Tag Archives: diet tips

Spring Break Shape Up: 6 Tricks to Burn an Extra 200 Calories Per Day

6-tricks

Hey gang!  Spring is around the corner and I know that my inbox will be full of Spring time shape up requests.  To keep us ahead of the last minute slim down dash, here’s my 6 quick and easy tricks to burn excess calories.

First, remember that in order to truly lose 1 pound of body weight, we must burn 3,500 calories more than we consume.  Assuming your diet and activity remain consistent, adding these 6 tricks to your daily routine can  result in losing 1 additional pound every ~18 days.  Not bad huh?  Also be sure to note that these estimates are based on 150-160 pound person.  A lighter person will burn fewer calories and a heavier person will burn more.

Brit’s 6 Tricks

  1. Stand up at your desk instead of sitting.  Standing burns about 50 percent more calories than sitting.  Standing at your desk for 30 minutes will burn about 72 calories (2X the amount burned while sitting).  Standing instead of sitting for 30 minutes = 36 calories
  2. Learn to Laugh.  15 minutes of laughter = 20 calories
  3. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.  Climbing two flights of stairs, three times per day = 30 calories
  4. Dance in the mirror.  Dancing is a fun, self-confidence boosting calorie blaster.  So twerk a little something while getting dressed for work in the morning 🙂  Dancing for 10 minutes = 58 calories
  5. Stretch in front of the TV.  Doesn’t matter if you’re enjoying Scandal or the Bachelor, be sure to stretch instead of sit on the couch.  8-10 minutes of stretching = 31 calories
  6. Choose the parking spot farthest from your building entrance.  Walking for an extra 5 minutes = 25 calories

 Total = 200 additional calories burned! 

burn more calories

 

Why Dieting Doesn’t Work (and Why Intuitive Eating Does)

Most Diets DON’T Work

Before reading on, please check out this *fantastic* short video by neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt:

This post is a supplement to Dr. Aamodt’s message about the futility of dieting, from a dietitian’s perspective. I am going to take it one step further by discussing the 10 basic principles of intuitive eating, so that you can start implementing them in your own life!

*These principles have been adapted from the book Intuitive Eating, by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD and Elyse Resch, MS, RDN, CEDRD.

1. Reject the Diet Mentality. Hopefully the TED talk already convinced you why you should.

2. Honor Your Hunger. So often we berate ourselves for failing to “control” our hunger, when the reality is: hunger is not something that needs to be controlled. Hunger is like a signal; it’s our body’s way of communicating our nutritional needs to our brain. To best honor your hunger, consistently keep your body nourished by eating every 3-5 hours (a normal amount of time to start feeling hunger again between eating episodes). Suppressing your hunger cues or ignoring them only predisposes you to overeat later on.

3. Make Peace with Food. Contrary to popular belief, every food offers some type of nutritional values (yes, even cupcakes – carbohydrates are a much needed energy source!). It is essential to accept this fact before we can make peace with food. This is not an endorsement for eating an unbalanced diet, and of course, anything in excess will generally leave your body feeling not-so-great afterwards. But if you recognize that (what you may currently be labeling as) a “bad” or “forbidden” food can fit in to a healthy diet, then you won’t have to feel guilty or “out of control” when you have it.

4. Challenge the Food Police. The Food Police represent any rules you might have internalized about healthy eating or weight control. For example:

  • “I am only allowed to eat [insert random # of calories here], or
  • “I will get fat if I eat past [insert random time here],” or
  • “I should have a salad for lunch even though I’m really in the mood for [insert higher-calorie entrée here] right now.”

These are EXTERNAL and ARBITRARY rules that have nothing to do with what your body is asking for. Start noticing how your personal food police have been holding you hostage from a balanced approach to eating, and see if you can challenge them! Don’t worry, the only ticket you’ll get for doing this is a ticket to a healthier relationship with food :-).

5. Respect Your Fullness. This is probably one of the hardest skills to master, because fullness is not always a clear-cut sensation. The goal is to get to a place where you are comfortably full. That is, somewhere between “I definitely still need more” and “Woah, I’ve had enough.” Mindfulness is key here. You can do this by paying attention to the physical sensations in your stomach, how the food tastes and feels in your mouth, and your overall feeling of nourishment.

6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor. We might be physically very full but completely unsatisfied. Or, we might be just at the border of physically full, but highly satisfied. The point: deciding when to stop eating at a meal is not solely determined by physical fullness. Typically, when a meal is very satisfying, we need less food to honor our fullness. So, how do we make my meals more satisfying? By preparing or choosing food that is compatible with our tastes preferences, appealing visually, and set at an ideal temperature. Also, we can enhance satisfaction by making it a point to eat in (or create) a pleasurable ambience, and when possible, dining with a person (or people) whose company you enjoy.

7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food. So often, we use food to soothe, express, cope or repress feelings. While this is normal and somewhat inevitable from time to time, it’s no surprise that consistently using food to fill emotional needs can take a toll on health, and can also lead to feeling worse in the long run. Your best bet is to find more effective, non-food related ways of dealing with your feelings. If you find that you have trouble doing this on your own, there is no shame in reaching out for additional help from a trained professional.

8. Respect Your Body. Everyone is born with a naturally different body shape and size. As Dr. Aamodt points out, these traits are governed by genetics and your pre-determined set-range (aka your body weight thermostat). Very unfortunately, we live in a society that glorifies certain body types and imposes unrealistic expectations of beauty. Acknowledging this sad truth, while simultaneously accepting, respecting and appreciating your body, is a crucial element of intuitive eating. It’s nearly impossible to honor your body’s hunger and fullness cues if your mind is pre-occupied with fitting into some “ideal” size.

9. Exercise. But first, be honest with yourself about your motivation for exercising. Just like food, everyone’s tastes are different. Try to focus on the internal experience (i.e., how certain types of movement make you feel in your body, which types you genuinely enjoy, how they impact your energy levels, etc). Do something that appeals to you! Sign up for an Irish Jig class. Take a walk with your head phones and a playlist. Go for a long, sweaty run. Kick butt in a Turbo Kickboxing class (better yet, one of Brit’s!).  Zen out in yoga. Join an organized sports team. Or, come up with your own creative form of movement! The options are endless.

10. Honor Your Health. Consistently eating a balanced diet that contains a mixture of *mostly* whole grains, lean protein, whole fruits and veggies, and essential fats. Again, it’s your consistent intake that counts. Healthy eating and a healthy relationship with food are inherently fluid, flexible, and imperfect!

If you have questions about any of these principles, or how to apply them to you, feel free to comment below or email Lindsay directly through the contact page of her website, Lknutrition.com.

For more posts by FalafeLover, follow her new personal blog, Falafelover in Brooklyn.

Finding Balance: Dieting vs. Overindulging

Finding Your Food Consumption

Guest Post by Lindsay Krasna, GRIT by Brit Registered Dietitian

A client of mine that’s been struggling with her weight recently asked me how she can achieve a healthy body and optimize my health without “dieting” or “restricting.” She has been trying to understand the difference between these concepts for much of her life, and I believe she’s not alone in her confusion! In my work as a nutrition counselor, I come across this all this all the time. Our society’s diet-obsessed culture and conflicting media messages about nutrition make the answer to this question very unclear. Eggs are good for you one day, and bad the next. Low-fat is definitely the way to go one day, no wait, low-calorie, or low-carb the next. Don’t eat above your daily Weight Watchers points allotment, or else you’ll gain weight. Gosh, how discouraging this can be!

So really, how does one find a sustainable approach to eating well and maintaining a healthy body, without going crazy and depriving one’s self of their nutrient needs? How can one healthfully set boundaries around their intake of less nutrient dense foods while honoring their tastes and body’s nutritional requirements?

I believe the answer comes down to blending our natural, intuitive cues with our cerebral knowledge about nutrition.

Here are a few definitions to make these concepts more clear:

  • Dieting: consistently following a set of (oftentimes unscientifically based) rigid food rules or guidelines while ignoring your body’s intuitive cues and/or food preferences.
  • Overindulging: consistently eating beyond your body’s fullness cues for non-physical reasons, and/or consistently choosing foods that contribute limited nutrition value.
  • Healthy eating: consistently blending basic nutrition principles (cerebral knowledge) with your body’s intuitive hunger-fullness cues and taste preferences (internal knowledge).

Notice I use the term *consistently* in all 3 definitions. This is because it is totally normal and natural to under- or over-eat from time to time! Intake can vary in quality and quantity in the face of strong emotions, unplanned events, lack of time, special occasions, etc. As long as it’s not a regular reoccurrence. It’s also important not to overlook the fact that there are all kinds of environmental factors out there that can detract from the reliability of our internal cues, and interfere with our ability to eat mindfully and trust our bodies’ natural intuitive cues. Some examples include expanding portion sizes at restaurants, artificial sweeteners and food additives, eating on the go, technology distractions, and social pressures — to name a few). BUT, if you can learn to become more aware of these influences, you will have the power to offset them, and get back to listening to our body’s natural cues. A good nutritionist can help you work towards this.

Sounds simple, I know. And it really is. Not saying it’s easy though. It comes down to practice and trust. Trusting your body’s own internal regulation system is the key to good health. It IS possible to pay mind to good nutrition principles, while still honoring your body. I’ve seen it happen, and experienced it for myself. When you can start connecting your head with your stomach…. This is where the magic of real nutrition happens!

*Disclaimer: this message is targeted for a generally healthy individual. If you have a specific condition such as diabetes, kidney disease, a GI disease, etc., you will certainly need to follow more specified dietary rules to optimize your health. 

5 Day Diet FOCUS Plan

Hey Gang!  So I have a confession to make…

I have been eating TERRIBLY for the past 2 weeks.  Not sure what my problem is, but I’ve developed some nasty habits (i.e. adding croutons to salads, snacking on candy, too many simple carbs for breakfast – sticky buns anyone?)  The fact of the matter is, I’ve been making a lot of excuses to eat crappy food, and the excuses have got to stop – today!

While getting ready for my work week,  I put together this 5 day diet FOCUS plan.  Keep in mind that I’m a vegetarian, so if you are trying the plan for yourself and want to add some lean meat to one of the meals, by all means go for it!

Here’s my game plan for the next 5 days (Monday – Friday).  Each day, my diet will look like this:

  • Breakfast – 1 cup black coffee, 2 cups water, fresh fruit w/Greek yogurt OR w/ all natural peanut butter
  • Min morning snack – 1 serving of nuts or trail mix, 1 large glass of water
  • Lunch – Large veggie salad with oil/vinegar dressing (NO croutons, cheese, or meat), 1 large glass of water
  • Afternoon Snack – fresh fruit, 1-2 cups hot green tea
  • Dinner – 1 serving vegetarian protein (black beans, humus, lentils, etc.), 2 servings of veggies

I’ll be tweeting my progress all week, so follow me @GRITbyBrit – wish me luck and have wonderful week!

be stronger

Brit’s 5 Favorite Fit Snacks

The past couple of weeks I’ve gotten pretty sloppy with my diet :/  I’ve done a good job keeping up with my workouts, but my food choices could be much healthier.  This weekend I took mental note of my favorite “fit snacks” and am going to try to have them handy so that it’s easier for me to make healthy choices .  Keep in mind that I’m a new vegetarian (officially 2 months strong) so everything I picked is “veggie friendly.”  Here’s my list – enjoy!

1. All Natural Peanut Butter & Banana.  Either “straight up” or in frozen sandwiches like below.

pb & banana

2. Carrots & Hummus – not very exciting, but always tasty and gets me my daily dose of Vitamin A!

carrots & humms

3. Kale Chips – be careful about getting flavored ones though.  While they are tasty, they sneak in extra calories that can pile up…

kale chips

4. Apples dipped in Greek Yogurt – I like to sprinkle a little cinnamon on top or maybe drizzle some honey if I really have a sweet tooth.

apples & greek yogurt

5. Almonds and prunes – This combo is high in fiber and will clean you out real good 😉

almonds & prunes

What’s in your top 5 favorite fit snacks?

4-week tone up challenge: COMPLETE

“Done and Done!  The 4-week tone up challenge was truly a great mix up to my winter workout rut.  I appreciated having set days to work out and set days to recover.  Also, the structured workout plan gave me goals and checklists which were extremely helpful when fitting workouts into my busy schedule. Overall, I am loving the results so far and will continue to use Brit’s workouts ALL summer.  This is just the kick-start I needed to get beach body ready.  After only 4 weeks my “six-pack” is starting to show and my legs are significantly more toned!  I’m looking forward to some new workouts for my post Italian vacation in a couple of weeks to help me get back on track after a little R&R with a great friend (Brit).”   – Jan

Wanna try the challenge?  Missed one of Jan’s updates?

Photography provided by Anna Jane

5-minute Healthy Breakfast Ideas

The week before last I worked from home – yay!  On Thursday morning, I made and ate breakfast immediately after I woke up.  I was so proud, I took a pic of my breakfast and posted it on Twitter 🙂  This got me thinking, “I’m going to commit to eating breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up for the next 5 days.  Not only that, I’m going to take a picture of my meal and post it on Twitter for accountability.”  Well, turns out that what our parents say is TRUE, breakfast IS the most important meal of the day.  Studies show making breakfast a daily habit can help you lose weight – and keep it off.  Personally, I felt the following changes/benefits that week:

  • I wasn’t starving at lunch which helped me make better food choices
  • My digestion was more “regular” 😉
  • My energy level was higher during the day, especial during my workouts
  • I felt lighter and leaner

Based on my fitness experience and nutrition knowledge, I have created a formula for what I consider to be a complete “GRITTY” breakfast:

GRITTY Breakfast = complex carb (whole grains and/or fruit) + protein + KICK  

FYI – a “KICK” is little bit of caffeine to get my body going full speed. Remember all the benefits of Coffee that we learned about earlier?

Below, are pics of all of  my breakfast meals that week.  All were prepared in less than 5 minutes, making them excellent options for those of you rushing to work in the morning.  Try out the breakfast challenge for yourself.  You may just take on a new healthy habit!

Thursday

Greek yogurt + mixed berries + 1 crumbled crunchy granola bar + hot green tea

Friday

Quaker instant oatmeal + 1 large orange + black coffee

Saturday

1 Van’s whole wheat waffle (comes frozen, just put in toaster) + peanut butter + strawberries + hot green tea

Sunday

2 crunchy granola bars topped w/peanut butter + 1 apple + hot green tea

Monday (up in the air, breakfast at the airport before a 6am flight…the life of a consultant)

2 small apples + 1 small bag of almonds (not pictured) + black coffee