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Let’s Talk Leptin!

Let’s Talk Leptin!

Hormones and Their Role in Health and Nutrition: Leptin By Dana Magee, RD, LD Hormones, or chemical messengers, have always been an interesting subject to me.  The fact that your body has its own kind of postal system within itself to send and receive messages is pretty amazing.  Also, the tenacity of the body to take care of itself and survive threats can be hard to comprehend. There are so many hormones that contribute to the regulation of the body and even to regulate our weight. Many times we think we can decide what weight our body should be and then simply BE it, and if it is not simple then we are expected to fight for that weight everyday by any means necessary. Decreasing calories to lose weight might make sense on paper, but our body is a product of thousands of years of evolution and has the tools to take care of itself and extinguish threats, which includes not getting enough food, weight loss, and starvation. The body likes to stay in homeostasis- basically it wants to remain stable, if it goes too far to one side, mechanisms kick in to bring itself back to its center.  For example our body maintains our temperature.  It wants to stay in a specific set range, if we cross toward the ends of this range our body takes over without us having to consciously tell it to do so. Too cold?  The body starts shivering, gets goosebumps, our hair rises to generate and hold in heat.  Too hot? Our body kicks in and starts sweating to cool itself down. Our...
Healthy Snacks for a Dorm Room: 10 Tips from a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Healthy Snacks for a Dorm Room: 10 Tips from a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

  Healthy Dorm Room Snacks Many people have said “college will be the best time of your life.” And I would probably have to agree with them. College is a great place for you to get to know yourself better, expand your horizons, meet new people and of course have fun! Although college comes with amazing experiences, transitioning to college can also be difficult, especially if you are in the midst of recovery from your eating disorder. From a nutrition standpoint, it is important to have a food plan in place so you are able to progress through your recovery. One thing I would recommend to you is to be sure to have snacks in your dorm room to set yourself up for success. Here are my top 10 tips for healthy snacks in a dorm room! 1. Buy extra food at the school cafeteria: When I went to Maryland (Go Terps!), I would always buy some extra food to make sure I had enough for a snack later in the day or for breakfast the next morning. This is especially important if you have a busy day filled with class, work or studying. Some ideas of food to pack with you include, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, fruit and cottage cheese/yogurt, chips and salsa, pita chips and hummus, cookies, or cheese or tuna salad and crackers. 2. Take advantage of the mini fridge: Having a mini fridge in your dorm room is just another way to set yourself up for success! You open your world to many more snack options. Yogurt, hard boiled eggs, leftovers, deli meat, cheese,...
5 Foods You Should Not Fear

5 Foods You Should Not Fear

Food Fears and Myths Debunked by Registered Dietitian I wanted to take a minute to debunk some common food fears. There are enough scary things in the world and food shouldn’t be one of them! I see headlines all the time perpetuating this. “The one thing you should not eat for breakfast.”“Why sugar is the enemy.”“Ten foods nutritionists would never eat.” My heart sinks a little more each time I hear this information being shared. I want to take a minute to clear up some of these myths. My goal is to  bring insight into food fears that may be impacting the way you live and the foods you eat. I picked the most common food fears I’ve heard about. These fears are discussed in in my nutrition counseling sessions or are food fears I’ve read about in the news.  My hope with this post to bring some clarity to the reality of how all foods are equal and the benefits of an all-foods approach to eating and living free from different fears! 1. Sugar: Food is meant to be enjoyed and designed to taste good on our palate! Please keep this in mind. As health professionals, we desire for every individual to live life to the fullest. This means enjoying delicious foods with friends and family!  Without new foods, sweet foods, savory foods, or comfort foods, we would all just eat the same things over and over again. Personally, this would not be the most enjoyable way to live my life. Plus, nutrition is about variety! Sugar (glucose) not only provides the main source of fuel for our bodies ,but it makes food...
5 Foods This Registered Dietitian Will Never Eat

5 Foods This Registered Dietitian Will Never Eat

I cringed every time I read a title like this. You probably know exactly what I’m talking about! You’ve likely heard of, or maybe followed, diets that include the word never. “Never eat any carbs that aren’t whole grain”, “ never eat after 7pm” , and I could go on about these restrictive diets. I’ve also seen a recent increase in articles along the lines of “10 foods a health professional will never eat”, but I’m here to explain the risks of these “never diets”.  an eating disorder dietitian, I feel that all foods have a place and there is no such thing as a “good” or “bad” food. Firstly, these diets appear to offer a quick fix. Avoid these few foods and your life will change dramatically! Sounds great, right? However, that’s not how nutrition and health work. Dietitians, including myself, encourage variety.  The more balanced and variable your diet is, the more likely you are to meet all of your vitamin, energy, protein, etc  needs that can help you feel energized, avoid getting sick, get stronger, and enjoy overall good health.  Limiting yourself in ways like restricting food groups or not eating when you’re hungry is detrimental to health, for so many different reasons, regardless of what “fad diet” articles might suggest. Secondly, I wanted to talk about the language associated with these diets. Every diet has “all or nothing mentality” and “strict rules.” This kind of food structure attaches a morality to eating. There are risks associated with this.  Classifying eating patterns into “always” or “never”, or “good” or “bad” formats can induce feelings of guilt or...
5 Things I Want You to Know About HAES

5 Things I Want You to Know About HAES

HAES: Health At Every Size By Dana Magee, RD, LD, CLT Health At Every Size (HAES) is a movement that is based on HEALTH as opposed to WEIGHT.  I see the truth in this movement EVERYDAY when I see my clients making healthy lifestyle changes that include feeding themselves well, cooking for themselves, moving their body in ways they enjoy, prioritizing sleep and practicing stress management tools.   Unfortunately, HAES is met with a lot of pushback from those that do not understand it. My goal in this blog is to explain HAES to those that are open to a new mindset for what being healthy means.    1. Why do I believe in HAES? In our dieting culture the message “thinner is better” is played on repeat. I would argue that the message can also take the form “thinner is healthier”. Even more concerning, the dieting culture proclaims that achieving thinness is desirable by any means necessary.   This is dangerous and irresponsible.  The restriction and unhealthy behaviors around dieting can actually put the person at greater health risk.  Health at Every Size is a movement that separates the fusion between size and health.  HAES reorganizes our priorities and puts health at the top of the list (where it should be) and takes the focus on weight loss out of the picture.   What is health? Health is determined by the quality of the food you eat, regular and pleasurable movement, stress management and sleep hygiene.  When those ducks are in a row that is when we see improvement in chronic disease states, regardless as to whether weight has...

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