Posts Tagged ‘support’

Want to reframe? Make a small change!

November 25th, 2016 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I have written many times that it’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad world. Last season it was BREXIT, this season the Gong Show to the south….. Somehow it feels like it’s the end of the world, good grief. Quite serendipitously, I was hanging out in the Algarve, Portugal where centuries ago it was believed that the world was flat. I stood near that very edge, hmmmm.

Alas, I decided to crawl out from under the bed and face the world again. Sometimes when you feel there is little you can control, taking charge even in a small way can be uplifting. We’re staring down yet another Christmas season, followed by New Years resolution time. I say get back to that 100 Meal Journey started this past March and make a little change for the better. Are you with me?

Truth be told, I was so enthusiastic about the whole 100 Meal Journey concept that as March meandered to April, May, June with a fast forward to today the cumulative changes made have me feeling better, more energized and in better shape. Consider these ideas:

Be Adventurous
Who doesn’t love an adventure let alone someone who is adventurous? Gear up to trying something new.  Try a new recipe, such as Tangine cooking or this savoury tomato soup served with gourmet grilled cheese. How about some yummy satisfying salads to enjoy for lunch instead of fast food. Check out even more ideas.

Seal it with a KISS – better Hunger Management
Keep it simple, sweetie! Start by managing your hunger better. NO you are not going to start a diet – coconut water, eating raw or a cleanse are NOT what’s on tap now or ever. Avert your thoughts from dieting for good!
1) More Protein & Fibre at Meals – Instead of taking away food which will make you hungry, add in satisfying choices that help manage hunger optimally and make you feel fuller longer. Work in more dairy products at meals or snacks. Add nuts and/or seeds to salads. Use dinner leftovers of meat, fish or chicken in lunches in wraps or sandwiches. Include eggs as a powerhouse of protein. Up the ante on using more pulses like chick peas or lentils and choose whole grains more often.

2) Slow Down Your Eating Pace – Doing the “whoa horsey” by slowing down, tasting and enjoying food is essential. Experiencing the feeling of fullness and stopping when you begin to feel satisfied, instead of eating like a buzz saw will help you eat less almost effortlessly.

3) Strategic Snacking – If you find you’re usually ravenous at mealtime, work in a small snack or two each day in-between meal to help take the edge off. Managing your hunger more strategically will help you slow down your pace too. Forget the vending machine and choose a fresh fruit, some cut up veggies or have a handful of unsalted nuts as your perfect go-to snack.

Awareness is Bliss
Time for a reality check! Get back to facing the scale and weighing yourself regularly. Then make a routine of checking the number a few times each week. Awareness (not ignorance) is bliss!

Remember folks, one month meanders into another, then seasons come and go. We’re staring down another new year. Take it easy on yourself and embrace a small change for the next 100 meals to a healthier you. Today is a perfect day to press the re-start button!

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Posted in Foodie Fundamentals, Miss Behavin', Successful Loser Logic | No Comments »

Limerick for Ellie

October 15th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

There is a new baby named Ellie
Coming into the world she did dilly dally
Arrived Saturday by 10
Let the party begin!
To welcome our new baby Ellie

An armful of perfection she is
Took to breastfeeding just like a whiz
Awake and asleep
Oh so new
Love runs deep
That armful of perfection she is

Ellie’s parents are such a great team
A 2-some any new baby would dream
The love and the care
No one could
Quite compare
That Ellie’s parents are truly a dream team

Family love awashes Ellie all round
She doesn’t even need to make a sound
By her side we will stand
There to give
Her a hand
Family love awashes Ellie all round

Let’s rise up to make our world a better place
For all the Ellie’s of every single race
That’s what life’s all about
Go on
Don’t ever doubt
We can all work to improve this place

… welcome to the grand fam Ellie Francis, I will always have your back!

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Who can you trust in this mad mad mad world of misinformation?

September 30th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , ,

I have written in my book that it can be a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad World when it comes to the smelly heap of food and nutrition misinformation these days. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to believe. Sadly, many innocent consumers don’t only waste their hard earned money on crack-pot, unnecessary products but also harm themselves physically by trying some of these schemes.

I recently recounted a story I heard in my blog post “Clean Up on Aisle 3“. I heard about a woman who tried a cleanse, limiting her to only drink a high-priced, special elixir to help her find her fountain of youth. After a month on this bevy blaster her hair started falling out. That wasn’t exactly the special side effect she was seeking, good grief. That’s what happens when you don’t deliver all the nutrients your body needs consistently – it eventually breaks down.

Unfortunately the wisdom of eating a balanced diet and regular food can seem so unsexy and highly underrated when indeed this nugget is truly the Holy Grail… The moral of that story – don’t mess with the machine – your bodacious body, as I have written many times and explain in my ebook, Skinny on Slim the Little Black Dress of Diet Books.

Dietitians of Canada has some pointers to help Canadians sort through the noise to find the best available nutrition information.

Here are five tips to spot misinformation:

  • Is the person or product promising a quick fix like fast weight-loss or a miracle cure? If it sounds too good to be true, then it likely is! Making changes to your health means a commitment to eating well and exercising regularly. Check out the ‘Your Health’ section at dietitians.ca
  • Are they trying to sell you products such as special foods or supplements instead of teaching you how to make better food choices at home, at play, at work or while eating out?
  • Do they provide information based on personal stories rather than on facts? Although it’s nice to hear about a success story from a celebrity, it’s not proof that something works or is true. Nutrition advice should be based on the best available scientific research. Dietitians are university trained, regulated health professionals who use tools such as PEN® to make sure they are basing their advice on the best available information.
  • Is their claim based on a single study or a few research studies? Were the studies with animals or humans? Are you similar to the humans that were studied (age, gender etc.)? The stronger the study design, and the more studies available that draw the same conclusions, the stronger the evidence that something it true.
  • What are the person’s qualifications? Think about it: You wouldn’t ask a celebrity how to build a safe bridge, you’d ask a professional engineer. You also wouldn’t ask a celebrity to fill your cavity, you’d ask a dentist. The same thinking should apply for nutrition advice. Dig a little deeper and ask for credentials. The title dietitian is protected by law, just like a nurse, dentist or pharmacist. Look for the initials “RD or PDt” to identify a registered dietitian.

Awash yourself with wisdom people. Trust an RD!

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Posted in Eating Vortex, Edit-Storial By A Foodie, Who's Zoomin' Who?? | No Comments »

To Snack or Not to Snack? Managing your Hunger Games

September 18th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I recently received this message from a book reader of mine. She gave me permission to blog about it to help others who might have similar issues managing hunger.

Dear T & T,
I just finished your book, Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books and thought it had a lot of great tips. I have started journalling and have set some 3×3 goals for myself. I have a question about how to strike a balance between only eating when I’m hungry and eating to ensure I won’t be too hungry at a later time (to ensure no pig outs happen when serious hunger hits). For example, I tend to workout after work but before dinner. So I will have a snack around 4pm to give me plenty of energy for a solid workout and I’m not dying for dinner right after. But sometimes I am not really hungry when it’s snack time. One of my goals, is to focus on what actual hunger is, and I worry that snacking like this may impede that. Any thoughts?

Dear PO,

You bring up an excellent point about managing hunger with a busy routine. First of all major props to you for working out, keep up the good work on that! Being active is beneficial for you on sooooo many levels. Learning about your own hunger and fullness cues takes time and is a huge balancing act AND certainly worth the effort to work on.

If you’re not hungry at 4pm I suggest you forgo having a snack. It is, however, totally trial and error. Keep yourself equipped with fruit for afterward – a perfect post-workout and pre-dinner snack so you’re not ravenous when you get home. I think marketing ingrains in our heads that we need a pre and/or post workout snack even though we’re not elite athletes. Follow your cues and act accordingly.

Also I find different times of the month like when I’m PMS’ing I feel more hungry. If that’s the case I’ll have a snack. Fruit is my go-to option or a handful of unsalted nuts if I need more staying power. Boredom can do the same thing with playing funny mind tricks disguised as hunger when it isn’t! Reviewing the 3 R’s (review, reflect, reframe) from your journal and observing the patterns will help you figure out true hunger. Plus it will help you with to how better you manage hunger. I find when I’m ravenous it’s too easy to automatically overeat so my personal trick is to avoid getting to that point. Easier said than done, but an ongoing goal. It’s a true balancing act and takes time to figure out and manage.

It’s a worthwhile effort to discern what actual hunger is for you as well. There are times when my tummy plays gypsy music disguised as hunger, esp post vacation and what I actually need to do is to get back on track, ensure I drink my fluids (water at my workstation), eat more fruits and veggies, choose a balanced diet including enough protein at each meal while I retrain those stomach stretch receptors to snap back to normal. As I like to say: Awareness is bliss! Keep me posted on your progress and let me know if you have further questions.

Nutritionally yours,
T & T

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Tabling the Food Label, Time to Weigh In

August 5th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

Anyone who has followed me on T & T and read my book has heard me proclaim “awareness is bliss” many times. Having a deeper knowledge of what’s in your food whether it be packaged goods or restaurant food is essential when you’re trying to eat better or get a handle on your handles. In fact in Chapter 7 of Skinny on Slim I suggest fab 4 (not 44) changes to make with your diet. Getting in the habit of reading food labels is one of the fab 4 suggestions.

A mammoth study was conducted at Washington University looking at people’s label-reading habits and their impact on weight loss and weight control. They found that subjects who lost the greatest amount of weight habitually read the Nutrition Facts table on food products. This shows us that knowledge is power – we do better when we know better.

You may recall that Health Canada surveyed Canadians about food label proposed changes last year that I generally agreed with. However this year they revised what they proposed on the food label. This will go to Gazette 1 with a comment period by August 26, 2015. I was rather blunt with my feedback on these latest suggested changes in my post entitled “Proposed Food Label Changes: Good from Far but Far from Good!” It is rare for Health Canada to make such sweeping changes to the label, you’d think there was an election coming… Food labels can be consumers best friend by providing an array of important nutritional information, so I take this opportunity to weigh in very seriously and I hope you do too.

In short I do not agree with two aspects of their proposal:

Getting Wise with the Serving Size?
Health Canada is proposing to standardize the serving size on the label. When it comes to comparing nutritional information of similar products, this makes things a lot easier for consumers – I agree with that aspect of their proposal. What I am concerned about is that they’re basing servings on usual intakes. Usual intakes of whom you ask, well that would be usual intakes of men. I have 2 problems with this maneuver. The first is the fact that in general (aside from teenage boys and athletes) men’s requirements are higher than the rest of the population. This would miscue more than half of the population of Canadians, a majority of whom are already overweight or obese. Next, more than 60% of Canadians are either overweight or obese so it is my assumption that they’re eating more than they should, so making this change would display usual intakes of men, a majority of whom are eating too much. This makes no sense to me whatsoever.

I feel dismayed at times that we already have an obesity epidemic and diabetes epidemic on our hands and I become very concerned what this change of serving size (if it goes through) would do for public health. What is your interpretation of what a proposed standardized serving size mean to you? Consumer perception is key. Other experts I know feel these usual intake estimations are too large and worry as well. It’s vital we all weigh in during this process, make your voice heard and take part!

Proposal of Sugar Hits a Sour Note
One of the suggestions was around added sugar so consumers could ascertain how much is in a product. You probably already heard that many notable health organizations such as the WHO and Heart & Stroke Foundation have made public recommendations to encourage consumers to eat less added sugar. The old adage “a sugar is a sugar is a sugar” no longer applies due to the alarm bells sounding on added sugar.

This iteration of Health Canada’s label proposal did NOT include displaying added sugar on a separate line on the label, when last year they suggested it. This one change would make it easy for consumers to know this info. When so many highly respected groups are cautioning us to reduce this, why would Health Canada not be taking the guess work out by simply listing it? Their current recommended change on the label makes it even more confusing to figure out how much added sugar is in a product. What’s your take on it?

It Takes A Village…
So folks DO take the time to weigh in prior to the August 26, 2015 deadline of what YOU think of this iteration of what is being proposed on food product labels. It can take a village or a country to weigh in for the betterment of our health and for generations to come.
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Posted in Eating Vortex, Foodie Fundamentals, Nutrition News, Policy for the People, Who's Zoomin' Who?? | No Comments »

A Wee Nudge to Help Me Budge

June 3rd, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ahh for the love of keeping active.  It’s a perfect time of year to get yourself outside to play, don’t you think? The temperature is lovely, the days are lighter longer and the possibilities are endless. I admitted in a recent post that I am a self proclaimed tortoise of sorts. My motto is “slow and steady wins the race…. my race.” Although I’m delighted when others make lofty activity goals, my heart sinks when they fall off the wagon for months on end until they get inspired again. From a behavioural standpoint it helps to create a love affair with activity so you look forward to doing it daily, weekly, monthly and throughout every season, not just spring and summer.

Healthy & Stealthy Interval Training – I know I sound like a broken record when I encourage you to do your “interval training” by finding a few 15 minute intervals every day to move more, creating your own “movement movement”. Easy peasy, right? Why make it so hard on yourself? I found just the tech toy that provides a wee nudge to help you budge, so listen up!

Get Moving with Tech Support – I got my hands on a sporty Apple watch recently. My tech support has been in India lately so I’ve fumbled around with it at the start. I instantly took to the Activity App features. Although I’m already inclined to move each day, since sporting it, my watch serves as my personal conscience and coach especially when I’ve become engrossed in long bouts of sitting at my computer.

Activity App to Nudge You – The Activity App touts “Live a better day by achieving 3 daily fitness goals.” These include goals to move (in calories), to exercise (in time) and to stand for one minute (number of times/day). The first day I wore it I received a gentle nudge on my wrist with a message “Time to stand!” When I complied, I received a follow up message “You did it!” How great is that? Very!

Friendly Reminders from Your Personal Coach – At various intervals in the day I receive updates on how my activity goals are progressing. I just received a nudge that I was at 57% of my Move goal encouraging me that I was “…having a solid day. Keep it going into the evening…” One evening I received an update showing me that I hadn’t yet reached my daily activity goal. Instead of settling in to couch-potato-dom I snuck out for an evening stroll that was both refreshing and enjoyable and not the least bit onerous.

I particularly like this because for me, like for many people, time can simply slip through your fingers with good intentions. Good intentions don’t get results, actions do! These reminders help you find another 15 minutes to move so your daily goals are met, very healthy and stealthy! At the end of my first week of wearing it, I received a summary of my performance. In my ebook Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books I discuss the importance of doing the 3 R’s - Review, Reflect, Reframe so good on you #AppleWatch. This summary helps me to make activity goals for the coming week after reviewing and reflecting what I actually achieved.

I am not, nor will I ever be an Iron Woman Viking, but I walk and work out regularly so I can face each day with zest. This new toy gives me an elevated level of mindfulness with encouragement to motivate me “just for today“.

I am enamoured with these friendly reminders to help me fight inclinations of inertia, like a supportive personal coach. All it’s taken is a wee nudge to help me budge! Is it time to stand up again?

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Posted in Miss Behavin' | No Comments »

Crush the Morning Rush this #NutritionMonth!

March 4th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , ,

Well folks, the calendar page has turned yet again. What do you know, it’s March already and March is nutrition month! This year Dietitians of Canada is featuring ways to eat well at work, focusing on ‘Eating 9 to 5!’ Sing along with me during the month, won’t you?!

An Ipsos Reid poll they conducted showed 45% of people find it challenging to eat well at work. Well that’s no surprise. For many, most of weekday waking hours are spent at work. It makes so much sense to extend our healthy eating goals and efforts from home into the workplace.

This week I’m focusing on rushed mornings. “How did that “snooze” button get pushed yet again?” you ask. We all live in the era of the “time crunch” but it feels like we’re hit hardest as we roll out of bed. Decisions, decisions, decisions galore as we wipe the sleepies out of our eyes to put our best face forward and take on the day. I don’t know about you, but easing up on morning stress is how I prefer to start my day. Missing breakfast isn’t an option in my home, so I get it ready the night before.

When you decide and prepare for breakfasts whether on weekends or each evening, that’s one less decision to make in the morning. It’s already decided! Fast and easy is another rule of the day.

Beat morning mayhem and eat well all day long with these helpful tips from Dietitians of Canada for prepping meals and snacks the night before:

  • Put dinner leftovers into containers and refrigerate for tomorrow’s lunch.
  • Portion and pack lunchbox snacks, such as fruit, vegetables with hummus, or roasted nuts.
  • Fill up and refrigerate your reusable water bottle for sipping at work.
  • Prep breakfast: wash and chop fruit, get out the breakfast dishes and set up the coffee maker.
  • Get ready for tomorrow night’s dinner. Cut veggies, cook grains and marinate meat.

Here are more top tips from Dietitians of Canada so you can drive by the drive thru:

  • Make barley, quinoa or oat porridge and refrigerate in portions. Reheat with mix-ins, such as fruit and seeds, in the morning.
  • Bake and freeze whole grain muffins, pancakes and mini frittatas.
  • Stock up on ready-to-eat items such as fruit and containers of yogurt, and pack individual portions of trail mix to grab ’n’ go.
  • Mix up some muesli with toasted oats, dates, coconut and almonds to enjoy with fruit and yogurt.
  • Make hard-boiled eggs for breakfast on the run. Refrigerate for up to one week.

For tasty make-ahead recipes, visit Cookspiration – that popular app.

Start the day off right by having a fast, easy and balanced breakfast to get you through the morning.

Adapted from The Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month Campaign Materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at www.nutritionmonth2015.ca

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Shades of Grey 5 Ways

February 11th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

We live in a world filled with shades of grey. I assume you can create your own steamy 50 Shades of Grey sequel for Valentine’s without advice from this square RD! It is good, however, to learn to manage life in the grey zone on many fronts. The world of food and nutrition is no different, there are numerous “grey zone” issues to make sense of. So here you go a compilation of food and nutrition grey zone issues. Some food for thought to help build your love affair with food and activity. Enjoy!

Thinking of trying a diet? Put it to my Thanksgiving Dinner Test - Want to know what I think of any diet plan you’re contemplating? Put it through my simple test to see if it passes, if it doesn’t don’t give it another thought. Save your effort and money.

What’s so super about “super food” you ask? – What’s the “food jag du jour”? Is quinoa still in or is it barley? Should I awash myself with droplets of hallowed vitamin water…drip, drop, drip? Does an apple a day still keep the doctor away? Let’s get to the bottom of what’s really super, shall we!

Enjoy Maxing Out Nutrient Richness – Get real with your food. Now is a perfect time to up the natural nutrient richness in your diet. Calorie counting is SOOOO yesterday. Put the abacus away already! Fill yourself up with natural goodness containing more nutrients. Your body will smile back at you when you do!

Keeping Your Activity Routine Flexible – So much has been written about staying limber. Even more needs to written on how to keep our activity routines fluid and flexible to help us keep active every season, on busy work days, on fun holidays, when the sun’s shining or when snow is pelting. I know one thing for sure, KEEP MOVING and while you’re at it, make it a double (2 times a day!)

Grey Zone on Bad Food, Good Food & Piglets - One of my readers outed her “ice cream lovin’” Dad a while back. So I tried to set the record straight. Now I have a regular reader, guess which one?

So there you have it folks, a smattering of grey zone food and nutrition issues to mull over during this month that’s been very grey of late. There is beauty in grey, so embrace it. Once you learn to manage in that zone, you’ll know how to spot garbage when you read it and will be sailing right along…upward and onward ho!
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Posted in Eating Vortex, Foodie Fundamentals, Miss Behavin', Successful Loser Logic | No Comments »

Craving a Sound Sound-Bite….

September 5th, 2014 1 Comment Tags: , , , , ,

I’m having some cravings lately, for sound, reliable nutrition information – a REAL sound bite. Not those trivial sound bites we’re inundated with on social media that simply add to confusion of the topic of food and nutrition. This week was the diet face-off between Low Fat versus Low Carb diets, what gives?

When I sit back and mull all of this over I remind myself that nutrition is not black and white but mostly grey zone. There are many nuances that don’t lend themselves to straight “yes” and “no” or 1-sentence answers.

I can hear the groans already when I tout the moderation message, yet again. Sorry folks but I’ll bang that gong until your ears ring and it sinks in! The reality is our bodies NEED fat and carbs and the entire array of macro and micronutrients every single day with fluids and fiber to boot. We need fat, but not too much. We need carbs, but not too much. This sort of messaging albeit sound and reliable doesn’t cut it in the “sound bite” department of the editors.

Sadly, I’m not surprised that consumers become so confused sometimes to the point of exasperation morphing into anti-nutritionists in combat. Actually, I can hear them now “…just tell me what I’m supposed to do already!”

What I suggest you do is find a few reliable nutrition sources with credible degrees and credentials then tune out all of the noise. Then sink your teeth into REAL sound bites to help you on your personal health quest to get and stay on track.

Don’t forget an important rule of thumb in the process, if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is….

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Posted in Francy Rants, Nutrition News | 1 Comment »

Go Team…. Team Darko’s Best Tournament Yet!

August 25th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

Another year has come and gone. That special nephew of mine who’s part of Team Darko organized an even bigger and more successful fund raiser golf event in memory of their fave fab university friend Darko. They pulled up again in their party bus but it was all business as they raised more funds for the Miracle Network.

Mother Nature was threatening rain but lost her battle as the sun peered through the clouds and the butterflies fluttered about while everyone finished the final 9 holes. More teams than ever signed up, played and donated for such a worthy cause.

Can I be more proud of these twenty somethings who seem like they can run this event with their eyes closed and their hearts wide open? I don’t think so! It warmed my heart to see so many people take part from near and far. It was terrific to see these kids form families of their own as they grow in number as the circle of life turns. With these types taking charge our future is bright as they lead our society as our new “We Generation”.

Thanks Team Darko for inspiring me, yet again, this fine summer’s weekend. I salute you all. And remember “No giving up EVER!” DD

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