Wednesday, February 24, 2010

How Do I Stop Craving Chocolate?

Hi,  I am a 35-year old female in pretty good health. I work out once or twice a week and eat pretty well. I would just like to lose 10 or 12 pounds but my problem is craving chocolate. I don't eat huge portions but I need some every day. Do you have any advice on how I can kick this habit? I know if I could give up the chocolate, the weight would come off in time.  Thanks, LeeAnne

Dear LeeAnne,

There is no physical way, to my knowledge, to stop craving chocolate. I do know the more you eat it, the more you'll want it. And, believe it or not, once you give it up the cravings will lessen over time.

Mentally, the way to kick the craving is to find something else that is more important to you. What works is finding a reason that you really want to lose 10 pounds.  If you'd just "sorta like to" then that won't be anywhere near strong enough to overpower the little chocolate voice calling "come have some of me--I taste sooo good"!

I would suggest sitting down for a while and giving some serious thought to your priorities. Try coming up with a list of 10 ways your life will be better if you lose 10 pounds. And they have to be specific reasons--sharp enough to envision when the chocolate starts calling you over. For instance "I'll look better" probably won't cut it at least half the time--but having a vision of yourself wearing a certain dress at a certain gathering may go a lot farther in being able to say "no" to that little chocolate devil on your shoulder.

Some other options include limiting the number of days a week you indulge, or calculating the number of calories of chocolate you're eating and resolve to burn those off in exercise sometime that day!

If you could use the help of a diet coach to get you through the next 3 months while you get the weight off, take a visit over to my website,, and give me a call!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How Do I Find My Personal Nutrient Needs?

I am 21 years old and would like to find out what my own personal nutrient needs are--not just what the general  population needs. I am 5'4" and 130 pounds female and fairly active. Thanks, Jolene

Dear Jolene,
Here is a link to the USDA website with dietary reference intakes and an explanation of how to use them. Every single vitamin and mineral (along with carbohydrate and protein needs as well) is categorized according to gender and age. Your height and weight are not included as factors in considering nutritional needs for these purposes.

The numbers were determined over years of studies on large groups of people. After the healthiest intake was realized in each case there was a generous cushion applied so the needs of 99% of the population is estimated to be met with each level. What this means is you do not have to add an extra amounts "just in case"... they've taken care of that for you!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How Do I Burn More Calories Than I Eat?

I've been on a diet since January 1st. I cut out complex carbs and starches. My diet now consists of high proteins, fresh veggies and fresh fruits. Occasionally I'll have a small glass of orange juice.

I've been using my exercise bike and averaging about 12 mph for about 90 minutes per day. According to my bike I'm burning off 1000 calories. My concern is, my calorie intake a day is only 1200 - 1400 calories a day. The general rule I've been told is "You have to burn off more than you take in" so... how do I burn more than 1000 calories and how have I been losing weight?

I started out over 300 pounds and I'm down to 265 so I've lost 35 pounds in just 2 months. I feel great but I just don't understand the math!
Thanks, Loryn

Dear Loryn,

Relax! Your body is burning over 2000 calories a day just doing what it does! It takes all this energy for you to breathe, pump blood around, digest food, walk, even to stand. The 1000 calories you're burning on the bike is just extra :)

I would definitely suggest you increase your calorie intake to at least 1600-1800. You could be decreasing your metabolism by cutting your calories so drastically (1200-1400 level) and that is tough to recover from.

Consider adding in a few whole grains like toast or cereal for breakfast and rice or potatoes for dinner. A serving (a slice of bread or 1/2 cup rice) provides less than 100 calories and these foods give you the energy you need, especially for the exercise you're doing.

Congratulations on sticking with your new eating habits and regular exercise for 6 weeks... it should be getting easier now. Although your weight loss may slow, don't get discouraged. Even if you lose just 5 pounds a month you'll be close to 200 next year :) Keep up the good work!!