Conscious Eating: How to double your weight loss!
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By Andrea Holwegner, Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc.

Do you know what you are actually eating? Often we are unaware of how much or even why we are eating. Is it really due to hunger? Often we form social events around eating, like when we are out with work, friends or family. Food can also be a coping mechanism to deal with anger, sadness and stress. Sometimes we are not aware of the larger portions served at restaurants and at home. So even if you are trying to acknowledge your food intake, the supermarkets, restaurants, and even our expanding personal plates and bowls have made it increasing difficult to know what a proper portion size of food should be. No wonder many North Americans are struggling with their weight.

This is where conscious eating comes into play. We need to get back to acknowledging our own hunger-pains. As a child we had hunger and fullness cues that we instinctively used to let us know how much food was appropriate for energy, growth and development. What happened to those biological signs? How do we bring back those instinctive cues of our childhood to tell us to stop eating when full?

Initially, to understand where you are indulging in food too much, you need to know what you are currently eating. Try writing down what you eat each day. Studies have shown that people who are overweight and write down daily food journals have lost significantly more weight in less time.

The underlying science to this weight loss trick is consciousness. It means that we know WHAT we are eating and WHY we are eating it.

As nutrition professionals, we notice the difference in clients eating habits when they bring in a food journal just for 3 days. Often people comment on how the food journal is not very typical and they would have normally eaten much worse. It is a real eye-opener. When writing down every food and drink you consume, you become responsible for your diet and your health. You may find you want to eat all 10 chocolate chip cookies, but do not want to write them down; therefore you may only have 2 instead. The food journal is for your eyes only (if you choose so); therefore it is best when you are honest with yourself. It will keep you compelled to stay on track with you healthy eating goals.

Food Journal: You can use anything from a scrap piece of paper to your palm or blackberry to keep track of your daily food intake. To purchase the Juiced Up Journal food tracker, click here.

Some people like to keep an online database food journal that will keep a log of your progress. Here are some recommended sites: www.eatracker.cawww.fitday.com and www.nutritiondata.com.

Evidence Based: A research study by Kaiser Permanente Centre in August 2008 showed that overweight participants who were put on a healthy eating diet and exercise program were able to lose DOUBLE the weight when they religiously wrote down what they ate each day. Those who did not write down what they ate still lost weight due to a healthy eating plan, but were not as successful with meeting their weight loss goals.

For more information on this study and other studies at the Kaiser Permanente Centre see: https://www.kaiserpermanente.org/ and the American Journal of Preventive Medicine August 2008 issue.

Bottom Line: It seems like the simple act of writing down what you eat encourages you to consume fewer calories. What is also happening over time is we are changing our behaviors and becoming increasingly aware of our actions and eating habits. Remember to ask yourself, “WHY am I eating?” and “WHAT is this food doing for my body?” If you are struggling with your eating ask yourself how you can comfort yourself without food. Some examples of healthy ways to comfort yourself without food could include: taking a short walk, lying down and just listening to your own breath, take five deep breathes, writing down how you are feeling, talking to a friend or listening to music. You can make your own list of things that work for you.

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Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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