Thursday, November 26, 2009

Does the Diet Book Have Recipes?

What is the first thing you do when you pick up a new diet book? If you are like most people I have talked to, you check out the recipes. Does the diet book have a lot of recipes? Are they easy to follow? Are the ingredients familiar, inexpensive, easy to find, and items you like? Are your favorite types of dishes represented? If the answers are “no,” then you move on.

Recipes are a common reason why a diet book is rejected. Another way to say this is that recipes are really just a common excuse for not starting or staying on a new diet. Everyone seems to want recipes even though few use them in their day to day meal preparation. Aside from baking and special occasions, most of us can throw together a salad, sandwich, soup, or even a complete meal without a recipe. You may have a few recipes you pull out from time to time, but we usually just search the kitchen to determine what we can quickly make. The average person has a limited number of different meals they rotate on a regular basis and they don’t typically pull out recipes to make them.

Why do most think they need to use recipes when they start eating healthy? Why is it commonly assumed that lack of recipes is the problem that has caused weight gain? Or, that cooking with new recipes will fix the problem? With The Full Plate Diet™, you can throw the recipe excuse out the window. No special recipes are required in order to start getting results – today!

For long term successful change, you need to do what fits best into your lifestyle. If you cook with recipes all the time and are an avid cookbook collector, you can easily power-up your favorite recipes with more fiber foods. All whole plant foods contain fiber. If you don’t use recipes, you don’t have to start. Simply stock your kitchen with more fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains, and then add them to your typical meals. Put some berries on your cold cereal, canned beans in your chili, frozen vegetables in your tomato soup, whole wheat bread on your sandwich. Ever try kidney beans in spaghetti sauce or on a salad?

Start by eating more fiber foods you like and have readily available. For great ideas, check out the The Full Plate Diet™, or go to You will be surprised how fast you can increase your fiber amounts and decrease your hunger.

Less hunger means you eat less…and you know what that will mean in your future.

The author submits this blog posting as a health educator and not in any other capacity. You should seek the advice of your physician regarding a personal health condition or before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

One Hundred Years of Wisdom

He is 101 years old, new to my practice, and I was asked to pay him a medical visit at his home. I didn’t know what to anticipate, but this new patient turned out to be the highlight of my day.  He vividly told me how he had fallen last May in his bathroom – a “silly mistake that was my own fault” – and as a result he had broken his hip. A hospitalization and rehab followed, but he had not regained the strength he needed in order to live independently, or to do much other than be in a chair during most of his day. He also had a urinary catheter placed during his hospitalization, and nearly died from a urinary infection last August. But other than a few injuries he had sustained in the distant past, this gentleman is amazingly healthy and his mind is as sharp as a tack.  His blood pressure is as good as a teenager’s. He takes no medication. He drove a car until he was 100, never having a traffic violation or accident. Until he broke his hip last May, he went to work in his wood shop every day, operating power tools such as lathes, saws and drills. He has a good appetite, goes to bed at 9 every evening and arises at daylight. He reads books during the day in order to keep his mind strong. In fact, he had just finished reading a book about Chinese consumerism, manufacturing, and exports, and the effect this may have on world economy. He proudly told me “I love my life.”

I’d like us to learn from the wisdom and habits of my new patient. In talking to him and his son, a couple of items stood out regarding the way he lives his life – clues, I believe, to his amazing longevity and the quality of life he continues to enjoy. The first is his mental attitude. He loves life, even with the recent adversity and challenges it poses. He realizes the value of making mistakes, and doesn’t beat himself up over having made them. To put it in his words, “The only thing wrong with making mistakes is if you don’t learn from them, or if you keep on making them.” The second significant item relates to his diet. It isn’t so much about what he eats, but rather how much he eats. He stops eating when he isn’t hungry and before he is full. He has done this his entire life, and I am sure it is related to how well he has done over the years. He is at his ideal weight. Third, he has been active physically and mentally all of his life – this continues even today, to the extent possible for him.

One hundred years of wisdom can be summarized as follows:

1. For today, and each day forward, keep a positive attitude. Learn from mistakes you have made and use that information to help you in the future.

2. Don’t eat if you aren’t hungry and stop eating before you are full.

3. Move more and look for ways to increase your physical activity. You don’t need to join a gym – start by parking further away when you shop, and build from there.

Do these 3 things and your health will improve, you will probably live longer, and your quality of life will be better. Impress your doctor when you are 101!

The author submits this blog posting as a health educator and not in any other capacity. You should seek the advice of your physician regarding a personal health condition or before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Be Assertive!

How often have you started a new diet only to be derailed by well-meaning family or friends: your mother arrives at your door with your favorite homemade brownies, or your office buddies give you a surprise birthday party at your favorite all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurant? Even before these situations happen, you need to plan for them. If you desire ideal weight and good health, let your family and friends know your goals and then be assertive about keeping yourself on track.

To be non-assertive is to say, “Others matter, and I don’t.” On the other hand, if you are aggressive, the message is “I matter, and others don’t.” You need to find the place in between the two extremes. Being assertive states, “I am equal to others and we all matter the same.” Give assertiveness a try. Tell you mother that you love her brownies so much you can’t just eat one, and it would be more helpful for your weight loss goals if she could make you a high-fiber dessert like baked apples. Explain to your office mates that all-you-can-eat establishments are too tempting at this time and suggest a restaurant where the menu better fits your weight loss plan. It may take a bit of practice, but its well worth the effort. Assertiveness is probably one of the most important tools you will need to succeed.

During the holidays, don’t hesitate to assert your rights to have fiber foods available at the family gatherings, even if it means you bring the veggie platter or salad. Look at it as an opportunity to share your healthy new way of living with those you love. Everyone will benefit. When you find yourself at a restaurant with no menu items that fit into your weight loss goals, don’t be afraid to explain to your waiter exactly what you need. Ask for a steamed side of whatever fresh veggies are available in the kitchen. Or ask that your entree be broiled instead of fried. Odds are, the chef will be glad to break out of the same old menu routine and will welcome the opportunity to be creative. You will be a breath of fresh air!

Try on assertiveness for size, and wear it often. It will look good on you.

The author submits this blog posting as a health educator and not in any other capacity. You should seek the advice of your physician regarding a personal health condition or before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Set the Right Goal to Lose Weight

I talk to a lot of patients who don’t set the right goal as they try to lose weight. They get side-tracked and focus only on the amount of fiber they eat, instead of what they really need to be concerned about – getting thinner.

If you focus only on how much fiber you eat, there is a possibility that you may succeed in achieving your fiber goal, but fail at dropping pounds. This is because the benefit of eating fiber foods can be overcome be overeating, or by eating too much of fiber foods that also are high fat. I’ve heard stories about people eating a meal that had over 40 grams of fiber – a giant burrito, for example. But the real issue is whether or not they needed to eat that much food at one meal because they were still hungry, or if they did so just because they thought stuffing themselves with that much fiber would in and of itself cause weight loss.

Your goal should be to lose weight. Eating more fiber is just a tool you use to achieve the goal. Fiber satisfies those hunger pangs and helps stop the need for snacking between meals. Eating more fiber is the roadmap that helps you get there. So don’t lose your direction. Eat more fiber foods as a means to an end – but don’t let it be the only tool you use.

To reach your weight loss goal you also need to stop eating when you aren’t hungry. You may only need to eat half of that 40-gram burrito to feel satisfied, for example. Just because it is lunchtime, you don’t have to eat lunch if you aren’t hungry. Try to skip a meal or put it off for hours, and wait until you are truly hungry – just remember to stop eating as soon as the hunger pangs disappear, and to eat slowly. Also, keep in mind that feeling hunger is not a state of emergency. Look forward to the feeling—it means you are reaching your goal by burning body fat.

Getting thinner is your destination. Put fiber foods to work, and then the pounds will melt away.

The author submits this blog posting as a health educator and not in any other capacity. You should seek the advice of your physician regarding a personal health condition or before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.