Self-Care or Self-Destruction Post-Election 2016

  • posted by Marci Evans
  • Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Regardless of whether you supported Donald Trump or not, this election has likely deeply affected you. In this video blog I share my thoughts about picking up the self-care pieces post-election 2016. Self-care is at the center of your ability to be present and effective as the kind of change agent YOU want to be. And during stressful times our best attempts at self-care can unintentionally slip into self-destruction. I encourage you to take a quick self-assessment, commit (or re-commit) to taking charge of your online media usage, and remember that we aren't able to be effective when we are trying to pour from a dry well.

What are you doing to take care of yourself post-election?

#TBT: Serving Size vs Portion Size

  • posted by Marci Evans
  • Tuesday, November 08, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

The Concept of "Throwback Thursday" (TBT) is all over social media these days. This past week I have been talking quite a bit with clients about a topic I actually blogged about over two years ago. So here's to throwing back to an old but still pertinent topic- the different between a serving size vs. a portion size. I hope it's helpful!

 

Alright, I'm about to get on my RD soap box here. I have a little pet peeve. Ok, sometimes it's a big pet peeve. Have you ever noticed that popular diet books, magazines, and well-intended news reporters get confused between serving sizes and portion sizes? Probably not. But I'm writing about it because it's important! And it all comes back to the difference between a rule-bound diet mentality and eating based on internal wisdom.


Serving Size: A standardized, measured amount of a food that may be determined by "typical" portion sizes from consumption surveys, convenience in measuring, nutrient content, and sizes from previous guides. This is what you see listed on a nutrition facts panel, diet plans, and the food guide pyramid.

Portion Size: The amount of food YOU decide to eat.

Note: these two concepts are quite different. Since nutritional content of food values dramatically, it can SOMETIMES be helpful to have a sense of how much nutrition is contained in a product. You can read here in more detail if you're curious to know how to use nutrition information (like calorie counts) in a productive way.

However. no one on this planet is a better judge of how much food you need than YOU! Sometimes dieting and eating disorders disrupt a person's ability to determine how much food they need.If you have gotten used to someone else telling you how much to eat, it makes sense that you'll have to re-learn this skill.

So the next time Shape Magazine tells you to eat 14 almonds for an afternoon snack, you can say "I'll decide what portion size is right for me, thank you very much!" Then consider the following 4 factors:
1. How hungry am I?

2. When will I be eating again?

3. What nutritional qualities does this food possess? Carbs = quick fuel, Protein = fullness, Fats = Satiety and stick around the longest

4. What type of meal or snack balance do I need for my overall health?

Hopefully you can feel a little more confident knowing that you don't have to rely on any outside measurements or randomly determined serving sizes to determine how much food you can eat. If you listen, your own wisdom won't let you down!

Calories, Calories

  • posted by Marci Evans
  • Tuesday, November 01, 2016


How often have you heard someone say “Oh, that’s only 250 calories, it’s not so bad.” I’ve heard it A LOT and it really gets on my nerves. What if a calorie total wasn’t good or bad? What if we could strip all the morality out of how many calories we consume? Unfortunately, calorie talk is NOT going away any time soon. It’s posted on menus, plastered on magazine covers, and someone you know is probably counting them. But it’s not a total bummer if you can start to practice looking at them more objectively and with less judgment. I’ll show you.


Example #1- Lean Cuisine Meal = 310 calories*
Old way of thinking: 310 calories for lunch isn’t so “bad.”
New way of thinking: Wow, I notice that when I eat a 310 calorie Lean Cuisine for lunch I’m not very satisfied, I feel hungry again an hour later, and I’m still thinking about food quite a bit. If I want to stay full for longer than an hour, I either need more food or I should choose something different.

Example #2- Turkey and Avocado Sandwich from Au Bon Pain =650 calories
Old way of thinking: Oh, I was really “bad” at lunch today. That sandwich had over 600 calories. According to Shape magazine, I should eat less than 400 calories at lunch. I’m so disgusting. I have no self-control. Why couldn’t I eat just half?
New way of thinking: The sandwich tasted delicious. The balance of carbohydrate, fats, and proteins left me feeling satisfied. I feel a lot fuller than after I eat a Lean Cuisine. Plus I noticed that I have more energy and didn’t think about eating again for a few hours. If I need something to tie me over for a few hours, this is a great choice.

See the difference? We have to get out of our heads and into our bodies. How do certain choices make you feel? Energized or sluggish. Satisfied or left wanting more. Happy tummy or upset tummy. If we can let go of the idea o food being good or bad and tune in to the physical experience of eating it, we’ll be headed in the right direction!

Have any personal experiences? Please share!

*Disclaimer: I totally made those calorie numbers up.

Body Positive & Weight Loss

  • posted by Marci Evans
  • Thursday, October 27, 2016

 

Body Positive. It seems to be a term that’s getting a little more press these days. As a self-described “body positive dietitian” you’d think I’d be thrilled! Truthfully, I’m conflicted. I’m conflicted because “body positive” began as a term used to promote body inclusivity, meaning all bodies (fat, thin, short, tall, able-bodied or not) deserve respect AND don’t need changing. Yup, body positive means I’m going to take good care of my body just as it is today and love it fiercely, without any agenda of making it look different.


And now, “body positive” has been swallowed whole, contorted, and used by every weight loss agenda out there. Just as I’ve seen Special K try to trick you into the idea that they want you to love your body as it is (nope they want you to eat it twice a day as part of some stupid diet scheme so their stock prices soar, hate to break it to you, they don’t actually care about your health and well-being), dietitians are hashtagging their instagram posts with #bodypositive #weightloss.

 

Let me say it loud and clear. NO NO NO NO. Body positive is not loving yourself thin. That is a big load of BS which I refuse to eat for breakfast or let slide in my Instagram feed without saying anything.

 

To me, Body Positive means I make choices that serve my overall health and well-being from the inside, not the outside. Body Positive doesn’t worry whether improved self-care results in weight loss because every body is different. Sometimes improved self-care leads to body changes and sometimes it doesn’t. Body Positive is about being your own unique self, not making changes to make yourself look like every other idealized image we’re forced to contend with. Body Positive is expansive and inclusive, not reductionist or “better than.” Body Positive is an experience, not a number.

 

So the next time you wonder whether or not Body Positive and a weight loss agenda can co-exist, you can hear me say “No.” Body Positive is inherently weight neutral. Those of us in the Body Positive movement have so much more on our minds than the number on the scale.

 

Dare to be Different

  • posted by Marci Evans
  • Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Trying to lose weight (or at least talking about trying to lose weight) is a popular thing to do. It's culturally acceptable and even socially obligatory to be dissatisfied with the size and shape or your body.  One client recently said to me "I feel like a freak because I'm the only grad student NOT on a diet."  Say WHAT!?!


On the daily, you'll see diets being advertised and sold with a vengeance.  If you have been reading my blog and don't already believe me when I say diets don't work, check out this stellar postby rock star dietitian Evelyn Tribole.  She nails it with research and practical advice.

So you may be asking, what does work?  It's not sexy, but slow/sustainable changes you can manage over a lifetime does work.  In fact, my brother said it best as we were enjoying some cinnamon rolls over the holidays. "So Marci, what you are talking about on your blog is eating one of these cinnamon rolls, rather than skipping it or eating three?"  You've got it!

So here are some more specific strategies to get you started:
1.) Start listening to your body. You can use this scale as a guide.  Notice how often you are in the white zone.  Strive to steer clear of that zone as often as possible.
2.) Prioritize your health by committing to at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Learn more about how sleep affects your weight here
3.) Move in ways you genuinely enjoy and NEVER with the intention of providing pain or punishment. (Here's my article about falling in like with exercise

So dare to be different by letting go of body and weight obsessions.  Dare to be different by taking care of yourself, trusting that as you do so, a healthy body will naturally follow.  Dare to be different...and you just may find a much happier and healthier you.

Your very different dietitian in Cambridge
Marci