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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What to eat???

What to eat when I still want to eat but it's bedtime and I'm NOT HUNGRY?! Nothing. Go to bed. Food doesn't even taste good when I eat and I'm not hungry. This isn't about food, it's something else, but what? What is the emotion? I think I'm just sad the chance to eat this day is over. I love food.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Can Knowing When you are Full Really Work?

In recent talk, Dr. Brian Wansink, a consumer psychologist, discussed the idea that dieters don't need WILLPOWER, just use smaller plates and glasses. He also said that people should keep "unhealthy" foods out of the line of sight, and healthier foods in view.

Dr. Wansink believes that we can't rely on our hunger and fullness signals to tell us when to stop eating. He says that there are just too many stimuli and influences on us to keep eating even after we are full.

So, the idea here is to control the things that stimulate us in our environment, rather than relying on internal signals. I have 2 competing thoughts about this.

First, we should, in theory at least, be able to tune in to physical signals about hunger and fullness and stop eating when we are full and satisfied. The other side of this argument is that humans are "hard wired" to eat when food is available. For most of human history, we lived through cycles of feast and famine, and so eating when food was available was a positive trait or thing to do. So, stopping eating when one was full would be to our disadvantage from an evolutionary point of view.

I believe that we must balance these 2 sides of our nature. Stopping when we are full may just be too, too much for the "system" and it might become overwhelmed by all the food available in our environment these days. Perhaps a way to manage our food environment is to do what Dr. Wansink suggests, using smaller plates, cups and glasses.

A very good compromise, I think!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Comfort Foods

Recently, as my life is quite stressful, I've been really craving smooth, creamy foods, my most comfort foods. I just love salad and other crisp, veggie foods, but when I'm stressed, it's smooth and creamy all the way!
Off to Cape Cod next week for vacation, and can't wait for the seafood and veggies that are plentiful there. I'm hoping my stress level will lower so I can enjoy my Cape Cod favs!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

More on Hunger/Satisfaction and "Fullness"

How do you know when you are full? When all the food on your plate is gone? When you have certain physical feelings of "fullness"?

This is a very important question. If we recommend that people stop eating when they are "full" but they don't have a good barometer giving them signals that make sense, how would they know when to stop eating.

Ever notice that food tastes better when you are hungry? And stops tasting so fabulous when you are getting full? That's a really good indication that you are full and perhaps even satisfied.

What does SATISFACTION with food mean to you?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Hunger and Fullness

I had a conversation today with a client, who said that since she's changed her diet to one that is lower in fat and higher in fiber, she experiences a "different kind of fullness". I asked her to explain.

She said that when she ate a "meat heavy" diet, she felt full a lot of the time, and really liked that feeling. With much less meat, and other fatty foods, she gets full, but it has a different quality.

How interesting! Wouldn't you think that full is full?

I think that when we aren't eating what we REALLY want, we can be physically full, but not SATISFIED. There's a difference between full, and SATISFIED. For me, satisfied has several dimensions, physical, mental and spiritual or psychological. If you "fill up" just one of these, say the physical, the others just might not be satisfied. This might explain my client's observation that the fullness she feels on a lower fat diet isn't the same. This might be OK with her, or it might not.

Name that Veggie!

Name That Veggie Quiz. Try it!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Progressive Nutritionists

There's a new group forming, of "progressive nutritionists". One aspect is to influence the American Dietetic Association, which is the organization that credentials Registered Dietitians. I've been an RD and ADA member since 1971, and have been proud to be an RD.
I am, however, not at all pleased with the ADA's policy of accepting sponsorship money from corporations that produce foods with very low nutritional value, such as Coca Cola, Hershey's, Pepsi, and others.
I am very pleased that a group of dietitians is forming to challenge ADA on this policy, and I have joined them. I find it embarrassing and I feel ashamed that my professional group would accept money from such corporations.
Actually, as I write this, I am incensed!
International No Diet Day--Celebrated on May 6

International No Diet Day (INDD) is an annual celebration of body acceptance and diversity.
It is observed on May 6 each year.

INDD is a day to:

Celebrate the beauty and diversity of ALL our natural sizes & shapes
Affirm everyBODY's right to self-esteem, respect and emotional and physical well-being
Declare a personal one-day moratorium on diet/weight obsession
Learn the facts about weight-loss dieting, health, and body size
Recognize how dieting perpetuates violence against women
Honor the victims of eating disorders and weight-loss surgery
Help end weight discrimination, sizism and fatphobia

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Passover Metaphor

As I prepare for my Passover seder tomorrow, I am thinking about the metaphors for this season.
We are asked to remove the "chametz", or leavened foods from our homes, and only eat unleavened foods for 8 days. There are rituals for removing these foods, and the crumbs and leftovers of them in our cabinets, fridge and storage places.

What would you like to leave behind, with your chametz this season?

Jews were slaves in Egypt, in Hebrew "the narrow place". The theme is freedom from slavery. Where in your life are you still in a "narrow place"? To what are you still enslaved? Money, power, food, control, being right in your relationships? How can you change that, to be more free?

One more pet peeve

The new "Wendy's" ad, for NATURAL CUT FRENCH FRIES WITH SEA SALT. Yikes! What is natural cut? They are potatoes, after all, however you cut them they are "natural". Just fried in oil, which is fine in moderation, like all other foods.
Believe me, "sea salt" won't improve the nutritional value of these potatoes.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Pet Peeve...

Advertising for food is a tricky business. When they try to make foods sound "healthy" they often really mess it up.
The latest is "farm grown" vegetables in products. Where else are vegetable grown?? They are trying to make it sound "organic" or "natural", both buzz words that people think they know. BTW, there's no such thing as "natural", not in a regulatory sense. The word when applied to food products is meaningless!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How Do You Know What to Eat?

How Do You Know What To Eat?

In my experience, there are two broad categories of “eaters”. People in the first group know exactly what they really want when they are hungry. If you are one of these people, do you eat what you really want most of the time? If not, what keeps you from eating the foods you really want?

Many people tell me they want to “eat healthy” and the foods they really like aren’t healthy. My professional and personal experience is that many of these people would choose “healthy” foods if they really ate what they prefer most of the time.

So, what is “healthy” food? Many of my clients say, “I had a good day, I ate ‘healthy’ all day”. What does that really mean? For many it means low fat, small portions, lots of fruits and vegetables. As your dietitian, I’d say that’s just fine, but is it what you really wanted? The “best food” is not diet food, it’s what you really want and what food is in your very best interest in terms of health and your satisfaction with what you are eating. I find that cravings for foods we love just get larger when we try to control them!

People in the second category of “eaters” really have no idea what they want to eat most of the time. They may not have thought much about it or have been dieting for so long that they have forgotten what it’s like to eat the foods they really enjoy.

Dieting tells you that what you want is wrong (otherwise you wouldn’t have a weight problem!). So, many chronic dieters become so distant from their physical urges to eat the foods they love that they don’t know what they want. For many chronic dieters, the foods they love have become binge foods, or at least a major treat. In either case, they tend to overeat and lose control when eating the foods they love.

One way to begin to explore the idea of knowing what you really want to eat is to think of these four characteristics of food. The food you choose should be as close to perfect as possible in flavor, texture, color and temperature. H

Monday, February 28, 2011

My Journey Making Peace with Food!: When Food is Comfort

My Journey Making Peace with Food!: When Food is Comfort

When Food is Comfort

Like many other people, when I'm feeling sad or sorry for myself, I enjoy eating, even when I'm not hungry. I have my comfort foods, some soft and creamy, others crunchy and salty. I've had a number of health issues lately, both for myself and for people I care about, and I admit it, I've been using food for comfort.
To say that I understand how my clients feel is an understatement! This behavior is not good for my health, and yet it's so tempting and even seductive. Watching TV, a "little hungry", I know, let's have this or that. Done now, let's have the next thing. Never waiting till I'm hungry again, as I counsel my clients to do. Not a good plan.
Just thought I'd "rat myself out", to you, dear Blog!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Satisfaction with Food

I think this concept of "satisfaction" when it comes to food is such an interesting idea. What does that mean to you? To your clients?

I think that chronic dieters don't consider how satisfying a food is when they choose what to eat. They think more often of calories, points, or what will make them lose weight, change their body shape, etc.

My personal and professional experience is that when people eat what they REALLY want and do so consciously, they are far more likely to feel satisfied. Surprisingly to many dieters, this does not have to be a "cheat" food. Often foods that are considered "healthy" can be satisfying. It all depends on what you really want to eat when you are hungry. Food choice does not have to be dictated by an external authority such as the diet (or the dietitian!).

You really can eat when you are hungry, eat what you really want and stop when you are full

This helps to make peace with food!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Terrific New Article on Non-Dieting

A colleague, Judith Matz, has written a wonderful new article on the value of a "non-diet" approach. I highly recommend it for all who are interested in this subject, and even for those who are not!

You might just become a believer....

Monday, January 17, 2011

What does it take to remain "thin" as we age?

I've been thinking recently about the fact that most women gain weight as they age. Our "shape" also changes, with changes in hormones during and after menopause. I have a few people in my life who are different; they aren't gaining weight like the rest of us.

I've watched them and what they do to remain thin or, in some cases, to get even thinner. For most women, this requires an enormous exertion of will, to control food intake and exercise A LOT. Some of these women really like living this way, and others do it because it's one of the (few) ways they have of feeling good about themselves. Others just have a flat out obsession with exercise.

To be clear, there are a few women who remain naturally thin. Their bodies and brains just automatically regulate food intake and they move more naturally. This is, however, the exception.

Many women, menopausal and younger, use regulation of food intake and weight as a means of controlling their internal and external environment. Weight becomes a symbol of how good they are at controlling themselves. It's something that everyone can see and admire.

Imagine that we live in a world where people have the illusion of control because they stay thin!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Food Should be One of Life's Simple Pleasures

I love food. I love everything about it. Talking about food, thinking about it, planning it, recipes, cooking, and of course, eating.

But some people just can't allow themselves to enjoy food. It's just too scary. They may feel that if they eat food they like, they are sure to be out of control. And out of control probably means they will overeat, and get fat, and that would be just too horrible to contemplate.

Other people feel they don't have "the right" to enjoy food. Somehow it's just too decadent to allow food to make them happy.

One of my patients put it really well. She told me that her life feels very out of control right now, and food and her weight feels like the only thing she CAN control. She spends a lot of time thinking about how to control what she eats, and planning what NOT to eat. For example, she loves fried chicken, but would feel awful if she ate it. She is sure that just eating this once would result in a binge and weight gain.

It's just so sad that our culture of thinness has made life with food so hard for some people.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

I've been reading The 100 Year Diet, by Susan Yager, a history of dietiting. This fascinating book chronicles America's obsession with thinness as a means of controlling one's life when it feels otherwise uncontrollable. It reveals the historical roots, in terms of what was happening in US history during various times in the past 100 years, and how this affecting our cultural ideals for the human body.

Isn't it amazing that the whole idea of dieting or thinness only began 100 years ag0? Many in our society take it as an article of faith that thin is good, and says a lot about the person's integrity, self control and overall attractiveness. 100 years ago, the idea of calories was not known, and the means of gaining or losing weight was not well understood. Yager describes the popular ideas about fatness, and how being "overweight" was not a BAD thing, until several journalists began writing about the idea.

During the 1930's, when many felt that life was not in their control, one easy way of creating (at least) the illusion of control, was to control what you ate, and therefore your weight. Amazing, isn't it, that during a time when many people did not have enough food to eat, that others worked hard to LOSE weight. What irony!