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Monday, December 13, 2010

Who do you ask?

We are not born knowing what to do.  We learn from those around us, and let's face it that isn't always a good thing.  In general people learn to eat from their parents, habits and patterns that were established while growing up.  Where did their parents learn to eat? Well, from their parents....and on and on and on.  This may not have been such an issue 70 years ago, however with the changing of family dynamics and the advent of convenience foods, things have changed.  And not for the better. 

So where does that leave you? Who do you ask? This question is sometimes easier to answer if we first answer: "Who NOT to ask?"  Number one on my list would be your doctor. Medical doctors (especially GP's) spend anywhere from as little as 2 hours to maybe 2 days on nutrition in medical school.  Most of their education is geared towards dealing with people that have a disease- disease management. Not prevention, not health, not health promotion.  Pharmacology, pathology not nutrition.  Are doctors amazing at what they do? Sure. But nutrition is NOT their area of expertise.  Are there exceptions? Of course there always are, but what does your doctor look like? Overweight, out of shape? And they are going to tell YOU how to lose weight and be healthy??!! To me that is like getting your hair cut from a stylist with REALLY BAD hair!  (only  a thousand times more dangerous since we are talking about your health and not your hair!!!) Yes, I am married to a doctor.  Thankfully he is more the exception than the rule. He is just as passionate about nutrition as I am, following a nutrition plan that brings the exact results he is looking for and following a training plan that does the same.

Speaking of training, the next person you may not want to ask is your personal trainer.  There, I said it.  Yes, I AM a personal trainer.  With a Master's degree in Health Promotion and Education (focus physical activity and nutrition), CISSN, 13 years personal training experience, 15 years of physique competitions (amateur and professional level) and 8 years as a GNC sponsored athlete under my belt I am actually quite knowledgeable in the areas of nutrition and supplementation.  I am also quite familiar with the training and educating of personal trainers.  Most trainers know little about nutrition as they are far more educated in their area of expertise:training- and the acute variables that go along with that...not nutrition.  Again, just like my husband, there are always exceptions check for education, certifications, and experience.

So who else might you find on my list of people not to ask? Registered dietitians.  Yep, thought I heard a few gasps out there..again, there are ALWAYS exceptions.  It has been my experience that most RD's (unless specifically sports trained) have tremendous knowledge regarding clinical settings, acute illness and disease management.  These settings are quite different from sports performance as well as physique improvement.  In addition,  RD's (and doctors too) tend to also advocate things that I would not even consider food. (We will get into that later, I promise)  

No doubt this post is going to ruffle some feathers, but it needed to be said.  Not all doctors, personal trainers or RD's are clueless.  Just be sure yours isn't before you blindly follow their advice.

I get it, you want the answers..but asking someone that doesn't have them is just plain silly.  Remember the analogy of the task at work??? Same thing!!! Taking steps just to take them is a sure way to end up frustrated.

Well, you are still here so I'm assuming you are interested in what advice I have for you regarding your food log and your goals. So let's get to up, what your breakfast is doing for you (or better yet, what it is doing TO you) and what you SHOULD be eating.

For now- asking the RIGHT person = Applause!!!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What's in your log?

Ok, so it has been a few days...have you completed your task?  Do you have your food log nearby? GREAT! Let's take a look at it and let's start at the top- breakfast.  I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that you have one of the following things listed for your breakfast:
1. Nothing
2. Coffee
3. Coffee and bagel (or other pastry probably from your local coffee shop)
4. Boxed cereal (that you only keep in the house because of the kids*cough, cough*)
oh, and lets' not forget the orange juice.

What is next? Snacks, nahhhh who needs 'em. Just lunch, or maybe not.  I'm guessing that most of you worked through lunch without eating, or if you were really lucky one of your co-workers picked up take out from a nearby restaurant/sub shop. Or maybe, just maybe you had a microwaveable entree.

Afternoon snack? Nahhh, no time- just a soda please..oh and maybe some candy from the jar on your office mate's desk.

Dinner?  I'm going to guess that most of you had a large meal, if not the largest all day, most likely consisting of something that was prepared rather quickly - carefully chosen from the thousands of convenience foods available to us in the grocery store. Topping it all of with either a 100 calorie snack pack of some type of 'cookie' or low-fat/fat-free ice cream.

How did I do? Probably not too far off, although there are always outliers...  This is what the typical food intake of a person that says "I eat pretty healthy", or "I don't eat bad at all" would look like. Well, let's take a little deeper look here.  Think back to the analogy used about completing tasks at work.  When you are taking the next step in a project you are usually fairly certain that the next step is the CORRECT step.  How do you KNOW  if it was the correct step? Well, it leads you in the direction that you want to go..or maybe even gets you to the end result - completion of the task. SUCCESS!! It isn't rocket science.  What if you are unsure about the next step?  What if the step you took didn't seem to get you where you thought it would?  No brainer-you generally ask the advice of someone who has either completed this same task before, or someone that may have more knowledge in the area you are working.

So I ask are your steps (food/meals) helping you to accomplish your task (improved health, weight loss, physique changes, improved sports performance)? If the answer is "No", then you are not taking the right steps. OR better yet, you ARE taking the right steps--they just are not the steps that lead to the end result you are looking for.  They are exactly the right steps to get you 180 degrees from where you wanted to go.  Good news though, thanks to your food log at least now you are aware of the steps that you are taking.  You can't change anything until you know what you are doing.  So it is time to face the facts- the steps you are taking are NOT getting you where you want to go and you are unsure what steps will take you there.  Admitting it is always the first step.  Now ask for help

Review your log,  admit it isn't working,  ask for help = APPLAUSE

Sunday, December 5, 2010

So what ARE you eating?

 Have you ever been working on a project for school or work and forgotten what steps you had already completed or what you needed to do next?   Have you ever jumped in your car and headed to work only to realize that you don't know how to get there?  Have you ever been asked what you ate for breakfast, only to find that you couldn't recall? If you are like most, you are probably laughing thinking the first two questions I asked were ridiculous, and found yourself laughing at the third because I hit the nail on the head.  Well, you certainly aren't alone.  Many people, if not most people I talk to cannot recall the foods or meals they ate the prior day, never mind the breakfast they ate that morning yet have little trouble if ANY remembering how to arrive at work without getting lost and exactly how to pick up right where they left off in their projects.  Working in the health and fitness industry where a large percentage of the population is focused on weight loss, I find this quite interesting.

Losing weight and improving your health does NOT happen without some planning.  It is a project, a task, much like anything else.  Just as you would not show up to work expecting tasks to just complete themselves, you should not expect your weight loss to just happen.  Being aware of exactly what you put into your mouth is the first step you must take.  I spent almost every day for over 2 years logging all of my food and meals-what time it was, what I ate and how much I ate .  Taking the time to do this after each meal made brought a certain awareness and it wasn't long before I could recall at the end of each day exactly what I had eaten and log it all at one time. I had become more present in each of my meal times and was no longer "just eating".  I was remembering each step that I was taking on my way to becoming a healthier and more fit person.  That was MY project.  Do I still log my meals? No, generally not.  The years I spent doing so has ingrained in me the mindfulness and awareness that is required to accomplish my task-becoming and remaining healthy.

Aiming for weight loss or improving your health? If you are reading this blog, then the answer must be "YES!".  Take the first step- a three day food log.  Write it all down and meet me back here in a few days.  We'll take an in depth look at what you found.

Food logging= Applause

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Welcome to my world..

Welcome to my world- one filled with a desire to spread the truth about nutrition, cut through marketing hype, dispel myths and make the world a healthier place one thought at a time, one person at a time.
As topics are covered, they will either come with applause or admonitions, yea or nay, continue or stop.

So where to start? I am often asked about this supplement or that 'new magical' ingredient or nutrient. Should I take it? Will it help me to lose weight? Gain muscle? Grow more hair? Before I can even answer any of those questions we have to strip it down and head WAYYYYY back to the beginning.  What are you EATING?? No supplement, ingredient or micronutrient will be able to fix what is wrong with your diet.  And NO, diet does NOT mean what (insert name here) plan you are following this week or the new fad on the cover of this week's hot magazine. Diet means what you are eating...what your diet is comprised of- your nutritional intake is. So there you go...let's start with that.  What ARE you eating????