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Living Skinny in Fat Genes

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Feeling overwhelmed as you try to squeeze exercise into your already-jam-packed schedule? Think you’ll never be able to lose weight and keep it off? Clearly, you haven’t read Living Skinny in Fat Genes, the book by Felicia Stoler, Registered Dietitian and exercise physiologist. This book is brimming with practical tips for how to take action and take charge of your health! Nutrition myths are shattered, as you learn why “FADs” (fast acting diets) simply don’t measure up to healthy lifestyle changes. From living room-friendly exercises to simple food substitutions, this book makes it easy to find ways to improve your daily habits – and long-term health. All bases are covered here: Stoler even includes suggestions for how to reward yourself without food and how to handle eating at the mall. We caught up with Dr. Stoler to discover her top tips for creating a healthier you.

What is your favorite meal to feed your family when time is short, but you’re not willing to sacrifice good nutrition? 

My favorite meal is pasta w/Ragu Old World Style Traditional Sauce – it has 2 servings of veggies per half cup. I usually have a variety of pastas in the house (b/c of the fiber content: Barilla Plus is a fave – though I did just find the Ronzoni 3 min pasta has 2 g fiber/serving… and the Ronzoni Garden Delight pasta has 1 full serving of veggies/half cup… then add some steamed broccoli on the side – it’s the fastest! [Find even more easy meal ideas here.]

In your experience, what are the 3 most common habits of people who successfully lose weight and keep it off?   

They keep track of what they are eating (write it down), have daily physical activity and actively try to make better food CHOICES daily (not in an OCD sort of way, but recognizing that they are eating for their bodies).

So many supplement companies market their products with the claims to “boost energy.” What are your tips to keep energy levels stable throughout the day? 

Eat every 2-3 hours and stay well-hydrated. The question is – what does energy mean to you?  To me it means fuel – to others it means stimulant (like caffeine).

What are your 3 favorite “super foods” to feed your kids and why? 

Broccoli is #1 on our list, carrots & whole grains are also a part of their daily diet.  Broccoli & carrots are my kids’ favorite vegetables – so naturally they get these as frequently as possible! Whole grains are also in there – from cereal, to sandwich bread, to pasta – it is also a daily “staple”.

As you mention in your book, whole grain labeling can be very confusing. (Does anyone really know if 10 grams of whole grains is the right amount?) What should we look for when buying whole grain products like bread, crackers and pasta?  

My suggestion – look at the GRAMS of fiber on the label. I always encourage selecting foods (when you can & when they should contain fiber) that have at least 4 grams of fiber per serving.

You’re a busy mom of two – will you share your favorite ways to exercise with your family?

In the summer, we love to ride bikes at the beach… there are big shoulders on the side of the road & the roadway is flat w/a low speed limit. There are so many activities we do together – house work, yard work, dancing, walking (in the winter – malls & museums are great for this), and ice skating. If you find yourself getting off track with exercise -take these steps to get back on track with weekly fitness.

What are your top 5 exercises you recommend to beginner clients? 

Walking, leg lifts (in a chair/seat), bicep curls/tricep extensions (can be done w/your purse or object), squats (we all do that over public toilets – right?), and abdominal isometric contractions. Here are some more easy but effective exercises we love!

Let’s face it: changing habits can be overwhelming and frustrating. What can we do to set ourselves up for success? How can we make a smooth transition to a healthier lifestyle? 

You can have big picture, lofty goals – but take them and divide them up into smaller, achievable goals. Do one or two new things a week.  Once you master each new behavior, add another.  If one tries to do too many things at once, that is certainly setting oneself up for failure. Remember, it is all about CHOICES – are the choices you make about food and physical activity going to get you to your goals? Don’t wait until you have a health crisis to get the wake up call to change… prevention is excellent medicine. As I like to say, diet & exercise are the least expensive, least invasive and most effective ways to prevent and treat diseases.

How can parents influence their children to live healthy?

I would just encourage parents to lead by example. Live the life you want your children to emulate and build upon… eat good, wholesome foods and be physically active… don’t smoke and be careful with alcohol consumption.

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About the Author

Jacqueline is a nutritionist in the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Cohen Children's Medical Center (part of the North Shore-LIJ health system) where she primarily works with eating disorders and weight management issues. She also serves as the associate newsletter editor for the dietetic practice group, Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine. Jacqueline has an interest in promoting accurate nutrition and health writing, sustainable food systems and simple, good food. She enjoys singing, knitting, and costuming.


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