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 learned 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
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.
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
With summer unofficially ending soon, its back to hectic work and school weeks for many. And sometimes it’s challenging to plan out your meals for the entire week. Or you get home late, tired and realize cereal or ordering pizza is the easiest option.
We’ve all been there, and I’ve found the best way to avoid this is by keeping a few healthy foods in my kitchen at all times that I can easily make into a more nutritious, cancer-protective meal. My staples aren’t always the same – what I have usually depends on the time of year or recent recipes I’ve tried. Right now, here are three of my staples:
1. Can of no-salt beans (garbanzo or black beans, usually) – Beans are a good source of protein and fiber and low in fat. They are also inexpensive and you don’t have to worry about them spoiling quickly. Use the beans on a salad or in place of meat in something like tacos.
2. Spinach – This is a good source of fiber and cancer-protective carotenoids. The nice thing about this leafy green is that you can eat it in a variety of ways – for instance, you can sauté it with a little olive oil, garlic and lemon juice or you can use it as your greens in a salad. If you find it starting to wilt, just cook it up! Continue reading