Self-Care, Not Self-Control

I was plagued with a lack of inspiration trying to figure out what to write for February.        I like to think I’m not the only one feeling a little “ick” with the cold and the grayness.  Summer seems a distant memory and spring not quite around the corner just yet.              So I wondered…. How can I help people more?  What could we all use right now to feel better about ourselves and life?  I began thinking of my clients as a whole and what common threads I’ve noticed lately when I realized the little reminder I wanted to send out:

Practice Self-Care, Not Self-Control.

I’m seeing a lot of you being way too hard on yourselves.

People want to change themselves for the better, which is fine.  I think striving for self-improvement can be healthy.  But there’s a big difference between doing positive things to be a better version of yourself (self-care) and fighting yourself by engaging in behaviors like denying your appetite, eating foods that don’t satisfy you or forcing yourself to exercise in ways you don’t enjoy (self-control).

There is a lot of self-loathing going on and not enough self-acceptance.

And so I was thinking about this self-control vs self-care mentality among my clients and there is an unmistakable correlation between the type of mindset someone has and their progress with making healthy behavior changes.  Did you hear that?  If you want to see breakthroughs in your journey then take a look at the mindset you’ve created.  It could be getting in your way.

Are you caring for yourself or are you trying to control yourself?

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You CAN Set Yourself up for Healthier Eating: Are You?

How are you doing with making the kinds of food choices you want to be making?              It can be hard!  Good intentions are a fine start, but making it happen is what counts.

We are surrounded by the convenience and overabundance of highly processed foods.  This makes it all too simple to reach for them instead of what we know will make us feel and function better.

But you can change this with a little planning.   There are strategic ways to adjust your food environment so that choosing nutritious foods comes more naturally.

If you want to be eating healthier but are wondering why it’s not happening, ask yourself this question:   Are you setting yourself up for failure or success?

Start thinking:  I “CAN” do it!

 

Check out this study from Cornell that analyzed healthy eating behaviors.

The healthiest eaters were those who were most likely exposed to foods like fruits and vegetables that were “visible and easy to reach (convenient), enticingly displayed (attractive), and appear like an obvious choice (normal).”

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Your New Year’s Resolution: Stop Dieting

Happy 2017!  I want you to have a very Happy New Year and if you’re thinking it’s “diet” time, then I beg you to forget about another diet and let me help you get where you want to go in a way that works….

I don’t need to tell most of you this:  Diets aren’t the answer.   Oh, some of you insist that they work– yet there you are, unhappy because you regained the weight plus some.  I don’t consider a diet plan a success if you temporarily lost weight on it but you couldn’t sustain it.  If a diet truly worked, you wouldn’t be back into your old eating habits.  A healthy relationship with food and eating isn’t going to be achieved through a diet– it’s going to be reached through you living your life doing the things that make you feel good enough to do them regularly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why diets don’t work:  A diet plan is an external set of food and eating rules.  If a diet feels like something you have to follow (which it does)– it’s guaranteed to not work for long.  We’re not designed to do well when we ignore our internal cues and wisdom to guide us in determining what to eat and when to eat.  And we definitely don’t thrive when we’re feeling hungry and deprived.

What if you could switch your strategy from dieting (external, rigid eating regulations) to self-trust and mindfulness (internal, natural signals)?  The idea is to make healthful changes that actually resonate with you and excite you rather than follow a diet invented by a guru who knows zero information about you.  When you make changes that make sense to you and when you understand how they are benefiting you, these changes are going to turn into life-long habits.  These habits will eventually become who you are.   Diets don’t come close to doing this.

Twenty years ago I was stuck in the diet mentality without a clue as to all the things I was doing wrong that were keeping me trapped in my personal hell.  At the time I had no idea that the foods I was eating, the foods I was not eating and the warped messages I was telling myself about food and my body were making me miserable and throwing my appetite and mood completely out of whack.  Hindsight being 20/20, I can see clearly now all the places I was going wrong then.  I remember feeling so alone and helpless with my struggles.  Because of where I was compared to the peace I know now with food, I want to help free my clients from that trap.  I can help guide you into learning how to eat in a way that makes you feel good about food and your body again.  Trust me, with some patience and perseverance, it CAN be done!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you need help figuring out your new habit changes for the New Year and the new YOU?   That’s what I’m here for at Be the Change Nutrition.

It can be really hard to know what you need to change, where exactly in your day of eating you’re going off-track and what you can do to get things back in balance.  Everyone is unique and specific dietary tweaks are customized to each person.

At Be the Change Nutrition I work with you to uncover what personal habits you have that aren’t serving you.  We delve into WHY you do what you are doing and HOW to change that.  This way you create positive, new habits that fit into your life and help you to be your best self.   Once you better understand what’s causing your unwanted eating issues, it’s much easier to start making lasting changes.

Happy 2017: NO DIETS PLEASE!

 

 

 

 

 

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Gingerbread Frosted Brownies

I haven’t invented a recipe in a long time.  Mainly because I’ve been sticking with my usual favorites and haven’t been creating anything new– until I wanted to make a gingerbread frosting and could only find cream-cheese frostings for gingerbread in my search.  Nooo, I wanted a gingerbread-flavored frosting.  Apparently there is no such thing as gingerbread frosting… until now!

I must disclose… the brownies aren’t mine– but they are a recent recipe I’ve made twice with great results.  They are called The Best Paleo Brownies by Paleo Grubs. 

And they really are the best paleo brownies that I’ve tried!  What I like about them is that the main ingredient is almond butter instead of refined grain flour and they are relatively low-sugar using only 1/3 cup of maple syrup.  Go check out the recipe if you’re looking for a “better-for-you” brownie that also tastes amazing.

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Let’s Talk About Snacks

Snacking has gotten an undeserved bad reputation– I think mainly because what most of us consider “snack foods” are the packaged, ultra-processed  flour and sugar-based items lining store shelves.  But all snacking really means is eating.  And if you’re hungry you should eat and that’s not a bad thing.  It’s what you choose to snack on that counts.

What do you want to look for in a snack?

1.  The Right Balance.  Think of a snack as a mini version of a meal.  Try to eat a mix of protein, fat and carbohydrate.  This combination works best for most people to give them the satisfaction and sustained energy they are looking for from a snack.  Produce (fruit or veg) plus a protein/fat source is a winning combo.  I’ll translate that into some examples below!

2.  Whole Foods, Not Highly Processed.  Another way to put this is choose nutrient-dense foods rather than those supplying mainly empty calories.  This means an apple instead of apple juice.  Nuts instead of pretzels.  Watch out for foods made primarily from white flour and sugar.  For example, those 100 calorie snack packs that everyone seems to think are so great. They may be portion controlled and low in calories but they aren’t going to do a lot as far as providing nutrition and balanced energy.  High glycemic foods like crackers, granola bars, chips, cookies and pretzels are composed primarily of refined carbohydrate with little fat or protein.  They will promote a greater blood sugar increase instead of a more gradual, longer-lasting release of energy.

3.  Enjoyment and Pleasure!  Eating foods you love will resonate with your body as more fulfilling.  Even though I’ve just listed “balance” and “whole foods” as what to think about when snacking, I’m not suggesting you totally restrict yourself from your favorite foods, even if they may not be the most healthful.  Foods are not simply “good” or “bad” things on their own.  There’s a much bigger picture to consider– there is your diet and your lifestyle as a whole that will shape who you are more than an individual food.

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Artificial Sweeteners and Your Appetite

This post is for you if you regularly consume artificially sweetened foods and beverages!

For many of you this time between Thanksgiving and Christmas means major anxiety about staying on track with your health goals.  It often brings up fears of losing willpower around sugary temptations and constant stress about weight gain.  And if you’re a diet soda junkie it means slurping down these beverages in an attempt to satisfy cravings and tame your appetite– but could this habit be doing more harm than you realize?

I want to help you feel good about yourself and your life.   I want you to have a healthy relationship with food and eating.  It’s really tough to do this with artificial sweeteners interfering with the natural rhythms of your appetite.

If you have been relying on diet products in hopes of losing weight or controlling your hunger and you have not noticed any positive results– you have to question why you continue to use them.

Be open to the concept that they may be making it even harder for you to lose weight.

Thanks to clever marketing, so many people believe that consuming artificially sweetened beverages or foods will help with appetite control and weight loss.  Hmmmm….yet since their introduction into our food supply and despite millions of people eating and drinking them, obesity is more out of control than ever.

These fake foods fuel the ridiculous myth that to lose weight you must eat as few calories as possible and you must try to suppress your appetite, like it’s a bad thing.  It’s not.  Your appetite is there for a reason and until you make friends with it you’re not going to be at peace.  You respect your body’s urge to breathe, sleep and urinate, right?  You should pay attention to your hunger as well.

Ask yourself this:  Have sugar-free products helped me?  If so, excuse me and end of discussion.  Who am I to tell you something doesn’t work for you when it has?  BUT I am going with what I’ve noticed in everyone I’ve met so far and I have yet to meet someone who has achieved and maintained a healthy body weight through diet products.

What if you got them out of your system and let your body reset itself through nutrition from real foods?  If you’re regularly putting fake sweeteners in your body you can bet that your appetite is confused about this ingestion of sweetness without the accompaniment of expected energy (calories).  You can’t trick your body.  Instead you’re only encouraging your sweet cravings to haunt you.

I want you to consider testing out a new approach:

Get artificial sweeteners out of your diet in order to rebalance and regulate your appetite.

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2 Ways to Drink Your Turmeric

Last week I mentioned turmeric as an ingredient in the curry powder in my butternut squash soup.  I got to thinking, “Really, how often do I eat curry powder or turmeric?”    Not very regularly and considering the proclaimed antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of this bright yellow spice, I wouldn’t mind incorporating it into my diet a bit more.  But seriously, you can only eat so much curry, right?

As chance would have it, I was at Whole Foods last weekend when a woman was demoing a product I had never seen before that caught my eye:

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Golden Milk Turmeric Infusion with Grass Fed Whey and Warming Spices.

 

 

They also make a vegan version with no dairy called Golden Tea.

 

You mix a scoop with hot water or warm milk/coconut milk/almond milk/etc.

 

 

I tried a sample of each and decided to go with the whey version for the added protein.       I happily accepted a $2 off coupon as well.  🙂

I’ve used it a few times this week– the first time I heated up some cashew milk and blended in the Golden Milk–which made a warm, soothing drink to sip.  The other two times I’ve added a scoop to a cup of tea…

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Which brings me to my second way to drink your turmeric:

Organic Turmeric Ginger Green Tea.

 

This tea is great on its own, but for a more substantial dose of turmeric, add a scoop of the Golden Milk powder.  The woman at Whole Foods told me she likes to add it to her coffee–I have yet to try this.

 

 

 

And there you have it.  Two ways to treat yourself to turmeric in addition to cooking with curry powder!  Are there any other foods that you know can offer valuable health benefits but that you tend to not eat?  Some things are a challenge.  One that comes to my mind is ginger root.  It’s not like you can just pick it up and snack on it.  There is peeling, cutting and finding just the right other foods to add it to.  After I ate up all my Curried Butternut Squash Soup I made a pureed Carrot Ginger soup which was a perfect way to use fresh ginger root.

Trying to eat more healthy foods but struggling?  Tip:  Make a list of all the nutritious foods you love that you want to ADD MORE OF to you diet.  Go out and buy them to have them available in your kitchen and specifically plan meals that will include these foods.     This beats putting your focus on the foods are trying to cut back on.  And when you start using more of the nutritious foods you bought, this will naturally and effortlessly leave less room for the not-so-healthy stuff.

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Curried Butternut Squash Soup

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I’m taking it easy today and this weekend after having some dental surgery yesterday.  Once I arrived home, I knew I would be thinking about food very soon and needed something nourishing but also soft since I can’t chew and disturb my stitches!

Hmmm, I have this big box of beautiful butternuts….what could I make?

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Not only is it squash season, it’s quickly becoming SOUP season.

What I decided to do was whip up a delicious thick, creamy, pureed soup made from my stash of butternut squash and just a few other simple ingredients.

Almost everyone I talk to tells me they love butternut squash so I wanted to share this idea that is so simple to create, healthy and tastes incredible.

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Nutrition with a Twist of Psychology

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I have always been fascinated with human behavior and why we do the things we do.  In fact, before pursuing my degree in Nutrition, I originally graduated with a Bachelor’s in Psychology.

Little did I realize at the time how intertwined Psychology and Nutrition truly are.

The food itself is only part of the picture.

Our dietary habits go so much deeper than we realize.  Nutrition is a complex subject and while what we eat and how much we eat matter, it is also crucial to look at the way we eat and why we eat if we want to achieve lasting behavior changes.

It wasn’t long after I began working as a dietitian that it became clear to me that suggesting healthier diet alternatives and limiting portion sizes wasn’t always working.  Clients would leave my office with a clear plan of what to change about their eating habits and come back feeling ashamed and disappointed in themselves for not being able to follow it.  Again and again.  That’s not how it’s supposed to go!

WHY weren’t my clients able to make changes?  WHY did they stay stuck in their old habits?  WHAT was holding them back from working towards their goals?

So I began reading up on anything and everything I could find about behavior change.  Over the years I acquired priceless knowledge and skills from books, podcasts, seminars and largely from experience and practice gained through directly working with people.

And then I came across one especially intriguing website that caught my eye and that I just knew I had to get involved with….                                                                                                      a school that marvelously combines Nutrition and Psychology.

I have just completed my latest continuing education adventure!  I am now an Eating Psychology Coach trained by the  Institute for the Psychology of Eating.  I am not a psychologist, but I am a Registered Dietitian who is very interested in helping you understand what is really going on behind your challenges with food and the message these challenges have for you.

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Quick and Easy Meal Idea: Farm Fresh Spaghetti Squash Boat Topped with Chili and Cheese

I’m experiencing my annual mixed feelings about the weather changing.  The darker mornings and early sunsets are a reminder that summer is gone and winter is approaching.  I despise being cold.  But the chillier temps calling for leggings, sweaters and boots are refreshing and I am excited to be turning my oven on more often to fill my house with warmth and the delicious scents of baking.  You may think it’s early…but  I have already made one pumpkin pie as well as pumpkin pie bars this fall.

It’s squash season!  I’m seeing pumpkins on my neighbors’ front stoops and I smile.  🙂 Summer squash are okay…. I like zucchini grilled or spirilized once in a while, but what I really love are the thicker-skinned winter squash which are out now at the local markets.

This weekend I went to my nearby farm, Healey Farm on Lafayette Road in North Kingstown.  She is loaded with butternut and spaghetti squash (among other awesome produce like corn, peppers, potatoes and cabbage).  And eggs!  She’s got tons of gorgeous pumpkins too.  Check out the deals I got buying squash by the box:

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$10 for a half bushel of butternut squash.

 

 

 

 

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$20 for a bushel of spaghetti squash.

 

 

 

 

 

I figure that comes out to around 50 cents per pound.  Aside from being delicious and nutritious, another nice thing about winter squash is they can be stored for several months in a cool room.

Here’s what I made for lunch on Sunday:

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So easy.  Simply cut your spaghetti squash in half, scoop out the seeds and bake at 450 for about 45 minutes or until tender.  Top with any kind of protein– I am typically not a fan of canned chili but they can sure come in handy to have in the pantry when you don’t have any leftovers and you want something quick.  I used Trader Joe’s Chicken Chili and topped it with some sliced Organic Valley Raw Sharp Cheddar Cheese.  So good!

I hope this meal idea inspired some of you to visit your local farm and stock up on some winter squash too.  You don’t have to spend a bunch of money or invest a lot of time and energy into nourishing yourself with good food.   If you can even replace one fast-food or highly processed food meal each week with something like this squash and chili meal, you are making progress and heading in the right direction.  And if you’d like some guidance in your wellness journey, you’re in luck– that is exactly what I am here for!  I’m full of ideas and will get you set up with personalized weekly health goals designed to change your unwanted habits into new ways of eating that you will feel good about. Send me a message, call me or stop by!  🙂

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