Monday, August 31, 2015

Goal Setting: Discover Your Why


Setting goals is a great way to provide focus, bolster self-esteem, and increase your commitment. When I teach clients how to set goals, I use the acronym S.M.A.R.T. - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Take losing weight - lots of  people say their goal is to lose weight. It's a goal, but it's not a S.M.A.R.T. goal. It doesn't say anything about
·         How much?
·         How?
·         When?
Saying that you want to lose weight is too general.
Saying, "I want to lose 1 pound over the next week by exercising 30 minutes per day and replacing my late night ice cream habit with fruit on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday is a S.M.A.R.T. goal. It tells me how much weight: we can measure 1 pound. It tells me how: we specifically said by exercising 30 minutes per day and eating fruit instead of ice cream on certain days. And it tells me how long: over the next week. As long as cutting down on a couple of hundred calories per day and exercise 30 minutes per day is do-able, then this goal is realistic and attainable.
But, maybe that's not enough?
Maybe setting a S.M.A.R.T. goal isn't enough. What if setting a S.M.A.R.T. goal was the second step in sharpening your focus, bolstering your self-esteem, and increasing your commitment? What if you made discovering your "WHY" your first step?
Why do you want to lose weight?
Heck, why do you want to do anything?
It doesn't have to be weight loss. It can be your why to quit smoking, drink less, get a better job, save money, earn "X" amount of dollars per year, exercise more, run a marathon, finish college - you get the point. With any goal, creating strategy by setting S.M.A.R.T. goals is great, but your "Why" is what's going to motivate you. Your "Why" is going to get you to that smoking cessation class, buy more fruit and less ice cream, plan a budget, take a webinar or class to improve your work strategies, get you out of bed 30 minutes earlier each day so you can fit in your exercise, that webinar, or read the latest news in your industry. And if you think about it - your "Why" is also going to motivate you to get to bed 30 minutes sooner, so you're not sleep deprived, maybe even get you eating dinner at 7PM, instead of 8PM or 9PM, so you don't feel like you're stuffed when you go to bed. In other words - your "Why" infiltrates every decision you make throughout the day.
Your "Why" is yours, and yours alone.
Want to look better? Feel better? Avoid illness? Do you want to feel successful? In control? More love-able? Do you want to prove to yourself, your partner, spouse, your children, your friends, neighbors, and/or co-workers that you can do it? Maybe you just want to shut up that small, irritating voice of self-doubt in your head once and for all!
Whatever your "Why", it gives your goals credibility, meaning, and passion.
It's what energizes and motivates you. It helps you focus on what's really important to you. Your "Why" is the basis for all creativity and strategy in your life. It's the basis for balance, peace, and happiness in your life.
You don't think you have a "WHY"?
Everyone has a "Why". It may not seem obvious, but everything you do, no matter how simple, has several reasons behind it. If your "Why" isn't jumping out at you, take a few moments, sit quietly, and think. Start with a blank piece of paper; start with journaling - take just a few moments each day, with your morning coffee, tea, or water, before your partner, spouse, or kids get up, or before you go to bed - take some time and write down thoughts that come to mind about:
·         What's important to you?
·         What makes you happy?
·         What makes you feel love, not fear?
·         What do you love to do?
·         What gets you riled, excited, energized?
·         What makes you feel great about yourself?
·         What motivates, or inspires you?
·         What do you connect to emotionally?
This is about what you feel. No one needs to see this, but you  - so be honest with yourself. After you've compiled this list, take some time to look at it. Think about what sticks out. And ask yourself  "Why"? Ask yourself why you answered these questions the way you did. Take some time to really think about why you answered these questions the way you did. Discovering your "Why" will empower you. It is your focus on what you want to see in your life. And if you can see it, you can believe it.
Your "Why" propels you forward.
It forces you to grow, to challenge your fears, to set new goals.
Your "Why" is the power you need to reach your S.M.A.R.T. goals.
You can achieve anything you want.
The power is in your "Why".
Don't wait.
Discover your "Why" today!

About the Author
Elizabeth Candela is a graduate of Rutgers’ School of Environmental and Biological Sciences with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science. Her studies at Rutgers led Elizabeth into employee health and safety, and she worked several years as a Safety Engineer in Risk Management. In 2007, after achieving a Master of Art from Montclair State University, Elizabeth taught high school Biology, Environmental Science and Physics. Then, in 2009, Elizabeth developed a portable core fitness device, and since has secured a United States Patent. The development of this device drew her into the Exercise and Nutrition field, so she left the teaching profession to pursue postgraduate courses in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. Since then, Elizabeth has achieved her New Jersey Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Certification, as well as her American College of Sports Medicine Exercise Physiology Certification. By maximizing her training and fitness through sound nutritional principles, Elizabeth continues to challenge herself physically and nutritionally through her commitment to run a half marathon in every USA state, and six World Marathon Majors.

Follow Me on Twitter: me on

Monday, August 24, 2015

Keep Your Backhand Strong with these Tennis Hydration Tips

Tennis is a tough sport. You are out there alone on the court with all eyes on you. You’ve got some stuff on your mind, right? Hydration and nutrition might be one of the last things you are thinking about, but it can make all the difference. In Texas, hydration should be a top priority. I once heard a wise exercise physiologist say that our bodies are like leaky bags of water. Keep this in mind to help you understand the importance of hydrating.

From the humidity of Houston to the dry, hot summer temperatures out West, fluids should be your friend. The temperatures are rising and summer will be right around the corner. As a sports dietitian working with top NCAA tennis players, I have seen athletes hydrate the wrong way and the right way. 

Here are 5 hydration tips to make your life easier.

1.       Hydration is an all-day activity.
·         Drink water throughout the day, not just after practice or a match.
·         Check your urine color to make sure you are drinking enough. It should be clear to light yellow throughout the day.
2.       Don’t wait to hydrate until you are thirsty.
·         Kids need to drink 3-5 oz of fluid every 15-20 minutes during practice and matches (2-3 large gulps of water).
·         Adults need 4-6 oz of fluid every 15-20 minutes during practice and matches (3-4 large gulps of water).
3.       Use sports drinks when active for longer than 1 hour.
·         Plain water is all you need for a casual practice lasting less than 1 hour.
·         Typically a sports drink will be needed during competition.

4.       Rehydrate immediately after practice and matches.
·         Drink 16-24 oz (or more if you are soaked with sweat) for every pound lost during activity.
·         Refuel with a low-fat chocolate milk or a sports drink and a piece of fruit, especially if you have another match in a couple hours!

5.       Eat fruits and vegetables throughout the day.
·         Produce isn’t only a source of vitamins and minerals, it’s also a great source of water!
·         Cucumbers, oranges, and bananas are great after practice snacks.
Next time you watch the pros, take note of what they do between points. Proper hydration can delay fatigue, prevent heat illness, and speed recovery. You’ve seen Nadal with his water bottles all lined up and ready for the changeover, right? Follow his lead and do the same!

Caroline Sullivan is a Houston-based Registered Dietitian and specialist in sports dietetics. She has served as a dietitian for several NCAA Division 1 top-25 teams including work with basketball, football, tennis, and track & field. She is a member of the USTA-Texas Sports Science Committee.

Monday, August 17, 2015

High Protein Breakfast vs Normal Protein Breakfast, what’s better for preventing body fat gain and controlling hunger cravings?

Dietitians and other health professionals have long stressed the importance of breakfast.  For many people because of their busy lifestyles they find it difficult to follow these recommendations.  But what does the science say, is early morning breakfast really better for your health?  And what should this breakfast consist of?  It turns out if your goal is to reduce hunger and manage body composition, you’ll be better off adding extra bacon to your plate instead of a muffin.

            In the study 57 adolescents (average age of 19) that were overweight/obese (average BMI was 29) and normally skipped breakfasts did a 12 week study comparing the effects of a normal-protein breakfast (np) to a high protein breakfast (hp) on appetite control, food intake, and body composition.  There was also a third control group that skipped breakfast as normal.  The np and hp breakfast had the same calorie content but the np breakfast had only 13 g of protein whereas the hp breakfast had 35 g of protein.  The results of the study showed that hp breakfasts prevented mass gain, daily caloric intake, and reduced daily hunger cravings.  The np breakfasts and meal skipping groups did not experience any of these effects.[1]

            The take home point to learn from this study is that if someone is concerned about weight management or hunger control, they can benefit from consuming high protein breakfasts.  Protein rich breakfasts have higher thermic effects than typical
carbohydrate rich breakfasts and provide more satiety which make adherence to diets easier for most people.  Some quick easy high protein breakfast meals one can consume include eggs, greek yogurt, and cottage cheese.


Leidy, H., Hoertel, H., Douglas, S., Higgins, K., & Shafer, R. (n.d.). A high-protein breakfast prevents body fat gain, through reductions in daily intake and hunger, in “Breakfast skipping” adolescents. Obesity.

Erick Avila, owner of a company that provides individualized training programs and nutritional consultations for athletic events and weight loss. Erick works as a strength & conditioning coach/nutritionist with a variety of professional boxers including two ranked in the top 50 of their respective weight divisions.  He’s experienced having worked in both sport and clinical settings, with focuses ranging from general weight loss to hormonal optimization.  Erick has bachelors degrees in Exercise Science & Nutritional Science.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Want To Write For SCAN?

Interested in reaching a bigger audience or getting into blogging?  Do you have a specialty or interest that you'd enjoy sharing?

Consider becoming a SCAN blogger.  We are looking for submissions from RDNs and students on topics related to SCAN's mission statement.  

What do you need?

  • Short posts of 250-300 words (if you are a seasoned blogger and have great submissions you'd like reach a larger audience, consider submitting them!)
  • A photo and/or references (please add a credit source as needed) 
  • A bio about you with any social media you would like linked to

E-mail SCAN blog coordinator, Gina at

Monday, August 3, 2015

Motivational Interviewing Part II

This is part two in a series regarding Motivational Interviewing.  The goal of Motivational Interviewing (MI) is to increase client awareness and decrease ambivalence or resistance towards change.  For those in private practice, you may already be aware of how important your relationship is with a client.
Please note that a lot of this information comes from chemical dependency and substance abuse counselors and researchers but can be effectively applied to many areas of practice.  These are examples and considerations for dietetic practitioners.

Case Western Reserve University’s Center for Evidenced-Based Practices (CEBP) is a resource for MI and focuses on practitioner’s changing their service approach and culture towards MI.  These benefits include positive outcomes and client engagement/ retention. 
The focus of this post builds on avoiding and dealing with client resistance.  This link focuses on OARS (open ended questions, affirmations, and reflections) and the other acronym DARN CAT (which will be the subject of part three). 

·         Open ended questions allow your client to reflect on why they’re seeing you or allows them to open up.
o   You may want to ask, “What food or part of your diet holds you back?” to a client that isn’t showing weight loss.
o   “What do you want to do next?” if a client seems ambivalent.
·         Affirmations show the client that you care and take notice.
o   “I’m glad you shared your struggles with the meal plan we developed, what changes are doable for your schedule right now?”
·         Reflections can repeat what a client says or reflect feelings to help put them in perspective. 
o   Client statement: “That box of candy I keep in my desk helps me deal with my boss when she’s in a bad mood.”
o   Simple reflection: “You eat to cope with work stress.”
·         Summary Statements link themes and client comments together.
o   “You have expressed concern with work and have a demanding boss, these are stressful situations.”

These are basic steps to reframe a client’s situation, it combined environmental stressors that contribute to a habit that we may seem as unhealthy but the client may seem as a coping mechanism.  OARs questions and MI is challenging to implement initially but having a few open ended questions to sprinkle into a session with a client is a first step to improving your practice. 
What challenges have you seen on a daily or weekly basis?  Have you used Motivational Interviewing?  What struggles do you have with implementing it?