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The Twelfth Day of Wellness

by Frances O'Neil, RD, MSW, CDE: Posted on Friday, January 06, 2012 10:11 AM

On the twelfth day of wellness, I gave to myself the gift of toning down the WOW!” factor. Added fats, sugars and salt produce very strong tastes that make it difficult to stop eating and thinking about the food. Like the old Lay’s potato chip commercial, “bet you can’t eat just one,” it's nearly impossible to stop at just one or even a handful of chips. To keep these substances to a minimum, purchase foods that have around 3 grams total fat per serving, around 5 grams per serving of sugar and around 300 – 400 mg sodium per serving.


The Eleventh Day of Wellness

by Frances O'Neil, RD, MSW, CDE: Posted on Thursday, January 05, 2012 7:47 AM

On the eleventh day of wellness, I gave to myself the gift of focusing on something other than a number. Instead of focusing on a number as your goal, focus on how you feel, how your clothes feel, your energy level, all the things that make you feel better and feel better about yourself that don’t have to do with a number. Numbers come and go often without a definitive reason. Also, when a number is the goal, when it is reached, the changes are often discontinued. 


The Tenth Day of Wellness

by Frances O'Neil, RD, MSW, CDE: Posted on Wednesday, January 04, 2012 11:39 AM

On the tenth day of wellness, I gave to myself the gift of limiting my choices. Avoid situations in which you have excessive choices especially at home. Use the principle of “out of sight out of mind” which means if it’s not visible or within reach, you are less likely to overeat or be tempted. Keep problem foods out of the house. When eating a meal, leave serving dishes in the kitchen as opposed to on the table. A study was done to see if proximity and/or visibility effected the amount of food people ate. The study took place at a buffet. They found that patrons who sat closest to the buffet ate the most whereas people who sat farthest away with their backs toward the buffet ate the least.


The Ninth Day of Wellness

by Frances O'Neil, RD, MSW, CDE: Posted on Tuesday, January 03, 2012 12:37 PM

On the ninth day of wellness, I gave to myself the gift of Identifying my stressers and having effective coping mechanisms in place. Get to know what stresses you out so that when you know that stressor is coming, you can be prepared with an “I’m not available,” or “no thank you,” or simply, “no.” Another very effective stress buster is regular exercise. By engaging in regular exercise, the endorphins that are released regularly give you a sense of control over your life and are mood elevators. This positive state of being is much more resistant to stress. Don't wait until the stress has already laid waste to your cozy routine to exercise. By then, you will simply be doing damage control. Be well-rested. Adequate sleep, at least 6 hours/day, also makes one more resistant to stress. In addition, have meals planned out, have healthy snacks available, have a good book/magazine/movie available for de-stressing and be ready to pick up the phone or go visit your favorite confidant to vent.


The Eighth Day of Wellness

by Frances O'Neil, RD, MSW, CDE: Posted on Monday, January 02, 2012 10:27 AM

On the eighth day of wellness, I gave to myself the gift of eating fiber. Fiber is like the air that fills a balloon, it fills you up, but doesn’t add weight. Fiber is found in plant foods such as grains, fruits, and vegetables. Fiber is the part of the plant that the human body cannot digest and therefore does not provide calories. It has been called "natures toothbrush" as the undigested fiber moves through the intestines scrubbing the lining clean of harmful substances and eliminating them from the body. 

 The following are other facts about fiber and the fiber content of different foods:

The benefits of fiber? Different sources of fiber may help prevent or control:

  • Heart disease
  • Blood sugar levels
  • Blood cholesterol levels
  • Weight gain
  • Constipation & hemorrhoids
  • Diverticulosis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Good sources of fiber:
  • Bran cereal; rice bran; oat bran; oatmeal
  • Whole grain breads and cereals
  • Barley; Popcorn
  • Beans, lentils, peas
  • Fruits & Vegetables
  • How do I get more fiber? Include more:
  • Vegetables – 3 or more servings per day
  • Fruits – 2 or more servings per day
  • Whole grains such as whole wheat bread or high fiber cereal – 3 servings per day
  • Beans and peas (legumes) such as kidney beans, pinto beans, and lentils – several times a week
  • Check fiber on the label – a good source has at least 3 grams fiber for every 100 calories.
  • Add fiber-rich foods gradually to your diet. If added too fast, fiber can cause gas, bloating and diarrhea.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Labeling terms and their meanings
  • High fiber: 5 grams or more per serving
  • Good source of fiber: 2.5 grams to 4.9 grams per serving

The recommended daily intake is 25 - 35 grams

How much fiber is in...


Apple, with skin

1 medium--3 g


1 medium--2g


½ cup--2g


1 medium--3g


1 cup--4g



½ cup, cooked--2g


½ cup, cooked--3g


1 medium, raw--2g

Green beans

½ cup, cooked--2g

Lettuce, romaine

1 cup--1g

Potato, with skin

1 medium, 6 oz--4g

Potato, without skin

1 medium, 6 oz--3g

Legumes, cooked:

Green peas; lentils

½ cup, cooked--4g

Black beans; kidney beans

½ cup, cooked--7g

Breads & Grains:

White bread

1 slice--1g

Whole-wheat bread

1 slice--3g

Rice, white, cooked

½ cup--0g

Rice, brown, cooked

½ cup--2g

Snack Foods:


¼ cup (1 oz)--3g


1 cup--1g


6 crackers--3g

Breakfast Cereals:

All Bran

½ cup--10g

Bran Flakes

¾ cup--5g


1 cup--3g

Cornflakes®/Special K®

1 cup--1g

Fiber One®

½ cup--14g

Kashi Go-Lean®

1 cup--10g

Oatmeal, regular, cooked

1 cup (½ c dry)--4g


Happy New Year! The Seventh Day of Wellness

by Frances O'Neil, RD, MSW, CDE: Posted on Sunday, January 01, 2012 11:27 AM

On the seventh day of wellness, I gave to myself the gift of eating breakfast and every 3 -4 hours after that. Eating breakfast and then regularly throughout the day reduces your chances of getting overly hungry. When you are overly hungry, you want something that will squash your hunger and that unpleasant feeling immediately. Those foods will be the types you tend to crave or overeat, the ones that make your mouth go “WOW!” and your stomach feel full quickly, i.e. high fat/sugar and/or salt foods.


The Sixth Day of Wellness

by Frances O'Neil, RD, MSW, CDE: Posted on Saturday, December 31, 2011 9:00 AM

On the sixth day of wellness, I gave to myself the gift of planning my meals. Planning meals ahead of time relieves the stress and of not knowing what to eat and prevents anticipation. Stress of any kind can trigger an unhealthy eating experience. Are you meal preparation challenged? Try our cookbook that contains very simple, quick, healthy recipes where each recipe is a complete meal with a healthy starch, non-starchy vegetable and lean protein. You can also look into your local community colleges or cooperative extensions, cooking channels, magazines like Cooking Light for ideas and classes to take or seek help from a registered dietitian for easy, healthy convenience meals.


The Fifth Day of Wellness

Frances O'Neil, RD, MSW, CDE: Posted on Friday, December 30, 2011 9:12 AM

On the fifth day of wellness, I gave to myself the gift of not depriving myself. For many people, going on a diet and having to be deprived of certain foods causes such a level of stress that the diet is certain to fail before it is even started. You like certain foods because they evoke strong feelings/sensations. The cravings come from a need to experience those feelings/sensations and unless you can find a lower calorie, healthy way to give you that same experience, the need to experience them will not go away. Best not to keep those favorite foods in the house, though, but know where you can get them in small portions such as bulk bins at the health food store or single servings at your favorite chocolate shop. 


The Twelve Plus One Days of Wellness

by Frances O'Neil, RD, MSW, CDE: Posted on Thursday, December 29, 2011 2:04 PM

Welcome to my blog and thank you for visiting. This is my first post which makes me a few days behind in my Twelve Plus One Days so I am posting days 1 - 4. Be sure to check back tomorrow and each day thereafter to get all 13 days of wellness tips.

On the first day of wellness, I gave to myself the gift of thinking small. Making drastic changes like eliminating certain foods from your diet is not necessary and for many people can be counterproductive. For some, making such a change is like trying to convert a lion to vegetarianism, it’s not in their DNA or upbringing. Small changes are all you need to change your relationship with food and therefore your eating habits. Examples of small changes are leaving a spoonful of food on your plate or in your bowl at each meal, drinking at least 10 oz of water before each meal, having a piece of fruit each day as a snack, eating a piece of fruit on the way home from work each day, filling ½ your plate with vegetables at dinner, eating breakfast every day.

On the second day of wellness, I gave to myself the gift of paying attention to my thoughts. Anticipation of eating is just as damaging if not more than the actual eating. It starts with a thought of food or eating. You keeping putting it off, but continue to think about it. The thought creates a level of excitement or even anxiety surrounding the food or eating experience. The more you think about the food/experience, the greater the expectation and desire for it. When it can’t be satisfied, there is a let down, a negative mood shift. If you do experience the food, it may be disappointing due to the huge build-up that was created and therefore you eat more in hopes of eventually reaching nirvana or you simply gorge. Avoid over thinking about food or the anticipation of eating by enjoying healthy snacks such as fruit, nuts, dark chocolate, light popcorn as well as regular meals throughout the day.

On the third day of wellness, I gave to myself the gift of staying well hydrated. Being well hydrated will help stave off hunger and cravings. Experiment with different waters, i.e. flavored, carbonated, with lemon, cold, hot, herbal teas either cold or hot. You know you are well hydrated when your urine is pale yellow.

On the fourth day of wellness, I gave to myself the gift of experimenting. Instead of going on a “diet,” try an "experiment." When making dietary changes, refer to it as an experiment. A diet has an end and a negative connotation. An experiment is just that, an experiment. If it isn’t working, you stop instead of trying to muscle through only to ultimately give it up. If the experiment does work, you retain the choice to continue or not. Replacing the word diet with experiment gives you the freedom to choose which is a critical element in creating behavior change.

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