Some Worrying is Healthy…Go into Problem Solving Mode.


Mary feared if she gained weight her husband would leave her.  When we discussed it, I asked her how much weight would she have to gain for her husband to say I’m out the door. After much thought she said, he wouldn’t leave, but he would be upset and would probably take her to a personal trainer and dietician. I said that actually sounds helpful, but what if he did leave.  So we walked through the steps of what would happen if he left.  First she said she would be sad and depressed, then her friends would start calling, then they would take her out, then she would start meeting new people, then she would start dating, then she would meet someone new. I’m not saying it is easy, if our spouse left us and we would go through some sad and emotional times naturally, but if it did happen, recognize we will get to the other side. We just have to give ourselves a chance.

Some worrying is healthy, because it gets us to go into problem solving mode.  If it is unhealthy catastrophic worrying and we can’t change the outcome, let it go and find a new focus to immediately park your brain. Play out the different scenarios, and how you would handle the situation if it did happen and realize you’ll get to the other side.  Worrying about it now doesn’t help you; it just creates stress.  Trust that everything will work out the way that it was meant to. You will overcome each challenge as it presents to you and take proactive action steps where you can. Self Talk: “For today I choose to enjoy the day and let go of unnecessary worrying.” Enjoy the good and just focus on today’s challenges. Stay in the moment and let go of the rest.

Break Free of the Diet-Binge Cycle…


Stressed, Anxious, Lonely, Tired, Bored…


Picture 18I am aware that I overeat when I’m stressed, anxious, tired, lonely, bored, even happy or looking for a reward, but I can’t seem to change this frustrating pattern.



What would your life be like if you felt
good about yourself and took good
care of yourself?

You are worth taking care of.
Just think how your emotions
affect the people around you
and the things that you need to
accomplish each day. Every area of
your life will improve if your internal
stability and self esteem improves.

As you feel better about yourself, you are now in a position to
make permanent lifestyle changes and lose the excess
weight naturally.

-Andrea Crouch

I am very happy with my results from the program; I feel like my entire attitude towards food and my health has changed. Thanks Andrea for being an incredible counselor and for helping me to take control of my eating and my life.

-Patrice

Power Up Your Diet.


Screen shot 2009-09-24 at 4.39.47 PMAt The Hungry Heart, we know how difficult it can be to keep from emotionally overeating.  Yo-Yo Dieting is another common practice we see amongst our clients.  We find that it helps to have as many tips in our back pocket as possible to keep our diet on track.  Here are 5 suprising superfoods that will keep you on the right track!

When the experts want to get leaner, stronger, and healthier, they reach for these 10 surprising healthy food superstars. Meet your new mealtime secret weapons.

Tomato Salsa

This low-cal staple pumps up the flavor of everything from chicken breasts to scrambled eggs. “It’s jam-packed with antioxidants, including lycopene, which may reduce the risk of some cancers, and beta-carotene, which may help fight heart disease,” says Joan Salge Blake, RD, an associate clinical professor of nutrition at Boston University.

Eat It Up: Beta-carotene and lycopene are more easily absorbed by the body when consumed with a bit of healthy fat, so add some chopped avocado to your salsa-topped chicken. Or add salsa to Low Sodium V8 for extra fiber.

Nutrition facts per 2 tablespoons: 9 calories, 0g protein, 2g carbohydrate, 0g fat (0g saturated), 0.5g fiber

Whole Wheat Pitas

Give your usual turkey sandwich a healthy upgrade by swapping the bread for a whole wheat pita pocket. If you put veggies in your sandwich, it’s usually a few lettuce leaves and a slice of tomato or else the bread falls apart. “But with a pita, you can stuff it full of vegetables and still get a healthy dose of whole grains,” says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, a FITNESS advisory board member and author of The Flexitarian Diet. Just be sure to check the ingredients list: “enriched wheat flour” means the pita is an imposter. Look for the words “whole wheat.”

Eat It Up: Go Greek by filling your pita with feta, hummus, diced cucumbers and tomatoes, arugula, and black olives. Or put a Mexican spin on your sandwich by adding low-fat refried beans, salsa, avocado, and chopped romaine lettuce. Rather have a snack? Make pita chips. Cut a pita into triangles, drizzle with olive oil, add a pinch of salt, and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, or until crispy.

Nutrition facts per 1 large pita: 170 calories, 6g protein, 35g carbohydrate, 2g fat (0g saturated), 5g fiber

Popcorn

“Because it’s super-low in calories, popcorn is the perfect food for those times when you don’t want to worry about portion size,” says Sharon Richter, RD, a nutritionist in New York City. And it’s loaded with fiber, which is crucial for staying slim. In fact, people who maintain a healthy weight consume an average of 33 percent more fiber daily than those who are overweight, according to research.

Eat It Up: Save calories (and money) by getting a basic air popper. One we like: Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Hot Air Popper by Presto ($25, bedbathandbeyond.com). Pop the kernels with a bit of salt and toss with nuts and raisins for a tasty trail mix.

Nutrition facts per 1 cup air-popped: 31 calories, 1g protein, 6g carbohydrate, 0g fat, (0g saturated), 1g fiber

Oranges

Apples get all the glory, but oranges are the unsung heroes of fresh fruit, says Susan Kraus, RD, a clinical dietitian at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. “They’re very low in calories and a good source of potassium, fiber, and folate,” Kraus says. Not to mention that a large orange has a day’s worth of immunity-boosting vitamin C.

Eat It Up: Add orange slices to a spinach salad topped with goat cheese, chopped nuts, and some slivered red onion. Or blend 1/2 orange, 1 cup yogurt, and 1/2 cup frozen blueberries for a delicious, nutritious smoothie.

Nutrition facts per large orange: 86 calories, 2g protein, 22g carbohydrate, 0g fat (0g saturated), 4g fiber

Plain Yogurt

“Yogurt contains the perfect ratio of carbohydrates, protein, and fat — the carbs give you instant energy, while the protein and fat are released more slowly, keeping you full longer,” Kraus says. In a recent study, dieters who consumed three 6-ounce servings of yogurt a day lost 61 percent more body fat overall than those who didn’t eat yogurt. The researchers believe that the calcium in dairy increases the activity of enzymes that break down fat cells. Look for yogurts that have at least 20 percent of the RDA.

Eat It Up: Mix plain yogurt with a teaspoon of cinnamon or top it with berries for an easy, low-sugar snack. Or use plain Greek yogurt for an extra protein boost in recipes that call for mayo or sour cream, like tuna salad, veggie dip, or salad dressings.

Nutrition facts per cup: 137 calories, 14g protein, 19g carbohydrate, 0g fat (0g saturated), 0g fiber

Eat Before You Overeat.


Eat Before You Overeat.

Eat Before You Overeat.

Stopping yourself from grazing the second you get home is as easy as one, two, three.

1. Find a diversion. Wait 15 minutes between coming home and eating something. (Or wait even longer.) Check blogs, log on to Facebook—do something relaxing that will break the connection that makes you think you need to snack the second you get home.

2. Have one small snack—while you’re sitting down. No standing at the counter shoveling food into your gullet. Try:
An apple, which has a low-glycemic index—meaning its natural sugars and fiber are digested slowly, making you feel satisfied longer. If an apple alone is too dull, add a one-ounce piece of reduced-fat cheese.
Carrot sticks or a bowl of berries.
A pickle (or a small bowl of cornichons) if you want something salty.
Pepitas (toasted pumpkin seeds). About 90 seeds (1/4 cup) are just 150 calories.

3. Be prepared to prepare dinner. To keep from picking and tasting your way through cooking, chew a piece of gum or suck on a cough drop to kill the flavor of anything you’re tempted to nibble.

Avoid Stress Eating.


Picture 25There is an empty pretzel bag on your desk, and all clues—looming deadline, lack of sleep, a cranky boss—point to you; even if you don’t actually have any recollection of eating a full bag of Rold Golds. “Stress eating is completely unconscious,” says New York City nutritionist Lauren Slayton, founder of foodtrainers.net. You just keep putting something in your mouth and chewing and hoping for calm and comfort. To avoid wood-chipping through an entire sleeve of Oreos, you have to recognize your triggers and find replacement activities, says Susan Roberts, a professor of nutrition and psychology at Tufts University. “Drinking a cup of sweetened hot tea works for some people. Simply brushing your teeth works for others.” New York City diet expert Stephen Gullo points out that it’s possible to feed your stress with healthful snacks such as broccoli dipped in nonfat Greek yogurt with a few teaspoons of onion soup mix. Slayton says to “make a rule that when you eat, you focus on the eating,” and not, say, on your email inbox. It also helps to write down everything that you eat.

Yo-Yo Dieting. Break the Cycle.


Picture 15Yo-Yo dieting causes a “starvation response”

One of the resulting problems of people looking for quick fixes and ignoring the timeless advice of “eat less and exercise more” is a phenomenon called weight cycling or yo-yo dieting. You see, the body goes through an adaptive process when it is exposed to chronic long term dieting without exercise. This process is called “the starvation response,” and it’s how our ancestors adapted to chronic food shortages. In short, our body has a built in mechanism of lowering our metabolic rate (the amount of calories we burn daily) to cope with “starvation”.

For example, prior to chronic dieting your body may have had a daily calorie need of 2000 calories per day to maintain your weight. However, after a few weeks on a severely reduced calorie “starvation diet” without regular exercise, your metabolic rate naturally falls. When you return to regular eating again (as most cannot follow a starvation type diet for too long) you may now have a daily metabolic rate of 1850 calories per day or a 150 calorie per day loss. This now translates into a weight gain of one pound every 24 days (3600 calories in excess = 1 pound weight gain) if you eat the way you ate prior to dieting.

The yo-yo diet cycle

The term “yo-yo dieting” comes from the process described above. In a nutshell, here’s how it works:

  1. You start a quick weight loss diet and don’t exercise, which results in a lowered metabolic rate (your body now burns less calories each day than it did before).
  2. You quit your diet.
  3. Now, you return to eating as much food (or more—because of a sense of deprivation) as you did before your diet.
  4. As a result, you gain weight gain beyond what you previously weighed due to your lowered metabolic rate (and/or because you are binging on previously “forbidden foods”).
  5. Frustrated with your weight gain, you go back on a diet.
  6. Your metabolic rate lowers further; you regain lost pounds and add more weight in the process.
  7. The cycle continues….

Why does yo-yo dieting occur?

There has been a lot of research to help us understand why weight cycling occurs. When we diet, our body still requires a set number of calories to function each day. If we do not get it from food, our body will break down its own energy stores in fat and muscle to survive. It has long been established that a diet that promotes more than a two-pound per week weight loss will break down muscle tissue for energy at a more rapid rate than it will break down fat stores for energy. Whereas, the slower one loses weight, the less our body uses lean muscle tissue for energy and the more it uses our fat stores. Lean muscle is the last thing a dieter wants to lose. Why? Muscle tissue IS the source of our metabolic rate. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn each day. The less you have, the less you burn each day. Thus, even slow weight loss diets will burn some muscle tissue for energy, particularly when unaccompanied by exercise. Choosing to lose weight fast without exercising is a no-win combination that is a strong predictor of weight cycling.

Break the cycle of the yo-yo Diet

So how can you avoid the phenomenon of weight cycling and, more importantly, maintain or increase metabolic rate while dieting? Just follow these simple guidelines and you’ll be well on your way to a healthy, fit, metabolically active body:

  1. Stay away from fads that promise quick fixes.
  2. Strive for a weight loss of no more than 2 pounds per week, preferably less.
  3. Exercise regularly using your large muscles (i.e. the buttocks and the legs) doing activities such as walking, running, cycling and weight lifting. You will burn 50 more calories each day for every pound of muscle you gain. Unlike fat, one pound of muscle is tiny and will not produce a noticeable increase in body size like fat gain does. Muscle has a strong lean appearance, fat does not! Get rid of the fat and add some muscle and your body will appear sleek, lean and strong.
  4. Have small snacks throughout the day rather than large meals. Each time you eat, your body experiences an increase in metabolic rate. You will also stave off extreme hunger by eating throughout the day.