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?

Stop the Food Fight

Stop the Food Fight

I know this is a personal question, but how do you feel about your body?  What do you think when you look in the mirror?  Are your thoughts positive or negative?  What do you think when you see models and celebrities?  Do you envy their slender bodies or do you think that you would not want to work as hard as they do to maintain that shape?   How do you feel about your relationship with food? Is food the enemy?  Take a few minutes to think about these questions, or better yet, discuss with a friend or write them in your journal.

Thinking about these questions can be eye-opening for some or painful for others.  I bring this up because my goal for all my patients is to accept their bodies where they are.  Next time you are in a crowd of people, notice the vast difference in our bodies.  No one person is the same and that’s what makes us unique. Life would be boring if we were all the same height, weight, and shape. 

Do you think that everything you see in magazines and TV is real?  You would be surprised how some of what we see is not real.  Illusions are created by the power of technology in the hands of the beauty industry who wants us to believe that we are not good enough as we are (so we will spend money on their beauty products).  This illusion of beauty and “perfect” bodies are all around us. So much that we don’t know what reality is anymore. Want to know what reality is?  Go to the mall or other public place and people-watch.  Reality is every day people in all shapes, sizes, and colors; real people with real struggles and real lives.  In my Stop the Food Fight class I’ll be showing you a few pictures of air brushed celebrities that will surprise you.  I know we can’t change the media and beauty industry, but we can change ourselves.  We can remind ourselves and teach our daughters and sons that what we see in the media is not always real.  Beauty has nothing to do with your weight or body fat percent.  It’s all about what kind of person you are.

My hope is that you can get to the point where food is not the enemy and your body is not the enemy.  You can do that by what I call, “Stopping the Food Fight.”  That means you learn to accept the diversity of our body shapes, just as you accept the diversity of nature.  And second you learn to nourish your bodies by honoring your hunger and fullness. How do you do that, you may wonder? 

1. Keep a food log of when you eat and WHY you eat.  Notice how the foods make you feel. 

2. Consciously observe the people around you and say positive things about their bodies (not out loud!) and your body (you can say them out loud!).  This is a gradual process that I love to take my clients through. 

If you need more help with this and want to discuss this with like-minded individuals, join me for my June Master’s Group where we are learning to “Stop the Food Fight.” 

In the meantime, please share: how do you feel about your body?

What is your Dream?

What is your Dream?

I love to dream big.  How about you?  It’s fun to day dream about all the wonderful things to accomplish or places to go.  Most of us don’t have any problem dreaming big.  It’s the execution that gets us!  Life gets busy, we plug along another day without getting closer to our dreams.

What are your dreams?  If you are like most of the people I meet with, your dreams include feeling great and living a long, full life; being around to see your grandchildren grow up; traveling; and enjoying life.  So I want to know, what are you doing today to make that happen?  If we don’t take at least one step towards our dreams every day, life might pass us by. 

I love helping my clients get closer to their dreams!  But it doesn’t happen without having a “plan and a deadline.”  It’s so fun to take those dreams and turn them into realistic and personalized plans.  I’m a big planner and have been since as long as I can remember.  I started at a young age with goal setting and planning.  At first they were far-fetched goals like “don’t fight with my sister” or “practice the piano every day.”  But as I learned about effective realistic goal setting and making specific plans, I started achieving my goals.  For example, when I learned to plan exercise into my day, make a weekly menu, and have strategies for overcoming emotional eating, I became successful in managing my health.    And that’s what I want for you too.

How do you start, you may wonder?

Step 1: First write down one dream you have in relation to your health. 

Step 2: Brainstorm the steps that you need to get there. 

Step 3: Choose one step to start with.

Step 4: Set a deadline and a plan for that step.

If you need help with making your plan, watch this video and then contact me so we can talk about how my programs might help you.

Until then, please share: what are your dreams?