Mar
03
2015

by Alexandra Miller, RDN, LDN

Meet the Medifast Dietitians: Alexandra Miller

alex 1 (2)

What inspired you to become a dietitian?

It all started with one of my favorite books as a young girl called the Edible Pyramid by Loreen Leedy. When I would play “school,” this book, which outlines the 1991 Food Pyramid for kids, was a part of the core curriculum for my classroom of stuffed animals. Needless to say, I developed an interest in food and nutrition at a young age. It wasn’t until college, when I took an elective course in Nutrient Metabolism, however, that I realized I wanted to pursue it as a career.

Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist has allowed my personal interests to intersect with my career goals. For example, I’ve always enjoyed being active, whether it’s going for a long trail run, skiing, or hiking with my dog, Ru. As a dietitian, I know how to properly fuel my body for those activities and can share that knowledge with others who are looking to be active as well. Being able to help others make healthy changes in their lives is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job.

What have you learned most from your experience in this field?

Though I am an educator at heart, making a health-related change often requires much more than simple education. As you may already know from personal experience, just because someone tells you to do something does not mean you’ll do it. So while I enjoy being an educator, I’ve learned that my job is not only to disseminate knowledge, but to be an ally and coach for others as they work through the process of making healthy lifestyle changes.

What do you find to be the most interesting nutritional fact?

Chocolate is rich in flavanols, a substance that protects the body against oxidative damage and may help improve blood flow to the brain and heart. Enjoying an ounce of dark chocolate (made from at least 70% cacao beans) once in a while is something I get excited about!

What’s your favorite Medifast tip?

Drink at least 64 ounces of water per day. Water is one of the body’s most essential nutrients, so we need to make sure we are getting enough. Water helps remove toxins and waste from the body and keeps our organs and systems, including our metabolism, working properly.

If you could have one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Chili: Just think of all the variations you could have and the different food groups (and thus nutrients) you’d be getting! I’d load mine up with lots of vegetables and lean protein. If I could pick a second food, it would definitely be chocolate chip cookies—yum!

Mar
02
2015

by Jennifer Reardon

National Old Stuff Day

Stack of vintage books isolated on white

If you’re a nostalgia nerd like I am, then National Old Stuff Day sounds like a perfect excuse to call out from work to binge watch ‘80s sitcoms all day. But this unique holiday isn’t about celebrating old stuff; it’s about taking a moment to recognize the same old stuff you do every day and think about how you can break out of any of those routines that have become ruts.

What’s an old habit you would like to change? Perhaps you stay up too late watching television and don’t get enough sleep. Maybe you rush out the door every morning and don’t eat breakfast until you get to work. Or maybe you find yourself eating out every day because you didn’t have time to pack your lunch. Whichever old habit you’d like to change, take a moment to think about its different components to discover how you can make that change.

Every habit has three parts: the cue, the routine, and the reward. The cue is the trigger that sets the habit in motion. This can be a time of day, a location, other people, a behavior, an emotion, a thought, etc. It’s whatever happens just before you feel the urge to perform the habit. The routine is the behavior you engage in—the steps that lead up to the reward. Finally, the reward is the payoff—often a feeling of pleasure or relief.

Let’s analyze one of those common habits, like eating out because you didn’t pack your lunch. The cue that sets this habit in motion starts long before lunchtime, when you realize you’re hungry and have to go out to get food. It starts when you wake up too late or when getting ready takes too long, and you no longer have time to pack a lunch. The routine is leaving the house without a lunch. And the payoff is relief and a bit of pleasure: you didn’t have to do any extra work in the morning, you made it to work on time, and you have restaurants that serve food you enjoy close to work.

Once you’re able to diagnose the cue that precedes your habit and the reward you get from it, you can insert a new routine that will satisfy your urge. The key here is to choose an activity or a solution that delivers an equal or better reward.

What can you change so that you don’t have to eat out every day? How about something as simple as setting the clock to wake you ten minutes earlier? Or, even better: how about preparing and packing your lunch the night before? Take a few moments while you’re helping to get dinner ready. And instead of slapping together some last-minute sandwich that rarely delights you, put some of the evening’s meal together with a healthy snack. Take that time to create a lunch you know you’ll enjoy. Your rewards, then, will multiply! You’ll get an extra ten minutes of sleep in the morning, you won’t have to fret about it while you’re getting dressed, you’ll have a delicious lunch to look forward to and eat, and you’ll even find an extra couple of bucks in your wallet at the end of the day.

On March 2, National Old Stuff Day, take a moment to break out of an old routine and shake things up a bit. The rewards are worth it!

Mar
01
2015

by Jennifer Reardon

Fit & Festive Mexican Hot Chocolate

dark hot chocolate with steam

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Yield: 1 serving

Per serving: 160 calories  |  4.5g fat  | 16g carbohydrates  | 15g protein

1 Medifast Meal  | 3 Condiments

Ingredients

  • 1 packet Medifast Hot Cocoa
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • a pinch of cayenne
  • ¾ cup (6 oz) unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp whipped cream (optional)

Directions

  1. Whisk the hot cocoa, cinnamon, cayenne, and almond milk until cocoa and spices have dissolved.
  2. Microwave for two minutes or until desired temperature. Top with whipped cream, if desired.

Feb
28
2015

by Jennifer Reardon

Fitstagramers: Instagram Accounts That Will Inspire You To Be Healthy

Sometimes our guilty pleasures kick in, and we compulsively scroll through recipes and pictures of foods that are bound to tempt us off track. We have a better solution: instead of following #foodie accounts, try following inspiring Instagram accounts that will motivate you to stay on plan. Whether you’re in need of nutritional recipes, inspirational sayings, or fitness workouts, you’ll find something motivating among our top picks of inspirational Instagram accounts. Tap your way to fitness!

For Yoga Inspiration: Yoga is taking over Instagram. Here are a few accounts that inspire with photos of amazing poses. Think of your own potential—if you stay dedicated!

yoga_inspiration

Image via @barbarajean_yoga

yoga2

Image via @pocketdwarf

yoga3

Image via @robertsturman