Stop Connecting Fullness with Shame

One of the most common questions we hear while working with clients is:

“What should my portion sizes be?”

Believe it or not, this is not a black and white answer. Although the portion plate is a great guide to get us started, that’s exactly what it is – a guide. The absolute BEST indicator of what portions we should be eating is from listening to your own body! 

Part of rejecting diet culture is learning to listen to what our body is telling us instead of external diet rules such as “you can only have ½ Cup of rice at a meal” or “you are not allowed to eat after 7PM.” One aspect of listening to our body is honoring our hunger and fullness cues. Our bodies are SUPER smart and know what they need. Therefore, if we honor our hunger and fullness cues, our portions will be exactly what our bodies need that day. 

Keep in mind these portions may vary day to day. Our bodies are not robots and our needs change daily. For example, if you did an intense HIIT workout, it is likely you will need more energy, and therefore be hungrier, the next day to help you replenish your energy stores lost during the workout. Same goes for when you are on your period! Our bodies expend a LOT of energy during that time shedding our uterine lining so it makes sense that we would need more food during this week.

Understanding Hunger and Fullness

The first step to learning to honor your hunger and fullness cues is to understand what hunger and fullness are. Let’s dive into some science!

Our bodies have two main hormones that regulate our appetite: Leptin and Ghrelin. Leptin signals the feeling of being full and ghrelin signals hunger. If we are honoring our hunger and fullness cues, these two hormones work in complete homeostasis. When you need more energy, ghrelin increases. When you have replenished your energy stores and no longer need fuel, leptin increases. Unfortunately, constant dietiting often throw off this homeostasis by ignoring biological hunger. 

Diet culture teaches us that being hungry all the time is “good” and feeling full is “shameful.” We do things like chug water or chew gum to distract ourselves and suppress our hunger. Overtime, this can throw leptin and ghrelin out of sync. After years of dieting, we can lose our ability to feel hunger and fullness entirely. Additionally, the more we ignore our hunger, the more our hunger hormone (ghrelin) increases. This makes your body think it is in starvation mode, stressing it out and causing it to hold on to fat stores to compensate. In our practice, we talk primarily work with clients on eating MORE to reach their goals – not less!

In order to reach our goals, it is key to build back our trust with your body’s natural cues.

Keep in mind that there are many different ways to feel hunger and fullness. Everyone is different and there are not right or wrong ways to experience it. Here are some common signs of hunger and fullness:

Common Signs of Hunger

  • Stomach growling
  • Feeling panicked/stressed
  • Dull ache in throat
  • Cloudy thinking, unable to concentrate, headache, thoughts about food and eating
  • Irritability/”Hangry”
  • Sleepiness/lack of energy

Common Signs of Fullness

  • Heaviness/bloating
  • Fewer thoughts about food and eating
  • Decreased desire to eat
  • Pleasant and relaxed mood
  • Energy changes: Either re-energized or for some, drowsy for others

As we are learning to look for and honor these sensations, keep in mind that there are a lot of aspects that can get in the way of feeling and responding to hunger and fullness cues. These are called attunement disrupters. Attunement disrupters may include distractions, thoughts, rules, beliefs, and a lack of self-care.

Attunement Disrupter Examples:

  • Eating while multitasking (watching TV, on phone, reading, driving)
  • Food rules (“I can’t eat after 7pm”)
  • Working through lunch break
  • Skipping breakfast
  • Not controlling stress levels properly
  • Not getting proper amount of sleep

If you are struggling to recognize hunger and fullness cues, reflect on these disrupters. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you overly stressed? Are you skipping meals? In order to re-regulate hunger and fullness hormones, we recommend eating every 3-4 hours and engaging in daily self-care activities.

Using Hunger and Fullness Cues as a Guide

In order to use hunger and fullness as a guide to portion sizes and meal timing, we recommend clients practice ranking their hunger and fullness levels after each meal and snack using the hunger and fullness scale below.

When you are getting ready to eat a meal or snack, ask yourself, “Where am I on the hunger and fullness scale?” Ideally, you’ll be between a 3 and a 4. When we drop below this, we tend to overeat as a natural body response to extreme hunger.

Halfway through your meal, pause for 10 seconds and check in with your body. Ask again “Where am I on the scale now?” You may choose to stop eating or continue based on what your body is telling you. Eat until you are comfortably satisfied at a 6 or 7.

“What if I fall below a 3 or eat to the point I am above a 7?” 

It happens to everyone and this is very normal! The hunger/fullness scale is NOT a rule – so start with showing yourself compassion. Shame is not a helpful emotion and does not promote progress. Avoid beating yourself up. It’s about progress not perfection!

Take this time to reflect with curiosity instead of judgement. Did dropping below a 3 impact your food choices and your hunger and fullness the rest of the day? Could you have done anything differently to avoid getting overly hungry such as packing a snack or prepping lunch that morning? If you overate, why do you think that happened? Could you practice being more mindful at meals and slowing down in the future?

Instead of dwelling on the fact you got too hungry or overate, acknowledge it, reflect with curiosity, and then move on to your normal routine.

*You deserve to have dinner even if you overate at lunch!* There is no need to “compensate” or “make up” for overeating.

Conclusion

Diet culture praises hunger and shames fullness – leading us to ignore our natural body cues and eat according to external rules. This not only leads us away from our health goals but also can damage our relationship with food. The truth is our bodies are super smart and tell us what they need through mechanisms like hunger and fullness hormones. Practice using the hunger and fullness scale and keep a log to help you see if you are getting too hungry or too full throughout day. 

If you are interested in ditching diets for good and understanding your hunger and fullness signals more in depth, we would love to help! Click here to schedule your FREE 15 minute phone call session today to learn more.

-Written by Allison Walters, RD, LD

Mac and Cheese with Greens (Gluten Free & Vegetarian)

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Y’all know I’m a huge fan of easy dinners that encompass everything you need to feel satisfied in one pot. This one pot family friend meal is just that – the pasta has both carb and protein, the Palmetto Gardens kale is your veggie, and then you of course have cheese for more protein and taste!

It’s a great spin on a classic dish! You can make this mac and cheese two ways: eat it right off the stove top or bake it for a more crispy crust.

You will have half a bag of Palmetto Gardens Kale leftover to make another batch of mac and cheese – or you can check out my Southwestern Kale Power Bowl here. Happy cooking!

Mac and Cheese with Greens (Gluten Free)

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 12oz Chickpea or Red Lentil Pasta
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Bag of @Palmetto Garden’s Kale (~5.5 Cups)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • Black Pepper, to taste
  • 2 Cups 2% Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Organic Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • Cayenne Pepper, to taste
  • 8oz Gruyere Cheese, shredded
  • 8oz Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 1 Cup Gluten Free Panko Breadcrumbs (optional)

Directions:

  1. Optional: If you would like to bake your Mac and Cheese, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook until it is al dente, about 7-9 minutes. Strain the pasta and set aside.
  3. Heat a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat. Add half of the kale, garlic and black pepper. Cover and cook until it starts to wilt. Stir and add the remaining kale. Cover and cook another 3 minutes until it is all wilted (avoid over cooking as the kale can get bitter). Remove the cooked kale and place it in a large bowl, and set aside.
  4. Whisk the milk and cornstarch together in a bowl until smooth. Add to the Dutch oven over medium heat along with the butter, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens about 5 minutes. Add the Grueyere and Cheddar and continue to stir until all the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.
  5. Add the pasta to the saucepan and stir to combine. Gentle fold in the kale and serve!
  6. Baked Option: Pour into a 13×9 inch baking dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly over the mac and cheese and baked on 425 degrees F until the cheese is bubbly and the bread crumbs are lightly browned and crispy, about 10 minutes. Serve.

This post was sponsored by Palmetto Gardens

kale

 

5 Reasons Dieting is Hurting Your Health

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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

Avoid Starvation Mode to Meet Your Goals!

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Diet culture tells us: “if you eat less food than your body burns, you will lose weight.” However, our bodies are not computers and do not work like calculators. What most people don’t understand is that the human metabolism is actually much more complicated than calories in vs. calories out.

Your body uses energy from food to perform all the activities you do in a day and all of the functions needed to keep you alive! Energy from food is used in three different ways:

  1. Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)– energy used at rest to maintain basic physiological functions (i.e. breathing and pumping blood to your body from the heart)
  2. Thermic Effect of Food (TEF)– this is the energy required to breakdown and digest your food
  3. Physical Activity (PA) – Fuel used for exercise and body movements

*When you don’t eating enough to sustain all of these activities, your body goes into starvation mode*

What is starvation mode, and why is it harmful?

The term “starvation mode” is used to describe how the body adapts to a caloric deficit. When calories are restricted, the body becomes more efficient by reducing the number of calories burned. Your body’s goal is to maintain energy balance and prevent actual starvation. The technical term for starvation mode is “adaptive thermogenesis” where the body slows down the metabolic processes to conserve energy. This means that when you restrict your food intake, your body reduces how many calories you are able to burn throughout the day to prevent starvation. This is why under eating and over exercising does not work!

The negative effects of under-eating:

  • Increases risk of health problems like eating disorders and heart disease
  • Increase in cortisol levels (stress hormone)
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Brain Fog
  • Fatigue

Being in an over stressed and underfed state will NOT help you lose weight. In an over stressed and  underfed state, your body will hold onto more fat stores because it doesn’t know when the next surge of energy is coming next.  Under-fueling slows down your metabolism, breaks down muscle, and as a result prevent individuals from meeting their weight/fat loss goals.

Set Point Theory  

Chronic Dieter: “But if I don’t control my food, I will spin out of control, and my weight will go up and up and up and all my hard work will be for nothing!”

Dietitian: “Not necessarily”

Let us introduce to you the Set Point Theory. The Set Point Theory explains that our bodies naturally maintain a constant weight range to keep our bodies functioning optimally. Our bodies are designed to maintain a healthy state and keep us alive!

Your body’s set point makes it much more difficult to maintain a body that is smaller than it needs to sustain these physiological functions. When we under eat, the body secretes more ghrelin (hunger hormone) to have you eat more to restore your body’s natural set point. This is actually really cool! Your body is working to protect itself and maintain a healthy environment for all the activities going on inside your body.

As the body starts to put on more weight, it doesn’t just keep going higher and higher up into space and out of control. Eventually, the body will stop around it’s natural set point. It may overshoot the set point at first, but give your body time and grace to recover. After all, it was starving for quite some time, so it will need extra energy for repairs. 

Watch this video to learn more about the Set Point Theory

4 Tips to avoid starvation mode & meet your goals!

You might be thinking “If I shouldn’t restrict my food intake, how can I reach my goals?” Start with these tips!

1. Eat Protein with carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are an excellent source of energy and are required for daily life functions, and adding protein will help you stay satisfied until your next meal and help you build lean muscle mass!

2. Eat incrementally throughout the day

We want to focus on *fueling* for our busy day! Having consistent meals helps balance blood sugar and will help stabilize energy levels throughout the day. Aim for a meal or snack something every 3-4 hours.

3. Leave room for fun foods

The great thing about our bodies is that it uses all kinds of foods for energy including our favorite fun foods such as chocolate, cookies, or chips.  We encourage to incorporating these foods into our clients weekly meal plan! Eliminating fun foods entirely could result in a binge later on. Additionally, it can isolate us from social activities! Establish a healthy relationship with these foods by incorporating them into your routine each week.

4. Work with the nutrition expert, a Registered Dietitian

Sometimes it’s best to ask for a little extra support during your journey to meet your goals. Working with a registered dietitian for one on one nutrition counseling, meal planning, and extra accountability can help. You can learn more about how Brittany Jones Nutrition Group can help you meet your goals in a sustainable way here!

Your body is incredible! It knows exactly what it needs to do with the fuel you give it. Don’t worry about controlling your food so tightly because your body will tell you what it needs at that time. You just have to learn to listen.

Here is a reminder that you deserve to eat today. You don’t need to “earn” your food, and you don’t need to punish your body for what you already ate. Choose to honor your body with love and respect today.

Written by Gabriella Childers, Brittany Jones Nutrition Group Intern & Brittany Jones, MS, RD, LD

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 Reasons NOT to Set a New Years Resolution (and how to set an intention instead!)

 

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“This year, I’m going to __________ (insert resolutions that are hardly ever achieved such as “lose 10 pounds,” “eat healthier,” “exercise more,” and the list goes on).”

Creating a New Year’s resolution is a tradition for so many of us, but how many times have we set a resolution and completely forgot about it by March? New Year’s resolutions have a time and a place, but the majority of the time, they can actually hurt our well-being. We begin with high energy and motivation, but as soon as we mess up, we’re likely to fall back to old habits. This might make you think … maybe this year, I shouldn’t set a New Years resolution…and search for something else instead. Below are some reasons why you resolutions don’t work, and some intentions to consider setting instead.

5 Reasons NOT to set a New Year’s Resolution

1. Your goals are unattainable
One big mistake people make when choosing a New Year’s resolution is that they choose
a goal that is unattainable for their current season of life. If I say, “I want to run a
5k this year,” but I don’t have access to running routes and lack the time to run,
this goal is probably going to be unattainable for me at the moment. Choose an activity
that is realistic for your lifestyle. Setting a goal to walk for 20 minutes three times per week may be more realistic than running a three miles every day.

2. Your resolution is too broad
For example, let’s say your goal is to “spend more time with my family.” This goal has great intentions, but there’s nothing to back it up. Resolutions need support to make it sustainable in the long run. The only way to achieve a major goal is to start small. Start by picking a small action that you can start doing in the first week of the year. Here an example would be to “have a family game night at least once a week.” This goal is specific, realistic, and attainable. When creating goals for yourself, use SMART goals to keep yourself accountable and organized.

3. You aren’t targeting the root of the behaviors you want to change
It’s hard to stop habits cold turkey when you’re not dealing with the root of the issue. Let’s take binge eating for example. Binge eating is the result of something that is going on  internally. You have to learn why you are binging in the first place before you can  change the behavior. In a situation like this, we recommend working with a registered dietitian skilled in disordered eating (like Allison!) and a counselor to discover the reasons why you may be exhibiting these behaviors.

4. Your goals are “negative” based
A negative based goal is a goal that is trying to fix something that is “wrong” in your life. Having negative based goals can leave you feeling guilty and lazy for messing up or not following through with your plan. Instead of fixating on parts of your life that aren’t ideal, magnify your strengths. When you magnify or multiply what is going right in your life, you will gain the momentum and motivation you need to improve your well-being. Ask yourself, “what am I already good at?” and build your goals from there.

5. You don’t have the right mindset
Maybe you’ve made the decision to create some sort of change, but on the inside, you’re not ready to take the necessary steps in order to make that change. You haven’t made that internal shift yet. To reach your goals, you must be willing to make some changes in your lifestyle. It’s going to be uncomfortable because, well, change IS uncomfortable. Are you willing to be uncomfortable to make a change? If so take action! If the change is worth it, create space and make time in your lifestyle to implement that change. Set yourself up for success. If now isn’t the time in your life to take action towards a goal, that’s okay! Seasons come and go. Try and reevaluate your circumstances in a month or so to determine whether or not you’re ready to take the net step, and be sure to build a support team around you to help you get there.

Set A New Year’s Intention Instead

New Years resolutions typically are external actions or desired outcomes while intentions are internal power and long term change.

Think about it this way, a resolution may be, “to lose weight.” Instead let’s flip that to set you intention “to listen to my body” Later down the road, weight loss may occur because you could be eating more vegetables, enjoying your movement, and learning how to cope with stress. Instead of implementing rigid practices through goal setting, intentions focus on practicing kindness towards your body.

The purpose of an intention is to cultivate a desire you wish to live by. Start by evaluating the things you would wish to see more of in your life. From there, we need to dig a little deeper and discover the root of that desire.

When looking at areas you wish to see more of, does it come from a sense of loneliness in your life? Does it stem from feeling inadequate or not good enough? Is there guilt? Shame? Do you have low self-esteem? These are deep questions to ask yourself, and you may feel some vulnerability trying to answer them. Choose your intentions based on these feelings.

Examples of New Year’s Intentions

  • Cultivate joy
  • Stay grateful
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Simplicity (do less)
  • Self compassion
  • Be vulnerable
  • Show love to others
  • Keep an open mind
  • Share your unique gifts
  • Be brave

After deciding your intention, create small action steps that you can do to help you be more intentional this year. If your intention is to “be more present,” a small action you can do a few times a week is to practice breathing for three minutes or journaling for three minutes. This only takes three minutes out of your day, and it’s allowing you to be more intentional about staying present.

Connect with yourself and ask, “What are some things that bring me the most energy and joy in my life?” Be clear with yourself and the things you want to cultivate, and write it down on a sticky note or a notebook. Remember, there is no right or wrong when it comes to your intentions. You cannot pass or fail. Use these handwritten messages as a reminder to pick up where you left off no matter where you are in your intention journey.

Make this year the year of intentionality. Connect and discover the things you truly need for yourself. Wishing you all the best in 2020!

-Written By Gabby Childers, Brittany Jones Nutrition Intern 

Last Minute Gift Guide

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I don’t know about you, but this whole Christmas is three weeks after Thanksgiving is NOT going very well for me! This holiday season has been a struggle with parties, travel, gifting, and Q4 deadlines.

That’s why I’ve put together this last minute gift guide. I’ve compiled this list with both wellness and time in mind. It starts with some quick-ship options and ends with downloadable options perfect for your Christmas Eve “oh crap” moments. I hope you enjoy it and happy shopping!

Wellness Gifts with 2-Day Shipping

  • A weighted blanket is perfect for the cold winter weather, and it also helps with decreasing stress/anxiety. This blanket is on sale on Amazon and will arrive in 2 days with prime shipping!
  • A gratitude journal to help celebrate every day WINS (no matter how the rest of the day went). This written exercise helps facilitate mindfulness and helps with forming a permanent positive mindset. Order it on Amazon and will arrive in 2 days with prime shipping!

Wellness Gifts You Can Pick Up Today

  • A gift certificate to the Brittany Jones Nutrition Group. Gift the gift of wellness this holiday! We offer gift certificates for nutrition packages, or in a dollar amount of your choice. Our office will be open until Monday 12/23 at 7PM and Allison will be available to assist you with your purchase and gift certificate. (We can also ship a gift certificate to you if you place your order by Fri 12/20!)
  • A letter board for writing intentions, positive messages and important reminders. Pick up this one at your local Target.
  • A sparking water maker from Soda Stream. We love sparkling water brands like La Croix and Spindrift, but why not make your own? Not only will it help you save money and make your grocery haul easier, you will also cut back on waste. Pick up this one at your local Target.

Wellness Gifts You Can Download Instantly

  • eCookbooks authored by our Registered Dietitian and CEO Brittany Jones! All 5 of our cookbooks can be downloaded to your computer or tablet (even if it’s Christmas morning!)
  • A Spa Gift Card for some self care in 2020! If you are in Greenville, SC I love the Spa at The West End – not only do they have gift cards for specific services but you can also purchase a day spa packages which are *incredible* You can purchase, download and print your certificate instantly making it a perfect last minute gift.

Merry Christmas from the Brittany Jones Nutrition Group!

Maple Walnut Baked Pears

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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.

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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

 

Let the Kids Eat Candy

 

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Are you shocked to hear a group of Registered Dietitian’s in support of Halloween candy? We understand why you might feel this way, but hear us out. We have partnered with Power Kids Fitness to teach kids that all foods fit and promote a healthy relationship with food. Yes, that includes candy!

The trouble with taking candy away during Halloween (or any holiday) is that kids learn that candy is associated with guilt, shame, and restriction. Studies show that children who have regular access to candy and treats tend to eat them moderately, while children who recognize them as forbidden foods tend to load up when available (even if they aren’t hungry). If we teach kids that treats are shameful, they will never learn how to manage them as adults. Keep reading for our top three tips on how to manage the Halloween candy this year.

Top 3 Halloween 2019 Tips:

  1. Develop a predictable meal and snack structure with nutritious foods for kids to follow throughout the week. The more structure kids have around their normal meals/snacks, the easier holiday treats will be for them to navigate. This will also help kids develop and recognize their hunger and fullness cues, which will prevent them from overeating treats, or any other foods.
  2. Make treats a regular thing throughout the year. This will make holiday’s like Halloween seem more normal, and it will prevent the risk of binging. Kids have an amazing intuition for their hunger and fullness, and the more we support them in developing these cues, the less likely they will be to over do it.
  3. Have fun the night of fun, and then save the rest for later. Enjoy your time sorting, trading, and eating candy -and then save the rest to have a couple of pieces as a part of your regular meal structure for a few days after Halloween.

To learn more about our work with Power Kids Fitness to end childhood obesity in Upstate South Carolina, check out their website here

How to Make Chia Seed Pudding

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Chia seeds are a pantry staple for the dietitians at the Brittany Jones Nutrition Group. We love them sprinkled on top of oatmeal, blended into smoothies, and even in homemade pudding! 

So what are chia seeds?

Chia seeds are tiny gray seeds that are nutrient powerhouses. The name “powerhouse” comes to mind because they are an excellent source of omega-3s, protein, fiber, and many other micronutrients. When added to a liquid, the seeds can absorb 10-12 times their weight in water creating a gel-like consistency. Because chia seeds can retain so much water, they actually help maintain body hydration. 

Because the seeds gel so easily, it makes them the perfect ingredient for a nutritious homemade pudding recipe. We’ve put together three yummy chia pudding recipes that are thick, creamy, and easy to make. Even better, each of these recipes uses only five ingredients or less!

Three Easy Chia Seed Pudding Recipes

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Chocolate Raspberry Chia Pudding

Servings: 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup 2% milk or almond milk 
  • ¼ Cup Raspberries
  • 3 Tablespoons Chia seeds 
  • 1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder 
  • 1 Tablespoon Maple syrup

Directions:

  1. In any jar or bowl add milk first, followed by the chia seeds, cocoa powder, and maple syrup.
  2. Stir well with a spoon or fork. Let sit for one minute and stir again. This prevents clumping. Wait at least five minutes before eating for a healthy dessert, or place the pudding in the refrigerator to let sit overnight for an easy breakfast.
  3. When you’re ready to eat your chia pudding, stir and top with fresh raspberries. 

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Banana Nut Chia Pudding

Servings: 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup 2% milk or almond milk 
  • 3 Tablespoons Chia seeds 
  • 2 Tablespoons Walnuts, chopped
  • ½ Banana, mashed

Directions:

  1. In any jar or bowl, add milk first, followed by the chia seeds, mashed banana, and walnuts.
  2. Stir well with a spoon or fork. Let sit for one minute and stir again. This prevents clumping.
  3. Wait at least five minutes before eating for a healthy dessert, or place the pudding in the refrigerator to let sit overnight for an easy breakfast.
  4. When you’re ready to eat your chia pudding, stir and top with fresh raspberries. 

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Strawberries and Cream Chia Pudding

Servings: 1

Ingredients:

  • ½ Cup 2% milk or almond milk
  • ¼ Cup Sliced strawberries
  • ¼ Cup Plain 0% Greek yogurt
  • 3 Tablespoons Chia seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon Organic Honey

Directions:

  1. In any jar or bowl, add milk first, then Greek yogurt, chia seeds, cocoa, honey, and sliced strawberries.
  2. Stir well with a spoon or fork. Let sit for one minute and stir again. This prevents clumping.
  3. Wait at least five minutes before eating for a healthy dessert, or place the pudding in the refrigerator to let sit overnight for an easy breakfast. Stir before eating

Notes:

  • If pudding is too thick, add a bit more milk and stir
  • Add liquids first before adding chia seeds
  • To make warm chia pudding, heat it in the microwave or add it on the stove with a splash of milk

-Written and photographed by Gabby Childers, Brittany Jones Nutrition Group Intern

Gabby Childers is from Greenville, SC, and is a senior Food Science and Nutrition major at Clemson University. She plans to become a registered dietitian after completing her undergrad. Gabby gets excited about healthy eating, food photography, and cultivating community through nutrition.