012!
The common wisdom at Thanksgiving is that the amino acid tryptophan, found in turkey, is responsible for the sleepy feeling one gets after the big meal. Well, new research completed at the University of Cambridge focused on the post prandial effects of different macronutrients has found it may be the carbohydrates, rather than the proteins in meals, that make us more lethargic and less efficient calorie burners. The research, published in the scientific journal Neuron, has implications for understanding obesity and sleep disorders.
Wakefulness and energy expenditure rely on “orexin cells”, which secrete a stimulant called orexin hypocretin in the brain. Reduced activity in these unique cells results in narcolepsy and has been linked to weight gain. By highlighting these cells with genetically targeted fluorescence in mouse brains, and then introducing different nutrients such as amino acid mixtures similar to egg whites, while tracking orexin cell impulses, the researchers found amino acids stimulate orexin cells. Previous work by the group found that glucose blocks orexin cells (which was cited as a reason for after-meal sleepiness), and so the researchers also looked at interactions between sugar and protein. They found that amino acids stop glucose from blocking orexin cells (in other words, protein negated the effects of sugar on the cells).
So, the implications of this research are, if you’re trying to stay focused on the road after the big meal, cut down on the potatoes, dressing and pie and go for the turkey, ham and oysters at Thanksgiving dinner. In addition, this research suggests you consider replacing the donut, sugary cereal and sweet roll at your daily breakfast meal before work or school and eat more of the protein foods like eggs, ham, milk and cheese to be the most efficient and focused throughout the day.
As we approach the holidays it does not mean you “have to gain weight”. It seems many people do not understand moderation, but I think they do realize when they’ve eaten too much!
Some things you can do to have a Healthy Holiday and not a Hefty Holiday!
Make sure to eat adequate protein at breakfast and (lunch) before the event-Try to distribute your protein throughout the day. Did you know many people do not eat very much protein at breakfast? Research is showing distributing protein to about 30 grams per meal is helpful for satiety and metabolism. Below is a chart showing common protein consumption vs balanced protein distribution.
Starting with a protein rich breakfast will keep you satisfied longer and you’ll feel better throughout the day. Here is an example of how popular breakfast items stack up as far as protein.
Another option to prevent overeating at a party is to have a healthy snack before the party. At ~70 calories a hardboiled egg is a great choice! Drink plenty of water before the party too.
Arrive to the party fashionably late and don’t stand near the “appetizer table”. You can always save your appetite (and calories) for the main entrees and even dessert (I am sure to save some of my calories for this because it is always so tempting). If your favorite appetizers are served have a few, but remember some appetizers can be several hundred calories in just a few bites!
It is ok to scope out the food before filling your plate. You can be picky!! Decide what you really want. If you want several higher calorie/fat items-take smaller amounts of each!
Get moving! Do not forget to exercise to offset those “indulgences”. Also, you’ll feel better and beat holiday stress. Be active with family members or friends to catch up during the season.
Even if you overindulge- get back on track for the next meal/next day. Do not throw your health and nutrition to the wind! Start your next meal with a great high quality protein and get moving!