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Impact of how we talk to ourselves; plus how we can change and use it to promote good health

Avoid Weight Loss Relapse: Strategic Synergy

As challenging as it is to lose weight, for many people an even more daunting problem is avoiding, or at least limiting, the weight regain that tends to follow. Metabolic adaptations may account for some weight regain, but many people find that relapse into old habits is clearly involved, too. Is there help beyond ironclad self-discipline?

Tracking your weight and targeting specific changes in eating, exercise and sitting time can both be powerful tools for weight loss. Previous Smart Bytes® posts featured interviews with Rebecca Krukowski, PhD, discussing research on frequency of weight checks and other behavior change tips for weight loss. Dr. Krukowski, a clinical psychologist on faculty at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, provides additional insights on tracking’s role in avoiding relapse in the video interview shared here.

After hearing from Dr. Krukowski, read on for my take on how new research presented an American Heart Association conference I recently attended can address the all-to-common problem of weight loss habits relapse, and help take maintaining a healthy weight from daunting to doable.


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Weight Checks: Is Daily Really Best for Weight Loss?

If you’re trying to lose weight, studies suggest that checking your weight regularly can help. But how often? Is a daily weight check best, or is that too much? How about after you meet your weight loss goal?

In Part 1 of our video interview series with Rebecca Krukowski, PhD, we looked at how tracking progress can help with efforts to create healthy lifestyle habits. Dr. Krukowski is a clinical psychologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, where she conducts research on behavior-change interventions for weight loss. Now in Part 2, we focus on what recent studies say about frequency of checking weight.

Following the video, read on for practical points that can help in understanding what’s behind some of the latest study headlines, and how their conclusions might or might not represent the best strategy for you.

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Want a Healthy Weight? Check Your Self-Talk

Have you been using an app or online program to help you lose weight or create a healthier lifestyle? Such tools can help you track progress and provide valuable support. However, it’s easy to overlook a powerful influence on success: your self-talk as you interpret and use this information. Self-talk & healthy lifestyle - powerful

If you’ve been having trouble starting or maintaining healthier eating habits and lifestyle choices, maybe a change in the way you talk to yourself should be your first target.

The good news is that if critical or whiny thoughts are getting in the way of the lifestyle you seek, you have the power to change those thoughts. For some people, changing patterns of self-talk may take the help of a mental health professional, but for many of us, focused attention can go a long way to help us turn from our own worst enemy to our own best friend.

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How to Get the Most from an Activity Tracker: 9 Top Tricks

Does using a pedometer or other physical activity tracker work to help you get more active?

Move more, sit less to help prevent cancer

Sometimes a dog’s not enough to help you create a healthy lifestyle

One important point is choosing the right tracker for you. Even then, several tweaks in how you use it can make or break your likelihood of successful results.

Some people refer to their activity trackers as the cornerstone of getting and staying fit and healthy. Others try one, say “Meh”, and before long, it’s tucked away in a drawer, never again to see the light of day.

Here are 9 strategies for getting results….

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How You Can Create a “New Normal” for a Healthy Lifestyle

Once established, lifestyle habits – including what and how much we eat and drink, how much we sit and how much we move – become so enmeshed with our day-to-day living, that it can be hard to imagine living any other way. Some might think that when a health scare or other “flashing lights” point at how a healthy lifestyle could make a significant difference and improve quality of life, changing habits would become easy. Not so, for many people.

How can you create a “new normal”?

In this, the final section of my video interview with Maura Harrigan, MS, RD, CSO, you’ll hear what she’s learned through years of working one-on-one with cancer survivors. Yes, even cancer survivors, having faced one of the most-feared medical diagnoses, turn out to have as much trouble as everyone else adopting healthy eating habits and regular physical activity, even though research increasingly shows the difference it can make.

Maura Harrigan is a registered dietitian who is a board-certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition. Ms. Harrigan is a research associate at the Yale School of Public Health, and Nutrition Director of the Cancer Survivorship Clinic at Yale Cancer Center.  Since the last section of my Smart Bytes® interview with Ms. Harrigan, the Lifestyle, Exercise and Nutrition (LEAN) Study team at Yale received a lot of attention at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting sharing exciting findings about potential benefits of lifestyle change in breast cancer survivors.

You don’t need to be a cancer survivor to feel “stuck” in habits. Following the video, read on for a checklist that summarizes research-supported tips on creating healthful eating and other lifestyle choices relevant to us all.

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