Weight loss food smarts: seeing is believing when it comes to eating
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By Andrea Holwegner, For The Calgary Herald April 7, 2011

Trying to lose weight? Relying on your memory or your stomach to tell you when you are full may let you down. But relying on your eyes may just help you out.

When we ask our nutrition counselling clients what they typically eat in the course of a day and what they ate yesterday, they’re rarely able to remember the accurate details.

Research has shown over the past 20 years that, on average, people whose weight is in a normal range think they have eaten 20 per cent less than they actually did, while overweight people underestimate how much they eat by 30 to 50 per cent.

Visualize before you eat

A 2008 article published in the International Journal of Consumer Studies by Lydia Zepeda and David Deal showed that taking pictures of your food could help your awareness and thereby change your food choices. The study, which has become known as the “flash diet,” also showed that taking pictures of your food is more effective than a written food journal, which has traditionally been shown to help with weight loss. If you own a camera phone or have a digital camera and are trying to lose weight, I challenge you to try snapping a picture before you eat anything.

This speedy tracking method might just be the best visual cue to help you shift your food choices or decrease the quantity of food you are eating.

Visualize while you eat

In 2006, researchers Brian Wansink and Collin Payne filmed a segment with ABC’s 20/20, in which MBA students were fed complimentary chicken wings at a sports bar during the Super Bowl. Half of the students had servers that came by three or four times that night to clear off bowls of eaten wings, while the other half received no clearing service and instead were left with piles of bones on the table.

Students that ate at the tables with piles of chicken wing bones present ate 28 per cent less than those whose tables had been cleared.

If you could see the food you have eaten after multiple trips to the buffet or from a four-course meal all at once, you might eat less. Although foods such as chicken wings provide a lasting visual legacy of what we have gorged on, many foods do not provide any evidence except an empty plate, bowl or package. Therefore, as much as possible, try to dish out all your food at once, rather than taking a smaller amount and going back for second or third helpings.

Also, dish out all your food into bowls or on a plate, rather than eating them out of the box or bag, since most of us do not eat portions, we eat packages.

Visualize after you eat

One of the biggest roadblocks to success in any capacity -including achieving good health and a healthy body weight -is lack of a clear vision, goals and accountability to move you forward. Do you have a sharp and realistic vision about your health and a realistic goal for weight loss? What about an accountability plan to keep you from getting distracted when life becomes busy or stressful?

At the end of the day and once a week, I would suggest checking in with yourself in two ways. First, review your photo journal (or written or electronic journal if you prefer). Could you have increased some items such as vegetables, fruits or fluids, which are low calorie ways to add volume to your meals? Could you have decreased the size of higher calorie items such as sweets, fats and portions overall?

The more focused and aware you are of your food choices before, during and after eating, the better chance you’ll have to move yourself to the healthy weight you want to achieve. Use your eyes for help.

Andrea Holwegner, the chocoholic dietitian, is owner of Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc. Visit www.healthstandnutrition.com or phone 403-262-3466  for more information.

Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/health/Weight+loss+food+smarts/4573439/story.html#ixzz1LJxO935Q

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"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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