Friday, January 8, 2010

HealthNewsDigest.com May 2009

DIETITIANS AS PERSONAL LIFE COACHES

With the multitude of information readily available in today’s high-speed world, many Americans feel they know how to eat well, but simply lack the ability to handle life’s obstacles that interfere with one’s quest to stick to that healthy eating plan. You need the tools for success from a reliable source that creates and tailors an individualized plan that takes into account lifestyle and medical issues…you need a registered dietitian. The profession of dietetics is an accredited role in the medical community. The knowledge dietitians have gained is science-based, leaving quackery and fad diets in the trash where they belong. We have no quick fixes as there are none; positive change can only come from the dedication you have to changing unhealthy habits as you realize your health is worth more than your current nutrition state.

Good nutrition is important, not only for the obvious health benefits, but also for feeling good. When you overeat you feel too sluggish to work out, depressed over losing control, resulting in a reduced sense of self-worth. When you plan meals with your dietitian and actually enjoy the foods you select, you become happier and more active as you are finally making an effort to be your best you!

THE MOST COMMON OBSTACLES AND HOW DIETITIANS HELP YOU TO OVERCOME THEM

The many obstacles to making healthy food choices can be categorized under three main themes - eating when you’re not hungry, eating for emotional reasons and unplanned eating. You may identify with some of these complaints at different times during the day or at different stages across your lifespan. Dietitians help you to recognize the obstacles you’re frequently facing, working as a personal life coach to help you through them to strive for optimal health.

OVEREATING
“I’m never hungry”
“Do you eat when you’re hungry?” This is the first question I ask those clients who want to lose weight. Most of them say, “I’m never hungry.” So why do they eat? There are so many reasons for overeating - for enjoyment, sharing a social occasion, and because the food is there. If you only ate when you were hungry, or at least tried to hone in on your body’s natural satiety cues, chances of you gaining weight would be minimized.

LOSING CONTROL
“I’ve lost control”
A big misconception among Americans revolves around the term “dieting.” While strict dieting is not the solution to weight loss, eating sensibly is. But how do you achieve this goal? Remember how good you feel when you do make healthy food choices and remain active. Decide that you want to have that good feeling every day. The worst thing you could do is beat yourself up over a “bad day”…ignore it, move on and aim for healthy food choices at your very next meal. Remember, don’t starve or deprive yourself - you’ll only be setting yourself up for failure again.

EATING UNDER STRESS
“I eat under stress”
When life throws you a curveball, nutrition and healthy eating seem to be the first thing that suffers. The next time you are stressed, pause for thirty seconds and breathe deeply. You need to remember and reflect on how you felt the last time after you ate under stress– chances are the feeling was awful. Dietitians provide you with ideas to conquer the habits that make you feel bad. It will give you a feeling of strength and control.

EATING FOR COMFORT
“I felt sorry for myself as my body grew bigger and found sympathy in bags of cookies. No wonder I gained forty-five pounds.”
Food is a comfort. It was given to us as children whenever we hurt ourselves or when we cried. So it’s only natural that we should turn to food when we’re under stress. We regard certain foods as “trigger” foods, they trigger a binging reaction; once we start on this item of food, we can’t stop. The dietitian’s solution to this problem: do something else that will make you feel better immediately to get your mind off a path that only leads to gluttony. Walk or run around the block, phone a friend…or better yet, phone your dietitian! But if you still feel low and reach for the cookies, indulge in two cookies with a glass of low-fat milk.

CLOSET EATER
“When no one is around, I sneak into the kitchen and finish off the meal and dessert”
It is okay to eat all these foods, but you have to eat them in front of someone, anyone, never on your own. This way, you will not feel deprived, because everything will be available to you. If you still feel you cannot refrain from closet eating, keep the food out of your cupboards until you can handle the temptation responsibly. Truth be told, you really can eat everything, but only in moderate portions.

GUILT AND FOOD
“I feel guilty when I eat the wrong foods”
I hear the word guilty all the time. Guilty of what? Of eating a food you know is not nutritious? This is yet another negative attitude. It is imperative that you don’t relate “guilt” to food. It brings your mood down. If you overeat, you feel stuffed and uncomfortable. This is a physical feeling of discomfort; don’t make it an emotional feeling, too. Take away the fear and guilt you associate with different foods. You must enjoy the taste and pleasure of healthy eating. This is a different way of thinking and one you must learn.

DIET AND DEPRIVATION
“I feel deprived when I go on diet”
This attitude must change! If you’re going to a party or another event where the food choices are not necessarily “healthy,” choose half of what you would normally have and enjoy every mouthful. Make sure the food item is well prepared, tasty and fresh. Don’t waste your time on ordinary, boring foods. If you taste something and it’s not fabulous, leave it.

THE CLEAN-PLATE CLUB
“As a child, I was always told to finish everything on my plate because people were starving all over the world”
You are an adult now and can take responsibility for your own attitude towards food. You must not use your body as a garbage can, finishing food that should be thrown away. If you belong to the “clean plate club,” there are two strategies you can follow. When cooking at home, either cook smaller portions, or dish up smaller portions and put the extra food away for a meal the next day. If you’re at a restaurant, share the salad and main course with your companion or box half your entrée straight away to avoid the temptation to overeat.

EATING ON THE RUN
"I always eat on the run”
This is where it’s important to know your schedule. If you make the tuna fish sandwich yourself, it can be low in fat (6.5 grams fat and 300 calories), but a bought one is loaded with high-fat mayonnaise (21 grams fat and 450 calories). Spend five minutes each evening planning for tomorrow. Recognize the days in your upcoming week that look hectic and will require more preparation to avoid picking up junk food for convenience.

AFTERNOON HUNGER
“I am starved at 4 p.m.”
Late afternoon is a common time to be hungry. Recognize it as a real hunger, and not due to boredom, fatigue or stress. When you are hungry, you should eat. Plan to eat a filling snack before you’re starved, at about 3:30 p.m., and you’ll be ready to enjoy your meal at suppertime. Remember: do not go six hours without food or you’ll get too hungry. If you are the type of person who has trouble making the right afternoon choices, don’t let it get that far. Plan, plan, plan.

The keys to sensible eating are simply having an awareness of what you are eating and the moderation of food quantities you consume. It is inevitable that obstacles will arise in your ever changing days. Registered Dietitians are nearby to serve as your personal cheerleader, providing you with the skill-set to enjoy any food you desire no matter what you are facing. Find one on the Internet or go to www.eatright.org. To ensure an individual’s accreditation, look for ‘RD’ behind their name. Happy Eating!


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