Did you know that certain types of cancer are associated with obesity? In fact, there are twelve types of cancer that have been linked to obesity. These include multiple myeloma as well as cancers of the kidneys, pancreas, gallbladder, colon, rectum, and uterus. Most alarmingly, these cancers are most on the rise among adults between the ages of 25-49. American Cancer Society researchers noted this correlates with increased incidence of obesity among the same population. To learn more, check out this article from the Harvard School of Public Health: www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2019/02/04/incidence-of-obesity-related-cancers-is-rising-in-younger-adults/
A recent study from Duke University suggests that the relative quantities of healthy food to junk food may affect the way we relate to those foods. Exposure to a comparable number of healthy and less healthy items generally drove people to choose the less healthy items, while somewhat counterintuitively, if a healthy item was surrounded by less healthy options, people tended to choose the healthier option. What does this mean? Try putting healthier items in your pantry in between the more indulgent ones and you may very well find yourself gravitating to the healthier ones. Read more here: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/01/190109142629.htm
Frequent readers of this blog know that I typically find the way in which the media reports on nutrition research to be lacking (and that’s putting it politely!). That’s why I was delighted to find this article from the Sydney Morning Herald. Not only does it discuss the fact that a study’s design and purpose inevitably affects it findings, but it discusses extensively the idea that there is no “right” diet for the general population. The dietary lifestyle that works for you is the one to which you adhere for the long term. Enjoy! www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellness/nutrition-research-this-year-shows-many-paths-to-wellbeing-20181217-p50mqd.html
I LOVE vacations, but I need to be really careful that I don’t allow vacation eating to turn into a new routine. Many of us tend to go all or nothing with our dietary habits, so we either stick to chicken and broccoli on vacation or we fall off the wagon completely. Many people also tend to bring their vacation habits back into their day to day lifestyles. None of these mentalities lead to long term success. If we are too rigid and don’t allow ourselves to enjoy life, especially on vacation, we burn out and usually end up right back where we started. If we allow ourselves to go crazy while away, we usually can’t flip a switch and get back to the behaviors that will promote our goals when we get home. Rather, we carry those vacation behaviors when we return to everyday life. There are a few things that can help you bring balance to vacation eating. First, aim for two meals that look like what you would eat at home eat day, and allow yourself to enjoy one without regrets. Second, be active! Try to be as active or more active than you are at home. If you are more active, those relaxed meals won’t matter so much. Third, if you are going to drink, make a deliberate choice each time you have a drink. Finally, plan your reentry, and make sure you have a couple of days worth of meals prepared at home (frozen is fine!) so that you can get back into your routine when you return.
Being with friends often helps us relax and forget about work or other things that may be weighing on our minds. In many instances, however, friendships revolve around food and drinks, particularly ones where the friendships are of long duration and the individuals have developed different goals, mindsets, and lifestyles as the years have passed. How do you maintain friendships and a social life while meeting your fat loss goals? One thing you can do is plan a different activity for the group rather than stick to meeting for dinner and drinks. If you cannot get people to buy in to that concept, eat beforehand and order something light, offer to be the designated driver, and offer to make the dinner reservation, choosing a place that you know will let you stick to your goals.
Our families usually want the best for us, but often times they don’t understand that what works for them may not work for us. They question why we want to do things differently than they do, don’t understand why the way they do things isn’t “good enough”, and sometimes are afraid that changes we make in our lives may not leave as much room for them as they would like. Add that that family traditions that usually involve food and grandma’s great cooking courtesy of a pound of butter used daily, and family gatherings can get tense. A few things can help. First, if you are not staying there, eat beforehand and limit yourself to small nibbles and servings of the things you truly love. Second, if you are staying over, offer to do the grocery shopping or help with cooking. This gives you greater control over ingredients and preparation methods. Third, offer to plate dinner or suggest serving the meal buffet style. This allows you to make your plate look how you want it to look, and to make the best choices you can. Finally, if people really push as to why you are eating differently, be sincere about your goals and motivation, and ask for support.
Parties often lead to dietary disappointments. There aren’t a lot of healthy options at most parties, alcohol is plentiful, and people may pressure you to act as they are. Here are a few ideas to help stay on track and have fun. First, eat beforehand. If you are already full, you will self regulate your food and drink consumption. Second, bring something yummy that you feel comfortable eating. I love veggies and dip, and make my own dip with fat free ranch dressing. Unless I eat all of the dip all by myself, that won’t get me off track. Third, club soda with lime is your friend. It looks like a drink and no one will ask you if you are drinking or not. Fourth, if it is polite to do so, arrive on the later side; always have an exit strategy. You can be social but it needn’t be five hours of temptation. Leave when you feel your willpower diminish. Finally, buddy up. If you know someone else attending has similar goals, stick together. A “no, thank you” is usually better received from two than one.
Offices are rife with problems for dieters. Between free food in the break room, forced socialization involving food for someone’s birthday/retirement/baby shower, that deadline that forces you to miss a workout or grab something that doesn’t fit your food goals, and peer pressure from coworkers to go out for food or drinks that aren’t part of your plans, your job can derail your fat loss goals. A few things can help. First, eat before going to work and before any work event, and have emergency rations just in case. Second, if there is a work event that involves food and you HAVE to go, plan what you will and won’t eat, feel free to say “no thank you, I just ate”, and stick to protein and veggies. Third, have an exit strategy to get out of the situation. During the workday, it might be an urgent message to return, or a project that needs to get out by the end of the day. At the end of the day, it can be other plans or a family commitment. Finally, if it is a HUGE event at work and you cannot get away from eating or drinking something you don’t really want, remember that a bite or two won’t derail you from meeting your goals.
Back in October, several of my blog posts discussed how following the latest hyped research studies may not lead to the best results. Shortly thereafter, Greg Nuckols of MASS and Stronger By Science came out with a great article on how to determine whether a study’s findings can be trusted or not. It’s a bit dense, but I am linking to it because it is a great read. The Cliff Notes version? Look for three things before thinking about making changes to your nutrition or training based on a new study: replicability, consistency with the weight of prior research, and study design, including size, funding, and timing of when theories were developed.www.strongerbyscience.com/trust-research-findings/
Amy Mariani is the owner of Fit & Fabulous LLC in Winchester, Massachusetts. She is also the nutrition coach at www.mountainstrength.com. Her mission is to help people eat healthy and love life.
Please note that you should consult with your physician prior to embarking on any major changes with regard to your nutrition. Unfortunately, absent authorization from a medical professional, we are unable to provide individualized nutrition coaching to anyone under the age of eighteen, or to persons with certain medical conditions. We are always happy to work with authorized medical professionals under these circumstances.