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Eating Disorder Treatment News

Powerful Protein

Elise Gordon M.S., RD/LD

Did you know that there are over 10,000 different proteins in our body?!  Protein makes up so much of our body: our hair, skin, muscles, bones, and all other body tissues. You can imagine that this nutrient is very important. One reason it is so important is because we cannot store proteins as we store carbohydrates and fats—so our diet must give provide plenty to keep us maintain, repair, and build up our body.

What does protein do for us?

It makes up our organs, skin, hair, muscles, bones, and tissues.
• It has an important part in our immune system and fighting off germs.
• It is a part of enzymes and hormones which  help control many body functions.
• It helps to form blood cells.
• It is a part of every cell in our body!

Not All Protein is Created Equal

• Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. We use these building blocks to create new proteins in our bodies to use for muscle, hair, skin, etc.
• Complete Proteins: food sources with this kind of protein contain all the building blocks necessary to create new proteins. These proteins are found in animal products and soy products.
• Incomplete Proteins: food sources with this kind of protein do not contain all the building blocks we need to create new proteins. These proteins are found in plant products (fruits and vegetables).

Animal Proteins versus Plant Proteins

• Include both! They have great things to offer!
• Protein that comes from animal sources is a good source of complete proteins, iron, B vitamins, zinc, selenium. Try to include beef, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, fish.
• Protein that comes from plant sources is a good source of fiber, antioxidants, and numerous vitamins and minerals. Try to include soy, nuts, sees, whole grains, beans, lentils, nut butters.

What protein do I eat?

• Remember the words: VARIETY, MODERATION, and BALANCE?  This applies for choosing protein foods as well. Your goal should be to eat a VARIETY of different protein sources throughout the day from animals and plants!
• What if I’m a vegetarian?
• It is possible for a vegetarian to get all the proteins they need. The key is to mix and match your foods so that you get what you need. Make sure you get a variety and try out some soy products!

Are protein foods are fattening and unhealthy?

• No! Protein foods will not cause weight gain because of the fat they contain. Remember that weight gain is caused by consuming more calories than you burn.
• There are many lean meat foods (chicken, pork, turkey), foods with protein and heart healthy fats (fish, nuts, vegetable oils).
• Eating anything in moderation will not make you an unhealthy person!

How much protein do I eat each day?

• Your protein needs are based on how much you weigh. Your dietitian will help you to decide how many servings per day that you need.
• You can use this example as a guide. If you weigh more, you will need more. If you weigh less, you will need less:    A person who weighs 150 pounds needs at least 55 grams of protein (8oz meat) per day.

Nutrition: Back To The Basics

by Elise Gordon, M.S., R.D./L.D.

You’ve heard the 3 words many times:  VARIETY, MODERATION & BALANCE!  What do they mean? VARIETY: 

  • Eat foods from all the food groups each day.
  • Within each meal, aim to eat at least 3 colors. This will let you know that you are getting variety.
  • Test your palate! It’s never too late to try something new.  You might even like it!!

MODERATION:

  • This means letting all foods be a part of healthy eating.  It is not eliminating foods/food groups.
  • It is finding the balance between the extremes of ALL of it and NONE of it.Food Pyramid
  • It is okay to eat more refined foods combined with nutrient-dense foods to be part of a healthy diet.

BALANCE:

  • Incorporating foods from all food groups and listening to the “everything can fit” mentality.
  • One never has to worry about not having the perfect ” balance” for one meal or even one day.  It is about the balance over time that is the most important thing to remember.
  • Balance out refined foods with more wholesome, nutrient-dense foods.  This way you are getting good nutritional value and enjoying what you are eating too.

Other important points to remember that will get you lots of ‘Nutrition Nods’:

  • P-C-F (Protein-Carbohydrate-Fat) Balance at meals to meet your needs and help you feel satisfied.
  • Do not wait longer than 5-6 hours to eat, rather eat meals and add in 1-2 snacks to avoid slowing down your metabolism, to regulate blood sugar levels, and stabilize your mood.
  • Take your time to eat in order to not overeat, but also to enjoy your meal.
  • Choose foods high in fiber and complex carbohydrates.  They do so many wonderful things for our bodies.
  • Choose high quality proteins, and aim to eat fish weekly to get those great omega-3’s in!
  • Watch saturated and trans fat, but get in lots of those mono- and polyunsaturated fats for health.
  • Let yourself have sugar and desserts, maybe put a limit on them per day/week.
  • Drink plenty of non-caffeinated fluids to keep yourself hydrated and your body thriving.
  • Be physically active, including stretching, aerobic training and strength training.
  • Find a plan that works for you and make it a lifestyle choice.

Treatment of Eating Disorder – Meal Planning

By Elise Gordon M.S., RD/LD

There are many different options when it comes to meal planning.  We like to try to match a plan that would be best for you and help you meet your needs.  You can however start with one type of Meal Plan and decide that it is not right for you and then try another.  Also as you move through the eating disorder recovery process, you may want to move from calorie counting to servings or mix and match meals.  This is a good sign as you work towards MindFull Eating and normalization.

MEAL PLANS:

CALORIE COUNTING

This is writing down everything you eat, with portion sizing and calorie values.  The goal is to make a certain number of calories by the end of the day.  Your dietitian will be working with you on what this calorie goal is and how it needs to be increased over time.

Meal Planning in Eating Disorders

CALORIE COUNTING WITH BLOCKS

This is essentially the same as calorie counting, however it assigns certain calorie amounts for blocks of time, i.e. Breakfast Block (incorporates Breakfast and AM Snack), Lunch Block (incorporates Lunch and PM Snack) etc.  This is very helpful if it is hard for you to space your food intake out throughout the day.  It also seems to be less overwhelming to think about calorie blocks vs. the whole calorie amount for the day.

FOOD GROUP SERVINGS

This meal plan follows the food pyramid as far as food groups and ensuring you eat a certain number of servings from each food group (not to be confused with the exchange system).   You will still have a calorie goal but this will be expressed in number of servings from each food group.  It is not as exact as calorie counting ,but it a great way to make sure you are incorporating all foods into your plan.

MIX AND MATCH MEALS

If you seem to eat the same way or need more ideas of what/how much to eat, your dietitian can help make up Mix and Match Meals that will reflect all your food preferences.  You can make up at least 5 different days of meals and snacks and eat those in their entirety to ensure a certain calorie intake.  This is helpful if you are very indecisive with what or how much to eat . It will keep you on track for the day.

PLATE PLAN

The Plate Plan is a fun way to visualize how your plate looks and it ensures that you are getting everything you need.  It shows portions of starch, protein, vegetable, fruit and dairy.  It helps you to get variety and balance in your diet, while feeling like you are following some ground rules for eating.

FIXED MENUS

These are very detailed and rigid, and are not used very often in our meal planning. Sometimes in a very stressful situation, it can be helpful to plan out an entire meal or day if needed.  Your dietitian will work with you on this as situations arise.

Our eating disorder recovery programs are customized to each individual. One of the therapy classes that we are very proud of is our Cooking Classes which offers a cookbook written by Walker Wellness staff. Please contact us for more information if you are struggling with food, fear foods, food addictions or eating disorders.

It’s Time to Face the Fats!

By: Elise Gordon M.S., R.D/L.D.

For some reason, over the years, the word ‘FAT’ has become such a negative term in our society and been so abused. Unfortunately, it may be because many are misinformed or are holding onto fat myths? It seems that many believe that if they eat food with fat in it, it could potentially make them fat? And since saturated and trans fat are referred to as “unhealthy fats”, many think that just by eliminating ALL fat from their diets, then they can in fact be healthy. THIS IS NOT THE CASE!

Is FAT necessary for life? The short answer is YES. Research has found that at least 15% of ones calories should come from fat, with 25% being a goal recommendation.

What does Fat do for us?

· Excellent Energy Source, very calorie dense
· Proper cellular function of the body
· Provides insulation, therefore keeping us warm
· Provides taste, aroma and texture to foods, therefore making them yummy
· Used to make hormones that regulate blood pressure, heart rate, blood clotting and the central nervous system
· It carries our fat soluble Vitamins A, D, E, K, which we could not absorb otherwise
· Maintains hair, nail and skin health
· It provides Essential Fatty Acids (omega-3 and omega-6) that can only be obtained through food
· Provides protection from injury, i.e. internal organs, bones
· Helps to regulate appetite, provides satiety and a sense of fullness

It seems difficult for many to think of all the positive things that fat can do for us. There are also many fat myths that we have heard over the years like:

· Eating fats make you fat
· Fats in any amount are unhealthy and “bad” for you
· All fats are bad
· Eliminating fat can help you lose weight

Let’s dispel a few of these myths above:

· Eating more CALORIES than you need, can make you gain weight
· There are many benefits to eating fat, especially unsaturated fats and essential fats, which can only come from food
· Like any other nutrient, getting MORE fat than you need can become a problem over time
· Since fat is a concentrated source of calories, eliminating them from your diet usually means you are eliminating a lot of CALORIES,     which is the reason for weight loss

What are some of the thoughts you have had about fat?

Do your current behaviors illustrate these thoughts?

Clearing the Name of Carbs

By: Caroline Sullivan, M.S., R.D./L.D.liva

CarbohydratesCarbohydrates, popularly known as carbs, have become the perceived enemy of most weight-conscious Americans. Many come to nutrition counseling with an intense fear of carbohydrates believing that carbs are out to sabotage their nutritional goals. If you type “carbs” into an internet search engine, the result will yield you several sound sources of information. Good luck finding them, however, hidden among infinitely more websites containing “low-carb info,” “low-carb recipes,” or “low carb diet tools”.

The big question is: Why the widespread fear of such an important food group?

In 1972 Dr. Robert Atkins published an innovative book entitled: Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution”. After experiencing personal weight loss on a low-carb diet, and subsequently helping patients lose weight on the same diet, Dr. Atkins created a weight loss fad that would eventually sweep the nation. Although it took over three decades to peak in popularity, the Atkins Diet gained widespread notoriety in the late 1990s. At the height of its popularity one in eleven North-American adults were on the diet. On the heels of Atkins was another highly popular carbohydrate-limiting plan, the South Beach Diet. The diets’ popularity was blamed for unprecedented declines in the sales of carbohydrate-heavy foods like pasta and rice (sales were down 8.2 and 4.6 percent, respectively, in 2003). The scientific community saw the results and followed suit with studies investigating the efficacy of the diets. Did they really work? Were carbs really the enemy?

It is true – people have lost weight on low-carb diets. With the intense focus on carbohydrates, the most crucial aspect has been overlooked: These diets are not only low-carb, but more importantly low-calorie. The element of any diet that most directly affects weight loss isn’t the lack of carbs (or any other food group), but the lowering of caloric intake, as weight loss is the result of a calorie deficit (meaning that a person is burning more calories than they consume).

There are several other reasons why these diets cause weight loss:

1. These diets demand the elimination of 1 to 2 food groups (grains and fruits), decreasing the amount of food choices, thus leading to a lowered calorie intake.

2. Carbohydrate in the body is stored along with water molecules. If there are no carbs in a diet, the body will utilize its stores. When the stores are released, there is also a release of a large amount of water, resulting in weight loss.

3. Protein and fat are very hunger-satisfying. It is much more difficult to over-eat fat and protein than it is to over-eat carbohydrates, thus limiting calories.

Hundreds of studies have been published comparing the differences between low-carb diets and low calorie diets. A comprehensive presentation of their findings would require a doctoral thesis (an unpleasant undertaking, I suspect, for both this author and the reader!). There is one common thread, however: All of these studies have been short term and weight loss is more correlated with caloric intake rather than the types of foods eaten. There are many health benefits of carbohydrates and it would be detrimental to one’s health to cut out this food group completely. Eating complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and fruits are part of a healthy balanced diet. Read on to see the truth behind many popular beliefs and some health benefits of carbohydrates.

1. Carbohydrates are the preferred fuel of the entire body. A lack of carbohydrates will leave one feeling sluggish and fatigued. It is also what our brain loves to run on!

2. Carbohydrates and sugar do not cause obesity, diabetes, or high cholesterol. Diets high in complex carbohydrates and low in fat have shown a significant improvement in heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cholesterol levels.

3. Carbohydrates are not fattening. Breads and grains typically have 0-1 gram of fat per serving.

4. Whole grains, which are complex carbohydrates, are excellent sources of fiber, important for regularity, disease prevention, and it helps lower cholesterol.

5. Complex carbohydrates also provide many important nutrients: thiamin, folic acid, iron, riboflavin and niacin.

Are carbs really the enemy? We would never expect our cars to function properly on anything but fuel, so why do we expect our bodies to run efficiently without carbs? The benefit of having carbohydrates in our daily diet far exceeds the benefit of cutting them out completely – so eat up and enjoy!

A Calorie is a Calorie is a Calorie … Or is it?

By: Elise Gordon, M.S., R.D./L.D.

WHAT?

So, if I eat the same number of calories from a candy bar versus from a lean turkey sandwich with cheese on wheat, they are equal?

As far as weight management goes….YES!

If you eat as many calories as your body needs, your weight will be stable.  If you create a deficit (with calories or increased exercise) you will lose weight, and if you eat more calories than your body needs, you will gain weight.  Simple, right?

Another question would be:  Does eating enough Calories = Nutrition? Nourishment? Well-being?

Firstly, what are calories?

Meal planning and calorie countingIn brief, they are a scientific measure of energy.  We all need a certain number of calories to meet our basic metabolic needs and to cover our energy expenditure for daily activity and exercise. It is important to provide one’s body with this amount of calories for nourishment.  To know exactly what your basic metabolic needs are, you would need to complete a simple breathing test.  From this information, we can predict how many CALORIES it will take for your body to function on a day to day basis.  In other words, how much it would take for you to maintain your weight.

Once you normalize your calorie intake and remain consistent within this range, your body learns to trust that you will be feeding it regularly.  It then becomes easier to follow Mindful Eating as a way of maintaining your weight, enjoying a wide variety of foods and honoring some of your cravings and food preferences.

We DO recommend that you eat a variety of foods from all the food groups.  We also suggest you aim for a balance of protein-carbohydrate-fat (P-C-F Balance).  This will ensure you are getting the Nutrition your body needs to function optimally.   So to answer the question above, NO, only meeting your calorie needs does not always equal Nutrition, Nourishment or Well-Being.

SO, when you start on a meal plan and you hear your dietitian say that she has no problem what you eat, as long as you MAKE YOUR CALORIES, it is true!  Of course, as we analyze your diet, we like for you to incorporate variety in your meal plan;  but most importantly, in the recovery process, is feeding your body what it needs and reaching your nutritional goals.

WE CHALLENGE YOU TO FIND OUT FOR YOURSELVES THAT A CALORIE IS A CALORIE IS A CALORIE.

Happy Eating!

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Dining Not Dwelling: A Comfortable Meal Experience

Do you check the nutrition facts label before purchasing a product at the grocery store? It is not uncommon for me to find five or more customers clogging up the bread aisle while comparing multiple products.  Being “nutrition savvy” is not an easy task, especially when faced with dining out at a restaurant. How do you obtain nutrition information for your favorite Pad Thai or barbecue?  Determining the exact calorie, protein, fat, and carbohydrate content in restaurant dishes is neither possible, nor necessary.  Many food chains are trending toward offering the nutrition information online, which can serve as a guideline for you to make an informed choice.  Remember to check the serving sizes listed as online menu nutrition information often lists the serving size as only half the entrée!  Being comfortable ordering and eating a meal at a restaurant is an important part of life and eating disorder recovery.  Here are some helpful hints:

1.  Spend some time thinking of what you might like to order, but honor your cravings or food preferences to prevent feelings of deprivation.

2.  Learn to enjoy the company more than the food.  Take your time when eating and savor the conversation as much as the dish.

3.  Share entrées to save calories and dollars.  Or do not feel obligated to eat everything on your plate.  Honor your fullness.

4.  Order salads with dressings on the side.  Then you can be the judge of how much dressing you choose to enjoy, honoring your own preference.

5.  Do not hesitate to tailor an entrée by requesting different sides to fit your liking or add some color (i.e. fruit instead of chips).

6.  Feel empowered to ask for what you need or want, i.e. ask to remove bread and butter, chips, crackers, etc. from the table.  Sometimes these starter foods can equal mindless calories.

7.  You can always ask how foods are prepared.  Feel free to request substitutes.

8.  Make sure to incorporate your favorite fun foods from time to time.  This will help you satisfy your cravings.

9.  Remember, your eating does not need to be perfect!  The long-term goal is to feel good, have more energy, and to be healthy.

 
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