What’s BMI?

BMI stands for body mass index. It’s a height-to-weight ratio and is one indicator used to determine healthy weight. The equation is your weight in pounds divided by your height in inches squared. You then take this number and times it by 703. A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. But BMI doesn’t work for everyone. For example body builders and others who are very muscular may not be good candidates. So speak with your doctor about his or her thoughts on your... read more

Is caffeine bad for you?

If you’re not pregnant or been told by your doctor not to have caffeine, moderate intake should be okay. Aim for no more than 250 mg a day, which equates to about two eight-ounce cups of coffee. read more

Lisa’s Take (January 2016)

Calorie and Quality…They Both Matter I recently spoke with someone who said that with regard to weight gain, it doesn’t matter where the calories come from. She suggested that eating a donut is no different than consuming a more nutritious food with the same calorie count. Her argument was it doesn’t matter what food they come from, “calories-in-versus-calories-out” is all that matters. From a pure weight-gain, -loss or -maintenance perspective she’s right. If we take in more calories needed and we don’t burn the excess off, we’ll gain weight. So it’s certainly important that we don’t overeat anything. Too much of even nutritious foods isn’t good. Portion control matters. But my partner in conversation’s position that calories can come from whatever foods we want doesn’t pass muster. She believes if we want to only eat donuts, that’s okay as long as we don’t eat so many that we gain weight. I don’t agree. Where’s the nutrition in a donut or a similar type food? It’s really not there. For example, the saturated fat in donuts isn’t heart-friendly and the high-carb content isn’t good for those with diabetes. And vitamins, minerals, fiber and more aren’t abundant in items like this. And that’s not good because we benefit from them. They can contribute to good health. And where’s the balance of all the food groups? These make up a healthy plate. And let’s face it, donuts are higher in calories than fresh fruit, veggies and other nutritious fare. This can affect our weight. Carrying too much weight on our frames can put us at risk for heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, high... read more

The Huffington Post lauds STOP THE DIET, I WANT TO GET OFF!

From The Huffington Post January 6, 2015 6 Books to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions On-Track By Joe Sutton for IndieReader For many of us, the start of a new year inspires us to better ourselves. We set (sometimes unobtainable) goals for the months ahead, hoping to improve and take control of our lives. Unfortunately, sticking to those goals can be difficult after the first few weeks, and by March, the majority of us have gone to back to our old (sloth) ways. If you have a resolution for this year — or if you could use an idea for making one — check out the books below to steer you in the right direction and help keep on track. Stop the Diet, I Want to Get Off! by Lisa Tillinger Johansen If you want to lose weight this year, let dietitian Lisa Johansen help. Her book is a no-nonsense guide to healthy eating, which means you can worry less about keeping up on the latest fad diets and instead focus on the tried and true method of maintaining health: eating a good, balanced diet. Johansen keeps a lighthearted tone throughout the book to make the whole process fun, so you won’t feel as though you’re suffering through a strict program. Wife for Life by Ramona Zabriskie You already know that maybe half of all marriages end in divorce these days. Marriage isn’t easy, so if you find that your relationship is rocky or volatile, you might be desperate to get back on good footing with your partner this year. Ramona Zabriskie’s guide to a good marriage focuses on... read more

Brain Power

I’ve been teaching a nutrition class for senior adults for over seven years. We meet once a week. The majority of attendees have come to the class since it began. It’s awesome. We cover a lot of topics from diabetes to hypertension to stress management and kidney disease. But of late, a big topic of conversation has been memory loss and dementia. As we age, normal memory lapses can occur. Many of us have gone through it. Episodes of forgetting where we put our car keys, or an item on your mental “to do” list are normal. I’ve even from time to time called one of my dogs by the other one’s name, and even called my husband by one of my two dog’s names. They’re Murray and Phil, so they’re human male names. So it’s not as bad as it sounds. It’s not like I’ve called him Rover or Spot! What I tell my clients is that it’s always important to stimulate our brains. This is true at any age. So what can we do to help keep us sharp? Here are some tips: • Exercise regularly. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. In addition to aerobic activities, add in strength and flexibility exercises several days a week as well. • Eat a healthy balanced diet. Enjoy fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, lean protein (limit red meat) and appropriate low fat or nonfat dairy servings. • Eat your colors and make sure to add in blueberries or other dark berries in your diet. • Include fish in your diet at... read more

Art of the Yo-Yo

Yo-Yo dieting. It’s so prevalent and has been a part of many of our lives. Have you lost weight on a diet only to gain the pounds your shed, perhaps even more, down the road? And then you tried dieting again only to repeat the weight loss, weight gain cycle? Then welcome to the world of the yo-yo dieter. Why does this happen? Why can’t we keep the weight off? It’s often because we go on some restrictive fad diet that we can adhere to for some period of time, but not for the long-term. Or perhaps we’ve gone on a meal delivery program that works for us until we stop it and move on to preparing our own meals. Typically, in all of these type of diets we don’t learn how to eat for life. Some of us are looking for quick weight loss which often isn’t sustainable. No one wants to be a yo-yo dieter. It’s so frustrating and can be harmful to our health. Some studies suggest that it may affect blood pressure, cholesterol and gallbladder health among other things. And that’s important to know. But what can be a very prevalent side effect of yo-yo dieting has to do with our psyche. It’s a bummer to lose weight and enjoy our new bodies, only to see it all fall away as we pack the pounds on. It can be discouraging and depressing. Some of us just might throw our hands up in the air and give up. Let’s not do that. So what’s the answer here? It’s really just simple common sense. Fad diets don’t... read more

Carrots: The Misunderstood Vegetable

Carrots: The Misunderstood Vegetable I teach a lot of prediabetes and diabetes classes. I also counsel clients one-on-one about the disease and how to help manage it through diet and exercise. Why so many classes, attendees and clients? According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in 2012, 29.1 million people in the U.S. had diabetes. This represents 9.3% of the population. Another staggering number is that there were 86 million prediabetics. These are people knocking on diabetes’ door. Americans aren’t the only people with the dubious distinction of having blood sugar issues. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that in 2014 9% of Earth’s population age 18 and older had diabetes. Why is this a problem? Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in America. Complications from diabetes include kidney disease, heart attack, stroke, low blood sugar, high blood pressure, blindness and amputations. Not good. So what do these sobering statistics have to do with the much-maligned carrot? It’s about starchy versus non-starchy veggie. Non-starchy vegetables are lower in carbohydrate and should make up half the plate. A serving size of starchy veggies (corn, peas, beans, potato, winter squash, pumpkin, plantains and parsnips) have as much carbohydrate as a slice of sandwich bread. They should occupy one-quarter of the plate. (For the record, the other quarter of the plate should be lean protein. Fruit and low fat or nonfat dairy can be outside the plate.) When I talk about veggies in my classes, I always ask the group to call out the starchy ones. Invariably at least one attendee, usually more, yells out “carrot.” But they’re misinformed.... read more

Barbecue Bash

Bathing suits, shorts and tank tops… Summer is in full swing. And I love it! I’m a warm weather girl through and through who enjoys kicking back at a barbecue grilling perhaps salmon, veggies and more. My mouth is watering just writing about it. Yummy. My hubby and I fired up the barbie last night. We chose to have turkey burgers with lettuce, tomato and onion on whole wheat buns accompanied by light ceasar salad and fresh fruit. It was so good. And it was healthy…for me. Often family members aren’t on the same page as far as nutrition basics are concerned. I often joke about my husband’s diet in my classes and books and he’s a good sport about it. But all kidding aside, he often eats differently than I. And not in a good way. At our barbecue, my husband, we’ll call him Potato Chip Man, ate almost an entire family-sized bag of Baked Lays as an appetizer. While the chips were lower in fat than the original version, he piled on the calories. And did I mention he had two burgers? Eating too much food, even healthy dishes, isn’t good. Calories matter and if we consume too much we can gain weight. Carrying too much weight on our frames can put us at risk for diseases like diabetes, hypertension and more. That’s not good. But there are things we can do here to help our loved ones. Keeping only lower calorie, nutritious foods in the house is helpful. So is creating healthy meals. My hubby typically eats better than he realizes, as I hide ingredients from... read more

Weighty Matters

I recently discovered that my body scale at home was inaccurate. It’s a doctor’s scale like those our healthcare teams have us step on when we go in for check-ups. You know the type: it has two measuring bars, one in 10 pound increments (starting at 100 pounds) below a second measuring bar in 1 pound increments. We stand on it and first move the 10 pound measurement, then move the smaller 1 pound one until the scale balances at our weight. My recommendation is to weigh at the same time on the same day on the same scale in our birthday suits before we’ve eaten or had anything to drink. This way we’re comparing apples to apples. And it’s what I do. I weigh myself once a week at home. That’s reasonable and what I suggest to patients who are trying to lose weight. Weighing ourselves too often, unless there’s a medical reason to do so, can backfire a bit on us. We have daily fluctuations in our body weight that can make it seem like we’ve gained weight, when we really haven’t. If we see this on the scale, it can be defeating. It can also make us focus too much on this one indicator of healthy weight. Also note that muscle weighs more than fat, so if we are building muscle, we may not see the scale budge right away, but we will still be benefitting. So what went wrong for me? Well for about two months, the 1 pound increment measurement bar wasn’t set at pounds. Somehow it had been put on kilograms (kg). Why... read more