Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

November 27, 2017

The holidays are here. You’ve been staying on track with your balanced eating goals. And now, the temptations of the parties, family gatherings, and work celebrations are upon us. If you have lost weight and tried to keep it off, you understand how difficult the task can be. We’ll give you the steps you need to avoid holiday weight gain. Listen in!

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CASSIE: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. I'm Cassie Weness, registered and licensed dietician, and I'm here today with Nell Kauls, who not only lost 90 pounds but has maintained that 90-pound weight loss for six and a half years. Pretty amazing. And I am sure people out there listening who have lost weight and then regained the weight want to know your secrets.

NELL: I know from personal experience if you are 20 pounds, 100 pounds, or 200 pounds overweight, you feel frustrated and hopeless. So, I want to give each of you some hope today. I finally started to get help with my obesity when I finally accepted that I have a chronic disease called obesity, which is a different way to think about it, right Cassie?

CASSIE: It is, but I think that's exactly how we need to think about it and it needs to be treated.

NELL: I agree. And just like any other chronic disease I needed to treat it. If I were a diabetic, I would have to tend to it daily to heal. Obesity is just another chronic disease, yet a very treatable disease. I took the first step six and a half years ago and made an appointment with my nutritionist, Kara. And together we started on my journey of healing my metabolism and obesity.

CASSIE: So, to all of you listening who have lost weight and then struggled to keep it off know how difficult a task this can be.

NELL: Weight loss sounds so simple to so many people. And I think that's the most frustrating part, when we say calories in calories out. Countless people over the years would tell me just exercise more and eat less. Surely, you must be lazy. But let me tell you, I was not lazy, and it didn't work for me. All of that advice meant nothing. In the past, I went on starvation type-diets. I exercised and exercised and exercised some more. I may have lost some weight, but I gained it all right back. And then some. So I always would gain an extra bit of weight. So, gaining one or two pounds isn't that hard to take, but over a weekend I could gain up to 12 pounds back. It was so depressing. I felt so hopeless and defeated. I'm sure many of you have felt that same way or are feeling that way right now after your Thanksgiving dinner. You may be thinking, “So what did you do?” I grabbed a bag of chips, a Coke, and a bag of chocolate covered peanuts to drown my sorrows. And then I would gain another five pounds. I have come to realize that those 500 calorie diets I subjected my body to were a type of abuse that has been in practice for centuries. You have heard the saying, “You can never be too rich or too thin,” haven't you? Isn't it interesting that it's mostly women who subject themselves to this starvation type of abuse?

CASSIE: Well, that's certainly an interesting fact that you bring up and yet now there are a lot of men in this country that struggle, too. And I know there are men out there listening who are struggling with weight loss, so, male or female today, stay tuned because we have a lot of hope to give, as now mentioned, and a lot of tips and tricks to be successful with weight loss. But first I want to share some research that came out of NIH. NIH is the National Institute of Health. This was about a year ago, some of you may have heard about it. The National Institute of Health followed 14 contestants from the TV show, The Biggest Loser. And the researchers found that over a 30-week period, so about seven and a half months, each one of these contestants lost, on average, more than 12 and a half pounds per person per month. So, that's pretty successful, right? Twelve and a half pounds of weight loss a month. But, six years later, all but one contestant had gained back most of the weight they had lost, despite the fact that these contestants continued to diet and exercise. So, I think the obvious question here is, “Why is it so hard to keep the weight off once you've lost it?”

NELL: I’m sure many of you are like me and have read every article written about weight loss. So, it can be kind of an obsession. I recently read an article in O, the Oprah magazine, which quoted research published in The New England Journal of Medicine. It reported that 80 percent of dieters regain all of the pounds they lost within a year or two. And that was my experience.

CASSIE: 80 percent. As somebody that has certainly had my share of health struggles, I've never truly struggled with the number on the scale. And I used to think, before I came to Nutritional Weight & Wellness, that all of these people, these 80 percent that regained their weight, were regaining their weight because they were returning to their old bad habits, maybe that extra-large latte with a coffee house muffin most days of the week. Or maybe their bad habit was running through the drive through for the Big Mac, fries, and Coke. That was just my mindset that if you can't keep the weight off, you're just reverting back to your old habits. But after seeing clients for many years here at Nutritional Weight & Wellness, I now realize that sure, that is the reason for some people. They're going back to their old habits, but that's not the reason why everyone struggles. There are so many other potential reasons why you might not be able to be successful. It might be your thyroid. It might be that you have excess estrogen and you need help detoxing that. It might be that your insulin resistance is so bad that you need to work with somebody to heal that first. So, I guess my point is, if you're really struggling, I really encourage you to make an appointment with a nutritionist. And you have had that success, because there are things that you might not know are going on with your biochemistry that we dieticians and nutritionists can identify and help you heal.

NELL: Yeah, it's so important. In the past I was one of those people. I did return to my bad habits because I was so hungry after a 500 calorie diet. I just could not stop eating. And, of course, it wasn't all healthy food, but what I would instantly go to was, “I'm weak willed and I just can't do this.” And I lost all hope. And when you talk about going to a nutritionist, it's about identifying, “What are those underlying causes and why am I craving? Why am I in the kitchen looking at hot dog buns and syrup as a possible snack option?” There's something not right there.

CASSIE: Exactly. And we can laugh because I've had these thoughts in the past before I found Nutritional Weight & Wellness, that, “What is wrong with me?”

NELL:  “I have no willpower. I'm so weak.”

CASSIE: Right. “This is just a me problem,” and it's not. It's such a biochemistry problem.

NELL: To this day, I told you just last week I had an appointment with my nutritionist to do some detective work because I started to notice I'm really liking potatoes more. And trying to figure out why is it that I'm gravitating more towards those starchy vegetables.

CASSIE: Why are those cravings creeping back in? Exactly. What I want to point out now, you mentioned that when you would follow these, basically starvation diets, 500-600 calorie diets, you'd get to a point where you were just so hungry that you were basically out of control. So, I found some research that kind of speaks to that piece. This, again, comes from the National Institute of Health, and this study found that after following a low-calorie diet, people's biochemistry changes and, biochemically, their appetite surges, and then you are not in control anymore. And it really sounds like your story after one of those 500 calorie diets, then your hunger would just take over. And it was no rules anymore.

NELL: Bingo. All I have are hot dog buns and this maple syrup. They're going to somehow become my bedtime snack. Anything that turns to sugar will enter my mouth fast. So, when I was 90 pounds overweight, I remember I felt really desperate. I would gear up mentally, then would follow a low fat, low calorie diet, so I could see the numbers on the scale go down quickly. I really became addicted to that quick hit of weight loss, and it was always about 12 pounds for me. I knew that it was not healthy for me, but again I just felt so desperate and I really wanted some room in my pants. My bra was getting tight, I was so physically uncomfortable.

CASSIE: And I am sure many listeners out there are shaking their head yes, relating to exactly what you're saying and we are here to give some help, some support, and some answers, and we'll get more into that on the other side of break. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition, brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. We're a nutrition counseling and education company who's been helping people feel better since 1992. We have enjoyed 25 years of making a difference in people's lives. And for that we are very grateful on this Thanksgiving holiday weekend.


NELL: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Today I want to share you with you why the nutritionists, dieticians, and nutrition educators at Nutritional Weight & Wellness have recommended, taught, preached, and stood on their heads to get you to eat protein, vegetable carbohydrates, and healthy fat in balance for the past 25 years. Personally, I know that it works for me. I am so much happier now that I weigh 90 pounds less than I did when I was 90 pounds heavier. So, I want to share why this is our belief. Let's start with protein. We believe you need at least 12 ounces of protein daily, but most people feel better eating 16 to 18 ounces of protein daily. Many of you who have taken our classes understand proteins are made up of amino acids that are important building blocks of life. A high-quality protein contains all of the amino acids. Foods rich and high-quality protein include beef, fish, eggs, cheese, pork, turkey, chicken, lamb, and seafood. I'm at my best when I eat animal protein because my brain functions better. I have more energy, and my moods are better. I think more clearly. My memory is better and my metabolism works. I also have less inflammation, which means I have fewer aches and pains. Eating animal protein is a win-win for me. Next break we will talk about why I eat vegetable carbohydrates.

CASSIE: That was all great information, Nell. What really jumps out at me is the energy piece because as we enter the holidays especially, we are some days running on empty trying to get all the shopping done and the decorating done. And I probably eat that much better during a stressful season like this because I know I need to in order to survive. And you're kind of conscious of it. And protein is huge to give you energy. When we went to break we were talking about how you remember those starvation diets and then they were working, because then all do is over eat and you just felt so desperate. I just want to make a comment that for anybody, not just you Nell, but anybody if you're following a low calorie 500, 600, 700 diet, I guarantee you that, sure if you can stick with that long enough the numbers on the scale will drop, but a 500 or 600 calorie diet a day is not enough calories to be healthy. It's not enough calories to maintain an active metabolism. And I guarantee you the end result will be that you'll slow down your metabolism. And that's certainly not what you're trying to do.

NELL:Right. And being on those yoyo diets that I was on for so many years was part of the reason why I was obese, because I kept gaining weight when I would go on them, and then I had that rebound gain. And over time it led to an extra 100 pounds and my metabolism was so broken by the time I hit the door at Nutritional Weight & Wellness. There was so much healing to be done that it's just totally not worth it in my mind. When I was doing those 500 calorie diets, I knew I was putting my body at serious risk for nutritional deficiencies. For example, I was always cold, I was always tired, and I was always moody.

CASSIE:A different person on the outside and the inside. You were not your best self. So, for all of you listening, in order for your body to maintain an active, healthy metabolism, you need to eat meals, not just a meal a day, but you need to eat meals with enough animal protein and enough vegetable carbohydrates and plenty of healthy fats, and you should be doing this several times throughout your day. And in our Nutrition 4 Weight Loss program, we teach people that every time they eat protein you increase your metabolism by up to 30 percent for several hours after that meal. Let's put this into practical applications. So, I think back before I found Nutritional Weight & Wellness, I was high carb, low fat, so it was very typical for me at a noon meal to have a big bowl of pasta and maybe some meatless marinara sauce. Almost zero fat, high carb, I thought I was doing the right thing. But then if you go back to your desk job, you're storing those extra carbs as fat. But, if you sit down, let's say on Monday at lunch, you take a leftover grilled chicken breast and you slice that up on top of a nice big entree salad, we love a good chicken salad, eat that, have plenty of animal protein, you're going to go back to your desk job, if you have a sedentary job, and you're going to burn extra calories as your metabolism will be revved up by 30 percent. Even if you're just sitting.

NELL: That's great new information. Through meeting with my nutritionist, I have learned I need to eat protein five times a day to keep my metabolism as active as I can.

CASSIE: Right. And I've always said it's important to be mindful of what we're eating, so I'm curious, do you feel like you're mindful of what you're putting in your mouth each day?

NELL: Yes, I am, and I believe I'm the most successful when I am mindful but also planful. So you can be mindful all day long and I know that's kind of a new wave of thinking, and I truly believe that you do need to be mindful, but if you don't have the right plan, the plan that we're talking about today, protein, fat, and carb in balance, as an obese person or former obese person, I still call myself obese by the way because it's almost like an alcoholic, because I'm managing it every single day, because I know if I don't it'll come right back to me, if I don't manage it every single day.

CASSIE: But, people listening, if you could see her she is so not obese. She looks like a model. That's interesting though.

NELL: But, it's almost like it's an identity thing, too, where you do think, “I will always need to be managing this because I know how quickly it will come back,” and that's why I think a big part of my success and maintenance is having that switch from, “I'm over this, now I can move on with my life” to “now I'm managing it like a chronic disease.” And so, when I think about being mindful, I am very mindful, but I'm also very planful. I make sure I get the groceries, plan the meals, and have the right plan in balance. I pay very close attention to my food choices and I'm mindful of my thoughts as I’m eating. So, if I start thinking, “I need to go to Menard's for a box of nails,” which is a famous story. I know what I really want is a bag of their chocolate covered peanuts, so I know I just can't go there. So, maintaining a 90-pound weight loss and overcoming the chronic disease of obesity is downright hard work. Therefore, I must always be mindful and alert to any and all junk food thoughts and hidden desires.

CASSIE: And that's such a good point, too. I love when you say that you just can't go to Menard's.

NELL:  I mean, it's almost like you can't go anywhere without seeing food everywhere. But, you do get into these patterns and comfort zones as an overweight person, where you have a lot of emotion tied to specific places or events.

CASSIE: Yeah. And it's just a huge trigger. So, I really want listeners to think about that.  Maybe it's not Menard's for you, but maybe it's that Thursday after work happy hour, because drinks will put on the pounds too. Or maybe it is, like Nell said, a certain ritual or tradition that gets you into trouble. You need to think about that and figure out a plan, whether it's avoiding that place or that event, or some other type of a plan, so that you just don't overindulge.  And I'm curious now how you nourish your brain to keep you on this correct path all the time, but let's come back to that question after break. Before we go to break I do have a couple of questions for you. First of all, did your healthy eating plan survive Halloween and Thanksgiving? And here's my second question: Are you looking for a little extra support to get you through Hanukkah or Christmas and New Year's? Well, we have designed a class especially for you if the answer is yes. It's called Habits, Habits, Habits. This is the perfect class for you to get the support, the encouragement, and to get wonderful suggestions that you need to help you stay on track through the holidays.


NELL: I am Nell Kahls and I have lost 90 pounds and have maintained that 90-pound weight loss for over six and a half years. In reality, only 3 percent of us maintain our weight loss for longer than three years. Just think of that, 97 percent of those who lose weight regain their weight. Earlier I mentioned that we add Nutritional Weight & Wellness believe in a balance of protein, vegetable carbohydrates, and healthy fat. I find when eating carbs, I need real carbohydrates found in vegetables and not in sugar and processed carbs, like muffins. Some diets are now recommending a very low number of carbs daily. For me, I find that type of diet tends to lower my mood, lower my energy, give me cravings and I simply don't feel like myself. I lose my sense of well-being. I personally do best on about 30 grams of carbohydrates per meal, which looks like half a cup of rice or half a cup of sweet potatoes or half a cup of carrots, and then as much broccoli as I can eat.

CASSIE: Exactly, those non-starchy vegetables, no limits.

NELL:  And 15 to 20 grams for each snack. So, that looks like, for me, half a large apple or small apple, a clementine, or half a cup of carrots.

CASSIE: Great examples. Wonderful. And I just want to point out, you mentioned how 97 percent of those who lose weight regained their weight. I don't want us to be sending out a hopeless message with that statistic. Because when I hear that statistic I think, “Oh my goodness, there's so many people out there that can benefit from our help. Come to us.” So, we don't want to be hopeless. Those 97 percent did not get the ongoing, lifelong support that Nell has sought out, and I mean there are many other reasons we could talk about, too. But for me, when I look at the big picture that's the biggest thing. People think of it as a one and done. I'm going to go on this low-calorie diet so I can fit it into my bikini for summer or whatever it is. And they don't think of it like a lifelong journey. But when you think of it like a lifelong journey and you continue to seek out nutrition support, like you said, Nell, here we are six and a half years into your successful weight loss journey, and you just met with your nutritionist last week.

NELL: Yep. About this time, I was on my way to North Oaks to see Brenna.

CASSIE:So that will always be a regular part of your life to check in here and there.

NELL:  Absolutely. And the funny thing is we were laughing because she says, “Well, I haven't seen you in about six months.” Guess what happened, my cravings were just we're moving towards the danger mark. I was maybe eating more of the starchy carbs than I should be eating. I was still maintaining my weight loss, but I was finding it harder and harder and I was like, “Why is that happening?” And I went in to see her and now I've got an appointment again in January. So, even I can have lapses where I don't get the ongoing support I need. I'll think I've got this licked and every time I do that I'm quickly shown that I do need that ongoing support, because it's almost like having your own personal food and biochemistry detective with you at all times. “What is it that I'm doing that is causing me to struggle?” And it takes about an hour and we find out all of those things and we make a few tweaks. And I set up for success for Thanksgiving and it was amazing.

CASSIE: Perfect. And I love that you have that appointment now made out for January because that's helpful too, right? 

NELL: I’ve got some accountability coming up.

CASSIE:  I'm going to try to do it really well, so that when I go talk to my nutritionist in January I can tell her all the great things that help me get through Christmas.

NELL: Absolutely. I still love it. I understand that obesity is a serious chronic disease. It's one of the key reasons I've had success. So, I know I must take it seriously to have the quality of life that I want. I want to be able to attend my son's wedding one day. I want to be able to play with my grandchildren when I become a grandmother. I want to be able to travel with my husband and my friends. These are just a few things I want to do that I may not have been able to do if I were 90 pounds heavier. I was sharing with you a story of when I was at my heaviest I was approaching 300 pounds. And we went to England, just me and my husband. And this was before I had Eddie, and I had never shared this with my husband, and I shared it with him yesterday, that I was really close to needing a seat belt extender on the flight. When we got to England, we were in this little small hotel that had one of those little teeny tiny two-person elevators. And the first time we rode up it was almost sheer panic because I did the conversion of the weight limit and I was like 50 pounds over the weight limit for the entire elevator ride, not just one person. So, I had to figure out a way to ride up alone all the time. And then we would go on these long walks and the one thing that he can recall is I was always wanting to stop for a snack for cake, and I just needed to stop because I was so winded. And so, when I look at how I feel now, and what I’m able to do. I mean, we go hiking. But people who are obese, these are kind of things you learn to live with. And it was impacting my quality of life. So, the answer to the question, “How do I keep my brain on the correct path?” is “I have made nutrition a big part of my life.” After all these years, I still continue to meet with my nutritionist on a monthly basis to get that ongoing support. I know I need that monthly support. I teach Nutrition 4 Weight Loss classes. I also take Nutrition 4 Weight Loss classes, and I take Weight & Wellness classes throughout the year to keep my focus on my commitment.

CASSIE: And that is so important and, again, I think that's why 97 percent of people do regain the weight, because they throw themselves back into the real world where, I mean, you go to pay for your gas that you just filled up and there are the donuts looking at you when you walk in. That alone puts five pounds on you. I was reading the book by Dr. Mark Hyman called Eat Fat Get Thin. And I want to share a little bit of what I read. He was looking at why we gain or lose weight. And he calls it the biology of fat cells. And these are two questions that he posed in his book: First was, “What makes our fat cells store fat?” Good question, right? And then he also asked in the book, “What makes our fat cells release and burn fat?” Now, there are the two million-dollar questions. If we find the answers to those, we're going to make a lot of money.

NELL: Yeah, exactly. Let's face it though, no one really knows for sure because there isn't just one cause for weight gain. We've got a lot going on. Each of us has our own set of genes, which can determine how our bodies respond to different foods. That is so true. One thing we do know for sure is those 500-calorie diets will end up slowing down your metabolism. Definitely not worth all that pain and suffering.

CASSIE:Exactly. And losing that weight and maintaining that weight loss is pretty complicated, as you just alluded to. Now, in his book, Dr. Hyman goes on to explain that our fat cells are actually endocrine cells. So, that means they produce hormones. So, similar to your thyroid or your ovaries, your fat cells are producing hormones. They're an active cell. In addition, fat cells are part of our immune system and fat cells produce inflammatory messages.

NELL: Here's a statement from Dr. Mark Hyman that really resonated with me. “Your fat cells can even produce more fat from carbohydrates in your diet.” So why did that strike a chord with me? And what does that mean to me? That statement from Dr. Hyman helped me to understand that back in the days when I ate cereal for breakfast, bagels, chips, and other processed carbs, my fat cells made more fat and that fat was stored on my body. So, let's be honest. Processed carbs, such as muffins, those donuts Cassie mentioned, granola bars, produce more fat cells for most of us.

CASSIE: Yes. And I think the statistic goes something like 80 percent of the population stores carbs very easily as fat. So that means only about 20 percent of us burn carbs efficiently for energy. So, Dr. Hyman’s statements and the statistic I just gave kind of help us understand the problem, but now let's put this into practical application. How have you been able to not just lose the weight but also keep it off for the past six and a half years?

NELL:  So, I've learned I need to eat every three hours. Every three hours, kind of stay ahead of the hunger. I've learned I cannot eat processed carbs, even if they are low in fat, because processed carbs result in body fat for me.

CASSIE: And again, let's share with listeners who might not know what we're talking about with processed carbs. What were some of your past life favorites?

NELL: Yeah, so buns of any kind. The big pretzel at the mall, the cinnamon roll at the mall. But it can also be something that you think is seemingly helpful like a granola bar. Or low-fat yogurt with granola or whole grain bread. Looks healthy from the package. Cereal, all of that. And what I've also learned is I cannot exercise myself out of a poor diet. I do exercise, however not to lose weight. I do exercise to protect my joints, to build strength, and tone. I exercise to keep blood circulating through my arteries and veins and I exercise because it really helps with my mood and it will also help with my memory.

CASSIE: In our Nutrition 4 Weight Loss and in our Weight & Wellness classes we're always talking about the importance of maintaining good blood sugar balance, so why don't you share with listeners how does blood sugar balance help to keep the pounds off?

NELL: Well, let's do that after this next break.

CASSIE: You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Another thing I'd encourage you to check out if this applies to you is our online Going Gluten Free the Healthy Way class. I actually teach that. And for those of you that don't know, I'm very well-versed for personal reasons on eating gluten free. We even have an online Nutrition 4 Weight Loss program so check that out as well. We'll be right back.

NELL:  Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. I am so pleased that I not only lost 90 pounds, but I have kept it off. I am happy to say that I am in the 3 percent of those who have lost weight and have kept it off. It feels so nice to be able to slip into a holiday party dress that fits perfectly. It's not too tight, and I don't need to hide my body by wearing a shawl all evening. It is just so nice. Today we are talking about how eating good fats has helped me to maintain that 90-pound weight loss. In the past, I have had so many cravings. I would starve myself all day and then when I would start eating I couldn't stop. Of course, I was on a low-fat diet. Then I discovered good, beneficial fats. Think about this: The brain is one of the organs in your body with the highest levels of fat. As a matter of fact, recent research out of the University of Arizona College of Public Health found that dieting behaviors have been associated with low moods and depression. That's my experience. Since I now have about one tablespoon of good fat for every meal and snack, I see that my moods are better, I have fewer cravings, and I think more clearly. I always tell my class, “Fat stabilizes your blood sugar.” So, when you add that tablespoon of fat to your meal or snack, you will no longer be out of control, stuffing your mouth with chips as fast as you can. Eating healthy, beneficial fats helped me to lose weight, and eating healthy, beneficial fat helps me to maintain my weight loss.

CASSIE: I think of all the years that I ate low fat, because I thought it was the right way, the healthy way. And you think of how bad that is for your brain. It's kind of scary.

NELL: I know. If I skip a meal or a snack and my blood sugar gets too low, then I lose all control over my eating. I just know it's happening. I'd be all over a sweet roll, chips, chocolate covered peanuts, candy, and pie. Basically, any food that contains sugar. I make it a practice to eat every three hours, three meals, and three snacks throughout each and every day. My blood sugar is so sensitive, that if for some reason I forget to eat my snack before bed, I wake up about 3:30 and then I can't get back to sleep.

CASSIE: Same with me, and I think that's such an important piece because I don't think people always make that connection. It’s a blood sugar crash so your eyes pop open. And we know that the research shows if you're not getting good quality sleep, you're more likely to gain weight.

NELL:  Exactly. Those Monday morning donuts at the meeting look awfully good. Here is my simple, but wise formula for losing weight and maintaining my weight loss. So, I eat breakfast, step one. I'm a tall person, so I typically eat two to three eggs, a couple ounces of sausage, a cup of broccoli, and a half a cup of carrots for breakfast. Step two, drink water, not soda, and little to no wine, and a lot of water. And step three, sleep eight to nine hours most nights. That sets me up for success.

CASSIE: Absolutely. And I don't have the research in front of me, but I have read several research studies over the years showing that if you're not getting enough sleep, there comes the weight. And it also links not enough sleep on a chronic basis to a higher risk of diabetes.

NELL: Oh, for sure. That's very interesting. And then step four, eat protein, vegetable carbohydrates, and good fats at least five times a day. Step five, don't skip meals or snacks at all.

So, next week, be sure to tune in to Brenna and Kate as they discuss how to avoid colds and flu this year. Recent reports indicate that winter, more people than usual will experience the flu. So, let's be proactive and do everything we can to support our immune system.

CASSIE:  And personally, I mean everybody has to do what's right for them, but we are not suggesting the flu shot. We're saying eat well, get your sleep, maybe take some extra vitamin C, these more natural approaches to fighting off colds and flu.

NELL:  Yeah, it's very important. 

CASSIE: What I think would be great as we get here to the end of the hour, is to give a little more practical application. And in the break room you were sharing with me what a successful and enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday that you had, and you even hosted, so I think you should share some tips, because we still have Christmas parties and if people can put some of your tips into practice, that's going to be huge.

NELL:  So, there are a few things that I did on a couple of different fronts. So, I went to see my nutritionist on Saturday. But I was struggling with cravings, so I figured I needed to address some gut issues so my gut was probably off a little bit, and just wanted to do some detective work around why I was more gravitating to those starchy carbs. Now going into the holiday and knowing you're gravitating to starchy carbs, that's not a good situation. For somebody who’s trying to maintain a 90-pound weight loss.

CASSIE: And how wonderful that you were mindful and you thought, “Wait a minute here, I need a little help.” We all need to ask for help when the time is right. And I don't want to get you off track with your tips and tricks, but you mentioned to me in the break room that you had been on some antibiotics a few months back or last year, and never had really rebalanced your gut flora. And you're not a nutritionist, so your days get crazy busy and you're not always hearing about the benefits of good bugs in your gut and all that stuff and so you didn't have a spare minute to think about that. But Brenna was like, “Aha! Now, let's connect that dot for you here.” You killed off those bugs. Now your yeast is kind of overgrowing and that makes you crave sugar.

NELL: Right. So, going into the holidays I knew that that was the situation. So, I had that going for me. And I just thought, “What if I just chose my starchy carb? What if I roasted some sweet potatoes and passed on the mashed potatoes? What if I didn't sample stuffing? What if I started with an appetizer of deviled eggs?” which I did. I made bacon deviled eggs, which is a crowd pleaser. Rather than spinach dip and bread, or crackers and cheese, some of those things that may have set me up to binge when the food hit the table. And I made roasted cauliflower with balsamic vinegar. And so, I was able to fill my plate with some of those lighter vegetables, still have my starchy favorites, lots of turkey. And then I made, instead of the five different kinds of pie that were brought to my Thanksgiving, which I didn't have any control over, so I made our pumpkin cheesecake bars. They were delicious, and they helped me participate. And I kind of evaluated, “Did I feel deprived?” Or, “Did I feel left out in any way?” No. And I did something I never have done in all of my years on the planet. I got on the scale the day after Thanksgiving to see how did that work for me. And I completely maintained my weight loss, so did not gain a pound. And so, it was a real success, and so I know I can do it. I also wore pants that didn't have elastic in it.

CASSIE:  That’s huge. Put a belt on if it fits with your outfit so that you can feel as you’re getting full. Yeah, elastic is not a good choice.

NELL: So, some practical things but also some food stuff.

CASSIE: That is so awesome and I'm sure a lot of people can benefit from some of those tips and tricks and I love that you said, “I can do this!” You’re going to do this for Christmas, too. And if you’re out there listening, you can do it too. And as the hour is coming to a close I want to remind everyone that our goal at Nutritional Weight & Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple, but powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. Thank you for listening and have a healthy day.

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