Need diet help on your Pursuit of Healthiness?

Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of HealthinessEating healthy is key for anyone pursuing a healthy lifestyle, but where do you start?  For the first twelve people to comment with a question on this post, your question will be answered by our social media community manager and registered dietitian Grace Derocha.

 

Photo credit: keokiseu

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  1. For someone with health issues that restrict their movement and that restrict their diet, what’s the healthiest way to get moving and to eat healthier?

    1. Hi Graves,

      Thank you for your question.

      With restricted movement, there are a few things you must do:
      1. Be completely aware of what your restrictions are.
      2. That said, understand what your body is able to do.
      3. Check with your doctor regarding approval for an exercise plan.
      4. Walking is a great and easy way to burn calories and get some exercise in for aerobic activity.
      5. Resistance bands or using your own body weight is a great anaerobic approach to build muscle.

      As far as your diet goes, same beginning step:
      1. Be aware of what your body can and can’t handle regarding certain foods
      2. Include healthy more nutrient-dense foods (basically, high in vitamins and minerals and good nutrition)
      3. Avoid empty calories
      4. Eat regularly
      5. Drink plenty of water

      I hope this helps to get you started on your pursuit of healthiness. 🙂

    1. Hi Jackie,

      Thank you for your question. Technically, there are no foods that burn FAT. However there are some foods that can help rev up your metabolism because they are known to burn calories during the digestive process compared to how many calories are in the food itself. Other foods to produce a thermogenic reaction secondary to spice or temperature.
      Here are a few that may help:
      -chili peppers – the capsaicin gives it that fiery flavor
      -cold water – some say that since our bodies warm the water, there may be some benefit, but the research is not fully conclusive
      -whole grains – with the extra fiber, our bodies exude some extra energy to digest this food
      -most non-starchy vegetables; cabbage, lettuce, cucumbers to name a few – since these vegetables have very few calories and have fiber it takes more calories to digest
      -very lean proteins

      I hope this helps. Thank you.

  2. What types of foods do you recommend for someone who has struggles with portion control? I try to eat healthy pretty consistently, but I’m always hungry after meals. Any foods I should add to my diet to aid in fullness?

    1. Hi Matthew,

      This is a great question.

      When trying to control portions, here are some things for you to try:
      1. Eat slowly – it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain you are full
      2. Drink plenty of water
      3. Measure out servings and use a smaller plate
      4. If you are going for seconds, choose vegetables because they are lower in calories and full of good nutrition
      5. Include some fiber, protein and heart healthy fat into your meals/snacks. It takes our body longer to digest these things, so they are known to keep you fuller longer.
      6. Change certain habits that are associated with overeating.
      7. Really assess your level of hunger vs satiety vs emotion or habit

      Here are a couple of blog posts that may offer more insight as well.

      http://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/2012/03/22/ask-the-expert-tips-for-how-to-cope-with-unhealthy-food-cravings/

      http://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/2012/10/15/10-tricks-to-help-you-stop-overeating-all-day/

      Thanks. I hope this helps.

    1. Hi Lynn,

      Thank you for your question. First thing you should do is see your doctor regarding your concern with gluten. Then you should start keeping a food journal that includes what you are eating, how much, what time, and any symptoms you may be feeling. If you are instructed to follow a gluten sensitive diet, here are some lists of foods you should avoid and you can include:
      Try This (Gluten Free)
      Be sure that all the products below do not have any wheat added to them as a binder. Also be sure that they are not grown or manufactured where cross contamination may be possible.
      • Amaranth
      • Arrowroot
      • Buckwheat
      • Corn and cornmeal
      • Flax
      • Gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean)
      • Hominy (corn)
      • Millet
      • Quinoa
      • Rice
      • Sorghum
      • Soy
      • Tapioca
      • Teff
      The above can usually be found in your local grocery store – either in the health food section or the grains or flour sections. Some of the less known products can be found at specialty baking stores, gluten-free stores or online,
      • Beans, seeds, nuts in their natural, unprocessed form
      • Fresh eggs
      • Fresh meats, fish and poultry (not breaded, batter-coated or marinated)
      • Fruits and vegetables
      • Most dairy prod

      Avoid That (Not Gluten Free)

      • Barley (malt, malt flavoring and malt vinegar are usually made from barley)
      • Rye
      • Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)
      • Wheat
      • Bulgur
      • Durum flour
      • Farina
      • Graham flour
      • Kamut
      • Semolina
      • Spelt
      Avoid the following, unless it is labeled gluten-free
      • Beer
      • Breads
      • Cakes and pies
      • Candies
      • Cereals
      • Cookies and crackers
      • Croutons
      • French fries
      • Gravies
      • Imitation meat or seafood
      • Processed luncheon meats
      • Matzo
      • Pastas
      • Salad dressings
      • Sauces, including soy sauce
      • Seasoned rice mixes
      • Seasoned snack foods, such as potato and tortilla chips
      • Self-basting poultry
      • Soups and soup bases
      • Vegetables in sauce

      You can also check out many different gluten free recipes here:
      http://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/page/3/?s=gluten+free

      Thank you. I hope this was helpful.

  3. I recently started a weight-loss program called Ideal Protein. I am doing great & have lost 14 lbs. during the last 3 1/2 weeks, which amazes me. However, last week when I was volunteering at my kids’ school, another parent overheard me discussing the diet with a friend of mine. She piped in with her 2 cents (they were not solicited) & said her husband is a kidney doctor & I am harming my kidneys.

    I am in this program through a medical center & am seen weekly by a nurse. I consume 2 1/2-3 liters of water each day. I take electrolyte supplements throughout the day. My bloodwork is done periodically through the program. I plan to be on the program until sometime in June when I have lost another 25 lbs. & then I will go into maintenance.

    Am I doing permanent harm to my kidneys if I am following the diet exactly as protocol suggests? My good friend lost 105 lbs last year doing the same program, & she is who initially inspired me. She did the program through her local hospital & was on it a lot longer than I plan to be & she is doing just fine.

    Thanks,
    Natalie

    1. Hi Natalie,

      Thank you for reaching out with this question. Here are some insights to give perspective to your situation.

      According to the National Kidney & Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse, the average person’s kidneys filter about 200 quarts of blood per day to remove 2 quarts of waste from your system. Much of this waste is in the form of urea, a waste product created during protein digestion, absorption and synthesis. The more protein you consume, the more work your kidneys perform to remove urea from your system. So, excess protein in your diet affects your kidneys by making them work harder than they would on a lower-protein diet.

      However, with that said, the latest research shows that as long as your kidney function is normal to begin with, there are no extreme adverse effects with some increase in protein intake.

      It sounds like you are being monitored carefully. On a side note, my recommendation when you are done with this program is to be very aware of portions of all food to keep your weight loss goals maintained.

      I hope that helps. Thanks.

      1. Thank you, kindly! That all makes sense & my kidney function was normal prior to starting the diet. The diet is a 4-phase program – losing the actual weight happens in the 1st phase & maintenance occurs throughout the other 3 phases. Once I get down to my college weight of 125 lbs, I plan to never get back to where I am. As part of the program, I am to weigh myself daily & keep myself accountable. I’m also reading The Beck Diet Solution. It is a cognitive behavioral approach to train the brain into keeping weight-loss off for good.

        Thank you again for your advice!

        -Natalie

  4. I have been struggling with an eating disorder and am currently in recovery. My treatment team has been slowly pushing my calorie intake up. I recently started gaining back some of the weight at an intake of about 1800 per day, but still have to keep increasing intake. Is it normal to gain on an intake of 1800? How long does it take for metabolism to go back to normal and do you have any tips for helping to regulate metabolism after a period of restriction?

    1. Thank you for your question, Marie.

      I don’t have all of your health information, but considering your treatment, it is probably normal for you to be gaining weight at your current caloric intake of 1800 calories.

      For metabolism to go back to “normal” is different based on the individual. My recommendation is keep on that path of recovery and keep in contact with your healthcare team and communicate with them about any and all concerns.

      As far as regulating metabolism in the long run, This will involve eating regularly throughout the day. Ideally, breakfast should be eaten within 2 hours of waking up and then for most eating every 3-5 hours throughout the day to keep your body fueled and your metabolism moving. Of course, exercise and staying physically active in the long run as you continue on your road to recovery, will also be important for better health.

      I hope that helps, Marie. Thanks for reaching out.

  5. How do I determine how many calories a day I should be eating in order to lose weight? All of this TDEE and BMR calculators are confusing me when you factor in a deficit from the TDEE and your activity level.

    1. Hi there Nicole,

      Thank you for your question. I know that it can be quite confusing and even annoying. Here is a link to calculating BMR just for future reference – http://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/2011/01/20/calculating-your-bmi-and-bmr/

      There are also a variety of mobile apps that can help you figure out how many calories to consume for your weight loss goals. My favorite is My Fitness Pal – http://www.myfitnesspal.com/. This app will help you log your food intake and exercise daily. By the way, this app is free.

      For some other helpful mobile apps – check out some of these blogs to find the best app for you. http://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/?s=mobile+apps

      I hope this helps. Thanks, Nicole.

      1. I’ve been using my fitness pal, and it told me I should be eating 1500 calories a day, but everyone on mfp says that their numbers are way off and that I should use a deficit of my tdee, which puts me at 1968…that’s a huge difference in calories to eat daily. The more I read about it the more I get confused! Your calculator puts me at about the same for a sedentary lifestyle. Does it really matter if I include my workouts, or can I still track those separately and if so, should I still be eating my calories back?

        1. Hi Nicole,

          So long story short, with BMR and then calculating calorie intake, for weight loss you take that amount of calories and subtract 500 calories. Those 500 calories can come from cutting back on your daily food intake or from working out or a combination of the two. That is the most basic formula that works. TDEE and BMR are usually pretty comparable. So be as strategic and honest with yourself with your consumption and workouts and see if that is working to accomplish your health goals. 🙂

    1. Hi Paul,

      My first suggestion is to measure food portions, so you understand what one serving or one cup, etc looks like on your plates, bowls, cups and any other dishes.

      Also remember it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that you are full. So chew carefully and eat as slowly as possible. Really get a good idea about the difference between being hungry and being satisfied. Drink plenty of water.

      Also if you have certain habits that involve food, that don’t necessarily need to, evaluate those and try to make a change. For example, if you are a person that snacks late at night in front of the TV, think of something else you can do to keep you busy or measure your snack accordingly.

      Here are a couple blogs that should also provide some insight to curb unwanted eating:
      http://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/2012/10/15/10-tricks-to-help-you-stop-overeating-all-day/
      http://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/2012/09/12/understanding-whats-behind-your-food-cravings/
      http://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/2012/07/20/how-to-stop-snacking-this-summer/

    1. Hi Michelle,

      When thinking about food choices before a workout, I always recommend looking at the timing from your last meal or snack from your workout. That said, I also want you to think about what your workout is going to entail, will it be a long and intense workout or a shorter one?

      You will want to include some carbs for energy and some protein to help sustain you. You don’t want it to be heavy because it may deter you from a good workout. Think smoothie or greek yogurt as good choices.

      Also don’t forget to drink plenty of water before, during and after you exercise. After you workout you will also want to replenish your system with another snack or meal, again depending on what time you work out.

      Here are a couple blog posts for more insight:
      http://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/2012/02/27/exercise-does-a-body-good-how-to-fuel-and-replenish-your-body-for-workouts/
      http://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/2011/09/16/25-healthy-kid-friendly-snacks-that-wont-pack-on-the-pounds/

      Thanks. I hope that helps. 🙂

  6. I work out with an athletic team that practices from 8-10pm at night. I have a small snack (protein shake) before practice, but I come home starving at the end of the night. I remember hearing you shouldn’t eat within two hours of going to bed (I usually hit the sack around 11), but i don’t think going to bed hungry and waking up that way is any good either…
    Should I eat at all, and if yes, what should it be?

    1. HI Jenny,

      Great question and the quick answer is yes, you should have something. You should definitely listen to your body and if it is hungry (especially, since you just worked out – see the above comment and blogs for more info) eat something.

      You are correct, in most cases, we are not supposed to be eating before sleeping. However in your case, since you just depleted your system during the workout, you need to replenish. It doesn’t have to be something big, but enough to satisfy your hungry. I think smoothies are always great because they digest quickly and you can include a variety of healthy food groups, fruit, veggies, low-fat dairy and protein from greek yogurt or even tofu.

      I hope that helps. Thanks. 🙂

    1. Hi Linda,

      With the inability to burn calories quickly, since you are in a wheelchair, making sure you stay with in the proper caloric intake is very important. First, you will want to talk to your doctor regarding some insights with what you are able to do, for example if they have suggestions for wheelchair exercises. Next, calculate your BMR – basal metabolic rate to help you calculate how many calories you should consume daily. For weight loss goals, you should subtract 200-500 calories, without going below 1200 calories.

      Here is a link to help you calculate your BMR: http://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/2011/01/20/calculating-your-bmi-and-bmr/

      After that keeping a food journal so you can stick with the proper amount of calories will help, along with measuring your food portions.

      Thanks Linda, I hope that helps.

  7. The key to losing weight is eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. This is nothing new. It is said all the time medically.

    The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015 – http://www.health.gov.dietaryguidlines/2015.asp lays out in simple terms what are the healthy foods and how we should use them. Study it and follow it. It is an education that everyone should have if he/she wants to live a healthy lifestyle.

    A point to note; it dictates that your plate should be half filled with fruits and vegetables. They are chock filled with healthy fiber and nutrients that your body craves for good health. Of course if one has medical problems medical advice is necessary to determine which fruits and veggies are appropriate.

    Exercise does not have to be strenuous. Walking is great. Before anyone embarks on a regular exercise program he/she should consult a doctor.

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