Category Archives: Food for Thought

Client testimonial

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Yay! Scale by Marilyn Wann

My very first Health at Every Size® client gave me permission to share her story.  She wrote this testimonial a few months ago, five years after our first consult.   Continue reading

Is Obesity Really the Killer It’s Made Out to Be?

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If obesity is really unhealthy, then people living in larger bodies should be more likely to die than thinner people.  Are they?

Biostatistician Katherine Flegal reviewed over 140 studies to answer this question (Flegal, 2013).  What she found may surprise you:

  • People in the ‘overweight’ category (BMI 25-30) had a slightly lower risk of death than those in the ‘normal’ weight category.
  • People in the ‘obese’ category (BMI 30-35) had an equal risk of death as people in the ‘normal’ weight category.
  • People in the ‘obesity classes II and III’ (BMI > 35) only had a greater risk of death if they were under the age of 65.  Their risk of death was 1.3x greater than people in the ‘normal’ weight group.  (To put that number in perspective, the risk of developing lung cancer is 30x greater among people who smoke compared to people who do not smoke.)

A number of other studies found similar results (Grabowski 2001, Steersman 2009, Oprana 2010, Tamakoshi 2010, Flegal 2005, Janssen 2007, Lantz 2010, Toriano 1996; see also:  Bacon 2011).

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Pursue Pleasure to Improve Health

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Do you really need to kill yourself to save your life?  You might think so, if you look at the way some health fanatics strictly follow their diet or exercise plans.  However, not-so-novel research suggests that being healthy is much easier and more fun than we’ve made it out to be.  In Healthy Pleasures, an old but timeless book, authors Robert Ornstein, PhD and Davis Sobel, MD identify life’s simple pleasures and describe the proven ways they contribute to health and well-being.   Continue reading

Intuitive Eating or Structured Eating – Which is right for you?

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Both intuitive and structured eating styles are compatible with a Health At Every Size® approach. But which is right for you?  Take this quick quiz to find out:

  1. Are you able to reliably identify mild hunger?
  2. Do you have a flexible enough schedule to eat when you are hungry?

If you answered ‘yes’ to both questions, intuitive eating may be right for you.

If you answered ‘no’ to one or both questions, start with structured eating.  Continue reading

Why I am adopting a Health at Every Size® approach

After nearly five years, I have decided to leave my job in medical weight management to practice a Health at Every Size® (HAES®) approach.

Here’s why:

Dieting does more harm than good.  Research shows that dieting is more likely to lead to weight gain than weight loss.  A review of 31 weight loss studies found that dieting was ineffective at producing long term weight loss, and one-third to two-thirds of dieters gained more weight than they lost (Mann et al, 2007).  Calorie restriction leads to preoccupation with food, binge eating and weight obsession.

Weight loss messages contribute to weight stigma.  Weight loss messages perpetuate the idea that anyone can lose weight, and that “overweight” people are lazy or lack willpower. In reality, weight is determined by a complex interaction between genes, environment and social influences. Once a set-point weight range is established, the brain works hard to defend it (Sumatran and Proietto, 2013).  Size diversity should be respected and embraced, just like other types of diversity.

Weight loss is not necessary for health improvement.  People who exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and practice other forms of self-care can improve their health, without losing weight (Matheson et al. 2012; Schaefer and Magnuson, 2014.)

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Why is Maintaining Weight Loss so Challenging?

Recent research provides some insight as to why maintaining weight loss is especially difficult.  View this clip from the Weight of the Nation documentary series for an explanation.

Note: You don’t need to pursue weight loss to improve your health.  Learn about a Health at Every Size approach.

Making Mealtime Fun

I wrote this post as a participant in the Eat, Play, Love blog carnival hosted by Meals Matter and Dairy Council of California to share ideas on positive and fun ways to teach children healthy eating habits. A list of other registered dietitians and moms who are participating in the carnival will be listed at the bottom of this post or can be found on Meals Matter.

As a dietitian with the KidShape program, I have learned the magic of making mealtimes fun in helping kids to eat healthier.  Here are some tips I’ve learned from KidShape families:

  • Eat meals together, as a family, as often as possible.
  • Make mealtimes pleasant.  Sit at the table, and thank the cook for preparing the meal.
  • Turn off the TV, so families can fully enjoy the food and the company.
  • Invite kids to help with the cooking.  This can be especially fun when preparing a kid-friendly meal, like homemade pizzas on whole wheat pita bread.
  • Be a good role model.  If kids see their parents enjoying nutritious foods, and contributing to a positive atmosphere at the dinner table, they will learn to do the same.
  • Take it slow.  Kids need to be exposed to food numerous times before they are willing to accept it.
What other tips have you found help make mealtimes fun?                                                      
Don’t stop here! Join the carnival and read other Eat, Play, Love blogs from dietitians and moms offering the best advice on raising healthy eaters. And if you don’t get enough today, for more positive, realistic and actionable advice from registered dietitian moms, register for the free, live webinar Eat, Play, Love: Raising Healthy Eaters on Wednesday, May 18.                                                                           

The Best-Kept Secret for Raising Healthy Eaters, Maryann Jacobsen, MS, RD
Feeding is Love, Jill Castle, MS, RD, LDN
5 Quick Ways to Prepare Veggies with Maximum Flavor, Dayle Hayes, MS, RD
The Art of Dinnertime, Elana Natker, MS, RD
Children Don’t Need a Short Order Cook, Christy Slaughter
Cut to the Point – My Foodie Rules, Glenda Gourley
Eat, Play, Love – A Challenge for Families, Alysa Bajenaru, RD
Eat, Play, Love ~ Raising Healthy Eaters, Kia Robertson
Get Kids Cooking, Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RD, CDN
Kid-Friendly Kitchen Gear Gets Them Cooking, Katie Sullivan Morford, MS, RD
Kids that Can Cook Make Better Food Choices, Glenda Gourley
Making Mealtime Fun, Nicole Geurin, RD
My No Junk Food Journey – Want to Come Along? , Kristine Lockwood
My Recipe for Raising Healthy Eaters: Eat Like the French, Bridget Swinney MS, RD, LD
Playing with Dough and the Edible Gift of Thyme, Robin Plotkin, RD, LD
Picky Eaters  Will Eat Vegetables, Theresa Grisanti, MA
Raising a Healthy Eater, Danielle Omar, MS, RD
Putting the Ease in Healthy Family Eating, Connie Evers, MS, RD, LD
Raising Healthy Eaters Blog Carnival & Chat Roundup, Ann Dunaway Teh, MS, RD, LD
Soccer Mom Soapbox, Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD
Teenagers Can Be Trying But Don’t Give UpDiane Welland MS, RD
What My Kids Taught Me About Eating Mindfully, Michelle May, MD