Eat To Live

Want to lose weight?  It’s not complex.  You’ll have to eat less calories than you burn.  That can be done many different ways by adjusting your nutrition and exercise, and there isn’t one cookie cutter way that works for everyone.  That’s why I never say that weight loss is easy.  Weight loss can be achieved through a number of different diets–ketogenic, low-fat, low-calorie, DASH diet, to name a few–but keeping weight off requires a completely individualized approach.

Nutrition & Religion?
Nutrition advice these days sounds an awful lot like religion: “Don’t eat this,” and “Do eat this.”  It’s nothing more than a complicated list of dos and don’ts that keeps people switching from one diet to the next.  Paleo is going out of style like the bell bottoms of the 70’s.  Veganism is the new skinny jean, but few people can pull it off.  What it comes down to is that people are medicating themselves with food and that has to change. Humans most likely have always had a preference for sweet and savory, but never before have they had so many options and opportunities to fulfill their every craving.  Where I work (where I counsel people on positive nutrition and healthy habits) there are literally dozens of options for fast food, dozens of options for sit-down restaurants, dozens of options for convenience junk food and at least 6 different grocery chains within a 2 mile-radius.  If ever there was a need for a visual representation of an obesogenic environment, Woodruff Road would come to mind. People no longer have to plan meals, so they don’t.  People no longer have to say “no” to a craving, and they don’t.  People can literally fulfill any craving they have by pulling up to a drive through, or a quick stop at the convenience store.

Eat to Live
Ultimately, what we want for our clients (and society as a whole) is to be people that eat to live, rather than people that live to eat. It’s not a bad thing to enjoy your food, but the problem is that our food is used in ways our bodies never intended.  Food should be nourishing and enjoyable, but should not be used as a quick fix to deal with unpleasant emotions.  Slow food is good and nourishing.  Junk food provides instant gratification. Eating to live is not normal in our culture so when a person commits to a healthy lifestyle, often they find they are going it alone.  Sure, it’s easy to find people to diet with, but the actual weight loss journey is a rather lonely one. You’re still working at it 5 years later, while everyone else you know has been on a dozen different diets, and yet still haven’t tackled the beast.  If you’re lucky, they’ll admire you for your hard work.  More likely, they’ll try to bring you back into that vicious cycle of dieting.  Dieting is like running on the hamster wheel.  You jump off the red one so you can jump on the new fancy blue one.  At the end of the day, it’s still just a hamster wheel that leaves you tired.  A diet by any name is still just a diet.  Unless you break the whole thing apart and redesign to fit you, it won’t work.  That’s why we are always clear in our message:  it’s not weight loss–it’s a lifestyle change.  We can help you lose weight fast, but keeping it off requires a lot of time, energy and dedication.  We believe that support and the right tools, combined with your motivation to work hard will do the trick.  If you’re tired of yo-yo dieting, get in touch with us.  We’d love to work with you.

Nutrition Solutions

864 676-1248


Understanding Food Labels and Ingredients

Monday Lifestyle Education Discussion:

“Understanding Food Labels and Ingredients”

A calorie is not a calorie in the way you think. Food interacts with your unique biology and affects hormones, hunger and satiety in different ways for different people (Think Insulin, Ghrelin, leptin and thermic effect of foods). Protein foods tend to suppress appetite more than, say, a bag of chips. The latter provides instant gratification, while the former provides nutrition and a feeling of fullness. Instead of thinking in terms of a “good” food or “bad” food, think instead of foods in terms of a nutrition scale. In case you were wondering, Krispy Kreme would be very low on that scale but that doesn’t mean it’s “bad.” Much depends on the person and behavior.

The Nutrition Facts Label is intended to guide consumers by providing very basic information. You cannot make sense of the label without reading and understanding the ingredients label. Calories, macronutrients and nutrients all must be understood within the context of the food as a whole. Pay attention to calories, serving size, added sugars, artificial ingredients and high sodium in particular. There are approximately 60 different names for added sugar and if you see these high in the ingredient list, then that means that a large amount of that food is added sugars. If, for example, you’re choosing bread and you see the word “enriched flour” just know that it means it’s refined and not a whole grain. Look for “whole” wheat or 100% whole grain. That means the fiber and nutrients are intact.

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend Americans to pay close attention to added sugar, ACTUAL serving size, calories and type of fat (heart-healthy vs heart-unhealthy fats). More on the DGA here:

Understanding nutrition facts labels and ingredients CAN be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. Make it a point to attend one of our grocery shopping tours so you can get more practice. Food companies package their products in a way to sell. Look past the shiny design, the special font and green packaging to see what’s really in the food. If you’re going to eat processed foods, then you HAVE to read and understand the back of the package. The nutrition facts and ingredients is the place to go.

Weight Loss Strategies for Dining Out

Lifestyle Education Discussion:
“Strategies for Health: Eating Out & Keeping It Together”

Eating out certainly complicates weight management. There are many reasons for this. From incorrect calorie and nutrition information, to environmental factors such as sights, smells and moods, we’re all more likely to overeat meals at restaurants. Calorie and nutrition info from the restaurant and the internet are notoriously inaccurate (under reporting calories) so that means even if you are doing your homework ahead of time, you’re still likely eating more calories than you think. The only true way to know the amount and quality of the food you eat is to prepare it yourself. Obviously, I’m a huge advocate for cooking and preparing meals at home, but I understand that’s a hard sell for most people. Here’s some tips to help you stay on track with your nutrition when you eat out:

Always have a plan. What will you eat… Who will you be with… What is the restaurant environment? What are your unique challenges? All of these factors influence your eating and food choices. Do some strategizing ahead of time so you’ll stick with choices that you will ultimately feel good about.
– Just say no! Being confident and assertive is an invaluable tool to carry. You will often find yourself in situations where it’s important to convey your wishes. There’s a lot of food pushers out there–some forms are subtle and others are obvious. It’s your body and your nutrition. Don’t be afraid to speak up for your needs or wants.

Practice effective communication. Ask questions about how your food is prepared and don’t hesitate to communicate how you wish your food to be cooked or prepared. Restaurants are in the business of serving you so it’s important you get food prepared the way you wish. Never feel guilty about this. Also, you may wish to communicate with friends and family about your nutrition needs. You’ll notice that many of those around you don’t share your newfound consciousness of health. They won’t understand why you’re not ordering that second glass of wine, or partaking in the nacho cheese fries. That’s ok. Just remember that “No” is a complete sentence. If you want to sweeten it up (being southern this is a must), you say, “No, thank you darlin’.”

Ask the wait staff to bring a to-go box when they bring your meal. Box up half and take it home with you, or share an entree. Most serving sizes will feed 2 people.

-Think “lean and clean” proteins and vegetables. Stay away from sauces, gravies and the like. Choose lean proteins that are baked, broiled, grilled, etc and double up on steamed vegetables.

Have an awareness of appropriate portion sizes. Most restaurants serve 2-3 times more than an appropriate serving size. Pull out grandma’s antique dishes and glasses and you’ll notice that serving dishes, plates and cups were much, much smaller. Don’t fall for the “more is better” trick. Most restaurants serve large portions of low quality food because customers want to feel like they are getting their money’s worth. In the end, it’s better to get quality over quantity.

– Always, ALWAYS choose unsweetened beverages. No sweet tea or soda’s.

Eat Mindfully. Pay attention to internal cues for hunger and satiety. Enjoy the company of friends and family. Make the occasion about the conversation and less about the act of eating. Put your fork down between bites and eat more slowly.

Ultimately, it’s good to be aware that we live in an obesogenic environment. Once you have that revelation, you become aware of the hidden factors that influence our eating behaviors. I know most of you read these posts on the go, but if you have tips that work for you, please share with the group. Many just aren’t able to make the Monday classes and we don’t want them to miss out!

Too busy to prepare quality meals? Order Chef-prepared meals here