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“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

 

 

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!

 

 

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.

 

 

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?

 

Is Intuitive Eating a Weight Loss Program or Not?

Woman with question marksMore often than not, people struggling to lose weight will say yes to a new diet that hits the market. Whether the catch phrase is diet, program, system or technique, if it is something they haven’t tried, you can bet they are going to get suckered into the claims that THIS is the diet, program, system or technique that will finally help you achieve the weight loss you pray for.

 

So when I was having a conversation the other day with a woman who was asking me about the intuitive eating work I do with my clients, I wasn’t surprised when she asked me about the “weight loss program” that she was interested in learning more about.

 

I quickly stated, “Intuitive eating is not a weight loss program”.

 

Whoa! Wait a minute! That stopped her dead in her tracks. Her mouth dropped open. “If it is not a weight loss program, then what is it”, she asked.

 

I proceeded to explain to her that the intuitive eating work I do with my clients is a step-by-step process to help them transform their relationship with food, where they end the battle with food and their body and achieve great pleasure in eating once again.

 

You see, all the years of dieting has caused food to be your enemy, and has led you to feel guilty after eating foods that you deemed “bad” by the diet industry. On top of that, each time you eat one of these bad foods, or you overeat and feel shame and guilt, you also feel miserable about yourself and your body.

 

Intuitive eating puts all things back into perspective. Intuitive eating reminds you that you are in charge of your food choices and your body. You have the inner wisdom to know when you are hungry and when you are full, when you should start eating and when you should stop.

 

The process of learning to become an intuitive eater puts you back into the driver’s seat of deciding what foods you want to eat, how you want to dress, and helps you to love and respect yourself, and your body again.

 

In turn, as you learn to live life as an intuitive eater with an inner love that shows kindness to yourself, gentleness with yourself and ultimately acceptance of yourself, something wonderful happens. You start to release weight! You start to feel your pants become loser, your stride become longer, your walking pace become quicker and your breathing become easier.

 

Yes, you will naturally lose weight, returning to what is a “natural, healthy weight” for your body, not an ideal weight based on a calculation and a chart.

 

So, is intuitive eating a weight loss program?

 

No, it is not.

 

Can you release weight when living life as an intuitive eater making conscious food choices?

 

Yes you can!

 

Sounds pretty darn good to me!

 

Your turn to take action: Contact me if you would like to get started on your intuitive eating journey. Just click here to learn more.

 

Is it Possible to Eat without Food Worry?

Woman eating fruit saladIf I told you, a chronic dieter, that you can recapture the pleasure in your eating and look forward to your meals with excitement and not fear, dread or worry, what would you say?

“No way, impossible.”

“I wish!”

“I doubt it!”

 

I know that this might seem unachievable to you, having battled with your weight for years, being on and off diets without long-term success. All these diets have caused food to be your enemy, which is quite unfortunate because food is meant to nourish your body.

 

How many times have you accepted a lunch date with your girlfriends, or dinner date with your partner only to worry for hours beforehand what you will order and if you are going to overeat? The worry about how many points the salad dressing is, how many calories are in the creamed spinach and concerned that you will leave the restaurant feeling bloated, heavy and miserable.

 

All this fear and worry leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy. You DO overeat, you DO feel guilty and ashamed and you DO leave the date feeling bloated, heavy and miserable.

 

In my work with my clients, I help them to understand that through the process of learning to be an intuitive eater, you actually lose this food fear and food worry and instead leave the restaurant or dinner table feeling utmost pleasure in what you have just eaten (and you were able to focus on your wonderful dinnertime companion instead of thinking about eating too much food).

 

The secret is in SAVORING YOUR FOOD! This means slowing down and taking the time to enjoy all the qualities of the food you are eating including taste, texture, temperature, aroma and appearance. This sounds a lot like mindful eating, doesn’t it? Yes, it is and it is exactly what I teach my clients as they move along their intuitive eating journey.

 

This month is National Nutrition Month. The theme is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right”. This theme meshes wonderfully with the message of mindful eating. Take the time to enjoy food traditions and appreciate the pleasure, great flavors and social experience that food can bring to your life.

 

Would you like to participate in a free 7 day challenge where you can learn how to “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right”?

 

This challenge is happening in my private Facebook group. It’s called:

 

Challenge - Savor Flavor-When-Where

Savor the Flavor of Eating

7 Day Free Challenge

 

Discover:

– What’s behind the “HOW”, “WHEN”, “WHY” and “WHERE” you eat.

– Begin your journey towards a more mindful and pleasurable eating style.

 

Join us for Free by clicking here. There is no opt-in required to join our group. This takes you to my private Facebook group. All you have to do is request access to join and Walla! I’ll accept you and welcome you in.

 

The challenge starts on March 7. You can only participate if you are part of the private Facebook group, so click here now and request access to join.

 

 

3 Tips to Increase Mindfulness in Your Kitchen and Home

Shalom zachor 2Big news! My son and daughter-in-law had a baby boy! That’s my second grandchild (both boys) and I am super excited. He came into this world a bit earlier than expected and took us all by surprise. But he and mom are doing well and we couldn’t be happier!

 

We celebrated my new grandson’s homecoming from the hospital with a celebration in my home on Friday evening. I had less than 48 hours to plan this big event so I went into overdrive. My husband and I immediately started making lists of what we needed to buy. Cake, fruit, drinks etc…..

 

Shalom zachor 1The party was terrific. Happy times and cherished memories with family and friends.

 

After the party, I looked around. Wow, I had SO much food left over. As usual, I overbought, thinking I wouldn’t have enough. This is where the challenge began.

 

In order to continue my mindful eating practices, it’s important to set up my environment for success. If I was to leave all the cake and pastries on my kitchen counter, then it would be very tempting every time I passed in and out of the kitchen. So, I packed everything up in storage bags, labeled it and carefully put it in the freezer with the intention that I will take it out the next time I have company over. In response to my children’s request, I did leave out some of grandma’s blondies:)

 

I believe it’s important to be realistic. As an intuitive and mindful eater, you know that you eat when hungry and not because it’s “just there in front of you”. But, there are times when even the most intuitive and mindful of eaters will dip into the cookie jar – well – just because.

 

In order to minimize this mindless eating, it is important to set your home up for success.

 

Here are 3 tips that I do in my home that you can start doing right now:

  • Put all food away in the cabinets. Keep your counters clear. Out of sight, out of mind.
  • Immediately freeze leftovers and label it for the next meal you plan to eat it.
  • Keep all food in the kitchen. Avoid having candy dishes filled with nuts and jelly beans on the living room cocktail table for when someone comes to visit. When that time comes, you can always put the candy dish out.

 

There is no perfection in intuitive eating. But, you can help your journey along by setting up your home for success.

 

Your turn to take action: What steps will you take to minimize mindless eating in your home environment?

 

 

 

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?