Nutritional Tips to Start the New Year

By: Barb Del Brocco, Registered Holistic Nutritionist

January 2012


Happy New Year!

As a Registered Nutritionist with a particular interest in understanding the genetic factors that can contribute to poor health, I am often confronted by new clients who turn to me for nutritional coaching and advice after they have made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight. Typically, many of these clients have previously reached out to local health clubs and fast track diet programs looking for magic solutions to their lack of fitness and weight gain. The combination of lack of physical activity and poor diet has resulted in incremental weight gain and is a major reason our society now deals with obesity issues. Even if someone is not obese, making small and thoughtful changes to one’s lifestyle and diet can deliver lasting healthy results. Here are some simple suggestions to help you make your commitment to lead a healthier and happier life in 2012 more successful.

If You Fail to Plan Then Plan to Fail!

Plan ahead and make a grocery list before you shop in order to prepare healthy snacks and meals. If you take the time to prepare them properly when you get home, you will be more likely to reach for them when you get hungry. Wash and cut up the veggies; slice and dice the fruit and keep nutritious foods where they are easy to grab. Make sure you put them on the refrigerator shelf so that is the first thing you see when you open the door. Keep fresh fruit displayed in a basket on the counter. If it is convenient to grab, it is more likely that you will make healthier choices.

Eat More Often and Lose Weight!

Even if you are not hungry, eat every three to four hours to maintain blood sugar levels. This fuels your metabolism while preventing overeating and cravings. Skipping meals or waiting longer than four hours for your next meal leads to increased risk of binging. Always plan ahead and travel with snacks such as raw almonds, walnuts or cashews or a balanced protein bar like a Larabar. Combining protein with fiber at every meal takes longer to digest than simpler carbohydrates, so you stay fuller longer. Also, take time to chew your food fully as the longer you chew, the more nutrients your body absorbs and you will feel fuller faster.

Don’t forget to drink approximately eight glasses of water especially when exercising. Also, before you put coffee, tea, or food into your body in the morning, it’s best to first break your overnight fast by drinking a cup of warm water with lemon. The acidity of the lemon helps rebalance your digestive tract by making it alkaline, allowing “good” bacteria into your intestines to thrive and facilitate optimal nutrient absorption. Eating within an hour of waking up stabilizes your blood sugar and provides the body with fuel to start the day.

Exercise – Even Just A Bit!

On top of a healthy diet, the best way to achieve weight loss is through a consistent program of at least 30 minutes on most days that incorporates both resistance (weights) and cardio training. This will guarantee to decrease your total body fat percentage while increasing your lean muscle mass. Additionally, exercise will provide you with more energy and help you to manage stress in your life. It does so by increasing the feel-good neurotransmitter endorphins in your brain, which in turn decreases anxiety and depression.  Exercise also improves mood and sleep while making you feel happier and more confident. As a result, you will be motivated to make smarter and healthier food choices.

Food Journals Are Smart!

Write down everything you eat or drink in a food journal to give yourself an accurate picture of what you’re eating on a daily basis.  It will hopefully motivate you to recognize some of the poor choices you are making.  Not only will high calorie food choices become evident, but you should be able to eventually recognize whether you are eating too much sodium/salt, sugar and/or not enough fibre in your diet.  Focus especially on whether you are eating a healthy breakfast (the most important meal of the day) or whether late night snacks are bigger issue than you might admit.  Be honest with yourself and maintain a food journal for just one week. It will be an eye-opener.

Get to Bed!

Healthy adults should aim for at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night.  Any sleep less than that and you increase your risk for a host of health problems including weight gain, diabetes, and high blood pressure.  Getting enough sleep is as much of a priority in your life as eating right and exercising to maintain good health. When we are deprived of sleep, cortisol is released at an increased level into the blood stream which prevents weight loss.

Barb Del Brocco


   Born in Toronto, Canada, Barb Del Brocco is a graduate of the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition.  She is a passionate nutrition coach with a particular interest in the bio-mechanics of nutrition and the impact of diet and lifestyle for people with various issues including fatigue, stress, weight loss, diabetes, food allergies, pregnancy, menopause, and digestive issues.  As a Registered Nutritionist, Ms. Del Brocco is a strong believer that genetics is a major factor in people’s health. However, lifestyle choices will dictate how healthy people are…Genetics Loads the Gun, but Lifestyle Pulls the Trigger.

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