All entries for March 2015

Habits--They Can Change


Like many of my patients, the struggle to exercise is very real to me.

I woke up one day a few weeks ago determined to work out. I had every intention to make it happen in the afternoon, before I left work. After making sure my gym clothes and shoes were in my bag, I was out the door.

The day was packed with seeing patients and accomplishing things around the office. When my last patient left, I began responding to emails, then busying myself with other tasks. Eventually, it was time to leave, and I hadn’t made any attempt to start exercising. The thought hit me as I put on my coat, “I was going to work out today. I really wanted to work out. Why didn’t it happen?” That was when I realized something needed to change.

Good intentions are not enough to change behavior, especially when distractions abound.  In the New York Time’s bestseller, The Power of Habit, the author describes what steps are required for creating what is referred to as a “habit loop”. Establishing habits will help you achieve your goals by turning your good intentions into action.

Now let’s talk about how to practically create a habit loop. First, find a cue to disrupt your typical daily routine and get you on track with the habit you want to create—exercise. Second, choose an exercise routine to follow. Third, consider a reward—is it satisfying enough to feel accomplished after a workout? Do you need to treat yourself to a cup of tea or sauna time afterwards? Having something to look forward to will help solidify your habit loop and continue to make the cue you created work in the future.

Cues look different for everyone—here are some ideas:

  • Dress for your work-out first thing in the morning, for all you early birds
  • Plan a stop to the gym before arriving home after finishing the work day
  • Set an alarm to remind you it’s time to exercise if you work at home
  • Plan to watch your favorite show while on the treadmill instead of sitting on the couch (watching your show can also be an example of a built-in reward).

At any rate, you need to decide what will work best for your lifestyle. For me, I decided that the moment my last patient left, I would put on my sneakers and get moving. This way, I had plenty of time to exercise and then finish up my work after feeling refreshed.

Now think about your habit loop. What cue will you create to trigger this habit? What routine will you follow? Lastly, what reward will help your habit stick?

Created By: 
Jacqueline Duca MS, RDN, LDN &

Amy Anichini MS, RDN, LDN

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Beware of Fad Diets



Nutrition fads. We have all heard of them. Many seem like a good idea; others are plain bizarre. Each plan promises results, but all too many don’t deliver and leave people worse off than when they started. As healthcare professionals, it is important to inform consumers on which fad diet are actually safe to pursue and which are flat out a bad idea. Below are some guidelines on how to sift through whatever fad diet you may be thinking of.

Aspects to consider before starting:

1.     Calorie Restrictions

Any nutrition plan that highly restricts calories is not a good one. Many will suggest 1200 calories for women and 1500 calories for men. They will choose these numbers because they are the lowest numbers that can still be considered “safe”. However, most adults need more than these amounts. Over restricting calories will cause someone to lose weight too quickly and ultimately starve the body of necessary nutrients.

 2.     Macronutrient Balance

It is paramount to choose a plan that has proper nutrient balance. The three macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

The general recommendation is that

  • 50% of total calories should be from carbohydrates,
  • 20% from protein and no more than
  • 30% from fat.

Many fad diets will recommend drastic restrictions to any one of these macronutrients, which will render less than ideal results and compromise your overall wellbeing.

3.     Drinking vs. Chewing

Human beings have a natural need to chew. Thus, fad diets, classified as detoxes or cleanses that call for liquid or smoothie meal replacements will leave someone ultimately unsatisfied.

4.     Sustainability

The most important aspect to consider when choosing a nutrition plan is sustainability. Most fad diets are not sustainable in nature; however, there can be valuable lessons to be learned, which can be incorporated into a sustainable lifestyle. If the fad diet you are considering has favorable answers to the first three points discussed, here are some questions to ask yourself after completing it.

Questions to ask after finishing:

  1. What were the positives elements about this temporary fad diet?
  2. What were the negative aspects?
  3. How will I incorporate what I found positive into a sustainable lifestyle, moving forward?

Discuss your answers with a registered dietitian to receive professional guidance and create further accountability for long term sustainability. 

Created By:
Jacqueline Duca MS, RDN, LDN

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