There are two types of eaters

When I first started doing nutrition counseling several years ago, I quickly found out that most of my clients fit neatly into one of two categories.

Now, I don’t usually like to put people into pigeon holes or into boxes and tell one to go here and the other to go there. That’s not what this is about.

However, when I noticed this I found that I could actually help people discover their self awareness by exploring whether or not they fit into one of these two categories.

I did find that not EVERYONE fit neatly into these categories – some were a combination of both.

Knowing which category you are for which foods is very important in making a plan and realizing whether or not you will follow it. Ready to know the categories? Here we go.

Category A

The First category of people I counseled, when we got toward avoiding certain food products that were less healthy and counseling people to go toward healthier choices, decided they were no longer going to buy X, Y and Z. These people realized that when they didn’t buy it, didn’t have it around, didn’t even think about having it anywhere near them, they were able to function normally and forget about their cravings.

This category of people is able to move past a craving if they don’t have said item. They are able to push it aside and continue on with their day and not worry about it. However, if they do happen upon this item or buy it at the grocery store, it usually results in a binge. Once they are in contact with the item that they crave, they end up going hog-wild and eating all of it. Thus, this type of person ends up trying to avoid getting into situations where they would be in contact with the item, i.e., avoid the break room where there might be donuts.

Category B

This particular category of people NEEDS to have a small amount of whatever item they are craving; once they have that small amount, they forget about the craving and are able to move on with their lives.

If they do not have the item they are craving, they will think about it all.day.long and maybe part of the next day and the rest of the week, until they get to the point that they might binge on it. 

Thus, they have realized if they just satisfy their craving and have a tiny.itty.bitty bite right now, they will forget about their craving and be able to move on with their lives, because they have scratched that itch, so to speak.

Combination

I have found a few clients who are combination of both. Some are Category A for one food and Category B for another. For example, I know a person who will eat an entire bag of gummy bears if it’s around, but they can have just once piece of chocolate and satisfy the craving.

 

So which category are you? I am totally in category A. Once I have a few bites – it’s over. I’ll eat the whole thing. I can easily down an entire bag of cookies. So I just don’t buy cookies and I try to avoid being around cookies. Everyone is different – and likewise you have to figure out which coping mechanisms work for you.

Comment below and tell me which camp you’re in. I’m in camp A. Camp B, let me know how you do it! I CANNOT just eat a few bites of something and be fine. I will think about it the rest of the day until I have the whole thing. That’s just me, though.

Thanks for stopping by! I’d LOVE for you to subscribe to my newsletter above and snag my FREE meal planning guide! I just put it together for you all and I think it’s super helpful – it’s exactly how I plan my meals every week.

Take care!

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If it were easy, everyone would do it.

If mindful eating were easy, everyone would do it.

If mindful eating were easy, we’d have a population of people at healthy weights. If mindful eating and eating what your body naturally requires were easy, we wouldn’t have 68.8% of the population, or more than 2/3 of ALL AMERICANS, designated as overweight or obese.

If mindful eating were easy,

Dove Chocolate would not have made an entire campaign around placing encouraging words on chocolate wrappers because they think you’re reaching for chocolate when you’re overwhelmed with emotions.

If mindful eating were easy,

Everyone Would Do It.

But it’s not easy. Dealing with your emotions is NOT easy. Most people turn to simple pleasures like food. Chocolate. Wine. 

It’s not easy to stop yourself and begin to ask yourself why you overeat. It’s not easy to begin to ask yourself to track these behaviors and work on changing them. It’s not easy to take a habit that’s engrained in you from childhood, and turn from that habit toward another habit.

It’s not easy.

It’s worth it.

It’s worth it to have a healthy relationship with food.

It’s worth it to NOT feel guilty when you do indulge in things you are really enjoying eating, and not because you are overwhelmed with emotions.

It’s worth it to KNOW that you are treating your body right 90% of the time, and the other 10% of the time is just fun times that you DON’T feel guilty for because you want to live your life.

It’s worth it to know when you indulge, that you wont slip back into a slipper slope of binge eating and overindulging. 

Those things make it all worth it.

You will look back, and in the end you will be thankful for what you’ve learned and how you’ve been able to cope with your emotions in a way that doesn’t involve foods and involves actually working through your ups and downs and coming out better in the end.

It isn’t easy.

But it’s worth it.

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Why Meal Plans Don’t Often Work

Recently, in a focus group of mine, I asked a few members whether or not they had ever been on a diet or a meal plan. Almost everyone had.

I also asked if the members had struggled with emotional eating. Almost everyone has.

I see this with individual clients, too. Many of them have tried the latest fad diets, or even well balanced diet plans from reputable sources.

I have nothing against meal plan services – their service is valuable and I’m fine with people using them as a basic framework for discovering their own best methods of eating…

…however; for many people, a meal plan is not enough. It isn’t even the first step and it’s certainly not the most important.

The thing about nutrition is – most people know what’s healthy. I would say there are very few people out there who really struggle with whether they should eat vegetables or candy – theoretically; however, when it comes to the decision making and the moment – that’s where the struggle begins and ends.

There are so many emotions and feelings tied into eating. That’s not a bad thing. Food is intricately woven into our culture and community. We eat with friends and family. Our parents are the first to feed us and form a bond with us from babyhood. We share cake at birthdays for celebration. We reward success with candies and chocolates. These things likely aren’t changing any time soon and actually that isn’t my intent.

The problem lies within us when we use these foods to continue to re-create these happy feelings we get during gathering and celebrations or the feelings we get when we are fed by our parents from a young age.

Emotional eating.

Everyone does it to some degree; some worse than others. When you choose to take your feelings and deal with them by trying to recreate the happy feelings that food creates, and do that in excess, it can lead to problems with your nutritional intake; your body may not be getting the nutrients it really needs to survive and thrive and is largely getting empty calories which can lead to weight gain.

Meal plans are, to paraphrase Taylor Swift, trying to put a band-aid over a bullet hole. I’m not saying it isn’t important to plan out your meals; it is. I do it every week, for the most part, although it’s not a perfect system {and that’s OK}.

When someone else makes your meal plan, though, they are assuming things about your life that may not be true. Maybe you will stick to it for a week or two. Or three or four. Invariably, however, something will come up and you’ll get off track. Then you may beat yourself up over it and try to get back on the bandwagon. You may give up on this meal plan and decide to start another one that fits better into your lifestyle. You may just to go toward counting calories or carbs to try to stay under control.

Most people don’t stick to this. I don’t recommend counting any nutrient as a way of life unless you have a chronic or hereditary disease that requires it. Counting is cumbersome and not very much fun. It takes a lot of joy out of eating, and what a joy eating is! You eat whilst thinking the whole time “this is about 3 ounces of salmon/steak/chicken and don’t let me forget to record that in my app…maybe I should weigh it…what if it’s more? What if there’s something in here I didn’t realize? What if my calories aren’t right and I gain weight?” which just adds to the anxious feelings which may actually make you want to eat more (or grab a chocolate).

Sometimes I recommend tracking food in the short term to get an idea of where you are with your nutrition; however this lasts a maximum of a week and may be revisited from time to time.

Overall, though, meal plans, counting calories and carbohydrates – that doesn’t account for life. It doesn’t account for the last minute dinner invite from your bestie. It doesn’t account for your sister’s birthday dinner at a fancy restaurant. It doesn’t account for the barbecue at work or the pool party you’re going to next Saturday. Unless you have unparalleled self discipline, pre-made meal plans don’t really work for you long-term if someone else made them.

Now you may be thinking that because I think all this above, that I believe in no plan at all – a fly by the seat of your pants method. Well I tell you what – a very smart person once said to me that there’s something even worse than a bad plan and that’s no plan. I do believe in a plan. I believe in knowledge about the basics of nutrition (which, if you don’t already have, is easily learned), and then leveraging that knowledge to create a plan that works for you and that is flexible. If you get to Friday and gosh darn it you just don’t FEEL like having the chicken and veggies you put on your plan for that week, well why not pizza? It’s ok. No one’s going to beat you up. You’re certainly not going to beat yourself up. You’re going to eat mindfully an amount of food that your body wants and requires and not. feel. guilty. 

How does that sound to you?

That sounds like my vision for the future of nutrition. {More to come on that later}….

 

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Food and Feelings Flowsheet

Hi! Long time no see.

You may have noticed it’s been a full.three.years since I’ve posted. A lot has happened. I’ve had another child (I’m a mother of THREE!). We’ve moved back to our home town. (Woo hoo!) I’ve redesigned the site to reflect who I am now. I look back on some of my old posts and it’s interesting to see how I’ve changed and grown over the past 3 years. I’m not as strict in my outlook on food and life. Life is more flexible and fluid and less rigid than I once thought.

I’ve still been working as a Registered Dietitian. I love my field. There are struggles in my daily tasks but I have fulfilling moments every.single.day.

That being said, there is stress. Sometimes it’s work stress, sometimes it’s life stress. Sometimes it’s I-don’t-know-why-it’s-there STRESS. But it creeps up on me and sometimes consumes my happiness and health and I have to kick it back into the back seat and say NO! You will NOT steal my happiness and fulfillment! You are a simple emotion and you will be dealt with!

I have begun to notice a war within us all. Something I have been passionate about from the very beginning but am just now wrapping my brain around due to the need to fix my own struggles with it.

Emotional Eating.

We all have these feelings – sometimes feelings that are too big for our bodies. Sometimes feelings we can’t even recognize in our own selves until after we have done some damage to ourselves accidentally. The recognition – that is the hard part. To realize after half a bag of chips or cookies is gone that the food is trying to take the place of some kind of comfort in your heart – that is difficult to realize, even in your own professional “registered dietitian” have-it-all-together self. 

If you struggle with this…don’t we all? I don’t think there is a person out there who hasn’t grabbed for a pint of ice cream, a bag of chips or a box of cookies when feeling lonely, stressed, isolated, sad, unhappy, etc.

Do you recognize it, though? Do you stop. Part of the way through your box. Do you say…Am I eating for nourishment or am I eating for emotional fulfillment? Let me tell you – a bag of cookies never emotionally fulfilled me for more than a second.

And then my tummy hurt.

So I had to search. Search for a solution. Search for a way to battle this emotional eating monster. Search for the anti-grab-a-chocolate-when-I’m-feeling-down. Sugar-high-will-make-it-better. Eat-a-sweet-treat-to-relax.

The best thing I could find was awareness.

Become aware of your emotions. But not just your emotions – the foods that go along with it. Journal the HECK out of that stuff. So I created the Food and Feelings Flowsheet.

I use the Food and Feelings Flowsheet when I FEEL like my FOOD and my FEELINGS are just a little too friendly together. When food is trying to ameliorate my feelings, I know there is a problem. When feelings are the source of my cravings for food — I know there is a problem.

I would love to share my “Triple F” solution with you, so here it is and I hope that it will bring awareness to how Food and Feelings relate. I just ask for 3 days. Journal your food and your feelings side-by-side for 3 days and see if you find any patterns. You may be surprised, and you may not be surprised…but if there is an emotional eating pattern this is where it will show.

The Food and Feelings Flowsheet is simple and you can create it yourself. I am working on a printable PDF for you as well. Take any piece of paper (or a page in your Bullet Journal). Draw a line straight down the middle. Title the column on the left “FOOD”. Title the column on the right “FEELINGS”. Then start tracking. Every time something edible goes in your mouth, you write that thing on the left hand column. This is about becoming aware of what you are eating and when. It doesn’t have to be exact. We aren’t getting out the measuring cups here. This isn’t a weigh-your-food type of program. It’s helpful to have a time stamp to it, though (to look for patterns). Then, after you eat it, I want you to journal three things: Ask yourself these questions —

  1. What was I feeling before I ate this food?
  2. What was I feeling WHILE I ate this food?
  3. What was I feeling after I ate this food?

Keep your descriptors simple. Sad. Anxious. Happy. Frustrated. Annoyed. Unhappy. Happy. Elated. Excited. 

Then scan your FFF for patterns. Does Anxiety lead to an unhealthy FFF? What about annoyance? Unhappiness? Loneliness? Etc? 

I promise you that if you struggle with weight or emotional eating, this exercise will bring awareness to what is actually going on. Only then can we work together to find creative solutions — finding other ways to calm these feelings that are food related. I must agree that it is not an easy thing to do. But it is worth it. Because you can’t deal with your feelings and your food responses until you know what they are.

Cheers to your health – emotional and physical! We are all trying to figure this thing out together and we will get there, I promise.

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Healthy Crab Cake Recipe

 

UPDATE: I tried this recipe with canned crab meat and it DID NOT WORK. The original below is with fresh crab meat which is more moist. If you use canned crab meat, you may need to add more binders (eggs, mayo, etc.). Carry on!

ORIGINAL POST: You may be asking yourself: are crab cakes healthy?! Well, that depends. A lot of restaurants make them with a bunch of processed ingredients and white flour bread crumbs and all sorts of things, so definitely check before you order them out; however, if you make crab cakes at home (which is really easy and fun!), you can be SURE they are healthy, especially if you use my recipe below ;). They are also delicious:

IMG_8118

 

The texture is fabulous. Just like a regular crab cake made with bread crumbs. 

IMG_8122

 

Here’s the recipe:

Low-Carb Healthy Crab Cakes
Serves 4
These crab cakes are delicious and guilt-free! Enjoy your beloved favorite food, crab cakes, WITHOUT having to worry about pesky processed ingredients, gluten, bread crumbs, etc. Simple - make them and have them ready in less than 30 minutes!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pound crab meat (you can use either claw-meat or back-fin which is usually used for crab cakes)
  2. 1/4 cup coconut flour
  3. 1 egg
  4. 1/4 tsp salt
  5. 1/2 tsp pepper
  6. dash paprika
  7. dash cayenne or other hot pepper sauce/powder
  8. 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  9. 1/2 tsp onion powder
  10. 1/2 tsp dried mustard or 1 tsp prepared mustard
  11. 1/2 small to medium onion (white or yellow)
Instructions
  1. Preheat non-stick or cast iron pan over medium to medium-high heat.
In food processor
  1. Cut onion in half and peel. Put half onion in food processor and process until diced. Then, add other ingredients and processed until homogeneously combined. Do not over process.
Without food processor
  1. Dice onions. Whisk egg, and add spices to egg. Then add coconut flour and mix until combined. Use hands to pull apart crab meat into small pieces/strings. You can also use a knife to dice it up. Then mix the crab meat with the other ingredients until combined.
  2. Divide mixture into 4 equal parts, and then form patties. You can do this by first creating a ball by cupping your hand, then smashing it down into a patty. Put a small amount of olive oil, coconut oil or butter in your preheated pan, and give it a few seconds to heat up. Then, place the 4 crab cakes in the pan. They should sizzle when they hit the pan, and if they don't your pan isn't hot enough, so take the off and let it heat up a bit more. After a few minutes and the bottom is browned nicely, flip the crab cake and cook the other side until browned. Serve with tartar sauce.
Nutrition To Fruition http://www.nutritiontofruition.com/
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