10 Easy Self-Care Practices for Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

This holiday is usually all about celebrating those that you love, but what if we flipped it and made this holiday all about you? The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. Self-love and self-care are concepts I find myself talking about all the time with my clients, especially as they relate to food!

So what can you do today to take care of yourself? Show yourself love and kindness this Valentine’s Day.

1. Learn something new! One way to boost self-worth is to gain a new skill set. Been wanting to learn how to woodwork, crochet, or bake the best Valentine’s Day cake? Take a local class or even an e-course.

2. Start a journaling practice. Taking even 5 minutes out of your day to reflect, jot down ideas, or even vent by writing in a journal has been shown to have tremendous benefits for mental health.

3.Disconnect from the internet for 2 hours. In our digital world, this is a tough one. We have become increasingly dependent on our computers and phones. However, this can often feel like we are forced to constantly check in. Taking a 2 hour break from all technology daily and instead taking a walk, an exercise class, or reading can do wonders for your self-care.

4. Act like a kid – or play with a kid. Get a coloring book, a puzzle, or do some crafts. If you have kids or nieces and nephews, take some time to just play pretend with them. Let your mind travel to far away places, like Narnia or Oz. This gives your “adult brain” a much needed rest.

5. Join a book club. Not only will this force you to take time out of your day to disconnect and read a book for fun, but you will have a built-in social activity to look forward to at least once a month. You will also start to built new friendships who share common interests.

6. Be a tourist in your own town. Plan a whole day of activities in your very own town, as if you were visiting. Or, just head out for the day and let yourself wander. Who knows what you’ll stumble across – it could be your new favorite restaurant or spa spot.

7. Declutter! Decluttering your home is a powerful way to practice self care. We meet a lot of our needs at home: sleep, relaxation, nourishment, support, solitude and reflection. By cleaning up and decluttering, you make your space a place of sanctuary instead a place of chaos and stress.

8. Treat yourself to a spa day. This is something we rarely think to do for ourselves because it seems like too much of a luxury. But it’s important to treat yourself to luxurious things too. Book a spa day for yourself, or just get a manicure or a massage. It doesn’t have to be for a special occasion – it can be just because it’s part of your self care practice.

9. Edit your social media feeds. It’s sometimes helpful to go through your social media profiles and unfollow people who routinely make you angry, anxious, or upset. This can be a friend or even a celebrity who you have been following. If you realize that someone’s posts regularly make you annoyed, you can simply unfollow them. This “mutes” them even if you don’t want to un-friend the person.

10. Move around or stay still. Sometimes it’s incredibly healing to put on some music and dance in your living room for 15 minutes straight. Other days, it’s rejuvenating to lay down on your yoga mat in complete stillness and silence for 15 minutes. Ask yourself which one of these your body and spirit is craving regularly and let yourself do either – or BOTH!

Holiday Gift Ideas from Eat With Knowledge

Happy Holidays!!! Here are some amazing ideas to celebrate the gift of peace with food and a healthy body image.

#wear_IEAT clothing and accessories Help promote a healthy relationship with food by wearing an “I EAT” tank top, sweatshirt, or tote by Registered Dietitian Nicole Groman.

Spiralizer A 5-blade vegetable slicer that makes “veggie noodles” in a snap! Create zucchini noodles (“zoodles”), beet noodles, or even sweet potato curly fries.

Body Kindness by Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN This practical, inspirational, and visually lively book shows you how to create a healthier and happier life by treating yourself with compassion rather than shame.

Homemade Muffins & Theo Hot Chocolate Gift Box Spending the holidays away from home or at the in-laws? Come prepared with this box full of soft muffins and rich hot chocolate to enjoy with the whole family. The purchase of this gift provides weekend meals for one child.

Intuitive Eating Fundamentals e-Course A 13-week course to help you trust your body and make peace with food created by Registered Dietitian and Food Psych podcast host Christy Harrison.

Ninja Coffee Maker My favorite coffee maker! Ninja’s patent-pending brewing technology is designed to deliver better, richer-tasting coffee with variable richness levels that are never bitter.

Baby Bullet Baby Food Making System Make an entire week’s worth of healthy, nutritional baby food in less than 5 minutes

A gift certificate to a favorite restaurant. My favorites in Nyack include Communal Kitchen and Art Cafe!

Consider making a donation to a charity. Project Heal is my favorite – they fund eating disorder treatment for clients who cannot afford it.

Redefine Holiday Eating

As much as we love the holiday season, it can be equal parts wonderful and stressful. There is usually a lot going on, including planning trips, shopping for gifts, seeing friends and family, and of course, eating holiday food!

I don’t know about you, but I hate those “healthy holiday articles” that suggest walking away from the dessert table. The goal of the holiday season is not to “eat healthy”. My personal goal is to eat food in a mindful way that makes me feel good before, during, and after a meal. Eating to the point that makes me feel satisfied and happy, not restricted or too stuffed.

10 Ways to Stay Mindful During the Holidays

1. Use your support system. It’s okay to ask your friends, family, and of course me, your registered dietitian, for support during stressful times. Sometimes it takes an army of supportive people around you to get you through the holidays. Whether it’s eating a meal together, going for a walk, or just being a phone call away, your support system should be there for you.

2. Create a meal plan. A meal plan is a “guide” to help you make decisions when it’s too stressful to do so on your own. I love to help clients make a special “holiday” meal plan (with favorite foods) for a party or special celebration.

3. Be mindful and practice eating intuitively. Are you eating holiday cookies just because they are there or are you eating them because they taste so good? What’s your favorite kind of cookie? Do you even like cookies or do you prefer a cup of hot chocolate? Dig deep to ask yourself if a food is something you actually want or if you’re just eating out of boredom or convenience. And remember if you want to eat this food *just because* go for it!!

4. Listen to hunger and satiety cues (if they are working in your own body). Try to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. What does it feel like to be hungry? What does it feel like to be full? Take note of this now and put it into practice.

5. Eat a high-fiber, nutritious breakfast each day. Whole grain cereal, skim milk and fruit or eggs and toast are great options. This nutrient-filled breakfast will help get your metabolism going and get appetite hormones working!

6. Keep healthy snacks on hand when out shopping, or out running errands. Keep a healthy granola bar or trail mix pack in your purse (or even in your car), that way you have something to eat when you’re hungry.

7. Drink alcohol wisely. A simple beer or wine is usually a healthier choice compared to the sugary mixed drinks that will spike your blood sugar. Choose water or club soda with lime at parties to alternate in between drinks (sometimes it’s more about holding a pretty drink rather than the drink itself).

8.  Bring a dish to parties as a way to thank your host. Bring something you know is a comfort food but also safe for you to eat if you are unsure about the rest of the foods.

9.  Exercise as stress relief. Not only will this help you physically, but mentally too. Exercise can be just as powerful as a medication for stress! Try to schedule in short (realistic workouts) that make you feel good in your body.

10. Try to avoid the mindset of “all or nothing”. This time of year is all about doing what you “can”. But if you have a “me first” mentality and take care of you, I can almost guarantee you that you will have a happier, healthier holiday season. 

Help I ate too much Halloween candy!!

It can feel very tempting to “diet” if you’ve eaten too much because dieting can erase the memories and shame of overeating.  But research shows that dieting is followed by overeating, weight gain, slowed metabolism, and feelings of depression and moodiness.  It’s not worth it!  So what’s the answer to overeating?… enjoy the candy! And then move on to normal eating.

I’ve been talking and preparing clients for Halloween all week!  This time of year is the start of the crazy “holiday eating season” which starts at Halloween, continues with Thanksgiving, and lasts all the way through Christmas and Hanukkah.  But for people who struggle with binge eating and emotional eating, this time of year can feel very up and down. For clients in the restrict–>binge–>feel bad–> repeat cycle, the holidays feel like eating can go from one extreme to the other.  If you’re in the cycle and happen to overeat, it’s very easy to say “I will be good”, or “I will watch it” or “I will diet” in order to undo the damage.  Once you’re in the dieting phase, your body WILL play catch up and cause intense cravings and urges for the sweets and carbs that are usually “off limits”, just fueling the overeating cycle.  It may happen right away, or build up over time.  Well, so what’s the answer to overeating if you shouldn’t diet?

Enjoy the candy!  I know, it’s a crazy idea.  But when we sit down and enjoy the candy we’re eating, we get satisfied.  Sometimes our bodies may even tell us we’ve had enough, but don’t worry if that’s not you – it make take a while.  This is especially hard with refined food, like Halloween candy!  If you’re struggling with this, try eating candy after a meal or try pairing candy with something nutritious like fruit or milk.  If we eat this kind of fun food in a healthy way, all it is is FUN food!

3 Tips for Eating Candy in a Conscious Way

1. Eat what you love.  Do you love M&M’s or Skittles? Do you like chewy candy like Starbursts or crunchy candy like Butterfinger? We all have favorites and we should eat them! Eating what we love will give us satisfaction.

2. Give away what you don’t love.  I’m not a huge fan of the “Switch Witch” (taking all of the child’s Halloween candy away the next morning) but I’m all for giving candy away if it’s candy you don’t love!  Donate candy to a homeless shelter, bring it to the office, or simply just throw it away.  Nothing is lost if it’s not what you want to eat anyway.

3.  For parents: Don’t forget to be excited and enjoy the holiday! Halloween is so much more than just the candy.  If you’re concerned about all the sugar, practice Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibility for your kids.  This gives them structure around food but isn’t restrictive. Halloween is great practice for them to learn about how all foods fit into a healthy lifestyle, and will also help them learn about hunger and fullness.  Don’t interfere!  Present them opportunities for eating Halloween candy and let them eat as much as they want in the beginning.  Have your child store the candy and get it out at appropriate times.  This will help the learning process and will reinforce that all foods fit.  If you are extremely worried, remember to serve the candy with something nutritious! It’s much easier to listen to cues from your body if you’re eating protein and fiber with sugar.

How to Survive the Holidays

All month long I have been talking about how to survive the holidays.  This time of year is amazing- full of energy, presents, friends, and family.  But it is also stressful for a lot of people.  If you are feeling the stress, you are not alone.  My last newsletter was one of my most popular newsletters!  Here it is in blog form: “How to Survive the Holidays” .

How To Survive the Holidays

The goal of the holiday season is not to “eat healthy”.  I don’t know about you but I hate those “healthy holiday articles” that suggest walking away from the dessert table.  I love chocolate and that advice is certainly not for me.  My personal goal is to eat food in a mindful way that makes me feel good before, during, and after a meal.  Eating to the point that makes me feel satisfied and happy, not restricted or too stuffed.

1. Enlist the help of your friends, family, support system, and of course- me your registered dietitian.  Sometimes it takes an army of supportive people around you to get you through this stressful time of year.  Speak up and let everyone know how they can help you! Whether it’seating a meal together, going for a walk, or just being a phone call away, your personal team should be there for you when you need it most.

2. Create a meal plan.  A meal plan is a “guide” to help you make decisions when it’s too stressful to do so on your own.  I love to help clients make a special “holiday” meal plan (with favorite foods) for a party or special celebration.

3. Be mindful.  Are you eating Christmas cookies just because they are there or are you eating them because they taste so good?  What’s your favorite kind of cookie?  Do you even like cookies or do you prefer a cup of hot chocolate?  Dig deep to ask yourself your “worth it or not worth it list”.

4. Listen to hunger and satiety cues (if they are working in your own body).  Try to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full.  What does it feel like to be hungry?  What does it feel like to be full? Take note of this now and put it into practice.

5. Eat a high-fiber, nutritious breakfast each day. Whole grain cereal, skim milk and fruit or eggs and toast are great options.  This jump start will help get your metabolism going, and will also help decrease emotional eating in the afternoon or nighttime.

6. Keep healthy snacks with you when out shopping, or out running errands.  Keep a healthy granola bar or trail mix pack in your purse (or even in your car), that way you can stick to a healthier choice when hunger hits.

7. Drink alcohol wisely. A simple beer or wine is usually a much healthier choice than a mixed drink full of sugar. Choose water or club soda with lime at parties to alternate in between drinks (sometimes it’s more about holding a pretty drink rather than the drink itself).

8.  Bring a nutritious dish to parties as a way to thank your host but also to honor health.  Bring something you know is a comfort food but also safe for you to eat if you are unsure about the rest.

9.  Exercise as stress relief. Not only will this help you physically, but mentally too.  Exercise can be just as powerful as a medication for stress!  Try to schedule in short (realistic workouts), maybe 30 minutes a few times a week.

10.  Try to avoid the mindset of “all or nothing”.  This time of year is all about doing what you “can”.  But if you have a “me first” mentality and take care of you, I can almost guarantee you that you will have a happier, healthierholiday season. 

Tips for a Healthy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from Eat With Knowledge!!

Holidays are not just about family, friends, and being thankful… it’s also about the food!  So how can we honor our bodies this time of year and be thankful for a healthy relationship with food?  Here are some of my favorite tips for Thanksgiving.

1.  Be mindful of what you’re really craving at the table. There are no right or wrong answers! For me, I savor the homemade food, and leave the store-bought stuff behind.  My plate is full of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and lots of homemade bread and butter! I tend to say no to the store-bought mac-n-cheese or appetizers ahead of the main meal. When it comes to dessert my plate is always filled with pie!! As much as I love ice cream, I usually say no because I have that all year.

2.  Be intuitive.  Allow your body to tell you when to stop eating, not when you think you should or when the food is gone from the plate.  Listen to your internal cues and try to be aware of the hunger/satiety cues your body gives you.  Chances are you WILL overeat at this meal but make it feel good and not too stuffed that you feel sick.

3.  1 & 2 are always easier when you eat a balanced breakfast and lunch before the big dinner splurge- you won’t be setting yourself up for a binge if you’re not absolutely starving by the time you get to the big holiday meal.

4.  Make choices that work for you and your body.  Bring something healthy to the party if you want to!  And on the flip side, if you want to indulge go for it with no guilt and shame!

5.  The most important rule- Thanksgiving is about the family, friends, and people in your life you are thankful for.  Can you add being thankful for your body and good relationship with food to the list?