As registered dietitians, you may be surprised to know that we get many more new clients in February than in January. That’s because in January, many people start out making their resolutions on their own and then sadly, they contact us in February when they fell of the wagon and need help. The good news is that when they come to see us in February, we are able to help them to make their resolutions a long-lasting reality. Here are the secrets to making your nutrition resolution last.
First, to stick to your resolution, you must have a plan. Your plan should have specific objectives so that you can feel a sense of accomplishment on a daily basis. For example, your ultimate goal may be weight loss. However, keep in mind that it is the baby steps (objectives) that ultimately will help you to meet your goal. One of your objectives may be to limit your carbohydrate portions to the size of your fist at each meal. You should have a minimum of four to five objectives, so that you are able to meet at least some of them everyday—this way you will feel a sense of accomplishment on a daily basis.
Keep a diary of your objectives, like the one below. On a daily basis, put a check next to each objective that you meet. This way you will feel rewarded for your hard work. Also, record what you eat so that you can be held accountable for the food you consume.
Remember AIM FOR PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION!
Focus on what you will eat, not what you won’t. Think positively about the foods that you can eat more of to be healthier. Instead of saying, “I won’t eat cake”, say, “I will eat a piece of fruit every day for a snack.” Be specific with your objectives so that you can know exactly whether or not you achieved them.
Here are several examples of objectives. Use these examples as a guide. Customize them to meet your personal health goals.
- I will eat fruit when I get a sweet tooth craving 5 out of 7 days of the week.
- When I start craving food at night, and I have already eaten dinner, I will take a relaxing bath.
- Instead of ordering french fries, I will have a baked potato with lemon and pepper.
- I will eat at least one serving of a leafy vegetable every day.
- I will get more calcium daily; I will either drink skim milk or have a nonfat yogurt for a snack.
- Instead of eating regular potato chips, I will have soy chips, baked chips, pretzels or air-popped popcorn and eat just one serving.
- I will eat a maximum of a fist-sized portion of pasta at dinner. I will fill my stomach by adding more veggies to my pasta sauce.
- I will say “no thank you” to the bread that is served at restaurants before dinner.
- I will eat red meat only one time a week.
- I will use cooking spray in my pan rather than oil or butter when I prepare meals.
- I will eat ¾ of my usual dinner portions.
- I will use nonfat cheese rather than full fat every other time that I eat cheese.
- I will eat fish one time each week instead of chicken or beef.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL OF OUR WONDERFUL FRIENDS AND FAMILY!
WISHING YOU AND YOURS THE VERY BEST FOR A SAFE, HEALTHY AND HAPPY 2011!
Thank you to everyone who entered our raffle for our book The Secret To Skinny–you are all FANTASTIC! CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WONDERFUL RAFFLE WINNERS!
Perla Nancy Gonzalez Salazar
To our winners: Please email us your address to email@example.com so we can send your prize 🙂
Don’t Let Holiday Stress and Travel Do a Number on Your Digestive Tract
No one wants to talk about it, but we all want to know how to relieve the uncomfortable constipation that often accompanies holiday travel and stress. Not only does constipation make you feel less than content, but it causes unsightly belly swells and bulges! The truth is, for many it isn’t only an issue during the holiday season. Clients that come to us looking to lose a few pounds and those who are new moms who are looking to get their bodies back often tell us that they are experiencing constipation and they want the “scoop on poop.”
We’re here to tell you how to feel your best and be bloat free, whether you’re a new mom dealing with occasional constipation or simply facing the stressful holiday season. Follow these simple tips:
1. Eat plenty of fiber. This is your first secret weapon. Without it, you’re asking for trouble. Fiber acts like a sponge in the intestines, holding water. As the stool absorbs water, it becomes softer and easier to pass. (We never said the truth is glamorous!) Fiber is found in many vegetables, fruits, and in whole grains and beans. If you aren’t already eating enough fiber, be sure to add it to your diet gradually so your body gets used to it. Try these tricks to get more fiber:
- Have oatmeal for breakfast and brown rice or whole wheat bread with lunch or dinner.
- Have fruit (like apples, pears or berries) for snacks or add them to cereal, salads or yogurt and have them for dessert.
- Add veggies to every meal–to sandwiches, omelets, casseroles, burritos, pizza and pasta sauces. Beans, carrots, spinach, broccoli and corn are great options. (Personally, if we skimp in the veggie department, we are in big trouble on many fronts).
- Limit foods that have little or no fiber such as pizza, ice cream, cheese, meat, snacks like chips, and processed foods such as instant mashed potatoes or frozen dinners.
2. Drink plenty of water/ fluid. Drinking enough fluid is important because dehydration can cause constipation. Plain water is best, but any non-alcoholic drink will do. Aim for roughly 9, eight-ounce glasses of water a day.
- Make a habit of having at least one cup of water with each meal.
- Warm beverages, like tea or hot water may help to stimulate bowel movements.
3. Exercise. Regular exercise helps to relieve stress and it gets blood and oxygen flowing throughout your body. This will get your digestive system active and healthy and will help to pass the food through your system. Exercising 20 to 30 minutes every day may help. So do everything you can to get moving!
4. When all else fails…Of course healthy eating habits and regular exercise are the best ways to prevent constipation, but sometimes a little extra help may be needed.
- It’s perfectly safe to try a gentle natural laxative like Senokot or Colace® Capsules. Whether you’re a new mom who wants to be able to focus on your baby or whether you’re traveling over the holiday season and simply want to enjoy it, you deserve to have fun without the disruption of constipation. We travel with the tablets as we expect that we probably won’t be getting our usual high fiber meals and will be out of our normal routines.
What do you do to help your digestive tract stay on track during holiday stress and travel?
Earlier this week we joined host Meg Oliver on Good Morning America Health (The Segment) to chat about ways to stay lean and healthy and get back on track after Thanksgiving. It was a blast! In case you missed our segment, we shared our top tips for preventing a downward spiral the day after overindulgence, how to handle the high calorie leftovers, and what to do if your intestinal tract is a little “off track.” Here’s what you need to know:
1. Mistake: The day after Thanksgiving most people feel full and guilty so they often skip breakfast to save calories. As the day progresses, they get hungry and fall prey to all of the high calorie left-overs and dig themselves deeper.
Get Back on Track: No matter how much you overdid it the night before and even if you don’t feel hungry, eat a high fiber, high protein breakfast. Don’t skip this meal! It’s the most important step to keep you on track all day.
- Have a small portion of a high fiber carbohydrate like oatmeal for energy and combine it with an easy to grab source of protein like Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is creamy and delicious and higher in protein than regular yogurt to help you to feel satisfied. Go for the nonfat yogurt to save your waist-line and your heart. It’s easy to grab on the way out the door for a day of shopping
2. Mistake: You plan to eat the leftovers in the same form they were served. If you just loaded up a Thanksgiving-style plate every day for lunch and dinner, you’ll tire of them quickly and you’ll start to set yourself up for weight gain with the big portions and all of the calorie-dense choices.
The Fix: Instead, the key here is to take those leftovers and turn them into something new, healthy and different than they were at Thanksgiving dinner. Try our lighter leftover faves:
- Instead of a baked potato with butter and sour cream, make a potato into an entire meal by topping it with chili, nonfat cheese or Greek yogurt for a protein-rich delicious replacement for butter & sour cream. Baked potato is great because it’s super satisfying and just 110 calories for a medium sized potato. It’s fat, sodium and cholesterol free and helps to fight off those flus and colds associated with holiday stress since a potato has 45% of the Daily Value of vitamin C. (Betcha didn’t know that a potato also has more potassium.) Add a side of veggies for even more nutrients.
- Instead of your typical turkey leftover sandwich with gravy, spruce up your sandwich by adding avocado instead of gravy to make a delicious and creamy sandwich topper. You can get three slices, an ounce worth, for just 50 calories and you get the good fats.
Want another light option? Ditch the extra carbs and make a light and filling, fiber and protein rich salad out of romaine, fresh turkey, leftover steamed veggies/ green beans, lemon and a couple tablespoons of a chopped festive fruit like figs, dates or pomegranate arils. You can even add a teaspoon or two of stuffing for a new twist.
- Reduce the calories in your stuffing by mixing the stuffing with chopped mushrooms, carrots, celery, garlic and onion. You can sauté the veggies in low-sodium vegetable broth or simply heat and soften them in the microwave. The real secret is to put the stuffing/veggie mixture in muffin tins and bake it. These get really crispy and delicious and best of all its’ portion-controlled.
3. Mistake: You’re feeling helpless because you’re off track and constipated from traveling, stress and overeating.
The Fix: Of course healthy eating habits and regular exercise are the best ways to prevent constipation, but sometimes a little extra help may be needed. No one wants to talk about it, but everyone wants to know what to do when it happens to them. Our clients always ask us if they can take a laxative. We certainly don’t aren’t supporting the overuse of laxatives, but it’s perfectly safe to try a gentle laxative that will provide overnight relief from occasional constipation.
If you’re like us, you’re working hard this holiday season to exercise and eat healthfully, but you are always faced with daily trials and tribulations. We’ll continue to keep you posted with our challenges and how we overcome them. Please check in with us on our Facebook page to let us know how you’re doing too! We’d love to help in any way we can. Happy Thanksgiving!
Nutrition Twins advise how to cut federal debt . . .