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Four Steps to Weight Loss

Do you crave pizza when you are stressed? It's likely a learned behavior.

Do you crave pizza when you are stressed? It’s likely a learned behavior.

My holiday gift to you is support for your weight loss goals. Here are four steps to weight loss: Awareness, Rules, Structure, and Peacefulness.

Eating, and liking certain foods are learned behaviors.  As omnivores, we eat different foods based on our learning.  This means that our preferences for certain kinds of foods developed over time and become habits.  Some of us think we are “addicted” to different foods like sugar, or even fatty foods.  Research tells us that we may have preferences for sugary foods (and who doesn’t??) but these preferences are actually learned behaviors.  Since they are learned behaviors, we actually can end overeating in four steps.  

Feeding the Holiday Blues

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The holiday blues are common.  Did you know you can actually change your mental state through the right combination of healthful foods? Follow these tips to feed the holiday blues.

Depression and anxiety are complex conditions that must be diagnosed by a qualified health care practitioner. Often, however, the dietary component of mental illness is overlooked. Food sensitivities, or vitamin and mineral deficiencies may worsen the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Following a few dietary guidelines, in combination with other prescribed treatments, may help to relieve symptoms.

Dietary guidelines that may help to relieve depression:

  • Follow a diet plan that prevents hypoglycemia (e.g. eliminate refined sugar, alcohol, caffeine and tobacco; eat 4 – 6 small meals throughout the day; eat plenty of dietary fiber.
  • An elimination or rotation diet will help to decide whether or not you have sensitivities to particular foods.

Helpful Foods:

  • Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids for growth and repair of nervous tissue: nut, seed, cold water fish (salmon, halibut, mackerel) and vegetable oils (safflower, walnut, sunflower, flax seed), evening primrose oil (500 mg/3 times per day).
  • Foods rich in vitamin B6 – needed for normal brain function: Brewer’s yeast, bok choy, spinach, banana, potato, whole grains.
  • Foods rich in tryptophan – precursor to neurotransmitter serotonin: white turkey meat, milk, nuts, eggs, fish.
  • Liver cleansing foods – proper liver function helps to regulate blood sugar: garlic, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussell sprouts, beets, carrots, artichokes, lemons, parsnips, dandelion greens, watercress, burdock root.
  • Magnesium rich foods – important for nerve conduction: seeds, legumes, dark green leafy vegetables, soy products, almonds, pecans, cashews, wheat bran, meats.

Foods to Avoid:

  • Tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, artificial sweeteners
  • Refined sugar and processed foods
  • Be aware of your specific food sensitivities

Try a meal or snack with fiber-rich complex carbohydrates and low-fat protein!

Tofu Salad

with Cajun Spice Dressing

6 tablespoons Cajun Spice seasoning blend 1 pound firm- style tofu or Tempeh*
1/2 cup vinaigrette dressing
4 cups organic salad greens including:
dandelion greens, watercress, arugula, baby kale, romaine, spinach 1/2 cup organic shredded carrot
1/3 cup thinly sliced fennel
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1-2 tablespoons canola oil

  1. Drain tofu, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices, press briefly with paper towel to absorb excess water. If using tempeh, simply slice tempeh into 1/2-inch strips.
  2. Measure 5 tablespoons of spice mixture into shallow bowl; dip tofu/tempeh in spice mixture to evenly coat; transfer to a dry plate. Cover and chill 30 minutes.
  3. Combine remaining spice mixture with vinaigrette dressing. Blend well; let stand 15 minutes.
  4. Preheat heavy skillet. Lightly coat with vegetable oil. Pan fry tofu/tempeh for 4 – 5 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.
  5. Arrange salad greens on serving plate. Arrange tofu/tempeh evenly over greens. Garnish each salad with carrot, fennel, and red onion. Top each with two tablespoons dressing.

*Tofu and tempeh are good sources of magnesium. Deficiencies in magnesium have been linked to depression, irritability and confusion.

For Assistance with your own personalized nutrition program, contact THE Mindful Nutritionist, Lisa Schmidt, MS, CN. Scottsdale, Phoenix, and Virtual appointments available. (P) 480.675.4568  (email) lisa@lisaschmidtcounseling.com.

Dog Training and Weight Loss

Five things that dog training taught me about weight loss…

Dog Training and Weight Loss

Dog Training and Weight Loss

  1.  Dog training is not about the dog.  It is about the human.  Dogs don’t need to be trained, we humans do!  As we worked with our great dog trainer, we practiced, practiced, practiced.  We bought special supplies, made sure we had the right equipment on hand, and did our assigned homework.  Every day.  It was the most important thing in our life, since we were interested in supporting our dog’s change process.  Dogs learn well – so do humans.  We can absolutely lose weight if we make sure we have the right equipment on hand, do our homework assigned by our human weight loss “trainer” (contact me for a quote), buy special supplies of food, and practice, practice practice. Losing weight is learned behavior.  We absolutely can be trained!
  2. Dog training works best if you don’t use food as a reward.  Dogs can learn things in the short term with treats; long term we create food motivated monsters!  Never use food as a reward.  For us, that is obvious.  Think of all the times we say, “I had a hard day, I deserve a treat.”  Hmmmm. Sounds like we are creating a monster?  Anyone know this one?

    Dog Training and Weight Loss

    Dog Training and Weight Loss

  3. Dog training is about practice, practice, practice.  Learning new skills requires repetition.  We are animals, just like dogs.   We require repetition in order to learn new skills.  Want to lose weight?  Give yourself every opportunity to practice your new skills.  For example, our dog trainer had us do two sessions every day, twenty minutes each, for each dog.  That was four twenty minute sessions every day for two months.  WHEW!  After two months, what did we get?  Perfect dogs!  Was it the trainer, the training, or the dog?  Or the combination?  It was amazing to get such great results.  Want to lose weight?  How about two sessions a day, 20 minutes every day of practice?  Making new, fresh, healthy food.  Shopping for food. Researching recipes.  Healthful restaurants.  Walking.  Practice, practice, practice!
  4. Dog training is about calm, assertive energy.  There is no room in dog training for fear, violence, or aggression.  This just produces fearful or aggressive dogs.  Calm and assertive energy creates respect and adoration.  After two months, our dogs (who were pretty good to begin with) ADORE US.  They listen, they are well behaved, and do great on leash (most of the time!)  Losing weight is also about calm, assertive energy.  Calmness and mindfulness inspire regulated blood sugar, and promote digestion and ease.  Assertion is necessary when confronted with those people, places and things that sabotage our progress.  Be a food whisperer!!
  5. Dog training is about forgiveness. 
    Dog Training - and Weight Loss - is about Forgiveness

    Dog Training – and Weight Loss – is about Forgiveness

    Forget about all the things that your dog did wrong.  It doesn’t matter, since every walk, every training activity, every day with your dog is a new one.  Does your dog chase bunnies? Forget it, forgive your dog, and move on.  Don’t flinch every time you see a bunny!  Just use your calm, assertive energy and move forward. Losing weight is about forgiveness, too.  Sustainable weight loss takes time, patience and practice.  We will succeed only if we can find the capacity to forgive ourselves for each slip, lapse of judgment, or any time we turn toward food and away from ourselves.  Be dog like.  Forgive, learn, and move on.

    Need a weight whisperer to help you on your journey?  Contact me.  With nearly 30 years experience helping people of all ages lose weight and improve health, I know what works.  I can’t wait to hear from you!

The healing power of plants

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”–HippocratesThe Healing Power of Plants

The father of modern medicine scribed these words nearly 2,500 years ago. The words of Hippocrates have been used to communicate how a connection with nature through a relationship with food can provide health benefits far beyond any other type of “prescription”. Seen through this lens, eating is an intimate way to extract life-sustaining energy from Mother Nature. 

What purpose does your disordered eating serve?

Have you ever considered what purpose your eating pattern serves?  Any type of disordered eating pattern, whether it is restricting food intake (a “diet”),

meditation calms the mind

Sit ten minutes a day and find some headspace

counting calories obsessively, counting fat grams, avoiding entire categories of food (dreaded “gluten”,  “carbs”, or “sugar” are three examples), overeating past the point of satisfaction, throwing up, compensatory behaviors like laxatives or exercising to extreme – all of these patterns are your relationship to food.  And your relationship, like any other relationship, serves a purpose in your life.

What would you be doing with your life if you weren’t spending all of your time counting calories?  Hating yourself?  Wishing you were something – anything other than you think you are?  How much time are you spending each day with thoughts about food, feeding, body size & weight?  Most importantly, what would you be thinking and feeling if your mind wasn’t occupied with thoughts about food and your body?