5 Reasons Dieting is Hurting Your Health

charles-deluvio-D44HIk-qsvI-unsplash

It seems like everywhere we turned in January, we were seeing information about another diet. This influx of diet spam caused everyone in our office to do a big 🤦Now, as South Carolina starts to ease COVID19 restrictions, unfortunately you can expect to see a resurgence of of diets talking about their solutions to the “COVID 15/19/30” or whatever they are calling it these days.

We pride ourselves in being anti-diet dietitians at Brittany Jones Nutrition Group. Have you ever wondered why we choose to practice this way? We speak up against trendy diets like Keto, Paleo, and Intermittent fasting because they aren’t sustainable for our clients, but also because diets are straight up harmful to our clients.

The Diet Cycle

The image above shows a typical diet cycle. Let’s walk through it using low carb diets as an example:

  • It’s Monday. You start your low carb diet, restricting delicious food items such as bread, pasta, potatoes, corn, and your personal favorite, French fries.
  • On Wednesday you start to feel really deprived. Maybe your spouse is eating French fries with their burger, but you order a salad because you are being “good.” You may also show signs of fatigue and irritability (remember, carbs are your main source of energy!)
  • On Thursday you start to really crave these foods. All you can think about is French fries.
  • On Friday the thoughts are consuming your life and eventually you give in to them. You don’t just give in a little bit. You give in A LOT. You go through the McDonalds drive through and order two supersize French fries and eat them all rapidly in one sitting.
  • Then on Friday night you feel guilty and beat yourself up for not being able to stick on your diet. You decide to start another low carb diet that is even more restrictive again next Monday. And the cycle repeats.

Sound familiar?!

What happens when we find ourselves following into this vicious cycle on a chronic basis?

Here are 5 reasons why being trapped in this diet cycle harms your overall health.

1 – Weight Cycling Increases Your Risk for Chronic Diseases

Usually when we fall into the diet cycle, we find ourselves losing weight during our restrictive diets only to later regain the weight back, and usually plus more. Then we do it all over again. This yo-yo weight pattern is called weight cycling. Research shows that weight cycling alone, regardless of your initial body size, increases your risk for cardiovascular events, osteoporosis, gallstones, hypertension, chronic inflammation, and eating disorders/disordered eating. The healthiest weight for you is when you ditch the diet mentality, break free of this cycle and learn to listen to your body’s needs when it comes to food and movement. 

2 – Dieting Harms Your Relationship with Food and Your Body

Research shows that dieting is strongly linked to a preoccupation with food and appearance, increased food cravings, and increased binge urges. At Brittany Jones Nutrition Group, we work on creating complete food freedom with our clients. Remember, all foods fit! We want you to be able to feel comfortable around all foods and get rid of the feeling that certain foods control your life. There are NO good and bad foods – and food has no moral value! Restricting foods will only lead to overeating them later. 

Diet rules also force you to ignore your natural hunger and fullness cues. They tell you that you can not eat after a certain time of day, that you have to fast in order to lose weight, and that it’s good to be hungry all day. These are all false claims that get you out of touch with your body. Our bodies are incredibly smart. They naturally crave a variety of nutrients and will tell you when they need fuel by showing signs of hunger. You do not question why you have to pee when you get the urge to pee, so why do we question our hunger?

3 – Dieting Harms Your Mental Health

Think back to when you did your last diet. How was your mental health during this time? Did you feel deprived? Did you cancel social events because there wouldn’t be something you were “allowed” to eat on your diet there? Research shows that dieting increases body dissatisfaction, reduces self-esteem, increases stress, and harms social life. Health is about SO much more than just what you eat and how often you exercise. If we neglect our mental health in order to improve our appearance, we often end up worse in the end. We are not just alive to lose weight and pay bills! There is so much more to life! Don’t miss out on the fun of life because you are concerned with appearance or eating “perfectly.”

4 – Dieting Can Cause You to Miss Out on Key Nutrients

Diets often restrict certain food groups such as fat and carbohydrates. When we restrict food groups, not only do we crave them more, but we also miss out on key nutrients! For example, carbohydrates are your main source of energy, provide fiber and B vitamins, and make your RNA and DNA. Fat is important for regulating our body temperatures and producing our hormones. All the food groups have a purpose! 

Another popular and risky diet is fasting. When we are only “allowed” to eat during certain times in the day, not only are we ignoring our natural body cues, but it is also incredibly difficult to get the nutrients and variety we need in that short period of time. 

5 – Dieting Increases Your Set Point

Do you remember learning about homeostasis in science class? Turns out our body is really good at regulating processes within our body to keep us alive. Just like it regulates our temperature, it also regulates our body size. Think of it as a thermostat for your weight. Many factors contribute into why we are the weight we are. Genetics, access to health care, access to nutritious food, environment, and movement all play a role. Where our body weight naturally falls when it is at homeostasis is called the set point. When we fall out of our set point, our body works tirelessly to do anything it can to bring it back to our set point. Our bodies do not know the difference between a diet and starvation. If we keep messing with this internal thermostat through dieting, your body views this as a famine and struggles to maintain control over your weight. During this period of starvation (dieting), your metabolism decreases and your brain releases less leptin, a hormone that triggers the feeling of being full. AKA your appetite physiologically INCREASES during a diet! After your diet fails, your body forces you to not only regain the weight back but it adds on extra weight to protect against future diets (periods of starvation). Therefore, your set point increases. In addition, people with a history of chronic dieting end up releasing less leptin overtime than they would have without the history of dieting. 

“Ok I Get it Now, but What’s the Alternative to Dieting?”

Instead of falling trap to the diet cycle, it is best to focus on finding balance. Strive for progress, not perfection! Instead of doing crazy diets that eliminate certain foods, remind yourself that all foods fit! Incorporate gentle nutrition by following the 80/20 balance and utilizing the portion plate.

Learn to listen to your body. Ask yourself: “What will nourish me and what will satisfy me?” before meals. Eat according to your natural hunger and fullness cues. Move your body in a way that feels joyful and good, rather than punishing it for what you ate.

Through rejecting diet mentality, finding food freedom, and moving joyfully, you will find the weight that is healthiest for you without sacrificing your mental health to get there.

Want to learn more? Click here to set up a FREE 15 minute discovery call with our CEO and Registered Dietitian Brittany Jones, MS, RD, LD!

-Written by Allison Walters, RD, LD

Foods to Boost Immunity

rayia-soderberg-t9M_Scl7xdg-unsplash

With the COVID-19 and flu rates rising in South Carolina, we are getting a lot of questions on how to boost your immune system naturally.

Here Are 5 Ways To Boost Your Immune System Through Your Diet.

1. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables at each meal!

The key to using food as a tool to fight against sickness is to eat as many different types of vitamins and minerals as possible. Making 50% of your plate fresh or frozen produce is an easy way to get an immunity boost!

2. Focus on whole foods as much as possible.

While all foods do fit in a healthy diet, processed foods like white bread/pasta/rice/crackers, deep fried foods, and packaged chips/snacks can cause inflammation in the body. To boost immunity, focus on whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts, nut butter, and whole wheat bread/pasta/rice/crackers to decrease inflammation and balance out your fun foods with some of these functional options. If you do choose to have Ramen, try adding some frozen veggies and some defrosted frozen cooked shrimp to increase the virus fighting power. 

3. Eat lean protein to strengthen antibodies.

Antibodies fight off disease, bacteria, and viruses. If you aren’t getting enough protein in your diet, your body can’t make enough antibodies to help you fight whatever germs you pick up throughout the day. At meal time focus on lean meats like chicken/turkey/fish (not deep fried), and at snack time pair a protein like natural peanut butter, almonds, or a low fat cheese stick with a piece of fruit for an immunity boosting snack!

4. Hydrate!

Dehydration can lead to illness, so take this time to focus on getting in water throughout the day. Keep in mind that beverages like coffee/tea/soda/alcohol can dehydrate you, so if you are sick it’s best to stick with water and caffeine free hot tea as much as possible.

5. Stock up on these non-perishable items!

Here is a list of foods we would recommend picking up from the store: fresh and frozen veggies and fruit to go with every meal,  frozen brown rice or quinoa, frozen cooked chicken/shrimp, frozen meals (we love Healthy Choice Power Bowls), canned low sodium tuna, canned low sodium beans, whole wheat bread, air popped popcorn, nuts, and natural nut butter.

Have more questions? The Brittany Jones Nutrition Group offers virtual sessions to answer your questions even while in quarantine! Contact us here to set up your FREE 15 minute discovery call.

Nutrition Tips for the First Trimester From a Registered Dietitian

Brittany Jones Nutrition Group

Hi everyone 👋 Christie here, and I’ve got some exciting news to share with you…I’m pregnant!

Staring down at the pregnancy test, and realizing what it meant, was such an exciting and also overwhelming moment for me. I had experienced an ectopic pregnancy earlier in the year that required emergency surgery, and ultimately the removal of my right Fallopian tube. Needless to say 2019 had been an emotional year for my husband and I. This second pregnancy stirred up strong feelings of needing to protect this baby.

As a registered dietitian, one of my first instincts was to make sure I was eating as healthful as possible. I was doing all the “right” things –  taking my prenatal vitamins everyday and continuing to exercise regularly. I was feeling really good and was convinced that I would be able to eat “by the book” throughout my pregnancy. Then week 9 rolled around, and I felt like I was hit by a bus. All of a sudden, I was beyond exhausted, and the eggs and whole grain sprouted toast that I had eaten the day before made my stomach churn.

The term morning sickness can be really misleading because mine generally peaked right after lunchtime, and carried through until I went to bed. Everyone kept telling me that come week 12 I would feel better, almost overnight. However, I really didn’t feel completely over the hump until about week 16. First trimester fatigue, nausea, and vomiting are extremely common, and can make it hard to fuel for your day and your baby. Below are some things that I found tremendously helpful through my first trimester and into my second. I hope you find these tips helpful as well!

Nutrition Tips for the First Trimester of Pregnancy

1 – Eat smaller, more frequent meals/snacks.

I found that the few times I did feel better and tried to eat a larger meal, it usually led to me feeling very nauseated afterwards. Eating carbohydrate and protein combinations more frequently made me feel much better (see next tip for more). I tried to eat something every 3-4 hours if possible.

2 – Eat carbohydrates followed by a protein or fat.

The only foods that genuinely sounded good to me were carbohydrates like bread, fruit, crackers, cereal, or smoothies. There was one week where all I could stomach was potatoes and bagels. Eating yogurt, eggs, or meat just did not sound appealing to me. However, getting some protein throughout the day is extremely important and can actually help regulate blood sugar and prevent worsening nausea. For me I would eat some crackers first followed by a cheese stick, or a piece of fruit first and then seeing if I could add a handful of nuts after. Dinner was a bowl of plain whole wheat pasta and veggies to start, and then I would try to add some chicken or  cheese.

3 – Vitamin B6 can help with morning sickness.

I found that taking about 25-50 mg of a vitamin B6 supplement helped me the most with evening nausea when I was trying to sleep. However, during the day I focused on vitamin B6 rich foods like bananas, nuts, and potatoes. 

4 – Saved by citrus!

Far and away the best cure for my in the moment nausea was citrus fruits or citrus flavor. The height of my 1st trimester was in the winter so clementine oranges were in season. I would eat 3-4 of these a day! They were ALWAYS in my bag. The smell alone helped to make me feel better. Grapefruit sparkling water was also a lifesaver, especially in the afternoon/evening when the nausea would be the worst. Lemon ginger tea was also helpful and enjoyable on cold nights.

5 – Strive for Daily Movement.

Prior to pregnancy I was working out 3-4 days a week at Orangetheory, but once the nausea got pretty bad I had to take a step back for about 6 weeks. However, just going for about a 15 minute walk most days helped my nausea and overall mental state. Now I am back at Orangetheory a couple of days a week and walking other days!

The biggest thing to remember is to be gentle with yourself during this time.

Your body is going through A LOT of change during pregnancy, and some days you might be able to handle an egg and spinach omelet with avocado toast, and other days it might be all you can do to keep a banana and crackers down. Give yourself some grace and know that (for most) this is temporary. I know from experience this is easier said than done, but you are not alone! 

Want to know more about prenatal nutrition? This is one of my specialties, and I would love to work with you! Contact me here.

5 reasons Intermittent Fasting is a Fad Diet and Not a Lifestyle Change

rodolfo-barreto-ACB5nvhnm6c-unsplash

You may already know that the dietitians at the Brittany Jones Nutrition Group take an all foods fit approach, but now we are adding all times fit as well! 

As dietitians, it is very common to be asked about the newest diet trend (it makes for 50% of our cocktail party conversations). Over the past year, intermittent fasting has been increasing in popularity and interest largely due to social media influencers, celebrities, and TV shows promoting the new trend.  When a new diet trend comes out, we are easily distracted by the flashy titles and promised results rather than to refer to the research. Today we are going to discuss evidence and research behind the newest diet trend, explain why we consider it to be a fad diet, and share some of our concerns. Ready? Here we go!

What is IF?

Intermittent fasting (IF) is unique from the other fad diets because it tells you when you can’t eat, but not what you can’t eat like more traditional fad diets.  Intermittent fasting is defined as periods of voluntary abstinence from food and drink and is an umbrella term for several different forms of fasting.  First, let’s break down the different types of intermittent fasting:

  • Complete alternate day fasting involves alternating days of fasting (no consumption of energy-containing foods or beverages, i.e. only water) with eating days (foods and beverages consumed as desired without restriction).  
  • Modified fasting regimens allow for consumption of 20% to 25% of energy needs on scheduled fasting days and standard eating the other days.  The modified fasting regimen is the basis for the more popular 5:2 diet, which involves severe calorie restriction for 2 nonconsecutive days a week and no restricted eating the other 5 days.  
  • Time-restricted eating allows individuals to consume food within specific windows, which leads to fasting periods on a regular basis.  The most popular time-restricted eating is 16:8, in which there are 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating. For example, eating from 8 AM to 4 PM and fasting for the rest of them.

While many of the points discussed in this article can be applied to all forms of fasting, we will be focusing on time-restricted eating as the most common type we are seeing.  With all the hype around IF, it is important to remember everyone does some type of fast while they sleep, hence our break-the-fast (breakfast!) in the morning. This is totally normal. However, the time of this fasting can change daily based on your schedule and hunger cues, as opposed to a scheduled intermittent fasting which follows a set schedule and is typically for a longer than normal fasting period.   

5 Reasons Intermittent Fasting is a Fad Diet and not a Lifestyle Change: 

1. Intermittent fasting is not a magic pill. 

Research indicates that weight loss seen from IF is no different than the short-term weight loss achieved by other fad diets. [1]  

“But I have read that intermittent fasting improves blood glucose, lipid levels, and insulin sensitivity too?”   Most of the studies done on IF have been performed on animals (not humans) over a short period of time, measuring glucose numbers, rather than long term results.  It has long been known that a reduction of weight among overweight individuals decreases blood glucose levels, triglycerides, and blood pressure. [2]  The “mechanism” for the improved lab values seen with IF is driven from the weight loss produced by a caloric deficit, not by the time window an individual consumes or does not consume calories. More research is needed on IF to make this statement true. Keep in mind that for long term improvements in lab values, the lifestyle MUST be sustainable. If you’re only able to follow it for 3 months, your lab values are likely to return to where they were prior to the diet. Keep in mind this research also does not take into account mental health (more to come on this later).  

2. It is not a sustainable lifestyle change, and can lead to the diet cycle. 

When clients and friends ask us about the newest fad diet, we typically respond with, “Is that something you would like to do for the rest of your life?”  Even the research acknowledges the difficulty of IF due to “periods of elevated hunger on fast days, societies with constant, convenient access to nutrients, and eating patterns strongly intertwined with social structures.” [3] In other words, it is difficult for individuals in the studies to stick to intermittent fasting, even for a brief period of time.  Intermittent fasting does not allow flexibility for special events like weddings, vacations, and brunch with friends – let alone for the flexibility needed in everyday life! 

Intermittent fasting and all fad diets end up leading to what we call the diet cycle. The inevitable “slip-up” will happen where you eat during your “fasting window,” end up feeling guilty for breaking the food rule, then leading to overeating because of the guilt, and eventually give up all together. Then comes the next fad diet to take its place and start the cycle all over. So many clients we have seen have been caught in this cycle – which is why we promote sustainable lifestyle change for our clients and do not recommend fad diets! Weight cycling or yo-yo dieting also increases inflammation in the body, and increases overall risk for chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and eating disorders.

The Diet Cycle

3. It does not teach you anything about the composition and nutrients in food.

Because IF only focuses on the timing of eating, it ignores the most important aspect of nutrition: the composition of the food you are eating!  Fans of IF say one of the biggest pros is that it is easy and you do not have to dive into the details of nutrition. However,  weight management (if that’s your goal) and creating a healthy lifestyle takes TIME. Time is needed to learn about why you need to eat a variety of nutrients – rather than following diet rules that can result in malnutrition, decreased energy levels, and more. Intermittent fasting, like many fad diets, skips all the learning that is needed to create a sustainable healthy lifestyle. The more you know how food fuels your body, and how to listen to your body, the healthier you will become – and the longer the results will last.

4. It causes you to ignore your body’s natural hunger cues.

Everyone can probably think of a time they have fasted, either intentionally or not, and the subsequent hunger pains/mood changes that came along with it.  Forcing hunger over and over again is neither sustainable nor healthy. Research shows that food restriction decreases baseline dopamine levels, and enhances a higher dopamine release in the brain when you do eat which can lead to overeating. [4] This means that you are less happy while fasting, and then become overly happy when you eat (leading to a potential binge). An important part of creating a sustainable healthy lifestyle involves being in tune with your body, and IF teaches you to ignore those hunger cues, and then to ignore fullness cues. Other side effects of intermittent fasting include feeling cold, irritable (anyone else get “hangry” over here?!), low energy, feeling distracted, and having reduced work performance – yikes! [5]  Many IF’ers skip breakfast, and according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, skipping breakfast is associated with higher BMI and increased obesity risk.  A balanced breakfast consisting of a carbohydrate paired with a protein/fat starts our metabolism for the day, and also balances our dopamine levels!

5. It can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food, and put you at risk for an eating disorder.

One of the biggest concerns that we have as Registered Dietitians with intermittent fasting is its potential to lead to an eating disorder, or disordered eating.  Many people may begin IF with healthy intentions, but their behavior can become an eating disorder due to the restrictive nature of the diet trend. If someone that is driven by the number on the scale or the a desire to look thin starts to restrict eating, say, 16 hours a day, and sees “positive results” it can psychologically lead to fasting even longer, and a worst case scenario that behavior can lead to an eating disorder. Individuals can easily hide an eating disorder behind intermittent fasting as a social excuse to not eat (a warning for health providers and parents!) In a large study of 14-15 year olds, dieting was the most important predictor of a developing eating disorder. Those who dieted moderately were 5x more likely to develop an eating disorder, and those who practiced extreme restriction were 18x more likely to develop an eating disorder than those who did not diet. [6]

People with anorexia nervosa generally restrict the number of calories and the types of food they eat, and they ignore their bodies natural hunger cues. They tend to be obsessed with weight, calories, food, and dieting and often avoid social situations that involve food.

Our concern is that many of the features seen in anorexia nervosa fall in line with that seen in intermittent fasting. 

Binge eating, characterized by eating a larger amount of food in a certain time frame than most people would eat in that same window, can look a lot like IF too because of increased hunger. It’s important to note that not everyone with an eating disorder is classified as “underweight,” and are are still at risk for medical complications and disruptions in mental and social health from disordered eating.  Disordered eating is especially of concern for women of child bearing age, as preconception is an important time for women to maximize their nutrient intake and going without eating means going without important energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals. To understand the risk factors and warning signs for the development of an eating disorder, read the Common Signs of an Eating Disorder on the National Eating Disorder Association website: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/warning-signs-and-symptoms

Across the board, the research agrees that there is not enough evidence to recommend intermittent fasting and more research is needed due to the lack of long-term interventions and follow-up periods. 

Furthermore, the research has not investigated the dietary quality among fasting individuals and the social, mental, and emotional consequences of fasting.  The Instagram influencer with abs may be convincing, but we encourage you to remember the research, and to think about how it would fit into your lifestyle. The Registered Dietitians at the Brittany Jones Nutrition Group are all about focusing on your overall health, including physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social.  Would intermittent fasting be infringing on one of those aspects of health in your life? We are not promoting snacking through the night, but rather a lifestyle in which you eat enough throughout the day to enable adequate sleep at night, allowing you to wake up rested in the morning and to ‘break-the-fast’ with a nutritious breakfast and set your day up for success. 

We are all about making sustainable lifestyle changes that allows for flexibility, focus on friends and family, and enjoying the fun in food and eating!  

REFERENCES:

  1. Patterson, R. E., Laughlin, G. A., Lacroix, A. Z., Hartman, S. J., Natarajan, L., Senger, C. M., … Gallo, L. C. (2015). Intermittent Fasting and Human Metabolic Health. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 115(8), 1203–1212. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2015.02.018 
  2. Evidence Analysis Library . (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.andeal.org/default.cfm. 
  3. Tripolt, N. J., Stekovic, S., Aberer, F., Url, J., Pferschy, P. N., Schröder, S., … Sourij, H. (2018). Intermittent Fasting (Alternate Day Fasting) in Healthy, Non-obese Adults: Protocol for a Cohort Trial with an Embedded Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial. Advances in Therapy, 35(8), 1265–1283. doi: 10.1007/s12325-018-0746-5 
  4. Roseberry, A. G. (2015). Acute fasting increases somatodendritic dopamine release in the ventral tegmental area. Journal of Neurophysiology, 114(2), 1072–1082. doi: 10.1152/jn.01008.2014 
  5. Wolfram, T. (2018, October 4). Investigating Intermittent Fasting: Food & Nutrition: From the Magazine. Retrieved from https://foodandnutrition.org/from-the-magazine/investigating-intermittent-fasting/. 
  6. Golden, N. H., Schneider, M., & Wood, C. (2016). Preventing Obesity and Eating Disorders in Adolescents. Pediatrics, 138(3). doi:10.1542/peds.2016-1649 

-Written by Brittany L. Jones, MS, RD, LD and Anna Whitlow, Dietetic Intern

Measuring Your Progress Without The Scale

brandless-18lr202tDKY-unsplash

“If I lose ‘X’ pounds, then I can wear my skinny jeans”
“I have to go to the gym today because I ate too many sweets last night”
“I’m doing all the right things, but I’m not losing weight!”

Do any of these statements above sound familiar? We get it, exchanging old habits for new health promoting habits is hard. It’s especially difficult when we feel we aren’t seeing progress!

Diet culture has taught us to tie our self-worth and validation with the number on the scale. If the number decreases, diet culture says that’s “good,”  and when the number goes up or remains the same, that’s considered “bad.” Many of us believe that when we reach a certain weight, we will be more loved/successful/a better person. Why is that? Have you ever considered the fact that maybe your weight has little or nothing to do with your success? Just because your weight isn’t changing does not mean you are progressing ton journey.

Your Worth is Not Dictated by

the Number on the Scale

We often tie our worth to factors that society deems to be “good.” Diet culture tells us that we need to eat healthfully and exercise often to achieve nearly impossible body sizes and shapes. Have you ever considered that there are more reasons to live a healthier lifestyle than to reach a certain number on the scale? In the big picture, numbers don’t tell you the great things that make you uniquely, you!

Say it with me: my self worth is not defined by a number on a scale! Focusing too much on a number on the scale can distract you from remembering the best parts about yourself. Consider your role. Are you a parent to a child? A best friend? A sister? A manager? No matter what, the number on the scale says – it has zero influence on how “good” or “bad” you are at fulfilling your role. We believe that if we weighed “X pounds less” then we will “be more loved,” “be a better person,” or “be what others want us to be” – but this is diet culture speaking here. Remember that these thoughts are not facts. They’re just thoughts.

It’s time to Starting looking at different measures of progress

To combat these toxic thoughts, start looking at different measures of progress. There are so many more ways to document progress during a health journey than tracking how much your body weighs. Body weight tells a how much our muscle/organs/skin/water/fat/etc weigh, but it tells you nothing about nutritional, social, and intellectual progress.

How to Track Progress Without the Scale

To keep track of progress (outside of the scale), start by focusing on sustainable habits. What is one habit that you can easily do every day (or every week) for a long period of time that will help you reach your goals? It should be something simple and realistic like making your own breakfast every day, getting in movement three times a week, or going to the grocery store at least once a week. Focus on habits that are sustainable, and more importantly, enjoyable! Incorporating new habits into your day can be really exciting especially when you are able to see improvements in your overall health.

Stepping away from the scale can be a hard habit to release. So many of us have attached ourselves so much to a number that we don’t know how to cope without it. The best way to detaching yourself from the scale is take it out of the house (or out of sight) and replace it with another form of measurement.

Check out these 10 ways you can measure your progress that have nothing to do with the scale below!

 

10 nonscale wins

Next time you find yourself discouraged by the number on the scale, try and think about other parts of your life that have made you a healthier version of yourself physically, mentally, and socially. The number on the scale is a number – that’s it. It’s your behaviors that define who you are – not the scale. Remember all the things that make you uniquely, you!

At the Brittany Jones Nutrition Group our RDs set non-scale goals with our clients, and do not weigh clients in our office. If you’re interested in learning more about focusing on health promoting habits rather than the on scale, click here to set up your FREE 15 minute discovery call! 

 

-Written by Gabby Childers, and Brittany Jones, MS, RD, LD

5 Tips for Healthy Holiday Travel

john-salzarulo-_R0gzzRUZoI-unsplash.jpg

Are you going to be among of the millions of Americans traveling this holiday season? If so check out my top 5 tips to arrive refreshed and ready to go!

  1. Get a good night sleep. This tip is especially important if you are driving, as the AAA recommends at least 6 hours of sleep before driving. Avoid staying up late packing and saying you will “sleep on the plane.” This full nights rest will help you ward off any sickness while traveling, so try to get the packing done earlier in the day.
  2. Plan your meals, and review menus online. There is an awesome app called Gate Guru which helps you find a healthy meal at the airport. Look to your ticket for your terminal and find a healthy restaurant option by your gate, or if you are connecting, talk to the flight attendant to find out what terminal you will be arriving at to help you make your choice. If you’re driving this holiday season, eat a normal breakfast, and check out healthy restaurants along the way with the Healthy Dining Finder No matter how you travel making a healthy choice BEFORE you get overly hungry is key!
  3. Find ways to incorporate standing and walking into your day. Many airports now offer walking paths where you can walk a couple thousand steps while on your layover, especially before sitting for a long period of time again (comfortable shoes are key). Avoid sitting the entire layover which can slow your metabolism, and also make you feel sluggish. If you are driving, try marching in place while getting gas, or taking a lap around the break area before getting back in the car. All movement counts!
  4. Pack snacks! Packing your own snacks is the key to healthy travel. These snacks will help keep your hunger and fullness in check, and make sure you aren’t overly hungry going into a meal, causing you to over eat and feel uncomfortable. Pack snacks for the trip, and your vacation!
  5. What are some meal/snacks I can bring on a plane? You can bring a Natural Peanut Butter and 100% whole fruit jam sandwich, an empty water bottle, whole fruits like an apple/banana/pear/peach/grapes (in a zip-lock or small plastic container), raw vegetables like: baby carrots/broccoli/cherry tomatoes/snap peas, nutrition bars such as KIND/LARA/RXbars, or a trail mix

Do you have more healthy travel questions? Contact me here. Happy Holidays and safe travels!

 

Maple Walnut Baked Pears

IMG_4830

During the holidays or on vacation, we often times change up our normal meal/snack pattern because we don’t have as much “structure” to our day. And that’s OK! That’s part of the fun.

However, we encourage our clients to still focus on eating a meal or snack every 3-4 hours to avoid getting overly hungry (a 1-2 on the hunger scale) which can result in either a binge, or overeating at dinner. Snacking is the key to your success this holiday season!

We’ve come up with a festive holiday snack for y’all  that only has five ingredients and is very simple to make. Just put together your ingredients, let it bake, and there you have a delicious Maple Walnut Baked Pear! This also makes a wonderful dessert.

Turn this recipe a breakfast meal by add a ½ Cup of Greek yogurt for extra protein to each serving. Whether you choose to make this recipe as a dessert, snack, or breakfast, we hope you enjoy every bit of its wonderful maple-y goodness! Happy holidays y’all.

pears-2.jpg

Maple Walnut Baked Pears

Servings: 2-4

Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Pears
  • 1 Teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons walnuts, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 Cup Greek yogurt, 0% plain

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400℉
  2. Slice your pears in half and spoon out the core where the seeds live and place them on a baking sheet
  3. Add equal amounts of the cinnamon, walnuts, and maple syrup on top of your pear halves.
  4. Bake your pear halves in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the maple syrup starts to bubble and the sides begin to golden
  5. Finally, top each with 1 Tablespoon of Greek yogurt and enjoy!

If you make our Maple Walnut Baked Pears, let us know! Share your creation on Instagram and tag @britanyjonesrd for a chance to be featured on our stories.

-Recipe and photography by Gabriella Childers, Brittany Jones Nutrition Group Intern

 

Rosemary Roasted Vegetables

_DSC7802

This time of year gives us many opportunities to enjoy our favorite foods. There are traditional events such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, and there are those less traditional gatherings like Friendsgiving and Christmas cookie exchanges.

Often times we notice that the dishes at parties feature mostly proteins and starches, but very few contain vegetables. That’s why we always recommend bringing a vegetable dish to add some color to the spread! 

During this season, we encourage you to eat your favorite holiday dishes, but also not to forget about the water, fiber, and micro-nutrients you get from having vegetables too. Have a vegetable alongside your favorite sweet potato casserole or mac and cheese adds some more color and nutrition to your plate! Check out this easy to make vegetable dish perfect for your next holiday party.

_DSC7774

Rosemary Roasted Vegetables

Cook Time: 34-45 minutes

Servings: 8-10

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ Cups Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 pound parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons avocado oil
  • ¼ Teaspoon each of salt and pepper
  • ¼ Teaspoon each of pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 ℉ 
  2. Mix together the Brussels sprouts, carrots, and parsnips in a large bowl
  3. Add the rosemary, garlic, avocado oil, salt, and pepper and toss to coat.
  4. Spread out the vegetable mixture onto a large sheet pan. Place in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes until golden brown (recommend stirring every 15 minutes)
  5. Remove from oven and enjoy!

If you make our Roasted Rosemary Vegeatbles, let us know! Share your creation on Instagram and tag @britanyjonesrd for a chance to be featured on our stories.

-Recipe and photography by Gabriella Childers, Brittany Jones Nutrition Group Intern

5 Ways to Prevent Diabetes

pasta

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and as a Certified Diabetes Educator, this month means a lot to me. One of the top goals we hear from our clients is that they do not want to end up with Type 2 Diabetes like their relatives did, or they don’t want to start (or stay) on medication. When people think of diabetes, they often think they’re doomed …but the good news is that your genes don’t have to dictate your reality!

Here are 5 ways you can decrease your risk of developing Gestational diabetes, pre-diabetes, and ultimately Type 2 diabetes:

    1. Know your numbers! Getting annual lab work completed that includes a fasting glucose reading and Hemoglobin A1c can clue you in on your risk level, and can be imperative in monitoring how your lifestyle changes are affecting your health. The fact that nearly 90% of Americans who have pre-diabetes don’t know that they have it speaks to the importance of knowing your own numbers.
    2. Take a Passagiata. We all know that the European way of life is a little more laissez-fare compared to us high wired Americans. I think they’re onto something. After meals, you will see most Italians taking a stroll outside. This passagiata, which means “post meal stroll”,  can make a huge difference in your blood sugar. When you eat, your blood sugar goes up and when you walk, your muscle cells are able to uptake more glucose (sugar) to be used for energy. So instead of chilling on the couch after dinner, take a quick stroll around the neighborhood or even just walk in place in front of the TV if you can’t go outside. 
    3. Veg-Out! “Eat your vegetables!” is something that probably still rings in your ears from childhood. However, mom’s instructions are just as important now as they were then. Making 50% of your plate non-starchy vegetables (think: leafy greens, mushrooms, peppers, cauliflower and broccoli) is a great way to increase nutrient density on your plate and increase fiber. Increasing fiber in your diet helps slow your digestion which slows the rise of post meal blood sugar. Remember this tip at holiday dinners and parties this year. If you can make sure 50% of your plate is veggies that will naturally prevent low nutrient, higher calorie foods from covering the entire plate.
    4. Eat consistently throughout the day. Eating breakfast within one hour of waking up, and eating a meal or snack every 3-4 hours throughout the day can help reduce your risk. Why? Because not only will you have consistent energy levels throughout the day, it also decreases the risk of overeating (carbohydrates) at the next meal, or bingeing on snacks/sweets. 
    5. Maintain a healthy weight and avoid yo-yo dieting. A healthy weight is totally different for everyone and is highly individualized. However, research shows us that maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding yo-yo diets (which are shown to result in weight GAIN rather than loss) significantly reduces the risk of  chronic illnesses like Type 2 diabetes. If a weight loss is recommended by your doctor, a healthy weight loss of 0.5-1 pound per week for women, and 1-2 pounds per week for men is the way to go in addition to checking your blood sugars and A1c (see tip #1 above). And don’t feel like you have to go crazy with the weight loss! According to a study done by Diabetes Journal, just a 2 pound weight loss correlated to a 16% reduction in Diabetes risk.

Want to learn more about Diabetes prevention or management? We are here to help. Click here to set up your FREE 15 minute discovery call with a Registered Dietitian.

-Written by Christie Griffin, RD, LD, CDE, CSOWM – Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator at the Brittany Jones Nutrition Group

Autumn Broccoli Salad

_DSC7753-2 (1)

This Autumn Broccoli Salad features seasonal fruits and vegetables with an easy to make homemade Greek yogurt dressing – making it a perfect side dish for your next holiday gathering!

This recipe is for the nights you find yourself saying, “I have to bring a side dish to a party, but have no time!” Just chop up your seasonal vegetables listed below, and whisk together a few simple salad dressing ingredients, and there you have a nutritious side dish that all your friends and family will love!

_DSC7738-2

Creamy salad dressing typically use mayonnaise as the base. For extra protein, we decided to swap mayonnaise with Greek yogurt in this recipe. The tang of yogurt and sweet hints of honey pair together nicely on this salad.

Enjoy this salad as a simple side to dinner, or enjoy it as your meal prep for the week! For a light lunch, try adding chicken or salmon on top for your source of protein.

_DSC7756-2

Autumn Broccoli Salad

Serves: 6

Total Time: 10 minutes

Salad Ingredients:

  • 4 Cups kale, chopped
  • 3 Cups raw broccoli, chopped
  • ½ Cup red onion, diced
  • 1 Red apple, diced
  • ⅓ Cup slivered almonds

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup 0% Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoon organic honey
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Directions:

  1. Massage kale in a large bowl and set aside. (Note on how to massage kale: put kale into a bowl and squeeze with your hands. Massage kale for 1-2 minutes until soft)
  2. Add all other salad ingredients to the large bowl with kale. Mix together using large wooden spoons.
  3. Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a separate medium-sized bowl. Pour on top of the salad, and mix again.
  4. Allow the salad to sit for 30 minutes before serving (This allows the kale to absorb the dressing making your salad more soft and enjoyable to eat. Or just put it in the car and head to your party!)

Notes:

  • Apples can be substituted with dried cranberries or pomegranate seeds
  • This recipe is gluten free and vegetarian
  • To make the dish dairy-free/vegan, swap the Greek yogurt for ¼ Cup tahini and 2 Tablespoons of water

If you make our Autumn Broccoli Salad, let us know! Share your creation on Instagram and tag @britanyjonesrd for a chance to be featured on our stories. 

-Recipe and photography by Gabriella Childers, Brittany Jones Nutrition Group Intern