Resolve to Succeed

Happy New Year!

Here are the most common New Year’s resolutions according to Time Magazine:

Top 10 New Year’s resolutions

  1. Lose Weight & Get Fit
  2. Quit Smoking
  3. Learn Something New
  4. Eat Healthier & Diet
  5. Get Out of Debt, Save Money
  6. Spend More Time with Family
  7. Travel to New Places
  8. Get Less Stressed
  9. Volunteer
  10. Drink Less

Did you notice that half of them are health related?

Resolve to Succeed

Unfortunately 25% of resolutions fail within the first week and more than 50% have failed by 6 months.

So they could also be called the top 10 most commonly broken resolutions.

So, why do resolutions fail?

  1. Goals are too big.
  2. Skills are not developed to maintain goals.
  3. Support systems are not in place to reach goals.

New Year’s resolutions should be lifestyle changes, and lifestyle changes require realistic goals, skills and support systems to be successful.

So if your resolution is to lose weight and get fit…

  1. Goals: Aim for 1-2 lb weight loss per week. We all want to lose weight quickly, but the thing that people who lose weight and keep it off have in common, is that they lose it at a steady pace of about 1-2 pounds per week. Sure, you can drop 10 lbs in a week, but chances are you are doing it by making drastic restrictions to your diet, and this will only lead to weight gain further down the road. With a loss of 1-2 lbs per week, you can learn realistic habits and make changes that will last a lifetime.
  2. Skills: 1 lb equals 3,500 calories so to lose 1-2 lb per week you need to create a deficit of 500 calories a day through diet and increased exercise (500 calories x 7 days a week = 3500 calories per week). Work with a personal trainer to find enjoyable ways to incorporate physical activity (burn 100 calories with 11 minutes of zumba 6 minutes of running stairs, or 15 minutes of shoveling your neighbor’s walk). Meet with a dietitian to learn how to make your favorite recipes healthier, how to grocery shop on a budget, and go-to cooking techniques.
  3. Systems: Start tracking your exercise and food. You could use pen and paper, an app like MyFitnessPal, a website like SuperTracker, or a tech gizmo like FitBit. Let friends, family, and coworkers know how to support you – they can’t read your mind. Clean out your fridge and cupboards so your environment supports healthy choices.
Did you make any resolutions this year?

5 Healthy Holiday Habits

Hello, hello and happy December!

If you’re like me, you enjoy the excitement that comes with the holidays but are well aware that it wreaks havoc your mental and physical health.

Holiday Scale

An elf shared these tips with me so please feel free to use them to help mitigate some of damage.

Include fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and full of vital nutrients so it’s important to include them in all meals and snacks. If you are cooking, include plenty of fruit and veggie options. If you are attending a holiday celebration hosted by someone else, consider bringing a fruit or vegetable appetizer, side dish, or dessert. If you do this, you’ll know you’ll have something healthy to eat to balance out other offerings and other guests will appreciate it too.

Don’t skip meals

Just like you should do the rest of the year, eat 4-5 times a day. Don’t skip meals thinking you’ll save room for the holiday goodies…you’ll be hungry and more likely to overeat later. You’ll likely eat more total calories than you would if you had eaten throughout the day.

Stick to your normal routines

As much as possible, keep to your normal routines! Eat your usual meals and snacks at your usual times so you won’t overindulge. Sticking to your exercise and sleep routines will help too!

Practice portion control

Portion control is important for all of your meals and snacks all the time, but around the holidays it’s especially important to remember to stick to the right portions of the right foods so that you don’t end up eating more than you intend to. Eating a balanced diet will also help you feel good through the holidays.

Exercise daily

Maintain or even increase your physical activity to help counterbalance some of those extra holiday calories. This will also help you feel your best through the somewhat stressful holidays!

Do you have any other healthy holiday tips you’d like to share?

Gobble Up a Healthy Thanksgiving

Did you know that Americans consume an average of 3,000 calories when they sit down to a Thanksgiving meal?

An additional 1,500 calories come from appetizers and drinks, for a total of 4,500 calories!

That’s well over two days worth of calories for most people!


Super-sized portions at Thanksgiving are a huge contributor to weight gain during the holiday season. In order to keep your portions in check, use some of these tactics:

Tips for portion control on Thanksgiving

Choose the right plate. Choose a salad sized plate or kids plate when going for the main course. Even with a full plate, you portions will be kept to a reasonable size..

Go for volume. Choose whole grains, fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, salads, and other foods with lots of water and fiber to fill you up without too many calories.

Stick to smart choices. While each of us have our own favorites, keep in mind that some holiday foods are better choices than others. White, skinless turkey meat, plain vegetables, roasted sweet potatoes, thin gravy, and pumpkin pie tend to be the best bets because they are lower in fat and calories than dark turkey meat with skin, stuffing, fully loaded mashed potatoes, thick gravy, and pecan pie.

Eat mindfully. Tasting each mouthful is one of the easiest ways to enjoy your meal and feel satisfied with one plate full of food. Put your fork down and enjoy mealtime conversations with family and friends.

Go skinny on seconds. After your first round, wait for your brain to catch up with your stomach. If you’re still hungry after 20 minutes, drink a glass of water. If you’re still hungry at that point, help yourself to very small amounts of one or two of your favorites – but don’t go overboard.

Cut back on dessert. Ask for a half slice of pie and/or skip the crust. It most likely will cure your sweet tooth, and you’ll be cutting down on extra calories, sugar, and fat.

Remember, as long as you keep your portions under control, you can still enjoy all there is to offer at the table.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving portion control tactic?


Food and Nutrition Conference, Day 4-6

I know I haven’t given you a conference update since day 3 but a very busy few days turned into a very busy month!

Sunday (day 4) started with a breakfast sponsored by the Gatorade Sports Science Institute. The event proved so popular that it was standing room only – for breakfast! Sports dietitians Roberta Anding and Andrea Chernus spoke about working with athletes with dietary restrictions. Although challenging, it is possible to follow a vegan diet and still meet protein, vitamin D, and omega-3 needs.

After breakfast, I attended a session with the subtitle “Turning Your RD into Real Dollars.” This session was presented by Leah McGrath and Susan Mitchell. Leah is a dietitian that I absolutely love to follow on social media so I figured they’d have some good things to say.

Leah McGrath and Susan Mitchell

They talked about the skills needed to translate nutrition expertise into success as a dietitian. These skills included media training, social media training,culinary skills, public speaking, and counselling. These are definitely all areas I need to work on and thankfully the presentation also outlined some ways to hone these skills.

Next, I went to a talk by Regan Jones and Holley Grainger. They talked about using photos and video to promote healthier eating and definitely inspired me to work on my photography skills and maybe experiment with making a few videos.

Content is King

It used to be that content was king, but the old saying is true: a picture is worth a thousand words.  A good image has appeal, staying power, conveys a key message, and can produce a viral effect.

Now I’ll be honest with you. Five hours of sleep a night does not work well for me so I headed back to my hotel for a nap at this point, enjoying the walk in the warm Houston air.

Houston sky

After my nap, I headed back to the convention center and went straight to the expo floor.

I left the expo to attend a session on gamification of nutrition education but it was a little too theoretical for me so I ended up leaving early to head to the SCAN member meeting.

I had to speak at this meeting and although I actually really like public speaking, it makes me extremely nervous. Following the meeting was the big SCAN reception where I mingled with a few dietitians I haven’t seen for a while and met a few new people as well.


At the same time as the SCAN reception, Kansas State University was having a reception as well. I got my Bachelor’s in Nutrition from K-State and was hoping to meet up with some of my professors, but unfortunately I missed the event 😦

Monday (day 5) started with another early morning breakfast with SCAN, this time sponsored by Hass Avocados.

Hass Avocado Breakfast

But this wasn’t just any breakfast.

IMG_20131021_072336 edit

The speakers were from Second City Comedy and had us on our feet laughing at ourselves and learning how to make nutrition communications fun.

After breakfast, I headed to a session called “How Consumers Decide What to Eat: Strategies for Making Healthy Choices.” I had heard of both of the presenters before but now I’ve added them to my list of worlds coolest people. Elizabeth Ward and James E. Painter had tons of information about what influences the type and amount of food consumers prefer, and strategies to help individuals make nutrient-rich food choices in a variety of environments. Stay tuned because I definitely want to tell you all about what I learned in a future post.

We spent most of the rest of the day exploring the expo floor.

FNCE Expo 2013

Some of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ major sponsors are companies that we don’t always associate with good nutrition, but they are food producers so it’s good that dietitians have the opportunity to interact with them. Maybe not all of the foods they sell are super healthy, but people eat them, and I have definitely seen some improvements over the years. I actually had a quick conversation with an RD that works with YUM! Foods and she talked about working on decreasing sodium content in the foods and about how much of a challenge it has been.

Anyway, the point I’m trying to get to is that there are also a huge number of booths with “real” foods in the expo hall.

Pork Salad

Almost every fruit and nut you can think of is represented at the expo, which means I got to graze on strawberries, walnuts, peaches, peanuts, blueberries, almonds, tart cherries, pecans, grapes…


Of course I also stocked up on my fair share of swag, samples, and educational materials.

An offer from a friend to drop our bags in her hotel room was very much appreciated.

I lucked out on my timing and got David Grotto to autograph a copy of “The Best Things You Can Eat,” which you can expect to see in an Eat Me Quiz giveaway soon. I also played along and got my picture taken a couple of times – apparently photo booths are in this year.

Mitzi Dulan and Strawberries

Hass Acocado

Beef and a Rancher

My fancy friend Kimberly and I decided to purchase recordings of all of the sessions because there were so many that I wanted to go to that it made it hard to decide which ones to attend.

Because of that, I didn’t feel too guilty about leaving partway through the last session of the day.

After dropping our bags back at the hotel and changing into sneakers, we met with one of our professors for Kansas State and her daughter. I always enjoy Linda’s company and her support of my efforts to take over the world. We headed back to the same restaurant that we went to on Saturday evening because the way I see it, you can never get enough Tex-Mex while in Texas.

Linda, Katie, Kim, and I

Tuesday (Day 6). Back to not feeling guilty about missing sessions because we bought the recordings. I may have stayed in bed until 9am on Tuesday morning. And then I may have taken a couple more hours to try to get all of this:


… into my suitcase.

In the end, I had to expand and check my carry-on suitcase and take an extra bag as a second carry-on. I have to admit that even after sleeping in, my attention span had reached its limit so I really didn’t get much out of the closing session. Trip home was fairly uneventful so that about concludes my FNCE 2013 experience!

Were you at the conference? What were some highlights?

Food and Nutrition Conference, Day 3

Good evening!

In case you missed my post yesterday, I’m at FNCE, a huge and fantastic food and nutrition conference in Houston, TX, and I wanted to share some of my experiences with you.


After two Starbucks skim Salted Caramel Mochas (shh, don’t tell the other dietitians) and a long day of meetings with the SCAN executive committee, I headed to the conference’s opening session.

Opening Session

It was a really cool T-shaped auditorium and I ended up sitting on the side and toward the back…I could see 3 teleprompters from where I was.

One of my favorite quotes from the sessions was: “We all need help. Where would Ben be without Jerry?”

Ladies Room

Turns out that when you have a dietitian conference, the city’s female population doubles and they convert most of the men’s washrooms to ladies’ rooms.

This came in handy after my two salted caramel mochas.

Cori and I

I met up with a friend from my dietetic internship who joined us for dinner.

Note to self: This pants, socks, and shoes combination does not work.

East End Street Fest

We got dinner recommendations from the concierge at a random hotel and decided to walk to Ninfa’s, a local Tex-Mex restaurant. Turns out that Ninfa’s is on the other side of the tracks so the walk was full of character. We even came across a big street festival that was finishing up for the day but was still full of dancing and excitement.

East End Dancer

Sure, taking a taxi would have been an option, but then we would have missed out on this!

Dinner was delicious and now I am ready for bed – breakfast tomorrow is at 6:45 sharp.

One year I’ll have enough energy to get up early and style my hair in something other than a ponytail.

Good night!


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