By Punch Power Correspondent Ghazal Vaghedi
I recently interviewed Heather Bauer, RD, CDN, a nationally recognized nutritionist, entrepreneur, author, and mother of three. Over the last decade she has taught thousands of people how to safely lose weight and keep it off through her nutrition counseling company, Nu-Train.Â She has written two books, The Wall Street Diet and her most recent book to be released in January, Bread is the Devil.Â Heather has great suggestions for healthy living for all of us that are sustainable over the long-term.Â So forget about the latest diet fad and learn how adopt a plan that fits your life and your needs.Â Enjoy and cheers to your health!
Ghazal Vaghedi:Â Where does your passion for living healthy stem from?
Heather Bauer: I grew up in a house that was very health conscious.Â My parents are runners.Â I started running at a young age.Â Running made me very aware of how what you eat affects how you feel and how you perform.Â When I ate well, I ran better and felt better.Â The difference was very dramatic to me.Â Poor choices made me feel bad and slowed me down â€“ both in running an in everyday life.Â Seeing how food could be such a powerful tool for me made me want to learn as much as I could about nutrition.Â Eventually it led me to nutrition as a profession where I can share my knowledge with others.
GV: What is the intention behind nu-train having different programs (e.g. medical nutrition, weight loss, sports nutrition, etc.)? How are these different program areas sustainable over the long-term when life circumstances change, for instance if you are no longer training for that marathon?
HB: Weâ€™re all at different stages in our lives.Â Some of the people who come to see me are athletes.Â Some are businesspeople and some are women whoâ€™ve just become pregnant and want the very best outcome for their babies.Â Most of my clients come to see me for weight loss.Â The really interesting thing about nutrition is that, in general, a good diet for a marathon runner is also a good diet for a pregnant woman.Â Obviously, portions will differ.Â But the same foods that make you perform well also make you healthy and help prevent disease.Â My company, Nu-Train, is geared to addressing every imaginable issue that people have but youâ€™d be surprised at how similar the recommendations are.Â The big difference in my program is that I address the emotional issues that keep people from following a healthy diet.
GV: If someone canâ€™t afford a custom program specially designed for them, what are their options in a real world, day to day context?Â What role does accessibility to healthy foods play (the big complain often being that it costs more to eat healthy)?
HB: Cost need never be a barrier to eating well.Â While itâ€™s true that certain healthy foods can be expensive â€“ wild Alaskan salmon, for example â€“itâ€™s also true that there are always alternatives.Â Did you know that all canned salmon is wild Alaskan salmon?Â And itâ€™s much cheaper than the fresh salmon and it makes terrific salads and salmon cakes, among other things.Â You just have to educate yourself to healthy choices.Â People always ask me about organic food.Â Â You donâ€™t need to buy organic food if you canâ€™t afford it.
GV:Â Tell us about your new book Bread is the Devil.Â Do you have a personal food demon?Â How do you resist?
HB: Bread is the Devil is my effort to give readers the benefit of all my experience helping people successfully and permanently lose weight.Â As I always say, we all know what to eat.Â So why canâ€™t we lose weight?Â The trouble comes from the â€œDevilsâ€ that plague us.Â Whether itâ€™s the breadbasket on the table at the beginning of a restaurant meal or the Late Night Shuffle or the Roadhogging we do when we travel.Â Some of these Devils are emotional and some are situational.Â But they all make it difficult to stick to our best intentions to eat well.
You ask about my personal demons.Â Believe it or not, Iâ€™ve struggled with every one of the Devils I describe in my book at different times in my life.Â Right now, with three little ones in the house, Iâ€™m struggling with Little Devils.Â Â Do you know how hard it is not to pick off your childrenâ€™s plates?Â To throw out the crusts from those PB&J sandwiches instead of popping them in your mouth?Â The strategies that I use in my own life are the same as the ones in my book.Â Iâ€™ve also had difficulty with Emotional Eating and, ugh! the Plunge.Â The Plunge is where you fall off a precipice into an eating binge.Â It could start with a single sample of cheese at Whole Foods and before you know it youâ€™ve consumed two daysâ€™ worth of calories.Â Almost all of my clients are Plunge veterans and one of the reasons Iâ€™m so successful with them is that I know what itâ€™s like to fall into the food abyss.
GV:Â Whenever I am in other places in the world, I notice how much more I move around and how much more fresh foods I tend to eat.Â It makes me wonder if in our society we are slaves to a structure that forces us into driving everywhere, sitting at our desks without barely moving, eating dinner in front of the TV, and dreading physical exercise.Â What can we do both individually and as a society that would encourage more movement and healthier food choices?
HB: Itâ€™s interesting that you mention the experience of losing weight when traveling.Â I talk about that in my book.Â One reason that some people can lose while traveling is that theyâ€™re not snacking constantly.Â Most Americans are unaware of how much they pick and nibble and snack.Â For some of us, if weâ€™re awake, weâ€™re eating, or drinking.Â Ever notice how we have delis and fast food places that are open almost 24 hours a day?Â In many other places in the world, people eat only three meals.Â Thatâ€™s it!Â Also, when you travel you do tend to exercise more.Â Youâ€™re walking everywhere and sightseeing.Â Of course thereâ€™s no reason you canâ€™t bring these healthy habits home.Â I talk a lot about snacking in my book.Â Some people really need a snack in the course of the day; others do not, and I tell you how to identify yourself as either a snacker or not.Â As to exercise, you have to just do it!Â I know itâ€™s not always easy.Â I just moved from the city to the suburbs.Â I work; I have three small children and Iâ€™ve been incredibly busy writing and promoting my book.Â So how do I exercise?Â I run to the train in the morning!Â Is it hard?Â Yes!Â Do I feel like an idiot sometimes, running in the dark early morning with a backpack bouncing on my back?Â Am I sweating when I take my seat on the train?Â Yes, yes, and yes!Â But if I donâ€™t exercise I know how sluggish and tubby I feel.Â So I make a choice.Â And I exercise!Â I have a whole chapter on my book on Sloth, which is all about exercise and how to think about it.Â Because, really, for most people whether nor not you exercise is all in your head.Â One final note on exercise: when it comes to weight loss, I really believe that food comes first; exercise second.Â Itâ€™s important to exercise but really, if youâ€™re trying to lose weight and exercise is a real struggle for you, work on your food choices first.Â The exercise will follow.
GV: Since we tend to over indulge during the holidays in food and drink, do you have tips for our readers for this holiday season?
HB: I devote a whole chapter of my book to this diet devil.Â Â I call it â€œCelebrations! Vacation!â€Â Most of use special events like the holidays as an excuse to indulge.Â And then we pay for it!Â But itâ€™s all a mind-set.Â If you see the holidays not as an excuse to overeat and drink too much but rather as a time to enjoy family and friends then thatâ€™s half the battle.Â But I also have lots of very specific tips.Â First, if you go into the holidays feeling healthy, itâ€™s easier to maintain your weight.Â Itâ€™s not always reasonable to try to lose over the holidays; just maintaining is more realistic. Remember that not every meal is a holiday meal!Â Even if you have a holiday party every night this week, you donâ€™t have a holiday breakfast and a holiday lunch too!Â Take control of the meals that you can control.Â I suggest you save your carb for the party.Â Go with protein and fiber for breakfast and lunch.Â Then you can indulge in a carb at the special event.Â This is a very simple and effective tip.Â The other simple and very helpful suggestion I give my clients is to hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate!Â A liter by lunch is my recommendation.Â Keep a water bottle handy and sip from it regularly in the course of the day.Â The extra water will help your body process the extra salt and sugar of any holiday indulgences and it will also keep you feeling full and less likely to overindulge.Â Â Also, try to delay your start at any party.Â By that I mean try to wait at least twenty minutes before you have anything to eat or drink (other than water).Â Spend some time socializing rather than diving right into the salted nuts and canapÃ©s.Â For some more tips on how to fight the bulge this holiday season check out my blog, http://www.nu-train.com/blog.
GV:Â As someone that constantly travels for work, I always pack my work out gear, but rarely manage to squeeze in a work out or to eat healthy while on the road.Â Â Do you have suggestions for those of us that travel a lot on how to stay healthy while away from home?
HB: Travel can be a real challenge.Â So many of my clients travel a great deal for business.Â In fact, Iâ€™ve had a number of clients who first came to see me after promotions to jobs that required a lot of travel.Â They found they weâ€™re growing out of their clothes!Â I devote a section of my book to this diet devil: â€œRoadhoggingâ€.Â One of the reasons that travel can be such a diet challenge is because itâ€™s hard to control the timing of your meals.Â Youâ€™re up early at the airport.Â You get home late.Â You miss lunch.Â When you miss meals, you get ravenous and you lose control.Â Then, one sniff of the Cinnabon can send you into diet hell.Â The solution?Â Savvy snacks!Â If you always have something on hand to stave off starvation, you can make better food choices when you get to your destination.Â Pack Scandinavian Bran Crisp crackers.Â They come in little two-packs that are great for travel.Â You can order them on amazon.Â Theyâ€™re high in fiber and really filling.Â Add a little Baby Bel cheese and youâ€™ve got a healthy, filling snack to tide you over till you get to a real meal.Â Justinâ€™s Nut Butter is another good choice.Â If you grab a banana at the airport and a skim latte, smear some nut butter on the Scandinavian cracker, youâ€™ve got a great, healthy breakfast on the run.
GV:Â Are there certain foods that our bodies tend to have a harder time breaking down?Â I am thinking about things like high fructose corn syrup for instance.
HB: Iâ€™m not sure I would say that there are foods that our bodies have a hard time breakdown.Â I think the bigger issue is foods that can be addictive because of their high levels of salt and sugar.Â These foods include most processed foods: white bread, white pasta, chips, pretzels, candy, cookies, cake, muffinsâ€¦Â These foods are ones that people tend to eat a lot of at once.Â No one binges on spinach or broccoli!Â But foods that are overloaded with sugar and salt tend to be addictive.Â They donâ€™t satisfy hunger.Â But they satisfy something else and keep us coming back.Â Itâ€™s these highly processed foods that make major contributions to overweight.Â I think if we can rid our kitchens of these foods, weâ€™ll be well on our way to greater health as well as weight loss.
GV: Have you heard of the Paleo diet?Â It seems a lot of people talk about it being an effective dieting method combined with the â€˜cross-fitâ€™ work out.Â I wonder if it just another diet fad.Â What do you think?
HG: Everybody likes to do something special in terms of diet.Â Any trend can be appealing.Â People want a magic bullet.Â Today itâ€™s no gluten. Yesterday was Atkins.Â Before that was fat free.Â Thereâ€™s always going to be a trend.Â If a trendy diet helps you lose weight, itâ€™s not a bad thing.Â As long as the diet is healthy.Â The problem comes when you try to live the rest of your life.Â Because most trendy diets are not built for the long-term.Â Thatâ€™s when the rubber meets the road.Â Youâ€™ve got to find a healthy eating pattern you can live with.Â In Bread is the Devil, I suggest a very flexible eating plan that can help you lose weight.Â It has sandwiches, frozen dinners, quick breakfasts â€“ a host of possibilities that make decision-making about food easy.Â Thatâ€™s the key.
The bottom line is that the science of weight loss is pretty simple: you have to eat less and move more.Â Make it healthy foods and itâ€™s a home run.Â Â You have to do two things: eat less; burn more.Â Itâ€™s simple.Â People always want to make it complicated.Â But make your life easy: Banish your devils; eat better; move more.Â Bread is the Devil is a diet you can live with!
Pamela Lynne Sorensen is the founder of Pamela’s Punch, a leading source of information for the “who, what, when, and where” of Washington, DC’s elite social, professional, and philanthropic scene, which she founded in November of 2006. In 2012 she launched Pacific Punch, based in Los Angeles. Pamela comes from an extensive background in sales and business development from a variety of industries, has been involved with charities and fundraising for a number of years and holds several Board and leadership positions. She currently resides in Arlington, Virginia and when she’s not out on the town, she’s reading or writing while sipping fine wine, or traveling the country and the world ISO adventures, beauty, fun, food, style, libations, music, and the good life. Follow her on Twitter at @pamelaspunch.