Intuitive Eating Part IV | Washington, DC Dietitian

Missed the first 3 posts in this series? Check them out!:

Intuitive Eating Part I, Intuitive Eating Part II, Intuitive Eating Part III

Principle IV: Challenging the Food Police

Washington - DC - Nutritionist

In the world of dieting, it is easy to develop negative thoughts that can work against us. These thoughts can come from diet books, magazines, television commercials, social media and more. Food thoughts and judgments run widespread through our minds, but how often do we take a moment to focus on them and notice what we are saying to ourselves? These thoughts are not born with us. Instead, we hear them as we grow up, take them in, and sometimes establish them as set rules, some negative and some positive.

When thinking about these voices, a few questions come to mind:

Where do these voices come from? What in our past or present has made us think this way?

What is the tone of the message? Critical, shaming, harsh, makes you feel guilty? Or open, curious, helpful?

What information is the food police sharing? Is it reliable? Is it something that directly affects you?

What are the affects of this information? How does it alter my thoughts and actions? 

Even when these thoughts are evaluated, they stick in the consciousness of the people who think them. We have found that in this world of dieting and eating, specific voices will pop up from time to time, ultimately influencing how we feel and how we behave.

A few of these voices can be classified. By reading the descriptions you can see which are helpful to you and which are not:

Food Police

This voice causes guilt and is full of judgment. It keeps the eater in the dieting world, and out of touch with inner cues of eating.

Nutrition Informant

The Nutrition Informant uses nutrition as a driving force to keep you dieting.

Diet Rebel

As you rebel against dieting this voice usually results in overeating and self-sabotage.

Food Anthropologist

The Food Anthropologist is a neutral observer that can give you a distant perspective into your eating world. This voice is nonjudgmental and keeps you in touch with your inner psychological and biological signals.

Nurturer

The Nurturer helps to disarm the verbal attacks from the Food Police. This voice helps you get you through the tough times and is nowhere near harmful.

Washington - DC - Nutritionist

Negative Self-Talk (And How to Change It)

When thoughts about eating are irrational or distorted, the negative feelings we develop escalate more and more rapidly. As a result, eating behavior can end up consequential and destructive. Therefore, we need to replace the irrational thinking with rational thoughts. This allows us to control our feelings and later, our behavior.

To get rid of distorted diet thoughts, you first need to identify the irrational thinking that is going through your mind. Ask yourself:

-Am I having repetitive and intense feelings about food and my body?

-What am I thinking that’s leading me to feel this way?

-What is true or correct about this belief (if anything)? What is false? Remember that just because you think something it doesn't necessarily mean it's true. Think of a more positive thing to say to retaliate against any negative voices. 

Washington - DC - Nutritionist


Go for the Gray. Gray may seem to be a dull color, while black and white are dramatic extremes. In the world of eating, however, going for the gray can give you an array of choices. Give up the notion that you must eat in an all-or-nothing fashion. Allow yourself to eat the foods that were always restricted, while checking your thoughts to be sure that they support your choices.

Self-Awareness: The Ultimate Weapon Against the Food Police. The next time you see yourself eating in a way that feels unsatisfying or out of control, give yourself the gift of remembering what you were thinking before you even took the first bite of food. Examine that thought and challenge it. As you get more proficient at the Intuitive Eating process, you’ll be able to catch these thoughts before they make you feel bad or cause undesirable behavior.

Become self-aware. Listen for the different voices that can either serve as your support or saboteur. Discard the layers of negative voices and create an opportunity to form a healthy relationship with food.

For more information about Intuitive Eating and ending the dieting cycle, contact me to set up an appointment!

Read more at: http://intuitiveeatingcommunity.org/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intuitive Eating Part III | Washington, DC Dietitian

Mindful Eating Day – January 26th, 2017

MAKE PEACE WITH YOUR FOOD

If you tell yourself that you can not or should not have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation. These feelings can build up and can lead to greater problems, such as having uncontrollable cravings and often, bingeing. When you are able to give in to the foods you are forbidding yourself to eat, it will usually end with overeating and an overcoming feeling of guilt.

Cravings can drive us crazy. As soon as we’re restricted from any kind of substance, all we can think about is that particular thing. And not only do we want that thing, but we want ALL of that thing. The food is now seen as more special than it has before and we begin to think that this will be the last time we will ever be able to bite a piece of it again. We crave large quantities and a small piece will not suffice. Our minds become fixated on wanting to consume it so badly that we neglect to ignore our other internal needs.

Washington - DC - Nutritionist


So, how are we able to get rid of the pattern of restraint and succeeding overeating? The key is to give yourself total, unrestricted permission to eat. This means that you erase any ideas that certain foods are “good” and others “bad”. You begin to eat what you really want and eat without any self-punishment. When you truly free your food choices, you eliminate the pressure to overeat.

The most effective way to instill this belief is to start consuming the foods you currently are restraining yourself from eating! And before you proceed with making peace with food, always remember to honor your hunger.

Washington - DC - Nutritionist

According to Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works, there are five steps to making peace with food.

1. Pay attention to the foods that are most appealing to you and write them down as a list.

2. Put a check by the foods you actually do eat, then circle remaining foods that you have been restricting.

3. Give yourself permission to eat one forbidden from your list, then go to the market and buy this food, or even treat yourself by purchasing it at a restaurant.

4. Check in with yourself to see if the food tastes as good as you remembered or imagined. If you find that you really like, continue to give yourself permission to purchase and eat it.

5. Make sure that you keep enough of the food in your kitchen so that you know it will be there if you want it.

Washington - DC - Nutritionist

This Mindful Eating Day, we should remember to make peace with our food. To not hold back from the foods we enjoy and instead, focus on how we can truly be peaceful with the foods we love most.

For More Information, visit: http://www.intuitiveeating.com/

Want to read more? Check out my previous posts in this series:

Intuitive Eating Part I: Introduction to Intuitive Eating

Intuitive Eating Part II: Rejecting the Diet Mentality

 

 

 

Intuitive Eating Part II | Washington, DC Dietitian

Rejecting the Diet Mentality

It’s the same story I hear from clients. They try a diet and do great, losing 15-20 pounds in the first few months. Then they become hungry, irritated – mad that they are missing out on parties and events because of the diet they are on. They become resentful of the plan and feel deprived of their favorite foods, spiraling into negative thoughts and eventually giving up on the diet. These negative thoughts and “screw it” attitude lead to overeating on the foods they were restricting and can possibly lead to binging. A few weeks of this all-or-nothing mindset around eating, and any weight that was lost on the diet is back, plus some. Feeling defeated and unwell, they find the next diet to try, bringing them into a constant cycle of dieting and overeating and then dieting again. 

If you’ve ever been on a diet you know the feelings around it. At first it is exciting, you feel motivated, and you are ready to make a commitment. You do well for a couple of days and although you’re a little hungry you may see some results and stay motivated. Then you might slip or cheat and feel some guilt around it. Sometimes you can bounce back, but other times that guilt makes it hard to commit and you end up “falling off the wagon.” If you make it through the diet you enjoy your success, but then become stressed about keeping the weight off. This sometimes leads to obsessive thoughts about calories, food intake, and your weight. Overall this situation is stressful and anything but a mindful approach to food intake. As a consequence, this can wreak havoc on your self image, confidence and overall body acceptance. 

If you are currently in this dieting cycle you may know that it is hard to break from, but in order to live a healthy and happier life, it is key. Rejecting the diet mentality is the first step in intuitive eating and bringing you closer to listening to and accepting your body and your needs. If you are reading this, you are probably tired of dieting and trying the next big thing that will help you lose weight. If that is the case, it is time to get rid of any thoughts around quick diets. Throw out any diet books, magazine articles, or bookmarked diet pages that have promised results only to leave you stressed out and dissatisfied. Get angry about the diets that you have tried that made you feel like a failure once you were off of them and gained the weight back. Diets don’t work and the first step to reaching a healthier relationship with food is letting go and being free of them. 

It can be scary to let go of the diet mentality, but once you do you will quickly find that your stress will decrease and you will start to learn more about yourself and your personal needs. If you need some support during this process, feel free to set up an appointment with someone certified in Intuitive Eating to learn more about the next steps and how to succeed with your new mindset.

This blog post is part II of the Intuitive Eating series. Missed out on part 1? Click here!

This post was first posted on the blog for Capital Center for Psychotherapy & Wellness

Intuitive Eating Part One | Washington DC Dietitian

In our society it has become common to base our food intake off of what magazines, media, celebrities and the Internet tell us to do. All around you there are diet plans, weight loss pills and supplements, and new programs that are promising fast results. At the same time food marketing on TV and in the grocery store is at an all time high, making it nearly impossible to resist temptation.

It is important to remember that you are completely unique in your calorie and nutrient needs depending on how much you exercise, your genetic composition, your age, gender and your food intake. In light of this, many individuals on diets may not be getting the correct nutrients or calories that they need, causing them to either overeat or undereat, which inevitably leads to unintended weight gain. Something else to consider is that each person is unique in their customs, food preferences, family support, and the environment in which they live in. Diets and food plans don't take any of this into consideration. They can seem exciting at first, but after the first few days or weeks it is common for people to feel hungry, deprived, and irritated. It is even more common for people to follow a diet plan, then finish and regain the weight, causing a cycle of deprivation followed by overeating. 

So, how can someone break this cycle with intuitive eating?

The answer to breaking the dieting cycle is in listening to your body with mindful and intuitive eating. Your body knows better than any magazine article what it needs and what it craves. As we get older we forget to listen to our body, which causes a disconnect that can have harmful effects both physically and mentally. Getting in tune with your body’s cravings like we did as children brings you back in control of your food choices and eventually brings you to a healthy weight for your body. This includes listening to your body’s signals by eating when you are hungry, eating slowly and enjoying your food, and stopping when you feel satisfied – not too full. It involves retraining your mind to reject diets and, instead, eat balanced meals that satisfy you and don’t leave you feeling deprived or weighed down. It also means finding ways to handle emotions without using food while also accepting your body to improve self-esteem.

Washington - DC - Nutritionist

Intuitive eating is not a diet, but a way of life that is maintainable and long term, allowing you to eat the foods that you enjoy without any stress or guilt. The process is broken down into 10 Principles that will get you back in touch with your body and leave you free from dieting and deprivation:

  • Reject the diet mentality
  • Honor Your Hunger
  • Make Peace with Food
  • Challenge the Food Police
  • Respect your Fullness
  • Discover the Satisfaction Factor
  • Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food
  • Respect Your Body
  • Exercise – Feel the Difference
  • Honor Your Health

In this blog series we will go through each of the principles of Intuitive Eating to help bring you to a place of acceptance around food instead of fear or anxiety. The first step is to reject the Diet Mentality which we will discuss in more detail in the next post.

For more information visit www.intuitiveeating.com

This article was first posted on www.capitalpsychotherapy.com

How to Increase your Metabolism | Washington DC Dietitian

The burning question that everyone wants to know is "What can I do to increase my metabolism?".  I'm sorry to break the news but magic pills and super foods won't do the trick. Green tea, caffeine and spicy foods are quick fixes with negligible effects. The long-term approach to increasing your metabolism goes back to the basics: eating well and exercising often.

Blame is often put on a few things when it comes to metabolism and weight loss. They include the following:

  • "I have a slow metabolism": It's true that some people have a faster metabolism than others but this doesn't mean that weight loss isn't possible. At a previous job we offered metabolic testing and I rarely saw a metabolism that was considered to be too slow. Some results were slower than others, but often it would be a smaller woman since they may require fewer calories. In general though patients had average metabolisms that allowed for weight loss! Often times we may think we have a slow metabolism even if we really don't.
  • "I have bad genes": Genes can play a role in our health, but keep in mind that they are a smaller factor in your weight than your lifestyle. Eating well and exercising can rule out bad genes.
  • "I'm getting older so my metabolism is slower": Yes, as we age our metabolism decreases, but the decrease is slight and age is usually not the main reason for weight gain. The bigger factor that correlates with weight gain is a decrease in exercise and activity.

No matter what your genes are, what your past has been or how old or young you are, it is possible to increase your metabolism. Here's how.

  • Strength train: Muscle mass increases your metabolism which helps you burn more calories throughout the day. Make sure to incorporate strength training at least 1-2x per week for the best benefit.
  • Eat Breakfast: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it jump starts your metabolism to make it work efficiently throughout the day. Eat within an hour of waking up to reduce the risk of slowing your metabolism.
  • Eat frequently throughout the day: Eating food actually increases your metabolism, so make sure to eat small meals throughout the day to keep it going strong. Aim for 3 meals and 2 snacks per day for the best balance. Eat healthy foods and proper portion sizes to avoid weight gain. Refer to my post on eating balanced meals for healthy options.

If you begin a healthy weight loss plan, are following these tips and are still not losing weight it may be helpful to check with your physician. Often times if weight gain is occurring while following a healthy lifestyle it could be because of your thyroid. A simple blood test can be done to check for hypothyroidism.

Get your metabolism in gear by eating often and building muscle mass. Weight loss may require changing your habits, but soon enough they will become part of your normal routine.

A Balancing Act | Washington DC Dietitian

There are many misconceptions about weight loss out there, mainly those that revolve around cutting out food groups and restricting food intake to reach your goals. But what if I told you that eating more instead of less could help with weight loss?

Many patients come in telling me about their typical meal plans. They skip breakfast, don't snack and eat a large lunch and dinner as their normal eating pattern. This, my friends, is also known as the Sumo Wrestler's diet. In order for sumo wrestlers to gain and maintain their weight (400-600 pounds), they skip breakfast, don't snack and eat an extra-large lunch and dinner. When we skip meals and snacks, our metabolism slows and we overeat later in the day, both which lead to weight gain. 

Therefore it is important to eat small amounts, frequently throughout the day. This helps your metabolism and keeps you satisfied to prevent overeating at meals. Try to aim for 3 meals and 2 snacks per day, eating about every 3 hours. Not only does this keep your metabolism going, but it also keeps blood sugars stable to help prevent fatigue, headaches and cravings throughout the day.

Another important goal is to make sure that every meal and snack is a balance of carbohydrates and protein. Carbohydrates give you energy while protein and fat keep you feeling full and satisfied to hold you over in between meals. If you eat only carbohydrates your blood sugar goes up, but if you pair it with protein it stays more stable. Aim for 3+ grams of protein per snack to keep you feeling satisfied. Eating only vegetables as snacks or eating "air foods" such as rice cakes will only leave you wanting more.

The point is to make everything that you eat count and be nutrient dense. Eating a balance at each meal and snack helps you stay satisfied, reduces cravings, increases energy, and prevents overeating later in the day.  Below are some examples to help clarify.

Breakfast

  • Oatmeal made with skim milk topped with fruit and a small serving of nuts.
  • 2 Eggs with vegetables and a sprinkle of cheese, slice of whole grain toast on the side.
  • Whole grain cereal with skim milk
  • Smoothie made with frozen fruit, skim milk, low-fat yogurt and flaxseed

Lunch and Dinner

  • Salad with vegetables, beans and low-fat dressing
  • Soup with vegetables and beans or lean meat
  • Turkey sandwich with vegetables, mustard on whole grain bread
  • Lean meat or meat substitute, vegetable and starch

Snacks

Aim for around 150-180 calories and 3+ grams of protein per snack to keep you satisfied between meals. Balanced options include:

  • Fruit and nuts
  • Fruit and low-fat cheese or low-fat cottage cheese
  • Low fat cheese and crackers
  • Low fat yogurt (yogurt is a carbohydrate and there is protein in it)
  • Granola bars such as Kashi Chewy Bars or Snackwell's Cereal Bars (both include 5-8g of protein)
  • Sliced turkey and bread

Eat frequently and keep a balance of nutrients for overall health and satisfaction throughout the day.