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Intuitive Eating: The Only Answer to Losing Weight and Keeping it Off Forever

Bonnie R. Giller, MS, RD, CDN, CDE

Featured imageYou don’t have to dig too deep on the internet to come up with an answer to the age old question “what’s the best diet to help me lose weight”. A quick Google search comes up with 102,000,000 results. And most of these diets promise you quick results without having to put in too much effort.

Will these diets work? Well, probably yes, if you follow them to the T.

Will you keep the weight off forever? Well, probably not.

Yet, you go on diet after diet, losing weight and regaining the weight (plus more) over and over again. This puts a lot of stress on your body physically, psychologically and emotionally. I’m willing to bet that you continue to put yourself through this vicious cycle because you don’t realize that there is another way.

That way is through Intuitive Eating. Let me explain.

Intuitive eating is eating based on your physiological need to eat, based on your inner signals of hunger and fullness and NOT based on situations or emotions. Being an intuitive eater means that you eat all foods without first checking the list of “good” or “bad”, “legal” or “illegal” foods that you have set up for yourself, or that the diet of the day tells you to eat or not to eat. You trust your inner wisdom to know when to begin eating and when to stop eating. Through this process, you achieve your natural healthy weight, without deprivation and restriction.

You were born an intuitive eater and unfortunately the diet industry has played a huge role in moving you further away from trusting your inner wisdom. The journey towards reclaiming what you were born with requires a few key steps to start.

1) Commit to never dieting again. Yikes, this sounds scary doesn’t it? It’s very important to make the commitment to live diet free so that you are not influenced by the next great diet miracle that comes on the market. Remember, there will always be another gimmick that pops up to tempt you. But, if you make the commitment to yourself, and every morning when you wake up remind yourself of this commitment, you will protect yourself from falling prey to those false promises.

2) Throw away the scale. As a dieter, you probably measure your success based on the number on the scale. If the scale shows a weight loss, you view yourself as being “good” and successful. If the scale shows a weight gain, you are “bad” and unsuccessful. The tone of the day is determined by what the scale reads. An intuitive eater does not measure success based on external factors. An intuitive eater thinks about the “non-scale successes” that they are experiencing. These can be physical, emotional or spiritual. Maybe you are able to bend over and tie your shoes whereas before you couldn’t. Or, you can walk up and down the stairs at home without getting out of breath. These will help you to see that the lifestyle changes you are working on are making a difference and you no longer have to be fixated on the scale.

3) Seek the support you need on your journey. Sometimes going it alone is, well, lonely. There will be bumps in the road and it’s important to have the right support behind you to guide you over these bumps. It’s best if you combine professional support, such as from a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified intuitive eating counselor, along with a social support network. Knowing you are not alone on this journey inspires you to keep moving forward. Intuitive eating is not a diet and is not a quick fix. It’s a process and a journey of growth and learning. It’s the answer you’ve been waiting for.

Bio:

Bonnie R. Giller helps chronic dieters break free of the pain of dieting and get the healthy body they love. She does this by creating a tailored solution that combines three essential ingredients: a healthy mindset, caring support and nutrition education.

Using her signature Freedom to Eat ForeverTM system, Bonnie helps her clients support and honor their mind and body. The result is they lose weight, keep it off without dieting and live a healthy life of guilt-free eating.

Bonnie is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and has her Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition. She has worked in medical nutrition therapy and counseling for over 26 years.

Bonnie is very passionate about helping her clients regain the trust in themselves and their bodies so they can shift away from a diet mentality and learn to listen to their inner hunger signals. She is known for providing caring support and motivation as her clients reacquaint themselves with their inner wisdom.

Get a copy of Bonnie’s Free e-Book, “5 Steps to a Body You Love without Dieting” at www.DietFreeZone.com  To learn more about Bonnie, visit http://www.brghealth.com

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Farmers Market 101- How to Make the Most of Your Trip

By Anne Danahy MS RD

One of the simple pleasures of summer is visiting your local farmers market and coming home with a bag of super-fresh produce and unique foods made by local food artisans. It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet your farmers and learn more about where your food comes from. Shopping at a farmers market isn’t anything like running out to the grocery store though. To make the most of your trip, it pays to learn a few rules so you come home with what you want or need, rather than an empty bag, or one that’s full of who-knows-what-this-is, that will sit in the refrigerator until it goes bad.

1. Know what’s in season. Remember, the farmers at the market are selling the food they picked this last night or this morning, so don’t plan on finding pumpkins in June, asparagus in August, or strawberries in September. Learn what’s in season and what’s coming up, and plan your recipes and meals accordingly.

2. Go with a plan, but be flexible. If you know you’ll be shopping at a farmers market, plan a few recipes ahead of time and make a list, so you’ll be sure to pick up what you need. Cooking magazines and Pinterest are both always full of seasonal inspiration. Pick up your main ingredients like produce, fresh eggs, cheese, meat or fish at the market, and plan on hitting a grocery store afterwards to supplement the other ingredients. Sometimes though, despite your best plans, you might spy a fabulous and fresh fruit or vegetable that you never thought of, so by all means, be flexible! Some produce has an incredibly short growing season, and if you don’t grab it, you may be out of luck until next year.

3. BYBO&C. That stands for bring your own bags and cash! Many farmers do supply small bags for their purchases, but rather than risk trying to balance several ears of corn and a bunch of tomatoes in your two hands, bring a sturdy reusable grocery bag with a strong handle. Many farmers also appreciate cash (small bills especially), since it costs them extra to accept a credit card.

4. Timing is everything. If you want the best selection and the freshest produce, plan to arrive as soon as the market opens. On the other hand, if you want the best deals (because who wants to tote wilted greens back to their farm), go shortly before the market closes, and you may end up getting some extra goodies added to your bag. Just remember, farmers make very little profit on what they produce, so haggling is generally not appreciated.

5. Step outside the box. It’s OK to like what you like, especially when it’s produce, but if you see something unusual, or even something you recognize but don’t usually eat, ask the farmer what they like to do with it, or how they prepare it. You’ll be surprised at what amazing and creative ideas you’ll get. Sure, farmers can grow things, but most are also pretty handy in the kitchen. Some farmers markets also sell community cookbooks with lots of creative ideas for using all types of produce. Proceeds often support the market or the farmers, so it’s a win-win solution to the “what would I do with this” question.

6. Take it all! The ultra-fresh produce at farmers markets is perfect for canning, preserving and pickling, so buy lots and preserve it for later. It’s important to follow the rules and recipes for preserving foods, but once you learn the technique, it’s not as difficult as it may seem, and it’s such a joy to open a jar of homemade tomato sauce or strawberry jam in the middle of winter The National Center for Home Food Preservation has some excellent information on canning, freezing, pickling and any other method of preserving foods.

7. Volunteer. Farmers markets run on a tight, lean budget, and usually rely on grants and donations, in addition to their profits, to be able to stay open, so they really appreciate volunteers. In addition to doing something good for your market and town, you’ll get the inside scoop on what’s freshest, who has the best selection, and what to do with it once you get home.

If you’re not sure where your closest farmers market is, use this directory that lets you search by zip code. See you at the market!

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FDA Proposed Changes to Nutrition Facts Label: But Is It Any Better?

By Alissa Rumsey RD, CDN, CNSC, CSCS

The Nutrition Facts label is getting a major overhaul for the first time since Congress mandated its inclusion on packaged foods in 1990. Half of Americans say they check the nutrition label on foods when they are shopping, however the majority of the label is often meaningless to them. Most people cannot relate grams of a nutrient or percentages of the daily value to the food that they are putting in their mouths.

In August 2014, the FDA released the proposed changes. Some of the changes will be helpful to consumers. The biggest changes:

  1. Serving sizes:
    1. Serving size requirement changed: The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act requires serving sizes to be based on amounts of food and drink that people typically eat, not on how much they should eat. People are eating more, so servings are getting larger – this will be reflected on the food labels. For example, the serving on a label for ice cream will now be 1 cup, instead of ½ a cup.
    2. Single serve labeling: Packaged foods and drinks that are typically consumed in one sitting will have their serving size changed to reflect the calorie and nutrient content for the whole package. For example, a 20-ounce bottle of soda would be labeled as one serving rather than more than one.
    3. Dual column: For certain packaged foods that are larger, the label will have to identify both “per serving” and “per package” calories and nutrient information. For example, a pint of ice cream, or a bag of chips. This way people will easily see how many calories they are getting if they eat or drink the whole package in one sitting.

My take: I’m not a fan of the serving size changes. Just because someone eats one cup of ice cream in a sitting, doesn’t meant that they should! This method of labeling doesn’t help to teach what a reasonable serving should be.

  1. Remove “Calories from fat”. Total Fat, Saturated Fat and Trans Fat are still required to be labeled.

My take: I am in agreement with this change. We know now that type of fat is more important than amount of fat. Hopefully by removing “calories from fat” we can better teach people that this doesn’t matter as much as the type of fat they are consuming.

  1. Include “Added sugars”. Added sugars are considered empty calories, as they don’t provide any beneficial nutrients. The FDA proposes adding this as a separate line in addition to total sugar. This will make it easier for a consumer to know how much sugar occurs naturally in the product versus how much was added to make it sweeter.

My take: This is a great addition – Americans have a really tough time deciphering the difference between natural and added sugars in products. This one is a bit harder to implement, as it will depend on what the FDA decides the definition of “added sugar” will be. For example, manufactures could decide to add fruit puree to sweeten something, which is in effect doing the same thing – adding sugar.

  1. Addition of Potassium and Vitamin D. Potassium has an important role in blood pressure regulation, and Vitamin D in bone health. These are two nutrients that many American’s don’t get enough of. Calcium and Iron will still be required on the label; Vitamins A and C could be included on a voluntary basis. The update also recommends that actual amounts of the micronutrients be listed instead of percent daily value.

My take: I love that they are going to be putting grams or milligrams instead of percent daily value, this makes the number much more meaningful to consumers.

  1. Increased Font Size. Calories and serving sizes will be emphasized in a larger font in order to address obesity and the high rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease that go along with extra weight.

My take: Many people don’t pay attention to the serving size, and eat more servings (and therefore calories) than they realize. I like that these two items will be emphasized, as it is something that most Americans do need to be aware of.

Despite some positive changes, there are still a number of things the new nutrition label will not do:

  1. Measurements are still meaningless for most people. I’d love to see teaspoons of sugar in a serving, instead of grams. Fewer people might buy that fruit-flavored yogurt if they realized it contained 5 teaspoons of sugar.
  2. Percent daily value remains. While the footnote is apparently going to be updated to better describe what “%DV” means, I still find this measurement to be pretty useless. Majority of Americans need much less of much more than 2000 calories per day, in which case the percent daily value doesn’t do you much good.
  3. The ingredient list isn’t addressed. You can’t just judge a food by its nutrition facts. Many food companies try to get around the label by using not-so-great ingredients and then fortifying the product with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Or calories are reduced by adding artificial sweeteners.
  4. No front-of-package labeling. Consumers still have no fast and easy way to distinguish nutritional value among similar products. Front of package labeling could help to highlight the good, bad or neutral value of a product.

No matter what happens with the labeling updates, it will be awhile coming. All the public comments will have to be reviewed, the final rules issued, and then the food industry will be giving time to implement them. In the meantime, I’ll continue to emphasize whole, real foods and cutting back on foods high in sugar, salt and added fat.

Alyssa Rumsey RDAlissa is a nationally recognized Registered Dietitian and Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach based in New York City. After working for six years with critically ill adults, she started Alissa Rumsey Nutrition & Wellness Consulting to help others improve their health and wellbeing, helping people create a positive, sustainable relationship with food and exercise. She works with companies to craft nutrition messages and curate effective online content and her expertise is regularly featured on television, online, and in print. Alissa earned dual Bachelor’s degrees in Dietetics and Exercise Science from the University of Delaware, and is completing a Master’s of Science degree in Health Communications from Boston University. In her spare time, Alissa can be found running in Central Park, traveling to far-off countries, and, as a self-proclaimed “foodie,” exploring the expansive New York City food and restaurant scene.