Samantha and I are in privileged company this week – we’re looking forward to a guest post from Louis Ignarro Ph.D, Nobel Laureate*, consultant to Herbalife and member of the Herbalife Nutrition Institute Nutrition Advisory Board, in which he’ll describe the impact of a healthy, active lifestyle on heart health. A healthy diet is, as Dr. Ignarro says, “as good for your heart as it is for your taste buds.”
I couldn’t have said it better. But what I often run into with my patients is that it’s one thing to know what to eat – and why (okay, that’s two things…) – but they often get hung up figuring out how to incorporate more healthy foods into their diet. So let’s take a good look at the key “whats”, “whys” and – more importantly – the “how tos” of a heart healthy diet.
Whether you’re a new mother or not, I bet there is something in today’s article that will help become more fit, gain confidence or just learn a little empathy.
No matter how or why you’ve gained weight, know that it takes as long – if not longer – to lose that weight again. Pregnancy is a special time and new mothers need to concentrate on their baby but you may need to reprioritize if you are still blaming a spare-tire on baby weight, three years later!
Dads-to-be often gain baby weight too – if someone around you is eating more then the temptation to join in is hard to refuse. This week, I’m going to share five tips that will help you regain the figure you want. I’m focusing on how to reclaim your pre-pregnancy body because it’s a message I relate to strongly.
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You only need small amounts of fat to be healthy.
Years ago, I had a client who was truly ‘fat phobic’. If she could detect any trace of fat in her food, she’d reject it. She’d dissect a piece of roast chicken into tiny pieces, teasing out any specks of fat she could find between the muscle fibers, and she dressed her salads with straight lemon juice – never a drop of oil. She did this primarily as a weight control strategy – she was a tiny woman and intended to stay that way – but she’d also heard that people need to eat fat. So she was worried. Was being this finicky about fat bad for her health? And – more importantly – did she really need fat in her diet at all?
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What happens if one person needs to diet and the other one doesn’t? This week, I’ll look at how couples can support each other throughout a lifestyle change.
Do you remember the old nursery rhyme about Jack Sprat who ate no fat, while his wife “could eat no lean”? As the tale goes, things with Jack and his wife worked out pretty nicely – he ate his foods, she ate hers – and between them, they “licked the platter clean”. But what happens in real life? How do couples work it out when one person needs to lose weight and the other one doesn’t?
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A few weeks ago, I ran into an old friend that I hadn’t seen in a long time. We’d been friends when our kids were small, and I remembered him as being a little on the heavy side. Now he was much trimmer – he looked like he had lost about 25 pounds. After I complimented him, he volunteered his secret – “no carbs after five o’clock”.
Now let me just say that I usually don’t offer nutrition advice to friends – unless they ask, of course.
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Candles, music and the one you love may be a recipe for overeating. Subtle cues in your surroundings can affect how much food you eat.
Seasoned dieters know plenty of the tricks for keeping their eating in check. Beyond the usual strategies - eating right, getting plenty of exercise and maybe keeping a food diary – they might use more subtle tactics for keeping portions down. They’ll use smaller plates or taller glasses, for instance, to give the illusion that they’re getting more food and drink than they really are. They’ll make sure to put tempting foods out of sight – and keep healthy ones in plain view. What they may not realize is that there are other influences in the environment – much less obvious ones – that could still throw their eating off course. Read more »
It’s easier to stick to a healthy diet when you use these tips for quick and nutritious meal planning.
It seems to me there are two extremes when it comes to meal planning. There are people who never plan – the ones who prefer to “wait and see” what they feel like eating. They’re also the ones who, understandably, don’t have much discipline when it comes to sticking to a diet plan. On the other hand, there are those whose meal planning is just a tad too routine.
When I was in high school, my best friend’s mom stuck to the same menu week after week – Monday was chicken, Tuesday was spaghetti… you get the idea. The only time I’d accept an invitation for dinner was on Sunday – or, “surprise night”. Somewhere in between these extremes, though, lies a healthy approach to meal planning that doesn’t have to be stressful or time-consuming. So if your idea of meal planning means choosing between sausage or pepperoni on your pizza, listen up – here are some pointers that might help. Read more »
People have different reasons for wanting to shape up – finding out what motivates you can help you stay on track.
There’s no doubt about it – change is hard. I frequently tell my clients that my job is much easier than theirs – my role is to advise them on how to eat better, while they’ve got the more difficult task of having to actually do it. But my job doesn’t stop at simply handing out advice – I also try to help people find what it is that will motivate them to make changes. And the reasons are all over the map. For some, just the goal of getting healthier is all it takes to kick start the process. On the other hand, that probably won’t motivate the ones who tell me (and I’ve heard this more times than I can count), “I’m perfectly healthy, I’m just fat.” Read more »
Sorting out the Fats.
Good fats, bad fats – the proper balance is key.
The nutrition story around fats used to be pretty simple: saturated fats were the bad guys, and polyunsaturated fats were the good guys. But the story has gotten a bit more complicated; now we’re talking about getting the right balance of fats – two kinds of polyunsaturated fats in particular, omega-3 and omega-6.
First, a little terminology. The terms ‘omega-3’ and ‘omega-6’ refer to the chemical structure of the fatty acid, and there are several omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that we eat, not just one. And it’s not that either of these groups of fats is bad – in fact, within each group there are ‘essential’ fatty acids – ones we need to eat, because our bodies can’t make them. In small amounts – and in the right balance – essential fatty acids serve to support growth, vision and brain function. Read more »
- Fruits and vegetables offer up natural plant compounds that help keep the body healthy, and variety is key.
If you’re not a big fan of vegetables, you might think that you can make up for it by eating lots of fruit. It’s easy to see why – we almost always mention them in the same breath (“eat plenty of fruits and veggies!”) and, since they’re healthy plant foods, it’s natural to assume that they’re more or less interchangeable in terms of providing the nutrients the body needs. Read more »
It’s amazing how just a handful of small changes to everyday habits can add up to big rewards. I’ve mentioned before that when someone tells me they’re ready for a major diet and lifestyle overhaul, I usually tell them to proceed with caution. There are a couple of reasons for this. For one thing, when you try to make too many changes at once, you run the risk of …if you’ll excuse the pun… biting off more than you can chew. And, I think that once you’re successful at making a change – no matter how small – it gives you the confidence to keep going, and to keep chipping away at new challenges. On top of that, just a handful of small changes to your everyday habits can add up to bigger reward than you might think. Read more »
I’ll never forget a patient I had many years ago. I was taking a diet history from her, and asked her what she usually ate in the morning. “Oh, just some tea, and bread with jam”. For lunch? “Another cup of tea, and bread with jam.” Same for her afternoon snack. And the same for dinner, too – except she’d add a piece of grilled chicken. She knew how to cook, and she told me that finances weren’t an issue. So why such a limited diet? “Well,” she said, “I just really like bread with jam.” Read more »
Even though I’m a dietitian, my clients frequently ask me about exercise as part of their weight loss plan.
Since managing weight effectively depends on calorie balance, it makes sense that we talk about not only diet (calories in), but exercise (calories out), too. Most simply want to know how much…or, sometimes, how little…exercise they need to do in order to lose weight, or to keep off weight that they’ve already lost. So here are some of the key things I tell them about exercise and body weight: Read more »
One of my long-standing patients has lost 150 pounds. Now, before you start thinking, “Wow – that’s a lot of weight” or “Gee – I wonder how she did that?”, let me just say that she didn’t lose it all at once. In fact, she’s lost the same 30 pounds five times now. She’s a classic “yo-yo dieter” – her weight goes up and down, but rarely stays in one place for long. It’s long been recognized that people are more likely to yo-yo when they adopt weight loss regimens that are too strict to stick with over the long haul. Once a dietary slip turns into a fall, old habits resume, weight goes back up and the cycle starts all over again. Read more »
A few months ago, I got a call from a long-time patient who hadn’t been in for a while. The last time I had seen her, she was doing so well with her diet and exercise program – she lost about 25 pounds with another 20 to go – that we agreed to loosen the reins between us a bit. So when she called, I expected her to give me the good news that she’d reached her goal. Instead, she asked if she could come back in to see me – and if she could bring her husband.
“You need to talk to him,” she said, “because lately, I feel like he’s sabotaging me. Every time I turn around, he’s bringing goodies into the house. Then last night he told me that he liked me better when I had more meat on my bones!”
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