Fitness is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise. I have read this mantra many times in different forums and articles. While I don’t know if the ratio is 100% accurate, what I do know is that nutrition is an extremely vital part of a good fitness plan. The only problem is, I never truly internalized this fact until I started seeing Alicia Huggler, registered dietitian at FFC Park Ridge, who helped me change my perspective on nutrition.

Time for a Change

I began my journey a bit over 2 years ago at the age of 26. I finally decided it was time for a change after years of laziness and poor diet had done its damage to my body. I felt awful most of the time and I hated what I saw when I looked in the mirror. In December of 2015, I signed up for a membership at one of the budget gyms in the area, looked up a workout program, and started hitting the weights hard. After about 4 months of going consistently, I definitely felt much better. However, I wasn’t seeing much progress on the scale or in the way I looked. This is when I started doing more research and discovered the 80/20 guideline.

I started a meal-prep regimen based on (as I look back on it now) a lot of “bro-science”. Breakfast was always eggs and oatmeal. Every lunch and dinner consisted of either chicken or frozen fish, a vegetable (peppers, broccoli, asparagus), and either brown rice or quinoa. I avoided snacks like the plague and ate 3 massive meals per day. The meals were bland, boring, and repetitive, but the new diet was effective. My weight plummeted from 215 to 195 in a little over 2 months.

Related: food prep sound overwhelming? Here are some tips that will make the process as easy as possible so you can stick to it!

From Progress to Plateau

However, my body fat percentage wasn’t changing as drastically (I went from around 25% BF to 20% during this time). This sudden change wasn’t without issues. I had very little energy throughout the day, leading me to skip many gym sessions (until I stopped going altogether). I lost a lot of progress on my lifts. Cheat meals became a regular occurrence. The meal plan wasn’t sustainable, and I slipped back into my old habits. My weight rebounded past where it was originally, and just like that I was back to square one.

Despite all of this, I wasn’t ready to give up. In December of 2016, I recommitted to my fitness plan. Thinking I would be more inclined to go if I paid more for the membership, I canceled at the budget gym and looked for pricier alternatives. I decided FFC had all the equipment and amenities I was seeking, in addition to being in a convenient spot. I looked up a new workout program and restarted my meal-prep regimen. Progress was going great for a while, but over time I began slipping into the same patterns. Cheat meals, skipped meal prep, and missed workouts due to the lack of energy became the constant. I was frustrated and almost quit again.

Changing My Perspective on Nutrition

On a whim in May of 2017, I decided to see Alicia. It was a game-changer and she completely changed my perspective on nutrition. During our first session, she asked me what my current diet consisted of and what foods I enjoyed/didn’t like. She gave me some basic nutrition advice to get me started while she developed my full meal plan. The second session was where I learned that I was on a good path before, but I wasn’t doing the little things that would have made my diet consistent. My proportions were off: I was eating too much protein and not enough carbs or fats. I love the taste of red meat, but I had cut it out before in favor of lean white meats. To compensate, I wound up overeating red meat (pound or two of steak per meal) when I cheated.

This time around, Alicia built lean red meats into my meal plan. She informed me that snacks weren’t the enemy and in fact necessary to avoid overindulging during meal time. Variety keeps the meal plan interesting and staves off the propensity to cheat. Cheating was even OK as long as it was responsible and limited. “Have a burger every once in a while,” she said, “just don’t get the triple stack with bacon.” I’m paraphrasing, of course, but you get the idea. She even opened my eyes to delicious healthy whole foods and substitutes that I had never heard of before: chicken sausage, chickpea pasta, farro, nutritional yeast, and Halo Top ice cream to name a few. Additionally, she was a great resource for tasty recipes that fit my meal plan.

Alicia is a very warm and open person; always upbeat and energetic. She won’t just take measurements and talk about nutrition in the sessions but will also take a genuine interest in you. She never chastises you for falling off the rails one week and instead encourages you to do better the following week. She’ll even let you know what sweets she indulged in that week, so you won’t feel as bad. Her attitude was a key factor in helping me stay the course.

How I changed my perspective of nutrition and lost 11% body fat

Seeing Sustainable Results

I could continue about my experience and how awesome Alicia is, but what’s really important is results. My initial measurements when I first started seeing Alicia were 218 lbs and 25% body fat. I can happily report that I’m now down to 196 lbs and 14% BF. Pants I purchased a year ago no longer fit and I’m down 2 belt loops. I feel a great sense of pride in my new physique when I look in the mirror. My lifts are steadily improving. More crucially, I feel much better. I have consistent energy throughout the day and will have maybe 1 caffeinated beverage a week if I really need it. I’ve only been sick once in the past year and I fought off the illness swiftly. Looking and feeling great has been an incredible confidence booster. Proper perspective on nutrition really has changed me for the better.

Even though I’m in the best shape of my life at 28, I’m still not satisfied and hopefully never will be. Fitness is a lifelong journey and I have a long way to go. I can now embark upon this journey armed with proper knowledge about nutrition. If you have been going the gym consistently like I was and aren’t seeing the results you want, proper diet may be the missing piece – you may need to change your perspective on nutrition. If you have any questions about nutrition or are curious about what a registered dietitian can do for you, I encourage you to seek one out and talk to (or email if you’re shy). And if you decide to start a nutrition program with her and stick with it, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Good luck on your own fitness journey and I will see you in the weight room!

Post written by FFC Park Ridge local’84 Cafe attendant Andrew Wrobel.

 

Typically, colder weather brings cravings of routine and hibernation, changes in our eating habits, and sometimes, mood. Welcome to the winter blues.

In the summer, when we don’t want to turn on the oven, salads are an easy go-to for incorporating tons of fresh vegetables into our diets each day. But once the temperatures cool down, a salad isn’t necessarily going to warm us up.What will warm us up, and deliver all the nutrients we need to maintain our mood and energy? Try these hearty, organic recipes that spotlight vegetables and keep us healthy all winter long!

Have your spaghetti!

Just replace the pasta with spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles. A quick saute with your favorite sauce, and you won’t even miss the heavy carbohydrate load!

Turn your sandwich into a melt.

Start with one slice of whole grain or sprouted grain bread, top with protein and vegetables, and one slice cheese. Melt in the oven for a few minutes, and serve with a perfectly ripe apple or crisp raw vegetables. Yum!

Related: click here for a free 30-minute nutrition consultation at FFC!

Warm up a salad.

Who said they have to be served cold? Try roasted butternut squash on a bed of greens with pomegranate seeds, OR combine that butternut squash with Brussels sprouts and a sweet honey dressing.

Add color (and immunity) to your soup!

Blend broccoli, spinach, kale, tomatoes, or your favorite vegetables into any soup you like, homemade or low-sodium canned.

Related: more reasons to try the souping diet? Check out this post!

Remember: No matter your goals, fill 1/2 your plate with non-starchy vegetables at each meal for a dose of vitamins and minerals to keep away the winter blues, and keep you feeling great!

Water makes up 60% to 65% of our total body weight. When we exercise, we lose water through sweat – this water needs to be replaced. Even a 2% loss of body weight through sweat (i.e. 3 lbs of loss for a 150 lb person) can put you at a disadvantage. If this fluid loss is not replaced properly, dehydration will occur. This is a serious condition that can diminish energy and impair performance, among other symptoms. However, it can be easily spotted and prevented. Here are a few ways to prevent dehydration and keep up with your water intake.

Signs of Dehydration 

Thirst is one indicator of dehydration, but it is not an early warning sign. By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Other signs of dehydration include:

  • Feeling dizzy and lightheaded
  • Having a dry or sticky mouth
  • Producing less urine and darker urine

Related: have other nutrition questions? Talk to one of FFC’s on-site registered dietitians! Click here for a free 30-minute consultation.

How to Prevent It

Drink Fluids

Preventing dehydration starts long before the activity. The easiest way to avoid dehydration is to drink lots of fluids, especially on hot, dry, windy days.

How To: the night before, as well as before your workout, you should intake the following fluids:

  • 16 ounces of water before bed
  • 16 ounces of water in the morning
  • 4-8 ounces every 15 minutes

Related: speaking of the night before, here are some meal prep tips you can use in addition to these hydration hacks to make sure you’re staying on track!

Be sure to also replace your fluid loss post exercise: 24 ounces of fluid for every pound lost!

Water is usually the best choice, but you can also get fluids from water-based juices and smoothies!

Dress Appropriately

Always dress appropriately for your activity. Wear loose-fitting clothes and a hat if you can, this will keep you cooler and cut down sweating.

Fitness tip: if you can’t remember how much water you drank today, you haven’t had enough!

Seaweed? For dinner? Seriously?

Yes, yes, and yes! Chances are you’ve had seaweed as part of a sushi roll or even as a side dish or salad at a Japanese restaurant, but have you considered adding it to your regular weekday at-home dining experience? Now might just be the time to try it!

Seaweed has been growing in popularity, making it more widely available in grocery stores, and it is absolutely chock-full of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, protein, antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids, and even trace elements.

Trace elements are dietary elements that are essential to the body for things such as growth, metabolic function and other processses but are only needed in very small quantities (aka trace amounts) and include (but are not limited to) selenium, copper, magnesium, iodine, etc.

Why Should I Care?

The purported health benefits as to why you should be eating seaweed range widely from estrogen regulation (leading many to speculate that seaweed consumption may help lower the risk for breast cancers) to reduction in blood pressure (and therefore a reduction in heart disease). Further research is needed to examine all potential health benefits of seaweeds and determine their maximum therapeutic potential in terms of disease prevention and risk reduction.

Related: click here to register for a free nutrition consultation at FFC!

Seaweed’s most well-documented health benefit is that it is a phenomenal source of iodine, an essential element needed for thyroid regulation. The thyroid, which is a gland located in the neck, secretes and regulates various bodily hormones involved in everything from growth to metabolic regulation. Consuming healthy, adequate levels of iodine is key to maintaining a healthy thyroid – inadequate iodine can cause goiters, extreme fatigue, and even intellectual disability. However, as with all good things, moderation is the key to success! The same way too little iodine can be harmful, so can too much. Be sure to curb your intake if there are medical reasons to limit iodine.

How to Buy Seaweed 101

The 411 on common edible seaweeds: seaweeds are members of the algae family and are typically available in three varieties; red, green, and brown. The most commonly eaten varieties are red seaweed, which is used to form nori, and brown seaweed (such as kelp or wakame), which frequently finds its way into in soups and salads.

Related: try the souping diet! Check out this post to see why.

  • Nori – a red seaweed used most commonly for sushi rolls is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and B12 while being lower in iodine than many other varieties of seaweeds.
  • Dulse – another red seaweed, this varietal is frequently consumed in its dried flakey form as a flavoring for soups, but can also be sautéed with a little butter and garlic for a lovely side dish.
  • Kelp – also known as “kombu,” this brown seaweed is very high in iodine and is often used in combination with dashi to make broth for soups, particularly miso soup.

30-Minute Recipe: Wakame Salad

(adapted from Karman Meyer, RD)

5 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz dried wakame, rehydrated per package instructions
  • ½ medium seedless cucumber, halved lengthwise and cut into ⅛” slices
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded with a vegetable peeler or zoodler
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2.5 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Directions:

Drain all liquid from the rehydrated wakame and tear wakame into bite-sized pieces, as needed. Set aside in medium mixing bowl.

In a small dish, stir to combine: sesame oil, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, and garlic. Pour this over the wakame.

Add sliced cucumbers and shredded carrots to the wakame dressing mixture and toss to combine. Refrigerate to chill before serving; for best flavor, allow to marinate for 24 hours prior to serving.

Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top just before serving.

Post written by FFC contributor Carla Schmitz.

Are you someone who’s wondering how to shop organic? Or even wondering if you should? Even if you’re not ready to commit to buying EVERYTHING pesticide and additive-free, here is a quick guide on how to shop organic – plus some must-have items for your grocery list.

Beef

Due to the recent findings about red meat, it’s even more important to choose beef that hasn’t been given hormones or antibiotics, both of which can cause health concerns for humans.

Produce on the “Dirty Dozen” list

What’s on this “Dirty Dozen” list, you may ask? Produce such as apples, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, grapes, celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas, and potatoes are all included. Why? Because these foods have very high pesticide residues when grown conventionally.

During the winter months in Chicago, it can be difficult to find these local and organic produce because there must be some amount of pesticides added in order for them to grow in colder temperatures. Therefore, it’s up to you to decide which is more important to you and your family.

Related: have nutrition questions and want to set up a free 30-minute consultation with an on-site FFC registered dietitian? Click here!

Eggs and milk

Some studies suggest that organic eggs and milk are higher in nutrients and lower in pesticides and hormones. Although this isn’t proven, it’s still worth the money to buy these items organic—if for no other reason than their great taste!

Hot peppers and leafy greens (like kale & chard)

The pesticide counts in these products aren’t high enough to make the Dirty Dozen list, but they’re still pretty high. Purchase these organically to avoid the health concerns.

Related: avoid mood swings with these nutrition tips!

Have a question or a suggestions for an upcoming event you’d like to see? Leave a comment below!

Post written by FFC Oak Park Registered Dietitian Amy Silver.

As you know, it’s important to not let your travel plans get in the way of your fitness goals. But what about your diet? The best option for traveling is to bring your own meals and snacks, at least for the airport. However, no matter how prepared you may try to be, there will always be a time when planning ahead and bringing snacks just can’t happen. Here are some options covering the best healthy food at the airport to help you stay on track.

  • Trail Mix: Choose the ones with just nuts and fruit, and make sure you only eat one portion at a time. One handful = one serving. (One serving is 1/4 cup, roughly 200 calories.)
  • Smoothies: With a little searching, you can usually find a Jamba Juice or another smoothie joint. Ask for one with more vegetables than fruit and <20 grams of sugar (no added sugar). Be sure to add protein to help keep you full longer!
  • Starbucks Bistro Boxes: It’s important to notice these are usually full meals in terms of calories, not snacks. However, it’s a great choice if you’re stuck in the airport during mealtimes or to bring with you on the plane.
  • Salads with grilled protein: This is always an okay option when you must eat at a restaurant. Opt out of the croutons, cheese, and bacon and measure out 1 tablespoon (about your thumb size) of dressing. Choose all the non-starchy vegetables you want!

As for those snacks to bring from home? Good options include whole fruit, mixed nuts and seeds and cut-up veggies, which can go a long way in saving calories and money while in transit. As an easy and inexpensive meal, bring a sandwich on whole grain bread or an “adult lunchable” with cheese, hummus, veggies and a hard boiled egg!

Related: to schedule a free consultation with a registered dietitian at FFC, click here!

Post written by FFC Oak Park Registered Dietitian Amy Silver.

As a registered dietitian, I’m often asked, “What’s the best thing that I can do right now to eat healthier?” The short answer? Food prep! But today’s dizzying pace of life leaves all of us wishing we had a few extra hours in the day as we struggle to fit in work, family, friends, exercising, and healthy eating. So, shy of skipping out on sleep, what else is a busy health-conscious person to do? Dedicating just one or two hours a week to food prep can alleviate much of the hassle that comes from daily cooking (not to mention that it will help to keep you on track during the week when you might otherwise hear the take-out calling). Here are a few of my best food prep tips for beginners:

  1. Start small

You don’t have to make every meal of the week ahead of time. Simply having a few staple items prepared does wonders. Try keeping fresh cut vegetables, your favorite protein (like grilled chicken), and a healthy whole grain (such as cooked quinoa or brown rice) already prepared and handy in the fridge. With those three simple things prepared, you can throw together a quick stir-fry, an at-home-burrito-bowl, or a fancy salad in only a few minutes.

  1. Plan it out

Once you’re more comfortable with prepping ahead, sit down and make a plan for the items you want to prep for the week. Having a written plan not only helps to guide you in what you need to accomplish in the kitchen, but it also helps you write your grocery list.

  1. Measure twice, cut once

When writing your meal plan and considering food prep tips, try to re-use ingredients in multiple meals throughout the week. This way, when chopping up tomatoes for tacos tonight, you’re also chopping up the tomatoes that you’ll layer onto your salads over the next few days. Now there’s only one mess to clean, but multiple meals prepped!

Related: click here to sign up for a free consultation with a registered dietitian at FFC!

  1. Do double duty

If you’re going to take the time to make one meal, you might as well make a double batch and freeze the leftovers. By doing so, you’ll slowly stock your freezer with healthy “freezer meals” that only need a quick defrost and reheat. Foods that generally freeze well are soups (try this recipe!), stews, chili, and sauces.

  1. Don’t go overboard

Most foods only stay fresh for 3-4 days in the fridge, so too much food prep ahead of time can be wasteful unless it’s intended for the freezer. Using the 2/2/4 rule, remember that things should be completely chilled within 2 hours, stored in containers no more than 2 inches tall, and kept no longer than 4 days.

Did we miss one of your favorite food prep tips? Let us know in the comments!

Post written by FFC contributor Carla Schmitz.

Dietary supplements include vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, sports supplements, amino acids, or combination of the above ingredients. Vitamins and supplements are growing in popularity among Americans, with approximately 68% of the population taking some form of dietary supplement.

User confidence of safety, effectiveness, and quality is also very high, at 84%. A large percentage of Americans also believe that supplements are a smart choice for a healthy lifestyle.

Taking Your Supplements with a Grain of Salt

However, it is important to understand that vitamins and supplements do not need to be proven safe and effective before marketing. Unlike medications, clinical trials are not required for dietary supplements.

Another misconception is that if x amount is necessary for optimal health, then three times that amount must be even better. This is not necessarily the case. Protein is a great example of a macronutrient that is necessary in ranges from 0.8-2.0 grams/kg body weight/day, but protein in excess of this does not contribute to increasing lean body mass.

How to Evaluate Dietary Supplements

How can consumers be protected? Here are 4 main guidelines you can keep in mind when looking at supplements. And of course, please remember to always check with your healthcare provider.

Be educated.

The supplement industry makes billions of dollars selling supplements that are not based on sound science. Supplement manufacturers can use industry funded research, or preliminary lab studies to support their claims.

Use reliable sources to evaluate supplements.

Websites including the office of dietary supplements and the Australia Sports Commission are good starting points.

Related: you might not need to be taking supplements for positive health changes – here are 5 spices that have great health benefits too!

Look for 3rd party certification.

These are independent agencies that test vitamins and supplements to ensure quality. Although they do not evaluate effectiveness, 3rd party certification can help ensure that what is listed on the label is actually contained in the supplement.

Note that each agency is different and such testing is essentially a snapshot in time of a particular product and is no guarantee that future batches will be the same. Some common 3rd party agencies include NSF International, United States Pharmacopeia (USP), the Banned Substance Control Group, ConsumerLab and Informed-Choice.

Watch out for proprietary blends.

Proprietary blends allow manufacturers to list ingredients without listing exact amounts for each ingredients. This is especially concerning for supplements containing stimulants caffeine, synephrine, or yohimbine.

Post written by FFC registered dietitian contributor. 

If you have any additional questions on dietary supplements or want to set up a complimentary nutrition consultation, click here to set up a free 30-minute session with one of FFC’s registered dietitians!

When it comes to getting healthy, eating out can sabotage our efforts. Whether it’s takeout, delivery, or even a fancy restaurant, much of the food prepared in these establishments tends to be heavy in salt and fat. After all, the goal of any place selling food is to satisfy customers with delicious flavor. As customers, it’s natural that we like rich, fatty foods. Chefs tend to rely on salt, sugar, fat and dairy to make dishes more delicious – and that can show up around your waistline. On top of that, excuses for relying on eating out often are plentiful: lack of time, lack of energy, lack of cooking ability. My nutritious 5-minute Asian noodle bowl recipe is here to change that.

This quick, healthy dish is ready in just minutes. It uses a few key ingredients that you can always keep stocked in your pantry and freezer for easy access. Healthy buckwheat soba noodles and plant-based protein from edamame will leave you feeling satisfied and fueled for your next workout. Jazz it up with shredded cabbage, baby spinach, or sliced bell pepper. This noodle-bowl will “take-out” your excuses for “takeout”!

Related: sign up for a free 30-minute nutrition consultation with an on-site registered dietitian at FFC – click here!

5 Minute Asian Noodle Bowl

  • Level: easy
  • Servings: 1
  • Ready in: 5 minutes

Ingredients

Quick Asian Peanut Sauce:

  • 2 tbs peanut butter
  • 1 tbs rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tbs ginger, grated or minced
  • 1 tbs orange juice (or pineapple juice)
  • 1/8 tsp red chili flake
  • 1/2 tsp tamari or soy sauce

Noodle Bowl:

  • 1 (2 oz) bundle Soba noodles
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/4 cup shelled edamame

Related: need a quick boost of energy? Check out these nostalgic, yet adult-worthy PB & J Oat Bites!

Directions

Make the noodles. You can bring a pot of water to a boil. (This may add a few extra minutes, but will still be pretty fast).

Add the Soba noodles to boiling water.

Make the Quick Asian Peanut Sauce. In a large bowl, combine the peanut butter, rice vinegar, lime, red chili, tamari, and orange juice.

After the noodles cook for about 2 minutes, add the bean sprouts and edamame. Cook 1 more minute, until hot.

Drain noodle mixture. Toss with the Quick Asian Peanut Sauce and serve.

Chef’s Tip: Use an empty peanut butter jar to make a big batch of the Quick Asian Peanut Sauce. You can then whip up this bowl in even less time, or use it as a dressing for salad, a dip for veggies, or even poured over roasted sweet potatoes.

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving (1 recipe)

Calories 445.44

Calories from Fat (34%) 152.39

  • % Daily Value
  • Total Fat 18.22g 28%
  • Saturated Fat 3.51g 18%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 773.95mg 32%
  • Potassium 744.9mg 21%
  • Total Carbohydrates 63.84g 21%
  • Fiber 4.47g 18%
  • Sugar 7.35g
  • Protein 21.43g 43%
  • Calcium 24.96mg 2%
  • Iron 62.53mg 347%
  • Vitamin A 43.18IU <1%
  • Vitamin C 0mg 0%

Post written by FFC Boystown Group Fitness Instructor Katie Simmons.

About Katie

Katie is a group fitness instructor at FFC Boystown, and is also a personal chef based in Chicago. She specializes in creating delicious, healthy recipes for those with special dietary concerns like gluten-free, oil-free, plant-based, and low-residue. You can see more at www.plants-rule.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A friend of mine recently told me she thinks I have FOMO, a fear of missing out. I thought about it, and the concept resonates: I do often feel conflicted when I want to have some downtime but an interesting activity or event comes up. I also have tried hang gliding, bungee jumping, skydiving; you get the picture—not because I’m a daredevil or an adrenaline junkie, but because I want to experience as many things as possible. It had not occurred to me before that there is a connection between this feeling and eating. But when my friend nabbed me with the FOMO label, it made me think back to my childhood and other times in my life where this showed up, and how it could make eating healthy difficult. Here’s why eating with mindfulness is important.

FOMO with Food

My grad school classmates would laugh at me because I’d lug around pretty much my entire kitchen to feel prepared for a long day of classes. And it’s not just me. There is this pervasive fear of missing out when it comes to food. This is probably one reason that most people I work with are fast eaters; it seems built into our DNA and likely served us well for evolutionary purposes. “Better get to it before someone (be it human or animal) does!”

It also seems like that’s one of the reasons it’s so difficult to say no to those donuts your coworker brings in for an early office meeting, or a dessert you just have to try at that upscale restaurant downtown.

Related: want to master your meals? Sign up for a free 30-minute nutrition consultation with an on-site registered dietitian – click here!

Or that, despite your best intentions of bringing your own healthy snacks to work, come 3 o’clock, the vending machine wins out over your trail mix or seemingly lackluster hummus and veggies. You don’t want to miss out on those flavors, the satisfaction, the buttery goodness, the sugar—right now.

So, are we doomed to feel like FOMO failures, or can we do something about this unsettled feeling? Here are a few simple tips to eat with more mindfulness that will help us feel more grounded when a food FOMO moment gets the better of us:

Self talk is powerful.

I like to tell myself in those moments is that I’ve had X (brownie, ice cream, pizza) before, or something similar, and I know what it tastes like. I know I will have it at some point again—so I don’t have to eat it this minute. One research study highlighted in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that when people said “I can have it some other time” to themselves, it lessened the value of that food and allowed them to postpone eating it.

Keep in mind that the first three bites of any food are the most satisfying.

If you do want to indulge but you’re trying to reduce your portion size, try eating three bites and stopping after that—either by sharing, putting the food away, or possibly even throwing it away (although I also try to avoid wasting food—even indulgent ones!).

Related: take time to stop and smell the… food. 4 tricks to eating more intuitively! 

Think about the future.

When you feel tempted by certain foods, consider how much better your mind and body will actually feel when you choose healthier options, now and later in the day. You might think about having more energy in the afternoon if you choose a protein-filled snack rather than anticipating a late-day slump.

Feel the discomfort, move through it, and let it go.

This is kind of like grief or sadness, or any other uncomfortable feeling that you want to relieve. We naturally want to run away from yucky feelings. But when we sit with them with mindfulness instead of fight them (or in this case, eat the food), the moment often passes. And then, the need to eat this thing RIGHT NOW lifts, and we can wait another day—or longer.

Post written by FFC Registered Dietitian Cindy Klinger.

About Cindy

Cindy’s love of food led her to explore its health benefits, and the more she learned the more interested she became. After several years as a writer and editor for magazines, she decided to make a career change to help support people in reaching their health goals. As a dietitian (currently one of FFC’s on-staff registered dietitians), she has worked in a variety of settings, including with refugees, as a health coach, at a retirement home and with WIC (Women, Infants and Children).

Seeing people have “aha” moments and make small and significant changes that profoundly affect their wellbeing is extremely rewarding to Cindy. She enjoys the process of communicating and sharing questions and answers with clients around their health and wellness concerns. Cindy’s approach is a blend of lessons she’s learned along the way, and she strives to think outside the box and help make the process a fun one for her clients. Want to set up a complimentary consultation? Email her at cklinger@ffc.com!