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Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

PostHeaderIcon The Best Diet for You

There are so many diets out there that the general public is confused as to what they should and shouldn’t eat. What many don’t realize is that some diets are geared to certain types of people. For example, an endurance athlete may have completely different dietary needs as a sedentary person with diabetes. Someone training to gain large amounts of muscle may not have the same nutritional needs as  someone who is trying to lose weight. To help clear up this confusion, I’ve listed some popular diets below and showed which diet works best for which type of person. These are not fad diets, but the most researched and recommended diets in the medical literature.

Preventing Hi Blood Pressure- Dash

DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. This diet consist of low salt intake, low saturated fat, cholesterol and total fat. The staples are fruits, vegetables, and low fat dairy products. Fish, lean poultry, nuts, unsaturated fats and whole grains are encouraged. Red meat, sweets and added sugars are discouraged. this eating plan was developed to reduce blood pressure but studies suggest that it may also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and bad cholesterol.

Weight Reduction, Reversing Overweight/Obesity- Moderate Energy Restriction /Low Energy-Dense

Moderate energy restriction diets are designed to help people lose weight in the most healthy way possible. They are designed to help people lose weight without sacrificing their metabolism and have been scientifically shown to be more successful in long term weight loss in active individuals than starvation or very low calorie diets. This diet consists of creating an energy deficit through diet and/or exercise. For example, if you burn an extra 300 calories a day and eat 300 calories less each day, this is a deficit of 600 calories a day. Since you must burn 3500 calories to burn a pound of fat, it would take you about 6 days to lose one pound. Since research has shown that losing 1-2 pounds a week on a moderate energy restriction diet is the safest way to lose weight without sacrificing your metabolism, I recommend this method of weight loss. Remember that calories count. If you change what you eat, but you are still consuming the same amount of calories, you will not lose weight. Extremely low calorie or starvation diets are not recommended without the supervision of a doctor or registered dietician due to the risk of lowered metabolism, loss of muscle, bone, organ tissue; and the risk of death.

For more information on why not to ruin your metabolism while dieting, check out this link:

Dieting too much? You could be hurting your metabolism

For more information on how to count calories, check out this link:

How many calories did I just burn?

If the thought of counting calories is daunting for you,  low energy-dense diets are recommended for people who want to lose weight without counting calories. Research shows that many have been successful at losing weight by making it a habit to eat foods that have less calories such as getting their carbs from whole grains instead of processed grains or from beans, whole fruits and vegetables. Make it a point to make your meat lean such as eating egg whites, poultry and low or non fat dairy products. Aim to eat foods higher in water and fiber and lower in fat as water and fiber help you feel full and contain no calories. Eating a diet with less fat has been proven to help people lose weight faster. Fruit juice and soda is not recommended for their high calorie content but vegetables, salads, broth based soups and unprocessed foods are encouraged.

For more information on switching to a more energy-dense diet, check out this link:

The Switch Trick: How to lose weight without counting calories

 

Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and Overall Longevity- Mediterranean/Vegetarian/Vegan/DASH

The Mediterranean diet has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease and cancer. Studies have shown that people on this diet tend to live longer lives. This diet is named after the Mediterranean as people in the Greek island of Crete are known for their health and longevity. This diet consist of lots of Vegetables (other than potatoes), 4 or more servings a day of fruits and vegetables, some healthy servings of beans and/or nuts a few times a week,  fish at least twice a week and replace red meat with lean poultry. Also, replace butter which is rich in saturated fat with cholesterol lowering vegetable oils such as olive oil.

Vegetarians and vegans tend to have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease due to the fact that meat products contain mostly saturated fats. Cutting out meat products can help reduce the risk of high cholesterol or triglycerides in the blood which can lead to heart disease.  Talk to your doctor about taking a vitamin B 12 supplement as this vitamin is only found in animal products. Vegans need to be aware of how they combine foods to insure they get all essential amino acids which are easily found in meats but in varying amounts in vegetable proteins. Food combinations such as whole grain rice and beans can provide a full spectrum of amino acids. Vegetable sources of protein that contain all essential amino acids are soy, chia seeds and quinoa. Vegetarianism is also better for the environment but do remember that eating nothing but junk food such as pastries, deep fried foods and processed carbs is still unhealthy even though these foods do not contain animal products.

Balanced diet, healthy food concept

Alzheimers Prevention- The MIND Diet

New research on Alzheimers disease risk has shown that dietary patterns play a large role in preventing the disease. The new MIND diet was developed to educate people on what to eat to keep the mind healthy. This consists of a mix of the DASH diet for hypertension, which I mentioned above and the Mediterranean diet for longevity and healthy heart health, also mentioned above. However, instead of just recommending many fruits and vegetables, the MIND recommends specific fruits and vegetables which have been clinically proven to help keep the brain healthy such as leafy greens and and blueberries. Nuts are encouraged for their brain healthy fats, as is olive oil and fish. Saturated fats and trans fat are discouraged due to their inflammatory effects. As a matter of fact, all of the diets listed in this blog discourage saturated fats and trans fats. There is a common theme, I believe, that what’s good for the heart is also good for the brain.

Athletes-High carbs/High Protein/Nutritional Timing

Athletes metabolize glucose and protein differently from sedentary people. Since glycogen stores are depleted quickly in athletes, they should eat carbs often in order to maximize performance. Also, athletes tend to have as much as or more than twice as many needs for B vitamins and protein than a sedentary person. This is very general as there are many different kinds of athletes. Power athletes and body builders require the most amounts of protein. Endurance athletes require more protein but not as much as body builders. It is estimated that one must consume 1000 to 3500 calories to gain one pound of muscle so body builders need to consume extra calories as well. Also, performance is enhanced when athletes time their nutritional intake. For example, athletes who eat a large amount of carbs and protein as soon after a workout as possible are more likely to be less sore the next day. Athletes also need to re-fuel for their next training session or competition which is also why eating the most right after a workout and often during the day is so important.

Food Sensitivities and Allergens -Gluten Free/Dairy Free/Allergen Free

Its been well known that Celiac disease (a reaction of the gastrointestinal system when exposed to gluten and gliadin which is a component of wheat and other grains) is a good reason to avoid gluten. There has been some mounting evidence that shows that some people may also have sensitivities to digesting gluten. If you suspect a gluten sensitivity, check with your doctor and have him/her test you for celiac disease and other sensitivities. Remember that whole grains are a source of B vitamins and fiber and most grains such as wheat, barley and Rye contain gluten. One Swedish study showed that people who cut out gluten for 10 years had low levels of B-6 and folate. A U.S survey found that half of people on gluten free diets had inadequate fiber, iron and calcium intake. Some natural gluten free foods that contain whole grains include rice, corn, millet and buckwheat. It is recommended that you check with a doctor or registered dietician if you suspect gluten sensitivity. People who have no sensitivities to gluten need not cut it from their diet.

The same thing goes for dairy free diets. Some people suffer dairy sensitivities such as lactose intolerance which makes the digestion of dairy difficult. Others suffer from allergies that cause reactions such as hives, gastrointestinal distress or anaphylactic shock. These people should avoid dairy and can get their calcium requirements from calcium fortified grains or juice. When taking a calcium supplement, keep in mind that taking above 50% of the recommended daily allowance is too much for the body to digest all at once. Try to get a little bit of calcium throughout the day. Avoid soda because the high levels of phosphorus in the soda can interfere with proper calcium absorption and compliment calcium intake with foods rich in magnesium such as nuts, seeds and leafy greens.

If you suspect any kind of food allergy, have yourself tested by a doctor so you know exactly which foods to avoid. While cutting out certain foods may be necessary for someone with allergies or sensitivities, eating a diet rich in variety is encourage in order to satisfy our nutritional intake so I don’t advise people to cut out whole foods unless necessary.

Foods we should all cut down on are processed foods, foods with added sugar, deep fried foods, trans fat and saturated fat.

 

PostHeaderIcon The Switch Trick: How to Lose Weight Without Counting Calories

Happy New Year everyone!

As I work with people, I realize how difficult it is for some to keep track of how many calories they consume so I have been trying to think of a simpler approach to weight loss. I came up with this method which is actually based on many studies on habit change and what we know about food.

I call this The Switch Trick:

I have always said that calories count and that if weight loss is your goal, you must burn more calories than you consume, but measuring calories can be a chore so here are some mind tricks to help you get around that. I actually use this approach myself and it has helped me lose weight in the past and maintain it every since.

Habit Change: The most comprehensive research on habit change teaches that you can’t just stop doing something that is a long standing habit. You must replace that habit with something else and believe in your ability to change. This can be done with food. For example, you have gained weight this year because you got into the habit of eating cookies around 2pm. Do the switch trick. Replace the jar of cookies with a basket of apples or any other snack that has less calories than the cookies such as low fat string cheese, carrots, celery, non-fat yogurt, non-fat turkey meat, etc. At first, you will crave the cookies but over time, your body will adapt to the new habit. As a result, you will lose weight because you are consuming less calories.

Sometimes we gain weight because we eat when stressed. We have candy bars on our office desk. Replace them with peaches or anything that is healthier and has less calories. Sometimes we get emotional and buy ice cream. Replace it with low fat frozen yogurt. Sometimes we go for a drive and grab a high calorie Frappuccino. Go for a walk instead and get some iced green tea. As hard as it is to lose weight, I’ve seen many people succeed by replacing many unhealthy habits such as drinking alcohol and binge eating with starting an exercise program. After some time, exercise becomes addicting but its a healthy addiction. Find something that suites your personality and that you think is fun and replace unhealthy habits with this new hobby.

Many studies have shown that foods high in fiber, protein and water help us feel fuller. These foods include fruits, vegetables, non-fat lean meats, non-fat greek yogurt (greek yogurt contains more protein than regular yogurt), and whole grains. Studies have shown that only 5% of adults consume the recommended allowance of fiber anyway and this nutrient is vital in helping us feel satiated, keeping down cholesterol levels, aiding in digestion and feeding probiotic bacteria necessary in fighting disease.

Also, replace fruit juice or soda with water or whole fruits. Whole fruits have a lower glycemic index (the sugars in them are burned more gradually because the fiber in the fruit helps to regulate them). The sugar in fruit juice can spike blood sugar levels. Plus, the fiber in whole fruits contains more nutrients and will help you feel fuller than simply drinking juice.

When eating out, order something different. Replace pan fried foods with grilled or roasted foods. Replace creamy sauces with low fat tomato sauces. Replace french fries with a salad, white rice with brown or a bread roll with a bowl of sweet fruit. Most restaurants are happy to accommodate

Now here is the hard part: Write down the new foods on your grocery list and make sure you buy them instead of the old ones.

For more information on nutrition, check out these nutrition blogs:

NUTRITION BLOGS

I’ll be doing a nutrition for weight lost seminar on February 4. For more information, click here:

SPECIAL EVENTS

PostHeaderIcon Don’t be Fooled by Labels

I am pleased to announce that I have passed my exams and am now a certified fitness nutritionist specialist! I hope you don’t mind if I start posting more blogs on nutrition as well as exercise and yoga. Proper diet and exercise go together and it is not possible to be truly fit and healthy without a combination of both.

That being said, there is a lot of information about food  that is not based on sound scientific principles and they are mostly shared with the intent to sell a particular supplement or diet. Some dietary information is shared because it worked for one particular person but it may not necessarily be the right diet for other types of people. Since I have no other motive than to help people reach their goals in the most healthy way possible, I hope to give you the most unbiased information on nutrition I can.

I’m writing this post on reading labels because nutrition and food labels can be very misleading and if you aren’t an expert on the subject, you are likely to garner the wrong information from them. Also, studies have shown that many people do not reach their goals simply because they don’t know what they’re doing. They might think they are eating something that is good for them when it actually is not. Proper education on what is in the food you buy is integral to success.

For example, the following illustration shows a package of ground beef that is only 20% fat. This may not seem like a lot until you realize that the percentage is not based on calories but on weight. If you look at the part of the label that says “calories that come from fat” you see that 270 of the calories comes from fat while the entire serving has a total of 290 calories. This pound of beef is not lean at all!

I took this picture at the grocery store…..

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Here are more facts to consider when reading food labels

Health Claims:

Many labels have large print that says they are “heart healthy” or “trans fat free” or “high in calcium” or some other vitamin or nutrient. These labels can be very confusing or misleading, making us believe that an item is very healthy when it may not be. This was brought to to the attention of the food and nutrition board in 2011 when food such as sweetened cereal, macaroni and cheese and ice cream had a smart choice label on it which was supposed to mean that the food was healthy for the heart. More legislation is trying to be passed to make food packaging more honest but it is an on going process. The best way of knowing if what you are eating is healthy is to get educated on proper diet and learn to read the nutrition section of the label and the ingredients. Do not judge a food by the front of its label.

Trans Fats:

Another example of mislabeling is trans fat. A label might say “free of trans fat” when in fact, it does contain trans fat or hydrogenated oils. The reason the food might claim to be trans fat free is because, by law, they only have to reveal a certain amount of trans fat on the label. If its less than .5 grams, the company can get away with saying that it is trans fat free. It may not show up in the nutrition label but it will be on the ingredients list. Trans fat and hydrogenated fats or oils are the same thing. They are the least healthy form of processed fat and can contribute to coronary heart disease, damaged blood vessels and high cholesterol. Often a label will say trans fat free, when it does contain hydrogenated oils in the ingredient list so watch out for this trick.

Whole Grains:

Also look out for labels that claim to be “whole grain.” A package may say this on the front of the label but when you look at the nutrition label, you might find that the fiber content is actually quite low. Look at the ingredients list. The most ingredients are always listed first and the minor ingredients are listed last. If the first ingredient is “whole grain” then you are getting just that. However, if the first ingredient is enriched white flour or something else and the whole grain is farther along, listed after white flour and other sugars, then you probably aren’t getting as much whole grain as you think you are.

Amounts Per Serving:

When looking at a nutrition label, look at the “amounts per serving” first. You might choose a box of crackers have very few calories but then you find out that one serving is only 2 crackers when you usually eat 10 crackers for each serving. This changes things. When comparing labels, always keep in mind how much a serving is because one brand might have 10 ounces as a serving while another has 20 ounces.

Fat Free:

Another thing to watch is when one unwanted ingredient replaces another. Say, you are on a low calorie diet and you see a package that is “fat free,” you might think that package has less calories. However, when I read labels, I often find that the fat free packages contain more sugar in them. Because of the added sugar, the calorie content does not change. In general, if the food is processed or cooked with many ingredients  like a box of pastries, bread, soy milk etc., extra sugar may be added if the fat has been taken out. However, if you are buying whole foods such as meats or milk, the fat is skimmed off without sugar additives. Always read the nutrition label and ingredients list just to be sure.

Rich in Vitamin Claims:

Many times a product might claim to be rich in a certain vitamin. For example, a cereal box might claim to be rich in vitamin D but when you compare nutrition labels, you learn that all products of cereal have the same amount of vitamin D added to their product. Many advertisers will pick out a fact that is true for all products, but make it seem like they are the only product that carries it.

This illustration is taken from the Ace Fitness Nutrition Manual, 2013

 

nutrition labels 001

PostHeaderIcon Dieting Too Much? You Could Be Hurting More Than Your Metabolism

If you’ve ever dieted properly through the education of a dietitian, a support group such as weight watchers or through an online app that calculates your calories for you such as myfitnesspal.com, you may already understand that there is a certain amount of calories you need to eat everyday in order to maintain your weight. There is also a certain amount of calories you need in order to fuel basic functions other than exercising such as digestion, hormonal activities, brain and neurological activity, blood circulation etc. For the average person, about 70% of the calories we burn goes to just keeping us alive and healthy. The rest we burn by doing everyday activities or exercise. We refer to this base caloric number as the resting metabolic rate (RMR)

You can calculate your RMR by going to this link below and entering your height and weight:

http://walking.about.com/cs/calories/l/blcalcalc.htm

This calculates the amount of calories you need in order to maintain weight. If you cut out 300 to 500 of these calories per day or burn this amount through exercise, you can burn one to two lbs. a week. However, if you eat less than about 1200 calories a day for the average person, you may be taking away calories needed to keep you healthy. Of course, everyone is different and your doctor or dietitian should be able to determine what is best for you.

It’s important to note that the math used to calculate the average RMR for your height and weight is for most healthy people. It is not all together accurate. There are many people who’s RMRs are lower than this which means they have to eat even less and burn more calories in order to lose and maintain weight. These people will say they have “low metabolisms” and will say things like, “why is it some people can eat a sandwich and stay slim but if I so much as eat a slice of bread, I will gain weight?” This phenomenon usually happens to people who have dieted too often or incorrectly. They have restricted their caloric intake so much that their body slows down its use of energy. In order for them to maintain body weight, they have to eat even less than the average person.

A famous study done in 1994 by Donelly and colleagues illustrates this. Sedentary women were given only 520 kcal/day for a 12 week period. They were divided into a control group and different exercise groups. While they all lost weight, all of their RMR went down. The ones who exercised the most had the greatest decrease of RMR (down to 240 kcal/day, which represented a 13.5% decrease) This means that this group of women will now have to eat 240 less calories a day or burn 240 calories more with exercise just to maintain their weight than they did before this extreme diet.

This is the yo-yo dieter’s problem and why some people lose a lot of weight only to gain back more in the long run. This is also why most educated professionals will recommend reducing only 300-500 calories a day and no more than that. This is why we say that one to two pounds a week of weight loss is reasonable and why ethically minded professionals will not ask you to lose more weight or reduce more calories than this. But there is more.

After being starved for so long, the body will hold on to fat as a means of storage so when the starved subject does lose weight, much of it will be in the form of bone and muscle. This can lead to osteoporosis which is common in anorexic women. This also leads to more sports injuries and poor sports and exercise performance. So even though a person might lift weights, lack of enough protein and other nutrients fails to build the kind of muscle that raises our metabolism.

Furthermore, stress caused by over exercise and starvation can lead to amenorrhea or menstrual disorders which is a big problem in teenage athletic females. Without the proper hormonal balance needed from getting adequate nutritional intake, muscle and bone health weakens even more because the hormones are very important in regulating the functions that keep our bones and muscles strong.

Again, there are exceptions. If a person is severely obese, they may be able to lose more weight faster. But there comes a time when a person may keep losing fat, long after they have reached the state of having a healthy BMI. I have been in this situation. When I lost weight as a teen, I continued to do so and suffered from lowered metabolism and amenorrhea. This was partly due to incorrect education and body image. I made up for this later on in life, by getting educated and raising my metabolism by eating more healthy foods at the right times.

You can read more about my personal experiences with this in my blog:

How to Raise Your Metabolism (and keep the weight off for life)

As I study for my sports nutrition certification, I’m a saddened by the statistics of young female athletes who sabotage themselves with self starvation and it makes me wonder what we value as a society when our youth values deprivation over health. Realizing that I was once one of those unreported, malnourished kids makes me realize that these statistics are under reported and that there are more self starved people than that. I just want to say that if you are not menstruating properly, if you are not eating enough and wondering why you aren’t losing weight, if you are getting dizzy and nauseous during your workouts due to lack of nutrition, please get professional help. Beauty is more than just being skinny. Beauty comes from confidence, health and values that go beyond what we think we should look like. For this upcoming New Year, my wish is for people to aim for being stronger, more capable individuals who aren’t malnourished due to lack of education and poor body image.

PostHeaderIcon A Breakdown of Popular Diets from a Registered Dietician’s Perspective

Sona Donayan MS, RD is a registered dietitian who has been teaching at Glendale Community College and Calstate Northridge for last ten years while doing  outpatient nutrition consulting. She recently joined the food service management company Sodexo as a patient services manager at Huntington Memorial Hospital.

I interviewed her so that my followers can get expert advice on things to consider when starting a dieting plan. Sona’s knowledge is vital when considering what kind of diet program to use if you plan to lose weight, especially if you wish to make weight loss a permanent goal that doesn’t jeopardize your health.

Sona is also my local hero of the month. If you want to learn how she won her battle with obesity and cancer, check out this link:

http://heroestraining.com/?page_id=35

Rhea: What is the difference between going to a registered dietitian and nutritionist?

Sona: Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. A registered dietitian (RD) has a minimum of bachelors, and often a master’s degree and a one year of internship and is registered with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. RDs have to keep up their continuing education in medical nutrition therapy. They work with prevention or treatment of disease with nutrition intervention. For example: Diabetic patients, stroke patients etc… They work in hospitals and other health care settings.

Rhea: What are the pros and cons of most popular diets, such as Atkins, the Zone, etc?

Sona: These diets “demonize” a particular food group or nutrient such as carbohydrates. But the actual goal is to cut back on calories which translates into weight loss. Modern nutrition science believes that all food groups contribute to your nutritional health.

The Atkins diet believes in eliminating carbs and emphasizing protein. It tricks the body into using stored fat as fuel in the form of ketones. Ketones are byproducts of fat metabolism in the absence of carbohydrates.  On the first day on the diet, you might have some reserves of carbs which you use up. The next day, you start mobilizing fat from stores, turning it into ketones and using it as fuel. It works in the short term.

However, you are changing your metabolic reactions and messing with nature. You are not meant to burn calories this way. In the long term, if you keep your carb intake below a certain threshold, you remain in a state of ketosis. It is very much like being in starvation mode. At the same time, protein coming from your organs or muscles is sacrificed. Going on an Atkins diet while training is against medical advice because you weaken your muscle mass and a lack of carbs will ruin athletic performance. In the absence of carbs in your diet, you will quickly run out of fuel.

Rhea: I see that happen in my classes when someone is on a low carb diet. They have to stop because they get nauseous or dizzy. Can you explain what ketosis is?

Sona: There are three ketone bodies. Two are acids and they build up in your blood and are eventually cleared by the kidneys. The third ketone is acetone, the same chemical found in nail polish remover. Someone on a diet with very low carb intake is at risk of reaching a state of acidosis where the blood PH level shifts into an acid state. You can die from this or your kidneys can shut down. You can tell if someone is in ketosis when you smell acetone in their urine or in their breath. Most people get off the Atkins diet and they recover and restore kidney function but they start to gain the weight back. So they go back to it and it becomes an up and down cycle.  In the long term, people tend to go up and down and end up where they were in the beginning.

Rhea: I once heard that this diet is used by athletes or models that need to lose weight fast because it causes fast water loss

Sona: When you stop eating carbohydrates, you might see rapid weight loss which is from water in your muscles that is usually stored with the glycogen. After the first day, glycogen in muscle breaks down and turns into blood sugar. The water that is part of the glycogen is eliminated, thus the sudden weight drop. What you lost is not fat, just water.

Rhea: What do you think of popular cleanses that sell herbs and other supplements for people to take while they fast?

Sona: The food and drug administration (FDA) polices these practices. Unlike medications, FDA’s regulations on supplements are very “loose” and often do a disservice to consumers instead of protecting them.  Basically, it comes down to “If no one has died from a supplement or a non conventional therapy, FDA allows it to be on the market. They will investigate and possibly pull a product off the market if an adverse effect is reported. Proponents of supplements and therapies such as “colon cleansing”, etc claim that they are FDA approved just because FDA has not banned it yet.  The FDA is not endorsing it. It is not saying “do this. It works.” They are just saying that you are free to do it at your own risk.

The insides of your body are not dirty. Our body cleanses itself fine. If we eat enough fiber and water, our body will stay “clean”. If we eat junk, our gut will not perform well. That doesn’t mean we have to “cleanse”. We just have to fix our diet.

Rhea: What would you say to people who wish to go on a cleanse in order to lose weight?

Sona: If cleansing works and your large intestines empties your stool, it won’t make you lose fat. Fat is all over your body. It is not in your colon. You might lose some water weight or a pound of weight from your stools but that doesn’t mean you will take off the fat.

Drinking herbs and fasting has not been proven to kill you but it hasn’t been proven to work either.  If you do this today, what about tomorrow? In the long run, you will be severely malnourished.  If you can’t keep up what you have started, you will gain the weight back. Instead, have a long term plan for not just weight loss but, also, maintenance in the future.

Rhea: What about dieting programs such as Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig or Lindora?

Sona: Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers emphasize food groups with balance and variety. Indirectly, they teach you to eat better by using points or selling pre-packaged food. There is some merit in these programs but the question still remains, can you stay on this diet and keep it up in your own world? What happens when you run out of money? Can you keep it up on your own? If you go on a diet several times, you are probably wasting your money. If you have to go back on it, because after you stopped the diet you regained the weight,  then whatever you are doing IS NOT WORKING.

Lindora is similar to Atkins in terms of protein emphasis and carbohydrate reduction, but you are medically monitored.  I still don’t recommend it if you can’t sustain your way of eating over a lifetime. Can you be on Lindora for life? What happens when you get off of it?

Rhea: What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start a diet program?

Sona: Any diet you get on, you have to get off in the end. That’s a bad idea. Instead, make small, incremental, radical but permanent changes in your food and activity habits. These changes have to be incorporated into your lifestyle. You have to like to do them and they have to become second nature to you.  Take small steps.

Plan ahead what you are going to eat. If you wake up in the morning but you have not shopped the day before for healthy foods and you only have junk food in your fridge, you can’t eat healthy. If you wait till you are starving, you will overeat or eat whatever you see.

Always eat breakfast. Always include some of the major nutrients: complex carbs, healthy fats, protein, vitamins and minerals. Breakfast will fuel you for the rest of your day. . Examples of a healthy breakfast: Egg whites, whole grain bread and yogurt, or a cup of fruit, yogurt, peanut butter on whole grain bread. These examples incorporate all food groups.

Want a permanent change?  Plan meals with a shopping list. Have snacks ready to go. Maybe cook some chicken breast over the weekend and have it ready to go so you aren’t stranded and left to resort to high calorie food. Write down what, when and how much y you eat in a food diary for a week, then look over your notes to get some clues about your own ways around food so you can fix your mistakes Use the USDA 2010 Dietary Guidelines and the “My Plate” system for guidance on proper food selections and portion sizes for a healthy diet. And, for expert advice, find a registered dietitian (RD). To find one in your area, or for additional reliable nutrition information, you can use www.eatright.org, the official site of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

If you have any questions for Sona, you can email her at: sonamsrd@aol.com