If We’re Talking Body, You’ve Got a Perfect One

Raise your hand if you’ve felt insecure about your body. Girl or guy, it happens to all of us. Now, think of that time you felt insecure and try to remember why. Did you fall victim to the comparison trap? Were your pants feeling tight that day? Did someone say something to you to make you feel inadequate? Now hold that thought, I’ll come back to it in a sec.

I had always loved food, and grew up in a family of athletes with thick thighs, strong shoulders, and even bigger appetites. Like I mentioned last week, health and wellness will look different for everyone. When I was in college, I started to get a bit concerned that I was going into the wrong field. I often felt surrounded by perfectly petite specimens who seemed to have been born with a penchant for kale salad. Suddenly everything I learned in school, good grades, and newfound balance just didn’t seem good enough. I baked bread and didn’t run marathons every weekend. Obviously in order to become a dietitian, I needed to be like everyone else! Right?! Wrong.

That’s what I mean when I say the “comparison trap.” A constant cycle of self-doubt and negativity. Time to lay down some sound science! Genetics actually plays a huge role to the size and shape of our bodies. Now, I’m not saying you can blame genetics for everything, but it accounts for about 80% of your weight and shape. The other 20% is environmental and personal choice. While you may have more muscle mass than your parents due to sports and exercising more, things like the width of your shoulders and the “set point” for the size of your thighs all come from your genes. Do yourself a favor, and love the body you’re rockin’ right now. No matter what your size or shape.

 

The Power of Protein and a How-To

This is the third installment of my Nutrition 101 series! Check out my previous posts on carbohydrates and fat.

What is protein?

Protein is essential in the diet, just like carbs and fat, but it also plays many roles in your overall health. From your hair, skin, nails, bones, muscles, and blood, the body uses protein in a variety of ways. Proteins are made from amino acids which are essentially the building blocks of life. The human body requires essential amino acids to survive, and these come from food specifically. It’s what also helps to prevent becoming hangry.

All Protein Isn’t Alike

Most people think of meat when they think of protein, but there’s quite a lot of different foods that contain protein. Think poultry, pork, seafood, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds. I recommend all types of protein foods, but I care most about how a protein is prepared. This dietitian enjoys a good burger on occasion and is #teamdarkmeat on Thanksgiving Day. Speaking of poultry, did you know that the darker the meat, the more nutrients it contains? Dark meats contain more myoglobin proteins because they are the muscles the chicken or turkey use the most. Dark meats have more zinc, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, vitamins B6 and B12, and iron than white meat. Although they have more nutrients, darker meats often have more saturated fat. Simply peel off the skin, and you’ll get rid of more than half the saturated fat! Let’s take a look at the protein and saturated fat content of some common foods.

Steak – 6 oz. = 40 g protein, 12 g saturated fat

Chicken – Dark meat (1 cup diced) = 32 g protein, 3.4 g saturated fat

Chicken – White meat (1 cup diced) = 38 g protein, 1.5 saturated fat

Salmon – 6 oz. = 34 g protein, 1.7 g saturated fat

Lentils – 1 cup cooked = 18 g protein, 1 g saturated fat, 15 g fiber

To go along with my FoodBalance mantra, all protein foods can fit into a balanced diet. You can definitely get enough protein from plant-based foods like lentils and beans, and you’ll also get lots of heart-healthy fiber. If you choose a fattier cut of meat, go easy on dressings, remove the skin, bake/roast don’t fry, swap high fat condiments for lower fat options, and opt for leaner side dishes.

I thought you said I should start the day with about 20-30g of protein?

Yes, glad you remembered! Protein is very satiating and it prevents your blood sugar levels from rapidly rising then falling. This rapid rise and fall can also cause you to feel tired and most likely craving more food.  Choose foods high in protein to start the day off right like Greek yogurt, nut butter on toast, cheese, leftovers of a protein from dinner, or my personal fave, EGGS. Economical and simple to prepare, these incredible edibles have about 6 g protein and 1.5 g saturated fat (large varieties). I always try to have eggs in my fridge for a quick meal addition, and my favorite way to prepare is hardboiled. You’d be surprised at how many people have told me they’ve never boiled an egg. It’s as simple as boiling water! Follow along with my fail-proof method for making hardboiled eggs.

Eggs in water

Add eggs to pot. Cover with water.

eggs in water on high heat

Turn burner on high heat.

Water boiling

Bring water to a boil.

IMG_1223

Turn off the burner.

How to Boil Eggs

Cover the pot of boiling water.

How to Boil Eggs

Set a timer for 10 minutes.

How to Boil Eggs

After 10 minutes, uncover pot and drain water. Place eggs in colander and rinse with cold water.

How to Boil Eggs

Place eggs in bowl. Cover with cold water. (Optional: add ice cubes)

How to Boil Eggs

I place mine in the freezer to cool down for a few minutes (set a timer). You can also put in the fridge.

How to Boil Eggs
Perfectly cooked yolk! Remove the eggs from fridge/freezer, drain water. Place in fridge. Best if eaten within 5-7 days.

Enjoy!

In Pursuit of (Im)Perfection

happiness joy jumping health

Many people don’t believe me when they hear I didn’t actually set out to lose 70 pounds a few years ago. They don’t believe that I don’t obsess over my daily calories, or that I’m feeling comfortable in my own skin. You’re a millennial, female in her mid-twenties, AND your a Dietitian. How is that possible?! I try to focus on being perfectly imperfect. Too bad that type of messaging doesn’t bode well for a culture that believes in deprivation, what you shouldn’t eat, and how you shouldn’t look.

I focused my efforts more on lifestyle change and creating abundance in my life. It wasn’t until I woke up one morning on my 18th birthday that I decided I was sick and tired of letting my weight dictate who I was going to be. How could I live a life that wasn’t riddled with guilt and shame? I was ready for change and to pursue the real me. Weight loss just happened to be a nice addition. Truth is, the less you focus on what you should cut back on, and the more you focus on newfound health prosperity in your life, the better the results.

Here’s my version of what I didn’t do during my 2-year lifestyle journey:

I didn’t get frustrated with myself

Changing your life starts with small steps, small changes, and is often uncomfortable. I decided to wake up every morning with intention. How would I view the day as an opportunity to succeed further? What could I learn from my actions?

Example: I felt really out of shape during that jog yesterday, maybe I started out too fast. I should probably ease into it and take fast walking breaks in between.

I didn’t feel deprived

As a dietitian, I don’t believe in meal plans. Instead, I want to help figure out what are good choices you can make no matter the situation. This mentality has a lot to do with how I found balance in my own food choices. There is not one.single.food that is somehow better than others. All foods fit in your life, from swiss chard to birthday cake. What matters most is how you treat food (not putting on a pedestal) and knowing that some foods provide more nutrients than others. Food is meant to live. You’re not meant to live for food.

Example: Halfway through my journey I met my now-husband, and we were dating. With dating comes going out to eat or making last-minute plans. I wasn’t going to NOT eat pizza if we were going to a pizza shop. Let’s be real, pizza is delicious. I’d be thinking about it all night if I didn’t have a slice, so I simply ate a friggen’ slice and enjoyed it!

I wasn’t obsessed with detail

There are many patients I’ve worked with who have become obsessed with their daily calorie target. “OMG I’m in the red! What do I do?” “I went out for breakfast and didn’t know what to do” Don’t look at the day like a bucket, think of it more like a checking account. Just like when you’re working on budgeting and saving money, you start to see results over a period of time. In a month or two, you suddenly seem to have more money! How did that happen? You worked at it everyday, but not all days were the same.

Example: I actually didn’t track calories during my two-year period. I started off by figuring out my personal calorie amount and came up with a few meals that would fit that target. Over time and as I became more confident in my food choices and portion sizes, I came up with more meals. That way, I didn’t feel paralyzed with fear over ordering food in a restaurant. I knew I needed to be flexible.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” -Lao Tzu

Interested in creating abundance and balance in your life? Contact me today!