Controlling your food portions

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It is so easy to overeat when we don’t portion out our food. You know how it goes…you bring a bag of almonds to work and by the time lunchtime arrives, you read the label on the bag and realize that you have eaten close to 1,000 calories worth of almonds or seven ¼ cup servings.

Many times when you dine out, the servings are way larger than you should be consuming. For example, a serving of meat should be about 3 ounces or the size of a deck of cards. I’m sorry, but I have never seen a steak that small at any restaurant I have frequented.

So what are appropriate serving sizes? I will give you two ways to visualize servings. One will be with common objects (like the aforementioned deck of cards). The other will be with using your hands.

Common objects that represent serving sizes:

  • Tennis Ball: Medium apple, orange, peach, nectarine = 1 fruit serving
  • Baseball: ½ serving of a cooked rice or pasta dish = 1 grain serving ALSO 1 cup of salad greens = 1 veggie serving
  • 4-stacked dice = 1.5 ounces cheese = 1 dairy serving
  • Large egg = ¼ cup nuts = 1 serving
  • Deck of cards: 1 3-ounce serving of most meat
  • Checkbook = 1 3-ounce serving of fish
  • Golf ball = 2 Tablespoons of nut butter or hummus = 1 serving
  • Poker chip = 1 serving of oil, dressing, etc

How you can visualize servings with your hands:

  • Tip of your thumb = 1 serving of oil, dressing, etc
  • A fist = 1 serving of fruit or 1 serving of grain
  • The palm of one hand = 1 serving of meat
  • The palms of both hands = 1 serving of veggies

I hope these guides help you out! When bringing snacks to work, I recommend using those snack-size Ziploc bags to portion out servings. Also, think of these guidelines the next time you go out to eat. Also, never eat snacks out of the bag! Portion them out according to these visuals!

Be sure to visit Kellyschoice.org and visit  Facebook, instagram, and Twitter for more nutrition education from the Kelly’s Choice team!

 

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Weighing in on Weight-Loss: Healthy Fats

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Weight Loss

I have a lot of clients who are on a weight-loss journey and so many of them have a “fat” phobia. They think if they eat fat, they will get fat, but that is not the case my friends when it comes to healthy fats. Let me clear up the conclusion.

Why You Need Fat:

Dietary fat provides you with energy, builds healthy cells, and regulates your hormones. Your brain needs fat in order to function properly—in fact, did you know that your brain is 60 percent fat? Studies have linked lack of dietary fat in one’s diet to depression as well as cognitive decline.

The Good Fats

Monounsaturated Fats: Known as MUFAs (Monounsaturated Fatty Acids), these fats actually help prevent belly fat. Even better, they help lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol, and raise your HDL (good) cholesterol. Good monounsaturated fats include: olive oil, cashews almonds or peanuts (this includes almond butter and peanut butter). I would recommend a quarter cup of the nut choices, 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a dressing, or 2 Tablespoons of a nut butter on whole grain bread to get a nice daily serving of these good-for-you fats.

Polyunsaturated Fats: Like MUFAs, polyunsaturated fats(PUFAS) lower your LDL. And PUFAS are the specific fats that have shown amazing benefits to your brain from mood improvement to boosting brain function. In particular it is the Omega-3 form of polyunsaturated fats that your body needs most. Omega-3s are broken down into DHA, which is amazingly beneficial to your brain and EPA, which is known for its benefits you joint health and your skin. Both forms are excellent for heart health.

Omega-3s are found in fish like salmon, mackerel, and herring, as well as flaxseed and walnuts. The American Heart Association recommends at least two servings of fish a week. I would add that ground flaxseed in oatmeal is delicious (try it—a couple tablespoons a couple times a week). Like all nuts, a good serving of walnuts is one-quarter cup.

Omega-6s are also polyunsaturated fats that are found in oils like sesame oil, sunflower oil, grape seed oil, and safflower oil. Omega-6s benefits include the reduction of nerve pain, possibly helpful with ADHD, and they may ease Rheumatoid arthritis pain. However, too much Omega-6 compared to Omega-3 can cause inflammation and the Standard American Diet is inundated with Omega-6s because of the use of Omega-6 oils in processed food. If you reduce the amount of processed food that you consume, the safer you will be!

The Bad Fats

Saturated Fat: A high consumption of saturated fats will result in weight gain, not to mention that they raise your LDL cholesterol and can increase heart-disease risk. Saturated fat is found in most meat and in full-fat dairy like butter, milk, cream, cheese, etc. I recommend eating lean meat like chicken or turkey breast or leaner cuts of beef like sirloin. I also recommend eating low-fat cheese and drinking skim milk.

Trans Fat: Trans fat has gotten a lot of media attention the past decade ever since food companies were required to list the amount of trans fat in their foods starting in 2006. Trans fats are generally oils (partially hydrogenated soybean oil for example) that extend the shelf life of food. They raise your LDL, lower your HDL, and cause inflammation throughout the body, including weight gain.

The bottom line here is to read nutrition labels and look for 0 grams of trans fat and avoid fried food as much as possible because the majority of fried food has trans fat.

Now that you are clear on fat, make sure to include some good fats on your weight-loss journey.

 

 

Weighing in on Weight Loss: Inspiration

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Happy New Year! How have your first couple weeks of 2018 been besides cold?! Like many of you I’m sure, I have several clients who are working on weight-loss goals.

Here are some thoughts I’d like to share to help guide and maybe even inspire some of those on a weight-loss journey. These are mindset recommendations. I’ll go into specific food recommendations throughout

Go gradually.

If you are looking to lose weight, don’t drastically reduce your calories and limit your food choices overnight. You will drive yourself crazy. I always tell my clients, “baby steps.”

Be realistic.

A lot of people set the bar too high. Just because your friend wants to lose 50 pounds doesn’t mean you should. If you are 45 and want to achieve the weight you were when you were 24 (when you starved yourself and exercised two hours a day to fit into your wedding dress) is not realistic either. Consulting a professional like a dietitian from Kelly’s Choice can help you determine what a realistic goal for yours is.

Savor; don’t deprive.

Deprivation can lead to depression—nobody wants to experience that. So savor what you love. If you are a chocoaholic like me, allow yourself a couple of pieces of dark chocolate—it’s high in antioxidants. Take tiny bites and truly delve into the flavor!

Don’t beat yourself up.

If you slip on following your healthy habits, that’s okay! As cliché as it sounds, tomorrow is a new day. Nobody is perfect. I slip from time to time—everybody does. We are only human. Smile at yourself and ease back into those healthy habits.

Allow for occasional indulgences.

What are your favorite indulgences? A divine glass of wine and a delicious slice of pepperoni pizza are two of mine. And guess what, I have not abandoned them. I will allow myself to indulge occasionally. You should too! It’s the healthy thing to do. Remember what I said about deprivation above—it will not help you, it will depress you. So please celebrate YOU from time to time with your favorite indulgence!

Stay tuned for my next Weighing in on Weight Loss Blog—I will weigh in on healthy fats!