Smart Bytes®

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healthy lifestyle

Table for One? Shared-meal studies & the single adult

Multiple studies now suggest benefits of regular family meals for children and teens. But what does research show about influence of shared meals on adults? And what does this mean for the roughly half of U.S. adults who are single?Shared Meals & Single Adults

Over my years in nutrition counseling, I’ve worked with many single people for whom healthy eating choices seemed extra-challenging due to lack of interest in preparing meals “just” for themselves. It can be easy to skip meals and graze on low-nutrient, high-calorie foods when there’s no concern about imposing those choices on other people.

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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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How to Get a Handle on Healthy Habits: Tips from Research

“Ultimately, people do not decide their future. They decide their habits, and their habits decide their future.” So says John C. Maxwell in The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential, a book I’m on my third time through as an audio book to accompany me on walks.

Ah, you say, but where do those habits come from? Do health-promoting habits seem hard to establish and easy to lose, while it’s amazingly easy to fall back into unhealthy habits?

Here, in Part 1 of a series, Rebecca Krukowski, PhD, provides perspective on how “self-monitoring” can play a role in creating healthy 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.


Following the video, read on for practical take-home tips on different options for using self-monitoring to help you create habits to lose weight or achieve other health goals – or to avoid the all-too-easy path back to unhealthy habits in the months ahead.


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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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Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Update on Cancer Prevention & Health

Anti-inflammatory diets are hot topics, both in research and in the media. Chronic inflammation is tied to diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and more. So where do “anti-inflammatory diets” fit as you consider how doable eating choices can make a difference in your health, today and long-term?

In Part 1 of this video series, Susan Steck, PhD, MPH, RD, discusses inflammation and the variety of “anti-inflammatory diets”; in Part 2, she talks about development of an overall Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII) that pulls together inflammatory and anti-inflammatory food consumption into one score meant to represent the overall effect of someone’s eating habits. In this, the final section of our interview, Dr. Steck provides an update on research using the DII to study how diet may affect health. Dr. Steck is a registered dietitian and Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

Following the video, read on for additional insights.

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