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!”
Posts tagged: healthy diet
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.
Now that the holidays are solidly behind us, the reality of those New Year’s promises we made to ourselves are starting to settle in. Many of us start out the New Year with big plans for big changes…which is why all this month we’re focusing on the ‘little things’. That’s because small steps – taken together – can add up to big results, and are often easier to handle than huge sweeping changes that can be unsettling. In the last post, I made some suggestions for small changes you can make at the grocery store – that is, after all, where the path to healthy eating begins. But now that you’ve brought your healthy ingredients into the house, you want to make sure to keep them that way when it’s time to cook. And with just a few small changes, you can make every dish you prepare at home a little bit better for you.
Do you remember the New Year’s resolutions you made last year? Let me guess…. if you’re like most people, you probably vowed to eat better, get more exercise – and maybe floss more often. So, looking back, how did it go? Did you accomplish all you set out to do? Or, did you start the year out strong – then fall back on your old patterns, so that you’re making the same resolutions again this year? This may surprise you, but I think that’s okay – and here’s why. If you make the decision every January to shape up, it says that taking better care of yourself is important to you. If it weren’t important, you wouldn’t keep working at it. And just because you make the same promises to yourself every year, it doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t accomplish anything last year.
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One of the more entertaining aspects of my work is that whenever I meet a new weight loss client, I never know where the conversation will lead. Usually, I’ll start by getting some history – I want to know what’s the most and the least they’ve ever weighed, what motivates them to eat better and get into shape, and also what’s worked for them in the past and what hasn’t – that sort of thing. From there, I can start to get a sense for how much effort each particular patient is willing to put forth, and what their expectations are. And then we come up with a plan. But I can’t just tell someone what they need to do – I need to help them figure out how they’re going to do it, too. And we work together to figure out what’s going to work best for them.
Whether it’s low-tech paper-and-pencil diet diary or a more sophisticated app for your phone, the right tool can really help you meet your goals. Some of these tools – like online tracking devices that allow you to record your daily food intake and activity – work like a virtual health coach. Others are designed to help you improve your eating behaviors – such as learning to eat more slowly, or control portion sizes. But just as in fashion – where “one day you’re in and the next day you’re out” – eating trends come and go, too.
Nutritionist, Susan Bowerman visited Herbalife this morning and we seized the opportunity to ask her a few questions. If you’ve ever wanted to know what motivated Susan to become a dietitian or about whether she ever indulges in guilty treats then read on…
Welcome to Herbalife Headquarters, Susan. Thousands of people read your nutrition posts each week and everyone wants to know about how you stay healthy.
I have a long list of questions I’m asked all the time but are hard to answer. Last week I was asked – for what seemed the umpteenth time – another question that I’m adding to my list: “How much fat should I eat”? Read more »
Last week, I had a conversation that I’ve probably had hundreds of times in my career. A new client came in for weight loss counseling and, as I was taking his diet history, I asked my usual first question – “when do you first start eating, and what do you typically eat and drink in a day?” Like most people, he assumed that I was asking about a weekday, so he had little trouble providing a quick rundown of his usual meals and snacks on a typical Monday through Friday. But when I asked, “do you eat differently on the weekends?” he responded with a groan.
“I try to be good during the week, but by Friday night, I just want to let go. I spend most of my weekend on the couch, and I hate getting on the scale on Monday morning.”
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!”
We make more than 250 decisions about food every single day. Every time you open the refrigerator, watch a TV commercial, eye a billboard, or observe a friend or co-worker eating – in every instance, whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re making a decision to eat or not to eat. But what sways us to choose or not to choose? Is it taste or hunger? Cost or convenience? How or where we were raised? With so many factors that influence our food choices, it’s a wonder that we ever eat consistently at all.
For most of us, by the time we’ve reached adulthood, we’ve established a pretty basic inventory of foods that we eat day in and day out. Sure, you might arrange them differently into a variety of meals and snacks, or mix it up occasionally at a restaurant – but I’ll bet if I asked you what you typically eat, you could probably give me a fairly good picture of your usual diet.
Every once in a while, I’ll get a call from someone who wants advice on how to go on a short-term fast. My first response is always the same – “Why?” Usually, I’ll hear one of two things: there are those who want to drop a couple of pounds quickly, and then there are those who – for want of a better analogy – want to “clean out their pipes”. In either case, I suppose part of the appeal of a short-term fast is the sense that, in effect, you’ve “wiped the slate clean” – kind of like changing the oil in your car, or cleaning out your closet.
A short fast – that is, not eating for a day or two - probably won’t do you any harm as long as you’re healthy and you keep yourself well hydrated. Most people will sip on water, broth, herbal teas and 100% fruit juices in the process. And yes, you might drop a couple of pounds along the way – not unexpected if you eat little to nothing for a couple of days – but most of the weight loss is water, and your weight will probably bounce right back when you start eating again.
It’s been said that there are no bad foods, only bad diets. The idea is this: if we simply ate a wide range of foods – mostly healthy foods – and didn’t eat too much, we’d all be better off. But even though most people might understand the concept of a diet based on variety, balance and moderation, for many it’s still difficult to put into practice.
We crave variety. Humans evolved in surroundings overrun with a huge range of plant foods. And the drive to consume them was nature’s way to ensure that nutrient needs would be met. We carry this same urge with us today – which would still serve us well if we were merely selecting from a spread of edible plants. But we’re not. We’re faced with way too many food choices – not all of them good for us – and studies show that the more choices we have, the more we eat.
Most of the time, I would never argue with someone who wanted to eat as well as possible. After all, part of a dietitian’s job is to encourage people to eat healthy foods and to help them find ways to nudge their current eating habits in the right direction. But sometimes I run across people who carry proper nutrition to the extreme; they have an unhealthy obsession with eating healthy food.
Perhaps you know people like this. They pride themselves on their flawless eating habits, and look down upon others who don’t display a similar iron will. They spend most of their time planning, preparing, and eating perfect meals. Every food is chosen solely for its nutritional virtue. And, to many who seek the perfect diet plan, the more virtuous the diet, the more honorable the person who eats it.
Lately, we’ve been witnessing nutritional crackdowns on several fronts – the dangers of excess calories, fats, trans fats and sugars have all been recent targets. It seems, though, that salt (or, more technically, sodium chloride) is finally getting its turn in the spotlight.