Mindful Monday: How to Make Your Resolution Stick

I recently read that 88% of all resolutions end in failure. That’s a pretty harsh stat – especially today, when many of us are indulging in behaviors today that will likely be sworn off this time next week.    One of the reasons why resolutions don’t work is that they largely rely on will power in order to stick.  Unfortunately, will power alone is really not a good plan.  In fact, relying on will power is actually the reason people fail to stick with resolutions.  Why?  The part of the brain responsible for providing us will power is already overtaxed working on keeping us focused, managing memories, and solving theoretical problems.   By the end of the day, there can be too much stimuli to this part of the brain to ask it to avoid temptation as well.  

What to do?  For starters, you can keep your brain properly fueled.  All of this thinking and learning and problem solving require a steady flow of glucose!  Eating complex carbohydrates every 3-4 hours will help fuel the brain and keep it running efficiently.   By doing this, you’ll also be far more likely to stick to a weight loss resolution – since getting too hungry is a recipe for eating too much of the wrong type of foods!  

What else to do?   Since the mind is weak when it comes to sustaining will power, the trick is to employ the power of distraction (some ideas:  walk the dog, call a friend, clean out a junk drawer, or check email).  Studies show if you can delay gratification by distraction even just for 20 minutes, you can actually help boost the minds ability to avoid temptation.   Practicing this technique over time can strengthen the mind’s will power the same way as you would strengthen a muscle.   The more you use it, the stronger it gets.    
Try practicing the mental discipline of distraction in other areas of your life and perhaps you’ll find it easier and easier to stick to your resolutions, and stay away from the cookie jar.  

Here’s to making this year’s resolutions stick forever! 
Danielle Omar, MS, RD

The Food Confidence Expert

Are Holiday Cookies Calling Your Name?

Are you are struggling to resist the temptation of freshly baked  holiday cookies and other goodies?  If so, you are not alone!   

You don’t have to deprive yourself the joy of baking to avoid the temptation of these homemade treats.   Below are some simple tips and strategies for those who love to bake and love to eat!   

1 – After the baking is over, set aside – on a separate plate – one item per day (I suggest setting aside three servings, which is about how long homemade goods stay fresh).   Separate “your plate” from the main batch and allow yourself to eat these whenever you want, guilt free.  This way, you won’t feel deprived and you won’t feel the need to indulge in too many at once.  It also requires you to think about and plan when you’ll eat them, which helps control mindless eating.

2 – Another technique is “out of sight, out of mind.”  Place baked goods in a concealed location (and not on the kitchen table or counter) so that you are not reminded to have a taste every time you enter the kitchen!

Here’s to homemade treats!  Happy baking!

Danielle Omar, MS, RD

The Food Confidence Expert

Inside the Food Label: YOGURT


Take a stroll down the yogurt aisle these days and you can get pretty overwhelmed, pretty darn fast. There are so many yogurts to choose from! Which one is best and why? Is yogurt even worth the effort? Well, if chosen wisely, it can be a great source of nutrients. For one, yogurt is made with immune-fighting bacteria (live, active cultures and probiotics) which can help with digestion and intestinal health (think bloating, gas). Of course, yogurt is also a great source of protein, calcium, B12, magnesium and potassium.

So, how to pick the best yogurt? I like rules. Rules make things easy. Here are a few to remember about yogurt:
1 – Think Quality. If you’re reading the yogurt’s ingredient list and you can’t tell what flavor it is, that’s a problem. Look at the two examples below. One for the ever-so-popular Yoplait Light yogurt and the other for Chobani fat free Greek yogurt. Can you guess the flavor of each of these?
YOPLAIT INGREDIENTS: Cultured Pasteurized Nonfat Milk, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Modified Corn Starch, Kosher Gelatin, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Aspartame, Potassium Sorbate Added to Maintain Freshness, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3.
CHOBANI INGREDIENTS: Cultured Pasteurized Nonfat Milk, Sugar, Peaches, Natural Flavor. Contains Five Live Active Cultures Including S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus and L. Casei.

Did you figure it out? Well, the Yoplait flavor is Boston Cream Pie and the Chobani is Peach. Pretty crazy, huh?

2 – Limit Added Sugar. By nature, fruited yogurt is going to contain sugar. If it didn’t, it would be plain yogurt and that’s a completely different story (plain is great, but most of us need to add a little something to it). But how much and what kind? Try to limit as much added sugar as possible in the form high fructose corn syrup (especially if it’s the first ingredient!) and sugar by any other name (milled sugar, fructose, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, etc.). You might also beware of brands that report lower levels of sugar on the label and use artificial sweeteners instead (aspartame, sucrulose, acefulsame K, etc.). These would include most Yoplait Light and Dannon Light ‘n’ Fit varieties.

3 – Go for Protein. This is where it gets interesting. If you’re comparing and find all things similar, then rule out one for the other based on protein. Greek yogurt wins out most of the time in this category because it contains twice the protein than traditional yogurts. Chobani (my fav) may have a bit more added sugar, but it has no artificial sweeteners or additives and it has 14 grams of protein – that’s 2 ounces! This amount of protein provides staying power and will leave you feeling full and satisfied for several hours.

In summary, look for the highest quality ingredients, the least amount of added “extras” and the most protein you can find.
My favorites are listed below. What are yours?
Chobani  Vanilla Greek Yogurt 
Fage 2% Cherry Greek Yogurt
Brown Cow Low Fat Black Cherry
Oikos Strawberry Greek Yogurt