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

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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

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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

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

 

Rosemary Roasted Vegetables

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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.

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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 Tips to Lose Body Fat

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Have you ever come across a product that says it will help you “lose 10 pounds in a week?” Maybe you bought that product, tried it, lost the weight quick, and then gained it back the 10 pounds that you lost PLUS two more. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix to burn body fat. Extreme fad diets may last in the short term, but they aren’t sustainable and can actually hurt your overall health.

Now that you know that fad diets and fat burning supplements aren’t the trick, what methods actually work? The Registered Dietitians of the Brittany Jones Nutrition Group are here to answer your questions with science based knowledge! First, let’s talk about what fat is. Fat is stored in the body when the number of calories consumed is higher than the number of calories burned. It doesn’t matter if it’s protein calories or fat calories or carbohydrate calories, if more energy is entering the body than leaving, the body stores extra energy as fat. 

Losing body fat and being able to sustain that new body fat percentage takes time and hard work – but it’s doable! 

Incorporating healthy habits into your every day is the key to a healthy lifestyle. Start slow, reach out for support, and give yourself grace during the process. Here are some habits to incorporate into your healthy routine that will promote sustainable fat loss. 

Lift Weights

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to solely do cardio to burn body fat. Strength training increases muscle mass. Muscle mass needs more energy to maintain its size, and when you have more muscle mass, your body needs to burn more calories (muscle mass is metabolically active vs. fat which is not). Aim for 2-3 strength training sessions a week incorporating all the major muscle groups. Functional movements such as deadlifts, squats, bent over rows, and bench presses, are excellent exercises that work many muscle groups at the same time. 

Move More, Sit Less

According to a 2008 Vanderbilt University study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the average American spends 7.7 hours a day sitting. To put that into perspective, that’s 55% of waking hours spent sitting down. Weight lifting is great for building muscle, but to maximize your efforts, be sure to stay active outside the gym! This is your chance to gather a team to play volleyball, take a walk after dinner with the family, or ride your bike down the street. To increase activity in your everyday routine, try taking the stairs, parking further away, or taking a 5 minute walk and stretch break at work.

Eat A Nutrient Dense Diet

Fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds, and lean proteins are all foods found in a nutrient dense diet. Looks for foods as close to their original form as possible. For example, veggie chips seem to be nutrient dense. I mean, “veggie” is in the name, so it must be healthy, right? Not necessarily. Real vegetables like carrots, zucchini, and broccoli are going to be a more nutrient dense option. Veggie chips have been broken down, dehydrated, and have unnecessary added sugar and salt. Diets with high sugar and salt intake can be inflammatory causing the body to hold onto extra water weight and fat. A good tip to keep in mind is to fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables. That way you know you’re getting fiber and nutrients in every  meal. Focus on lean proteins like lean meats, fish, legumes, nuts, and seeds. 

Our Registered Dietitians take an all foods fit approach in our practice, and there’s no reason to completely cut out your favorite fun foods such as cake on your birthday or a drink with friends. The key is to focus on nutrient dense foods most of the time, and occasionally have those fun foods. A healthy lifestyle is not about deprivation and we want to help you to focus on fueling your body without restriction. Celebrations and social events are important for your well-being too!

Drink More Water 

The body uses water to regulate internal temperature, transport nutrients to cells, digest food, and flush out waste. It seems so simple, but drinking more water can actually help burn body fat. The more hydrated the body, the more calories it is able to burn at rest. A dehydrated body slows down the metabolism to compensate, and a water-starved body will not be able to burn fat effectively. Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces (ex. a 150 pound person should aim for 75oz water per day). Find a water bottle that suits your style and take it with you wherever you go. Having water with you at all times will help you increase your water intake and decrease the risk of dehydration!

Make Sure You Are Eating Enough 

Cutting too many calories too fast can actually do more harm than good, and unfortunately this is something we see frequently. Extreme restriction puts your body in starvation mode. It recognizes that it isn’t getting enough fuel, so it slows down the metabolism in response to conserve energy. It holds onto body fat because it doesn’t know when the next serge of fuel will come. Work with a Registered Dietitian to learn more about your personalized energy needs, and learn to listen to your hunger and fullness cues. 

Cutting body fat takes work, but if you incorporate these healthy habits into your routine, your results will last a lifetime! To lose body fat, focus on eating a nutrient dense dense diet, moving your body, and drinking lots of water. Incorporating healthy habits into your routine may not give you results as quickly as a detox tea, but the outcome is healthier, more sustainable, and less risky!

Interested in cutting body fat? Our Registered Dietitians can help ! Click here to set up your free 15 minute discovery call.

Written by Brittany Jones, MS, RD, LD and Gabby Childers, Brittany Jones Nutrition Intern

 

Meet Our NEW Registered Dietitian: Christie Griffin, RD, LD, CDE, CSOWM

I am very excited to announce Christie Griffin, RD, LD, CDE, CSOWM as the newest member of the Brittany Jones Nutrition Group team! Christie offers nutrition counseling in packages of three or six sessions in our Medical Nutrition Therapy program. Keep reading to learn more about her background, her favorite food, and the #1 that she wants her new clients to know.

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Q&A with Christie Griffin, RD, LD, CDE, CSOWM

Q: Where are you from originally?

A: I am originally from Atlanta, GA. I grew up in a family with 2 younger sisters and parents who loved all things sports. I played Varsity Tennis all through out high school. When I graduated high school it was off to Clemson University to study Nutrition!

Q: Why is being a Registered Dietitian your dream job?

A: I struggled with being overweight and my relationship with food when I was younger. I went to Clemson University to study nutrition to learn more for my own benefit and to help others. Years later, I love helping others learn to love food, and how it can help them (and not hurt).

Q: You also are a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE), what made you want to specialize in diabetes?

A: I first started practicing as a dietitian in the Pee Dee Region of South Carolina, which has one of the highest rates of Type II Diabetes in the country. I worked with a Registered Nurse who was also a CDE to create and implement a Diabetes Self Management Program to help better meet the needs of the patients in that community. The more people I saw with diabetes, the more I wanted to learn about this disease. I then began to pursue getting certified as a Diabetes Educator myself!

Q: What is your favorite food?

A: Veggie pizza or roasted potatoes…oh and PICKLES!

Q: Take us through your typical day.

A: One of the things I love most about being a dietitian is every single day is different. Most days of the week I wake up and go to Orangetheory Fitness Greenville for my favorite HIIT workout. I started 6 months ago and I have loved seeing the progression in my endurance and strength! Other mornings I might walk my golden retriever Barkley around the neighborhood. For breakfast, I almost always have a Berry Protein Smoothie and some hot tea. I also work for the Business Health Department for Prisma Health where I get to meet with employees of the hospital as well as other companies in the area. My days are mostly filled with one on one appointments with clients for Prisma Health and/or the Brittany Jones Nutrition Group discussing weight loss and chronic disease management, or teaching group classes on various health topics. It is such an honor to work with people who are making a conscious decision to put their health first!

Q: What is your favorite thing to do in Greenville, SC?

A: My husband, Michael, and I absolutely love to try out new restaurants in the area. There are so many! We also really enjoy biking or walking the Swamp Rabbit Trail as well.

Q: What would you like your future clients to know about working with you?

A: I am all about Progress NOT Perfection! When you come and meet with me please don’t feel like you have to change everything in your life overnight. I love to help people make small, sustainable changes until they are confidently doing them regularly. Having a healthy and balanced eating pattern is a continuum, and I am going to meet you exactly where you’re at, with absolutely no judgement at all!

Click here to set up your FREE 15 minute discovery call to discuss your goals and book an appointment with Christie today!

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.

 

 

 

Spring Clean Your Diet with WSPA

Spring is finally here and I recently shared my tips to spring clean your diet with WSPA Channel 7 News. Warmer weather means that there is lots of produce is in season – and fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and water! Click here to get the Grape, Walnut, and Goat Cheese Chicken Salad recipe that I demonstrated on the segment.

Spring clean your diet by making at least one snack per day consist of produce + protein

Examples below:

  • 1 Cup cucumber slices + 2 Tablespoons hummus
  • 1 Small apple + 1 cheese stick
  • 1/2 Cup blueberries + 1/4 Cup walnuts
  • 17 Grapes + 25 almonds
  • 5 stalks celery + 2 Tablespoons natural nut or seed butter
  • 1 Peach (sliced) + 1 Cup cottage cheese
  • 1 Pear + 1/4 Cup pecans
  • 1/2 bell pepper (sliced) + 2 Tablespoons hummus
  • 1 Cutie + 1/2 Cup pistachios in shell
  • 1/2 Banana + 2 Tablespoons natural nut or seed butter
  • 1/2 Cup raspberries + 1/2 Cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 Orange + 1 hard boiled egg

Want to know more about meal planning and nutrition tips for spring? Contact me today to set up your FREE 15 minute discovery call.

Greenville Restaurant Week 2019 Dietitian Picks

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Photo Credit: Jianna

It’s Restaurant Week again in South Carolina! Here in the upstate there are tons of local restaurants offering special 3-4 course menus from January 10th – 20th 2019.

I love this time of year to get out of the house (because these 20 degree nights are no fun) and try something new! However it does come at an interesting time, just ten days into the New Year. If you are focused on healthy eating habits but want to support Restaurant Week, this post is for you!

I’ve taken some time to look over the menus, and below are my top 10 healthy picks for this year. I chose these options using the portion plate concept. I was searching for options prepared using a healthful cooking method, featuring lean meat or fish, lots of vegetables, and whole grains. (Note: I was not given nutrition facts for any of these dishes, and these recommendations are based on the menus descriptions from each restaurant. This blog post is not sponsored by Greenville Restaurant Week nor any specific restaurant. All opinions are my own.)

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Photo Credit: Tupelo Honey Cafe

But before we get started, I wanted to share my tips for Restaurant Week:

1. Choose if it’s an 80% or 20% meal. These are my personal healthy restaurant week menu picks, however I am totally down for some She Crab Soup and Mac and Cheese every now and again. It’s important to think about your week, and your goals, and decide if you want this particular meal to be an “80% meal” or a “20% meal.” What does that mean? I work with all of my clients to find a balance between functional and fun foods – without cutting anything compeltely out – you can read more here. So, these picks below would be considered an “80% meal” or a healthy option, but of course there is a time and place for fun foods as well!

2. Use the fullness scale to pace your eating. Three to four courses is a LOT of food! I would recommend checking in with yourself regularly, and being sure to eat until you are a 6-7 on the fullness scale (with 10 being overly stuffed and 1 being ravenous). This will make sure you are not uncomfortable when leaving the restaurant, and keep you feeling great!

3. Get a box for dessert or split it. You will see my picks below focus on the appetizers/main course, without a mention of dessert. Chances are you will fill up on the first two courses, and I would recommend splitting the dessert with a friend/family member, or bringing dessert home to eat or share later!

So without further ado….

10 Greenville Restaurant Week 2019 Dietitian Picks

  1. Basil Thai: Fresh Basil Rolls + Basil with chicken/shrimp/tofu
  2. Generations Bistro and Bar: Seared Tuna Poke + Fresh Pasta Pesto Primavera
  3. Ji-Roz: Greek Salad + Rabbit Stifado
  4. Jianna: Grilled Pear Salad + Sea Scallops with Farro, Kale, Carrot and Citrus
  5. Larkins on the River: Larkin’s House Salad + Mahi Mahi with stone-ground yellow grits, and roasted cauliflower
  6. Lazy Goat: Beet & Goat Cheese Salad + Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Polenta, and Roasted Root Vegetables
  7. Nose Dive: Tuna Poke Bibb Wraps + Cedar Grilled Salmon with Jasmine Rice, and  Braised Bok Choy
  8. Rick’s Deli & Market: Gourmet Greens + Herb Crusted Salmon with Vegetable Medley
  9. The Farehouse: Kale Salad + Trout dip with veggies + Seared scallops with pomegranate sauce over roasted root vegetables, and parsnip puree
  10. Tupelo Honey Cafe: Slow Roasted Beet Salad + Spiced Blistered Vegetables + Charred Broccoli with Kale (V)

Have questions about healthy dining out options, or want to learn more about my concierge nutrition packages? Send me a message here!

 

10 Healthy Afternoon Snack Ideas

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The 3pm hunger strike is real! t’s been a long day, you ate lunch 3-4 hours ago and it’s not time for dinner yet. Your afternoon “snack attack” can make or break the rest of your afternoon, either giving you a major sugar high and energy crash OR giving you sustainable energy through the rest of your work day!

But exactly how do you get this “sustainable snack energy?”

By combing healthy carbohydrates, protein and healthy fat.

The healthy carbs will give you the energy boost you need and the protein and healthy fat will help sustain that energy until dinner time.

10 Healthy Afternoon Snacks

  1. 1 small apple + ¼ cup unsalted nuts
  2. ½ banana + 2 Tablespoons of natural peanut butter
  3. 1 small orange + 1 string cheese stick
  4. 1 cup raw vegetables + 2 Tablespoons hummus
  5. 6oz of Greek yogurt + ½ cup fresh berries
  6. 3 cups air popped popcorn + 1oz cheese
  7. 1 hard-boiled egg + ½ medium orange
  8. 3 celery stalks + 2 Tablespoons natural peanut butter + 1 Tablespoon dried cranberries
  9. 1 cup diced watermelon + 1oz feta cheese
  10. 1 piece of Ezekiel toast + ¼ avocado

As always, be sure to plan your meals and snacks with the Blush Nutrition Meal Planner ahead of time to stay on track! Happy afternoon snacking!

(This blog was originally published by Brittany L. Chin Jones, MS, RD, LD for Pure Barre Corp LLC)