Saturday, June 29, 2013

Blogger RDs Share Their Passions & Advice: Part One

This is a series of dietitians who have created their own brands using social media and blogs.  Here is the first installment and interview with Nicole, the author of Prevention RD

Nicole has a day job as the Director of Nutrition Services at a small hospital and at night she is a "home cook, blogger, and wife" as taken from her blog.  She has experience in renal disease, diabetes, weight management, food service management, teaching, and bariatrics.  Nicole is also an author and you can find information on her books here.

  • Why did you decide to become a blogger? I became an RD in the economic pits of 2009. I was down on my luck trying to land my first job out of school and the search took the better part of 6 months. While applying for jobs, I decided to focus my energy and passion for nutrition online by way of starting a blog. The rest is history.

  • How has this helped your career? Blogging has enriched my career in many ways. Without a blog, I don't know that I would've ever been capable of landing a cookbook deal, much less 2 cookbook deals. I am creating a network and business outside of my day job that will, perhaps, lead to gainful employment in and of itself. I would love to work for myself and take my career in any direction I see fit. While I cannot always dictate what I do as an RD during the day, I can learn, grow, and share anything I want in the online community and on my blog. It's so empowering to have a voice, grow a readership, and know that you make a difference in the world, helping people reach their goals.
  • What advice do you give to someone starting out in blogging? If you're passionate about something, write about it. Someone will read. If you keep writing, your readership will grow. You do not need a new or innovative idea to be interesting and informative. The world is full of false and misleading nutrition advice - RD's are the perfectly suited individuals to be battling all the misconceptions out there. The internet provides RD's with the perfect vehicle to move information through masses of people at no cost to the writer.

  • What is your favorite post or topic? When I find recipes that are superior in taste and nutrition that anyone could make at home for their families, I can't wait to share it with the world. Cooking has become such a passion of mine that to see nutrition and cooking marry into good makes me foodie dietitian heart smile!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Beauty and The Beast, Treatment Options For Binge Eating (Part III)

This is the final part of the series on binge eating which has finally come to the DSM-V manual, it is meant to provide a primer for helping to identify binge eating behaviors in our clients and how to appropriately utilize mental health professionals, programs, and self-learning and discovery.

Binge eating and emotional eating come from stress, depression, or other trauma.

People who may binge eat have difficulty with resisting impulses here are some tips for developing a binge eating action plan.
·         Meal plan: encourage your client or patient to keep a long of what they’ll be eating for the week, a calendar can be used or you can download a free template, the easiest may be using a smart phone app such as MyFitnessPal to track Calories.  Smart phone apps can also double as a food journal which is also encouraged so the client can see exactly how much they’ve eaten
·         During your education with your client/patient put together 3 meals and healthy snacks within the allotted Calorie budget you have created for them
·         Stop making it a diet.  In some people “dieting” or the thought of restriction may work in the short term but may not have any longevity. 
·         Encourage exercise,  find distractions to avoid boredom, and make sure your client is getting enough sleep.
·         Self-help is available for those who may not feel comfortable with a group (Overeaters Anonymous) or individual therapy; a six-step program by Dr. Christopher Fairburn, Overcoming Binge Eating  (The Guildford Press, New York, 1995) uses problem-solving strategies, monitoring, and control.

Medications for binge eating?
Medications are not the sole answer for binge eating as some can overcome the sensation of satiety.  Meridia is a medication that may reduce binge eating but has side effects that affect the heart, brain (seizures) and other complications.  The seizure drug, Topamax and some anti-depressants may be helpful and the client can be encouraged to discuss this with this doctor. 

Gina Lesako RD, LD is the SCAN blog coordinator, those interested in writing for SCAN can email her directly at  (Resolve to increase your online exposure in 2013!)

She can also be found blogging at  Find her on SCAN:

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Tech Minute: Bracelets and Gadgets Galore

Forget the pedometer or apps on your phone to just track your latest run, the latest tools in health are making fashion statements and are a bit more attached to you (for the best results).

This past May, Jawbone purchased BodyMedia (creators of the Fit Link, a sensor that logs different metrics—steps, etc. to determine the body’s Calorie output).
Jawbone improved its software platform, basically for the non-geeks, to ‘communicate’ with other programs such as the MyFitnessPal app on your phone or computer. You can also set it to vibrate every so often to alert you to get moving (great for those of us at a desk job all day).

Fitbit has been featured in Men’s Health, The Wall Street Journal,  and NPR to name a few, it takes the addictiveness of social media combined with a tracking device and you receive different badges as you reach fitness goals, additional products from   the Fitbit family include wrist/hip trackers, the Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale and Smart phone apps for your Apple or Android products.

Gina Lesako RD, LD is the SCAN blog coordinator (those interested in writing for SCAN can email her directly at, resolve to increase your online exposure).  

She can also be found blogging at  

Friday, June 14, 2013

From How To Choose the Healthiest Greens Infographic Click on the link above to view the full image and article.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Go Big or Go Home: Binge Eating Comes To The DSM-V (Part Two)

In Part One of this series, a brief overview of the new DSM-V manual’s latest addition of binge eating was addressed.  In this second part, some causes and solutions will be discussed

Binge eating can be liked to several environmental and personal factors.  It is usually a combination of genetics, emotions with response to stress, and life experiences that may cause it to develop.

The hypothalamus in the brain controls appetite and in some people with binge eating, their hypothalamus may not be able to transmit messages  of hunger and fullness.  Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is involved in brain chemistry and mental health my play a role as food can stimulate serotonin (which is why we experience a pleasurable experience when eating or exercising as they are both important to survival on a basic level).

Certain environmental factors may trigger people to overeat, from society’s impression of beauty and what is acceptable for physical appearance to pressure from parents to certain sports (ex: gymnastics, cheerleading, wrestling) as young populations are a primary target for this condition.  Additional factors can include sexual abuse and other trauma.  Because food can elicit a response of serotonin from the body (ever have a bowl of macaroni and cheese after a bad day?), food is an easy tool for providing comfort and it can be easy to control (like a trip to the office vending machine for Oreos after a terrible work review or a pint of Ben and Jerry’s for the brokenhearted college student). 

Emotional Eating & Binge Eating

Emotional eating is using food to cope and comfort, it rarely fills the real emotion need: attention, appreciation, etc. but continues to act as a mask for the real issues at hand (potentially depression, stress, past-emotional trauma).

The following was excerpted  from “Emotional Eating: How to Recognize and Stop Emotional Eating,”:

The difference between emotional hunger and physical hunger
Before you can break free from the cycle of emotional eating, you first need to learn how to distinguish between emotional and physical hunger. This can be trickier than it sounds, especially if you regularly use food to deal with your feelings.
Emotional hunger can be powerful. As a result, it’s easy to mistake it for physical hunger. But there are clues you can look for that can help you tell physical and emotional hunger apart.
  • Emotional hunger comes on suddenly. It hits you in an instant and feels overwhelming and urgent. Physical hunger, on the other hand, comes on more gradually. The urge to eat doesn’t feel as dire or demand instant satisfaction (unless you haven’t eaten for a very long time).
  • Emotional hunger craves specific comfort foods. When you’re physically hungry, almost anything sounds good—including healthy stuff like vegetables. But emotional hunger craves fatty foods or sugary snacks that provide an instant rush. You feel like you need cheesecake or pizza, and nothing else will do.
  • Emotional hunger often leads to mindless eating. Before you know it, you’ve eaten a whole bag of chips or an entire pint of ice cream without really paying attention or fully enjoying it. When you’re eating in response to physical hunger, you’re typically more aware of what you’re doing.
  • Emotional hunger isn’t satisfied once you’re full. You keep wanting more and more, often eating until you’re uncomfortably stuffed. Physical hunger, on the other hand, doesn't need to be stuffed. You feel satisfied when your stomach is full.
  • Emotional hunger isn’t located in the stomach. Rather than a growling belly or a pang in your stomach, you feel your hunger as a craving you can’t get out of your head. You’re focused on specific textures, tastes, and smells.
  • Emotional hunger often leads to regret, guilt, or shame. When you eat to satisfy physical hunger, you’re unlikely to feel guilty or ashamed because you’re simply giving your body what it needs. If you feel guilty after you eat, it's likely because you know deep down that you’re not eating for nutritional reasons.
 Gina Lesako RD, LD is the SCAN blog coordinator, those interested in writing for SCAN can email her directly at  (Resolve to increase your online exposure in 2013!)

She can also be found blogging at  Find her on SCAN:

Sunday, June 9, 2013

RD Weighs In On, "Dietitians can provide skilled advice on how to eat more healthfully"

I became an RD because I believe food is a large piece of the health puzzle and I want to help people put together their unique puzzle. Of course, I also work with clients to understand that food is only one of the pieces, and physical health is but one piece of our overall wellness.

Today, I am grateful to the Washington Post for the recent positive press about what an RD is and what sets us apart. We are not a homogeneous profession. We sometimes disagree on the science (as critical thinkers will), especially with newly emerging research. But we have a common core training that helps us to evaluate science, individualize treatment (no cookie cutters in my office!), and work WITH our clients to set goals and action plans.

Many RDs are on social media, so you may follow them on Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook. What you may not see is the one-on-one counseling with individuals facing chemotherapy, with high blood pressure that just won't come down, trying to lose weight (again), competing in their 1st or 25th triathlon, or trying to uncomplicate life with diabetes. These are just a few of the many situations with which an RD will help her clients, often with little recognition.

In fact, many insurance companies still do not cover medical nutrition therapy (MNT), and Medicare covers it only for diabetes and kidney disease. I don't take insurance for this reason, but many of my colleagues do, and many of us are lobbying to change this reality.

So I want to take a moment to recognize my RD colleagues who put the power of good food to work in their clients’ and patients’ lives. Who patiently guide their clients to that eye-opening moment when they feel both motivated and capable of doing the right things for themselves. Thank you for the inspiration!

Written by:
Cheryl Toner, MS, RD strives to inspire people and companies to choose wellness in everyday moments. She sees nutrition clients in Herndon (Northern VA), and consults with food- and health-focused organizations as an advisor, analyst, and writer.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Go Big or Go Home: Binge Eating Comes To The DSM-V (Part One)

Binge eating is going to become an actual diagnosis in the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition).  ‘It is characterized by compulsive overeating’.  Binge eating is different from other eating disorders like bulimia, because there’s no penance  for the binge whereas with bulimia either there will be fasting, excessive exercise, or vomiting to make up for the excess of Calories consumed.

Some identifying markers of binge eating include:
·         Binges that last several hours to a day.
·         Stress and feelings of being upset during the binge or after.
·         The targeted population is usually late teens throughout early adulthood.

Additional Symptoms of Binge Eating and The Cycle

Clients may find comfort in binge eating for the time being and use it as  a control mechanism for stress, depression, boredom, etc.   It is then followed by regret, obesity and/or weight gain and the cycle repeats itself.

Additional information from identifies additional symptoms of the condition.

Behavioral symptoms of binge eating and compulsive overeating
  • Inability to stop eating or control what you’re eating
  • Rapidly eating large amounts of food
  • Eating even when you’re full
  • Hiding or stockpiling food to eat later in secret
  • Eating normally around others, but gorging when you’re alone
  • Eating continuously throughout the day, with no planned mealtimes
Emotional symptoms of binge eating and compulsive overeating
  • Feeling stress or tension that is only relieved by eating
  • Embarrassment over how much you’re eating
  • Feeling numb while bingeing—like you’re not really there or you’re on auto-pilot.
  • Never feeling satisfied, no matter how much you eat
  • Feeling guilty, disgusted, or depressed after overeating
  • Desperation to control weight and eating habits
Signs of binge eating disorder
Ask yourself the following questions. The more “yes” answers, the more likely it is that you have binge eating disorder.
  • Do you feel out of control when you’re eating?
  • Do you think about food all the time?
  • Do you eat in secret?
  • Do you eat until you feel sick?
  • Do you eat to escape from worries, relieve stress, or to comfort yourself?
  • Do you feel disgusted or ashamed after eating?
  • Do you feel powerless to stop eating, even though you want to?

In part two we will discuss additional causes and replacement coping mechanisms for binge eating.