Overindulged? How to Get Back to Healthy Eating

January 7, 2017

After a holiday season full of unhealthy temptations it’s easy to get off track with eating and forget your motivation. Learn how to get back on track and stay motivated for life.

After a holiday season full of unhealthy temptations it’s easy to get off track with eating and forget your motivation. We’re back in the New Year with a question to ask yourself to get you back on track and motivated for life.

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KARA: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. I'm Kara Carper, licensed nutritionist and today's host on Dishing Up Nutrition which is brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. It's a company specializing in life changing nutrition education and nutrition counseling. And as a nutritionist, I always tell friends and family, it's really easy to teach people what a protein is, what a carbohydrate is, what good fats are, and how to avoid bad fats. But the real challenge comes when trying to get people to actually avoid eating the foods that are full of sugar and those bad fats.

TERESA: Yes, that's understandable because let's face it, French fries full of sugar and bad fats taste good, but they're bad for us. Chocolate chip pancakes with syrup taste good and again, they're bad for us. And Christmas cookies, especially those peanut butter cookies with a chocolate kiss in the middle. Yes, they taste so good, but if you eat one you want another. And then another and another. One of my favorite Christmas sweet indulgences are those spritz cookies. The ones that are basically sugar, flour, and butter and almond extract. Probably some artificial colors. I love those cookies, but I can eat them like popcorn if I'm not careful. Good morning everyone. I'm Teresa Wagner, a licensed and registered Dietitian and yes, these foods even call my name during the holiday season. The holiday season is a challenging time to eat healthy even for dieticians and nutritionists because we're human, too.

KARA:That's right. I mean I wonder if people think that we're perfect. And just to let you know a little secret, we're not. So, in addition to Teresa joining us for today's discussion about how to get back to healthy eating after overindulging during the holidays, we have invited a very special guest, Nell Kahls. I don't even think of Nell as a guest anymore because she’s a nutrition educator. She's one of us. She’s not really a guest. She's a regular. We’ve invited Nell to share her tips. As many of you know, Nell lost 90 pounds eight years ago and she's kept it off. So that's been over eight holiday seasons.

NELL: Yeah and I wasn't always successful keeping it off over the holiday seasons. This is the first year I think I didn't really gain any weight over the holiday season in that long journey. So, far from being perfect. So, let me tell you each year it becomes easier and easier to stay on track. And that is very true because eating healthy foods is now a habit. So, over the past eight years I've really established that habit of eating healthy foods. Now when I think of food, I think meat, vegetables cooked in butter. But in the past, I used to think chocolate, banana cream pie and pie crust, and now I know how I'll feel if I eat that chocolate banana cream pie. And that is awful.

TERESA: So now are you saying that if you see it a piece of chocolate banana cream pie, you will say no thank you and not eat it?

NELL:      That's right. It took me several times of feeling awful before I finally got it and decided that that fleeting taste on my lips just wasn't worth the food hangover the next morning. Teresa, have you ever had a food hangover after eating treats the day before?

TERESA: Well, I can't necessarily say that I've had that experience, but I definitely know that if I start eating sweets, that I'll want to eat more and more and that it affects me the next day as well.

NELL:  Yeah. See not all people react to sugar and bad fats in the same way. Some people can have a few bites and for some of us, one or two bites can lead us back to a whole pie. And going back and looking for more.

KARA: Yes, and some people are what we call the all or nothing type. And then there are others who can just have a few bites and that's really all that they want. They're completely satisfied with one bite of cake or a half a piece of cake. So, listeners as you're hearing us discuss this, which one are you? Do you consider yourself an all or nothing person and if so, need a very structured life and food program? Or are you a person who, after a few classes or visits with a nutritionist, can eat healthy most of the time? So maybe you can eat an ice cream cone once every three months and that doesn't lead you to wanting another one the next week or the next day. Ice Cream is not calling out your name. So those are kind of the two different types of clients that we work with.

TERESA: So, listeners, which one are you? We know that the all or nothing person does best with structure.

NELL: So, what does structure mean to you? I'm an all or nothing person. So, I set up appointments monthly to see my nutritionist still after all this time. I need support, my body needs support and my brain needs support. I also teach Nutrition 4 Weight Loss to stay connected and focused on my personal goals. And for me, helping others achieve their goals keeps me really engaged in my journey. Structure to me means planning meals, writing down what I'm eating next, when I'm going to be exercising, when I'm going to shop and when I'm going to cook.

KARA:So, it sounds like you're always kind of one step ahead. What am I going to eat my next meal? What am I going to eat tomorrow? Maybe even next week.

NELL: Yep. I have to be. It’s really important to make sure that I have the food I need to stay on track.

KARA:  I'm also an all or nothing person. And so, I'm the same way. I mean I really need to plan things out. Plan my snacks, cook meals, make sure I have the right groceries, it all starts there. But, a really big one for me is I need to plan to get eight hours of sleep every night and when I'm not mindful of getting enough sleep, things like my anxiety starts to come back, low energy, which makes sense. You're not sleeping enough. But that actually can lead me to getting off track with eating. And we talk about that a lot in our classes. When people are not sleeping well, they have more cravings for sugar and carbohydrates and blood sugars. If I don't sleep enough, my blood sugars are off the next day and when you have low blood sugar you tend to crave carbs and sugar. So, it's kind of a vicious cycle there.

NELL:That muffin looks so appealing the next morning when you’re at risk.

KARA: More than maybe having eggs or something.

TERESA: Yeah. And I think that that's because our body is looking for energy and sugar gives us that quick energy and so that's why it looks so desirable. When I'm working with a client, I try to figure out their motivation factor. Sometimes I ask them why do you want to change?

KARA: And they might say, I want to get healthy. And we hear that a lot, don't we Teresa, with our clients? They say, I want to get healthy. However, that doesn't really give us a lot to work with. Most people want to change to solve or avoid a problem. So, for example, they're looking to lose weight. Maybe they say, I want to get this weight off. I don't want to be tired. I don't want to get the diabetes that my mom had. I want to be less achy. So, they're trying to avoid something that they don't like.

TERESA: Right. And unfortunately, this problem-solving type of motivation usually doesn't work long term. In fact, research has found that within just two years of making a change, people are right back to their old tricks, those old tricks that got them into trouble in the first place.

NELL: Oh, I get it. Before I started changing my life, I would figure out reasons to go to Menards to buy a box of nails or hammer I didn't need. All the while, I was really going to Menards to buy chocolate covered peanuts at the checkout aisle. They had the kind that I remember from childhood. We all know what those are with the waxy chocolate on them. This was called my closet eating days. My motivation was to lose 90 pounds rather than have great health. Have you ever caught yourself in a lie to yourself? For example, if I eat only three chocolate covered peanuts, that's not too many calories, so I'll stop at three. That won't affect the number on the scale. Then I would eat the entire bag because I know I really can't lie to myself about chocolate covered peanuts. So, I'm an all or nothing person and I can't just stop at three, I have to finish the box. Then maybe I'm on three bags, but not three chocolate covered peanuts.

KARA:  But, Nell, if your goal on the other hand, instead of if let's just say your goal was not only weight loss, but if your goal was to have the best health possible, you wouldn't even start thinking about eating any chocolate covered peanut because you know what’s in them. High fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oil, which is trans fats, chemicals that we probably can't pronounce. So even your mind knows that those are bad for your health and your body. Of course, right? I know for optimal health I don't eat those ingredients so it's a no brainer. Case closed, I can't eat those chocolate covered peanuts. It would be bad for my health and I want to be healthy for my busy life, my 13-year-old son and my husband.

TERESA:  Right. And you're creating, you're creating health in your body and in your brain. It is the most important goal for your long-term health.

NELL: Yeah. Let's face it, I cannot be on a diet my whole life. My mother put me on a diet when I was in elementary school the summer before eighth grade year and I kind of begged her to do it. When I think of the word diet, I think restrictive low fat, fat free dressings, foods that taste terrible, missing all the good foods, starvation, hungry all the time, hungry at bedtime, hungry all night long and hungry in the morning. Deprivation with a great big d. Diet and deprivation. The two d words.

TERESA: And on that note, I think we should take our first break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness.


KARA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. And I think before break, Nell, you were talking about, can you just repeat that really quickly, what the D words are?

NELL: So, the great big D: diet and deprivation, the two D words.

KARA: And, Nell, you've worked really hard to maintain that 90-pound weight loss and you're not dieting. So, what has changed for you?

NELL: Honestly, Kara, because I've been eating enough real food, meat, sufficient veggies, ample good fat, my brain really has changed. I am still sugar sensitive, but I am no longer walking around craving every sugar treat in the market place because really there's food and sugar everywhere, at the bookstore, everywhere. So, if you're constantly craving, you're going to partake in the sugar that's out there. Right? It's hard to avoid. It's in the hardware store. This used to not be the case, right? But it's everywhere. So, at first, I think I made small life changes. They all seemed overwhelming at first. Like when you told me to put heavy cream on my strawberries for a bedtime snack to help you sleep better? Mind blowing! Kara, I wanted to yell at you and say, don't you know that I want to lose weight? And cream has a lot of calories and fat. So I'd heard all about calories and fat starting in fifth grade and everything said fat makes you fat. The fat in food makes you fat, right? So, you calmly said cream helps you sleep and takes away cravings and hunger. So, trust me and let's try it for three weeks and see what happens. And I did trust you. And let me tell you what did happen. So, I slept better. I was less hungry and I had less anxiety but I didn't lose weight.

KARA:  So, let's just kind of clarify before people get afraid to eat cream. When you say you didn't lose weight it wasn't because you ate the cream. So, I think what I probably said to you in the consult is sometimes it takes a little while, especially after Yoyo dieting, to get your metabolism to work. We didn't know how long it would take. We didn't know it was going to be nine months.

NELL: And that's on the long side. I was challenged, right? Because I'd been doing it since elementary school.

KARA: So, you kind of have to think people often want quick results, especially when they're working so hard at a new way of eating.

NELL:   Because you do get quick results when you join any other diet plan out there because you're typically losing water weight and muscle.

KARA: So, more of a low calorie, low fat, more of a starvation diet.

NELL: Right. And you kind of get addicted to that initial like, it’s January first I'm going to start a diet. You go to one of the big chains and you do get a quick hit. I would typically get in the first two weeks a 12-pound weight loss. And so that was what I was expecting to happen here and it didn't. So, this was something different for my brain to adjust to.

KARA: Right. But also, that quick weight loss, we would call that the Yoyo dieting because people gain the weight back.

NELL:And it's not really fat that you're losing. It’s like you said, water, muscle. It's an illusion. It's not a healthy way to do it at all. But really everything started coming together for you and you did lose and maintained the 90-pound weight loss.

TERESA: And kind of back to that cream conversation as far as putting that on fruit. Several years ago, before I started working for Nutritional Weight & Wellness, I was a listener of the show and I was more than surprised, shocked actually, at the recommendation to have heavy cream with strawberries or blueberries or raspberries as a bedtime snack. And right before bed, I thought that was crazy and that this was a recommendation that people had for clients trying to lose weight. I just thought, well, I thought it was shocking. It went against all the old dietetic teachings that we learned that fat will make you fat. In school, we didn't really learn, or at least I don't remember learning anyway, the power of blood sugar control and that it's actually sugar that puts fat on your body, not fat such as butter, cream, olives, avocados, olive oil, coconut oil. And I don't know if people have seen it, but there is a lot of research out there that's come out recently that proves that eating sugar is really what makes you gain weight.

KARA:  I just saw some articles last week. So, when I think about the multitude of holiday treats that we all had to face the past few weeks and even more than few weeks, let's face it, it seems to start with Halloween.

TERESA: Halloween and it never stops and it's still going on.

KARA:  So, I found it very comforting over the holidays to know that I could just take strawberries and whip some heavy whipping cream and bring that to parties or serve it at my house for a special dessert. Everybody loves that and it's a treat that I can enjoy and others enjoy without giving up the goal of having a healthy body. So, who would ever think that berries and full fat whipping cream could be so satisfying, but also that's something that would be on a weight loss plan.

NELL:   When I look back at my weight loss journey, I think about how every year since I was 12 years old, probably before that, it was like in my mind, too, that I looked at news articles and suggestions about what I had to do to lose weight, so typically the first step was always to set a weight loss goal. The next step was to plan my menu, then shop for ingredients or prepackaged foods I had planned to eat, cook your food, and finally record each and every calorie that crossed your lips of any and all food that I ate each day. So, I needed to do all of these steps to be successful, but I didn't want to set another weight loss goal because I had failed at this time and time again for over 20 years. It's frustrating. I didn't want to write out another menu that I needed to carefully follow and I wasn't interested in cooking yet another low fat meal or using that grotesque low fat dressing. Is there any food worse on the planet? You feel so defeated when you've got iceberg lettuce and low-fat dressing. So, I needed something better and bigger to motivate me to change. And then Kara, you asked me, “Why do you want to lose weight and what is the reason?” So, no one had ever asked me that before, including anyone from my family. They all told me I needed to lose weight. I often thought to myself, if they really loved me, they’d love me at any weight. I didn't understand that they wanted me to lose weight and get healthy because they did love me and they wanted me to be happy and I was so miserable. So Kara, you stopped me in my tracks when you asked me the why question, why do I even want to do this? Why do I really want to go through these steps to lose weight and get healthy? So, I decided if I was to stop procrastinating and focus on my goals, I really did need to figure out the why.

KARA:  Isn't that such an interesting question? I think a lot of our clients, they just say, “Oh, I have to lose weight,” or “My doctor told me to lose weight,” but Teresa, you're going to talk more about how we kind of get people thinking.

TERESA: Right. And I see clients playing the procrastination card every day and I think it's just, it's hard to get started. So, I often ask them, did you eat breakfast that you had planned to eat this morning? Did you eat that breakfast? The one that you've been planning, that we talked about. It sounds like a simple question, but I get, “Well, I was going to eat breakfast but I got so distracted,” or “I'm too busy and then I left the house without eating.”

KARA:  That sounds very familiar. It's similar to when I ask a client, “Did you cook a meal for dinner last night?” And they, too, will sometimes play the procrastination card and say, “Well, I was going to make the wild rice meatballs, but I just got sidetracked. I worked late, I had some extra emails, some Facebook catch up, I forgot to cook.” So, as a nutritionist, I really know what was going on is that they were struggling to commit to get better and maybe just not making cooking the number one priority, putting other things in place of that. So, it looks like it's time for our second break.

TERESA: Alright, you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition, brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness, a company providing life changing nutrition, education and nutrition counseling. As nutritionists, we realize most people need direction to make changes. They need to know the reason why they should be eating in a balanced way. They want to hear a little scientific research to know why they should or shouldn't eat something. They want help figuring out how to plan, prepare and cook their meals. And finally, most people need help making a commitment to their health. All of these are our job. As a client, your job is to make an appointment. Call us at 651-699-3438 to schedule an appointment or go online at weightandwellness.com.



KARA:  Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you're thinking this is the time to get back to healthy eating, maybe you've gotten off track during the holiday, now you're ready to let go of those Christmas cookies that are hanging around, the candy, the banana bread. We had some of that in our refrigerator. It's finally gone. You have put the Eggnog Latte to rest. I suggest that you sign up for one of the Nutrition 4 Weight Loss programs that will be starting this week. There are so many locations ranging from our St Paul office, Eden Prairie, Lakeville, Wayzata, North Oaks, Mendota Heights, Maple Grove. There's even one at Rasmussen in Woodbury, so you can pretty much guarantee that you'll find one that's convenient for you. It's a three-month program, so it's 12 one-hour classes and you also get two one-hour consultations with a nutritionist. You receive a manual, a cookbook, and a food journal. Just call 651-699-3438 today to register or go online at weightandwellness.com.

NELL:  I'm just going to make a quick selfish plug about Nutrition 4 Weight Loss. We worked one on one during the first two years of my weight loss journey and Nutrition 4 Weight Loss did not exist yet. I remember in the last 30 or so pounds is when I took the Nutrition 4 Weight Loss class for the first time and boy it is life changing! You are there with a group of people who struggle as you struggle trying to eat well in this kind of toxic food environment. You have an excellent teacher. I happen to be one of those teachers. And just support and those invaluable one-on-one times where you get your personalized plan, which, let's face it, we all have uniquenesses that are going to help us reach our goals. So, it's an amazing experience.

KARA: Thank you for sharing that because I do remember, was it 2008 when you first came to the company?

NELL:  Yep. In St Paul and you and I worked one on one, I think. So, I'd been working at it for two years and then I remember I was kind of like plateauing that last 30 or so pounds. It was pretty tricky. So, having that class and that support really helped me get to the finish line. So before break, I think we were talking about procrastination and when I met you, Kara, I was a big-time procrastinator. So here's what I would tell people. “I'll start my diet on Monday.” So Friday nights I'd have the pizza and the coke that had become a family tradition. Really, really deep family tradition, and then that would kick off bad eating Saturday and Sunday and then I would say, “Well, I'll just start fresh Monday.” A lot of people do that, but yeah. Well, Monday really never came because I was not committed. Then Kara, when you asked me, “Why do you really want to change?” I really had to think about it. It was then that I started to realize that deep down inside I was so tired of carrying around that extra 90 pounds and I wanted to buy new clothes. I wanted energy to play with my son. I wanted the confidence to go out and get a new job. We don't think about how extra weight really affects every aspect of our lives. I wanted to prevent getting diabetes like my grandmother. So, that was one of the big motivating factors. Second to the weight loss was I was really freaked out I was going to get diabetes. I think my blood sugars were running around the 116 mark at that point. So, I knew I was kind of in the prediabetic range. I wanted to be that person on the outside that I am on the inside. I wanted people to see the real me and something that that is so striking and you don’t realize this is very often people who carry extra weight, I being one of those people, I felt invisible a lot of the time. People don't even see you. So, I also began to realize my procrastination and my getting distracted so easily was because I was afraid I would fail yet again. So, I didn't want to fail again. So, when I hit your door, Kara, I was right out of hope. So, I just wouldn't start or if I did start, I did it in kind of a halfhearted way. And I knew if I shopped enough, stopped for enough Mocha lattes, texted my friends enough, and watched enough tv shows, I could forget about my weight loss goal.

KARA:Those sound like distractions. Not focusing on the commitment part.

NELL:  And I think there's food distractions, but also, it's so easy to binge on television shows these days and really let time pass without making any progress.

KARA: Maybe you could have taken, instead of binge watching three episodes, you could have taken 45 of those minutes to put something in the crock pot or make a meal for the family just as an example.

NELL: And put some nice music on while you're doing it or do other things. But, I think people would be surprised at just how much time they waste and you can really find the time to do these things. So, I thought out of sight was out of mind. That was until Kara asked me that why question “Why do you want to change?”

TERESA: And our Nutrition 4 Weight Loss classes as teachers, we are there to help clients stop playing that procrastination card. We are now asking the hard questions like, “Why do you want to change?” We're looking for the real reason that will get you to focus on your goal. We want you to dig deep and take the time to find your answer to these questions. We want you to commit and we want you to start. Actually get started because you don't feel any different. Everything's just start on Monday or in the new year. But really you feel the same on Monday or on January first.

KARA:  There's really nothing different about January 1 or Monday.

NELL:  And Monday is the worst day to start anything.

KARA:   Because I mean when you think about it, it's like if you're getting up early to work, you're getting your kids to school. Start it on a Saturday. That’s a really good point. So, like what Teresa was talking about in our Nutrition 4 Weight Loss classes, we give you an eating plan when you sit down with one of us nutritionists. We teach you about blood sugar, we teach you about intestinal health. We talk about planning, shopping for food, cooking. We touch on exercise. But, really, until you've made that commitment to your goal, you'll forget each and every one of those nutritional techniques. And there's always going to be another reason for not starting or waiting till Monday or January first or February first.

NELL: A wise person once said to me, the year is going to pass whether or not you do this. And this can apply to anything. It can apply to school, it can apply to anything. Any goal that you have that year is going to fly by like it flies by anyway. So where do you want to be a year? Thirty pounds down and on your way to your goal or stuck in the same place. Or in my case, 50 pounds heavier, which is typically what would happen. So, I know for myself, for over the past 20 years, I kept saying to myself and to my friends and family, I'm going to start on my weight loss journey and a health plan. Then I would get distracted and I didn't ever start. So, you may be thinking, how could I pretend to start a plan and not start? So, I would sign up for programs. I would read the latest and greatest books about losing weight, which are clogging the shelves right now. I would join yet another gym. We’re really creatures of habit. When you see that every January and then February it kind of trickles off. And then there's nobody there again. But I was still finding reasons to make my runs to Menards because I knew my old friends, the chocolate covered peanuts with the waxy chocolate, would be waiting for me at the checkout lane. Very comforting. So, after eating a bag of m&m's or chocolate covered peanuts or a giant blueberry muffin at the coffee house, I did feel medicated.

KARA: Can we just talk for a second about what was going on when you feel sort of medicated? Almost like, well numb. But it's almost like a calming.

NELL:  It's calming. It’s called comfort food for a reason.

KARA: Okay. So that is a temporary spike in a happy, feel good chemical called Serotonin. And it comes from that little sugar boost but then it crashes.

NELL: And when it crashes it crashes. It crashes for short time. The terrible thing is then the old messages start, right? Once you do that chocolate covered peanut run, they start running through your brain. You did it again. You're such a failure. How can you ever lose weight if you eat an entire bag of m&m's? No, I didn't forget that m&m’s, chocolate covered peanuts, or muffins are not on my eating plan. I was simply allowing my cravings and lack of commitment to run my life. Sadly, this went on for over 20 years until Kara, my nutritionist, helped me make that commitment to my health.

KARA: Thank you so much for sharing that. That's such a powerful story for listeners to hear.

TERESA:   Let me tell you a little more about our Nutrition 4 Weight Loss program. First of all, it's all about real food you buy at the grocery store. No prepackaged, cardboard tasting food. It's food my family loves and your family will be excited to enjoy, too. If you've taken Nutrition 4 Weight Loss before, you're one of our alumni. Maybe you didn't reach your goal or maybe you got off track during the holiday. The Nutrition 4 Weight Loss classes have all been updated and our teachers have gone through extensive training. On average, people lose about one pound per week. Some lose a little more, some lose a little less. The long term goal though is to help people get on track and get back to healthy eating. Call us today at 651-699-3438.


KARA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. I cannot be on Dishing Up Nutrition without sharing my natural solution for getting a good night's sleep, and as I mentioned earlier on the show, I have to make sleep a huge priority. I need at least eight hours of sleep. I've struggled with sleep almost my entire life, so just a couple tips for people. I start out every night with a good bedtime snack. The important part of the bedtime snack is the healthy fat to keep my blood sugar stabilized so that I don't wake up at three in the morning. So, an example would be half of an apple with two tablespoons of peanut butter or almond butter. Then I always take about 400 milligrams of magnesium glycinate. I really liked the NutriKey brand at our office. It's one that's very absorbable, works really well. I take one Gaba, which is a calming amino acid, and then I take three activated calcium tablets. Or another option would be the metagenics bone builder calcium supplement. So, really taking those calcium and magnesium supplements, the minerals before bed helps a lot. Sleep makes such a difference for everything. For my moods, my metabolism, and I call it my crave control solution. If I sleep eight or more hours, I will not have those same type of cravings the next day. And sleep is important for everyone. We've actually done a lot of radio shows on sleep, haven't we? So, people can go and listen to a podcast if you're interested.

So, Nell was sharing just her incredible story before we went to break. And you just talked about you finally just made that commitment and that’s really what made the difference in your progress. So, for whatever the reason was, I mean you did make the commitment and instead of saying, “Oh, I was distracted, I forgot to eat breakfast. I didn't have time to make breakfast.” You actually started out with things like making breakfast and eating breakfast every day.

TERESA:  Clients tell me that they, when they truly understand how to eat to balance their blood sugar, no longer have blood sugar crashes and they're finally able to keep their commitment. As a nutritionist, my job is to teach the nutritional facts, but it's the client's job to eat their breakfast. Eating breakfast sounds so simple, but chronic procrastinators often say, “I forgot to eat breakfast.” I think to myself, “I'm hungry when I get up! How do you forget to eat?!” Forgetting to eat breakfast is baffling to me.

KARA:  There are some clients I think that aren't hungry. I actually think, I mean people should probably make an appointment to get more information, but I think there's something going on usually with intestinal health because it's normal to break that fast and wake up and be hungry, but remembering to eat breakfast, it's really just a self-care issue and somehow, we as nutritionists have to instill into each client's mind that they are important enough to eat breakfast and to not be forgetting. And we really have to instill into each client's mind they're important enough to stop working and take a lunch break. I hear that so frequently about not having time to eat lunch. I just don't think that's healthy. I mean I feel like whatever work environment people are in, somehow they have to make that work. Even if it's like a 20-minute lunch. And we must instill into each client's mind they are important enough to put a meal in the crock pot so that when they come home for dinner a hot healthy meal awaits them. I'm just thinking about it like a roast with potatoes and carrots and an easy-to-do quick side salad.

TERESA:  I did that last night and it was really nice because Friday nights you're so tired and then when it's done it's not like you'll say, “Well I'm just going to order something in” because it's already done. It's there and it smells so good. Friday nights are a weak point, right?

KARA:  You're talking about your long-standing family tradition of pizza.

NELL: Yeah, well it's not anymore, but it used to be very, I mean people, they don't want to give up the foods that they loved and that was a tough one. So, I just started to slowly do some transitional thing like our deep-dish pizza recipe and salad. So, it was an approximation of the thing that was kind of a tradition and it was awesome.

KARA:  Is that the one with a cauliflower cast?

NELL:Yeah, it's delicious. It's almost like a casserole. It's so big. So, I've been working on developing self-care for over eight years. Some of those traditions going away, new ones coming in. And I'm amazed to find how the simple art of taking care of the outside me gives me joy and self-acceptance on the inside. A healthy outside me allows the inside me to be more fun, loving, creative, interesting, caring, and even spiritual.

KARA: And don't you think too, when we like work on these things we’re better for our families, whether it's a partner, spouse, kids, coworkers, kind of the rest of your extended family. Everyone benefits when we're taking time to take care of ourselves. Sometimes I believe clients need to just follow a structured plan. It's kind of like just putting one foot in front of the other. What's the next thing I'm going to put in my mouth and what choice am I going to make? Because it can be overwhelming to maybe look at the whole year. So just really one small step at a time and then eventually what happens, and this is what happened for me, it becomes a habit once you do something long enough. So, certainly appointments with a nutritionist help. Going to the Nutrition 4 Weight Loss series is wonderful. Planning and writing down menus in advance really helps.

TERESA:  If you want to get it done, I really feel like you need to make an effort to take a moment and just plan out your week or a chunk of time because if you don't, when is it going to get done? Like you said, you have to plan the time to shop and you have to plan the time to cook and you have to plan what you're going to have, which takes time.

KARA: It doesn't just appear. I mean at first it might seem a little daunting, but it does get easier once our clients get a system in place. Even just something like with moving their body and exercising. I know I am always looking ahead at my schedule. When can I fit that in this week? If I have a particularly busy day and I know I can't, I'll try to do it the day before and the day after. And sharing commitments with friends can help. Once you verbalize something it’s easier to put into action.

NELL: You have to give up those habits of saying, “I forgot. I was distracted. I was sidetracked. I was too busy.” I ran out of time to eat breakfast, to bring my snack, to make my dinner. I also had to give up the procrastination card. I will start tomorrow. I'll start Monday because Monday will never get here.

KARA: That's right. Each day we know what we need for self-care. I'm just going to quickly share a summary of my self-care plan. Sleeping at least eight hours, which means getting to bed at a specific time based on whenever I have to get up, eating breakfast, a-mid morning snack, eating lunch, a mid-afternoon snack, and dinner. And often just to make sure I get that sleep, I have my bedtime snack. Also moving my body, either a half hour every day or sometimes I can get an hour in and that's really important for my moods. Playing with my daughter, laughing with my husband, and also taking time to plan and organize positive thoughts.

NELL:  Actually, those are much the same as my self-care habits only. I play with my son. He's 13, so there's not much of that happening. It's more like deep conversations about the universe.

TERESA: Those sound very similar to my self-care habits as well. But I am going to up both of you because I have three kids I have to play with.

NELL:  Just a quick point. Everyone's like, “Oh, but I ate so much on the holidays. How do I get back on track?” I always say, you're just one meal, one snack away from getting back on track. The single thing that made me successful this latest time of losing weight, because I had tried weight loss programs 15 times over that 25-year period, was being able to say, okay, I messed up, I'm going to move on. And those times that you mess up become minimized over the course of time. So, you may jump up a couple pounds and know that you screwed up, but then if you just get right back on track, they're going to be almost inconsequential.

Thanks for listening to Dishing Up Nutrition.

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