Ah, the New Year! A clean slate, a fresh start, a new beginning—365 days of possibilities. Are you one of those folks who sets a slew of New Year’s Resolutions, including losing weight, only to find yourself unable to live up to those very high expectations?
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghDecember 29, 2022 body positive, body positivity, fad diets, health coach, healthy eating, healthy food, Intermittent fasting, keto diet, ketogenic diet, new years resolution, new years resolutions, resolutions, weight loss, weight management0 comments
Back when I taught fitness classes at various gyms, my classes would be PACKED in January with those dewy-eyed resolutioners who were determined to make a plethora of changes in a very short time. By the end of February, my classes would be back to regular sizes with my tried and true students who were glad things were getting back to normal.
As a Health Coach, I am not a fan of the grandiose expectations attached to the start of a new year. And here is why—we are programmed to revert to our existing habits when life starts to get busy, complicated, or difficult. Instead, I would encourage you as I encourage my clients, to take small, actionable steps that will eventually lead you to create new and healthier habits.
Take a marathon runner for example, they don’t wake up and decide to run 26 miles the first day. Instead, they slowly build up their body’s ability to handle both the physical and the mental aspect of running for an extended period of time. This is the beauty of challenging yourself to take baby steps toward your health and life goals. Just like a house needs a solid foundation to build upon, so does your health.
Let’s be honest, most people can lose weight fairly easily. Fad diets are popular because they are relatively successful in the weight loss aspect! But when you take a deeper look at some of the most popular ones at the moment such as Keto, Paleo, or Intermittent Fasting, you’ll find the issues lie within the principles of the plan.
Take Keto, where at the beginning of the plan you may experience flu-like symptoms as your body starts to adjust to the extreme changes to your diet. Or intermittent fasting where there are basically no parameters to what you eat, only when you can eat.
When attempting these diets, ask yourself these two questions, 1. Can I sustain this for the rest of my life? and 2. What am I learning? This isn’t to say that folks don’t have success on these plans, but it is something to consider when thinking through what you are willing to sacrifice on your journey to lifelong health. If I am being honest with myself, I could never commit to a plan where I will never eat Christmas cookies or birthday cake again. And Keto fat bomb versions of these are not something I am willing to substitute.
This is the beauty of working with a health coach, I am the voice of reason in the swirling vortex that is the health and wellness industry. And I will hold you accountable for the choices you are making while encouraging you along your path to whole health.
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghAugust 18, 2022 dietician, dietitian, dietitian nutritionist, dietitian nutritionist near me, healthy eating, healthy food, keto diet, ketogenic diet, Nutrition Counseling, Nutritionist, registered dietitian, registered licensed dietitian0 comments
When it comes to healthy eating, we all have questions to ask a dietitian—conflicting information is everywhere. Our Registered Dietitian answers some common questions about diet and nutrition.
Q: Is vegetarian (or keto, or…) the best way to eat?
A: There’s not one best way to eat. We are all unique, and some individuals may have various medical conditions that play a role in the way we fuel our bodies and the food choices we make. The best plan for you is that one that meets your medical and nutritional needs. And one that is enjoyable, accessible, and something you are able to stick with for the long term. By meeting with a registered dietitian, they can help you navigate and understand the best possible plan for you.
Q: How many glasses of water should I consume daily?
A: Staying hydrated is very important for many reasons related to our bodily functions, such as maintaining a normal body temperature and removing waste through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements. So it is essential to make sure we are consuming enough water throughout the day. Consider your thirst sensation as being the best indicator that you need to drink. Make sure to keep beverages visible so you remember to take a sip throughout the day. Although there is not a static number of ounces for everyone, aim to consume water with each meal and snack.
Q: Is food labeled “organic” more nutritious?
A: There are a plethora of marketing claims on products all throughout the grocery stores and markets. When a product or food is labeled as “organic”, this is referring to the method of farming, not the nutritional value of the product. An organic logo does not reflect the nutritional contents of the food, such as calories, fat, salt, or sugar. Nutritious foods, whether conventionally or organically grown, are those that provide a good source of fiber, protein, and are low in salt and saturated fat.
Q: Should I avoid fruit because it has too much sugar?
A: The number one source of added sugar for Americans in their diet is from sweetened beverages, such as soda and energy drinks. Fruit provides about 1% of the added sugars individuals consume. Of note, health advice to limit “added sugar” does not apply to the natural sugar in fruit. Even if Americans consumed the recommended daily amount of 1-2 cups per day, it wouldn’t come close to the volume of sugar from ultra-processed foods and beverages. Bottomline, keep enjoying fruit, especially those with skins and seeds, as these are great sources of fiber.
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
The Ketogenic or Keto diet for short is a buzzword now, but it’s not new! Decades ago, it was used primarily to treat epilepsy in children whose seizures were uncontrolled. Research found that those with epilepsy had fewer seizures when in a state of ketosis vs. being glucose dependent. Today, there are many more applications for this diet that show promise to continue researching for more potential benefits. But, let’s take a deeper dive into what being in ketosis really means!
Being in ketosis means that the primary fuel source in the diet is fat, instead of carbohydrates. When you become fat adapted and burn fat over glucose, the body makes byproducts called ketones which the brain used for fuel. This spares glucose, the primary fuel source for the red blood cells, endocrine system and muscles. Traditionally, carbs make up 45-65% of our daily intake, protein makes up 10-35% and fat makes up 20-35%. On the keto diet, one might be consuming as much as 70% fat, 20% protein with a mere 10% coming from carbohydrates. One a standard 2,000 calorie diet that is only 50 grams coming from carbohydrates. A very strict approach to this diet might allow only 20 grams of carbohydrates, while a more moderate approach may allow between 40-60 grams depending on goals and taking into account each individuals therapeutic need.
So, what are some reasons to pursue a very low carbohydrate diet like this? Evidence is suggesting that the ketogenic diet is a great way to spark weight loss. Since it’s very low carbohydrate, this keeps insulin (our fat storage hormone) low. This means that fat stores can be unlocked and used for fuel. Additionally, prevention and improvement of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease have been seen with high fat diets. The brain seems to do very well when using ketones for fuel instead of glucose. These applications are very relevant for Americans today, as neurodegenerative diseases and obesity are on the rise. Maybe even more important, are the applications for cancer. Cancer cells love sugar (glucose). Starving the cancer cells on a ketogenic diet shows promise in slowing cancer progression.
One drawback to the keto diet is that it is usually low in fiber since fiber is found in carbohydrate rich foods. GI issues like constipation, cramping or acid reflux may occur. One way around this is to count only net carbohydrates. That is, total carbohydrates minus the total fiber. This is usually a more moderate approach, but still confers the benefits of a traditional diet and keeps carbohydrate intake low.
The long term effects of the ketogenic diet are still being studied, but it shows much promise for short term use. Pregnant or nursing women, those with gallbladder disease or insulin dependent diabetics should use caution and discuss with their health care or dietary professional before implementing and keto changes into their diet.
If you want to learn more about this diet, book an appointment with Liz or check out “The Keto Diet”, a great comprehensive read on those curious about whether a high fat diet might be right for them. Remember that every body is different and diets should be tailored to what works best for your health and wellness goals.
Here is an example of the satiating kinds of meal plan a person can enjoy on the Keto Diet!
For breakfast you might have scrambled eggs and add in heavy cream, chives, and up to 4 slices of your favorite nitrate free bacon. With so much dense nourishment, you will hardly notice that you skipped the bread!
For lunch, put your favorite protein on a bed of baby salad greens, add a vinegar or cream based dressing.
For dinner: Go all out with a generously cut Ribeye that can be enjoyed with mushroom cream sauce and several ounces of broccoli.
Health and Wellness,
Liz Mckinney, CNS, LDNLearn More