Measuring Your Progress Without The Scale

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“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 Ways to Prevent Diabetes

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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

Women: Be an Advocate for Your Health

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“You don’t need to get your cholesterol labs checked – your under 30.”

“It’s probably just IBS.”

“There’s no need to do a well check every year, just come back every 3 years, or if something is wrong.”

It’s no secret that women don’t always put themselves and their health first. Women selflessly put other priorities like their family and their careers before their needs. So why is it that when they finally make it a priority to see the doctor for a well check or because something is wrong, they hear the comments above, and their requests are brushed off?

I unfortunately have heard every one of the phrases above myself, or first hand from a client.

This week is National Women’s Health Week, and if you have heard any of  the comments above, or feel as though you are not being heard by your medical provider, I encourage you to be an advocate for your health and keep fighting until you have an answer! Do not accept a medical provider brushing off your symptoms as normal/IBS/hormones/etc. If you think something is wrong and you are not being heard, seek a second opinion and find yourself another provider.

Here are 3 ways women can take control of their health care now: 

  1. You need more than just an OBGYN. Research has shown that many women treat their OBGYN as their internal medicine provider/primary care physician – but they are not. Think of establishing a medical home with an internal medicine provider/primary care physician as your “home base.” This is the person who knows everything about your health, your family history, and the specialty providers you see. They will set goals with you, and check your regularly for heart disease, diabetes, mental health, cancer, nutrition, bone density, and keep your vaccinations up to date.
  2. Start a health journal today. Log your symptoms along with the day, time, and any other pertinent information (whether you were exercising, what you were eating, stress level, etc). I use the Healthie app with my clients, and I always encourage them to log symptoms as well as their meals/snacks to show to their provider. This will provide more information, and allow the provider to see patterns. If you have the ability to send this to your provider before your appointment, even better!
  3. Write down your questions and concerns. Start a list of questions that you have or topics you would like to discuss in your phone 1-2 weeks before your appointment with any medical professional (doctor, dietitian, physical therapist, psychiatrist). It’s easy to get nervous and forget what you wanted to ask the provider. This list ensures that your questions are answered, regardless of the time restraints that may be put on your appointment.

You know your body better than anyone else.TRUST YOUR GUT. If you feel that your symptoms are being brushed off, keep pushing. If you are not seeing results, it’s time to find another provider.

 

 

 

5 New Years Resolutions You Can Actually Keep

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Do you make New Years Resolutions?

Research shows that 80% of people let their resolutions fade by the second week of February. Why? There are many reasons but some of the top reasons is that they are not S.M.A.R.T. goals, or they are too restrictive (things like cut out carbs, cut out alcohol, stop eating after 7PM).

I am not a big fan of taking things away, and would rather focus on the positive. Avoid putting a negative spin on your resolution to increase your chances of success!

Here are 5 resolutions you can actually keep throughout 2019!

  1. Find an exercise that you love. My husband and I joined a gym two years ago in preparation for our wedding. I had always read stories about people finding their community, but never had experienced it myself, but that was because it wasn’t a perfect fit for ME. This year I encourage you to find an exercise that you love, whether it is at a boutique fitness studio, by signing up for a 10K ,or joining a local curling club. Whatever it is, make this year the year you find the exercise that doesn’t feel like work to you!
  2. Show daily gratitude. In the 2018 Healthy Holiday Challenge we focused in finding the real meaning of the season by writing down one thing that we were grateful for each day. I encourage you to continue this into 2019! You can simply write it down in your phone, or pick up a gratitude journal. A healthy lifestyle is about more than just what you eat, and how often you exercise. Slowing down, and enjoying the joys of life is equally as important!
  3. Make time for YOU. To this one you might say “easier said than done,” however until you decide to put yourself first and focus on your health and wellbeing, you are never going to reach your goals, or be able to help others. This year commit to finding ways for putting yourself first, whether it is asking for help around the house so you can exercise/read a book, or saying “no” more often (FOMO is so 2018).
  4. Master meal planning. Meal planning is about thinking ahead of your busy schedule, and implementing a plan to make your life easier. Make 2019 the year that you master this life skill that will help you reach your health goals, save money, and decrease stress. It takes time to learn it, but I promise you, it’s worth it!
  5. Eat more vegetables. I know that this probably sounds super elementary, but focusing on eating more vegetables in 2019 will not only help you feel better – it produces results. I use the portion plate which features 50% non-starchy vegetables with all of my clients with goals from weight loss, to decreasing blood pressure or cholesterol, to improving blood sugars, to getting conquering PCOS and getting pregnant, to decreasing inflammation, and SO much more.

If you are looking to make a long term change in 2019, please contact me to set up your FREE discovery call today!

Establishing Healthy Habits for Life

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Have you ever found yourself saying “I know what to do, it’s just making myself do it”?

Here are 5 easy tips to establish healthy meal planning and a consistent exercise habits now, to give you the results you have always been looking for. After reading this blog post, write down one thing that you would like to implement right away!

1 – Lifeong Habits Take More Work Than a Fad Diet

Congratulations on saying “no” to the yo-yo dietiting and “yes” to developing healthy habits that will last a lifetime! The secret to wellness is not only making changes you know you can hold on to, it’s starting slow, and building up. It’s going to be harder than following someone else’s rules for 21 days or 30 days – but the results will last longer too.

2 – Make Time for Wellness

It’s true – there are just not enough hours in the day and wellness doesn’t often just “happen.” There is no perfect time for weight loss, so make a commitment NOW to invest in yourself – whether it is through meal planning, exercising, or just taking time to do something for you. Establishing new habits, and avoiding going back to what’s easy takes time and dedication. Schedule an appointment with yourself in your phone, in your planner or on your family calendar to carve out this time and start to create a new healthy habit.

3 – Meal Plan the Easy Way

Meal planning does NOT mean that you have to plan for 21 meals including 7 dinners. Dinner is typically where we tend to end up in the drive thru line, or on the phone with the pizza place. Try planning for just 3-4 dinners and include leftovers into the plan. Many of my clients love meal delivery services, and this utilizes that same concept, but you will save even more money, and cook healthier! Start by putting your “events” in your calendar, and then build healthy meals and snacks around them!

4 – Schedule Your Workouts On Sunday

Take a look at your week ahead and schedule your workouts in your planner ahead of
time. Write it down in your planner and reschedule if you have to – just like you would a
doctor’s appointment.

5 – Be Realistic

It’s about progress – not perfection. This is a time to accept a broader form of excellence
rather than a narrowly defined one. We are not aiming for A+ on a test here, in all reality we are aiming for a really solid B. Did you set a goal to workout 5 times per week but have only gotten in 3? Congratulations you got in 3! Celebrate that win, and consider re-adjusting your goal to build up to 5 times per week – you might need to change up your schedule or ask for some help with your to-do list. Think about what needs to be done to get there, start slow, and build. Remember – you have the rest of your life to build these healthy habits and nothing ends in 21 or 30 days – it’s forever. Focus what works for YOU!

Want to know more? Your first 15 minute phone appointment is FREE! Contact
me here.

Millenials: Prevent Alzheimer’s Now

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Did you know that Alzheimer’s can start developing as early as your 30s?  Women make up about 66% of those affected by the disease, and as a Registered Dietitian focused on prevention the Today Show segment this morning really caught my attention.

You can watch the full video here, and below is a summary of how to make healthy lifestyle changes NOW to ensure your brain is healthy in the future:

1 – Exercise regularly

Experts recommend exercising at high intensity for at least three hours a week to prevent Alzheimer’s, with two hours being from cardio and one hour from strength training. Ok great, but what does that look like? It could mean three Orange Theory Fitness workouts per week, or running for 30 minutes followed by 15 minutes of body weight strength trianing four times per week. Whichever work out you choose, I always recommend to my clients that they schedule it in advance! Book an appointment with yourself (or sign up for classes ahead of time) and if you need to move it that’s totally fine, just be sure to reschedule that time with yourself on your calendar to get in your three hours.

2 – Get at least 7.5 hours of sleep every night

I often set goals with my clients to use the bed time function on their iPhone clock app to ensure that they get enough sleep every night. Simply put in the time you need to wake up, and work backwards at least 7.5 hours to see what time you need to go to bed. Your phone will remind you 15 minutes before, indicating that it’s time to start getting ready to go to sleep! While that does include brushing your teeth and starting your anti-aging night time regime (yes, I’m 30 now so this is a daily thing for me), but it also means turning off/silencing all electronics to avoid bright lights from screens, and also dimming the lights in the bedroom to boost melatonin.

3 – Eat a diet high in antioxidant foods

This means focusing on vegetables, fruits and whole foods at every meal. I encourage all of my clients to make half of their plate non-starchy vegetables, and to choose carbohydrates that are whole food such as fruits, sweet potatoes, beans or legumes. All Blush Nutrition meal plans are naturally high in antioxidants and good fats because they focus on eating whole non-processed foods throughout the day.

4 – Know your numbers

It might seem silly to start checking your blood sugars, cholesterol and blood pressure in your 20s and 30s, however I can’t stress enough how important it is to know your numbers. With a background working as a Registered Dietitian in advanced testing for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, I have seen first hand how checking your labs, and checking them early, can affect the outcomes for the rest of your life. Alzheimer’s has been called “type 3 diabetes” for a reason and there are things that you can do now to prevent health troubles down the line! If you don’t have a primary care physician and are in Greenville, SC I highly recommend one of my partners The Brio Internal Medicine as they are also focused on prevention.

Want to know more about disease prevention, brain health and how your diet can help? Message me!

Finding Your Couples Cooking Style

Eat, Drink & Be ThankfulCooking for two has been something I have been helping clients with since I started my career. A lot of recipes are written for 4 servings, and cooking a big meal for two people is not always what you want to be doing.

Whether you are newly married, or empty nesters – my tips for finding your couples cooking style below can help!

Finding Your Couples Cooking Style

Healthy tips when for cooking for two

  1. Plan your plate. Focus on making 50% of your plate vegetables, 25% lean meat and 25% whole grains. This can look like a plate with some roasted chicken, brown rice and green beans OR combining a dish into a stir fry with shrimp over whole wheat linguini.
  2. Make a plan. Work together to make a meal plan with both of your schedules for the week! Go through recipes and cookbooks together, compare calendars and assign cooking duties for the week. What day will you choose to meal plan together?
  3. Choose recipes for 2 servings or choose 4 servings with leftovers. There are a lot of healthy cookbooks featuring recipes for 2, and several websites now are interactive with a feature to change the servings. ALL of the dinner recipes in our recipe books are written for both 2 and 4 servings. Check them out here!
  4. Look for one-dish meals. This will make it easier to prepare and clean up. Who wants to be doing dishes all night?! Some great options are sheet pan dishes, skillets and one pot dinners – one of my favorites is the chicken parm with Italian veggies on page 34 of my winter recipe book!
  5. Cook once, use twice. Plan meals so that you can use the extra food in new dishes (or lunches). Cook brown rice, quinoa or whole grain pasta for one meal and use the remainder in a dish on another day. Same goes for meats – try baking all of the chicken for a meal and use the leftovers in sandwiches, salads and soups.
  6. Decide who’s chef. Take this time to catch up and build upon your relationship. Instead of having one person cook while the other one watches TV or does work, designate the “chef” and the “sous chef” of the meal. Same goes for dishes – one washes and one dries!
  7. Curate your dinner playlist. Make dinner and cooking fun by creating a playlist of songs you love to listen to while cooking and eating dinner. This keeps meal time more mindful by keeping the TV off, and it also helps build your relationship.

 

Healthy Holiday Party Tips

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Holiday party season is here! That means fun, cheer and often lots of food and drinks. Registered Dietitian Brittany L. Jones shares tips to help you enjoy the holiday party season, while maintaining your healthy lifestyle!

  1. Don’t skip meals.

Research shows that skipping meals can cause overeating later in the day. Stick to your normal meal and snack patterns as much as you can.

  1. Use a plate.

It might sound simple, but picking up a small plate will help you consume less. Avoid standing by the buffet or appetizer table and grazing. By using a plate you are more aware of what you are consuming, and are more likely to eat mindfully when going back for seconds.

  1. Bring a vegetable dish to the party.

Let’s be honest, you know there is going to be meat and carbs at the party so be the one who brings the vegetables to balance it out! Bringing a healthy vegetable dish can ensure that you have a healthy option, and also brings some beautiful *color* to the spread.

  1. Make half your plate vegetables.

Filling up half your plate with vegetables is an easy way to control your calories and carbs at a holiday party. Aim to have a quarter of your plate carbs and a quarter of your plate protein.

  1. Focus on lean protein.

Opt for chicken, turkey, and fish as your protein sources. Avoid higher calorie dishes with bacon and sausage.

  1. Survey the buffet and be picky.

Check out everything before making your final decision. Be picky and choose your favorites.

  1. DANCE!

Get moving and dance! It’s a great calorie burner, aids in digestion and can normalize your blood sugars after a big meal.

  1. Hold your drink in your non-dominant hand.

Holiday cocktail season is here! Avoid the hangover with this trick that will help you consume less.

  1. Make every other drink water.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Not only will consuming water help slow down your holiday cocktail consumption, it will also help you combat the higher salt content in party foods.

  1. Conversation has no calories!

Food sometimes takes over as the star of the holidays, but don’t forget the true meaning of this season. Talk with your friends and family IN PERSON (and not on social media).

For more healthy holiday tips, recipes and follow me on Facebook and Instagram.