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How to Stop Labeling Food as Good and Bad

This week’s Intuitive Eating Wednesday Question and Struggle comes from 2 women in my Diet Free Radiant Me private Facebook group:

Question:

I know choosing certain foods makes me feel healthy and vibrant. I also know there are certain foods that make me feel the opposite, drain my energy and leave me feeling sluggish. How do I approach health in this way without viewing food as good and bad?

Struggle:

Bonnie, I can’t appreciate the body I have now because it isn’t healthy. I know losing the extra fat will help those issues. But I can’t stop labeling food as healthy or unhealthy. I keep reading not to label foods but we all know broccoli is healthier for you than a Hershey bar. I feel like the extra fat will not go away along with all the health problems until I start feeding myself healthier foods, which feels like a diet. I try to eat mostly healthy but it seems once I eat the unhealthier foods that’s all I crave because they do taste better to me. Help!

 

Both the question and struggle you have just read above have something in common, which is why I am addressing both in the same blog today on Intuitive Eating Wednesday.

The commonality is…

 

Food is being labeled. In the first question it’s being classified as “good and bad”, and in the second struggle it’s being labeled “healthy and unhealthy”. This is due to your years of dieting and following rules of foods to eat and those to avoid. The foods to eat are ‘good/healthy for you foods’, meaning they will help you lose weight (or at least not gain weight) and be healthy. The foods to avoid/are unhealthy are ‘bad for you’ foods, meaning they will cause you to gain weight and be unhealthy.

 

As long as you continue to think of food in these terms, you continue to harbor a diet mindset. And as long as you continue to harbor a diet mindset, you will continue to struggle.

 

Download Your Fleshing Our Your ‘Good Foods/Bad Foods’ Worksheet here.

 

Even though intellectually you know you feel more vibrant when you eat food A over food B, if you associate food A as a good/healthy food and food B as a bad/unhealthy food, you will continue to crave food B, depriving yourself of it until you have an emotional trigger and you fall into the “what the heck” mode. You then overeat food B, perhaps even to the point of bingeing, followed by guilt, shame, and hopelessness.

 

It IS possible to shift your mindset away from labeling foods and out of a dieter’s mindset. However, this must be done without consideration of the nutritional value of the foods otherwise you are still thinking in terms of good/bad, healthy/unhealthy which will keep you stuck in the diet food rule trap.

 

This is the very reason that I don’t teach nutrition to my intuitive eating clients until Step 5 of my 5 Step Intuitive Eating Program. If we start the process of learning how to nourish your body, yet you have a diet mentality, all the nutrition conversation we have about foods that make you feel healthy and vibrant is heard by you as more diet rules (good/bad, healthy/unhealthy).

 

Make sense?

 

Let’s discuss this further on today’s Facebook LIVE at 5:30 pm EST (note the time change!)

 

In the meantime, grab this freebie to help you understand your good food/bad food mindset: Fleshing Our Your ‘Good Foods/Bad Foods’ Worksheet.

 

 

“Put Your Best Fork Forward”

March is National Nutrition Month® (NMM) and every year there is a new theme to engage you, the public. NNM was created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and is intended to promote nutrition education, highlighting the importance of making informed food choices, and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

 

The theme for this year is “Put Your Best Fork Forward” when dining out and at home.

 

By putting your best fork forward and making healthful decisions, you hold all the power, literally and figuratively.  You get to make the decisions on when, what, and how much you eat.

 

Remember, you already have the nutrition knowledge within yourself needed to make healthful decisions.  You can choose what goes into your body and how much.  It is now time to work on your confidence and empower you to make these decisions.

 

The process of becoming an intuitive eater and no longer being a dieter helps you become confident and regain trust in yourself to make these decisions.  With intuitive eating you learn to listen to your body and fuel it with the food it wants.

 

When you eat intuitively you are putting your best fork forward.

 

Here are 3 tips to help you start your journey to putting your best fork forward:

 

  1. Be Mindful. Being mindful plays a key role in when, what, and how much you eat. If you tend to eat when you are distracted or in response to an emotion, it can be difficult to pay attention to what is on your fork.  Instead, avoid distractions during meal times and sit at a table to truly enjoy what you are eating.

 

  1. Plan ahead. If you are going out to eat, look at the menu ahead of time.  Nowadays there are plenty of healthful options at restaurants that allow you to choose a balanced meal.  If you are making dinner at home, think about what you want to make the day before to ensure you have all the ingredients necessary to prepare your healthy meal when you get home.

 

  1. Explore. One of the great benefits of being an intuitive eater is no food is off limits. Take this month to explore the different tastes, textures, and temperatures of food to find out what you truly enjoy.  You may be surprised that foods you thought you didn’t like you do!

 

It’s time to take charge and take the necessary steps that will empower you to make healthful decisions for yourself.

 

If you would my help and support on your journey, just go to www.TalkWithBonnie.com and we’ll set up a time to talk.

 

5 Steps to Eating Intuitively While on Vacation

KayakingMany clients express the stress they feel right before going on vacation about the weight they “inevitably” will gain.  They talk about going on a “diet” to lose a few pounds before they go away, since they’ll be eating differently.

 

Does this sound like you? If your mindset is wrapped around being good or bad, on or off, what you can and can’t eat, you will likely overindulge on vacation and you will feel guilty afterwards.

 

Yes, it is true we all expect to eat differently while on vacation, but that doesn’t mean you need to eat like it’s your last supper.  Use your intuitive eating strategies to help you respond to the change in your eating pattern and adjust.  You CAN eat the dessert you crave by learning to savor it so you don’t go for seconds.  If you trust in the process, you’ll be able to keep your body and mind happy.

 

Here are 5 steps you can take to eat intuitively on vacation:

 

  1. Tune into your body.

If you are craving that Pina Colada or frozen margarita, have it!  If you want dessert, have it!  If you are truly listening to your body, you won’t overindulge and you’ll be able to stop eating or drinking when you want too.

  1. Trust your body.

Trusting your body and the intuitive eating process will help you enjoy your vacation even more.  You will most likely eat more than your used too because you’re trying new foods, but you need to trust that your body will respond intuitively and tell you when you’ve had enough.

  1. Make time for breakfast and lunch.

 

Vacations often mean sleeping late, missing breakfast and an overall erratic eating schedule (except dinner).  But, your priority should be starting your day off with breakfast and packing a lunch to take with you, or planning a lunch stop in your itinerary.  It’s easy to get caught up in all of the activities, but if you skip a meal, you’re more likely to overindulge at dinner.  It’ll be harder for you to listen to your body telling you its full.

 

  1. Be mindful when you eat out.

 

Vacations generally mean eating out at restaurants, and that also means more courses and larger portions.  New foods and more choices does not mean you need to eat like there is no tomorrow.  If you’re listening to your body, you’ll eat until you are satisfied with the new flavors.  You may eat a few more bites, but you’ll be able to stop yourself before you overeat.

 

  1. Pack your favorite snacks for a busy day.

 

It can be easy to forget to pack snacks when you’re busy with activities, but it is important.  Take the few extra minutes before you leave to pack a goodie bag of pre-portioned snacks.  It can be almonds, fruit, veggies, etc.  Your body will thank you when you’re not starving heading into lunch or dinner.

 

Your vacation is a time for relaxation and happy times and should not coincide with “giving up” your intuitive eating practice.  Be mindful and always listen to your body and your vacation will become even more enjoyable.

 

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

 

 

How to Break Through Your Limiting Beliefs Around Weight Loss

Roadblock breakthroughSomething is keeping you stuck. Something keeps you trying each new diet that hits the market even though you know by now that diets don’t work.

 

Okay, so when I say “diets don’t work”, let me clarify.

 

Diets DO work in the short term by helping you lose weight, but ultimately they FAIL in the long term because you gain that weight back, plus some! So why oh why do you keep trying to follow a diet? And let’s be real for a minute. When you visit a registered dietitian nutritionist and ask for a “meal plan”, that is just a nicer way to say diet. If you don’t understand what I mean, read my story here.

 

So, let’s understand a little about why you might be resistant to giving up dieting.

 

  • Perhaps you think that a diet is the only way to lose weight. (Wrong!)

 

  • Perhaps you are too scared to trust that you actually know how to eat if you would just listen to your body. (I get that this might be true, but I can help you learn to re-trust your body again!)

 

  • Perhaps you really don’t want to be successful in losing weight. (Bingo!)

 

Wait, what did I just say? You don’t really want to lose weight? That’s insane. Of course you do, that’s why you try diet after diet, right?

 

I want to focus on that third bullet point. Dig deep down and ask yourself if you really want to lose the weight forever. What are your fears around shedding the layers that are possibly protecting you? What do you need to be protected from?

 

Consider some of the following beliefs that you might be holding onto, and understand these are preventing you from moving forward on your journey towards a body you love.

 

Do you ever say any of the following?

 

“I’m destined to be fat.”

“I will gain the weight back so why bother.”

“I won’t be able to trust myself around food.”

“Losing weight and changing my habits is hard, I’ll never be able to do it.”

 

These are all beliefs that MUST be knocked down, smashed through and turned upside down or you will still stay stuck where you are forever!

 

Sit in a quiet room and think. Just think about these beliefs you have around losing weight and your body. Then commit to getting the support you need to change your thought patterns and your behaviors.

 

Listen, I know you want to do this yourself. I get it. It’s embarrassing to ask for support, so you think.

 

I’m here to tell you there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Come join other women (and some men) who are on the journey towards breaking down these negative beliefs and who are now believing in themselves. Click here and join our community, for free.

 

And, if you’d like further individualized support, just fill out this request at www.TalkWithBonnie.com

 

 

 

 

 

Is Intuitive Eating just for Women? A True Father’s Day Gift!

Intuitive Eating is Not Just for Women! (1)I recently had a potential client express how he was stuck in the dieting mindset.  He had tried many diets before and has lost the weight and gained it right back.  He has feelings of failure and did not know how to break out of the cycle.  I suggested intuitive eating and how it can help him.  He realized that is exactly what he needs, but hesitated for two reasons:

 

Reason #1: He is so used to wanting and getting results quickly, that to engage in a “food behavior therapy-type” program wasn’t going to get him the instant results.

 

Reason #2: He thought this type of deep work was only for women, and what would people think if he embarked on this journey?

 

Well, after a few more minutes of conversation, he realized that reason #1 was exactly why he was speaking to me in the first place. Yes, all those diets gave him quick results, but those results never lasted. So, what good were they?

 

As for reason #2, I get it. Quite a few men think the path towards intuitive eating is more for women than men.

 

But listen up men! Intuitive eating is not just for women.  Men and women were both born intuitive eaters and the process to reclaim this is unisex and can benefit everyone.

 

The work I do with my clients in my 5 Step Intuitive Eating Program is a step-by-step process to 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.

 

If you are a man reading this blog, I’m sure you have your reasons as to why you assume this process is just for women.  Men don’t like to talk about their emotions, right?  May I ask you why?  Is it because of what society thinks? Is it just because men don’t “do emotions”?

 

Men – It is OK to talk about your emotions!  You are not alone.  Intuitive eating will show you and teach you how to cope with your emotions without food!

 

With intuitive eating, you’ll be able to enjoy eating your favorite foods without experiencing the guilt afterwards.  You’ll learn to accept your body, and with acceptance comes appreciation of your body.  From there, your mindset will change and you’ll be able to build a better relationship with food.  Your body will thank you.

 

What better time to take charge of your health and break free of the dieting mindset than around Father’s Day? 

 

Here are two steps you can take today to start the journey to become an intuitive eater:

 

  1. Commit to saying goodbye to the quick – fixes. Truly recognize this isn’t your long-term solution.

 

  1. Take advantage of my Father’s Day Gift to you – a Break Free of Dieting Strategy Session. During this session we will uncover the challenges that’s been holding you back from losing weight forever, and we will map out your intuitive eating path. Just click here to schedule your free session.

 

Happy Father’s Day!

 

 

5 Steps to STOP Dieting Once and For All

5 steps webinar graphic 1You know how to eat healthfully. You have heard it time and time again.

 

Eat whole foods, lean proteins, whole grains, plenty of fruits and veggies (the colors of the rainbow) and healthy fats. And, yes, avoid highly processed foods!

 

You don’t need a “Food Revolution” to tell you this! You know this already.

 

You actually have eaten like this. Then stopped eating like this. Then started eating like this again, then stopped again! Yikes, I’m getting dizzy!

 

Why do you NOT do what you know is good for you?

 

Well, there might be several reasons. For starters, it’s easy to fall back into old habits. Change is hard, there’s no doubt about that. And change takes time, patience and perseverance. You can do it as long as life cooperates. But once life throws you a curve ball, you haven’t learned how to juggle that curve ball while maintaining your newfound healthy habits. So, you fall back into old familiar habits that feel safe, even if they aren’t healthy for you.

 

Now, don’t feel bad about this. It happens to the best of us. What you should feel bad about is if you don’t keep trying. If you just throw in the towel and say and do one of the two following statements:

  • “It doesn’t matter, I’m destined to be fat, and so I might as well just forget trying. I’m going to enjoy my food and I’ll show them (by the way, who is “them”)?”

 

  • “I’m going to try the Atkins diet again, or Weight Watchers for the umpteenth time”.

 

Now, let’s discuss each of the above statements.

 

In statement number one, you are engaging in pessimistic thinking (the cup is half empty). This type of self-talk is negative messaging that only leads to more unhappiness and self-destructive thoughts and behaviors.

 

In statement number two, you know full well that diets don’t work. I don’t care what diet it is. Diets just don’t work as a ‘forever’.

 

Again, you know this. So, why do you fall for the fad diet’s false advertising time and time again?

 

I am going to explain why in full detail AND I am going to give away my 5 Step System to Break Free of Dieting so you can get the body and life you love on my upcoming Free Online Webinar.

 

Here are the deets:

 5 steps webinar graphic 1

Monday May 16, 2016 at 8 pm EST/5 pm PST.

 

Join HERE.

 

This is a Pitch-Free Webinar. I am not selling any home study or group program.

 

In honor of my birthday month (May), I am giving back to you by teaching you my system at no cost to you.

 

There is no reason not to show up live.

 

Register here. I can’t wait to speak to you!

 

 

Are Negative Food Messages Causing You to Gain Weight?

Woman apple-cupcake decisionIt’s no question that obesity is a major concern in the United States. The rise in obese adults in the last few years has given authorities a reason to take action.

 

Today there are a number of campaigns out there trying to steer the public towards healthier food choices. However, some of these messages are actually backfiring. The reason? Because they’re delivering strong negative messages instead of positive ones.

 

Researchers are finding that negatives messages such as “sugary snacks are bad for you, don’t eat them” can actually cause you to choose these foods rather than ignore them. Interestingly, positive messages around sugary snacks that don’t illicit negative feelings about eating them have less of an impact in you choosing these foods.

 

One study from Arizona State University wanted to see if this theory was true. The study included 397 participants who were given a positive or negative message about sugary snacks in the form of an advertisement. Following the ad, the subjects were offered cookies on their way out.

 

What they found was that people who received the negative message consumed 29% more cookies than those who saw the positive message.

 

The researchers wanted to further explore the effects of messages on food choices. This included a negative message, a positive message and a balanced message that portrayed even-handed information about the benefits and drawbacks of consuming sugary snacks. In this study, 324 people participated.

 

The results of the study found that participants who were shown the negative message consumed 30% higher unhealthy snack choices compared to the group who received the positive message. The group that received the balanced message consumed 47% less unhealthy snacks. What this study ultimately shows us is that advertisements in the media have an effect on influencing how you perceive food and even the choices you make.

 

But let me take this a step further. The diet industry and other health gurus and experts out there who are telling you “don’t eat carbs they are bad for you (or gluten, sugar, etc… you can fill in the blank with all the negative messages you are told), are actually setting you up to crave these foods and eventually break down and overeat them. This in turn perpetuates the restriction/deprivation/dieting/feeling guilt and shame vicious cycle that so many overweight people struggle with every day of their lives.

 

Is this you?

 

Do not be fooled; be aware of the information you’re exposed to and stay alert to inaccurate information from biased sources.

 

For more information on becoming the expert of your own body, download my free e-book here

 

Your turn to take action: What negative messages have you fallen prey to that led you to overeating those foods?

 

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.

_______________

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.

 

 

 

Food and Celebrations: Lessons Learned

thanksgiving table with foodWhat is it about holidays and food? It seems that the word “holiday” is synonymous with the word “food” or should I say “TOO MUCH FOOD”!

 

I’ve just finished celebrating a month full of holidays. It’s been fun spending time with family…my parents, my children, my grandson. Have I mentioned my grandson lately? He is just so scrumptious! He’s able to call me grandma now…I just can’t get enough.

 

But I divert. Back to topic.

 

I told my kids that I wasn’t going to overcook this holiday. I was going to make a basic meal, ensuring that there was protein, whole grains and lots of vegetables. And I did. But the problem was…I made too much! Meaning, too many choices. I was so worried “what if she doesn’t like that, what if he doesn’t like this…I must have all these choices.

 

Well, I was wrong. After each meal ended (and there were many), I looked at the leftovers and said, “It looks like I’m putting away more than I took out”. Now, of course that’s not possible, but what I mean is people ate and then stopped. And, I was left with a lot of leftovers.

 

So, my lessons learned are as follows:
1) My family knows what it means to listen to their inner satiety (fullness signals) and they stopped eating when they were just full (okay, to be totally honest, some did eat a little past comfortable satiety, but even this happens now and then in an intuitive eater.)

 

2) Listen to my “gut” instinct. The next time I plan to make a basic meal, I need to stick to my plan and not worry that I won’t have enough food, because I always do!

 

3) Immediately freeze my leftovers, in small containers, so I have ready-to-go meals for during the week. I often work late hours, and it’s great to pull out already cooked food from my freezer so my family has a balanced meal every night.

 

4) Remember the reason we are celebrating, whether it be a holiday, a birthday, anniversary or job promotion. Food does NOT have to be the center of the celebration. Yes, it’s an important part, I won’t deny that. But, focus on the people you will be partying with, the conversations you will have, and perhaps new people you will meet.

 

What are the lessons you’ve learned from food-abundant celebrations?

 

 

How Illness Affects Your Hunger Signals

Tissue boxI’m writing this blog today with a cup of tea to my left, a box of tissues to my right and a throat lozenge in my mouth.

 

Yes, I am sick. My throat hurts, I am coughing and overall I just don’t feel well.

 

I don’t usually get sick so this is really throwing me for a loop. But I realize that there is a lesson here that I am eager to share with you.

 

After I woke up this morning from a difficult night sleep, I went into the kitchen to prepare my breakfast. What I realized as I tuned into my hunger signals was that I wasn’t really hearing hunger. I stopped to think about this. The last time I ate was dinner last night, and I am usually hungry in the morning. Yet, I just wasn’t feeling it this morning.

 

What do you think I did?

 

Well, I could have left the kitchen and said I’m not going to eat because I don’t hear my hunger. But that’s not what I did. I changed up my breakfast a bit, and had a much smaller breakfast with a cup of tea.

 

A few hours later, I sensed a gentle hunger, but still not typical of my usual hunger mid-day. Yet, I realized that it’s been some time since I’ve eaten, and it’s very important to keep my energy levels up with proper fuel. And so again, I tweaked what my usual lunch would be, and had a smaller lunch with another cup of tea.

 

The lesson I am sharing with you here is this.

 

While I encourage you to tune into your inner hunger signals as your guide to eating, there are times when those hunger signals might be blunted. And, one of those times is during illness. Therefore, even if you don’t hear and feel the hunger signals like you normally do, it’s still so important to eat so you can properly nourish your body. Choose healthful “sick friendly” foods that are easy on the stomach (and in my case, easy on my throat), but do eat recognizing that this might be one situation where you just don’t hear those hunger signals as sharp as when you are feeling well.

 

Your turn to take action: How does illness affect your hunger signals and how do you respond?