Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Nutrition Tips: Serving Sizes


You’re at work.  It’s been a long morning, and you’re starting to get hungry.  You decide to pull out that bag of almonds from your desk drawer.  You dump a few on a napkin.  And you dump a few more.  You check the label - a serving is 2 Tbsp.  That looks about right, you decide.  You fold the bag back up and stash it away for another day. But here’s a question.  Why is a serving size of almonds 2 Tbsp?  Is that all you need of nuts for the day?  Is it a perfect portion for YOU?  

These “serving sizes” were actually determined back in the 1980’s - 1990’s after a group of researchers with the USDA surveyed Americans regarding how much they would eat of a certain food “per eating occasion.”  The average of the collected data became the serving size when nutrition labels became standardized in 1994.  So, basically, that ½ cup serving of Life cereal you had this morning was dictated by the rest of America.  Not science.  

Pretty interesting, huh?  I tell my patients to use the information on the label as a reference not a prescription.  For example, my 6’5” male athlete patient doesn’t need to stop at one serving of soup for lunch - he’s trying to get in a minimum of 3,000 calories every day as part of his training.  But, thanks to our label, we know that each serving provides him with 225 calories and we can build from there.  

One other thing to keep in mind - the food industry uses these labels for themselves, not for you.  These sizes give manufacturers a tool to inform us how much fat, calories, protein, etc. are in a given portion.  This does not mean anything in terms of meeting nutritional needs.  For example, a serving size of a bag of pretzels may be 10.  Don’t fool yourself into thinking that if you stick with 10, you’ve done something amazing for your body.  On the flip side, if you have an 8 oz. glass of orange juice in the morning, you haven’t met your quota for fruit for the day.  
 
When you’re struggling to find what servings YOU need, it’s best to work with a registered dietitian who can assess your needs based on certain criteria as well as working with your real life schedule.  By working together, you can best decide how many servings (or half servings) of any given food you need for YOUR optimal health and weight.  Guessing can lead to unintentional weight gain/loss, nutrient deficiencies, or unnecessarily avoiding certain foods.  

In Good Health,

Dawn



Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Spotlight: Motivation Station

Remember back on New Year’s Day when the resolution to lose weight seemed like a fantastic, and certainly easily attainable, goal.  You were motivated.  You had a plan.  You were going to stick with it this time.  But now, it’s March and it’s cold and it’s gross outside.  You haven’t seen the sun in an eternity.  And eating salads every day is really boring.  You’ve lost the motivation to try.  Maybe next year...
Motivation.  Have you ever wondered where we get our motivation from?  Why are we motivated to do certain activities but not others?  Why can’t we tap into this part of our brain and MOTIVATE ourselves to do what’s best for us regardless of how we are feeling each day.  
Oxford Dictionary defines “motivation” as “the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.”  And to take that to the next step, the meaning of “desire” is “wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen.”  Wishing and wanting sounds pretty easy.  I want to have the abs of a 20 year old.  I wish I could run a mile in 8 minutes.  But where is my motivation to turn it from a wish into a reality?  That comes from another great word...commitment.  
Ken Blanchard, an author and management expert, has said -


“There is a difference between interest and commitment.  When you’re interested in something, you do it only when it’s convenient.  When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses.  Only results.”


We know all about commitments.  As adults, we deal with them every day.  We have commitments to our employer, to our families, to our mortgage company. These are obligations that we take seriously - if we didn’t, we’d most likely be homeless and lonely.  So why don’t we keep commitments to ourselves?  We’d certainly be upset with our friends if they made a commitment to drive our kids’ carpool on Tuesdays, but only did it when they felt like it.  Yet we’re okay with letting ourselves down and breaking our own promises.  We let our interest slide away.
Make a commitment to yourself and hold YOU accountable to YOU!  No excuses!  Every day is a new day. Find ways to remind yourself of your promise to make healthy food choices and exercise.  Here’s a couple of ideas to get you started:


  1. Make a weekly menu plan with your best friend - brainstorm easy ideas together.
  2. Type up your favorite motivational quotes (Pinterest has some great ones) and tape them on your bathroom mirror, your pantry, at work, and your nightstand.  Replace them once a week.
  3. Get your friends in on the plan - form a “support” group and touch base with each other every other day or so via text or email.  


At Kindred Nutrition, we work with every client on an individual basis to find out how best to motivate, plan, and commit to realistic (because real nutrition has to work with your real life) choices.  Weight loss is a journey and requires patience and commitment - not just an “interest” in a healthier lifestyle.  We need to find the place within you that wants to lose the weight even when it’s not convenient, and we will work together toward that goal.  Make the commitment and turn that wish into your reality!
 
 

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