Are you still struggling to lose weight?  It could be your genes…

Are you ready for a weight loss plan that is sustainable and works with your body not against it?

If you’re tired of trying diet after diet, but can’t seem to find the one that sticks, the solution might be in your genes!

There is more and more exciting research about genes and their connection to nutrition.  For example, protein is an important part of a healthy diet, but for some people protein can also be the key to losing more body fat on their weight loss journey.

The FTO gene can determine if a higher protein diet is the best choice for people wanting to lose weight. In research trials, those with the AA variant of this gene lost significantly more body fat after 2 years while following a higher protein diet, compared to people with the TT or TA variants.

So, for people with the ‘responder’ genotype, consuming a higher percentage of energy from protein actually accelerated their fat loss potential, while for the non-responders, more protein in their diet did not make a difference.

Do you want to learn how you can eat to optimize your body composition and reach your weight loss goals? I can help by offering you a genetic test, called Nutrigenomix. Watch this video to learn more.

Nutrigenomix is celebrating Nutrition Month by offering a free Personalized Nutrition for Skin Health report (PDF) with the purchase of any 70-gene test ($79 value).  “Through nutrition care and prevention, the Skin Health test helps determine how genes can influence the skin’s ability to combat signs of aging, how the body metabolizes nutrients that support skin health, and how genetic markers that affect eating habits can play a role in the health of your skin.”

To learn more about the test, click here.

Contact me to schedule your test today.  The free skin care test is only offered until March 31, 2022.

Mindfulness and Hunger

A client told me the other day, “I’m never hungry.  My stomach never growls.”  When someone tells me that she is never hungry, I bring up my favorite subject: mindfulness.

You were born knowing when you were hungry and when you had enough to eat.  Unfortunately, for some of us, our hunger and fullness signals got mixed up.  Whether it was a well-meaning adult that made you “clean your plate”, learning that eating chocolate helped you feel better when you were sad, or ignoring hunger pangs to lose weight—you started to ignore your hunger/fullness cues and now you might not know what your body is telling you anymore.

If you are like my client and confused about what your body is or is not telling then, then mindful eating will help you.  According to The Center for Mindful Eating, mindful eating is:

“Mindfulness is the capacity to bring full attention and awareness to one’s experience, in the moment, without judgment. Mindful Eating brings mindfulness to food choice and the experience of eating.

Mindful eating helps us become aware of our thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations related to eating, reconnecting us with our innate inner wisdom about hunger and satiety.”

Doesn’t that sound really beneficial?  Wouldn’t you like more of that awareness with your body?  I think we all would.

There are many benefits of mindful eating that I could discuss with you, but I just want to focus on one right now: learning how to tell when your body is hungry. Here are steps take periodically throughout the day:

Step 1: Pause and stop what you are doing.

Step 2: Minimize distractions (phone, TV, conversations, driving, etc.).

Step 3: Take three big, deep breaths.

Step 4: Scan your body from head to toe, noticing if anything feels “off.”

Step 5: Pay attention to the part of your body that doesn’t feel right.  Let’s say you notice you have a headache, for example.  Could it be that it needs nourishment?

Step 6: Ask yourself some questions to figure out if it is related to hunger:

When was the last time I ate?

*What did I eat today?

*What time is it?

*Am I feeling stressed?

*How much have I had to drink today?

If you determine that your headache could be due to low blood sugar, then go ahead and eat something nourishing.

Ways your body might tell you that you are hungry

And that is using mindful eating in a nutshell to learn more about your hunger.  I realize it’s not always as easy as that.  It takes a lot of patience and practice.  The benefits are worth it!  That same client I mentioned who said he never felt hungry started using mindfulness and determined that when he was cranky in the morning it was due to skipping breakfast.  He started eating a small breakfast (yogurt and fruit) and is not irritable in the morning anymore!

How does your body tell you it’s hungry?  Comment below.  And to learn more about mindful eating, check out my most popular class Chocolate and Mindfulness: Why We Need Both.

What is the difference between a meal replacement drink and protein shake?

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a meal replacement drink and a protein drink? I get this question all the time.  It’s really important to know the difference so you can make the best choice based on your health goals.

A meal replacement drink contains significant amounts of the three macronutrients: carbohydrate, protein, and fat.  As the name implies, it is meant to relace a meal.  The balance between carbs, protein, and fat are meant to mimic a small meal (or large meal—depending on which drink you choose).  For a typical meal replacement drink, the carbs can range anywhere from 15-45 g of carbs (the equivalent of 1-3 carb servings).  Protein can range anywhere from 7-40 g (the equivalent of 1-5 protein servings).  The fat content can range from 5-15 g (the equivalent of 1-3 fat servings).  Typically they are fortified with vitamins and minerals too, so it’s like taking a daily multivitamin. 

Which drink you choose is up to your health goals.  The one drawback to meal replacement drinks, is the amount of added sugars, which can range anywhere from 4-24 g (the equivalent of 1-6 teaspoons)!  Here are some ideas:

Boost
Boost Original
  • Boost Original, Ensure Original, or Carnation Instant Breakfast only have about 1.5 servings of protein, a little over 2 servings of carbs, and 3 teaspoons of added sugars.  Because of the added sugars and low protein, I rarely recommend these drinks.  They could be used as a snack replacement if you are trying to gain weight.
  • Boost High Protein, Ensure High Protein, Carnation Instant Breakfast High Protein, Slim-Fast, Special K, etc.  These types of drinks have a higher protein content and provide about 2 protein servings.  The carb amount is around 30g on average.  These drinks are great for meal replacements because of the balance between protein and carbs.

A protein drink is high protein and low carb/sugar.  They contain at least 20 g of protein and at most 40 g (3-5 protein servings).  They have little or no added sugars or fat.  They are meant to add more protein to your diet and don’t provide energy (carbs).  Protein drinks are a perfect supplement for you if you struggle to get adequate protein at every meal.  In fact, I prefer to call them “protein supplement drinks” to remind my clients that they supplement the meal, not replace the meal.  If you rely on protein drinks only at your meal, you might be tired, hungry, and sluggish because you are not eating any complex carbohydrates. 

Some examples of protein supplement drinks that I recommend and my clients love:

  • Premier Protein
  • Boost Max
  • Ensure Max
  • Fairlife Nutrition Plan 30g Protein
  • Fairlife Core Power
My favorite protein supplement drinks

How might you use a protein supplement? 

  • After a hard workout at the gym, drink a protein drink and eat a piece of fruit within 1 hour of finishing your workout.  Your muscles will soak up the protein to start re-building and the carbs will fuel the muscle building process. 
  • Drink a protein drink for lunch when you don’t have time to leave the office.  Eat a banana, box or raisins, whole grain crackers, or an apple for carbs (brain power) and fiber (fullness) with it.
  • Drink one for breakfast to round out your favorite high-carb breakfast (oatmeal, whole grain toast with avocado, whole wheat tortilla with peanut butter, etc.)

If I had to choose my personal favorite, it is the Fairlife.  I love to drink one for lunch and eat a banana on my busiest work days.  The combination of carbs, fiber, and protein keep me satisfied and fueled for a few hours until I can eat a balanced snack.

Do you need help with your diet? Check out my Intentional Eating 101 Program.

Now that you know the difference between protein drinks and meal replacement drinks, which one are you going to choose?  Comment below to share your ideas.

Are you addicted to food?

Have you ever felt like you are addicted to food?  I can’t tell you how many of my clients have expressed this belief about themselves.  Is food addiction even a thing?  The research on food addiction is very limited, but I can share with you some of the latest research and what we do know.

First, it’s very important to clarify that food addiction is a process addiction.  That means it is the act of eating and the feelings you have about eating certain foods that is addictive, not the food itself.  As you engage in overeating and eating foods you consider bad or trigger foods, your brain releases dopamine which makes you feel good.  After chronically overeating, the dopamine receptors are down regulated and then you need to eat more and more to get the same dopamine response.  This is the same process that occurs in other addictions like gambling, shoplifting, gaming, and phone use. 

Many people falsely believe that food addiction is a chemical addiction like drugs or alcohol.  That’s not so.  Drugs and alcohol contain chemicals that are physically addictive.  But foods commonly considered addictive (flour, sugar, salt, and chocolate) are not actually chemically addictive.  Sure, they do make you feel good, but you are not dependent on them.  For example, if you find chocolate to be a trigger food for you then when you eat chocolate you feel a hit of dopamine. You have a piece of chocolate and then want more and more.  However, let’s say you don’t find orange juice to be a trigger food and so when you drink orange juice, there is no dopamine hit.  So, it’s not the sugar from the chocolate or the juice, it’s the act of eating something that you feel is forbidden or you have strong feelings about. 

The act of overeating causes a similar pathway in the dopamine response.  The more you overeat, the less your body releases dopamine and then you need to eat more and more to get the same response.  Just like gambling and gaming, for example.

So, what does all this mean? It’s good news actually.  It means you don’t have to avoid your favorite foods forever because you think you are “addicted” to them and you have to abstain like you would from alcohol.  It means that you can eat your favorite foods in moderation after learning how to manage cravings, compulsive eating desires, and your feelings surrounding certain foods.   

How do you do that?

1. Keep a food journal where you write down the food you eat, your level of hunger/fullness, and the feelings you have surrounding that meal/snack. 

2. Identify the emotions that lead up to overeating/compulsive eating. 

3. Try to catch yourself when you are feeling those emotions and deal with them in a more constructive way.

This list is very simplified. I know it’s not as easy as that.  It takes a lot of introspection, outside support, and patience with yourself.  And that’s what I am here to help with.  I want you to feel in control of food instead of food controlling you.  Sign up for my Intentional Eating 101 program and you can start your journey to feeling better and getting healthier!

Tip for Eating Out While Dieting

Tip for Eating Out While Dieting

Do you feel like it’s impossible to eat out and still stick to your diet? I know many of my clients do.  (And remember when I say DIET, I don’t mean some crazy, fad diet.  I’m just referring to the way you eat.)

I’m going to share a simple trick with you for staying on track while eating out.  Because after all, who doesn’t like to eat out?  Especially during the summer!

In your mind, divide your plate in half.  Order a meal where half of your plate is fruit or vegetables.  Then imagine a quarter of your plate.  Order meat or protein that will fill a quarter of your plate. Last, imagine the 4th quarter of your plate and order a starch (bread, tortilla, pasta, rice, potato, etc.) that will fill the remaining quarter of your plate. 

Obviously, most restaurant meals will not naturally fit this plate.  Just do your best to tweak your meal into this plate idea by sharing a meal or taking some home for the next day.

If you need more ideas for staying on track, join me at my next Master’s Group class.  You can attend your first month for free. Send me an email to be put on the invite list @ kelli.worley@intentionaleating.net.

Please share: What’s your favorite meal when eating out?

Is citric acid bad for you?

Is citric acid bad for you?

The other day someone asked me about Citric Acid and if it is harmful.  She is trying to eliminate harmful foods from her and her family’s diet.  In just a few short paragraphs, I will answer that for her and you.

Citric acid is weak tricarboxylic acid found in citrus fruits.  The highest food sources are lemons and limes.  Although you won’t find citric acid listed in any database or calorie counting app, citrus fruits have been tested in labs to determine amounts. 

You can find citric acid added to foods as a preservative.  It has a sour and acidic taste.  It is commonly used when canning tomatoes and in products that you add to fresh fruit to prevent it from turning brown.  I have some in my cupboard for science experiments and home-made bath bombs!

Citric acid is perfectly safe.  Your body breaks it down and excretes it through your urine.  In fact, it may even be helpful in preventing calcium oxalate kidney stones.  Studies show that citric acid can prevent the stones from forming.  Studies are mixed on whether drinking lemon or lime juice can treat current kidney stones.  But if stones are a concern for you, it certainly won’t hurt.

Bottom-line, there is no need to worry about citric acid in your food.  There are more important things to think about…like what’s for dinner?

Please share: are there any food additives that you are concerned about and you want me write a blog post about?

How to Get Motivated to Lose Weight

How to Get Motivated to Lose Weight

One of the quotes I love to share with my clients is:

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

No matter what kind of goal you have: financial, health, dream vacation, etc., it begins with a single step.  A baby step, as I like to call it.  It’s easy to get overwhelmed when we look at the big picture: pay off the car, lose 100 lbs, or go on a cruise.  I’ve noticed for some people it seems so daunting that they don’t even try.  That’s when it’s time to break it down into manageable steps.

First, take out a big sheet of clean, white paper (or your favorite color) and jot down all the steps you need to take to reach your goal.  Second, choose the very first step that must be done.  Third, do it!  The first step doesn’t have to be big.  The best part of taking a step is that you are moving towards your goal, which helps build your confidence. Then the next day, take another step, and the next day another one, and another one until you’ve done it!

You’ll find as you take baby steps day after day, your confidence will improve, your overwhelm will decrease, and you will feel better.

Please share: what baby step are you going to take today?  Comment below or on my Facebook page.

How many times a day should I eat?

One of my frequently asked questions is, “How many times a day should I eat?”  I’ve got the answer for you!  Research shows it’s ideal to eat at least 3 times per day and then the rest is up for you to decide.  Eating at least 3 meals a day is ideal for managing appetite hormones, metabolism, and hunger.  There is no research to support whether snacks are necessary for weight control.  For some people, eating snacks causes them to overeat because they snack on cookies, chips, and soda.  For others, snacking is necessary because they don’t like to eat big meals.  That’s where personalization comes in.

How many times a day should you eat? It’s up to you!

My suggestion is to keep a food journal and track your mood and energy level based on your meals and snacks.  See if you do better with 3 snacks and 3 meals or just 3 meals (or anywhere in between). 

To take it a step further, pay attention to how the snacks and meals make you feel. Do some snacks weigh you down and others energize you?  Does eating big meals make you feel sleepy or satisfied?  Pay attention to trends and use that to guide you in how many snacks and meals are ideal for you.

And if you need help with your meal plan after that, check out my services to see which is the best fit for you.

Please share: do you prefer to snack or not to snack?

Are you burned out? There’s an App for that.

I know you’ve felt it before…you dread getting up in the morning and dragging through one more day.  Burn out is real.  And it can take a toll on your health: it is associated with heart disease, insomnia, obesity, and anxiety.  Can you relate?  If so, check out this infographic from Happify. 

Click here to see the infographic from Happify: Experiencing burnout? Here’s how to recover

If you recognize any of the symptoms of burnout listed on the graphic, I encourage you to download the Happify app. It’s a great tool to improving your mental health—which then trickles down to physical health.   And then, talk to me.  Let’s figure out how we can change your diet and exercise routine to alleviate any symptoms you are experiencing.

Please share, what are the signals and signs when you are feeling burnout?

Help! What Food is Trying to Tell YOU

Help! What Food is Trying to Tell YOU

Do you have a go-to food or activity that numbs you out after a long day or an emotional event?  C’mon, be honest: is it scrolling through Facebook, playing a game on your phone, or grabbing a bag of chips?  If you’re an emotional eater, then you can relate.  What are those foods you gravitate towards when you want to feel better?  Chocolate? Ice cream?  Bread?  If you know what I’m talking about, chances are you also feel guilty about eating these foods. Well, I want to take that guilt away and instead teach you what these foods are telling you. 

Your body has an amazing and insightful secret to share with you:

When you reach for food and you are not physically hungry, it’s telling you “Something’s wrong!”  It’s shouting at you to stop and listen. 

It’s so common to plow through your day without ever stopping to listen to your body and see what it needs.  So, when you are craving food, think of it as a red flag.  Your body is saying, “Did you forget about me?   Something is wrong and I want you to fix it.”

Next time you find yourself reaching for your go-to food, notice is for what it is (a cry for help) and take these steps:

  1. Do a head to toe scan to find any areas of pain or discomfort.  Do you have a headache?  Are your feet hurting?  If so, do what you can to alleviate the pain or discomfort.
  2. If you find no obvious pain or discomfort, examine your feelings.  What are you feeling?  What triggered those feelings?  Did you have an upsetting interaction with a co-worker?  Are your kids stressing you out?  Are you mad at your best friend? Once you find the source, do what you can to fix it (that doesn’t involve food).

This is a learning process. It’s important to be patient and compassionate with yourself as you learn to work through difficult emotions and events.  But you can do it!  I’ve seen others learn how and I know you can too.

If you need help applying these steps, check out my programs to see which one might be a good fit for you.

In the meantime, please share: what are your go-to foods and why?