Tag Archives: healthy habits

Positive Nutrition

My husband recently told me about how a popular new verb is “to adult”. Our family is undergoing a lot of changes in the next few months, and I will admit to sometimes wondering when an adult will step in and tell me what to do. Then I remember I am the adult. Scary. I guess I always imagined as an adult I would have all the answers. I would know the do’s and don’ts. When I am “adulting”, I find myself saying “no”to my toddler a lot, which isn’t fun.

Turns out, saying “no” is also not very effective when it comes to teaching people about nutrition. A recent study looked at the combined data from 43 previous studies on nutrition messaging. The combined results suggest that negative nutrition messages don’t work well in changing behaviors but positive messages do.

How do you apply this? If you are talking to others about nutrition, focus more on the good things they are eating than the bad. For example, rather than criticize your spouse for eating too many hamburgers, praise them for choosing a salad or a side of vegetables. For self-talk, focus on the good things you are doing in your diet rather than harping on yourself for any side steps.

Being positive works! Happy eating!

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!

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Rethinking a “balanced” diet

I found this article on the diet of hipsters very interesting. It talks about how hipsters have a hypocritical diet – eating lots of kale and organic food along with high-calorie beer and large amounts of bacon.

The article makes an interesting point about the balance of healthy and unhealthy items in our diets. We all like to think we’ve made enough good choices to justify a treat every night, but we probably haven’t. Also, these things don’t balance out like that nor should you want your healthy/unhealthy scale balanced at the end of the day.  You want it tipped to the healthy side.

I know I struggle with this in general, but even more so recently. I am training to run a half marathon in a few weeks. When I go on my long training runs, my running app on my phone tells me I’ve burned more than a thousand calories. I try to focus on protein and complex carbs to refuel, but I often let it be an excuse for a second dessert that evening.

The article and I are not saying you can’t indulge. We are saying instead of looking at your healthy choice as an excuse to indulge, look at it as a springboard to be even more healthy. Why essentially negate one healthy choice with a bad one? Think instead: I ate a healthy breakfast and feel great, which means I’ll feel even better if I eat a healthy lunch.

Happy eating!

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!

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If broccoli tasted like chocolate…

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I have often joked that if I could ask God one thing, it would be why he chose to make broccoli taste like broccoli and chocolate taste like chocolate.  Why couldn’t the flavors be reversed?

A new study indicates that while we can’t reverse the flavors, we may be able to change the reward these foods give us.  It has been documented before that the reward centers of the brain “light up” more on MRI when we eat or think about eating unhealthy foods compared to when we eat or think about healthy foods.  In this study, overweight people were shown pictures of healthy and unhealthy items while having an MRI before and after 6 months of diet education and following a weight loss diet.  The “after” images showed that the reward centers lit up less for the unhealthy foods and more for the healthy foods than they had at the beginning.  Short version, after following a diet, people got more pleasure from healthy foods and less pleasure from unhealthy foods.

There are always limitations to research.  This was a small study.  They only used a limited number of food images.  Perhaps if they had shown different foods the results would have been different.  But it is encouraging.

Take home message:  Eating healthy foods may get easier in the long run.  Broccoli and carrots may never taste like chocolate, but we may get more pleasure out of eating them if we follow a healthy diet over the long run.

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!

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Weight is just a number.

I came across this TED talk last month which shed some interesting light on weight and health.  Sandra Aamodt is a neuroscientist who talks about her life long struggles with dieting.  She highlights a fascinating study which looked at the effects of four healthy lifestyle habits – eating fruits and vegetables, exercise three times a week, not smoking, and moderate alcohol consumption – on risk of death for people in different weight classes.  This graph highlights the results:

The graph divides people into three weight categories – “normal”, “overweight”, and “obese”.  In each of these categories, people are divided by how many of those four healthy habits they had.  The difference in bar height shows the difference in relative risk of death for these categories.

Not surprisingly, among the people with few or no healthy habits, the risk of death was much higher for those who were obese or overweight.  Also not surprising, more healthy habits reduced the risk of death in all the weight categories.  The big surprise was the decline in risk for the obese and overweight.  For those with all 4 healthy habits, the relative risk of death was the same for all weight categories.  Surprised?

This shows what dietitians have known for a long time:  there is more to being healthy than your weight.   Health has many important components. Having a healthy diet is beneficial no matter what your weight.  So, if you are having a hard time losing weight, don’t get discouraged.  Remember, weight is just a number.  Keep making good choices for diet and exercise, and rest assured that you are still helping improve your overall health.

Here’s the video if you want more information:

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will will answer them in upcoming posts!

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