My Exciting Partnership with the Oprah Network

Drumroll please.

Roll out the red carpet – I am one step closer to Oprah!

I am absolutely thrilled to announce that I am working with the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) on a series of short segments about health, wellness, and weight.  I’ll be sharing my thoughts and perspectives on what it means to be healthy, common dieting mistakes, and how to make time for your very OWN happy hour every week.

If you know anything about me, then you probably know how I feel about dieting and finding the best weight for yourself.  When OWN asked me to share the #1 mistake women make when dieting, it was pretty easy for me to narrow it down: the fact that they are on a diet in the first place!  Throughout these segments we identify the common mistakes people make to derail their diets efforts. I explain the facts about the downfalls of dieting and bring focus to the different ways people can change their perspective on health, wellness, and dieting.

DIET DERAIL–Learn How to Be Happy in Your Body

SIZE DIVERSITY–Find Your Healthy Size

Here are some key takeaways

  • Dieting is not the same as healthy eating.
  • When you deprive yourself from foods you love it can often lead to overeating.
  • When you under eat and over exercise your body’s metabolism slows down and tries to prevent fat loss for survival.
  • Our DNA is what makes us unique, and there is no one perfect size for everyBODY.  We are not all meant to look alike.
  • Size diversity comes down to science and our genetic footprint.
  • If you are trying unsuccessfully to lose weight and are wondering what the problem is, maybe there isn’t one.  Maybe your body is happy there and your challenge is to become happy there, too.
  • Focus on balanced and realistic plan and avoid drastic, quick fixes. Ask yourself can I do this for the rest of my life?
  • Check yourself. Would you recommend your diet to your daughter or best friend?

Make your voice heard

I know I am not the only one who feels strongly that finding your best health and wellness is about more than a size;  it’s about finding a healthy balance, learning how to cultivate healthy habits, and accepting ourselves as we are.

Lending your voice can have a powerful influence on those around you.  Please help to encourage this positive attitude and spread scientific evidence-based information by sharing this video and with those you know and love.  We all would benefit from a better understanding of size diversity.

Feel free to share your comments and questions on social media. We’re using these hashtags and handles:

#OWNShow

@OWNTV

@DanishaDanielle (the host who interviewed me)

and, of course, @ScritchfieldRD (that’s me!)

I look forward to sharing my opinions throughout this series.  I hope that my messages will educate viewers on the negative impact dieting has on our health, happiness, and well-being.  Is there something you’d like to learn more about?  Leave a comment or tweet to share your topic ideas for upcoming segments – the cameras will be rolling again in April!

Fasting for Weight Loss is NOT the Answer

I was recently on WJLA ABC 7 to discuss the fasting craze that’s become a popular method for weight loss for many people. Unfortunately, most of what I discussed about it in the segment ended up on the cutting room floor. (I’m used to that expected consequences of editing stories). I wanted to take the opportunity to clear up some things that weren’t covered. I felt that the segment makes it appear that fasting may look like a good idea, and I don’t think it’s fair that the last word should look come across in that way.

You can watch the full video here — but read on below for some additional points that didn’t make the final cut.

Honor hunger — don’t hide from it

The key point that I made in this interview is that we need to honor hunger, not avoid it. Think about this — would you ever tell your child or best friend “sorry, it’s breakfast and you are hungry, you need to skip and wait until 12 p.m. to eat.” It’s irrational to ignore your biological signs. You can’t just manipulate when you will be hungry…and actually through fasting you could end up feeling ravenous and then end up overeating.

Operating on an empty stomach? No way!

Think about this…do you want to be on the road with someone who is driving you around while fasting? Or, would you want a doctor operating on you when they are fasting? I don’t know about you, but I know that I wouldn’t! Anyone who’s skipped lunch knows that at some point your brains stops functioning properly, and it impairs your ability to think clearly. Anything that does that to us can’t possibly be good for our bodies.

How do you honestly think you will do when you need energy for work, family, and exercise without nourishment?

Some fasts are more biologically concerning to me than others. For example, ones where you have days of eating 500 calories, give or take, is not enough for your brain to function even lying down all day.

Fasting and a social life do not mix

During the interview, I also talked about how fasting can get in the way of social occasions. The next time a friend asks you to meet them out for a meal, are you really going to say “sorry guys, I can only attend the brunch if it is after 1 p.m.” Or “I can’t go on Sundays because that’s my 500 calorie day. Can you do Saturday? I can eat whatever I want that day.” Oh and heaven forbid when it’s a birthday – YOURS??? And you find yourself feeling guilty for cake and ice cream.

Fasting is just not smart, rational, realistic or sustainable.

What’s the bottom line?

Fasting is a diet — and a dangerous one at that. The large body of science on diets (NOT just one or two studies) show that diets fail, and that 95% of people regain any weight lost. Many even end up gaining MORE weight than before they started. It’s like a doctor telling you, “take this pill, I guarantee you it won’t work long term.” You would not take that pill, would you?

Finally, fasting is disordered eating. It is a slippery slope between someone developing disordered eating habits and a clinical eating disorder. If your goal is health, you should not fast. You should work on behaviors you can do realistically for the rest of your life. The people in this segment were already exercising (a health move everyone should do) and they say they “fill their plates with protein, veggies and healthy fats, they feel satiated”. You can and SHOULD do that without having to fast and fight hunger.

Biologically fasting leads to increased risk of overeating so their claims that they avoid overeating, seem in contrast to what we know about human biology.  Again, you CAN and SHOULD avoid overeating without having to follow a fast and ignore normal hunger cues.

They say they maintain “a balanced diet” — yet they don’t mention carbohydrates, beans, or whole grains. I don’t know if it was an error or if they avoid those foods intentionally. I have shocking news: Carbohydrates are not the devil and they are needed to TRULY be balanced in your eating.

In addition, you can eat balanced without eating perfectly. You mean to tell me nobody who does this fast ever has a cookie, or ice cream — ever? Sounds too perfect to me, and perfect is the enemy of life long success.

If you want to get healthy, eat better, and exercise more, you should do it. But you don’t need a fast to get healthy. You need a food and nutrition expert – a dietitian who is actually trained to help you work with your body and become your best you! If you want to lose weight, make it permanent and that means working WITH your body, not against it. If you can’t do it the rest of your life, or would not wholeheartedly recommend it to family and friends, stay away.

Diet Fraud: Sensa/HCG Fined $34 Million for Fraudulent Health Claims

Oh happy day! Finally the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is hammering down on companies with misleading claims about their products body-slimming capabilities. Four companies, L’Occitane, Sensa, LeanSpa LLC and HCG Diet Direct, will all receive hefty fines for using deceptive language and fraudulent claims marketed towards diet-driven consumers. I was thrilled to appear on FOX News Your World with Neil Cavuto yesterday to discuss this issue.

Will an additive found in candy really make you less hungry? 

Not only are these companies claiming unrealistic weight loss results but they are also making false claims about their product ingredients.  Products like Sensa which claim to reduce hunger and melt away the pounds when sprinkled on foods primarily contain maltodextrin, a starch-based food additive commonly used for the production of soda and candy. HCG (made from human placenta) is supposed to be taken with a very-low calorie diet of less than 800 calories per day. Maybe that should be front and center on the label, instead of just in the fine print.

Will a slap on the wrist make them change their tune?

While these companies have agreed to refund many of these mislead consumers, $34 million in fines is a drop in the bucket for the $60 billion plus diet industry. Sensa and L’Occitane will continue to stand by their products and bogus health claims, selling desperate consumers hopeless creams and powders that will result in nothing more than a slimmer pocket book.

Click below to see my appearance on FOX News defending consumers’ rights in the need for government involvement in this matter.

Here are a few highlights from my segment :

  • People argue that consumers’ own common sense should be the judge versus the Federal Government in this dieting matter.
  • As a Registered Dietitian I believe that every consumer deserves to have accurate information about the products they purchase.
  • Consumers are desperate for quick weight loss fixes, but the truth is diets don’t work.  95% of all diets fail and most dieters will regain their lost weight in 1-5 years.
  • FAT CHANCE: There is no magic powder, cream, or pill that is going to make you skinny, yet consumers continue to buy into the multi billion dollar diet industry each year.
  • It’s about lifestyle choices. Less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day.

The Hard Facts About Dieting:

  • 35% of “occasional dieters” progress into disordered eating and as many as 25% advance to full-blown eating disorders.
  • Dieters typically make four to five attempts per year.
  • Only 5% of women naturally have the body type advertisements portray as real.
  • 90% of Americans eat more sodium than is recommended for a healthy diet
  • 75% of American women surveyed endorsed unhealthy thoughts, feelings or behaviors related to food or their bodies.

Carrot Cake Recipe from Green Mountain At Fox Run

GMFR_final_logo1-e1364240612911For many people trying to reach a healthy natural weight, a retreat can be a great way to step outside of your environment, so you can learn new behaviors without the distraction of everyday life. While there are a number of weight loss-focused retreat options out there (and some are certainly better than others), I’ve personally been to Green Mountain At Fox Run and can tell you it’s different.

First, and foremost, it’s not focused on weight loss — it’s focused on self care. It’s definitely a place worth checking out, if you haven’t already. For more information about their programs and services you can visit their website at www.fitwoman.com. They help you to learn more about yourself in order to improve your self care, and to help you achieve real wellness (not just in terms of your scale weight).

I encourage anyone to  subscribe to their newsletter or check out their blog — both are worthwhile reads. One of their latest newsletters featured this carrot cake recipe that sounded too delicious not to share. The recipe can be found below, or you can visit their website — enjoy!

Carrot Cake Recipe (Serves 18)

Dry Ingredients:Carrot Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4  cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½  teaspoon salt
  •  2 ½  teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¾ cups canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups grated carrots

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375° F.
  2. Prepare an 8 by 13 inch glass pan with cooking spray.
  3. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
  4. In separate bowl, mix sugar, brown sugar, and oil well.  Slowly mix in eggs and vanilla.
  5. Blend wet and dry ingredients together, being careful to not over mix.
  6. Once blended, fold in the carrots.
  7. Pour batter into prepared pan
  8. Bake in oven at 375° F for 30 to 35 minutes.
  9. Let the cake cool completely before cutting.

Do you have a favorite recipe you’d like to share?

Leave a comment below and tell me what recipe you love to make when you’re craving something sweet. Maybe I will feature it in my next e-newsletter…coming soon!

Struggling With Balanced Eating Habits? Choose My Plate!

If you have ever played darts, or even if you just understand it, then you know how to use “Choose My Plate” to help you put together healthy plates at each meal. Choose my plate is the guide (and best I’ve seen) from the USDA to empower people to make healthy food choices.


Why darts?

I compare “Choose My Plate” to darts because of the “bullseye”. In darts, you strive to hit the bullseye. You aim to get as close as you can pretty much every throw, and sometimes (let’s face it) you’re happy to get on the board!

That is how I view the realities of healthy eating. There’s really nothing perfect at all about the factors that influence our decision of what goes on our plates and in our bodies. We have so much to do between work, taking care of the family, and exercise (remember that?)

I don’t know many people who get through their day effortlessly. We might forget to bring our lunch to work or race out of the house without breakfast. We need to have something very simple and memorable to help guide our food choices whether we’re at the grocery store, restaurant, or a gas station. (I have been hungry at a gas station and have had access to a banana and yogurt so it’s possible!)

Let the Plate Guide You

“My Plate” is just the kind of simple guide that can help you no matter where you’re at in healthy eating. Each meal is a chance to try to hit the bullseye. Even if you come close, and you replace some of the less healthy choices you’ve been making, you are making a difference. I bet you will feel better from an energy standpoint and feel better about eating well.

Looking at the plate, half fruits and veggies (not an or — I find many people think OR veggies — you can’t avoid ‘em, peeps) is a good visual. Some of my fave ways include:

  • “Green smoothies”
  • Eggs, spinach, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes and a side of berries
  • fajita bowl with beans, brown rice, tri-color peppers, pineapple, and chicken

Be Comfortable Full

No matter what is on the plate, enjoying your food and being in touch with your fullness trump all else. You know that uncomfortable feeling – a sign you ate to much. Your body is telling you something. Oh well, you aren’t perfect, but perhaps its a learning experience.

What do YOU think of “MyPlate”?

Check ‘em out on Pinterest!

“Accident”

I don’t do much with guest bloggers, but when people are willing to share their story, I want to give them a platform. Let’s all support Adele and thank her for her insight and courage.

Guest blog By: Adele Schroder

It’s funny how perspective is everything. Looking back now I see how completely ridiculous what I believed to be true then actually was, but at the time it made so much sense, I was doing what was right, what was healthy. There was nothing wrong with eating about 500 calories per day – so many diets out there suggest it – smart people, famous people, doctors even, all support the idea that the best way to lose weight was to reduce what you eat and some even go so far to suggest that those who are lower calorie diets live longer. Skinny at any cost is the healthy thing to do.

The truth at the time, I was over weight. I know I was, but I was healthy, I ate fairly balanced, exercised, my cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar I dowere all fine, but my doctor was still pushing me to lose weight. Truth is, she made me feel horrible about myself and at one point even said that if I couldn’t control what I was eating myself, then she would give me a prescription for appetite suppressants. It was that comment that began the slippery slope that would eventually become a case of accidental anorexia.

I started restricting what I ate – I went from eating balanced to eating one thing per meal – one yogurt, one piece of skinless chicken, one piece of cucumber. There was nothing balanced or healthy about it, but the weight started to come off and my doctor, family, friends, and anyone else who saw me started praising me for “looking so good”. I read about all the latest fad diets – it didn’t seem like anything I was doing was wrong – so many people ate like this, limiting there intake to a few select “safe” foods to make yourself healthy again. It was great – I was getting skinny and everyone was proud of how much “will-power” I had to stick with it.

A year, and almost 90lbs later, things started to change. I was always tired, my hair was falling out, I had passed out a couple times – but I was skinny, “beautiful” and “healthy”. Staying that way was all that I could think about – an Ana brain inside of me had taken over – nothing was more important than self-control and skinniness – skinniness at any cost. I was working at a place that insisted everyone eat lunch in the lunchroom. Didn’t take long before people started to talk and I remember that day that I got pulled into the meeting room. All of upper management was standing there and they simply said, “we want you to see a dietitian, you don’t look well”. I was royally pissed off – some of these people were the same people who just months before had been telling me how great I looked….they must be jealous, that was it, I was convinced! They were just jealous at the self control I had.

I sat in the waiting room of the dietitian’s office going over what I was going to say – figured it would be easy – just tell her what diet I was following, what my doctor had said when I was fat – how I was just being healthy…she would just sign that stupid thing for work and I could put this whole embarrassing “you need help” crap behind me. It’s not like I wasn’t doing something that so many other people weren’t doing – and I wasn’t one of those skinny-little-nut-jobs you see on those reality help shows – I was a well off business person who just took control of a problem (being over weight) and fixed it. Nothing was wrong with that.

Unfortunately my appointment didn’t go that way – instead I was bluntly told that how I was eating was dangerous, completely unacceptable, and that if I didn’t stop I would die. I told the dietitian she was crazy, rolled my eyes and must have told her I was fine at least 20 times. But the hardest part came at the end of the appointment – all she asked me to do was have an extra yogurt at lunch – one 80-calorie yogurt – and I lost it. There were tears, begging, saying I wouldn’t do it and that she wasn’t listening to me – I wasn’t doing anything wrong I was just doing what Dr X said to do and following Y diet – I didn’t have a problem, I was just trying to be healthy and why was she trying to make me fat again.

She stayed calm through all of it – repeated that what I was doing was not ok, not healthy and that I was going to die if I didn’t stop – then told me she would see me next week. I refused – she shrugged and said that it “wasn’t a suggestion” then walked with me to reception to make the next appointment.  I hated her – she didn’t know me – so how could she judge me. But I knew I at least had some saving grace – she was pregnant – so I figured that if I couldn’t fight her I would play her silly little game for 3 months and she would be gone. And being honest, I probably did at the time – but something else happened – I started to respect her, if for no other reason than she was consistent in what she said, “you can’t keep eating like this, it is not healthy, you will die”. Three very simple and blunt comments that stuck with me.

My eating did get a little better when she was away on maternity leave that year – not because I wanted to get healthy but because I was told that if I lost more weight then a hospital stay would no longer be up to me (I had mandatory monthly check ins with an ED psychologist that year, I played along with the stupid game) – I wasn’t better by any stretch of the imagination – I still thought that barely eating was the right thing to do – I just wasn’t willing to give up everything I had accomplished and end up in the hospital – so I ate the bare minimum I had to to avoid that consequence.

It was a year later that I ended up getting a new family doctor – and with that change came the routine “base-line” blood work workup. I got a call I never expected, “the doctor wants to see you back in her office today regarding your blood tests, how soon can you be here?”. I sat in her office looking at line after line of abnormalities – high cholesterol, high liver enzymes, poor kidney function, a large amount of ketones in my urine, and electrolytes that were all over the place. She was questioning me on how I felt, if I had been on any medications etc etc and I sat there thinking, “the dietitian was right, I’m hurting myself…” I felt so confused – why were there so many diets out there saying what I did was right? Why did my old doctor praise me? Why was my blood work normal when I was fat but so abnormal now that I was skinny…why wasn’t skinny healthy? I wasn’t “dangerously thin” – my BMI was fine – so why wasn’t I healthier than when I was over weight? Isn’t that what we are taught? Skinny is healthy…my whole world came crashing down that day. Everything that I had believed regarding what it was to be healthy – everything that I had read and seen in the media was wrong – and because I believed it, I was now sick.

The next day I swallowed my pride and sent a “you were right” email and asked for help. This time was different – I tried not to fight as much (hard to give up the fight completely) and I worked towards a goal – I wanted to be healthy – I wanted normal blood work. I wanted to learn to eat well and enjoy food again. I learned that I had to start putting my health first, my body first – it was all in my control to be healthy.

Today I can say that I am healthy – I eat well – and I eat anything and everything without worrying so much about if the food is “good” or “bad”. But there is one thing that still bothers me: how is it that even though I am well educated and a professional person I was able to believe that what I was doing was right? I accidently became anorexic, not because I was trying to gain control over my life or any of the other things that you hear about when you think of eating disorders – I became anorexic because I honestly did not know that what I was doing was harmful or wrong. And what was the worst part of this whole thing? Even if being anorexic was not your intent, once Ana brain sets in, there’s no escaping it, no controlling it, no seeing any other opinion. It is far easier to believe what you see every day than believing the truth: skinny does not always equal healthy.

Perspective is everything – and mine has now changed. I put me and my health first and realize that the number on the scale doesn’t always have anything to do with health.

*****

Thanks, Adele!

If you are intrigued by what you read here, you may want to check out the “Health at Every Size” principles and community.

Metabolic Syndrome – Not Simply a “Spare Tire” Issue

I recently read an article called “Metabolic Breakdown: How a spare tire leads to diabetes and heart disease” published in Nutrition Action Health Letter. The expert interviewed for this article was Doctor Michael Miller, the director of the Center for Preventative Cardiology and a professor of medicine, epidemiology, and public health and the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine. I subscribe this newsletter and I think it’s a very useful source, but I wanted to add my opinion about the metabolic syndrome issue because I think the article had some good points, along with some very off-based points.

Cool it with the body bashing, please

My main problem here is a big one; I disagree with the article’s weight and body image focus. The subtitle of the article reads, “How a spare tire leads to diabetes and heart disease.” This sends the wrong message to readers. A “spare tire” does not automatically mean you are unhealthy. And also- why use the term “spare tire?” That is an offensive term for something that a lot of people genetically have, healthy or not. I’ve done many endurance trail races with men and women with a so-called “spare tire” who clearly know how to crush out a run.

You cannot tell by looking at someone that they don’t exercise, eat right, or have health risks just because they have fat on their belly area. We all have different genetic make-ups that give us different shapes and sizes. I have plenty of clients that eat well, exercise, and have lowered their cholesterol and triglyceride numbers, but still have what you would call a “spare tire.”

It is also harmful to use this term because it gives “thinner” people the idea that because they don’t have belly fat that they are metabolically healthy, when that is not true whatsoever and there is research data to prove it. If this idea piques your interest, I highly recommend a look into the research and the movement “Health at Every Size”.

If not your size, then what?

Individual trends are the most important indicator of your health, not the shape of your body. Trends are so important because they are a product of habits and lifestyle changes. If you have three more inches on your gut than you did ten years ago, is it possible that your habits have changed? If so, what do you want to change back? Lack of exercise or increased unhealthy food consumption can change your cholesterol, triglycerides, and insulin response.

Healthy Habits Matter in Reducing Metabolic Syndrome Risk – Regardless of Size

The reason I want to not focus on the “spare tire” aspect of metabolic syndrome is the fact that the context of changing this syndrome is healthy habits. This should be the main point because people who decide they want to start making healthy changes but don’t see results in body fat might stop trying to be healthy.

Three Out of Five Possible Conditions Needed for “Metabolic Syndrome”

Belly fat is known to generate factors that increase inflammation and heart disease risk. But, let me give you some background. Metabolic syndrome effects one out of four Americans and is diagnosable when a person has at least three of these five features:

  1. a large waist,
  2. low HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind,) and
  3. higher than normal blood sugar,
  4. higher than normal triglycerides and
  5. higher than normal blood pressure.

A large waist is only one of the five criteria for metabolic syndrome, so it is confusing to me why the waist is the focus and the only criteria mentioned in the title.

Another Miss… What to Do to Lose Weight Reduce Metabolic Syndrome Risk

Seeing hundreds of clients has given me perspective on the wide range of nutritional needs people have. However, in the article, an established health practitioner gave an oversimplified piece of advice for those who would like to lose weight and decrease their metabolic syndrome risk: Cut out two slices of bread or 1 bagel every day.

How many of you find this advice laughable? First of all… what if you don’t eat bread or bagels daily? Or what if you eat cake for breakfast, but decide to cut out the tuna sandwich at lunch.

This, to me, reinforces the idea that doctors might not know exactly what a dietitian does because it is very rare that advice is that simple for a person. Many carbohydrates are good for our bodies – it is fuel for our brain and our muscles – especially with exercise. Cutting a serving out doesn’t automatically improve health. Some people are already eating lower carbs and don’t have 2 pieces of bread to cut out. Dietitians work with a person to find a realistic approach to obtain their goals.

What You Can Really Do to Decrease Metabolic Syndrome Risk

If you take out body size, there are several things you can do to evaluate your risk for metabolic syndrome. Here is what you can do:

  1. Be honest with yourself. Think about your eating, exercise, and stress habits and decide if there is room for improvement.
  2. Get accurate fasting labs done. Know your numbers and watch for trends throughout the years.
  3. Reflect on your body’s trend. Have you noticed some weight gain around your belly area that has coincided with a bad habit like stopping exercise or going out to eat more?

A High Point in the Article – Even Thinner People Should Know Where They Stand Metabolically

As much as I take issue with negative body image aspect of the article, I really resonate with the part of the article that reads, “even though you may appear normal, you may still not be metabolically normal.”  The media throw the idea at us that “skinny is healthy” and “fat is unhealthy.” These are misconceptions and there is scientific evidence that proves you can be healthy at any size. Linda Bacon’s book Healthy At Every Size has evidence that shows that “overweight” people live longer than “normal” weight people. This isn’t an excuse to go run for a bag of chips, but it shows that even if you have a normal BMI, you can be metabolically unhealthy and more at risk for metabolic syndrome than someone with an overweight BMI this is metabolically healthy.

My main point is to take out the body image part and focus on genetics and habits. Healthy habits will not only cut your risk for metabolic syndrome, but also help you sleep better and have more energy. My clients that have made healthy behavioral habits feel great and have forever ditched dieting. This article and its focus on body shape may make my clients think that they aren’t doing enough or that their progress is not having an impact- but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Don’t Waste Your Time With Consumer Reports Diet Rankings

Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers as health foods? Seriously? This NPR Health blogger “get’s it” – she argues there are profits to be made from their selling of processed foods. She says, of the “savory” steak and ranch flatbread …

But there was nothing very whole or natural to be found among the ingredients. We counted no fewer than 80 distinct substances on the list from salt and soybean oil to titanium dioxide and ammonium chloride.

Hmmm… makes you “think”. How can they promote healthy eating and sell you THAT food-like substance?

If anyone gets the allure of dieting, it’s me. I swear if you could get a PhD in diets, I’d have at least five. I actually have more experience dieting (started at 12) than I do as a registered dietitian!

But as you’ve heard me say a million times, dieting is bad (mmm kaaaay?). I’m not going to list all the negative aspects in this post… although I’d LOVE to see them in the comments :) I’ll just say this: diets promote thinness, science says thinness is not health, our culture says we need to be thin to be worth a damn (that’s discrimination we should not tolerate). As long as weight loss is the goal and primary focus VS health and wellness, behavior change, quality of life, absence of disease, all we’re doing is delaying the freedom, flexibility, knowledge, and empowerment that comes with living a truly #mefirst balanced life.

I’m going to take every chance I get to lay the “smack down” on diets and diet-mindedness. That’s why when Fox 5 wanted me to stay up past my bedtime to do a late night TV appearance on the Consumer Reports diet rankings, I said YES. I didn’t care that I’d lose sleep. This topic is too important. YOU are too important for me to keep my mouth shut.

So, here’s what I said… Sound off in the comments. What do you think? Agree? Disagree? What points would YOU have made if you were on there?

http://www.myfoxdc.com/video/videoplayer.swf?dppversion=8705

Consumer Reports Names Jenny Craig Best Diet: MyFoxDC.com

Need a nutritionist? See a registered dietitian.

Who hoo! It’s a blog carnival for registered dietitians, celebrating #RDday (for those twitter-ers). Be sure to check back at this post for links to other blogs by my RD colleagues participating. I can’t wait to get into my piece, but I just can’t help myself to use this opportunity to explain what and RD is and why we are essential to the health and wellness of the people and a healthy economy.

What is an RD?

When you’re sick and you need to see a doctor, your doctor has a credential – the “MD” – which stands for medical doctor. The nurse takes your weight and blood pressure – and that person has a credential too – the “RN” – which stands for registered nurse. Then there’s the RD – which stands for registered dietitian. It’s the credential for food and nutrition experts who are qualified to help you eat right to manage your weight, prevent a disease, optimize your sports performance, manage an existing medical condition (from diabetes to high cholesterol to food allergies and many more,) overcome a clinical eating disorder or sub-clinical disordered eating habits.

If you’re not in the hospital, you’re likely to see an RD who owns their own business in private practice (like me!) or perhaps working in an outpatient setting as part of a medical practice (like bariatric surgery or other areas). The bottom line is this: the connection between your nutrition habits and your health is undeniable. It’s also complicated. RDs need to understand the intricacies of food and disease/condition prevention (wellness) and management. We also need to know how to work with HUMANS (not robots that can be programmed) on how to change behaviors… and lemme tell ya, it is different for every person! So if you really NEED help. If you want to overcome your nutrition-related challenges. Make sure you go to someone with the ONLY gold-standard credential that requires a 4 year degree, a year “internship” (more like a residency – it’s hard, internship is a huge understatement), passing a board exam (just like doctors, nurses, and psychologists), in many states licensure, and then maintaining all of this by collecting “continuing education” units. We essentially have to fill out our own training plans and complete report cards to CADE (check it out here, if you want to learn more). If you wanna see a nutritionist, see an RD. Call around to several in your area and interview them. I LOVE IT WHEN MY CLIENTS WANT TO TALK TO ME BEFORE BOOKING AN APPOINTMENT. You also need to know this sad truth: Anyone can call themselves a “nutritionist” or a “certified health coach” (give me a break). They often will spend time “beating down” RDs in an attempt to discredit them. You need to know a key marketing strategy is to PUT DOWN the #1 spot in an attempt to raise their own profile and try to convince you that you need them. It’s just marketing. They are trying to influence you. But this is your health we’re talking about. You deserve excellent (and legal) nutrition care. Demand a dietitian! Now you know. (YAAAAAY FOR DIETITIANS)

(addendum added 2:52 p.m. March 9th) You don’t need to be an RD if you are a personal trainer or health coach and want to follow USDA guidelines and give a talk or general advice about nutrition — the kinds of information you can get online.

Why RDs are Essential for a Healthy Economy

Congress can’t stop talking about the health care bill. Basically, it could bankrupt us. We’re living longer because medicine is getting better, but the quality of life is in the pits at this older age, especially if a person gets a chronic disease. Four modifiable health risk behaviors—lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption—are responsible for much of the illness, suffering, and early death related to chronic diseases. (dietitians work with all of these in a nutrition assessment and we collaborate with experts who work with overcoming addictions, medical doctors, therapists and whomever else you need).

Treating patients with chronic diseases accounts for 75 percent of the nation’s health care spending. Many Americans are unaware of the extent to which chronic diseases could be better prevented or managed. The doubling of obesity between 1987 and today accounts for 20 to 30 percent of the rise in health care spending. (source: http://www.fightchronicdisease.org/issues/about.cfm)

Need I say more?

Capsaicin for Weight Loss?

By Carlene Helble-Elite Nutrition Intern

Have you ever taken a big bite of salsa only to recoil at the intense spice? The big bang happening with each scoop is due to capsaicin. Capsaicin is found in super hot peppers, like cayenne, but you may have also seen it as a topical cream or dietary supplement. The capsaicin within that spicy hot food is doing you some good by acting as an antioxidant but also strengthens lung tissues, helps relieve pain, and aid digestion among other great things.

The topical cream is actually a pain reliever and anti inflammatory, which first excites pain signals in the body (through nerves in the spinal cord and other areas of the body) and then decreases them. When the cream is applied, the ‘substance P’, which is an important transmitter of a pain message going to the brain, is inhibited.

Capsaicin as a supplement  is used as a digestion aid by amping up the amount of digestive juices in your stomach and fighting bad bacteria. Besides pain relief and digestive help, this chemical compound has research indicating capsaicin can help prevent heart disease by preventing clotting, hardening of the arteries, and lowering blood cholesterol levels.

Recent research in the International Journal of Obesity by Maastricht University in the Netherlands, is showing capsaicin can also decrease appetite, leaving the weight loss world is on the edge of its seat. During a study, 24  men and women were given about ½ a teaspoon of red pepper, close to .9 g of the red pepper which contains 0.25% capsaicin, thirty minutes before every meal. Other members of the study were given a placebo without their knowledge. After eating their meal, the subjects’ saity increased when they were given the red pepper, and less calories and fat was consumed. Those who took the placebo had minimal change in saity compared to saity after a meal when they didn’t take the placebo. The study also found that post consumption, more energy was expended by those involved in the test. Capsaicin creates these results by increasing thermogenesis (the body burning energy from food released as heat), “enhancing catecholamine secretion from the adrenal medulla”.  The increase in thermogenesis suggests a change in “substrate oxidation from carbohydrate to fat oxidation”. These amazing outcomes that say capsaicin increases fat burning and weight loss almost seem too good to be true! The results are legitimate and strong, but like all new research, multiple studies should be done to test the consistency.

That spicy kick in your food has great benefits! From anti-inflammatory properties to current results indicating fat burning, capsaicin is a powerhouse. Eat those peppers! Just be smart about it. Some red pepper flakes on 4 slices of thick crust pizza aren’t going to do much for fat burning.

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