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Did You Get Sucked in to the New Year’s Diet Scheme?

I’m sure it feels like everyone you know is starting a new diet or workout regime this month. In the past I’m sure that even YOU have fallen into the hypnosis of the “January start a new diet” trend set by the diet industry. I want to challenge you to try a different approach to your health this year.

 

The truth is that every “new diet” you see is actually the same. There is always going to be the latest trend hitting the internet or newsstands. But at the end of the day, all diets have one thing in common: someone other than yourself is telling you what to eat, when to eat, and how to eat.  And truth be told, they aren’t going to help you feel better about your relationship with food OR yourself.

 

So, let’s not kick off 2017 with a cloud of dieting thoughts over your head, okay? It’s time to jump OFF the diet roller coaster and to start listening to your inner wisdom.

 

Who better to listen to than your own body?

 

Okay, so this sounds all great, right? And the new programs that are being marketed now are calling themselves “Lifestyle Programs”. But let me let you in on a little secret. Those “Lifestyle Programs” are just fancy names for diets. They say they want to help you make lifestyle changes, but they are still giving you lists of foods to eat and not to eat.

 

Oh, by the way, don’t even get me started on those doctors with Harvard degrees that are promoting “Detoxes”. Give me a break! Anyone is going to lose weight if they drink these concoctions for a week or a month. Then what happens after the detox is over? You know what happens….

 

But I divert. Let me get back on course here.
If you are riding the diet roller coaster, you’re probably unhappy with your body and have an unhealthy relationship with food.

 

Coming next month I have a free training called “The 5 Steps to Break Free of Dieting” where I explain the 5 steps you need to get the body and life you love without the pain and restriction of dieting.

 

Come join our Facebook community group to get notified when this free training will take place, or check back to this blog next week for more information!

 

There’s No All or Nothing in Intuitive Eating

cakeI recently had a client share her success story.  Let’s call her Susan. Susan was at an office party when two delicious looking cakes were served.  She knew she wouldn’t be able to resist trying the cakes, so she took a small piece of each on her plate.  She ate a few bites of the chocolate cake, then a few bites of the white cream cake, and something amazing happened!

 

She didn’t feel the need to eat more! She was shocked. She was practicing mindfulness around her eating and she savored each bite and she was satisfied before she polished off both pieces.

 

This. Never. Happened. To. Her. Before.

 

How did she do this you ask?

 

By using the intuitive eating strategies that I am teaching her, she is learning to move away from the all or nothing way of thinking.  She didn’t feel guilty for indulging in a food she wanted.  She has made peace with food and has reaped the benefits which is showing up in so many ways in her life.

 

Had she found herself in this scenario a few months ago before we began working together, the outcome would have been different. The all or nothing thinking is part of a diet mentality and usually leads to overeating, followed by guilt, unhappiness, dieting, restriction, overeating etc.  It’s a vicious cycle.

 

Intuitive eating is tuning into what your body wants, even if it’s a slice of cake, and giving it what it wants.  If you listen to your body, you won’t feel the need to overeat and have guilt afterwards.  Your body will be happy it can enjoy the foods it wants.

 

You may be asking yourself, “How do I get myself to this point?”  The answer is to change your mindset.  You have to step away from the diet mentality of restricting certain foods or entire food groups.

 

The way to make peace with food is to give yourself unconditional permission to eat what you want. I know, this sounds like an opportunity to eat uncontrollably. And to be honest with you, some people use it as an excuse to do just that.

 

It’s a process my dear readers. It does not happen overnight. Those who work through the process with the support, encouragement, positive attitude and patience are the ones who will experience what Susan did. The intuitive eating process can help you transform your relationship with food, where you end the battle with food and your body and achieve great pleasure in eating once again.

 

Here are two steps you can take today to become and intuitive eater and change your mindset:

 

  1. Commit to saying goodbye to the dieting mindset! It is time to recognize that you can have your cake and eat it too. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

 

  1. Start tuning in and listening to your body. Your body gives you signals when it starts to get hungry and full. Tune into these signals to know when and what you should feed your body.  You’ll learn to eat what your body craves without overeating.

 

I am here to help you embark on this journey and break out of the dieting mindset.

 

If you’d like further individualized support, just fill out this risk free request form at www.TalkWithBonnie.com.

 

Appreciating the Taste and Goodness of Strawberries

strawberryOne of my 3 essential ingredients I teach to help you break free of dieting and get the body you love is Nutrition Education. I don’t usually write much about nutrition on the ‘Diet Free Radiant Me’ blog because I typically focus on the first 2 essential ingredients (Healthy Mindset and Caring Support) before embarking on Nutrition Education. But I decided to change it up for today (to read more of my nutrition blogs, visit The Nutrition Key with BRG).

 

Summer is just around the corner and with the weather finally warming up, it’s starting to feel more like my favorite time of year. Summer is a great time to enjoy so many of nature’s wonderful fruits like peaches, watermelon, and cherries but the one I look forward to the most is strawberries!

 

I know, strawberries are available the majority of the year nowadays but they taste so much better during the summer months. These little red gems not only taste great but are also wonderful for your health!

 

Little Berry with Big Benefits

 

Strawberries may be small in size (although I saw some really big ones the other day) but they definitely make up for that in nutrient content. Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C; one cup of strawberries actually offers 141% of your daily-recommended level of vitamin C. Vitamin C is one of those vitamins of utmost importance. It aids in boosting your immune system and serves as a key antioxidant.

 

Vitamin C is not the only antioxidant found in strawberries, they contain several other antioxidants, flavonoids, and phytochemicals. These other compounds can help reduce the amount of free radicals in your body, which can possibly help reduce your risk of cancer, inflammation, and heart disease.

 

Did you know that strawberries are also one of the fruits lower in sugar? One cup of strawberries contains about 50 calories and only 7 grams of sugar! No wonder they make a great snack or addition to any meal!

 

Add a Little Color to Your Plate

 

Strawberries make a great addition to any meal! One of my favorite ways to enjoy this berry is in my salads. Typically I chop up whatever veggies I have in my fridge, add some grilled chicken or sliced turkey breast, a spring mix and add sliced fresh strawberries for a touch of sweetness!

 

Another favorite of mine is to add chopped strawberries to plain Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey and some chopped almonds or walnuts. The balance of flavors and textures is the perfect start to any morning or afternoon snack.

 

If you’re feeling adventurous, try a strawberry salsa. Just chop up some fresh strawberries, a jalapeno, a half of a red onion, salt, pepper, cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. You now have a great topper for grilled fish or chicken or a great dip!

 

Your turn to take action: Liven up your next meal with some in-season strawberries. Let me know your favorite way to enjoy this summertime fruit!

 

 

Navigating Life’s Surprises as an Intuitive Eater

big whyLife happens. Twists and turns appear out of nowhere and even as an intuitive eater, you may lose focus and veer off track.

 

The truth is that no matter where you are on your intuitive eating journey, stressful life events are bound to occur. It is okay to feel stressed or anxious, but you don’t want to lose yourself to life’s surprises. I encourage you to stay focused on your health rather than slipping back into old ways.

 

When you feel life weighing you down, it may feel most comfortable to turn to food but the thing is, food is meant to nourish you, not be used as your crutch. So next time you find yourself in this situation, what can you do to keep going and to stay on track?

 

First, I want you to really focus on why you are on the intuitive eating journey. As you feel like you are falling apart, ask yourself the reason you embarked on your intuitive eating journey. Was it to feel better in your own body? Was it to stay healthy for your kids? Was it to get off medication?

 

Chances are your “why” still resonates somewhere within you, even on your darkest days. Let this motivate you. Some days are easier than others but if you keep your “why” in focus, you can navigate the bumps along the way. Instead of letting the bad times discourage you from working to better your health and yourself, use mindfulness to clear your head space and find peace within yourself.

 

Make every day the best it can be by prioritizing your own needs. That may mean making a list of goals, tasks to tackle, or fresh produce to pick up from the grocery store. Each step in the right direction is an important one.

 

You can make the most of each day by scheduling time for your own priorities into your daily routine. There is a time for work, a time for taking care of the needs of others, and a time to care for yourself. This includes time to sit down for meals and to be engaged, mindful and do nothing but focus on your food.

 

Take time to unwind each day. This can be exercise, taking a bath, catching the newest episode of your favorite TV show, or talking with a friend. Remember that you do not have to navigate alone. At times life is too much to balance on your own so reach out to friends, coworkers, family, and loved ones for support when you need it. By letting go of pent up emotions, you will be clearing your mind and allowing more room for mindfulness.

 

You may be thinking “but I don’t have TIME to relax.” Trust me, I know the feeling. With busy schedules, sometimes it may feel like there is just no time to unwind. Even just taking 15 minutes to vent to a friend or to decompress your thoughts onto paper will benefit your day and your overall goals.

 

Instead of taking time to make excuses as to why you cannot do this or that, put that energy towards focusing on the reasons you embarked on your intuitive eating journey. Write down your motivation and the messages your body is sending you. You will gain clarity and feel motivated to trek on this journey.

 

The truth is, life comes at you fast. You cannot go back in time but you can make the most of your present and future. Honing in on your intuitive eating and mindfulness will help you navigate through life’s obstacles and keep you on track to being the best version of yourself.

 

Always remember, when you are feeling low, there is nowhere to go but up! If you keep your focus and mindfulness, you will find inner peace on even your worst days.

 

A Mindful Passover

Passover -  MindfulWhat comes to your mind when you think of the holidays?

 

For most people, the first thought is food. The second thought is “oh, no I am going to gain so much weight”.

 

Passover is just two days away and if you celebrate this holiday, you probably understand when I say that preparing for Passover is exhausting. Cleaning the house, planning the holiday menus, writing your shopping lists and finally “turning over the kitchen” so you can begin cooking even before the holiday begins can really take a toll on your energy level.

 

For those reading this who might not understand what “turning over the kitchen” means, let me take a moment to explain. It is required on Passover to use different dishes, silverware and pots than you use all year round. One has to clean out the refrigerator, oven, stovetop and microwave of all leavened bread and crumbs before using it for Passover food and cooking. So when someone says “I am turning over my kitchen tonight”, that means from that night forward until the end of Passover, only Passover dishes, pots and foods are in the kitchen.

 

Needless to say, this is a lot of work! And, cooking for the 8 days of Passover is a lot of cooking. Many of my clients tell me that by the time Passover begins, they are exhausted and they don’t make healthful food choices. Exhaustion is definitely a feeling/emotion for many people that triggers poor food choices.

 

But for the chronic dieter, this goes even deeper.

 

I see one of several scenarios in the chronic dieter and how they handle Passover. Here are just two that come to mind now:

 

Scenario #1:

She arrives at the Passover Seder exhausted and over hungry, having not eaten all day due to Passover preparation. She overeats on the appetizer and then says “I blew it already, so forget it. I’ll start again after Passover”.

 

Scenario #2:

She enters into the holiday with the mindset of “I am not going to eat anything I am not supposed to”. She says no to her favorite traditional holiday foods for the first 4 days of Passover, and then BAM, she can’t do it anymore. On day 5 she says: “I just want to taste a sliver”, which leads to a second sliver, a third sliver and so on until she says “Forget it, I’ll start again after Passover”.

 

So, what’s the best way to stay mindful and intuitive over the Passover holiday?

 

  • Banish the rules. Be rid of the “I won’t eat anything I’m not supposed to mentality”. That is a dieters thought and will keep you struggling.

 

  • Remember to eat! I know this sounds funny, but it is very important to be sure you are eating meals on Friday so that you don’t arrive at the Seder starving.

 

  • Take it slow. There is no need to rush the meal. Take your time and savor each bite of food, really exploring the taste and texture so you can have great pleasure in your meals. You will be less likely to be on the prowl looking for snacks later in the evening.

 

  • Forget about deprivation. If you have a favorite Passover food, enjoy it. Deprivation leads to overeating, keep that in mind. If you are interested in exploring traditional Passover foods with a healthy twist, check out my cookbook Passover the Healthy Way!

 

Your turn to take action: Which scenario above do you resonate with, or share a different scenario you have found yourself in. And, how will you stay mindful this Passover? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

Beta GluCAN’Ts- A Supplement Scam that Won’t Enhance Weight Loss

supplements (2)

Today I want to share with you a blog that is a little different from the ones I have posted in the past. My daughter, Jennifer, is taking her first nutrition course in college and one of her assignments was to write a paper about diet scams. Here it is below. I added some of my own thoughts towards the end.

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By Jennifer Giller

There are many supplements on the market that claim to help you lose an absurd amount of weight in an unrealistic amount of time. Often times, these supplements contain ingredients that are not even associated with weight loss.

 

A specific weight loss supplement I recently saw advertised (name withheld), claims to serve as an alternative to Gastric Bypass surgery. The company claims to have a 90% success rate in substantial weight loss. However, these are baseless claims.

 

The main ingredient in this product are beta glucans. Beta glucans are a soluble fiber. When ingested, these fibers absorb water and naturally expand. This limits the amount of food that you are able to take in, causing you to feel full throughout the day.

 

There has been research conducted to study the effects of beta glucans on body weight and health. One such randomized study looked at the addition of beta glucan supplements to a low calorie diet in 66 overweight women over the course of 3 months. The women were placed into 1 of 3 calorie reduced diet groups.  The first group was a control group, the second group received 5-6 grams of beta glucan, and the third group received 8-9 grams of beta glucan supplementations. Height and weight, blood glucose levels, insulin, triglycerides, and leptin measurements were taken at the beginning of the study as well as at the 3 month mark. Other markers of appetite regulation, such as cholecystokinin and ghrelin, were also measured.

 

At the 3 month mark, all 3 study groups lost weight. All groups also had a lower waist circumference and reductions in some metabolic variables. However, there was no significant difference in weight loss among the groups. Research concluded that the beta glucan supplement did not add to the effectiveness of the low calorie diets in these overweight women.

 

Other research however, puts a positive spin on this product. Multiple studies have showed that beta glucans may be beneficial towards lowering blood sugars and cholesterol.  The FDA (Federal Drug Administration) has already approved a health claim that beta glucans can lower cholesterol and the risks of heart disease as well as lower the risk of getting diabetes along with diabetes associated complications.

 

Personally, I view beta glucan supplementation marketed as a weight loss solution as a scam. The evidence shows that beta glucans do not have any effect on enhancing weight loss. It is instead putting a ‘band-aid’ on a bigger problem. If you believe that simply supplementing with beta glucans will help you lose weight, you will never learn how to eat or how to maintain your weight without supplements. On the other hand, if you find yourself at risk for heart disease or diabetes, I would suggest you include more food sources of beta glucans in your meals such as oats and legumes.

 

I hope you found this article as interesting as I did. Thank you Jennifer for your contribution to the blog this week, I am so proud of you.

 

 

 

Eating for Wellness, Not Weight Loss

When you are a child, there are so many exciting things to experience every day, and meals and snacks are just a part of the routine.  Life is not driven by your meals and snacks and whether or not you will eat the “right” or “wrong” food.  There is pleasure in the friends you are with and the joys each day brings.
When you focus too much on eating and dieting, food begins to control your life rather than being a part of your day.  You find yourself cancelling your lunch date with your friends because you are afraid there will be nothing on the menu that you “can” eat.  You find you are lacking energy to do daily tasks because you are eating very little calories because your plan “told you too.”  These are all food rules that you are following to hopefully lose weight and they are removing the pleasurable experiences from your life.

 

Instead of focusing on your food as a tool for weight loss, focus on it as a tool for wellness.  Food is fuel.  It should not prevent you from living your life, but rather it should help you live your life.  For example, do not skip breakfast because you are worried you will overeat the rest of the day.  Have a hearty nutritious breakfast such as oatmeal with fruit and nuts or scrambled egg whites in a whole grain tortilla.  You will see how much energy you have to start your day and will find you are not “starving” by lunchtime.

 

Promise yourself you will not miss plans with friends because of the venue they are eating at.  Be mindful of your hunger, order something that you are going to enjoy, but honor your fullness and know when it’s time to stop.

 

By making food a positive force in your life, you will end that unhappy relationship and be on your road to wellness AND weight loss.  Your decisions will no longer be controlled by food, but what you want to do and what you want to eat.  As long as you keep the principles of intuitive eating in mind, you are good to go!

 

What is one food rule you live by that does not coincide with eating for wellness, and how will you change it?