About Sonja
Thanks to Sonja Goedkoop for guest blogging.

Sonja Goedkoop, MSPH, RD, is a clinical dietitian at the Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center. She has a passion for promoting a healthy lifestyle and reducing obesity through improved nutrition and physical activity. You can follow her on twitter @SonjaGoedkoopRD.

Thanksgiving Turkey – Porchetta style

The forecast for a chilly, November weekend got me excited to try out AICR’s new recipe for porchetta-style roasted turkey breast. I’ve never cooked a whole turkey, so starting with just the breast seemed more manageable than an entire bird. Since the turkey takes several hours to roast, I knew it would be the perfect way to warm my apartment and fill it with scents from two of my favorite herbs—rosemary and sage. These herbs are also packed full of cancer-protective flavonoids and phenolic acids.

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Porchetta is a traditional Italian roast pork dish that is stuffed with garlic, salt, rosemary, sage, fennel, and other herbs (such as coriander or red pepper flakes). The pork cut is generally high in fat (e.g. pork belly) with a crispy skin and very salty seasoning. I love that this recipe keeps all the flavorful spices found in traditional porchetta, but instead can be enjoyed with a lean turkey breast and less sodium. The skin still crisps up nicely and the broth keeps the turkey juicy.

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Lifestyle changes are hard: You make the difference

Working as a dietitian specializing in weight loss for the past two years, my patients consistently report similar challenges. Lifestyle changes are hard – going from daily take out/fast food to home-cooked meals, for example, requires a dramatic change in your daily routine. Suddenly you have to not only plan out a grocery list, but you might also have to develop cooking skills and allow extra time in your day for food preparation.

One major thing I’ve leTop View Of A Pair Of Shoes With Laces Making Heart Shape On Wooarned in helping people manage their weight is that anyone can make a lifestyle change, but the motivation and commitment comes from you.

Most people are aware that maintaining a healthy body weight leads to health benefits (from reducing risk of cancer, to diabetes, to increasing life span and improving quality of life). Your doctor, a friend, or a significant other may have put pressure on you to lose weight. However, at the end of the day, the one thing that really matters is your own desire and motivation to make that change.

I like to show my patients a model called the Stages of Change Transtheoretical Model, developed by a health psychologist at the University of Rhode Island and his colleagues. This model depicts 5 stages and can be a helpful tool for anyone interested in embarking in the life-long commitment that is necessary to lose and maintain weight loss. Here are the stages: Continue reading


Challenge Yourself: Putting Weight Loss Apps to the Test

How do you set your weight loss goals into motion and embark on a new plan? AICR’s New American Plate (NAP) Challenge, a 12-week weight loss program, is kicking off now, so I thought this was the perfect time to talk about my first recommendation to any new patient I see seeking weight loss: food records. canstockphoto7929741

Accountability is a key component to behavior change, and is particularly effective for weight loss. Maintaining a healthy body weight will help reduce your cancer risk, and now’s the perfect time to use all your resources that can make this journey a bit easier.

Have you ever noticed you’re more likely to go to a gym class if you’ve committed to go with your friend? Or that you are less likely to overspend at the grocery store when you have a list?

Keeping a food record is one of the best forms of personal accountability. Once you start to learn about your own patterns and triggers to eating, you can identify areas to modify that will help you achieve your weight loss goals. There are many online programs and phone apps that make it easy to track your food intake and learn more about which foods and meals prove the best nutrition. Now the question is, how do you choose the best app? Continue reading