Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Make Your Meals HAPI...

...HAPIfork, that is. I recently ran across this story on's Web site about a fork that vibrates when you eat too fast, and I just had to do some digging.

That led me to HAPIfork's Web site,, where I learned more about their electronic fork specifically designed to track eating speed. The fork not only tracks how many times you bring your fork to your mouth; it also monitors how long it takes you to pick up your fork and put it down, as well as when you stop and start eating, and how long your meal lasts.

In addition, your eating information can be uploaded to the 'net (including iPhones, Android phones, and Windows mobile), so you can share the information with others. suggests sharing the information with your "coach," which can "download his feedback alarm."

If you're interested, you can pre-order a HAPIfork for $99. The forks are attractive, and come in black, chrome, blue, pink, and green. Personally, I'd love to invest $300 to become a beta tester. Alas, my budget won't allow for it at this time. I'll have to be happy with my small fork, and continue to put it down after each bite. If you spring for a HAPIfork, please let us know how it goes!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"Ten Tips" for Physical (Family) Activity

If you've taken either of my online classes, you already know I'm a big fan of MyPlate, which replaced the Food Guide Pyramid in 2011. But you may not be aware that on the MyPlate Web site (at you can find a variety of resources for healthy living -- which, as we know, translates to successful long-term weight management.

One of MyPlate's resources is the "10 Tips Nutrition Education Series," a collection of gorgeous full-color handouts that offer practical ways to eat healthfully and increase physical activity. MyPlate recently released several new 10 Tips handouts, including Be Active Adults and Be An Active Family.

The tips and ideas in "Be Active Adults" are the same as those in my online class "Lose Weight," but it never hurts to pause a moment, reflect on what you're doing well, and consider what you might do differently to improve. (If you don't need to change anything, take the opportunity to appreciate all your hard work!) The "Be An Active Family" handout offers useful suggestions for encouraging physical activity in the family setting. It's geared for parents and kids, but it could easily be adapted for a household of adults.

If physical activity isn't a challenge for you and your household, or if you're curious about the other handouts available, click here for a link to the 10 Tips. My favorite is Eat Seafood Twice a Week, but with handouts ranging from healthy eating for children to budgeting to vegetarianism, there's something for everyone!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Happy Hydrating, Better Teeth, and Fewer Calories, Too?!

Many of my students in "Lose Weight" decide to drink a glass of water before eating. Most of them find that it works well. There's a fair amount of research out there which suggests a glass of water (or a bowl of broth-based soup) before meals dulls appetite. This makes it easier to eat more slowly, eat less, and generally stay on track with weight management goals.

Personally, I've never found this tip useful. If I drink a glass of water before meals, I find myself thinking, "I'm not that full...after all, I had that big glass of water beforehand. I'm really just bloated, and if I don't eat a little more, I'll be hungry later."

Happily, my new dentist shared with me that although drinking 3 liters of water a day is good for dental health, drinking a glass of water after meals helps rinse out the mouth and protect the teeth. After trying it out, I was surprised to notice that, after eating a meal and drinking a glass of water, I felt satisfied without having dessert. I have a serious sweet tooth, so I was delighted to pass on dessert on more than one occasion, without feeling at all deprived.

So, if you're struggling to get in all the water you need, drinking a glass of water before and after your meals and snacks may benefit you. If you drink 8 ounces of water before and after three meals a day, that's 48 ounces of water...almost effortlessly. If you have a snack or two, that's another 16 to 32 ounces of water. In addition to all the inherent benefits of adequate hydration, you'll also eat more slowly or cut back on calories, again almost effortlessly. In addition, you'll be giving your teeth a boost, by "cleaning" them with a water rinse after eating. With all that good news, you'll have plenty to smile about!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Spring Into Summer!

It may not be unseasonably warm in your part of the world, but summer's still on its way! As we look forward to longer days and warmer weather, many people find that maintaining or losing weight is easier. That said, spring and summer pose their own hazards to successful weight management.

For many people, springtime seems to herald a less hectic season, because "the holidays" are behind us until fall. In fact, there are a host of celebrations in the spring and summer -- Memorial Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and Fourth of July.

And, of course, spring and summer bring graduations, weddings, baby showers, birthdays, and other parties and celebrations. Each of these celebrations doesn't have to revolve around food, but they typically do. When there's food involved, it doesn't have to wreak havoc on your weight management plans, but it often does. Summer, in particular, lulls people into a false sense of security: It's the time of year for traveling or hosting visitors (or both!), and that means it's all-too-easy for healthy habits to fall by the wayside.

So, before it gets any warmer, let's take a look at what you can do to stay on track with weight management...or get a jump on losing a few pounds before the weather warms up!

Top 5 Tips for Springing Into Summer

1. Take time for body pride. Spring and summer mean the arrival of warmer weather...and less clothing. Whether you're headed for the beach or not, spring is the time of year when both men and women shed their warm-weather clothes...and begin berating themselves about how horrible their bodies look. Don't fall into that trap! Remember to talk to yourself about your body the exact same way you'd talk to your nearest and dearest friends and family members.

This is also the time of year to plan ahead for maintaining healthy body pride through the summer season. How, you ask? Here are some suggestions: Buy a bathing suit, new summer blouse, or a pair of shorts you love that flatter your body right now. Up your swag factor in a cool new hat, or invest in some gorgeous summer jewelry. Decide ahead of time what assertive communication tools you'll need to successfully navigate family or social situations. Develop a new affirmation that supports body pride.

2.  Amp up lifestyle activity. Chances are good that, no matter how carefully you plan ahead for physical activity, you'll have days and times when your plans fall through. Spring and summer also bring a host of possible changes in eating habits, too -- and it's not all fresh fruits and veggies! Weddings, showers, graduations, and birthday parties all mean cake, while barbeques and beach parties invariably include alcohol, chips and dips, and so on. Before summer's over, you'll be glad you got up and shot a few hoops with the kids, swam a few extra laps, danced at a wedding, or went for a walk on the beach under the moonlight. Every little bit of activity helps, so don't turn down an opportunity to get up and move your body!

3. Keep an eye on portion size. One beautiful thing about summer -- fresh fruits and veggies are in season! Although fruit is a wonderfully healthy food choice, it still contains calories. Fruit smoothies, in particular, can be a high-calorie option. Non-starchy veggies are a terrific option, but keep an eye on portion sizes if you use high-calorie additions like cheese or butter.

4.  Drink water. Between warmer, more humid weather, and more lifestyle activity, you probably need more water. Many people are tempted to drink sugary, caffeinated, or alcoholic beverages that seem more refreshing, but in the long run, don't meet your hydration needs. Most people need at least 2 liters of water a day, and aiming for 3 liters, or even 4 liters, can making losing weight or keeping it off easier. (Check with your doctor if you're not sure how much water is right for you.) So, keep your water bottle handy, and make sure you stay on track with hydration.

5.  Get enough rest.  There are so many fun things to do in the summertime! It's easy for sleep to get short-changed, especially as the days lengthen and the lure of staying up late to enjoy outdoor activities with family and friends beckons. Plan ahead to get caught up on your sleep the next day by planning for a restful day, or taking a nap. If that doesn't work for you, then plan ahead for ways to handle the hunger that's due to fatigue.

Now it's your turn! How do you plan ahead for the warm-weather months? What helps you lose weight, or maintain your weight, during the summer months? Let us know! :)