Tag Archives: weight loss

Your stomach is not your brain

I found this article on mindful eating from the Washington Post very interesting. For those who don’t know, mindful eating is simply the “diet” approach that you can lose or maintain weight by focusing in on what you are eating, without necessarily changing your diet. By focusing, you keep better track of how much you have eaten. you can also account for meal splurges, etc. It has been shown to be effective for many people.

I hope you read the article, but here were some of my highlights from it.

– The part about the amnesic patients really reminds me of life with my toddler right now. She loves to come up to me one hour after eating four bowls of cereal for breakfast and claim to be hungry. Hmm…

– I totally agree with the part about social cues. I always look around to see if other people are taking seconds at a social function before I take seconds myself. I had a very thin roommate once, and I felt compelled to eat salad around her.

– My favorite part was making sure you are eating really delicious food. At a summer camp once, someone told me he hated the french fries served at the cafeteria. I then asked him why I always saw him get seconds. He said it was because they were really bad fries, so he had to eat a lot to satisfy his craving for fries. I don’t think it works for everyone all the time. I know sometimes, I am drawn to eat more just because it was so yummy. But I have found other times that I can stop myself if I stop and really enjoy one awesome portion of whatever food it is.

What are your thoughts? Does mindful eating work for you? What social cues have you noticed change your intake? Do you eat less if the food is extra delicious? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under Nutrition

New Year, New Goals, New Weight?

Over the last two years, I’ve waxed long about not setting goals about weight (here and here among many others). Focus on changes for health. If your making healthier choices, you will often lose weight and be able to sustain that weight loss. And even if you don’t lose weight, your health will have improved.

However, I recognize that may not be enough for many of us. This year, I’m included. I admit to having some weight loss on my New Year’s resolutions, thanks to some residual baby weight. I am sticking to my previous statements of not JUST having goals of weight loss. I have several other goals for exercise and diet to help me achieve my weight loss.

I read an interesting article with a paradigm shifting idea on weight monitoring. For years, health professionals have recommended only monitoring weight once a week at most. However, recent studies are showing that daily weight monitoring could be beneficial for weight loss.

The article points out that daily weights can help you see more immediate effects of good or bad choices, maybe helping you stick to diet changes more closely. When you cut out late night snacking and see your weight change quickly, you are motivated to keep that up. If you splurge going out one day and you see your weight spike the next day or two, you become more focused on healthy changes again.

I don’t think it is for everyone, but it is something worth considering. What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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!

5 Comments

Filed under Nutrition

Cheeseburgers for health?

I promise I am not affiliated with Freakonomics in any way. But they had another podcast recently about health and nutrition that I found very interesting. It was the antithesis of Super Size Me and fits within my philosophy pretty well, too.

The podcast, titled “The Cheeseburger Diet”, follows the story of a women who was determined to find the best cheeseburger in Louisville, Kentucky. She determined to eat two cheeseburgers for a week for an entire year. Since that logically raises some health concerns, she monitored her weight throughout the year as well as testing her cholesterol before and after. After a year, her weight was exactly the same. Her total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol had increased but not to concerning levels. Her HDL (“good”) cholesterol had actually increased to a better level. Surprising, yes?

Not really, when she further examined her life during that year. Since she new that she was going to be eating cheeseburgers regularly, she focused on healthier items the rest of the week. She also exercised more to help offset any effects of the cheeseburger. She even said once the experiment was over, she ate less healthy because she wasn’t monitoring her “junk” intake as much.

While I don’t recommend eating fast food twice a week every week for a healthy life, I think her experiment highlights something important. You don’t have to never eat junk food, fast food, or the food you love. The trick is to eat it sparingly, and be healthier the rest of the time to compensate for it.

What does that look like in real life? Here are a couple other examples, a few which may be helpful as we continue with the busy holiday eating season and as you are considering your New Year’s resolutions.

– Once a week, we eat breakfast for dinner. Often, that means we have less vegetables for dinner than we normally would. On that day, I focus on eating extra vegetables for lunch to make sure I get enough in for the day.

– I’ve known several friends who limit themselves to treats only one day per week. If they cheat, they have to pay money to a “fund” that goes to any participants who don’t cheat.

I hope you have a wonderful, delicious holiday season filled with moderation as needed but enjoyment of your favorite Christmas treats!

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under Nutrition

Lose weight without eating less?

Is it possible you could weight less while eating the same amount of calories?  Some researchers think it is possible by shifting the composition of your diet.

The researchers compared diets and BMIs from several countries around the world.  They found that Greeks, Japanese, and French people could eat the same number of calories as Americans and have a lower BMI.  Why?  The researchers suggest it is due to the fact that all of these countries have a more plant-based diet.

I really appreciate this research, because it highlights my philosophy again.  Small changes can have a big impact on your overall health and life.  Even without eating less!

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under Nutrition

Small changes can help you have a better life

I just read about two different studies that provide even more evidence that even small changes can have big impacts on your health.

In the first study, researchers found that substituting on serving each day of water, unsweetened tea or unsweetened coffee for a sugar sweetened beverage (such as soft drinks, sweetened tea/coffee, fruit drinks, etc) decreased overall risk of type 2 diabetes, regardless of obesity. That means, even if you don’t lose weight, swapping your Coca-Cola for a glass of water can help prevent diabetes later on. Seems a good swap to me.

The second study looked at the effects of replacing sedentary time with light physical activity. Replacing two minutes per hour of sedentary time with light physical activity, such as walking, lowered the risk of dying. Think about it. If you got up from your desk every hour for just a couple minutes and went for a walk, you would improve your health. Seems fairly simple, doesn’t it?

Obviously, no single study is conclusive. But this adds to the mountain of evidence available that even small changes can improve your health, even if it doesn’t change your weight or appearance.

Leave a comment

Filed under Nutrition

Temptation Bundling

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t really enjoy running. I enjoy the way I feel after I run and the feeling of accomplishing something, but I don’t get pleasure out of actually pounding my feet to the pavement. I also hate cleaning my house. I clean on Mondays, since it is already a kind of “bad” day anyway. Why ruin a perfectly good Friday with cleaning, I say. To make running and cleaning more enjoyable, I listen to audiobooks or podcasts. I enjoy listening to these for many reasons: I am at least partially distracted from the task at hand, I learn something, I laugh, or I get something to use as conversation starters. It’s really a win-win.

Turns out, I learned that this is called “temptation bundling” in one of my favorite podcasts, Freakonomics Radio. Apparently, economists have done studies and shown that people are more likely to exercise or to stick to a diet if you bundle this unpleasant activity with something they like. For example, they only let people listen to really addictive audiobooks when at the gym. Gym attendance increased for those people.

I like this idea as a strategy for eating healthy  since it is making positive associations with healthy behaviors.   For example, one of my friends used to get Frosty’s a lot. She wanted to eat healthy and lose weight and knew cutting that out would help. So, each time she wanted to get a Frosty but didn’t, she put that money in a jar. Then she got to use that money to buy herself new clothes. Or maybe you let yourself eat a piece of chocolate after dinner if you eat 2 servings of vegetables. Or if you are craving sweets, you call a good friend and chat instead.

I’d love to hear any of your health-related temptation bundles in the comments.

To hear or read the whole podcast, click here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Nutrition

Weight loss plans stalled?

All of us either have experienced diet failure ourselves or known someone who has. Most people lose little to no weight while on a diet. Those who do lose any, gain it right back.

A recent article highlighted the reasons why, for many Americans, diet and exercise will not be enough to attain and maintain desired weight loss. The article focuses on many biological changes that occur in the body once a person has been obese for a sustained period of time (at least 2 years or so). One of these is what I have previously called the “set point” theory of weight. But there are many others. Unless something happens to change the hormones and regulatory systems of the body, a formerly obese person’s body will always be fighting to regain the weight.

This sounds pretty depressing and not helpful on a healthy eating blog. But the article points out that even a 5-10% weight loss can have significant health benefits even if you are obese. I’ve mentioned this in previous posts (here and here). My main hope for this blog is to help you eat healthier, no matter your weight. And the article makes a valid point: if you are obese and can’t lose weight, you should seek medical help. You are not a failure for not making a diet work alone.

So eat healthy, be happy, and get help if you need it!

To read more about the research, click here.

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under Nutrition