Julie Anne Rhodes: inside the thinking
According to Wikpedia, the definition of a “New Year’s resolution is a commitment that an individual makes to a project or the reforming of a habit, often a lifestyle change that is generally interpreted as advantageous. The name comes from the fact that these commitments normally go into effect on New Year’s Day.” They go on to point out that weight loss and/or healthy eating tops the list of resolutions based on research from US Government statistics.
As a result of all these good intentions, January is a typically busy month for personal chefs. One of the most important aspects to being a good personal chef is deciphering what a client considers “healthy eating”? Do they mean heart healthy, weight loss program, or a myriad of other possibilities? Are there health issues in the household (ie. diabetes, or heart disease) that should be addressed through food? With the endless studies and “experts” feeding us conflicting information about what and what not to eat, and even more popular diets to choose from… getting back on track can be confusing.
Julie Anne: the modeling years
I am not a doctor or a nutritionist, but I am not a big champion of dieting either. As an ex fashion model, trust me I have tried most of them. I don’t think eliminating whole food groups is healthy in the long run, and deprivation will always backfire with yo-yo weight loss and gain. Our bodies need a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat to function properly. It is really all about understanding balance, making wise choices, portion control, and daily exercise. For most people (and this is what I recommend to most of my clients) following these simple rules, rather than a strictly regimented diet, will be sufficient in keeping your body at a healthy weight and vitality high.
1). Balance: means a certain amount of your daily caloric intake should come from protein, carbohydrates, and fat. The ratio recommended by the US. Government is 30% from protein, 30% from fat, and 40% from carbohydrates. Your daily intake of calories from each should not total more than what is recommended for your age, size, and the amount exercise (additional calories you burn each day) you do daily.
2). Wise choices: Not all proteins, carbohydrates, and fats are created equal. Just as eating a handful of nuts is preferable to a hand full of potato chips, and cooking with heart healthy oils such as olive oil or canola oil is a better choice than the saturated fat in butter… you should make informed choices with the proteins and carbohydrates you select as well. Did you know that lean pork tenderloin will have the same number grams of protein and fat per ounce as a skinless chicken breast? Or that a baked sweet potato is higher in fiber, therefore a healthier choice than the baked potato? Always remember whole foods will be better for you than processed, organic will pose fewer long term health risks, and seasonal, locally grown will be freshest. I’m not saying you can NEVER have that piece of chocolate cake again, but save it for a special occasion, and eat a bit less to balance the extra calories that day.
3). Portion control: Our concept of portions are getting way out of control. STOP with the “super size me” unless you want to be super size yourself! Serve your food on real dinner plates, not the platters used as dinner plates that restaurants in the 90′s made fashionable. Simple carbs (vegetables and greens) should take up 1/2 of your plate, then protein and complex carbohydrates (starchy vegetables and grains) 1/4 each respectively. A serving of protein is 3-4 ounces, not 8- 16 ounces (think size of a deck of cards).
4). Exercise: Is crucial to good health and weight management. Not only will you be burning calories, you will be boosting your endorphins, and…if you do some form of strength training… you will be increasing muscle mass which burns calories even when you are resting. I can’t pretend to be someone that loves exercise, but there is no doubt that I have increased energy, better attitude, and stable weight when I do stick with it. I try to do a minimum of 30 minutes a day of cardio 5-6 days a week, and at least 30 minutes of strength training twice a week. I double that when I want to lose a few pounds. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine, and build up to it gradually.
Julie Anne Rhodes
If your weight is still creeping up try cutting your portions down marginally, and upping the intensity or duration of your exercise regime. Remember there is no magical remedy here. Fewer calories eaten than calories burned = weight loss. It is that simple.