A Food Diary Is Pretty Much What It Sounds Like

My diary history began in about 1978. I treasured my little lined book with the Mork and Mindy cover, the delicate lock and tiny silver key. I hid the key under my pillow. Turns out my younger brother could pick the lock with his pinky nail. So most of my diary was in all caps: “KEEP OUT OR DIE PIG FART! IF YOU ARE READING THIS YOUR EYES WILL BLEED JUST LIKE IN THE MOVIE CARRIE!”

Being in Catholic School at the time, there were also little prayers. Things like, “Dear God, if you have to make a whale eat someone again, maybe it should be Sister Jordan? And maybe that could happen before my piano lesson on Thursday?”

But there were secrets, too: “Jessie gave me a pecan. What does that mean? I am keeping it in my desk forever.”

By college I was a budding writer. When I skipped off to Paris in 1989, I poured my heart out. In French. Song lyrics, mostly. In my defense, I was madly in love with a singer, the winner of the French version of Star Search. And if you speak any French at all, you know pretty much every word rhymes with every other.

I hadn’t kept a diary again until our head of CoreNutrition Barbara Lincoln asked me to keep a food journal. All I had to do was download an app and type in everything I ate or drank for five days. No problem. It gave me something to do when the other mothers at pick-up were tapping importantly on their phones. I imagined them typing: “Tell Hil I’ve got Iowa covered,” while I banged out “2 T cold saag paneer, 1 apple, and a Dunkin Donuts flatbread.”

Five days straight of food journaling. And then Barbara asked for the password to my account. Insert vivid flashbacks here of my brother and his tiny pink fingernail, of the French musician who cheated on me with a Swedish flight attendant and then made fun of my songs. None of that matched the horror of allowing Barbara to see what I ate every day. While I was running a fitness studio.

And yet, somehow I swallowed my pride (and then journaled swallowing my pride – No saturated fat! No calories!) and gave Barbara the password. We are planning a meeting to go over my food choices in detail. But Barbara’s initial reactions already have made a big difference in my energy level. Bottom line is, I need to ask myself: “Am I eating healthy food that nourishes my body, or processed food filled with sodium and junk?”

In our first meeting, I discovered:

1. I was eating about half of what’s necessary to sustain life. Whaaaa? Yay! I get to eat more food! But wait. There’s more…
2. Barbara doesn’t want me to add just any calories. They have to be healthy. I’m not eating enough vegetables and fruit. “How can I wash, prepare, cut and bag a bunch of fruits and veggies when I feel like I’m shot out of a cannon every morning?” I ask. “Make time,” Barbara gently insists. “Five to seven servings a day.”
3. I eat too much saturated fat and not enough healthy fat. Sausage pizza and saag paneer are not great choices. Walnuts, salmon, olive oil and avocado get the green light.
4. My diet is high in sodium from processed foods. And I’m not drinking enough water. Add the Megaformer sweat factor. Hello, H2O!
5. I should trade some carbs for high-quality protein, about 75-90 mg a day. Bye-bye flatbreads.
6. No more half-n-half with my coffee. That one really hurt. But with whole or 2% milk I’ll get some protein and less saturated fat.
7. I need to nix the granola and go for 2% Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and raw nuts. Guess what? It’s delicious.

I’m not focused on losing weight, but I’m truly desperate to have more energy, sleep better at night and just feel better. I’ll keep you posted after we do a deep dive into my food choices. But just the process of keeping a food diary has been insightful. Saag paneer is not a food group. And I need to get chopping.
Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 10.29.17 PM

Share This Post:

Follow Us:

It’s a #resolutionrevolution!

Elise Headshot

I was never one to make a New Year’s resolution. Why wait until the New Year to feel guilty about my affinity for champagne and cupcakes? I have a long list of shortcomings and they pop up in my internal calendar regularly.

But I can also see the appeal of a resolution because it’s the grown-up version of a hall pass. The media loves to trumpet the myth of a 7-pound weight gain over the holidays. Imagine, it’s like we’re all strapping a Yorkshire terrier to our midsection and wearing it like a belt over the holidays.

Studies show this is false. For most Americans, average holiday weight gain is one pound. A lousy pound. So what’s the big deal?

The problem is, that pound represents half of what most Americans gain every year through adulthood. Two pounds a year, starting in college, and more if you are obese to begin with. And this is weight most of us never lose.

By our forties, most of us are at least twenty pounds heavier. By our sixties, we’ve gained at least forty pounds. Simple math, but scary. I’m not one to fixate on weight as a number, but steady weight gain in correlation with the constant of aging spells health problems: diabetes, high blood pressure, joint pain, cardiovascular disease, fatty liver disease, stroke, sleep apnea, and some cancers, just to name a few. It’s also a vicious cycle. It’s much easier to avoid weight gain in the first place than to lose the weight. And the more we weigh, the less we feel like doing the very things that can keep our weight in check, like exercising and eating healthily.

Which is why we’re calling for a resolution revolution!

To combat steady weight gain, we need to be conscious of our lifestyle choices. Believe me, I love a treat, whether it’s served in a champagne flute or a fluted muffin cup. But a treat is just that … a treat. A special little celebration. Not dinner.

So this holiday season, we are challenging you to commit to getting healthy now. Exercise regularly and be conscious of the food you put in your mouth. Have a strategy before you go to that cocktail party so that you aren’t mindlessly allowing your glass to be refilled and your hors d’oeuvre intake to reach the dizzying caloric heights to which those pigs-in-a-blanket and mini spanakopita can take you.

We’re here for you over the holidays. Our on-site nutritionist Barbara Lincoln can help you navigate the season in a balanced way that leaves plenty of room for celebration. Our CoreMotion classes not only offer a complete workout in fifty minutes to help you get the fittest, healthiest body of your life, but we’re a great stress reducer. Trust us, your family will survive without you for an hour, and you’ll return to them a happier, better parent, sibling, aunt, uncle or grandparent.

Look for our #resolutionrevolution deals. We’re committed to you. Now it’s your turn.

Share This Post:

Follow Us:

Barbara Lincoln: Small Changes for Meaningful Results

Small changes are easier to swallow than big ones. The easier a new habit is to adopt, the more likely it’s going to stick. It’s why everyone always tells you to start small and then go big. Sometimes you can do it in reverse but not as often. Small changes and conscious choices can make a big difference in terms of weight and health. An article in the New York Times a short while back based on a research study highlighted the importance of watching how your calories are consumed. Pretty soon after, a man in my husband’s office that was trying to lose weight asked him for some nutrition tips and the first one my husband gave was, “Don’t drink your calories.” I have him well trained!! Honestly I don’t keep juice in our house; I reserve it for special occasions. My girls would rather have a cookie. And one of the first places I look when a client is trying to lose weight or has been newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes is the amount of sugary beverages and alcoholic drinks that are consumed. Okay, I will be the first to tell you that I like to have my cake and eat it too! And as the mother of two young children, I like to have my wine as well. But I am well aware that these are occasional treats and that my glass of wine will replace my cake that night.

Five small changes that lead to meaningful long term results:

  1. Stop drinking juice. Research consistently demonstrates the links between juice consumption and Type 2 diabetes and metabolic disorders. This might be a big change for some of you but in the grand scheme of things it’s a small thing that you can do on a daily basis that is amazing for your health.
  2. Watch the added sugar. Do you put more than one packet of sugar in your coffee? Do you drink more than one or two cups of coffee a day? These packets of sugar add up. Think as many as 3 pounds per year.
  3. Add a salad to lunch and dinner. Most adults don’t get the recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. If you were one of my clients, I’d recommend 7. This is as easy as adding a salad to lunch and dinner and see #5. If that doesn’t get you to 5 then you have some work to do.
  4. Stop after one maybe two glasses. There are many health benefits to consuming alcohol. Research consistently shows that those who drink have lower mortality rates than those who don’t. But it is an inverse relationship. The more you drink beyond one drink per day for women and two for men, things get worse. And if you’re watching your waistline all bets are off. Any additional calories that get consumed that are not burned off get stored as fat.
  5. Have fruit for dessert. It is healthy, filled with nutrients and fiber. And it displaces some other treat that you might eat after dinner. It also helps get you closer to #3, your 5 servings of fruits and vegetables as recommended for most adults.

Share This Post:

Follow Us: