Ask Dani – Did I Make The Right Choice?

Dear Dani,

I was in the cereal aisle of the supermarket the other night trying to decide between two cereals. One had 100 calories per serving, but no fiber, and the other had 140 calories with 5g of fiber. I ended up choosing the one with the fiber, figuring that the fiber makes it better, but now I’m not sure if I made the right choice. Can you help me out?

Thanks, Munching Michelle

Dear Munching Michelle,

You definitely made the right choice by going with the fiber filled cereal. Just because something is lower in calories doesn’t mean it’s a better choice, because they can be empty calories and your body doesn’t use them as efficiently as nutrient dense calories. Fiber creates more bulk in your food which will help you feel fuller longer and ultimately help you eat less, plus it’s great for your digestion and colon. But, just because something has fiber in it doesn’t mean that you can eat whatever you want. There are a lot of products on the market now that tout added fiber, but that doesn’t give you leeway to eat 5 fiber filled cookies. Plus, the added fiber that they put in yogurts or even cottage cheese isn’t necessarily the same kind of fiber that is naturally found in grains and produce (but, that’s a whole other conversation…). If you’re looking to lose weight you still need to take in fewer calories than you burn. So, you did a great job at choosing the fiber cereal, but always pay attention to the ingredients and serving sizes to make sure that you’re actually making the best choice. It sounds clich

Ask Dani – Diet Dilemma (South Beach Diet)

This is an old-time diet. They thought that would work too.

Dear Dani,

I’ve been thinking about doing the South Beach Diet, but I’m not sure. There’s so much information on diets and I don’t know how to figure out what would be the best one for me. What diet do you recommend and how would you choose which one to go on?

Thanks, Dieting Dilemma

Dear Dieting Dilemma,

Dieting is such a dirty word. When I think of a diet I think of agonizing weeks of being hungry and wishing I could eat everything else, but what I’m allowed to eat. I can’t stop thinking about food and my whole day revolves around thinking about what I’m going to eat at the next meal. Most of the time I’m also counting how many days until it’s over, which means that all the hard work I’ve done over the past few weeks will be completely undone by a mega binge on some Coldstone Creamery, as soon as I can get my hungry little paws on it. So, as you can see I don’t like diets. They are only short-term solutions to long-term issues. It’s like putting a band-aid over a gun shot wound.

What you need is to learn how to maintain healthy eating for a lifetime, which doesn’t include cutting out whole food groups or restricting your calories so much that you’re constantly hungry. You can’t keep up that kind of thing for long and it will only backfire and make your problem worse. All of that being said, I don’t condemn the South Beach Diet. I think that it does a good job at teaching you balance, but that’s only true if you really follow their guidelines and treat it as a learning process and not a quick fix. The fact that they focus on whole-grains and fiber is a good sign, because so many bad diets will cut carbs out completely or tell you to restrict way more than you need to. Normally I would say that the fact that they cut out fruit for the first 2 weeks is bad, but I can understand them doing it in order to regulate your blood sugar levels and to kind give you a reset button. My advice though is that if you want some fruit in those first 2 weeks then have the fruit. But, if you want to really maintain your weight loss you need to do some homework, which may include keeping a food diary to track your patterns, keeping a journal to track your emotions, relearning your hunger cues and patterns, and trying to get past emotional triggers. A good diet will never dip below 1200 calories per day and will have a balanced mix of all the major food groups. Every meal should consist of a carb and a protein (so that means grapefruit diets and cabbage soup diets are a major no-no), and will never cut out fats entirely (you actually need good fats in order to lose weight, as well as for healthy akin and hair). You should never feel deprived and the emphasis should be on teaching you how to make better food choices and portion control.

If you have any questions on some of the things I mentioned, such as relearning your hunger cues or getting past emotional triggers, please don’t hesitate to ask me for help!

**Have a question that needs answering? Send em in! Every Thursday I ll be answering a new question, and it might just be yours!

Dear Dani – Desperate Doctor!

Dear Dani,
I’m starting a new job in July (I’m a first year doctor) and I’m worried about fitting my healthy lifestyle into my new schedule. In the past few years I’ve gotten really good about my food and finding the time to exercise – I even took off 60lbs! – but now I’m worried that it’s all going to go down the toilet, because I’m not going to have any time to even breath. What can I do to make sure that I don’t lose everything that I’ve worked so hard for and still stay sane about it all?
Thanks, Desperate Doctor

Dear Desperate Doctor,
Firstly, I want to tell you how awesome it is that you’ve worked so hard and took off 60lbs! Secondly, you should know that taking off 60lbs isn’t easy and that you’ve already gotten through the really hard part, which is creating the habits and behaviors necessary to accomplish that. Your new schedule is just going to take a bit of adjusting to, but it’s nowhere near as hard as beginning from scratch (can you remember what that was like?). Speaking of starting from scratch, I’m sure that when you started all of this “healthy stuff” you began little by little, by taking baby steps, until you got to where you are now. So, starting your new job is going to be the same thing. Pick one thing that you are going to work on every week to make the transition as comfortable as possible.

Here are some of my survival tips:
1. Be kind to yourself and be as realistic as possible. Meaning, have the goal of maintaining your weight when you first start your residency. If you’re too hard on yourself and want to try to lose weight while you’re having so many changes in your life you’ll be really disappointed if it doesn’t happen.
2. You’re probably going to be faced with lots of new and stressful things, so make a note of the behaviors you engage in when you’re stressed, so that you don’t fall into their traps. If you tend to reach for food during difficult times be aware of this and catch yourself before it gets out of control.
3. Keep lots of prepared foods, such as cut up fruits and veggies, Kashi Bars, portioned out servings of cereal, yogurt, etc. on hand, so that you don’t reach for that Snickers bar out of the vending machine when you get off your shift and you’re starving.
4. Plan what you’re going to eat the night before. Having a plan for the next day will keep you from scarfing down poor choices in the cafeteria.
5. Take the stairs! You’ll keep your heart rate up, which means you’ll be burning calories throughout the day.
6. Keep a jump rope and resistance bands in your locker, so that you can sneak in mini workouts whenever you get the chance.
7. Get sleep whenever you can! When you’re tired your body will secrete hormones that make you want to eat, so whenever you get the chance to sleep, grab it!

Ok, so there you have it. My 7 survival strategies to help you get through this tough first year. I’m always hear, so give me a holler whenever you need anything!
Good luck, you’re going to be great!

Have a question that needs answering? Send em in! Every Thursday I ll be answering a new question, and it might just be yours!