To meeting 2011 weight loss resolutions…

EverydayHealth.com asked us their 10 frequently asked motivation questions to meeting 2011 weight loss resolutions. Here are our answers…

1) We all make New Year’s resolutions, and often these resolutions involve weight loss or fitness goals. But many of us quickly lose traction and don’t achieve our goals. What are the psychological and emotional reasons behind these failures?

When we fail it’s usually because we make unrealistic goals for ourselves which are very hard to attain and we put ourselves on stringent, hard-core programs to get there. We think if we don’t have a so-called perfect diet and exercise regime, then we won’t be successful. We become frustrated and let down when we wander off our strict diet or exercise plan (even slightly!), feeling like we’ve failed. Then we throw in the towel and give up on our resolutions.

2) What is the biggest mistake people make when making a resolution?

They set unrealistic goals for themselves and think that in order to achieve their goal, they have to take extreme measures. Rather than taking realistic small steps, they try to overhaul their habits all at once and leave no room for flexibility.

Are you setting yourself up for failure when you make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight or get fit?

Not at all. When you make specific attainable resolutions, you set yourself up for success. You set yourself up for failure if you make unrealistic resolutions—such as “I am going to lose 20 pounds this month.” This is not rational and as you realize early in the month that you may not meet your goal, you feel discouraged and ultimately end up throwing in the towel.

3) How do you set reasonable, healthy expectations when you resolve to lose weight or shape up at this time of year or any other time of year?

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 every day—this way you will feel a sense of accomplishment on a daily basis. For example, another goal may be to try to exercise 3 days a week for 20 minutes each time. You can feel a sense of accomplishment on a regular basis each time after you exercise. And after a couple weeks, make a goal to try to exercise for 25 minutes each time, and then 30 minutes a couple weeks later. If you are unable to meet your initial goals, then keep trying and don’t give up. Realize that we all have challenges, and the more we keep trying, the more likely we are to succeed.

4) What kind of support should you seek to help you achieve your goals?

Turn to the people who support you the most to encourage you in your efforts. It could be a friend, a spouse, a family member or a colleague. Ask for their support and perhaps get a work out buddy who will keep you motivated. If your husband knows you are trying to lose weight, maybe he will join in with you, rather than eating ice cream in front of you while you sip on hot tea. Or if you need a little help or encouragement with exercise, you may want to hire a personal trainer, coach or therapist to assist you in your journey.

Or think about something that motivates you. Some people are motivated when they listen to their favorite music. If you’re like this, it may pay off to invest in an ipod so you can listen to your favorite music when you exercise.

5) What are three things you can do to improve your chances of success before you make a healthy lifestyle change?

To improve your chances of success before making a healthy lifestyle change, first, keep a diary of your objectives. 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.

Second, remember AIM FOR PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION! And third, 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.

6) Why is it so hard to keep the weight off after a diet, and what can you do to maintain weight loss?

After we lose weight, our body requires fewer calories than it did since it now is smaller. Smaller people need fewer calories to maintain their weight than bigger people. After you’ve lost weight, it’s important to readjust your calorie and your exercise routine to reflect your new body. The good news is that when you weigh less, it’s easier to exercise and be active since it requires less effort to move a smaller body.

7) Can you rearrange your life in any way to make it easier to avoid diet temptations?

Definitely. “Out of sight, out of mind” certainly holds true as we’ve seen time and again with our clients. So keep tempting foods out of your house or at least hidden behind healthier choices. Keep washed and cut up vegetables in Tupperware on the top shelf of the refrigerator so that you can grab them when you are hungry rather than something else that is not as healthy.

8) What advice do you have for people who just don’t like to exercise or who avoid it for other reasons?

Focus on moving more. If traditional exercise like running isn’t appealing to you, try speed walking, dance classes or jump-roping. Moving more for a period of time is the key. And stick with it, the better you become at it, the more you’ll enjoy it. Lastly, try to find a work-out partner who you enjoy spending time with. They can help to motivate you while they can also help the time to pass faster.

9) When you’re making a resolution to improve your health, who should you recruit to be on your wellness team?

First, recruit your friends and family as their support and motivation will be really important on days when you feel like giving up. If you feel like you really need guidance as to which foods to eat then a registered dietitian (RD) can really assist you in your eating journey. Or if you really feel lost when it comes to exercise and getting in shape, you may want to hire a qualified personal trainer for a session or two to start you out on the right foot.

10) It’s easy to make excuses when you’re juggling work and family responsibilities. How can you make time for your resolutions in a hectic schedule?

Make your resolution your priority. Schedule time for exercise and for meal planning and write it in on your calendar so each day a specific amount of time is dedicated to meeting your goals. If you know that you always have extra obligations after work, schedule your exercise in the morning or during your lunch hour. Good luck and here’s to healthy and happy 2011!

A Quick “Home- Cooked Meal”

Growing up, our mom literally cooked our dinner for us every night. We probably went out to dinner two times a year. We now realize what a superhero she was and wonder how she always managed to have a hot home-cooked meal for us on the table. And now, oh do we love a good home-cooked meal!

Now, on most nights we both enjoy cooking our own dinner. Of course, since Tammy has twin daughters and a husband to please, her meals require a little more “lovin’” to ensure that everyone enjoys it. But there are some nights, when both of us are so busy that we have just minutes to prepare a meal. On these nights, we often fall back on a quick-standby, the good ole’ Pita Pizza. Easy, delicious and from the response from Tammy’s children, we know it’s also kid-approved!

We simply start with whole wheat pita bread and open it by cutting it around the edges so that it opens into two round pieces. Then we spread no salt added tomato sauce on it, pile on some veggies (broccoli, mushrooms, peppers) and some spices like basil and oregano and top it with low-fat cheese. Then we just toss it in the oven. Meanwhile we microwave some frozen veggies to serve alongside of the pita pizzas. And voila—10-15 minutes later, we open the oven and have our good ole stand-by, which makes a reliable and yummy meal.

Our clients have tried this too and report that it often works as a delicious meal that they can make in a jiffy for their family. Do you have a quick and easy stand-by meal that you make when you are in a hurry?

Which Dietary Guideline Will Cause the biggest Ruckus?

Which Dietary Guideline Will Cause the biggest Ruckus?

Tomorrow, Monday, January 31st the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) are scheduled to be announced. We’ve been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the recommendations—every five years the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), release the latest research-based nutritional and physical fitness recommendations that are designed to reduce the incidence of overweight and obesity while promoting health and reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Of course we’re hoping for more focus to be placed on increasing vegetable consumption since we believe you can never get enough of the low-calorie nutrient powerhouses. But we’re also excitedly expecting a big reduction in sodium.

Actually in 2008, we predicted that due to the enormous impact that sodium has on health, slashing it would be one of biggest changes to the previous Dietary Guidelines—and we set out to write our second book The Secret To Skinny: How Salt Makes You Fat. As we discuss in our book, salt does much more than make our waistlines thicker. Salt causes inflammation and damage to our entire body; it raises our blood pressure, increases our risk for heart attack and stroke, while it also escalates our risk for stomach cancer, asthma and osteoporosis. And yes, as the title of our book suggests, salt makes us fat. Yes, it makes us FAT! It increases our cravings, makes us hungrier and thirstier and it makes our fat cells store more fat. We wrote our book to give people a simple roadmap to follow to help them to meet what we believe will be the new sodium recommendations.

In addition to the help we offer and the sodium solutions we provide in our book, there are a lot of changes being made by food manufacturers that will make reducing your salt intake easier. Last year, the area where the most new foods were introduced was in the low-sodium/ reduced sodium foods category. So manufacturers are jumping on board to help us to be healthier and companies are hard at work to make these foods taste delicious.

On Monday when the new recommendations will be released we will be anxious to hear how you will meet the new sodium guidelines. If you want some help, please pick up a copy of our book and be sure to check back in with us over the next few weeks as we give you some simple sodium reducing swaps..

We are thrilled that the government is taking action! What do you think? What will your biggest challenge to reducing sodium be? Dining out? Loving processed foods?

Make Your Nutrition Resolutions A Reality

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.

Sample Objectives:

  • 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!!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL OF OUR WONDERFUL FRIENDS AND FAMILY!

WISHING YOU AND YOURS THE VERY BEST FOR A SAFE, HEALTHY AND HAPPY 2011!

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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

Stacey Shames

Meiyoko Taylor

To our winners: Please email us your address to info@nutritiontwins.com so we can send your prize 🙂