Eat Right Be Fit Live Well Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter View our profile on LinkedIn  Connect with us
"Let Food Be Thy Medicine"
January 2017
In This Issue
Quick Links

Jean Varney
Jeannie Varney
 Nutrition Consultant


Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday and were able to slow down enough to relax, visit with family and friends and reflect on the past 12 months. I did and so enjoyed an intermission from the daily grind. Our children filled our home for a few days and, despite the additional dishes, loads of laundry and clutter, I treasured the time spent with them engaged in conversation which allowed me to gain a greater appreciation for their Millennial perspective on politics, social issues and life's priorities. We lingered over family dinners, watched way too many movies, prepared meals together and participated in family workouts. Now, the holiday reprieve is over, the kids have returned to their West coast homes, and I'm back to doing what I love - helping people harness the power of dietary and lifestyle choices to improve their health and wellbeing. January is always busy for me because, for many of us, the New Year is an opportunity to start afresh and renew one's self. And while everyone's resolutions are different, a common theme is to take better care of ourselves by exercising more, eating better and dropping those unhealthy and unwanted pounds.

Great aspirations! Improving your diet and lifestyle can increase your energy, reduce your waistline, sharpen your mental function, and significantly reduce your risk of heart disease, type II diabetes and many cancers. But in order to reap these benefits, the changes need to be permanent. Unfortunately, after just a few short weeks of avoiding sweets, going to the gym and climbing into bed earlier, our enthusiasm for our new routines often wanes and we quickly resume old habits, bringing about feelings of guilt and frustration. Are we really incapable of change or are the changes we try to implement too severe, stressful and unsustainable? I believe the latter. Bad habits take months to develop and will take months to alter. Set realistic goals and allow yourself time to establish new, healthier patterns. Below I've listed 17 modifications you can gradually implement in 2017. Doing so, will improve your health, help you feel better about yourself and make your New Year's resolution a habit worth keeping.


Permanent results require permanent changes!
Here are 17 suggestions for 2017. Consider implementing one or two each month for the next several months and see if you're not feeling and looking better by summer time.

1. Eat most of your calories in the morning and at lunch, not after 3PM. In the words of Michael Pollen, "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper."

2. Eat dinner before 8PM or at least 2 hours before going to bed. Eating right before bed can disrupt your sleep. Restless sleep contributes to weight gain, cravings for unhealthy foods and often less exercise.

3. When eating at home, use smaller plates, bowls, and stemware. Research shows you will eat and drink more if you serve yourself on oversized plates and bowls and in large glasses. FYI ... big bowl wine glasses are so passé! :)

4. Switch to wine or champagne when imbibing instead of "cocktails" that contain caloric mixers. Enjoy 1 (ladies) or 2 (men) 5oz servings on weekends instead of daily.

5. Commit to eating a large salad as one of your meals each day. Include dark leafy greens, lean protein, a little healthy fat and some whole grains or legumes. Many eateries throughout the country make this doable. Look for Sweetgreens, Sweetleaf, Chop't, Mixt, Whole Foods and Just Salads when dining out. They offer healthy, quick and delicious salad entrees. But, be careful of the tortilla chips, candied nuts, cheese, dried fruit, and dressings that accompany your greens -- they can add 200-500 calories and loads of sugar to your "healthy" meal.

6. Use fresh squeezed lemon and balsamic vinegar as your dressing on your salad instead of a commercially prepared full fat variety.

7. Replace red meat with grilled, baked or broiled (not fried) chicken, turkey, soy, fish or seafood most days - if you don't want to give up beef, pork and lamb completely, enjoy no more than 15-17oz of grass-fed, lean varieties monthly. (Avoid altogether sodium-rich, nitrate-filled processed meats like ham, turkey, salami, hot dogs, bacon, sausage and pepperoni.)

8. Eat omega-3 rich fatty fish 2-3 times a week (arctic char, salmon, tuna, sardines, anchovies, trout and even mussels). Diets high in fish are linked with a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and several cancers. For delicious, flash frozen seafood straight from Alaska, try Or, if you prefer sustainably caught, canned tuna, wild caught sockeye salmon, anchovies or sardines, look for the Wild Planet brand at most grocery stores. Not a fish lover? Consider taking a fish oil daily. Click here, and scroll to the bottom of the homepage to view the one I recommend.

9. Replace your pasta with fresh zucchini, sweet potato or butternut squash ribbons/noodles and instead of white rice try cauliflower rice. Both can be found in the produce section of most grocery stores.

10.Enjoy steel cut oatmeal instead of breakfast cereals - Top off a bowl of oatmeal with apples, berries or pears, nuts and seeds and a tsp. of brown sugar or honey, if needed. Make it with milk or a protein rich "milk alternative" to add protein to your breakfast.

11. Substitute the chips, popcorn, pretzels, popchips, veggie chips etc. at lunch or snack with a piece of fresh fruit. Commit to eating 1-2 pieces of fruit a day IN PLACE of less healthy options - simply adding fruit to your plate won't benefit you.

12. If you need an afternoon snack - plan ahead and bring "real" food to work (think protein and veggies) instead of grabbing something from the local coffee shop or office vending machine. Remember snacks are NOT treats. They are a mini meal that should consist of whole, real foods. Opting for convenience will be costly (and not just financially). Swap the baked goods, candy or granola bar for turkey slices, a cheese stick or Siggis yogurt and a piece of fruit. Prefer something crunchy? Try carrots, peppers, celery etc. and hummus, peanut butter or cottage cheese.

13. For dessert, exchange your ice cream, frozen yogurt, cookies or other baked goods for .5-1oz of dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher) - spread a thin layer of peanut or almond butter on it to make your own Reese's treat.

14. Forgo your latte, Frappuccino, flavored coffee and sweetened chai or green tea drink for an Americano or unsweetened tea with a dash of milk and a sweetener of choice. Gradually wean yourself off excessive sweeteners and cream in your beverage. Every two weeks reduce the amount of cream and sugar/artificial sweetener by 1/4. Your goal should be no more than a dash of cream (more if using milk) and/or 1/2 tsp. of sugar/1/4 packet of stevia with each cup of coffee, tea, or other beverage.

15. Cut down on the calories you drink by increasing your water consumption: Soda, lemonade, flavored coffees, sweetened milk alternatives, sports drinks, "green juices," smoothies and fruit juices (even 100% fruit juice) are loaded with sugars that spike your blood sugar and convert to fat quickly in the body while wreaking havoc on your energy, hunger and weight. Exchange them for water - fizzy or still.

16. Get off your tush! Our bodies were meant to move not sit. Research continues to show exercise is good for the mind, body and soul. Most importantly it protects us against age related mental decline, heart disease, type II diabetes and depression. Assess how active you are throughout the day. If your life is predominately sedentary, commit to getting on your feet more often. Get a fitness tracker or pedometer and track your steps. Increase your steps weekly until you reach 10K steps a day. Use a headset and pace while you're on the phone, use the stairs whenever possible, meet your friends for a walk instead of lunch or simply walk 30-45 minutes/day listening to a podcast or book on tape.

17. Stop multitasking while you eat. Be mindful and eat slowly. Our hectic lives often encourage us to eat while traveling to and from appointments, in front of our computers and TVs or at a restaurant. Eating under these circumstances often leads to overindulgence, more calories and less satisfaction. Our minds have a difficult time registering calories eaten while standing up, walking, driving, returning emails, or even watching TV. Turn electronics off, sit and enjoy your meal. Be aware of how satisfied you are. Stop eating when you are no longer hungry, NOT when you are full. And, please don't forget to discover your kitchen!!! Preparing your own meals is essential to optimal health!

Here's to a healthier 2017.

This article is for informational purposes only, is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, and is not a substitute for medical advice.
Healthy Recipes To Try in 2017
Here are 4 delicious and healthy recipes to try in 2017. Replace your bagel with black bean hash, your white rice with quinoa stuffing, your potatoes with roasted carrots and your pasta with eggplant and tofu Parmesan .

About Jean Varney 
Jean Varney is the founder and president of Eat Right, Be Fit, Live Well LLC, a health and nutrition consulting firm committed to empowering men and women to improve their health through sustainable changes to their diet and lifestyle.  Based in the Washington DC metropolitan area, Jean coaches clients nationwide by phone and in person.  She focuses on helping individuals make smart choices about the foods they eat in order to maintain high energy levels, avoid unwanted weight gain and decrease their risk of heart disease, cancer, type II diabetes and other chronic illnesses.  Jean received her training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City.  To learn more about her practice, please visit her website at: