Weight Does Not Equal Health: A Personal Story

You may have noticed I’m a dietitian and health coach and I’m overweight. Does that make you question my abilities? Do you think that I can’t help you because obviously I can’t take care of my own health? If so, well, that’s too bad and that’s actually your problem, not mine.

You see, too much our current culture thinks healthy = thin anIMG_1167d thin = healthy.

Lemme tell ya, that just ain’t so. In clinical practice I have seen many thin people with some really messed up ugly labs who get winded walking up a flight of stairs… and I’ve seen many large people with gorgeous labs who are working out every day. So, yah, about weight and health, they don’t always go hand-in-hand.

Right, the personal story.

I’ve shared before my weight history from my early years to present day so it should come as no surprise that I’m technically “overweight” by the BMI (which really should get tossed out as invalid for clinical practice) and I’m also “overweight” at 140% of my “ideal body weight” by the Hamwii equation oh and I wear a size 12-14 but wasn’t blessed with Marilyn’s curves… or height! So, one might look at me and think, ugh, she’s big / chubby / fat / totally unhealthy and oh my god how can she be a health coach?

And actually, if you are that judgy on how I look then I can only imagine what you must say to yourself – stop it already and try being nice to yourself… and stop worrying about my size or health because I’m good.

Want proof?

Well, I will share my HIPAA-protected lab values with you to prove the point – anecdotally of course. I’ll list the labs (the ideal range): my value.

Total Cholesterol (100-199):                          123

Triglycerides (0-149):                                      118

HDL (good) Cholesterol (> 50 women):       75

LDL (bad) Cholesterol (< 100):                      24

Glucose / Blood Sugar (<100):                       91

All the rest are also within normal limits so I won’t go down the laundry list here…

I also exercise. I can run/walk a 5k (very ungracefully), I can do an hour of heated yoga (a little more gracefully), and I average 10,000 steps a day.

If anything, I want to improve my strength and flexibility, not my weight.

My weight will be whatever it wants to be actually. I want to eat delicious food and I want to enjoy using my body. I want you to stop judging me as a health professional because of my beliefs about weight being the cause of many health issues (correlation is not causation). I want you to stop being so critical of yourself and others. Loosen up a little. Eat some good food. Move with joyful purpose. Stop eating and exercising by the numbers. And realize that beauty – and health – do come in all shapes and sizes.

And yes, I’m overweight and I’m a damn good dietitian and health coach.

Can you Get Healthy and Delicious Grab-and-Go Grocery Store Meals

With our 3 tips you can find healthy and delicious grab-and-go meals from the grocery store. Have you have been working hard on your health goals this year? Doing meal prep every weekend to have healthy lunches and dinners for the week? Avoiding the fast food drive-through?

Sure, in a perfect world – all kinds of yes!

The reality is that we all have busy schedules and sometimes we don’t have the time to plan and prep meals. So, now what?

What can you do with a short lunch break and no food as that dreaded afternoon slump approaches. How about those nights you are on your way home, hungry, and too tuckered out to cook a meal? Food from Wendy’s or M Shack is easy and fast but not the greatest choice if you are focused on your health. Would you believe there are also fast and easy meals waiting for you in the grocery store? And they are healthy, AND delicious – HEALTHILICIOUS!

The grocery store can be overwhelming when  you have limited time to buy and eat your meals. It can be confusing too – the store has ingredients – not food! How can these ingredients be magically transformed into a meal? The good news is that if you focus on fresh, whole foods you can have a fast, easy, satisfying and healthilicous grab-and-go grocery store meal!

Here’s a hint – focus on real whole foods instead of numbers!

To  learn more, join New Motivation Coaching at the Nocatee Publix on April 25, 28, or 31 to learn 3 tips  for finding healthy grab-and-go meals when you are hungry and short on time. More information on Facebook this week!

Blog post written by Rachel Mariano, University of North Florida Nutrition Student

Best Diets for Heart Health

To kick off American Heart Month a little early, we are starting with a blog written by one of UNF’s nutrition undergrads. Enjoy!

Best Diets for Heart Health

By Rachel Mariano

heart-heath-best-dietsThe month of February is all about hearts. I am not talking about heart-shaped chocolates and other yummy Valentine’s Day treats; I am referring American Heart Health Month. It is a great time to increase awareness of your heart health and make sure you have daily habits that will promote a lifetime of heart health.

The American Heart Association has published dietary recommendations to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. The focus is on the importance of eating nutritious foods from all food groups including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy, poultry, fish, nuts, legumes, and vegetable oils.

Every year, the U.S. News and World Report gathers health and nutrition experts to create a list of the most Heart Healthy diets. These diets may help people lose weight, lower cholesterol and triglycerides, and blood pressure – all things that can decrease risk of heart disease.

The top three diets are (1 – a tie!) The DASH diet and The Ornish Diet (3) TLC diet and (4) The Mediterranean Diet. All of these diet and eating patterns focus on low saturated fat, low sugar, and high amounts of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Each diet also recommends some sort of physical activity built into weekly activities.

The DASH Diet – Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute developed this diet to serve as a guide for how much and which types of foods to eat while easily reducing salt intake. This diet is designed to lower – or prevent – high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

One example of a DASH diet plan for a 2,000 calorie diet would include

  • 6-8 servings of grains
  • 4-5 servings of each fruits and vegetables
  • 2-3 fat free or low fat dairy
  • No more than 6 servings of lean meat or poultry
  • 2-3 servings of fats and oils
  • 4-5 servings (per week) of nuts, legumes, or seeds
  • No more than 5 servings of sweets a week
  • Sodium below 2,300 mg with a goal of 1,500 mg a day

The Ornish Diet

Dr. Dean Ornish promotes a strict diet that he claims can reverse heart disease. The diet ranks foods into five groups from most to least healthful and emphasizes eating the top-ranked foods and limiting the low-ranked foods to improve health.

Here are some of the common guidelines based on theses rankings of food:

  • Low fat (no more than 10% of calories from all fats)
  • No cholesterol, refined carbohydrates, or oils
  • Limited caffeine consumption
  • No animal products besides egg whites and 1 cup of nonfat milk a day
  • Lots of fiber and complex carbohydrates

Though this diet does produce many positive results to fight cardiovascular disease it is extremely limited. It does not offer much room for other foods when followed strictly. If you follow this diet, you most likely will see results in improved health and weight loss. However, this diet may not be realistic for the long-term for many people. This diet has produced varying results when it is not followed strictly.

TLC Diet – Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes Diet

The TLC diet emphasizes lowering high cholesterol and consists of minimal meat, low fat and nonfat dairy foods, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The diet focuses on cutting back fat – mainly saturated fats which increase the risk for heart disease. Saturated fats should make up no more than 7% of your calories. This is done by choosing low fat dairy foods and eating less butter and fatty meats. The diet is also rich in fiber from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains with a target of 10-25 grams of soluble fiber to help lower cholesterol.

Mediterranean Diet

I have saved my favorite diet last. The Mediterranean diet is adapted from Mediterranean countries where people tend to live longer and healthier lives. This diet is low in red meat, sugar, and saturated fats but high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. Individuals who follow this diet may experience weight loss, improved heart and brain health, decreased risk of cancer, and diabetes prevention.

The Mediterranean Diet is not really a “diet” because there are not strict guidelines to follow, rather there are patterns and recommendations so it is easy to tailor this diet to your own personal preferences. Some of the major guidelines are as follows:

  • Consume lots of
    • Fruits
    • Vegetables
    • Whole grains
    • Beans
    • Nuts
    • Legumes
    • Olive oil
    • Herbs and spices
    • Fish and other seafood
  • Consume a moderate amount of
    • Poultry
    • Eggs
    • Cheese
    • Yogurt
  • Consume on Special Occasions
    • Sweets
    • Red Wine

Focusing on overall health is important to reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease. Whether you choose to follow one of the diets or not – remember that any steps towards healthier food choices lead you closer to better heart health.

And so it begins.

Welcome! We here at New Motivation Coaching have decided to add a blog in order to bring you some good information, resources (and deals!), and invite you along as we research, explore, and ponder all about nutrition, exercise, and wellness.

We are excited to be partnering with University of North Florida undergraduate nutrition students – future #RD2Be rockstars – to be able to bring you more faster and help them gain experience for their upcoming internships. On the short list are Grocery Store Tours, Meal Prep Workshops, and online options for our courses and the Healthy Weight Challenge. There is so much going on in our offices that our heads are spinning with excitement for you!

BOLO for a survey coming soon so we can start to answer your most pressing nutrition, exercise, and wellness questions!

Until then, here’s the base recipe for an upcoming Meal Prep Workshop on Overnight Oats. This is just our starting point recipe to which we add all kinds of deliciousness. If you haven’t tried overnight oats yet, you are in for a treat with an easy-peasy breakfast. Stay tuned for that upcoming Meal Prep Workshop for the deliciousness part!

Simple Overnight Oat Base Recipe – click for PDF