Oh no! It’s only Jan. 1st and I’m already sick of salad!

Just kidding about the title. But seriously, isn’t this how we usually feel about 1 week into a New Year? Or maybe it takes us until February or March, but we get there eventually. And every year we say, ” this year will be different.” Is that ever true? So don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Make a few goals. Plan some events you’ve always wanted to do. Do 1 thing at a time. Make a plan.

I have a few goals. Nothing special but things I want to work toward this year. You know what’s going to make this possible? There is no PRESSURE! None. I’m excited about accomplishing a few goals. I’m looking forward to the changes that 2013 will bring. And I plan to ENJOY the MOMENTS.

I hope you join me 🙂

Health:

  1. Maintain current weight (weigh myself weekly).
  2. Run 1000 miles.
  3. 3 half marathons and 2 triathlons (at least! you’ll notice no marathons on the goal sheet this year 🙂 and I’m not upset!)
  4. Try 1 new meal per week (or maybe 2/month… I need this to be achievable).

Financial:

  1. Stick to the budget for entire year.
  2. Save for new car and vacation.

Spiritual:

  1. Be thankful. List of 1000 things. (inspired by the book One Thousand Gifts)
  2. Have an open heart for new lessons I need to learn.

Intellectual:

  1. Read 12 books (1 per month)
  2. Start and complete 1 year of grad school.

This list will surely grow as the year passes by. Goals may change. This is my start.

Excited about ditching my shopping "lists" and condensing into my new shopping booklet with pockets for coupons!

Excited about ditching my shopping “lists” and condensing into my new shopping booklet with pockets for coupons!

What are your goals?

Heart Month is for Runners Too!

More than 1 in 3 Americans have 1 or more types of cardiovascular disease. Heart disease remains the number 1 killer in both men and women (CDC). While age, gender, and ethnicity contribute to the level of a person’s risk, heart disease does not discriminate and can affect anyone.  Runners are not immune to the risks of heart disease.  Good news… we do have a leg up (literally)! These are 7 steps that the American Heart Association recommends to Live Better and prevent heart disease (link here).

  1. Stop Smoking
  2. Get Active
  3. Control Cholesterol
  4. Eat Better
  5. Manage Blood Pressure
  6. Lose Weight
  7. Reduce Blood Sugar

What do you notice about these steps? 6 out of the 7 have to do with diet and exercise! We are good with number 2, right? I’m assuming we are among the 30% of Americans that get the exercise that we need (150 mins of moderate exercise/week… we get that in 1 long run!)

Good nutrition isn’t just important on the day of a long run or race. Our diets throughout the week WILL affect our energy, performance, and overall health. Let’s get both legs up on preventing heart disease and make our diets a priority! Here are some tips:

  1. Reduce saturated and trans fat, cholesterol and added sugars.
    1. The AHA recommends 25-35% of your calories should come from fat. Look to increase healthy fats (mono- and polyunsaturated fats) from mostly plant sources like canola and olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados. Fatty fish are also good sources. Avoid all trans fat (partially hydrogenated oil) and limit full fat dairy and red meat. Limit cholesterol to 300mg/day and added sugars to 25g/day.
    2. Increase fruits and vegetables.
      1. Low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals! Enjoy lots of colors to ensure getting a variety of nutrients and antioxidants. And the potassium can help lower blood pressure!
      2. Enjoy 100% whole grains.
        1. Brown rice, quinoa, barley, wheat bread, whole grain pastas, oats etc. These are great for added fiber which can keep you fuller longer and help lower cholesterol!
        2. Eat fish at least 2 times per week.
          1. The healthy omega-3 fats may reduce your risk of CVD, reduce inflammation, decrease triglycerides (and keep your skin moisturizedJ)!

Visit this site for more heart healthy nutrition tips.

Why I Hate Diets

I had a client recently who told me that she needed to figure out which “diet” would be best for her and wanted to see what I was about (i.e. would my plan and ideas work for her). Word to the wise, hearing this does not  make a dietitian happy (see this page for why dietitians are the nutrition experts).

Raise your hand if you’ve ever tried a diet. Raise your hand if you think you need to go on a diet. Raise your hand if you’ve ever thought of trying a diet. Hand raised yet? This is a subject that crosses just about everyone’s mind at one time or another. For those of you who have tried a diet… are you still on it? Did it work? And I don’t mean temporarily. I mean right now… did your diet work to the point that you are happy with where you are now?

I may ruffle a few feathers with this post. You may disagree with the things I have to say, but stay with me. There are 11 definitions for the word “diet” according to dictionary.com. I am suggesting that we discuss the word here with the first definition that pops into your mind. I’m betting to guess that it has something to do with weight loss. Am I wrong?

Here are 5 reason why I hate diets:

1. Diets don’t last.

Popular diets promise to produce results in a certain period of time. From 1 day to 2 weeks to 3 months, every time frame is out there. Let me get under your skin and challenge you to believe that you need to make changes that will last throughout your life. No, you do not need to diet for your whole life. But lasting weight loss and then weight maintenance requires making certain changes that can last. Yes, it can be hard work. Whenever behavior modification is involved, our human nature fights it. So hard work, yes. But the weight loss will occur and you will be able to keep if off for life.

2. Diets are associated with deprivation.

Diets tend to have periods of severe restriction of foods from eliminating carbs to replacing real food with a special “cleansing drink.” This is not sustainable. If a diet restricts 1 or more food groups, it is a fad diet and should not be trusted. period. All foods can fit into a healthy “diet (way of eating).” Restriction of food groups (even in phases) suggests that certain food groups make you gain weight. This is not true. When the number of calories you intake are more than the energy you burn, you will gain weight… not because of a specific food!

3. Diets promote unrealistic expectations.

If a diet promotes greater than 1-2 lbs weight loss per week, please don’t trust it. We aren’t on the Biggest Loser here. We aren’t working out 8 hours per day. So for the average individual it is extremely difficult to lose more than 1-2 pounds of true fat in a week. It takes a 3500 calorie deficit to lose 1 pound. Break that down into 7 days and you must eliminate 500 calories per day or exercise enough to burn an extra 500 calories per day above what you ingest. 500 calories a day is realistic. Some diets promise 10 pounds weight loss in the first week. I will promise you that the weight you are losing is mostly water weight and will come back on as soon as you get off that diet. Think 3500calories x 10lbs= 35,000 calories you need to eliminate in a week for true weight loss. That’s a 5000 calorie deficit per day. Not realistic.

4. Diets aren’t individualized.

Why in the world would you want to read a book that 1 million people are also reading and think that it will work (long term) for every single one of those people.You are an individual. No one else has your exact body (twins come close 🙂 ). No one else has your metabolism or body type or composition. Certainly there are principles that are good advice for most, but those principles still look different for each person. This is why a dietitian should be your greatest resource. An RD gets to look at you, talk to you, evaluate and assess your lifestyle and give you ideas for what may work best for you. Your dietitian can give you a plan especially designed for you. That should excite you! Of course, we make suggestions and may have to adjust these based on the results we see, but that’s the beauty of seeing a nutrition expert. We can make it work!

5. Diets imply desperation.

When do you try a diet? When you’re at the end of your rope? When you decide that you don’t like the way your body looks or how you feel? Business Week reported that $40 billion a year is spent on weight-loss programs and products. Why are they making so much money? People are desperate. Can we both agree that the diets aren’t working? In a perfect world we could all learn proper healthy eating strategies so that we never get to the point where we need to lose weight. Well, this isn’t a perfect world. So here we are and you feel helpless. Ditch the diet! Find a way to make small changes that will add up. Is it quick? No. But it will work. Oh, and try to visit a dietitian if you want some help along the way 🙂

*****

Thank you for letting me rant. I hope this is more encouraging for you than the opposite. I want you to know that things can change. Popular is not always best. You can do it! And I’m here to help!

Tomato Soup Success

After a long week at work last week and almost freezing temperatures outside, the last thing I wanted to do was cook dinner. My thought process was canned soup and toasted cheese. Easy. Can pass off the cheese as protein, whole grain bread for fiber… However, I just couldn’t bring myself to count the Campbell’s tomato soup as a veggie. I came so close… but just couldn’t. That’s the mind, will, and determination of an RD for you 🙂 So I scoured the pantry and found 2 cans of tomatoes. Yes, I can do something with these! Recipe follows:

*****

Totally Tantalizing Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

olive oil

1/4 onion, finely diced

2-3 cloves garlic, chopped

1- 28oz can chopped tomatoes, italian

1- 14.5oz can whole peeled tomatoes, no salt added

~ 1 cup low sodium, fat free chicken broth (2 C if you have it or a 15oz can) + 1 C water because I didn’t have any more broth

1 tsp. honey

1 C skim milk

pinch of salt

Directions:

Drizzle oil in dutch oven or large pan over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic for about 1-2 mins. Add in tomatoes, broth (&water), and honey. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 30 mins (lid off). Remove from heat. Blend with an immersion blender or blend in batches (very carefully!!) in a blender. Add milk into pan with blended soup and heat through. Add salt to taste if desired.

*****

This soup was the best homemade tomato soup that I have made to date. Some turn out too watery for me, too acidic, too sweet, etc. This one was perfectly balanced and made the best dip for our tuna melts (grilled cheese made better with extra protein and omega-3s 🙂 ) AND if you want it creamier, you can add more milk.

Hope you enjoy!

Maintaining through Thanksgiving Tips

Let’s face it. Thanksgiving is about food. Should it be? Not completely (see my previous post). Yes, it is the decadent meal that brings families together. So are we thinking of continuing weight loss through this holiday and into the Christmas season? No. We just need to survive, right? This will make the 1st of the new year so much easier if we have maintained through the holidays… no gaining…no bloating… no cavities ;)… just maintain. That’s a great goal to have for the last month and half of the year. Let’s stick with that.

*****

Before Thanksgiving Day Strategies:

1. continue as planned with regular exercise (do not excuse your way out of exercise)

2. plan for healthier dishes and substitutions you will make to decrease fat, sugar, and sodium (go in with a plan)

3. schedule in your exercise for actual holiday day (that’s right, you heard me…)

Thanksgiving Day Strategies:

1. take a walk (or other exercise) FIRST thing in the morning! (only exception is to put the turkey in the oven first, then exercise)

2. eat breakfast! (and lunch! absolutely no skipping meals!)

3. relax with the Macy’s Day parade on TV while you cook your dishes (stress free!)

4. stay hydrated. (we don’t want to imagine hunger when we are actually thirsty)

5. use these substitutions and tips:

– use non-fat, plain yogurt in place of sour cream or fat in baked goods (or use unsweetened applesauce)

– use whole wheat flour for 1/2 the amount of flour in recipes (or more)

– use low sodium chicken/turkey broth in place of pan drippings and butter in all recipes

– rub the turkey with 2 tbls. oil with herbs & spices instead of butter

– roast veggies w/ canola oil spray and herbs to bring out flavor

– search www.eatingwell.com for healthier pumpkin pie recipes!

– use fat free evaporated milk instead of whole milk or cream

– use a whole grain bread in the stuffing for added fiber!

6. Eat the meal in the same portions you would any other meal. (taste everything, and have a little bit more of you favorites… but don’t go overboard) Finish eating when you are a 7-8 on the hunger scale (from 1-10)

6. Take a family walk after the meal

After Thanksgiving Day Strategies:

1. Resume exercise routine on Friday!!

2. Use turkey leftovers in a healthier ways.

3. Resume normal eating patterns.

*****

Did you know that the average person consumes anywhere from 1600-3000 calories in 1 thanksgiving meal?!?!? It also contains the amount of total fat equal to 1 stick of butter, saturated fat equal to 1.5 cups of heavy cream, and more than a full day’s worth of sodium?

Your health is in your hands. Enjoy the day and just be smart about it 🙂

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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