Creating habits vs. utilizing willpower: what's more powerful?

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When trying to create new health, nutrition, and fitness habits, I rely less on willpower and more on creating habits.  I was listening to a podcast interview with Dan Ariely, a Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics from Duke University, and he said that when you have a habit, you don't have to use your willpower. 

Do you have a simple, repeatable meal and fitness plan that is virtually automatic 90% of the week?  Are you focused more on creating habits than following the perfect diet or fitness routine? Certainly we want to eat healthy most of the time and exercise regularly, but creating simple, repeatable habits set us up for success. 

Tim Ferris, on this YouTube video, talks about how to overcome procrastination and create a habit (from approximately 2 minutes 37 seconds to 6 minutes and 50 seconds in the video) and it's worth checking out. 

For example, I exercise 5-6 days per week and have been doing so consistently for about 17 years.  Now I generally exercise for 30 minutes to 1 hour, but on days when I don't want to do anything, I lower my goal until it's achievable, say 10 minutes of exercise.  Once I get started exercising for a few minutes, my energy increases, I feel more motivated, and then work out for my usual duration.

Creating habits rather than relying on willpower and lowering goals until achievable make a powerful combination.

Yours in great health!

Kevin Grodnitzky, MS, RDN, CDE, LDN    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

What's up with a jackfruit BBQ sandwich?

I was at a party recently and tried a BBQ sandwich made without pork, but with jackfruit!  Never had jackfruit before, nor a jackfruit BBQ sandwich.  Guess what?  It was delicious!  Thought I'd share a recipe to try.   Click here.  Also included is an avocado slaw to pare the sandwich with.  This would work well for those interested in bringing a fun and different, but tasty dish to a BBQ or other event.  Enjoy!  Is jackfruit healthy?  Jackfruit is a good source of fiber at 3 grams per cup, as well as vitamin c, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese!

Yours in great health!

Kevin Grodnitzky, MS, RDN, CDE, LDN    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

What is the hunger fullness scale?

Do you ever eat when not hungry?  When bored, stressed, watching TV, holiday meals, late night snacking, deserts, chips etc?  Hey guess what, it's pretty common.  While there are many behavioral strategies to help with overeating, one that is gaining popularity is 'mindful eating.'  While for many, utilizing a combination of strategies is helpful, including mindful eating may improve success.  Check out this link from Harvard to learn more about 'mindful eating.'  A 'mindful eating' experience may include: slowing down and taking more time to eat, tasting each bite of food, and paying attention to your feelings of hunger and fullness.

Let's drill down a little further on our hunger and fullness cues.  To learn more about the hunger fullness scale, check out this link.  One is starving, ten is stuffed, three is hungry (clear signals to eat, but not uncomfortable), seven is satisfied/full (but not overly full or stuffed).  The goal is to stay in the grey zone (between 3-7), aiming to eat at a 3 and stop at a 7.  

How to get started?  Begin by becoming more aware of your hunger and fullness cues during and between meals.  Try not to judge yourself, just become more aware.  If you eat past fullness, it happens, so think about why it may have happened.  Aim to eat when hungry, not starving (a 3) and stop when satisfied (a 7).  Sometimes, eating at a 1 (starving) causes us to eat to a 9 or 10 (very full/stuffed), but not always, depends on the person and situation.  Are you really hungry 2 hours after dinner or is that habit instead?  Are you full, but still have a half a 1/4 plate of food left and keep eating?  Again, no judgement, just awareness.  One last note, if you are a late night snacker, it takes about 3-4 hours to digest a meal, so by hour 2 after a meal, your blood sugar is peaking and more food is usually not needed.  It's an interesting topic and certainly worth more exploration. 

Yours in great health!

Kevin Grodnitzky, MS, RDN, CDE, LDN   Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

 

Do bananas cause weight gain? No chance. Here's why?

Ok, I know you've seen the pop up ads that say, 'bananas make you gain weight.'  Guess what, not true.  Bananas are a fantastic snack, moderate in calories (about 100 cal each), a good source of fiber, potassium, and moderate in naturally occurring sugars. 

I just had a new patient lose 7 and 1/2 lbs in the first two weeks of his weight loss program eating 2 bananas per day! 

Compared to a snickers which has 215 cal, a small bag of chips 150 cal, a banana (100 cal), has about 50-100% less calories respectively and is a much healthier option!

Other benefits of bananas?  Great to fuel your workouts (about 30-45 minutes pre workout), great between meal satisfying snack, or a satisfying post dinner light sweet treat (when you see the little brown dots, the bananas are sweeter)!

Other ways to eat bananas?  Try peeling, cutting into bite size pieces and freezing, and then add a little water and blend thick for a sweet non dairy desert!  For a change, swap your banana for jelly in a PBJ, or add to your salad (I know it sounds weird, but just tried it and was awesome!).  

If you are looking for a sweeter desert, try this chocolate dipped coconut frozen banana from eatingwell.com.  It's only 100 calories per serving.

Yours in great health!

Kevin Grodnitzky, MS, RDN, CDE, LDN Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

To Snack or Not to Snack for Weight Loss?

Check out this article in the Huffington Post from fellow Dietitian Manuel Villacorta! The article describes the relationship between ghrelin (the hunger hormone), snacking and weight loss.  Definitely worth a read! 

Yours in great health!

Kevin Grodnitzky, MS, RDN, CDE, LDN Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Does the NBA love PBJ? Yes...and we'll show you how to make a healthy one!

I admit it, I love a good PB and J sandwich and recently have been eating one most days of the week!  According to a recent article from ESPN, so do many NBA players!  Click here to read the original article!  Now wait a minute, I know what some of you are thinking, PB and J can't be healthy right?  White bread, processed sugar and fatty peanut butter?  Wrong.  How about unprocessed whole grain bread (Food for Life, the Breadery etc.), natural peanut butter (the kind with the healthy oils floating on top in a jar or just crushed peanuts from the health food store), with a natural preserve jam or jelly?  I say, the right PB and J is a highly nutritious, power packed meal (add some non starchy veggies to round it out) to fuel your work day, workout, or weekend!  Simple to prepare, easy to eat on the go, and can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner (if you're into that kind of simplicity for dinner), and works great for travel!  Ok, let's check it out what's in a healthy PB and J:

1. Whole grain bread- on average has 80 cal per slice (or 40 per slice for some low cal breads).  Should have the following ingredients (one or more whole grains such as wheat, barley, oats etc.) yeast, a little salt (or not), water and that's about it!  Check out the ingredients from this Flax bread from Food for Life.  This bread adds some wheat gluten as well, but they do make gluten free breads as well. 

2. Natural peanut butter- 1 tablespoon is 100 cal.  A good sandwich has between 1-2 tbsp IMO.  Ingredients should say, 'Peanuts,' and maybe 'salt' if you want it.  Are peanuts healthy?  You bet!  A good source have healthy monounsaturated fats, a moderate amount of plant protein, and no cholesterol (plants don't products cholesterol).

3. Jam, preserve, jelly, fruit spread to name a few or a banana- To complete the meal, a fruit or fruit spread is needed.  There are a large variety to choose from and average about 30-50 cal per tablespoon or about 50 cal for a 1/2 sliced banana.  I'd say, one tablespoon or two max is about right for a spread, but everyone is different.  I enjoy many varieties but Crofters is one that I like, among others.  Check out the previous link and scroll down for the ingredients and nutrition facts. Some are concerned that jelly or jam is all table sugar which are 'added' sugars and not naturally occurring such as found in fruit.  Not true for all.  Some have more added sugars than others and some not at all.  Unfortunately the nutrition facts label will not differentiate between 'naturally occurring' sugars found in fruit and 'added sugars' from processed table sugar.  The label just says, 'sugars.'  If you look at the ingredients listed, Crofters did not have 'sugar' listed, as it's sweetened with fruit and fruit juice, so that let's us know that no processed sugar was used in the spread.  Another option is a PB and banana sandwich which isn't quite as sweet, but can work well in a pinch!

What's the final calorie count?  350 calories = 160 cal- 2 slices bread, 1.5 tbsp PB- 150 cal, 1 tbsp jam- 40 cal = 350 calories.  Not too high or too low.  If you need more calories, aim for 2 tbsp's of PB, or if less, aim for 1 tbsp PB. 

All in all, PB and J with the right ingredients is a good source of healthy carbs for energy, protein, and healthy fats, all in moderation to provide the fuel you need to power your day!

Yours in great health!

Kevin Grodnitzky, MS, RDN, CDE, LDN Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Fantastic Lentil Soup Recipe!

A delicious and simple to prepare lentil soup recipe from Dreena Burton!  The soup has a rich and aromatic flavor that satisfies!  It's an easy lunch or dinner option and works great for easy to heat up leftovers too!  Add some veggies on the side either roasted, steamed or as a salad to round out the meal!  Good source of protein and carbs to keep you satisfied and fiber to help with healthy gut function!  Click here to check out the recipe. 

Delicious Thai Red Curry Recipe with Brown Rice!

Just made this delicious Thai Red Curry Recipe and wanted to share!  I cooked brown rice instead of white rice for a heartier meal and higher nutritional value.  Click here to view the recipe. 

Yours in Great Health!

Kevin Grodnitzky, MS, RDN, CDE, LDN Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Certified Personal Trainer

Can a Pecan Pie bar pack both flavor and health in one wrapper? Check out my review...

Looking for a sweet and healthy snack idea?  Try the Pecan Pie bar from Lara Bar!  Why do I like this bar?  It's simple, tasty, natural and healthy with only three ingredients (dates, almonds and pecans)!  I love products that are made of whole, natural ingredients and you won't do much better than this.  A healthy source of carbs for energy (from the dates), healthy fats (from the nuts), and fiber (from the dates and nuts), this bar has balance.  Protein is on the lower side at 3 grams, but this bar isn't trying to be a high protein bar, and the nuts help to keep you satisfied like a protein bar would.  Lastly, this bar is moderate in calories (220) which will help keep you satisfied between meals, but not too full.  Whether you choose to have a handful of nuts with a fruit or grab this bar instead, either would be a great choice for a snack!

Disclosure:  I have never received compensation from the Lara Bar company. 

Yours in great health!

Kevin Scott Grodnitzky, MS, RDN, CDE, LDN Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

To measure or not to measure? That is the question!

Need help reaching your weight loss goals?  If so, try measuring your proteins (with a food scale), fats (with measuring spoons), and starches (with either a food scale or measuring cups) whenever possible!  You may be eating more calories than you think and measuring (after cooking) may give you the data you need to get on track with your goals!

Check out these scales from Amazon that run only about $10-15!  I recently bought one for $15.00 and it works great!

Yours in great health!

Kevin Grodnitzky, MS, RDN, CDE, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Personal Trainer

 

 

How to achieve your health goals with the 3 P's of success?

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Follow the 3 P's of Success!  Plan all meals and snacks for the workday and weekend in advance.  Prepare your food or buy your meals and snacks within your calorie goals. Keep it simple.  I can pack all my food for the workday (except dinner which I eat at home) in about 20 minutes.  Pack your meals and snacks anytime you are out of the house for more than 2 hours!  By using the 3 P's of success, watch your health and nutrition vastly improve!  P.S., don't forget to use the bonus P (Practice)!  The more you practice, the easier it gets!  By the way, if you slip, no big deal!  Next meal or snack get back on track!

Do you want to get healthier in 2017? If so, check out Kevin in the Baltimore Sun!

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Do you want to get healthier in 2017? 

If so, click this link to read the article that feature's Kevin Grodnitzky, MS, RDN, CDE, LDN in the Baltimore Sun!  The article is entitled 'Nutritionist's dish on New Year's Diet Resolutions.'

Wishing you a healthy, fit, and happy 2017!

Kevin

Kevin Grodnitzky, MS, RDN, CDE, LDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist
Certified Diabetes Educator
web: www.nutritioncoachingcenter.com
email: kevin@nutritioncc.com
Tel: 410-989-1886
57 W. Timonium Road Suite 111
Lutherville Timonium, MD 21093