Emotional eating is when an emotion triggers a person to eat, instead of the physical symptom of hunger. There are many misconceptions about emotional eating. One of the biggest myths is that all emotional eating leads to overeating and weight gain. In fact, it is natural to eat for emotional reasons and still maintain your weight. For example, celebrations with family and friends often include special foods that we have an emotional relationship with. Having birthday cake with friends, not because you are hungry, but because it feels good isn’t necessarily a prescription for overeating or weight gain. In fact, a recent study investigated how an individual’s perceptions about eating a food, like chocolate cake, influenced their motivation to maintain a healthy eating plan. Researchers discovered that those who felt “guilty” after eating a piece of cake were more likely to sabotage their weight loss efforts than those who associated the cake with “celebration.”
So then, what’s the problem with emotional eating? Emotional eating is a problem when you abuse it. When a person is out of touch with their feelings and eats to comfort themselves or stuff their feelings down, it can result in overeating. When an individual engages in this behavior day after day, it is likely to result in weight gain.
Diets and having forbidden foods often make the problem worse. Dieters, or individuals with restricted eating patterns, are typically eating less than they need; less of the foods they enjoy; and, are chronically hungry. When faced with stress or other emotions, the ability to maintain control
of the restrained eating becomes intolerable for the individual who “gives in” and overeats. In these situations, the individual often eats quickly; is distracted; and, is disconnected from his or her internal cues. Feeling guilty and remorseful, the dieter tries harder to restrict the eating and the cycle continues.
How to stop abusing emotional eating.
1. Identify your triggers. Keep a mood food diary and track information about your meals and snacks (including unplanned eating). Write down what you are eating, when you are eating, where you are eating, whom you are eating with, and how you are feeling at the time. Many of my clients strongly object to keeping a journal for various reasons. Taking time with a nutritionist or other health professional to discuss strategies to overcome those barriers may be key for you to take the first step in getting control of your emotional eating.
2. Don’t skip meals. Feed yourself regularly while being mindful of balance, variety and
moderation in your meal planning.
3. Eat whole foods. Eating whole foods that you enjoy, on a regular basis, can help to
balance out your mood and provide consistent energy during the day.
4. Develop alternative coping skills to manage your emotions. Take a moment to create
a list of activities you can use when emotions run high. Things like calling a friend, gardening, being outside, reading, and taking a bath are all examples. Many activities result in the release of the chemicals in the brain that help us feel better. I suggest that individuals have their list visible and easily available. When you notice a trigger to use food for comfort, try one of the items from your list. After 10 minutes, if the food is still beckoning you, try the 2nd activity for 10 minutes, and so on. Usually if you make it to the 3rdactivity, you will notice that the urge to eat is less.
5. Try Individual or group counseling. Talking about your triggers and getting support for planning healthy meals and snacks may be the key to making the behavior changes that are needed.
SIMPLIFY!! Food and eating doesn't have to be so complicated. I'm no different than individuals I work with who are always looking for ways to simplify life. For me, planning healthy and simple snack and meal ideas is key to my success. I love all kinds of food and enjoy experimenting with new, trendy foods (when I have time), but when it comes right down to it, I need good nutrition options that are convenient, easy, yummy and cheap! With one of my top values being my health, it's easy to see why this month's recipe makes a great breakfast or snack idea. Not only is it easy to make and delicious, it provides you with a balance of protein, carbohydrates and other important nutrients that keep you full and satisfied. The recipe speaks for itself, but if you need a little convincing, read on.
Peak season for strawberries is right around the corner, but frozen berries are often cheaper and available year round. Strawberries are not only a great source of vitamin C (1 cup = 113% of recommended daily intake), they also contain the 3rd highest amount of antioxidants, per 3 1/2 ounce serving, compared to any other spice, seasoning, fruit or vegetable consumed in the U.S. Strawberries are also a well tolerated fruit for individuals struggling with IBS symptoms, given the higher glucose to fructose ratio. A final benefit is that frozen strawberries are generally less expensive, convenient, and hold their nutrient content longer than fresh.
Mixing 1 cup of frozen berries with whey protein powder and milk, provides a great balance of easily absorbed protein, along with calcium and vitamin D. This is surely a great snack to give you energy, keep you satisfied, and stay within your budget!
STRAWBERRY PROTEIN SMOOTHIE
1/4 cup Vanilla Whey Protein Powder (2 scoops or 23 grams depending on your brand)
OR 1 packet of Vanilla Carnation Instant Breakfast
1 cup skim milk
1 cup frozen or fresh strawberries (If using fresh, I add 1/2 cup crushed ice)
Mix all ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Enjoy!
Coming up in March, we will celebrate National Nutrition month, with the theme, "Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right." I love this idea, because after trying all kinds of popular diets, I learned many years ago that I wasn't willing to sacrifice taste for what seemed to be "healthy."
I modified this recipe a bit to add protein and a tasty dressing. Not only is it a beautiful and yummy salad to offer your family and friends, it's packed with great nutrition. Pair this with a whole grain roll, and Voila...an easy, savory meal.
Pomegranate, pear walnut salad
9 ounces mixed greens (I used a mixture of spring greens and baby spinach)
1 pear, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup pomegranate ariels
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 1/2 cups chopped chicken breast (I used 1/2 of a rotisserie chicken, chopped)
1/4 cup walnut oil
2 Tablespoons pomegranate balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons sugar
1. Combine the first seven ingredients in a bowl.
2. Wisk together the dressing ingredientsi in a medium bowl.
3. Toss the dressing with the salad ingredients and serve.
If someone offered you a pill that helped you feel better, lose weight, decrease inflammation, improve your skin, and prevent disease, you’d take it, right? Fortunately, you don’t need to go to your doctor for that kind of prescription. You just need to visit your grocery store and load up on these healthy (and tasty) foods.
1. Berries. These tiny morsels are full of color and packed with the highest level of antioxidants than any fresh fruit. Antioxidants are naturally occuring nutrients that protect everything from your brain to your heart by helping to protect cells from damage. Enjoy fresh or frozen varieties by adding them to your cereal, yogurt or smoothie.
2. Greek Yogurt. All types of yogurt are an excellent source of calcium, potassium, protein, zinc, and vitamins B6 and B12. What distinguishes Greek yogurt is its thick, creamy texture that provides twice the amount of protein, along with probiotic cultures and less lactose. Pair your favorite yogurt with fresh fruit and granola for a balanced, energizing breakfast or snack.
3. Oatmeal. What a better way to start off a cold morning than with a bowl of steaming oatmeal!
Oats, oat bran, and oatmeal contain a specific type of fiber known as beta-glucan. For over 50 years, scientists have consistently proven the benefits of soluble fiber on cholesterol levels. Studies show that consuming one bowl of oatmeal, that contains 3 grams of oat fiber, per day can lower total cholesterol by 8-23%. This is significant as a reduction in one's cholesterol of even 1% correlates with a decrease in the risk of developing heart disease.
4. Olive Oil. The main type of fat in olive oil is monounsaturated fat (MUFA). Over the last 50 years,
study after study continues to demonstrate health benefits of this fat prominant in a Mediterranean diet. Benefits include decreasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases; decreasing inflammation; and, may help decrease depression. It is important to include a variety of fats in your diet, and to be mindful of eating fat in moderation.
5. Salmon. The widely studied benefits of the omega-3 fats in salmon include decreasing and preventing inflammation; improving mood and cognitive function; as well as, protecting joints and eyes from disease. With
almost 50% of the recommended daily intake of omega-3's in one 4-oz portion of salmon, it makes sense to include this in your weekly diet.
6. Broccoli. This is a staple in our house. Not only does it offer great nutritional benefits, but my kids love this veggie. Packed with many important chemicals, broccoli is high in fiber, potassium and calcium; and, offers anti-inflammatory nutrients, antioxidant nutrients, and anti-cancer nutrients to help sustain human health. Whether steamed or added to a stir fry, in less than 10 minutes, you can have a tasty addition to any meal.
7. Oranges. Many fruits and vegetables provide a good supply of vitamin C and fiber. I added oranges to this list, not only because they are in season right now and make for a tasty snack, but one orange provides over 115% of the recommended intake for vitamin C, important for boosting the immune system. They also provide phytonutrients, unique to oranges that have been found to
lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
8. Eggs. The benefits of eggs often get lost in the controversary about cholesterol. Studies have shown that dietary cholesterol in the egg yolk has no effect on blood cholesterol. Most important are several nutrients specific to both the egg yolk and egg white that help promote overall health. The protein in egg whites have been considered the most bio-available protein for the body. Egg yolks are also one of the richest dietary sources of the B-complex vitamin choline, which is associated with improved neurological function. The yolk is also an important source of vitamin D.
9. Spinach. Along with many dark green leafy vegetables, spinach contains numerous health benefits. Many unique compounds found in spinach have been shown to protect individuals against inflammatory problems, oxidative stress-related problems, cardiovascular problems, bone problems, and various cancers.
10. Water! I know, water isn't exactly a food. But it is one of the most essential nutrients in your daily intake. On average, women need 2.7 liters and men 3.4 liters of water each day (not including additional water needed to rehydrate following physical activity). Replacing the loss of fluids from your body due to evaporation, breathing, urine, etc. can help decrease headaches, control caloric intake, and decrease fatigue, improve skin health, and ensure your kidneys are working well. Your kidneys are able to do an amazing job of cleansing and eliminating your body of toxins when your fluid intake is adequate. Add sliced lemons or cucumbers to your water for a new twist. Or, try this - freeze lemon juice in ice cube trays and add a couple frozen lemon cubes to your water for refreshment.
Of course there are a number of foods that have offer important health benefits! There is great value in making sure your kitchen is stocked with a variety of food to offer you balanced nutrition. The foods highlighted here offer simple and tasty solutions (with no gimmicks) to enhance your meal planning.
The beginning of a new year often marks a time when people want to make personal changes. It is estimated that 44% of us make New Year’s resolutions with the top 3 reported to include: 1. To lose weight; 2. Get organized; and 3. Spend less and save more. Self improvement is always a good idea! Unfortunately, studies also report that 25% of folks are unable to keep their new resolution for even one week! What is it about change that makes it so difficult? How can you make lifestyle changes that last?
The problem seems to be in our human nature. Whether someone has struggled for years with their weight – losing and gaining over and over; or, a family that relies on fast food and eating out, it
often takes more than sheer willpower to make change. It’s not about trying harder (i.e. spend more money on the latest diet), it’s about doing things different. Instead it takes a change in attitude that leads to a change in our actions that create new behaviors and habits. Following a list of “do’s”and “don’ts” for weight loss may be helpful at first, but healthy living is more than a list of resolutions. It takes a revolution, or “a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something:
a change of paradigm”, according to the definition in Webster's dictionary.
So, you want to be healthier in 2014, or perhaps you have an important weight loss goal? What change do you need to make in your attitude? Perhaps it’s believing in yourself; being willing to change your current way of living; or, beginning to focus on the positives. I often ask clients who desire to lose weight how they would do things different right now if they were at the weight they desired. Consistently, individuals tell me that they would likely plan their meals, go to the grocery store, have different foods in their house, prepare meals, and exercise more. My response is that you CAN do all this now. So often, I hear that someone believes they need to lose the weight before they can really make these changes. What if you could challenge the negative thoughts that you “can’t do it”, and imagined that you can be that “healthy person” now?
Practicing to identify the positive things you can do really can make a difference. Also, consider
getting support from a nutritionist or in a group to help you get started with making nutrition and lifestyle changes that fit your individual needs. Being confident in yourself, rather than a weight loss product or scheme, is ultimately the health change that is revolutionary.
Dairy foods such as low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese, yogurt and whey are convenient and cost-effective ways to power up with protein throughout the day. Dairy is one of the most economical sources of nutrition. Regardless of the type or variety of dairy product you choose – protein will be present.
Protein is essential in the diet on a daily basis because it is needed for growth and maintenance of muscle. Dairy’s whey protein has a natural taste and complements the flavor of the food it is added to. Whey protein is one of the best sources of naturally-occurring branched-chain amino acids, including leucine, which is unique in its ability to initiate muscle protein synthesis.
Top 5 benefits of adding whey protein to your diet:
1) Helps you maintain a healthy weight. Dairy foods that naturally contain whey protein help maintain lean tissue that burns more calories.
2) Calorie for calorie, whey protein helps you feel full longer than carbohydrates or fat.
As a result, you may reduce the extra snacking that is causing excess intake and weight gain.
3) Whey protein helps you get lean. Consuming dairy foods (such as milk, cheese, yogurt and whey protein) in combination with resistance exercise helps to restore a positive protein balance (more protein synthesis than protein breakdown) which is needed for muscle gain to occur.
4) Whey protein helps with exercise recovery. Whey protein provides the specific amino acids necessary for muscle repair and recovery after resistance training or vigorous exercise. Milk,
especially chocolate milk (because of its unique protein to carbohydrate ratio) has been shown to be an effective recovery drink for endurance activities.
5) Whey protein helps reduce loss of muscle mass. As early as age 40, we can lose muscle
mass if we don’t consume high quality protein along with adequate activity. Moderately increasing high qaulity protein consumption at each meal may help older adults retain muscle mass and thus help decrease weight gain as we age.
“…I know I should drink more milk, but I can’t. I am lactose intolerant…; It causes weight gain…; Humans weren’t meant to consume dairy…”
These and other objections are common reasons I have heard from my clients explaining why they do not consume dairy foods. Some of the information about dairy foods is frankly not been proven and is often misleading and/or inaccurate. Perhaps you have stopped consuming dairy products because of these type of fears, and would like more infomation on how you can begin to include a variety of dairy foods in your meals, Research has shown that even for someone who complains of severe lactose intolerance symptoms, they can almost always be brought up to the point of consuming three full glasses of milk per day without symptoms. The Creighton University Osteoporosis Research Center provides extensive replicable research on the health benefits of adding dairy-containing foods in your diet.
For example, the following link provides more information on lactose intolerance, and the evolution of humans consuming diary foods:
If you would like a program to help you include high quality protein foods, including dairy products, at each meal, working with a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you ensure you are meeting your needs and achieving your health goals.
Layman DK. The role of leucine in weight loss diets and glucose homeostasis [Review]. Journal of
Nutrition 2003; 133:261S-267S.
Leidy HJ, Carnell NS, Mattes RD, Campbell WW. Higher Protein intake preserves lean mass and satiety with weight loss in pre-obese and obese women. Obesity 2007; 15:421-9.
Campbell WW. Dietary protein and resistance training effects on muscle and body composition in older persons [Review]. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 2007; 26:696S-703S.
Hayes A, Cribb PJ. Effect of whey protein isolate on strength, body composition and muscle hypertrophy during resistance training. Current Opinions in Nutrition and Metabolic Care 2008; 11:40-4.
Esmarck B, et al. Timing of post exercise protein intake is important for muscle hypertrophy with resistance training in elderly humans. Journal of Physiology 2001; 535:301-11.
Houston DK et al. Dietary protein intake is associated with lean mass change in older, community-dwelling adults: the Health, Aging, and Body Composition (ABC) study.American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2008; 87:150-5.
Weigle DS, Breen PA, Matthys CC, et al. A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition2005; 82:41-48.
The year-end holidays are upon us! You know that stretch from Thanksgiving to January 2 where frequent nibbling and persistent overeating often ends with undesired weight gain. Following are strategies to help you make it through this blissful time of year, and still feel great in 2014.
Holiday weight gain tends to happen because more food is available – cookies and desserts at work; frequent gatherings involving food (and more beverages, too); and, endless buffets wherever you go. The problem lies largely in having a strategy for managing the amount of food available. So, how can you make sure you are able to successfully enjoy your holiday parties and manage your weight at the same time?
Set yourself up for success.
Eating less all day to “save up” for the party is not helpful. Skipping meals/snacks usually affects productivity, causes poor concentration, more difficulty with problem solving, and increased fatigue. It can also lead to overeating at the next meal or snack, such as at the holiday party or gathering. Take time to enjoy a bowl of soup, yogurt, vegetables and hummus, as an example of meal that will help meet your energy needs consistently throughout the day.
Take a plate.
Many individuals comment that they struggle with grazing or “picking” at foods left out at the party. By the end of the event, it’s hard to remember what or how much you ate. Learn to indulge intelligently at the buffet or appetizer spread by first scanning the buffet table to figure out which foods will be most satisfying for you. Make a plate balanced with some protein options, along with vegetables or fruit, whole grains or, and a dessert. This will help you be aware of portions and more conscious of how much you’re eating. Wait 20 minutes; and, if you decide you are still hungry, use your plate again to intentionally choose foods that will help you feel satisfied. Try to recognize when the food is "beckoning" you rather than thinking you are physically hungry. Getting involved in conversation or a game may be a helpful distraction. You may also want to try drinking water to ensure you aren't just thirsty (see below). As always, try to eat mindfully and savor these tasty holiday foods!
Location, Location, Location.
When you realize you are not hungry, step away from the food. Try to sit or stand away from the food table and near supportive people to decrease the urge to mindlessly eat. Take time to enjoy the folks you are celebrating the season with - participate in conversation, listen to stories, learn something new about a friend or relative. Most important, try to relax and have fun.
This is often the most common mistake people make (including me). On average, women and men need 2.7 and 3.4 liters of water per day, respectively. This does not include additional fluid needs for activity. Also, the hustle and bustle during this time of year may lead to decreased fluid intake. Thirst is often mistaken for hunger and can lead to overeating. Therefore, try to keep a water bottle with you at all times and drink frequently throughout the day – includingt the holiday party – with added limes, lemons, or cucumbers for extra flavor. An added benefit for some can be decreased headaches by avoiding dehydration. I know I feel so much better when I make this a priority!
Move your body!
Take time to include moderate, enjoyable movement in your day. Ideally 30 to 60 minutes of some cardio and strength training activity is recommended daily. If you already have an exercise routine, try and stay with it. You may also want to include less frenzied activity such as a yoga class or a peaceful leisure walk under the stars. To include the family (and unplug), consider walking together after a holiday meal; ice skating at a local park; going to a local museum or the zoo instead of sitting around.
Now is the time to add fresh cranberries to your favorite recipes! The majority of cranberries are harvested between September and October in the U.S. and Canada making it convenient to find fresh fruit in your local markets. This fruit, native to North America, is packed with naturally occurring compounds that provide many important health benefits. Current scientific research has
Cranberries contain phytonutrients and flavonoids (naturally derived plant compounds) that have antioxidant and antimicrobial properties thus providing benefits in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, urinary tract and mouth.
Research has affirmed that cranberries have a role in urinary tract health, due to a specific type of flavonoid, proanthocyanidins (PAC) that prevents E. coli from adhering to the walls of the bladder and multiplying. Instead, the bacteria get flushed out in the urine and the risk of an infection is reduced.
Cranberries may help reduce the risk of stomach ulcers by reducing H. pylori levels. According to the American Cancer Society, H. pylori is also a major risk factor for stomach cancer.
Cranberries may also provide cardiovascular benefits by lowering low-density lipoprotein
(LDL)-oxidation or improve high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels; and therefore,
improve vascular function.
Enjoy fresh cranberries boiled with spices for a delicious sauce over pork or adddried cranberries to your salads or trail mix. A nice collection of cranberry recipes can be found at: http://allrecipes.com/recipes/fruits-and-vegetables/fruits/berries/cranberries/
Ever find yourself finishing the pumpkin pie or eating a bag of chips when you’re not even hungry?
If so, you are not alone! Many individuals are victims of mindless eating that can lead to
unnecessary weight gain. You can turn mindless eating into MINDFUL eating during this holiday season by simply using a few of the strategies listed here - that may even lead to weight loss when practiced consistently.
Awareness. The key ingredient that helps people change behavior is awareness. When you are aware of what you are doing, and potential triggers for a behavior you hope to change, you become enabled to make a change. Ask yourself if certain emotions trigger any overeating or eating when you are not hungry. For example, feeling anxious, angry, bored, sad, lonely or frustrated may cause you to grab different types of food (i.e., salty, sweet, creamy, crunchy, etc.) that may comfort you, depending on the emotion you are experiencing at the time.
There may also be triggers in your immediate environment. Things like having fresh baked cookies or leftover pie easily available on the counter may not be so helpful. Having foods out of sight may help remind you to intentionally plan a snack or dessert. For some, keeping a journal of your eating throughout the day is helpful; describing what you ate, how much, and making note of whether you were actually hungry, or eating because you were bored, for example. It's crucial not to be judgmental of ourselves, but instead during this process, look at ourselves and ask, "Hey, what's happening right now?" When we have awareness and understand what's happening, we can look at our behavior and then initiate change.
Decrease your triggers. After you have recognized what your major triggers for mindless eating are, its time to take action. This may be removing the candy bowl or cookies from the counter.
Remember, the purpose here is not to make the cookies or candy a "forbidden food" but instead decrease the likelihood of overeating by grabbing "just one" - which may turn into more. Planning a time in your day or week that you will include these foods with lunch, dinner or at snack time can help decrease feelings of deprivation (another culprit for overeating).
Be mindful when eating. The Center for Mindful Eating, http://www.thecenterformindfuleating.org/principles, defines mindful eating as:
Find a time in your week to sit down and plan out your meals and snacks. Also, its important to plan meals that include an adequate amount of protein, carbohydrates and fat. Not eating enough at meal times can often set a person up for mindless grazing and overeating. A great example of this is on Thanksgiving. Skipping breakfast or not eating enough to eat to "save up for" the Turkey dinner. By the time the Thanksgiving meal is ready, you may find yourself overly hungry and set yourself up for mindless overeating. Another example is when individuals pack a "lowfat/diet" frozen entree for lunch with nothing else. Many of these meals do not contain enough protein or calories to meet an individual's energy needs. For example, adding a greek yogurt, salad or fruit, and a treat from Halloween in your lunch bag will help ensure you feel satisfied and able to get back to your day, without frequent trips to the snack bin.
Changing your eating behaviors to decrease mindless over-eating is possible! Remember to be patient with yourself as it is a process.
Getting support from a registered dietitian at EnlightenU Nutrition Consulting can help you ensure you reach your goals in a healthy and positive environment - while still living and loving your life!
With so much information available about food and nutrition, it can be hard to know who to trust trust when looking for accurate, useful information about food and nutrition. While only a dietitian can use the title "dietitian," it's important to understand that the term "nutritionist" itself is not protected, so in some U.S. states where nutrition and dietetics are not licensed or regulated, anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, even if they're not qualified.
Some registered dietitians (RDs) may refer to themselves as nutritionists, usually in order to simplify things for those who may not be familiar with the term dietitian, but not all nutritionists are RDs. RDs have met specific academic and experiential requirements set forth by the Commission on Dietetic
Registration (CDR) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). The credential RD (registered dietitian) is a nationally-recognized, legally protected, professional title and it can only be used by those who are authorized by the CDR.
An RD must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in dietetics, nutrition or nutrition sciences. Approximately half of all RDs actually hold advanced degrees. The academic program for these degrees includes such coursework as food science, clinical dietetics, community nutrition, life-cycle
nutrition, medical nutrition therapy, education methodology, biochemistry, microbiology, social sciences, human anatomy and physiology, and other culinary- and nutrition-related classes.
An RD has also completed a dietetic internship or supervised practice program where hands-on, in-the-field experience is gained. RDs have also passed the registration exam and must
recurrently obtain continuing education credits in order to complete the recertification process. This process ensures that RDs are continuing to stay abreast of the latest research and practice
information to best serve the public.
Val Schonberg is a Registered, Licensed Dietitian who specializes in weight management, sports nutrition, disease