How do you “eat an elephant”, enjoy a burger, and achieve a healthy lifestyle?

National Nutrition Month, How to Eat an elephant, enjoy a burger, and achieve a healthy lifestyle Imagine looking at a juicy hamburger that is piled high with cheese, avocado, veggies, and all the fixin’s. While thinking about how delicious the burger looks, you approach it with one major reservation and ask yourself the tough question: “How in the world am I going to wrap my mouth around that first bite?” You may have a similar feeling when it comes to achieving a healthy lifestyle.

March is National Nutrition Month. I wrote an article last year for Good Health magazine to support the 2015 theme: “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle.” I thought I would repost the article here although this year’s theme is “Savor the flavor of eating right.”

When it comes to nutrition, it is difficult to know how to begin the journey toward healthier eating habits and it’s easy to “miss the forest for the trees” as the proverbial saying goes, especially when we are overwhelmed with mixed or distorted messages about nutrition and overall health.

You wouldn’t give up your hopes of eating that delicious burger just because it seemed too big, would you? Don’t give up on a healthier lifestyle either! While it’s easy to get bogged down wondering about all the details, take a step back and focus on the big picture in order to determine what’s most important and where to set your first goals when it comes to nutrition.

Focus on real food.

Memphis Nutrition Group defines real food as “anything that can be grown or killed.” You can’t get much more straightforward than that definition!  (Thanks, Leslie Schilling!) Are you eating primarily real food or processed food products? Sometimes a healthy lifestyle can be as simple as getting back to the basics when it comes to food selection.

Find a balance.

A healthy lifestyle does not mean thinking in terms of absolutes: all or nothing, good or bad, and “should” or “shouldn’t.” Rather than only having two options, there are many more choices that fall somewhere within the spectrum and provide balance. Finding balance means choosing nutrient-rich, real foods most of the time and sometimes selecting and savoring foods you enjoy regardless of nutrient quality too.

Foster progress, not perfection.

How do you define progress? Progress toward a healthy lifestyle is not always related to the number of pounds lost or the amount of willpower exhibited. No one’s diet or lifestyle will ever be perfect, so try not to judge or be too hard on yourself.

Remember: Habits take time to form and sometimes even longer to break; therefore, the journey to a healthy lifestyle requires patience and acceptance of where you are in the process. How do you “eat an elephant”, enjoy a burger, or achieve a healthy lifestyle? Take one bite at a time, setting realistic goals in order to yield satisfying, lasting results in the end.


 

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The Journey to Memphis Nutrition Group

December 2, 2015 started out a normal day. I was in the office seeing clients and looking forward to meeting with Leslie and Brigid later that afternoon. Leslie mentioned coming into the office a little early before our meeting, but I was a little surprised when she popped in and quickly said, “Come sit down. I have news.” I responded asking, “Good news or bad news?” Leslie replied, “Good news and challenging news.” My heart started beating a little faster as a million questions raced through my mind.

The next thing I knew, she was sharing that her husband got an incredible position at UNLV and that she would be moving to Las Vegas. Now, I’ve had special training in counseling skills, and I think Leslie took my seemingly calm reaction as having a good “therapy nod.” On the inside, I was in shock. In a fraction of a second, I’d asked myself…What would happen to the practice she’d built over the last 9 years? What would happen to our clients? What would happen to Brigid’s and my job? There were many different routes we could’ve taken, but in that moment, I knew without a doubt the business had to continue.

Here’s why…

Schilling Nutrition Therapy was never really a business to me. It was a passion that developed from my own recovery journey. Leslie and I met many years ago (before she even started Schilling Nutrition Therapy) when I hit rock bottom in my relationship with food and my body. At that time, she became my Nutrition Therapist. Leslie counseled me through my entire recovery, and I honestly don’t know where I’d be today or what in the world I’d be doing if it weren’t for her guidance out of disordered eating and into Intuitive Eating…which now just feels like eating. While I was still seeing Leslie, she began Schilling Nutrition Therapy all on her own.

It was also during the time I was meeting with Leslie that I decided to take a leap of faith and change my major to Dietetics & Nutrition. Believe it or not, I started college as an art major and stuck with it through the end of my sophomore year of college. The thing that was holding me back was not just the idea of losing my scholarship…it was tackling a ton of Chemistry. I finally decided that if I was truly becoming passionate about nutrition, I shouldn’t let a few years of chemistry hold me back.

I got to a point in my recovery that I didn’t need regular nutrition therapy appointments, but Leslie frequently checked-in with me to see how things were going with school and in life. I’d run into her from time to time at professional meetings and church, and I remember getting coffee with her shortly after finding out I was pregnant with my son. She shared with me that she’d hired another dietitian named Brigid Kay who had been working with her for a while by that point. She’d also had a child of her own. (It was later I’d find out that Leslie’s husband had already been offered a position at UNLV which he’d turned down because Leslie was on bed rest, and the timing just didn’t seem right for their family or the business.). At that time, a friendship began to form between the two of us.

Side Note: I had shared many times with my husband, Bret, that my dream would be to work with Leslie and eventually own a private practice. Though Bret believed in me, I never thought Leslie would consider hiring me, one of her previous clients. I also knew I’d never want to compete with her, so we’d probably have to move if I wanted to start my own business (because I just knew Leslie would never move).

Shortly after having my son, I went back to work full time. I was surprised to discover what a difficult adjustment this would be for me. I began to re-evaluate many aspects of my life, including my career. It was at that time, I received a Facebook message that changed my life forever…

Message_From_Leslie_Schilling_to_Blair_Mize

That’s right…I immediately took a screen shot (pictured above), sent it to my husband, and asked Leslie how soon we could meet. I began working with Leslie and Brigid at Schilling Nutrition Therapy very soon after and haven’t looked back. I began to see God’s plan for my life and the reason for the struggles I had faced begin to unfold. (Disclaimer: Leslie worked with professional supervisors in making her decision to hire me. Though a somewhat controversial scenario, Leslie felt confident in her decision. I’m so thankful she believed in me.)

Fast forward again to 2016…

By now, you likely have a better understanding of why I felt so certain we had to continue. I’ll spare you the details of the last 4 months (though they’ve likely been the most challenging (as Leslie predicted), bittersweet months of my life, and get to the big announcement…

Schilling Nutrition Therapy is now Memphis Nutrition Group!

Memphis Nutrition Group Logo

I am so excited and so full of gratitude that Brigid and I were given the opportunity to continue serving our clients and our community as owners of Memphis Nutrition Group! I see God’s hand so intricately weaving all of this together as it never could’ve happened without a very specific series of events in each of our lives. For me to come full circle from a client to co-owner of the very practice that probably saved my life is such an incredible testament not just to Leslie but ultimately to God.

I couldn’t ask for a better, wiser partner than Brigid in this journey moving forward. A huge dream of mine has come true though Memphis will miss Leslie dearly (not to mention how much Brigid and I will miss her). We feel honored to carry the practice forward, and I, personally, have been claiming this verse:

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20

Thank you

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you to all who have supported us through each part of our lives and journeys toward this moment! We hope you will continue to support us as we embark on a new portion of the journey yet with the same philosophy and the same dedication to service to our clients and community as always. Your kind words, referrals, visits to our social media pages and website mean the world to us, and we’re thrilled to finally share our big news with all of you!


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Top 5 Tricks to Help Your Kids Manage Halloween Treats

Registered Dietitian Blair Mize's Top 5 Tricks for Helping Kids Manage Halloween Candy and Treats

Do you find the gobs of goodies that accumulate at Halloween a bit scary? You’re not alone! Check out my Top 5 Tricks for helping your kids manage their Halloween treats below:

Trick #1

One instance when it’s good for kids to be picky…

Don't be scared when your kids bring home piles of Halloween candy. Have them pick their favorites, and repurpose the leftovers.


Trick #2:

Halloween Tip by Blair Mize, RD: Eat a balanced dinner before trick-or-treating. Plan a potluck with neighbors or friends.


Trick #3:

Helping your kids enjoy Halloween treats starts today with having a conversation and modeling a healthy, non-diet approach to food for your kids.

Halloween Tip by Blair Mize, RD: Teach your children how to manage candy and sweets. Sweets can be enjoyed and planned into meals.


Trick #4:

Don’t be scared of this one…

Halloween Tip by Blair Mize, RD: Deprivation often leads to overeating. Here's a strategy to prevent feelings of deprivation.

Check out Ellyn Satter’s Book, Your Child’s Weight: Helping Without Harming for more information about raising your children to have a healthy relationship with food.


Trick #5:

If this sounds crazy, take a look at this website for a more detailed explanation:

Halloween Tip by Blair Mize, RD: Have a plan to help your kids manage their candy.

Happy Halloween! 

I’d love to hear how you manage Halloween treats at your house in the comments below!


This blog post was originally posted by Leslie Schilling here. If you enjoyed this post, you may also like these posts:

Practicing Weight Neutrality in a Weight-Biased Healthcare System

PracticingWeightNeutrality

In recent years, our society has become more open and understanding regarding peoples’ differences, but it seems weight is one area in which our culture has miserably failed to become more accepting. When it comes to size and weight, people continue to be judged against unrealistic and arbitrary ideals. Where is weight neutrality in this picture?

Too often, larger people are criticized, shamed, and misunderstood because of their weight. Furthermore, the perception of many healthcare providers remains that “if people would just lose weight, they could be healthy.”

Where’s the weight neutrality?

How ridiculous it is to think we can begin our lives with entirely different sets of genetics and end up looking the same or staying healthy at unnatural weights for our bodies!

Non-diet dietitians are already like fish swimming upstream in a river of 61-billion dollars-worth of diets, and the current becomes even stronger when practicing weight neutrality, especially when serving as the only weight neutral provider on an interdisciplinary team.

For several months, I worked with a woman (we’ll call her Beth) whose goal was to manage her diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol. She wanted to be healthy and to live longer, and she initially assumed the way to do so was through dieting. Our first sessions were spent reviewing and discussing research about diets versus intuitive eating, and Beth emphatically vowed, “I’m definitely not going back to dieting EVER!!!” stating she loved the newfound freedom she had with eating.

Eating intuitively, moving mindfully

In the meantime, through learning to eat intuitively and incorporate movement mindfully, Beth managed to cut her triglycerides in half and bring her cholesterol down to a normal range. She gained incredible insight into her relationship with food and recognized how satisfied she felt when she ate healthy AND tasty foods.

Giving up the scale

But there was one major challenge she continued to face: giving up the scale. After much discussion, Beth recognized how the scale was blinding her to the progress she was making toward health. She reluctantly agreed to put the scale in the attic for a while and contact me if she felt the urge to weigh herself.

Changing the view of progress

Beth acknowledged her need to change her view of progress. She began to accept the possibility (which was becoming a reality) of being healthy in a larger body and to recognize that her size did not change her worth and value in life.

She moved away from… She moved toward…
·  Focusing on a number on the scale that she could not directly control ·  Focusing on behaviors that lead to health
·  Focusing on weight first and foremost ·  Concentrating on actions she could control
·  Asking: “How many pounds did I lose?” ·  Noticing her increased trust in herself with food
·  Questioning: “How do I look?” ·  Questioning: “How do I feel?”
·  Priding herself on having good willpower or self-control ·  Priding herself on recognizing inner body cues

(Adapted from Intuitive EatingEvelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch, 2003/2012)

At her next check-up with her primary care physician, the first topic addressed related to weight loss. The physician praised Beth, exclaiming, ”You’ve lost 9 pounds!” Immediately, her mind wandered back to the number she originally had in mind that might make her “healthy” again.

Already feeling ashamed and discouraged, Beth hesitantly told her doctor, “I’ve been feeling exhausted lately.” Her physician responded by stating, “You’re still carrying around lots of extra weight. Imagine carrying around your 10-year-old son all day. You’d feel exhausted, wouldn’t you? That extra weight is keeping you tired!”

Validate the patient’s concerns

In one conversation, Beth’s physician not only fueled her recent fantasy of weight loss as a magic bullet to solve her health problems, she also failed to validate her patient’s concerns. Rather than taking inventory of the lifestyle, psychological, or medical conditions that could be causing her fatigue and offering a plan of care to reach the root of the problem, she gave the simplistic answer: “Lose weight.”

Make evidence-based recommendations

According to the research, 97 percent of diets fail, and most people regain their lost weight in 1-5 years (Puhl, 2008). Combine dieting and weight cycling, and you have a recipe for a physical and emotional health disaster.

Leslie Schilling, MA, RDN, CSSD, LDN puts it this way: “If you were prescribed a drug with such a high failure rate, would you fill the prescription?”

People trust their providers to administer quality, evidence-based care; however, when they receive different messages from different providers, how do they know whom to trust?

It’s time all health professionals learn that the number on the scale does not define a person’s health, worth, or value. Our patients are human beings, not human bodies, and they deserve evidence-based guidance, rather than judgment, shame, or “easy answers.”

Equip people to advocate for themselves

Perhaps as you read about Beth’s experience, you felt anger, sadness, and frustration bubbling up. It is my hope that the feelings you experience throughout Weight Stigma Awareness Week will be used as fuel to begin to educate other providers and equip those with whom you come in contact to advocate for themselves.

Ignoring weight bias does not increase awareness or lead to change, but here are some practices that can:

  • Derail “fat talk” or weight-biased conversations and deflect them using research to support your case.
  • Engage in body activism and encourage body acceptance.
  • Focus on functionality versus appearance in your practice.
  • Listen to your patients and seek to validate their concerns.

And remember to start with yourself. Examine yourself, looking for weight bias in your own life. Though the previous case study only addressed weight bias from a physician, I think we’ve all been taught or heard ideas that perpetuate weight stigma in our training. I know I have.

Practice weight neutrality

As providers, let’s stop believing that differences in weight and size define a patient’s health or worthiness of quality care. Let’s practice weight neutrality. Continue to remove weight stigma and bias in the provider community by changing the view of progress, validating the patient’s concerns, making evidence-based recommendations, and equipping professionals with knowledge and people to advocate for themselves.


It was an honor to contribute this post to Binge Eating Disorder Association’s Weight Stigma Awareness Week 2015. See the original blog post here.

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Feed Your Family (Without Becoming a Short-Order Cook!)

design-3

Sally: I’d like the chef salad please with the oil and vinegar on the side and the apple pie a la mode…

Waitress: Chef and apple a la mode.

Sally: …but I’d like the pie heated, and I don’t want the ice cream on top. I want it on the side, and I’d like strawberry instead of vanilla if you have it. If not, then no ice cream, just whipped cream, but only if it’s real. If it’s out of a can, then nothing.

Waitress: Not even the pie?

Sally: No, just the pie, but then not heated.

Waitress: Uh huh.


Some of you may remember the above scene from the 1989 movie When Harry Met Sally. Perhaps you could substitute your child’s name for Sally’s and your name for the waitress’s. Is pleasing your family at meals or getting everyone to eat the same thing a daily struggle? Now that your family is getting back into a new groove with the new school year, perhaps it’s time to incorporate some new strategies at your family meals…

Internationally recognized Registered Dietitian and Family Therapist Ellyn Satter developed the Division of Responsibility in Feeding also known as the gold standard for feeding children. She outlines the concept in her book How To Get Your Kid To Eat…But Not Too Much: “Parents are responsible for what is presented to eat and the manner in which it is presented. Children are responsible for how much and even whether they eat.”

How do you apply the Division of Responsibility in your home?

1. Choose a time to plan the next week’s meals, allowing your children to give their requests or preferences. As you plan, ask yourself these 2 questions:

  • Have I included a “safe food,” one I know my child will accept, at each meal?
  • Am I choosing a variety of foods at each meal?

Once your plan is complete, consider posting the menu somewhere in your home so everyone will know the answer to that ever-important question: “What’s for dinner?”

2. Serve meals and snacks at the table with minimal distractions at consistent times throughout the day.

3. Allow your child to choose from the foods you are offering.

Don’t make substitutions an option. By including a “safe food” at each meal, you are ensuring your child will not go hungry. By providing regular meals and snacks, you are guaranteeing an opportunity for your child to “make up for” those times he or she eats less at a particular meal.

4. Make mealtimes pleasant, and avoid pressuring your child to eat.

Remember: Children are responsible for whether and how much they choose to eat. Enjoy this built-in opportunity to model healthy eating for your child by eating a balanced meal when you are hungry and stopping when you are satisfied. Brigid Kay, Registered Dietitian at Schilling Nutrition Therapy encourages her three children to try “one bite to be polite.” It may take 15-20 bites over time for a child to accept a food, so continue offering a variety of foods at meals whether your child enjoys them or not.


Feeding your family doesn’t have to mean being a short-order cook. Planning meals may take a little time on the front end, but imagine the fun and peace that could come from implementing the Division of Responsibility in your home starting this school year!

A link to this article may also be found in the April 2015 Edition of Good Health Magazine.

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It’s not perfect…and I’m OK with that!

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My first blog post! Wow…did it take FOREVER to publish this one or what?! I’ve spent more time than I care to admit pondering the many aspects of starting a blog: the layout, the color scheme, the first post, the title…this list goes on and on. I got caught up in appearance instead of what I actually wanted to express. I’d get up from the computer feeling overwhelmed and frustrated with how little I’d completed in such a long period of time.

I was feeling paralyzed by my pursuit of perfection. Have you ever felt this way?

This is a struggle for many people I know…our society tells us we need to eat “perfectly” (What does that even mean?) and achieve the perfect body (which is actually unachievable!). Perfection does not exist, so the pursuit of perfection in any area tends to leave us feeling confused, ashamed, and paralyzed just as I’ve been feeling today. It’s time for me to take my own advice, and let go of the idea of perfection.

As it turns out, perfection is pretty boring. Being real and authentic is not. When we strive for progress rather than perfection, we can savor each moment and freely be ourselves (because that is what’s be-YOU-tiful!). We can focus on fueling our bodies in a way that helps us feel well. We can refocus our attention to living life for something that will outlast it rather than obsessing over external appearance and others’ opinions which won’t really matter long-term.

I have so many thoughts, recipes, and awesome information related to nutrition, health, and overall wellbeing overflowing from my mind and heart that I could not wait any longer to begin sharing it. So welcome to my blog! I know it doesn’t have the most incredible formatting, color scheme, photos or design at the moment. I know it’s not perfect…and I’m OK with that!

Will you join me in learning to savor every moment, to be-YOU-tiful, to fuel well & feel well so that you, too, can be free to live your life for something that will outlast it? If so, follow me…Blair Mize, RD!