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An Introduction to Head Hunger
I say food records, and most would say “what” you ate and “how much” you ate. Is this the whole story though? Not usually. An importance piece of increasing food awareness is understanding “why” you eat as well. Yes, your belly growls or you begin to feel weak or irritable or dizzy. I like to call this belly-growling hunger. Another type of hunger is head hunger. You may eat when feeling bored or stressed, when watching TV or driving, when in pain or tired, when celebrating or as a reward, or when feeling anxious or overwhelmed. These are all triggers for head hunger, and these triggers are why eating can become so complicated. I firmly believe you cannot develop a more healthy lifestyle without considering not only “what” or “how much” you are eating, but also, “why”. If you notice a very strong urge to eat that you’d relate to head hunger, most would assume he or she is not to eat. If only it were this simple. Restricting food (even when eating related to head hunger) will likely only trigger feelings of deprivation, guilt when you do indulge, and so then, we overindulge. Not so helpful. Instead of even more effort to restrict food, why not try a different approach? One that empowers choice and enjoyment when you choose to eat. I have a few thoughts on coping more effectively with head hunger below. 1. Are you eating enough? To more cope with any urge to eat, you must be sure you are eating enough earlier in the day. When you eat enough, you leave a meal feeling both full and satisfied, and in doing so, you will likely notice less frequent and less intense urges to eat later. Eating enough includes a variety of foods on your plate in an adequate amount. Before you try to manage your response to any head hunger experience, first take a look at why this strong urge to eat is even happening. First things first, eat enough at a meal to leave that meal feeling both full and satisfied. 2. Permission to eat. Remember, restrict food --> feel deprived --> indulge --> guilt from eating --> overeat or restrict again. And the worst part? You probably didn’t even enjoy the foods you were eating. That is guilt, and that is why permission to eat all foods is so important. For most, the scariest part of giving yourself permission to eat the foods that you would typically restrict is a fear of overeating these foods. And to be honest, you may overeat after that first bite. But this is temporary. You will quickly realize that you will always have permission to enjoy these foods, so why overeat? Overeating makes the eating experience so much less pleasurable. And weren’t you eating the food for enjoyment to begin with (head hunger), not necessarily nutrition (belly-growling hunger)? 3. What do you need? And now, I will throw a curve ball for you. Just because you have given yourself permission to eat the foods you had previously been restricting (and truly enjoy) doesn’t mean you will choose to eat the food in that moment. The permission is there for you to be able to make the choice without feelings of guilt or obligation. You are choosing to cope with these head hunger triggers (boredom, stress, isolation, reward, etc.) with either food or a non-food alternative. Non-food alternatives are any activity that does not involve food or drink (which leaves chewing gum or drinking a glass of water off this list). These activities are not a better or worse option than eating food to cope, just different. In that moment then, when you are experiencing a strong urge to eat and you relate it back to head hunger, ask yourself, “What do I need?” Most would immediately think to redirect, since that is what diet culture has taught us—restriction! Ask yourself again, “What do I need?” but this time, in the voice of a caretaker. That caretaker is not critical of you and wants to best meet your needs, whether that be with food or another option. Now what? Both food and redirecting to a non-food alternative are equal options. This allows us to choose what we need most in that moment to help cope with that initial head hunger trigger (boredom, stress, isolation, reward, etc.). Go ahead and take action. Either indulge in the food you were craving or redirect to a non-food alternative. 4. It is progress. Head hunger in combination with diet culture makes eating complicated. Give yourself time to better distinguish between head hunger and belly-growling hunger. And then, give yourself even more time to learn that it is okay to eat foods you enjoy. And after that, give yourself some time to explore non-food alternatives that may better meet your needs. It takes time. Time to learn more healthy eating habits and to develop a more healthy relationship with food. Do not expect perfection, but rather, progress over time. Healthy Regards, Gretchen Stroberg, RD, LD, CDCES Registered Dietitian & Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist
White vs Sweet Potatoes
Given a white potato and a sweet potato, which do you eat? Well, first things first, which of these two potatoes do you enjoy eating most? Or, do you prefer a different type of potato depending on the meal it is accompanying? Either way, the good news is that both types of potato are wonderful choices and can be included in a healthy diet. A white potato refers to Russet, red skin and Yukon gold potatoes. And according to the USDA, 100 grams of a white potato has 95 calories, 21.4 grams of carbohydrate and 2.3 grams of fiber, while 100 grams of a sweet potato has 86 calories, 20 grams of carbohydrate and 3 grams of fiber. White potatoes are especially high in vitamins B and C, and sweet potatoes, in vitamin A. In reviewing these nutrition facts, the only significant difference between a white and sweet potato is the type of vitamin they are a good source of. Lucky for you, we need all B vitamins and vitamin C and A. So again, which type of potato do you prefer eating? Enjoy a serving of that type of potato. Of course, most are not eating a potato raw, so we must also consider the preparation and cooking methods used on the potato. Potatoes can be boiled or baked, roasted or mashed, fried and so much more. Of course, these cooking styles will impact the nutritional value of the potato as well. My guess—you aren’t eating the French fries (white or sweet) because these are a nutritious choice, but rather, delicious. And the extra butter or bacon or brown sugar in your mashed potatoes (white or sweet)? Once again, probably delicious. These food choices then really do not have as much to do with the nutrition of the potato as much as your taste preference and satisfaction. That’s a whole other topic for completely different post. In summary, both white and sweet potatoes are foods with carbohydrate. One is high in vitamins B and C, while the other is high in vitamin A. Both have dietary fiber in the peel of the potato. Enjoy both types of potatoes prepared in a heart healthy way with a variety of other foods on the plate to make a meal. Healthy Regards, Gretchen Stroberg, RD, LD, CDCES Registered Dietitian & Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist
Bread: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
You walk down the bread aisle and how many options are there for you to choose from? A gazillion. Where do you even begin? Let’s start with the basics. What macronutrient does bread have? Carbohydrate. And yes, we need carbohydrate. Carbohydrate in foods breaks down into sugar in our bodies, and this your body’s preferred energy source. On average, men need 60-75 grams of carbohydrate per meal, and women, 45-60 grams per meal. I guess it is okay to go ahead and have bread on that sandwich then or a bun on your burger :) What kind of bread to eat though, because again, there are SO MANY options? In short, think fiber. When adding a food with carbohydrate to your plate at a meal, there is usually an opportunity to make that carbohydrate a high fiber choice. Bread included! But wouldn’t a lower carbohydrate bread be better? Not necessarily. Here is why. Again, we need carbohydrate at each meal. If you choose for the carbohydrate to be in the form of bread, great! If you choose for the carbohydrate to be fruit or milk or a potato or baked beans or any combination of these foods, that’s great, too! What you may find is these carbohydrate choices at a meal can add up very quickly. If that is the case, then it may be more helpful to find a bread that is lower in carbohydrate to better manage how much carbohydrate you are eating at that meal. Even then, however, you must still consider taste and enjoyment of that bread. Often, reducing the carbohydrate in a food will compromise texture and flavor. Then, it’s up to your taste buds! Would you rather enjoy regular bread with less wiggle room for carbohydrate in your side options at that meal, or would you rather have more carbohydrate-dense options on the side and enjoy a lower carbohydrate bread or no bread at all? For most, eating regular foods is the most enjoyable. Substituting a lower carbohydrate option or skipping bread at a meal can quickly trigger feelings of deprivation, and then, overindulging with guilt. If this is something you struggle with, I would suggest finding a high fiber bread to enjoy at your meal rather than skipping or substituting the bread. How do I know a bread is high in fiber? Look past the marketing messages on the front of the package to review the nutrition facts. Here is my guide for you to navigate the nutrition label. A bread with > 20% Daily Value of fiber is high in fiber, and < 5%, low. The % Daily Value is based on a 2,000 calorie diet and is listed on the far right side of the nutrition facts or directly after the grams of each nutrient. Be sure to glance at the serving size on the label as well to compare products. Has anyone found a high fiber bread they enjoy? Share! Let’s kick the idea that bread is “bad” and get back to the facts. We need carbohydrate. Bread has carbohydrate. So enjoy bread at a meal with the rest of the foods on your plate. Healthy Regards, Gretchen Stroberg, RD, LD, CDCES Registered Dietitian & Certified Diabetes Care
Meal Planning 102
Have you heard of “planned-overs”? How about repurposing leftovers? When someone asks me for a meal plan, I will often educate on these topics instead. The reason being—meal plans are not realistic or flexible enough for most people to manage long-term. Repurposing leftovers or creating multiple meals out of the same ingredients usually is. The idea of “planned-overs” begins with a decently stocked refrigerator and pantry. Options include a few fresh, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables, a couple proteins, milk and yogurt, eggs and a cheese, some type of bread, a grain (oats, rice, pasta or quinoa) and canned beans and tomatoes. From there, get creative. With these ingredients and kitchen staples, you can likely make some version of the following dishes without too much trouble or time, and all the while, cater to your taste and nutrition preferences. Pasta. Salad. Loaded potatoes. Omelet. Enchiladas. Burrito. Soup. Pizza. Stir fry. Sandwich. Need an example? I have a few :) Your refrigerator contains cooked ground beef, rotisserie chicken, eggs, milk, yogurt, shredded cheddar cheese, spinach and romaine, broccoli and strawberries (plus other staples). Your pantry has tortillas, pasta, beans and marinara. What can you make? One idea that comes to mind is a tortilla pizza. Whether you go with BBQ chicken or classic beef and cheese, begin with a toasted tortilla. Set the oven to 350 degrees, and toast the tortilla until it is just beginning to crisp. Load the tortilla with desired toppings and return to the oven on broil. Remove the pizza from the oven when the cheese has melted and toppings warmed. Enjoy with fruits, vegetables, dairy, etc. Or, another idea may be a salad. Not just a plain-Jane greens and dressing type of salad, but rather, one with lots of flavor. How about a Southwest salad? Add taco seasoning to the ground beef and salsa to your ranch dressing. Layer these with corn, cheese and black beans over Romaine lettuce. A salad with a little extra oomph! Have you tried using “planned-overs”? And if so, what strategy would you suggest for quick and easy meals at home? Any additional meal ideas to share? Healthy Regards, Gretchen Stroberg, RD, LD, CDCES Registered Dietitian & Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist
Type 2 Diabetes: Not Your Fault, But Your Responsibility
You may have already heard that age, weight, and lifestyle are big factors in developing and controlling diabetes. Genetics has a large part in predicting who may have diabetes. If your relatives had or have diabetes, you are more likely to develop it, but also, where the body stores fat can be an indicator. People that carry most of their weight around the waist rather than at the hips are more likely to have insulin resistance (the body’s inability to use its own insulin) and therefore, Type 2 diabetes. Rather than waste time blaming yourself for this disease, use your energy to take the knowledge you have gained to acquire new, healthy habits that can change your life for the better. One of the best habits is EXERCISE. NOW IS THE TIME TO GET MOVING! Don’t let this cool fall weather pass you by without taking the opportunity to become more physically active, and better yet, start exercising regularly. Even when the weather doesn’t cooperate, we usually have heat or air conditioning! Whether you are at home, at the gym, or at the mall, use your resources. Exercise has amazing benefits, it we just give it a chance. A 15-30 minute walk once or twice a day can improve your life, your health, and your attitude. Healthy regards, Michelle Weber, RN, CDCES Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist
Meal Planning 101
Oftentimes, people request a meal plan. That’s a tough ask, and here is why. A meal plan specifies what to eat, when to eat it and how much of it to eat. Sounds helpful and efficient, right? Of course it does, until you work late tonight and the kids were to have been fed and at baseball practice 15 minutes ago. Now what? Unfortunately, meal plans do not allow for much flexibility, and even more so, choice. We are not able to stick to the original plan, and in that moment, we no longer care. All-or-nothing type of overeating thinking. If we are not able to prepare and eat the meal we had planned, and thus we default to fast food or a bag of chips or skipping the meal entirely. Is this helpful? No, not really. Challenge any rigid constraints or unrealistic expectations of a meal plan. Instead, consider a way of planning meals that is more flexible and realistic. A method that has quick and easy meal options, and also, meals that are more thought out and labor intensive. Up next—if a restrictive meal plan typically does not work, what does? More on “planned-overs”, next! Healthy regards, Gretchen Stroberg, RD, LD, CDCES Registered Dietitian
2020 Flu Clinic Schedule
West Wichita Family Physicians will be having our 2020 Flu clinics on Saturday 10/10 and 10/17 from 8:00 - 11:30 am. We'll be operating out of Building C, the Northeast corner of our building. The 10/17 flu clinic is our pediatric and family flu clinic. Both flu clinics are by appointment only, so please call 316-721-4544 and schedule your appointment, or send in a flu clinic appointment request via the patient portal or healow app.
West Wichita Minor Care Clinic Extended Weekend Hours
Effective October 3rd, West Wichita Minor Care Clinic is open on Saturdays 10am – 3pm. No appointment needed. West Wichita Family Physicians, P.A. will no longer have scheduled appointments on Saturday morning.
Memorial Day - Celebrating our Nation's Heroes
There has been a lot of play in the media in regards to "Healthcare Heroes". We certainly understand and appreciate the sentiment as we continue our part in the fight against the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic. This weekend, we would like to remember our history, and those who have served in our armed forces and sacrificed to provide us with the freedom we appreciate, even in a socially distanced environment. The West Wichita Family Physicians Clinic and Minor Care Clinic will be closed on 5/25/2020 in observance of this holiday. Any messages or voicemails left will not be answered or reviewed until the following day. If you have a major medical concern, you can contact the Physician's Exchange at 316-262-6262. Please be safe and enjoy this time away. We'll be here again on 5/26/2020 for any concerns you have.
Diabetes Education Class - Wednesdays
One hour class on Wednesdays Intro to Diabetes and Monitoring Healthy Eating Activity and Exercise Diabetes Treatments Meal Planning and Coping Problem Solving Reducing Risks Although encouraged, attendance is not required at each class. See a topic you may enjoy learning about? Please enroll and join us! For more information or to enroll, call Michelle Weber at (316) 491-6400 Ext 6393
Help is Here - Diabetes Education
Do you have diabetes or prediabetes and have questions? - What do I eat? - What should my blood sugars be? - Do I need medication? - What do I need to know? Well, help is here! Michelle W. is a registered nurse and certified diabetes educator with over 25 years experience educating people with diabetes. She has a passion for helping people understand how to manage their disease. Ask your doctor today about scheduling an appointment or call Michelle directly at (316) 491-6400 Ext. 6393
In the midst of the growing Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, we at WWFP want to assure our patients that their safety and wellness is our first concern. We have implemented some changes to help meet your medical needs while keeping you safe and “socially distanced”. Nurse Triage / Covid-19 Evaluation and Testing As a community health initiative, we will continue to ask screening questions to all patients either calling in or coming into the office. Questions will include travel history, possible exposure to Covid-19 and current symptoms. Any patients that meet any level of concern will be transferred to our nurse triage line. Patients meeting criteria for possible testing of Covid-19 will be directed to our West Wichita Family Minor Care entrance for evaluation and testing. The Minor Care Clinic will be securely closed off from the rest of the office. Our goal is to minimize any exposure to the Covid-19 virus to help you feel comfortable being seen during this time. COVID-19 Triage Line 316-358-6999 West Wichita Minor Care Clinic During this time our West Wichita Minor Care Clinic will have limited hours of operation: Monday-Friday 8:00-5:00, Saturday 10am - 3 pm, and Sunday 12:00-3:00. Should you need medical assistance outside of these times, WWFP physicians are available through the Physician’s Exchange at 316-262-6262. Telemedicine We understand that even with these precautions, there are situations and reasons why you may decide you still do not want to come into the office. For this we have implemented telemedicine. Telemedicine is a video appointment with your Physician via a computer or a smart phone to provide clinical services to patients without an in-person visit. Most insurance companies are offering telemedicine coverage during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic without any copayment or fees to the patient. Please let the scheduler know if you are interested in a telemedicine appointment, or contact your Physician/Nurse Team so they can determine if a telemedicine appointment is appropriate. In some cases your doctor may direct you to come into the office for further evaluation. Please practice social distancing when coming for your appointment at WWFP. If possible, only one family member or significant other at all appointments. You may see our employees wearing masks. This is to protect both them and you from any additional exposure. We look forward to when we can show our smiling faces to you again. While there are many unknowns in our world today, we would just like to reassure our patients that you remain our top priority. We are still available by phone or portal with any questions or concerns.