There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs – Unknown


There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs – Unknown

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I’m Published in Parent Magazine!


Do you know any children that are picky eaters? This isn’t exactly the same topic that most of my blog is about, but I wanted to share with you some of the things I have been working on. I worked at the Children’s Hunger Alliance in February and May and wrote this short article about growing a healthy eater. Please like it and make me famous 🙂

My Magazine Article

How a (Future) Dietitian Does a Diet Part 3


Weight Loss Step 2: Education (you may want to read this first)

Holy crap, I’ve lost a lot of weight so far. It was more than I expected, but it makes sense once I break it down later in this post. Let me back up a little bit.

In case you haven’t read part 1 or 2,

How a (Future) Dietitian Does a Diet Part 1

How a (Future) Dietitian Does a Diet Part 2

While I have the education step covered seeing as I will probably be a registered dietitian within the next five months or so, there is always more to learn and more strategies to develop for teaching others. I can also work on finding and making more healthy recipes, so there may be a couple of those in the future J For many of you out there, whether you have already started your weight loss plan or not, Education is a vital step in your weight loss journey that should always be ongoing. Research is hard to do, especially when you are a normal person without training on how to read scientific literature. It truly is confusing. Misinterpretations of science have filled the internet with hundreds of misconceptions about weight loss and healthy eating and many people are out for your money without a concern for you as a person. Basically, what I’m trying to say is to be wary when reading or listening to nutrition advice from people that aren’t dietitians because they don’t see the whole picture!

The biggest educational piece I’m currently working on for myself is a Quick Weight Loss Kickstart diet that will help people safely lose 2-4 lbs* of fat per week for several weeks, in as healthy of a way as possible, before transitioning into a more balanced weight loss approach that you can sustain long term (.5-2 lbs per week). People with obesity may be able to stay on the program for more than several weeks. My inspiration for developing a faster weight loss diet was my girlfriend who worked at a medical weight loss center that put patients on diets as low as 420 Calories per day. Although I’m not a member of the primary targeted population for this diet I’m developing, I do think this diet does have some application to the more athletic, leaner population in the right context. I will be working out the kinks to this diet for the first 2-4 weeks of my diet and documenting my progress. Then, I will demonstrate a slower, more flexible diet plan for several weeks after that.

*Total weight loss will be greater than this due to a decrease in fluid, glycogen, and intestinal content.

My results so far after one week:

Day 1 (2/24/14) Weight: 207.6 lbs

Day 8 (3/3/14) Weight: 196.2

  • I’m moving towards my goal of a healthier body fat percentage.
  • I look leaner.
  • My squat hasn’t been affected much, if at all. I did two sets of 335lbs for 3 reps today.
  • My acid reflux has improved. I had a little today before working out, but it has been way less frequent recently.
  • My 32” waist jeans are fitting better.
  • I’ve not been feeling bloated and lethargic when I wake up in the morning.
  • Hunger hasn’t been that big of an issue despite a restrictive diet!

Talk about being motivated by progress! A large part of you exercising fiends that are really concerned with muscle loss are probably thinking that this is a ridiculous weight loss pace and I must have lost a lot of muscle. I almost didn’t put this weight in up here for that reason and because I thought it would look fake and gimmicky, but please let me explain. A huge portion of that weight loss is fluid. When switching to a lower carbohydrate diet, you lose your stored carbohydrates in the form of muscle and liver glycogen. Carbohydrates are hydrophilic, meaning that they like water and hold on to it in the body. For every gram of stored glycogen, we store about 3 grams of water. Basically, my body had a lot of stored glycogen because I went straight from eating a ton of carbohydrates (>500 g/day) to a lower carbohydrate intake. I burned a lot of my glycogen and the water had to come out with it. Most people won’t see weight loss at this fast of a rate, even on this quick weight loss plan. I probably lost about 3-3.5 lbs of fat and 7.9-8.4 lbs of fluid, glycogen, and intestinal content. I suspect minimal muscle loss at this point because:

  1. My strength has been surprisingly good in the gym for a much lower Carb intake.
  2. I don’t visibly look like I’ve lost much muscle.
  3. I had been gaining weight for the previous 2 years so my hormones are primed for muscle retention.
  4. I have only been dieting for a week so far.

water gallon

 

According to my estimations, I have lost the weight of about 1 gallon of water (~8.3 lbs!) from glycogen, fluid, and intestinal contents in just one week!

Photo Courtesy of Travis S.

*This weight changing phenomenon is a large part of the reason many dieters experience a large weight gain after only one or two “cheat” days. They consume more carbohydrates and sodium than usual during the “cheat” and then the body begins to hold on to more water. But I digress.*

I expect my next weight in will be about 193 lbs because I shouldn’t have much more water weight to lose. Stay tuned for my progress and more posts! Some big articles will also be coming out within the next 7-10 days, including the next part of this series and hopefully the next installment in my weight loss steps series – Weight Loss Step 3: Preparation.

Daily Tip 2: Are You a Distracted Eater?


These people may look happy, but could they be making a big weight loss no-no? Have you ever sat down in front of the TV with a whole bag of chips, popcorn, pretzels, or crackers only to find yourself grabbing crumbs at the bottom of the bag? You aren’t the only one! It’s easy to keep nibbling away when we are distracted. So what are some simple things we can do about it?

  • Pre-portion your snacks into a small bowl instead of taking the whole bag to watch T.V.
  • Pre-portion your snacks into single serving, on-the-go bags.
  • Eat more foods that are “naturally” pre-portioned like a raw fruits or veggies.
  • Try to eat in the kitchen to avoid distractions like T.V.

watching tv

Photo Courtesy of lilife2012

It seems simple, but it may make a big difference for you!

Check out this website for more information about this topic:

http://mindlesseating.org/

Nutrient Density: A Big Chunk of Healthy Weight Loss


Choosing nutrient dense and non-energy dense foods is usually a key in any attempt to lose weight. You need to know what foods fit into these categories if you want to lose weight and eat healthy! Also, nutrient dense foods are the basis of what constitutes a healthy diet for most of the population. This article will give you some background on why certain foods are better foods for weight loss and general health and why sometimes these foods aren’t the same. I will discuss nutrient density first and energy density in a blog post tomorrow.

What is Nutrient Density?

Nutrient density is a phase used to describe the amount of beneficial nutrients in food compared to the energy (Calorie) content of the food. A food is said to be Very Nutrient Dense when it has a large amount of beneficial nutrients and very few calories. When we diet, it is more important to make sure that you are choosing more nutrient dense foods than normal because you won’t be eating as many Calories. This means that you need to get the same amount of vitamins and minerals with fewer Calories. Not only will eating nutrient dense foods provide you with the vitamins and minerals that you need, but picking nutrient dense foods with fiber and protein will keep you fuller while you lose weight.

The nutrients I’ve referring to in the past paragraph are fiber, micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), protein, and monounsaturated fats (I would argue Omega-3s should be included as well). There are multiple rating systems and scales that try to rate the nutrient content of foods. One is called the called the Naturally Nutrient Rich scale that tries to rate foods based on the nutrients I just mentioned. It’s not perfect by any means, but it gives us some good clues about the foods that we should focus our diet around. On the opposite end of the spectrum from nutrient dense foods I mentioned would be foods that are very low in nutrients and higher in energy. I will refer to these foods as Less Nutrient Dense Foods. Many foods fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum like nuts because they are high in Calories AND high in nutrients. Is it starting to make sense why we should choose Nutrient Dense foods?

For You Visual People!

Nutrient Density spectrum

What Foods are Nutrient Dense?

Basically, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy (skim-1%), whole grains, lean meats, fish, and beans are all considered nutrient dense foods. Vegetables are usually the most nutrient dense foods and fruits are second. This is why vegetables and fruits are always called super healthy – they provide a lot of nutrients with few Calories and some of these nutrients may protect us from cancers. Fresh and frozen are the best, but canned is also a good option for fruits and vegetables. Lower fat protein and dairy foods are more nutrient dense than their higher fat counterparts because they have the same amount of vitamins and minerals, but fewer Calories. Examples of lean proteins include chicken without the skin, turkey, very low fat beef (90% lean, 10% fat or less), fish, most seafood, pork tenderloin, and any kind of beans (does not include fried foods). Whole grains are more nutrient dense than their refined counterparts because they contain more fiber and more of some minerals. The majority of your diet should consist of these nutrient dense foods (athletes may be an exception to this rule).

The most typical way that foods are made Less Nutrient Dense is by adding sugar, fat, or refined flour. For example, a nutrient dense serving of broccoli (25 Calories) has a tablespoon of vegetable oil added to it. The broccoli and oil together now have 145 Calories and very few more nutrients than the broccoli alone has. The oil and broccoli mixture is less nutrient dense than the broccoli alone. Another example of this is low-fat yogurt with sugar added to it. Low-fat yogurt is a nutrient dense food, but adding sugar provides more Calories and no more nutrients, which makes the yogurt a less nutrient dense food. Adding a high fat salad dressing to a salad has the same effect and so does packing canned fruits in a heavy syrup. Frying your foods can also add a lot of Calories without additional nutrients. I think you get the idea!  Be careful when buying pre-packaged foods, many of these have added sugars and fats that provide additional Calories, but no additional nutrients so it is best to read your food label to look at the ingredients for added fats and sugar and nutrition facts to see how much of these ingredients are included.

Hopefully now you see the importance of picking Nutrient Dense foods! Don’t forget that the energy density of foods is also something to consider when losing weight! I will be posting my article on energy density tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Quick Tips to Keep Your Food Nutrient Dense

  • Vegetables
    • Try steaming your vegetables or stir-frying them in a pan with a little non-stick oil spray instead of adding oil.
    • Sneak vegetables into your meals to replace some grains.
    • Choose the steamer bags with no added sauces – season them yourself.
  • Protein Foods
    • Bake, broil, or grill your meats instead of frying. Try the George Foreman Grill.
    • Choose low-fat meats like lean chicken breast, pork tenderloin, fish, and lean ground beef of turkey (90% lean 10% fat or better)
    • Try one whole egg mixed with egg whites.
    • When making taco meat, rinse the meat to get the fat off.
    • Look for dry beans or canned beans without added sugar and season them yourself (baked beans often have a lot of added sugar)
  • Dairy
    • Look at the food label on yogurt and look for yogurt with less than 15 g of sugar per serving.
    • Use a lower fat cheese. 2% fat, fat free, white cheeses are better options.
    • Choose lower-fat cottage cheese (cottage cheese is good with fruit or in savory recipes including lasagna and scrambled eggs)
    • Use low-fat milk in your coffee instead of cream.
    • Choose low-fat frozen yogurt over ice cream
  • Grains
    • Try to replace half the flour in all your recipes with whole wheat flour.
    • Choose cereals with less than 9 g of sugar per serving.
    • Cook and bake with less butter, oil, and sugar. Applesauce can replace butter and oil in some recipes. Splenda can replace most of the sugar.
    • Read the food labels of your crackers, granola bars, ect. and choose versions of these with less fat and sugars
  • Fruits
    • Choose canned fruits in their own juice instead of heavy syrups
    • Choose frozen and dried fruits without added sugar.

What Matters in this Blog Post:

1. Choosing Nutrient Dense Foods is important while losing weight because we need the same amount of nutrients and fewer Calories.

2. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, fish, beans, and low-fat dairy are all nutrient dense foods.

3. These Nutrient Dense foods can become less nutrient dense by adding fats like butter or oil or by adding sugar. Look for the nutrient dense foods above while avoiding added fats and sugars.

4. Cook using less fats/oils and less sugar. Read food labels to see added fat and sugar. Foods that have less added fat and sugar are more Nutrient Dense.

5. Energy-density is a similar important topic that you need to think of when making food choice. I will discuss that in an article tomorrow.