“They call me the vacuum cleaner!” one of my patients told me recently. He’s been a fast eater his entire life. “I grew up with six brothers and sisters – so, counting my folks, there were nine of us at the dinner table,” he told me. “As soon as mom put the food down, we’d all scramble to get our share, and then eat it up as fast as we could – because the fastest eater had the best chance of getting a second helping before it was all gone!” Even though he no longer has nine people at his dinner table, those old eating habits die hard. This guy can still demolish a plate of food in seconds flat.
Posts tagged: Dietitian
One key to maintaining a healthy weight is to balance the calories you eat with the calories you burn. But that’s sometimes easier said than done.
Balancing your calories sounds deceptively simple. Eat more calories than you burn and you’ll gain weight. Take in fewer calories than you burn and you’ll shed some pounds. Keep your “calories in” and “calories out” about the same, and your weight should stay pretty stable. So why is it that hardly a week goes by that someone doesn’t complain to me that they’re “exercising like a madman, but not losing any weight” or, “eating like a bird but the scale won’t budge”? It simply boils down to this: when it comes to counting calories accurately – the ones you eat and the one you spend – there are so many ways it can go wrong.
The story around diet and heart health has been around long enough that you probably know the drill pretty well. Watch your weight, keep your total fats and saturated fats down, and don’t be too heavy-handed with the salt shaker. Sprinkle in some soluble fiber – from foods like beans and oatmeal – and you’ve got a pretty good dietary strategy.
All good advice, to be sure. After all, a high-fat diet can put weight on you, saturated fats can bump up your blood cholesterol levels, and too much salt can drive up blood pressure – all of which can increase your risk for heart disease. But there are a couple of other pieces to the heart health puzzle that are getting more attention these days – a fatty acid “balancing act”, and a little molecule called nitric oxide.
Cheating – on your taxes, on a test, on your partner – is just plain wrong. And chances are, even if you were to consider cheating, you probably wouldn’t ask for permission from your accountant or your teacher…or your mate. So why are people always asking me if it’s “okay to cheat” on their diet? Does it feel “good” to be “bad”? Do they want to place the blame on my shoulders if their cheating doesn’t lead to weight loss? Or are they simply saying, “I just can’t be this strict with myself every single day – I need a break!”
January is all about resolutions and “turning over a new leaf”. So all this month, we’re talking about the big nutritional benefits you can get from making just a few small changes. Now let’s take a look at ways you can start to eat less without leaving your tummy grumbling.
We started with little adjustments you can make when you’re buying food, and in the last post I suggested some ways in which you could make changes in the way you prepare your foods to shave calories and make them healthier. You might already be reaping some benefits if you’ve been trying to make these changes – and you may even be thinking that there isn’t a whole lot more tweaking you can do. Maybe you haven’t given it much thought, but a little fine-tuning in the way your foods are served can also affect your food intake, too.
A friend and I were swapping stories about last week’s Thanksgiving feast, and she mentioned to me that her uncle was the fastest eater she’d ever seen. When she was a little girl, she used to think her uncle was a magician – it seemed to her as if one minute he had food on his plate, and the next minute… zap!… his food had simply vanished. One Thanksgiving, her aunt set a mirror infront of his dinner plate, thinking that he might just slow down if he watched himself shoveling it in. Instead, he simply sat down – and complimented his wife on the creative table decor.
Want to change your diet behavior? Break through these diet barriers first! Getting out of your usual comfortable routine is hard and the first step is figuring out why you’re resisting change in the first place.
When my son turned 5 years old, we had an “inside-out, upside down, backwards” birthday party for him. We handed his friends their goodie bags and waved goodbye as soon as they arrived at the house, and we ate cake and ice cream before the pizza. The parents had a lot of laughs, but the kids were totally bewildered – in no small part, I’m sure, because we were also wearing our underwear over our clothes. So why am I telling you this? Because sometimes when I’m talking to clients about the lifestyle changes they need to work on, I see that same bewilderment – as if I’m suddenly turning their world inside-out, upside down and backwards. Why is change so hard for some people?
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?
Picture this: it’s lunchtime, and you’re really, really hungry. You woke up late, you skipped breakfast, and you’ve been going all morning without a chance to grab a snack. It’s finally time to eat, and you’re facing a buffet – some starchy foods, some proteins, and some veggies. You load up your plate, sit down, and raise your fork – anxious to dig in. Now, imagine what happens next, as you stare down at your meat, your starch and your vegetables. Which food do you dive into first?
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!”
“Eat breakfast like a king!”
“Eat diamonds for breakfast and shine the whole day!”
It’s shaping up to be another summer of record-breaking high temperatures. And the news media is beginning to sound like a broken record, too – over and over again we’re reminded to keep ourselves well hydrated by drinking plenty of water. But it’s an important message – not just during a heat wave, but also throughout the year because water serves so many critical functions in the body. Read more »
I begged him not to leave me. Right now, he needed me more than ever. But I’d been through this before, and I knew he’d be back. And I would be waiting for him….
His name was Frank. He’d been my patient for nearly a year, and with plenty of guidance on my part, and a lot of hard work on his part, he was 60 pounds lighter. But the day he hit his goal weight, he decided we were through. In his mind, his weight lost task was accomplished – like something he could check off his ‘to do’ list – which meant he could push all thoughts of dieting aside and move on. As we said our farewells, I left him with only this: “there’s a reason they call it weight management, Frank.” Read more »
Everybody eats. Which is why people are so willing to throw in their two cents when it comes to any nutrition debate. One thorny issue has to do with meal frequency and weight control. There are those who ‘just say no’ to snacking – the ones who restrict themselves to three meals a day, period. In their view, snacking is simply a bad habit that can pile on the pounds. In the opposite corner are those who say that small, frequent meals will help control hunger, so it’s better to eat five or six times a day. Read more »
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 »
Kids can be picky eaters, but here’s a short list of some nutrition-packed foods that most kids enjoy.
It’s always funny to me when people ask me how my kids ate when they were little. I’m sure that most of them think that since I do what I do, my kids must have been perfect eaters – or that I had some special tricks up my sleeve that made them beg for broccoli. Truth be told, my kids were no different from most other kids – they had their likes and their dislikes – and they’d go on food jags where they’d want to eat the same thing every single day. Read more »