Exciting Opportunity for RD Anna

I wanted share with you all who follow along with RD Anna about some exciting new opportunities. I have had some new endeavors that I am getting involved with this fall. Some of your may remember that I did some outpatient pediatric nutrition counseling at my last job. I really enjoyed working with a feeding clinic and doing some weight loss classes up in Lafayette, IN. I haven't had the opportunity to do any of that in the last several years. I am continuing to work my full time job as a NICU dietitian as well. I wanted to make that abundantly clear as well. This is going to be a fun, side job that I am excited for and have been eagerly anticipating for the past 6 months. 

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There was the opportunity to create a partnership with a business in Carmel, IN and I had to say yes! I use to work with Megan, Mini Minds business owner, at St. Vincent. She left her job at St Vincent as a social worker to launch her own private practice as a therapist/counselor. I have really admired her journey and I am so excited to learn from her about owning her own business. Mini Minds has grown and expanded into an amazing therapy office servicing the Indianapolis area. Make sure you check out their website and all the amazing services that they offer. Of course, the newest line of services including nutrition therapy and education options. 

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As you may remember I made RD Anna a LLC this past year and then I also worked to get my NPI so that I could start charging insurance companies for nutrition counseling services. This has been a big step for me, because I have never owned my own business before or offered nutrition services for payment before. I am really excited to partner and work with Mini Minds and get to provide nutrition education/counseling for those clients and their families. We are getting started with a workshop class this upcoming weekend on Back To School: Putting Together Healthy Snacks for Your Family. That should be a fun session trying new snacks, talking about healthy options and then even making some delicious recipes. I also have plans for launching a 3 week cooking class series in October focused on shopping and cooking healthy family meals with your children. There are lots of neat things that I am hoping to do in the fall with this opportunity. So stay tuned for those exciting announcements about RD Anna! 

Realities of Life

Being a Mom is hard. It is a full time job and it is definitely the most rewarding thing I have done, but it takes a lot of energy. If you pair that with working another job full time it leaves you not that much time to pause and think about things. I love my day job and I love my child. I couldn't imagine now life without either occupation. 

I have also being working on a variety of side projects and to be honest I now feel that I am very overwhelmed with everything. I think I said "yes" to several opportunities and now life has shifted a little and that has made for a crazy next couple of months. I am determined to do all these projects to the best of my ability, but I think I might be maxed out when it comes to taking on anything else at the moment. I have decided that I need to devote some serious time to a few of these side projects so that I really focus on getting some quality writing done. I have do some editing on a chapter of a book that I co-authored as well as writing an article for a pediatric nutrition publication. These are all neat things, but I really need some creative time to focus on them. 

I decided to finally take my Mom up on an offer my son, William over night. I know that might not seem like a lot, but we have never spent a night apart and he is 1.5 years old. This is just reality of life. With so much going on I really need some help and that involves giving me a day to work on side projects. I was hoping to use that day to do writing, but I realized that I am going to be teaching a workshop that day instead, which is still a great thing to do and I am excited for the opportunity to do more with RD Anna, LLC. 

Some times with the realities of life you need help. Raising a child or children takes a village, especially if you want to continue to stay engaged with your career and continue to to be the best Mom you can be. I just wanted to encourage you that it is ok to ask for help and that doesn't make you any less of a Mom. 

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Meal Prep For Your Week

All of us tend to be busy. We are often running around trying to make to work on time, picking up children from day care, trying to find something healthy for dinner and then getting the children to bed at a decent hour. Lots of us barely have time to get all those things done in a day. When it comes to meal preparation for the week, this can get overlooked and not made a priority. I am guilty of this as well. Grocery shopping and preparing meals can get so old, because you have to do it week after week and something it is just not well thought out. 

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I am hoping to encourage you to make the time meal prep for your week so that you can set yourself and your family up for success. First step is to make sure you sit down and make out a grocery list for the week. The items that you need to prepare a list of recipes that you want to make throughout the week. Then head out to the grocery and stick to that list. When you bring those food items home, set aside about a hour to cut up and get that food ready to cook with for the week. This is often the part that gets overlook. Taking the time to wash all your produce, chop it up and put it in containers will drastically increase your cooking time throughout the week. This will help you so much when it comes to making quick and easy meals at home for your family. You can even cook up some meat as well if that ends up being helpful for lunches throughout the week. I would encourage you to start with simply washing, cutting up and putting your produce in containers so that it is more easily usable throughout the week. 

Making Breakfast Ahead of Time 

I wanted to share a couple of recipes with you for some great ideas on how to make a healthy breakfast ahead of time so that you are starting your day off on the right foot. 

Overnight Oats 

I love this recipe because it is super easy and delicious. Simply mix together rolled oats, yogurt, milk and some chia seeds. This can be put in small containers and kept in your refrigerator. Then you can throw some berries or other fruit on top and take this fiber-filled oatmeal dish with you to work. 

Microwave Breakfast Scrambles 

I found this recipe from the website Budget Bytes and I love this idea that I just had to share it with you. You can place chopped up vegetables, cooked sausage or hash-browns in a wide neck ceramic dish. This can be stored in the refrigerator and then you add a raw egg on top and microwave for 15 second increments, stirring in between to carefully cook that egg and create a breakfast scramble. There are lots of creative recipes that you could follow. You could combine bacon, hash-browns, cheese or you could make a veggie themed scramble with spinach, tomatoes and feta cheese. 

Packing a Healthy Lunch 

Obviously each meal that you eat makes a difference in your overall health and eating a healthy lunch is just as important as a healthy breakfast. With work and school it can be rough to have time to pack something ahead of time and take it with you. There are a couple of ideas here that I think would be easy to pack ahead of time and take with you. 

Pasta and Sautéed Vegetables 

This can be a easy dish to put in a container, because it could look different each week depending on what leftover pasta options you might have in your refrigerator. You could do a spaghetti with a red meat sauce and pair that with some roasted squash (zucchini and yellow squash). You can top with fresh basil and then simply heat this up for your lunch time meal. If you happen to have a left over salad, you could bring that as well. 

Burrito Bowl

I love burritos and all the ingredients you can pack in that tortilla, but sometimes things can just get messy. That is why I really like this idea of a burrito bowl You can put together in one container all the ingredients you love from a burrito and then heat it up and enjoy with a few less carbohydrates sans tortilla. You can line up your meat or black beans for protein, some shredded cheese, grilled vegetables (like peppers, onions or zucchini), salsa, corn and top with green onions. You can pack some lettuce, avocado or sour cream separately. 

Cobb Salad 

For this dish you will need two Tupperware or glassware containers. One will be for the lettuce/salad mixture and the other will be for the toppings. You can put your favorite cobb salad toppings together - chickpeas, cubed cheese, chicken slices, bacon, tomatoes, hard boiled egg and then pack your favorite dressing on the side. If you do choose to purchase bagged lettuce, make sure you recognize that something this goes bad faster then whole lettuce leaves. Just plan ahead when it comes to your meal prepping so that you don't create more food waste. 

Quick and Easy Dinners 

Dinner time is often a stumbling block for a lot of people. This is why doing some meal preparation can be super helpful for dinner. The key to being success in making healthy, quick dinner at home is to not spend your whole evening in the kitchen. If you can prepare items ahead of time, cutting, chopping, cooking, etc then you are able to save that time in the evening. You can even cook meals ahead of time and then simply reheat them for dinner. That works as well. Using left-overs is a great way to save time and money as well. If you make a large pot of soup that be easily stored in the refrigerator and reheated at another time will be helpful. You can use that chili, for example, as a stand alone soup or as a topping for baked potatoes. 

There are so many recipes that you can find online with ideas for quick and easy meals. Once you find a recipe that you like, save it and print it off. That way you can keep your favorites and prepare them again in a couple of weeks. 

When it comes to meal prepping, the key is to plan ahead and then do a little of that work ahead of time to save you time later. The hardest part to spending the initial time shopping and preparing the food items. Hopefully some of these tips and recipes help inspire you to do some meal planning this next week! 

Writing a Nutrition Care Note

So I totally understand that this blog post may not be super interesting to a lot of people. I know most of the people who read this blog are not necessarily clinical dietitians, but this has been something that has been on my mind. I never thought that I would feel passionately about how you should write a nutrition note for a medical record, but now after being a dietitian for 7 years I have opinions. I didn't want to go into clinical nutrition initially, but after working in a hospital for the past 7 years, I definitely feel strongly about a well documented nutrition note. 

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I am not going to go through the whole note writing process, because that is boring to most people, but I do want to touch on the last section - The Nutrition Intervention. This is where you get to write what you did to intervene in the nutrition care of the patient, what goals you have moving forward, what you want to monitor and how you plan on evaluating what you monitor (like your professional opinion on the situation). This section I feel strongly about because it is the one place in your nutrition note, where you get to put on display your nutrition knowledge. It is where you outline how you plan to treat this patient and what you anticipate might transpire in the future. It is where your professional opinion is able to be shared. Lots of times I feel that some RDs just put the minimum information in this section. They just put that the goals are met and what they might like changed. They tend to leave out the part about their professional opinion, they might omit details that better description the nutrition problem listed earlier or they might not share what they anticipate might happen during the next week. That is what I feel like detracts from a well writing nutrition note. 

Example - (1) Diuresis has been as anticipated. Weight was down 1.9% from birth weight. Weight gain goals are ~19g/day.  (2) Infant is on TPN support and we are aiming for 92kcal/kg/day, 4g PRO/kg/day and GIR Of 4-6mg/kg/min. Currently the lipids have been turned off as we work up on enteral nutrition. (3) Infant has been having issues with bilious emesis. Infant does have Gastroesophageal Reflux and will have an upper GI done. Slowly working up on enteral nutrition. Feedings are running continuously to help with tolerance. We are using maternal breastmilk. Encourage and support Mom with pumping. Infant may also get donor breastmilk and this is appropriate as a back up plan through 34 weeks gestation/1500g. Total fluid goals are 130-150mL/kg/day and currently tolerating 142mL/kg/day. Monitor tolerance with feedings and working up on volumes and down on TPN support.

Now if you are not a dietitian, this may not directly apply to you, but this idea about sharing your professional expertise is important for anyone. If there is an avenue through which you can share your career expertise in a specific way in your day to day activities ... you should always take advantage of that chance. Taking the time to thoroughly share that knowledge helps to justify your job and show how you are an important member of the team. I know as a dietitian, I want to be respected and valued as a member of the nutrition care team and how I write my notes plays into that. I know there are similar examples for other jobs. When talking to my husband about writing code for data pipelines that he works with that is something that he can do in a neat and well organized fashion. Taking the time to write "clean code" shows his skills has a computer scientists and shows that he cares about the "product" or code that he creates. 

After going through 4 years of school, a year long unpaid internship and now working for 7 years, you better believe that I am going to highlight my nutrition knowledge in that Intervention section of each and every nutrition note I write! Hopefully this encourages you to find ways to highlight your expertise at your job and take pride in the work that you do! 

Breast Milk Versus Formula

I decided to delve into this controversial debate about breast milk versus baby formula. I thought this might be an interesting blog post for a couple of reason. First of all it had been in the media quite frequently after President Trump tweeted "The failing NY Times Fake News story today about breast feeding must be called out. The U.S. strongly supports breast feeding but we don’t believe women should be denied access to formula. Many women need this option because of malnutrition and poverty." 

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So if you are wondering about this article that President Trump said was Fake News you can find it HERE.  I would encourage you to read through it and see what your thought are. The main accusation against the United States is the reported situation as follows ... "American officials sought to water down the resolution by removing language that called on governments to “protect, promote and support breast-feeding” and another passage that called on policymakers to restrict the promotion of food products that many experts say can have deleterious effects on young children." That might not have been that big of an issue, but when other countries didn't come to back the United States' proposed changes then things got more heated. "When that failed, they turned to threats, according to diplomats and government officials who took part in the discussions. Ecuador, which had planned to introduce the measure, was the first to find itself in the cross hairs. The Americans were blunt: If Ecuador refused to drop the resolution, Washington would unleash punishing trade measures and withdraw crucial military aid. The Ecuadorean government quickly acquiesced." That is the part that bothered me. I don't think we should go threatening countries to get policy changes. That is something that I think is wrong and seems to be behaving kind of like a bully. 

So that was kind of a crazy response to something like breast feeding. I honestly was quite surprised to read that article. Then there started to be more articles and other opinions written. and I wanted to make sure to share those with you too. I really liked this article by VOX because I thought it did a good job at outlining the main issue that was being debated by the United States and other countries. "The UN group responsible for setting the standards on how countries should regulate food products, the Codex Alimentarius, hasn’t yet decided whether follow-up formulas should be treated like infant formulas — as “breastmilk substitutes.” Calling them a substitute for mother’s milk would mean heavier scrutiny and regulation — something public health advocates want. The US wants to call it a food, not a breast milk substitute,” said Elizabeth Zehner, project director for Helen Keller International’s child feeding project, who was present at the Codex negotiations. “That will leave the door open for all countries to call these products as non-breast milk substitutes, so they will get advertised on TV — and they look just like the infant formula.” 

So that is the main part of the debate ... how to categorize this formula products. I know it seems like a simple issue, but it can have big ramifications. Food is a complicated thing and when it is regulated different can lead to a large variance in products. The supplement industry is that perfect example. That is the under the Food and Drug Administration and anything classified as a supplement doesn't meet the same scrutinized criteria as other actual food items. So companies can put whatever health claims on those products and they aren't held to the same regulations as the food industry. I would say most of the time that can be ok, but I understand the concern voiced in the VOX article about how toddler formulas are regulated, because if they are labeled as "breastmilk substitutes" that would change their nutrition make up and how they are marketed to families. 

There was another story published on NPR on this topic and I wanted to make sure you had access to that as well, CLICK HERE. I think that this debate is not other and the formula industry does have a lot more money to lobby with compared with advocates for breast feeding. They are pushing a product and want to make money. That being said I believe in a baby being fed and healthy and that can be accomplished through either breast milk or baby formula. The debate here isn't necessarily which is better nutritionally, the debate comes down to money and how these formulas are categorized. That will then have a big influence on the products that are manufactured and then marketed to families. I would say our country has come a long way in encouraging mothers to breast feed and educating families on why that is the best thing for your baby. I think like any basic mothering skill, there are so much emotion that gets ties into this topic and can lead to guilt and regret. That is another blog post, but I wanted to make sure that you got some information on this debate and maybe some more insight as to why the President cared if women were breast feeding or using formula. 

 

Saving Money and Sticking To A Budget

So this post is late. Normally I post on Mondays and I get that up in the morning or at least by the end of day. Well Monday came and went and I wasn't feel super inspired to write a post. There wasn't anything rolling around in my brain that I thought was super exciting to share with you. 

Well inspiration finally struck today. I figured I wanted to share some honest struggles with you about sticking with a budget and saving money. That is the most exciting things that I have been trying to work on recently. 

Our family has both myself and husband working full time. We make an "ok" salary between the two of us (especially compared to people in other countries we are very blessed). We also have our far share of loans. Between my husband's car and then his school loans we also have a decent chunk of our income going to pay for those things. When it comes to money we have save for retirement, but we needed to do a better job at saving our the rest of our income. The retirement is easy, because it gets deducted from your paycheck and you never see that money, but the money that you actually bring home is tougher to save. I try really hard to cook meals at home, but we do eat out occasionally. But I never thought we spent tons of money, but after some serious self-reflection we are working hard to try to change some habits and actually save more money. 

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I have to admit, working at saving money is probably one of the most changing things I have done. I have done lots of hard things, but this has to be the slowest, and the hardest to stick with. We have really ambitious goals for our much money we want to save and to get there we needed to make some adjustments. We have cut out all extra spending. So we will still purchase things if they are needed, but nothing else extra. For example, on Amazon Prime Day we ended purchasing a bowel for William to learn how to use, dog treats for Einstein and a bike rake for Chas' bike so he can bike to work. Nothing extra, nothing that wasn't something we would already plan to purchase. 

Things I have learned ... 

  • It is hard. When you try so hard to save and then you don't see that much more money in your account it is depressing. 
  • You realize all the little things add up. That cup of coffee, plus that bottle wine or that time you went out to eat can easily add up to $50 without you noticing. 
  • You have more free time. When you spend less money, you spend less time at stores and you have more free time. That is always a win. 
  • Trying to find things to do that we can do for "free." We have memberships to a couple of museums and we can totally go enjoy those activities because they are already paid for. That is a great way to do something fun, but not spending more money. 
  • Hang out with other people who are saving money. That always helps. There is nothing worse than hearing about someone's trip somewhere and you realizing you can't take a trip right now because you are trying to save money. So find some like minded friends and spend time with them! 
  • Find ways to make enjoying at home fun. I have been trying to find cheap, healthy ways to prepare food at home and not miss eating out as much. For example, we made homemade Udon soup last weekend and it was amazing and way cheaper than eating out. 

Hopefully this post helps encourage you that if you are interested in working to set a goal, saving money or something else .... that you stick with that goal and moving toward that end goal. It is small steps that hopefully add up over time to big changes. But until then ... we will be hanging out at home, eating popcorn on our couch and watching Netflix and trying not to spend extra money. 

Healthy Holiday Picnic

I have been loving this summer weather. We are done with June and offically into July. That means lots of fun summer time activities and celebrating with cookouts and picnics. It is easy to some times think that there are not ways to include healthy foods at your next cookout. That is what I wanted to share with you today ... some creative ways to include healthy foods for your next picnic or cookout. 

Fresh Produce. The summer time means there are lots of fresh produce items that are in season. Your local Farmer’s Market or even the grocery store will be filled with healthy, fresh produce options that are all starting to be in season. From the berries to watermelon, tomatoes and lettuce all of these items are now coming into season. That means that you can purchase these fresh items more locally. They will be fresher and even more delicious. I would encourage your to include all of these fresh produce items into your cookout menu. They can be raw with a fun dip or you can throw these veggies or fruit on the grill to bring out different flavors. You can make a salad and combine a variety of different produce items with a delicious dressing. Lots of these fresh produce items are easy to pack up and take with you to an event. If you are looking for some good recipes - CLICK HERE for a great list from Clean Eating Magazine.

Temperature Danger Zone. When you pack up your food to take it on a picnic or when cooking out make sure that you keep your cold food cold and your hot food hot. It has been easy for cold food to start to warm up and get in that temperature danger zone. Try to keep your food outside the range of 40-140 degrees F. When your food is within this temperature range it can become a petrie dish for bacteria to grow and potentially cause food poisoning. When you pack cold food items, use ice or ice packs and keep them in a cooler. If you are bringing hot foods or preparing hot foods on a grill, make sure that you eat them right away and don’t leave them out so they fall within that temperature zone. 

Wash Your Hands. One more food safety tip, bring hand santizer. I know that sounds simplicist, but it is important to practice safe food handling, even when you are eating out at a picnic or cook out. If you are handling raw meat, ideally, use water and soap and wash your hands. Hand santizer is a good alternative, if you don’t have water and soap available. Keep your hands clean when you are preparing foods and when you are also eating food. 

Stay Hydrated. If you are spending an extended time outside, make sure that you bring plenty of drinks. With this warmer weather outside now, staying hydrated is very important. If you enjoy an alcoholic drink, that is fine, but remember that may lead you to getting dehydrated faster. Bring plenty of water or other healthy beverages. Watch out for sugary drinks, because those are often filled with unneccessary calories. 

Enjoy the summer and this chance to get outside and grill out. Try some new recipes and remember to keep your food at safe temperature to avoid any unwanted foodborne illness issues. 

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My Week at Diabetes Camp

I have had the privilege to get to volunteer at the Diabetes Youth Foundation of Indiana’s Summer Diabetes Camp in Noblesville, IN. This is the 4th year that I spent a week at camp serving as the Registered Dietitian on staff. My job isn’t super glamorous, but it is fun. I get to work in the kitchen to organize and prepare the meals for the campers with food allergies. One in sixty Type 1 Diabetic patients also have another auto immune disease like Celiac Disease. So this means that these campers require gluten free options and often other Type 1 Diabetic people have other food allergies (issues with peanuts, dairy, soy, etc). To help accomodate these special needs, I work to provide options for these campers. Throughout the week, I work to prepare meal and snack items that accomodate those dietary restrictions our campers and some staff have. 

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I worked in a camp kitchen before, back in 2008 I was a cook at Camp Lakeview for a summer. There is a special place in my heart for camp kitchen staff. I enjoy being able to give back in this way and help to make some of these speciality food items. I love being at Diabetes Camp, because it provides a place where these Type 1 Diabetics get to be “normal.” Checking your blood sugar is normal. In fact, if you are at camp and don’t have diabtes, that is more abnormal. I have really enjoyed getting to know the staff and campers. It has been fun to go back year after year and see these kids grow up and get to help them learn to love camp as well. 

Like I said it isn’t a glamorous job, but I think it is super important. All of us have to eat and we do it at least 3 times a day for meals and hopefully 1-2 other snacks included in there as well. For someone with Type 1 Diabetes that means that they have to account for everything they put in their mouth, dose their insulin and track what their blood sugars are. That can make meal time a stressful experience. I have to imagine that spending a week at camp where you have medical staff helping to track and manage your diabetes has to be a welcomed relief. A chance to be surrounded with all of these other people with Type 1 Diabetes and get to have fun while knowing your diabetes is being taken care of. 

All in all it has been a great week. Lots of early morings and long days, but it was a ton of fun and I really enjoyed the chance to volunteer. It is always a great way to spend a week! 

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Summer Time Weight Loss Strategies

I was asked to be on WTHR and talk about Summer Time Weight Loss Strategies. I know I had already posted on some of my experiences about this topic the other week. I thought since I took the time to put together some information for that TV segment I would share those tips and tricks with you all. 

Summer time is a great opportunity to work on losing some extra weight. The days are long, the weather is warmer and people often have some time off of work. If weight loss has been one of your goals during this year and you haven't hit those goals then take a moment and read through some of these strategies that I am going to share with you. 

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Weight Loss Strategies

  • Get outside. One of the best things about summer is the longer days and the warmer weather. You can often find lots of different types of activities that get you moving outside. Any type of activity that you can do outside can count towards burning calories. Everything from mowing the lawn, washing the car, playing with your kids at the park and even walking your dog. Most of us sit at our jobs and we don’t get in that goal of 10,000 steps per day. If you are able to walk to the library or the grocery store near you, take advantage of that opportunity to get in more steps. If you want to do something more demanding take your family with you on a bike ride or on a run. There are also lots of summer activities like swimming and hiking that you can do outdoors and that is physically challenging.
  • Drink wisely. During the summer, we enjoy nice cold beverages. It is important to be aware of what is in your favorite cool drink. If you drink alcohol there are calories in that beer (154 calories/can) or wine (125 calories/5oz) and if you prefer a mixed, sugary drink there are quite a few calories hidden in there as well (455 calories/8oz for a margarita). Work to minimize the number of calories you are getting from your drinks. Make sure that you are getting enough water. Your body is made up of 60% of water and staying hydrated during the summer time is extremely important. Carry a water bottle with you or have a container of water with you at your desk throughout the day.

  • Pick fresh foods. The summer time is when most fruits/vegetables are in season. That means that you can purchase fresh produce at a much cheaper price compared with in the winter time. Stock up on these nutritiously dense fruits and vegetables throughout the summer. These produce items are also low in calories and high in vitamins/minerals which helps keep your body functioning well. You can get these fresh items from your local grocery store or Farmer’s Market. You can even grow them in your backyard. That is a great way to incorporate exercise, saving money and learning where your food comes from! If you purchase or grow extra of these produce items you can freeze or can them for the winter.

  • Get plenty of rest. With the longer days during the summer time we often want to do more things and end up getting less sleep. Sleeping is the one time your body gets to relax, rebuild and recharge for the next day. Don’t short yourself the amount of time you sleep. Try to get to bed at a decent time and aim for 6-8 hours of sleep per night. When it comes to weight loss, getting adequate rest will help your body lose weight.

  • Avoid late night snacks. If you are getting adequate sleep and going to bed earlier you are often able to avoid late night snacking. This is such a stumbling block for people and often people end up eating empty calories. If you want to decrease your calorie intake to lose weight, you have to stop eating by 8pm at night. That cut off will help empower you to avoid eating unhealthy things late at night. Often people have cravings for unhealthy food items and over eat during this late night time. If you work hard to go to bed earlier, that will often help to eliminate this temptation.

Losing weight this summer is something that you can totally do! There are so many ways that you can make a healthy lifestyle change. Aim for making small changes and stick with those changes to help ensure that you are successful. 

Baby Lead Weaning FAQ

I felt lead to write another Baby Lead Weaning post and I thought I would answer some commonly asked questions that I often get from parents about Baby Lead Weaning. This is a topic that I really enjoy discussing with people. I love food and I think that teaching that love to food to our children is important. I believe that Baby Lead Weaning is one of the best ways to help instill within children a love of food. 

  • When can you start Baby Lead Weaning? You can start giving your child soft, solids when they are 6 months old, have good head control and can comfortably sit up in a high chair. You also want your child to be showing signs they want to try to eat (reaching for foods that you are eating, watching you eat, etc). You want them to be able to do these things first, because then you know that they have the strength and stamina to handle solids. 
  • What do I feed my child? Anything that you are eating. Especially at the beginning start with soft solids (fruits, cooked vegetables, beans, tofu, etc) and then as they get older you can move onto harder food items. There is no need to purchase "special" baby food items, give your child what you are eating! 
  • What if my kid chokes? There is a difference between choking and coughing. Coughing is normal for every child. The key is not freaking out. Your child coughing is sign that they took too big of a bite, and they are trying to clear their airway. Do not pat them on the back to “try and help.” That could actually make them choke. Choking is when your children stops coughing and is no longer making noise. That is a sign their airway is blocked and that is the time to intervene. This would be the time to do the strongly pat their back over your knee and help to dislodge that food item. Choking is not common with Baby Lead Weaning. Coughing is common, especially at the beginning. Your child has to learn how to manipulate that food in their mouth to chew, swallow and breath. It is an acquired skill and takes practice. 
  • You don’t use store-purchased baby food? No purees? Nope. Don’t spend more money on commericial baby food. It is a gimmick and your child doesn’t need it. Offer your child foods that you eat at the dinner table. Start with soft foods, cut in long pieces so they can grab them with their hands and feed themselves. It is great to teach your child independence and encourage them to try new foods. Begin with cooked vegetables, soft fruit, soft grain items like puffs or mumums. These items turn into purees in their mouth and they can safely manipulate them. This also means that you make 1 meal and everyone gets to eat it! 
  • My kid has no teeth, how can they eat table food? Children want to eat what you are eating, why feed your child something different. Yes, your child may not have teeth, but that is why you start with soft food items that they can eat on their own. This teaches them how much food they can fit in their mouth and how to properly chew and swallow. They don’t need teeth for these soft food items you are feeding them. 
  • What if my kid gets messy? Your kid will get so messy, but that is part of learning. Eating is more than just putting the food in your child’s mouth. It involves the smell, the texture, the taste and the different flavors. This also allows the whole family to sit down together at the table. You don’t have to feed your child seperately. Family meal times have been proven to help strengthen those family connections and help child grow into better, more well-rounded individuals. 
  • What if my child doesn't like the food? That is fine. It takes children upwards of 15 times of being exposed to a food to really determine if they dislike it. Always offer foods that they like and new foods as well. Remember, if you child chooses not to eat, that is fine. There will be another meal in a few hours and they will not starve.
  • What is the biggest challenge with Baby Lead Weaning? Trying to work in variety. I think it is so easy to get in a food rut, but trying to mix things up and trying new recipes is key. Getting your child to try 100 foods by the time they are one is totally possible. 
 This is from the  Fortified Family website  and Katie Ferraro's website/books are amazing!

This is from the Fortified Family website and Katie Ferraro's website/books are amazing!

I think a lot of times as parents we are the ones that end up holding our kids back. We are the ones who limit their creativity or keep them doing crazy things. Yes, some times it is merited to protect them, but with food I feel that it is so important to let them explore, get messy and learn to eat all the different food items. If you have any other questions about Baby Lead Weaning, feel free to reach out to me!

 

Follow Up - Back On My Fitness Pal

I set a reminder on my phone to check back in with you all about my fitness/nutrition goals this week. If you remember my post about 4 weeks ago was about getting back on track and trying to use My Fitness Pal again and change up my fitness a little bit. If you want to read that first post - CLICK HERE and it will catch you up to speed.

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If you recall these were my goals ...

My 3 Weight Loss Goals 

  1. Do sit ups/planks before going to bed (spend 5 minutes doing a little core strengthening before crawling into bed). I want to do this during the week (Monday through Friday). 
  2. Track what food I put in my mouth using My Fitness Pal. I want to track my intakes every day for the next month. I want to see trends in how I am eating during the week and the weekend and see where I can make some changes. 
  3. Start some new strength training. I have some credit to go to a yoga class. I want to start my attending a yoga class at this new studio and try to go 2 times in the next month. I also would like to lift some weights at the gym. Goal is work out at the gym and lift weights 4 times in the next month (that could be once a week over the next 4 weeks).

I wanted to do a check in about 4 weeks later and see how things were going. I think that is one of the big things that people often fail to do ... follow up and check back in on their goals. It is easy to forget about them if you don't set a reminder.

So how did things go over the last 4 weeks. (I am giving myself 1-5 rating on how I did with these goals, 1=didn't happen, 2=did it occasionally, 3=did it half the time, 4=did it most of the time, 5=did it all of the time).

Evaluating My Goals

  1. Do sit ups/plants before going to bed = 3
  2. Tack what food I put in my mouth using My Fitness Pal = 4
  3. Start some new strength training = 1

As you can see I did ok with my sit ups and with using the My Fitness Pal app. I didn't make it to a new yoga class at all and I didn't go to the gym to strength train. I wanted to outline some obstacles that got in my way as well. That is important and often another thing that happens, people just give up and don't stop to recognize things that kept them from accomplishing their goals. I don't want you to see these as excuses, but instead things that kept me some successfully accomplishing my goals.

Obstacles

  1. Work was crazy busy. We launched a new program in our formula room that affected how baby feedings were ordered and that went live May 29th. So for the two weeks after that Go Live date, things were nuts. Long hours, weird schedules and no time to fit in working out or trying out a new class.
  2. Vacation. We went on a family trip over the Memorial Day weekend (Friday through Monday) and I choose not to stress about using My Fitness Pal. I enjoyed some yummy food and didn't track my intake/exercise.

Now you may have noticed that none of my weight loss goals had to deal with actual weight loss. I did weigh myself back on May 14th and I was 140lbs and I weighed myself again on June 8th and I weighed 136.4lbs. So that is just shy of a 4lb weight loss over the past 25 days. That is an average of 1lb/ week. So even though I didn't accomplish all of my goals like I would have hoped, I did make some changes and I do feel better about what I have accomplished.

So now it is time to rethink through those goals and come up with new goals for the next 4 weeks.

My 3 Weight Loss Goals (Updated)

  1. Keep ... Do sit ups/planks before going to bed (spend 5 minutes doing a little core strengthening before crawling into bed). I want to do this during the week (Monday through Friday). 
  2. Keep ... Track what food I put in my mouth using My Fitness Pal. I want to track my intakes every day for the next month. I want to see trends in how I am eating during the week and the weekend and see where I can make some changes. 
  3. Keep ... Start some new strength training. I have some credit to go to a yoga class. I want to start my attending a yoga class at this new studio and try to go 2 times in the next month. I also would like to lift some weights at the gym. Goal is work out at the gym and lift weights 4 times in the next month (that could be once a week over the next 4 weeks).

I am going to keep the same goals and work really hard to actually try to accomplish my #3 goal ... trying a new form of strength training. I want to get to a class and try really hard to do that so that I find another way to stay active that isn't just running.

Hopefully this has been helpful to see how setting goals for yourself and following up with those goals can help you accomplish what you have set for yourself. It is possible, it just takes some patience and willingness to stick with your goals!

Trip to Chattanooga, TN

This week I had very limited time to work on a blog post. It has been a crazy week. I have been at work so much trying to get a new system up and working in our formula room. It was been nuts. We had been on a short vacation time to Chattanooga, TN over the holiday weekend and that was amazing. Coming back to a weird week at work after a vacation is rough stuff.  

I thought it would be fun to write up a little bit about our trip to Chattanooga and then talk about some of the new places where we ate. We had a fun trip down to Tennessee. We were able to leave early in the morning on Friday and then came back on Monday. It was a 6.5 hour drive from our house to Chattanooga. We took William and our dog, Einstein. It is always an adventure traveling with a toddler and a dog. Thankfully the dog is easy to travel with, it is the toddler who can be crazy. 

We were able to get at almost all local restaurants. That is a fun thing that we try to do whenever we travel, eat at only local places. We did stop by two fast food restaurants because you that is life when you travel. 

Embargo 62 - This was a great cuban restaurant in Chattanooga, not far from our Airbnb. I have been to a Cuban restaurant in Indianapolis, but have limited experience with Cuban food. This was amazing. We got sandwiches and they were yummy! They came with fried bananas and it was delicious. We definitely recommend this place!

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Edley’s BBQ - This BBQ restaurant was also near where we stayed and it was soooo good. I think this was the best meal we had the whole weekend. I got their brisket tacos and they were amazing. I loved the slaw that was on top and the meat was smoked and just contained so much flavor. I am sure there are lots of good BBQ places, but this one was definitely top notch in our opinion. 

The Daily Ration - This was the brunch spot we went on Sunday and I struggled to only pick one thing on the menu. There were so many amazing choices, from sweet to savory it was all so delicious and presented beautifully. I got the coconut chai bowel and shared that with William along with a breakfast sandwich. Chas got the Kimchi rice bowel and he ate the whole thing. It was a hit. 

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Milk and Honey - This was a super cute coffee shop and restaurant. They had so many different food and drink options. There was something on this menu that everyone would enjoy. Their signature, Milk and Honey latte was quite good and we got some other amazing brunch items the day we headed out of town. Definitely two thumbs up! 

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We ended up ordering some food from other restaurants and had it delivered to our Airbnb houes. Sometimes with children it is just nice to eat at home and not always be in a restaurant. These places were definitely some of our favorite food spots. 

We also took the time to go to a couple of fun places. We went to Lula Lake, which is a land preserve on Lookout Mountain. It was amazing. We hiked and got to see a beautiful water fall. We also took a tram up Lookout Mountain and that was fun to be able to see all above the city. One afternoon we walked into downtown, across the river from our house. It was a fun-filled weekend with out friends Joshua, Angela and their son Henry. We loved out time in Chattanooga and if you want a fun place to go that isn’t too far away, check it out! 

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Always Say "Yes!"

Over the last 7 years of being a dietitian and then really for as long as I can remember, I have worked to be say "yes" to all the opportunities that come my way. I have my parents to thank for this life lesson. They were always encouraging me to try new things and take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way. 

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Not long ago, I was talking with a dietetic intern about interviewing for a job. We were discussing potential interview questions and then also about different types of jobs. I was passing along some words of wisdom and the take away from the conversation was "say yes to every opportunity that comes your way." As I reflect on that statement, I think that is SO true. 

Over the years I have had some amazing opportunities. I have been a clinical dietitian for the last 7 years, meaning that I work in a hospital, but I have worked hard to do other community-based nutrition projects as well. I have felt that need to serve as a nutrition expert for my community as well as the babies that I see on a daily basis. In both of my jobs, I have worked with the media and done TV/Radio/Newspaper interviews about various nutrition topics. Obviously, since you are reading this on my blog, you have probably clicked over to my Media Portfolio page and see those videos. I have really enjoyed doing media work and incorporating that into my clinical dietetics job. Every nutrition media spot opportunity that comes my way ... I always say yes. I have had to turn down 1 interview in the last 7 years, because I was not in the office and there was no way I could get there. I was out of town, but otherwise I work so hard to be available and take advantage of those opportunities. 

I have had some other neat opportunities come my way including being involved in writing test questions for a national board exam. The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics has specialty exams for RDs to take and there is a new one that will be available in September of 2018 for PICU and NICU RDs. I applied and was chosen to be on the committee that wrote those test questions. It was such a neat process and honestly such a fun learning experience. I totally applied on a whim and I am so glad that I took that chance and said "yes" to that opportunity. 

I wanted to share these comments with you to help encourage you to work on "always saying yes!" There are so many things in life that can make us nervous, apprehensive or hesitant. Often times the one thing in life that is really holding us back is ourselves. If you have a neat opportunity come your way and you are torn on whether or not to take it ... think about it, but I encourage you to say "yes!" You can figure out how to make it work in your life and I have never said "yes" to an opportunity and then regretted it. It has always been a positive experience and one that helped me become a better person and help others. 

Back On My Fitness Pal

It is time to get back on My Fitness Pal. I used My Fitness Pal throughout my pregnancy with William, because I didn't want to gain too much weight. It helped to hold me accountable to what I put in my mouth. I also used it regularly before getting pregnant to help lose weight that I had gained after graduating college and sitting at my job. Well it is time to get back on that band wagon of tracking what I put in my mouth to help prevent future weight gain. 

I wanted to share this with you all, because I think it is important to talk about what makes you feel good for your own weight. Often we have some idea of what our ideal, personal body image looks like. Some times that is realistic an some times it is idealistic, but I think we all have a goal for ourselves. We also have a feeling at a certain weight where we feel comfortable. I had just mentioned to Chas last week that I just felt "fat." I know that I am not that big compared to others, but I just notice that it is harder to run fast, I want to do more sit ups to help with strengthening my core and I just need to work on toning up. Sure enough when I stepped on the scale I say that number that I knew would be my current weight, but I had been denying. 

I had lost the baby weight from being pregnant with William. I got up to 150-155lbs when pregnant with him, which was perfect. That is right where I needed to be. Then with breast feeding and taking care of a baby I got down to 130lbs. My normal body weight is 135-140lbs. The weight where I feel the most comfortable is 135lbs. So when I stepped on the scale this week and it read 140lbs I knew I had to make some changes. I know 5lbs doesn't seem like much, but my pants are tighter when I weigh 140lbs compared with 135lbs. So for my own self-esteem and feeling comfortable in my clothes I prefer to be closer to that 135lb mark. I think we all have that weight that feel more comfortable at. It might be our goal weight, but it is a weight that we are content with. That is what I hope you take away from this discussion, figuring out where you feel most content with yourself. 

I don't mean to throw out these numbers and have you judge if you think 140lbs is too skinny or too fat. That is not the point of this post. This is the share with you that we all have that goal for ourselves. Well my upper limit is 140lbs. So I have some work to do. I have been running and working on training for a half marathon. I do think that some of that weight gain has been leg muscle strength, but some has been more flab in the abdominal region. After having a baby, getting that abdominal strength back is so important and hard to do. So my goal is to track what I am choosing to put in my mouth, try to do more strength training, continue to run and hopefully start some yoga classes. 

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I have shared in previous posts that it is important to set specific goals so you can measure if you have accomplished them. That is what I am going to do, put together 3 goals and then try to follow up in a month and see how it went meeting those goals. 

My 3 Weight Loss Goals 

  1. Do sit ups/planks before going to bed (spend 5 minutes doing a little core strengthening before crawling into bed). I want to do this during the week (Monday through Friday). 
  2. Track what food I put in my mouth using My Fitness Pal. I want to track my intakes every day for the next month. I want to see trends in how I am eating during the week and the weekend and see where I can make some changes. 
  3. Start some new strength training. I have some credit to go to a yoga class. I want to start my attending a yoga class at this new studio and try to go 2 times in the next month. I also would like to lift some weights at the gym. Goal is work out at the gym and lift weights 4 times in the next month (that could be once a week over the next 4 weeks).

There you have it ... those are my goals for the next month and hopefully I will be able to accomplish those goals. I think they are realistic and totally achievable. I will check back in the next month with a follow up to how this weight loss trek is going. 

Mother's Day

First of all I want to wish a very Happy Mother's Day to ALL the moms out there. Even if you aren't a Mom, you deserve some love as well, because I am sure you are also a daughter, maybe a sister or an aunt. I am thankful for all the amazing women in my life from my mother, mother-in-law, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and friends. There are so many amazing women I have gotten to meet and learn from. Thank you for being amazing mentors and a support system to one another. 

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I have had to opportunity to celebrate Mother's Day three times now in my life. The very first time was when I was in my first trimester of being pregnant. Needless to say, I was not feeling up for celebrating Mother's Day. I was also struggling with the idea of being pregnant. It was still so over-whelming with accepting that we were all of sudden pregnant. That was my first Mother's Day. The next year, William was 4 months old. He of course was adorable and I was so happy to get to be his Mom. This year is fun as well, because now William is 16 months old. It is so neat to get to be a Mom and have such a wonderful son.  

I just wanted to share this little bonus, Mother's Day post and just get to say that I am thankful for all of you and hope that you enjoy your day and time with all the women in your life that mean so much to you! 

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Geist Half Marathon Recap

I wanted to do a blog post about the first half marathon that I have post baby. I know I waited longer than I thought I would to get back to competitively running, but being a Mom is tiring. It took me awhile to find a groove and balance my schedule with training runs. I wanted to have fun and enjoy running so I am glad that I didn't rush back to sign up for a long distance race. 

So this time around, training for a half marathon was way different. It is a lot harder to get in the mileage when you bring your little one with you on runs. Just because it is physically harder. Pushing a stroller, while running, is not a joke. That is some serious upper body strength. Honestly, I enjoy it most of the time, but as William has gotten bigger, it is not getting easier. 

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Thankfully I continued with my Planet Fitness membership so that allows me a chance to fit in a baby-free run right after work for about 30 minutes. I was able to do that when the weather wasn't as nice outside or if I didn't have time to fit in a long run that day. It is not my favorite thing, but I was glad for the option. That is a worthwhile $10 per month. 

I didn't do as much strength training this time around either. That is so hard to fit in. I was doing good to get in a run throughout the week. I was averaging 20 miles a week or less. There were several weeks where I was about 30 miles. So not intense training, but still enjoyable. 

I have thought about training for another marathon, but I don't know if I can set aside the amount of time to train. That is such a big commitment and I don't know if now is the right time. I would love to do another marathon and try to do it well and possibly qualify for Boston. That would be a stretch, but totally worth the effort. That is on my bucket list for some day! I will eventually race and qualify for Boston. 

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Race Recap 

  • Up until the morning of the race, I was positive that it was going to rain. There was a 50-80% chance of rain all day on Saturday. It wasn't until the morning of, at 5am when I got up that I saw there was 0% chance until 11am. That was a huge relief for me. I have never raced in the pouring rain before. I was quite nervous and I reached out to a couple of seasoned running friends who passed along some great words of wisdom. There was also a article shared on Very Well Fit's website that was fantastic about running in the rain. I was totally prepared - I had extra shoes, socks, trash bags, a hat, light clothes, a jacket, and lots of Vaseline to prevent chaffing. Thankfully I didn't have use any of those items and I was so thankful. 
  • The race route itself was quite hilly. I knew that it would be, but I was also nervous about my limited training area not having any hills. I have been running on the Monon trail which is super flat. But I did train while pushing a stroller, so I think that helped prepare me for working hard to get up and down all the hills. 
  • The race day itself turned out to be overcast, cool and it was a little humid. It made for very good running weather. I was thoughtful for limited sunshine so that it was super hot outside. 
  • I listened to music while running all 13 miles and thankfully the playlist I made lasted right up to the finish line. I was thankful I didn't have to mess with my phone while running. 
  • I carried my water with me along with some salt stick and Huma gels. I ended up just taking 1 Huma gel and 1 salt stick. I was moving quick enough that I took both around the 40-45 minute mark or about 6-7 miles. That was good enough to get me through to the end of the race. 
  • My pre-race breakfast included cereal and a banana. I drank lots of water ahead of time and I even got in my bathroom stop prior to the race. I really like to be able to have a bowel movement before running. To help make this possible I eat a salad the night before. I know some runners think that is crazy, but it works for me. I am use to eating lots of vegetables and normally it is just want I need to help get me going in the morning. I also ran from the parking lot, a 1/2 mile to the start line. That helped to get things moving as well. 
  • Overall I felt great running. I really loved racing again. I had miss that feeling and challenge that you feel competing. I wasn't trying to win, but I just wanted to run my best race. I ended up placing 2nd in my age division (the 25-30 year old group). I finish in 1hr and 47 minutes. I felt good about my pace ~8 minute/mile. For my first race back post baby, I thought this went really well. 
  • The only thing that I didn't love about the route for this course was the fact that course looped back over the same roads on the way out and back. That was the only bad thing. I understand why they had to do that because of the reservoir and limited roads crossing the water. I really enjoy races where you don't double-back over the course you have already run, but that was fine. It was fun to see the huge houses and there were some people along the route cheering us on. If you want to run in a small-ish race with some hills, this is the course for you! 
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From Farm To Table

I had the chance to go to the soft opening for a new restaurant in Indianapolis, The Next Door Eatery. This farm to table restaurant was created by Kimbal Musk. His philosophy is to bring healthy, fresh food from local farmers to you the customer. This restaurant opened up on 46th and College not far from where I live. I was super excited when I heard about this restaurant, because it was going into an old building and on a corner that needed some love. I think that with this restaurant the rest of that block is going to get a face lift and will be a popular destination in Broad Ripple.

I had the opportunity to hear Kimbal Musk speak at the Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) in Chicago this last October. I was very excited to get to hear about Kimbal's journey with food and what his goals are for his restaurants. Fun fact, Kimbal's mother is a Dietitian. That is pretty neat in my opinion. He was a great speaker and has been helping to fund some really need food/farming ventures. 

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So if you were wondering what makes this restaurant unique ... I pulled some information from their website that I just had to share. This is a quote from their website - "Next Door is an urban casual American eatery serving real food sourced from American farmers. Here at Next Door we're committed to serving real food and dedicated to environmentally-friendly practices such as composting, wind power, eco-friendly packaging, and recycling. " Besides trying to provide food to customers from local growers, this restaurant also works to help provide nutrition education in schools. This is another quote from their website - "Next Door strives to be an integral part of the community and that starts with schools. Next Door partners with The Kitchen Community, a non-profit organization that builds outdoor Learning Gardens classrooms in schools across America. Thank you for eating at Next Door to help build Learning Gardens in your local schools."  

We ate at Next Door for lunch last week and it was delicious. We had a ton of fun trying lots of things on the menu. My son loved the appetizer portion of beets. My parents and I ordered all different dishes and we tried some tacos, the fried fish and a chicken bowl. It was all amazing and the restaurant had such a good atmosphere. There is outdoor patio space and it is kid friendly as well. I am excited to walk over there and enjoy some amazing food and delicious drinks all year long.

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30 Things I Have Learned Over 30 years

So it is official I turned 30 years old on Friday. That is crazy! I remember turning 21 years old and thinking, "wow, 30 is so long from now!" I also had crazy ideas about what I would be doing when I was 30 years old. I have to say that I am happy with how things have turned out, but it is crazy to hit that big milestone. I thought it would be fun to compile a list of things that I have learned over the last 30 years. With age comes wisdom, right?! So here are some of my thoughts about turning 30! 

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30 Things I Have Learned Over 30 Years

  1. My faith. This is important. I feel like this walk with the Lord has gone through ups/downs, but His continual love for me has continued to teach me how to work to love those around me. 
  2. Have a person. My husband, Chas, has been my rock over the last 11 years. It is amazing how much having that support person in your life helps get through the ups and downs of life. Whether it is a spouse, significant other or just a best friend .... find that person and never let them go.
  3. Age is just a number. I don't feel any older than when I was in my early 20s. I totally agree that age is just a number and I don't feel any older today, than yesterday.
  4. My confidence has grown. I feel like now I am finally confident in myself. It has taken awhile, but I know who I am, what I want out of life and that is a nice feeling.
  5. Care less about what other people think. I have worked hard to not worry about what people think of me. It can be hard, but I think that is a good goal to have - gain more confidence and worry less about other people's opinion of you. 
  6. I can do really hard things. I had a baby (without medication), I have run a marathon, I have supported my husband through graduate school and I have worked hard to excel at my job. 
  7. Stress relief matters. I use to think that I had a crazy life that was stressful. Little did I know that life just keeps getting more complicated and stressful. Finding ways to minimize that stress is so important. 
  8. Be thankful for the laundry and dishes. I have tried to be happy about the work around the house, because it means I have wonderful people there, living and messing things up. That is worth all the laundry! 
  9. I am still me. As the years tick by, I am still me. I am the same person, with hopes and dreams, those dreams have changed and matured, but I am still me. 
  10. I love dogs. I always knew I enjoyed having a dog around, but since Einstein has come into our lives ... I really love dogs. He is such a joy and I couldn't imagine life without him. 
  11. Love/hate relationship with cooking. I use to say I loved cooking, but as the years have gone by, it sometimes feels like a chore. I still work hard to prepare meals at home, but it is honestly not always my favorite thing to do. 
  12. I enjoy reading. I don't always find time to read books myself, but I am always making time to read to William and that is such a fun thing to do. 
  13. I love critical care nutrition. This is something that I never thought I would say, but the longer I spend in the NICU the more I like that challenge of critical care nutrition. 
  14. Thankful for friends. It is hard as you get older to maintain friendships, because those people are spread across the country or even if they are in the same state it is hard to make time to get together. I am thankful for those friends who work to stay in touch. That is something I want to continue to work on. 
  15. Enjoy the quiet moments. Our house isn't always quiet and so enjoying those still, quiet moments is so nice. 
  16. Take time to play. I have worked hard to try to be present with William and put down my phone, not worry about the dishes and just play with him in the evenings when we are home together. 
  17. Listen. I some times get caught up in the craziness with life and I don't slow down and listen. I have been trying to work hard at this and focus when Chas is talking to me and really hear what he is saying. 
  18. Say "Yes" to Experiences. I have always worked to always say "yes" to valuable experiences that come my way. I have been able to do lots of really neat things because I have been willing to say "yes." 
  19. Prioritize the battles. I have had a stressful year at my job. I have some difference of opinions with those around me and I have been working hard to prioritize what things are really important. It is easy to complain about everything, but focusing on the things you can actually change/influence has helped to keep me sane. 
  20. Time period dramas. I really love a good BBC show and that is one thing that I will do when I am cleaning the kitchen/packing lunches ... watch a good TV show. 
  21. Do everything during nap time. It is amazing how much you can accomplish when you use your time wisely during nap time. I am just saying it is some times surprising. 
  22. Find new hobbies. This has been a struggle since becoming a mom. It has been hard to discover new things I want to do as hobbies. I think being exhausted has a way of taking over any “hobby” or fun thing you want to do. I am really trying to work on getting some new hobbies. 
  23. Never stop learning. This is a life lesson I have learned over and over again. You will never learn everything, but still work towards expanding your knowledge and be open to new ideas.
  24. Savor the moments. My Mom once told me that the hours might feel long, but the days go by quickly. That is true, just about life. I have been trying to savor and remember all of the moments and appreciate them.
  25. Always have coffee. You can never have too much coffee and it totally helps get ALL the things done. 
  26. Make a list. I am totally a list person. I make grocery list, lists at work for what I am doing that day and even what I want to accomplish on my days off. Having a plan helps in so many of life’s situations. Some times all the times get done on the list and sometimes they don’t, but that is ok. 
  27. I can’t control everything. I would love to say that over the last 30 years I have aquired that skill “to control things,” but that would not be true. Being able to know when to relinquish control is important. I am working on that skill and some days I do better than others.
  28. Must do ALL the dishes. I know this sounds silly, but I am totally like Monica from Friends ... I hate having a messy kitchen with dishes left in the sink. I really like to have things cleaned and organized for me to be able to relax. I am working on trying to let do of some of this OCD-ness, but I have embraced that part of me.
  29. Take time for others. I am not always the best at this, but I try to make time for friends and family ... even if it takes time away from my plans. People matter more than anything else and those relationships are so important.
  30. Have fun. My husband, Chas, had helped me really learn to let go and just have fun. He makes me laugh and has totally helped me to loosen up over the years. 

Well there ya go ... 30 things that I have learned over the last 30 years. It has been a crazy ride and I am so excited to see what this new decade has in store for me and my family. I have so much to be thankful for and I am so excited for all of the adventures that we will have. Thank you for being part of RD Anna and reading my blogs! I have really enjoyed being able to share my life with you all! 

AND National Preceptor Month

Here in April the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is celebrating all of the preceptors that help dietetic interns during their year long rotation. You may not know, but to become a Registered Dietitian you have to complete a year long, accredited internship. This process involves an application and matching process. So not all of the applicants who apply will get matched to an internship rotation site. It is a competitive process. During that internship year, you participate in different rotation sites and gain a variety of different experiences working with a variety of dietitians. All those people who help to teach future dietitians are an amazing group of preceptors. I have been impacted by such great preceptors during my internship back in 2010. I am still friends with some of those dietitians and I am so thankful that they were willing to take the time to teach me. 

Most professions now that internships or other similar programs where professionals work to students to help teach them. I think this is such a great way to learn. As a professional, in any career area, I encourage you to volunteer and take a student. Work with them and encourage them as they go through schooling. Your work and time teaching these students help to create great employees in the future. 

  Eat Right Preceptors and Mentors  

I included this graph above of the supply and demand of dietetic internships since 1993 until 2015. The yellow line on top is the dietetic students that are graduating from college. The blue line is the number of dietetic internship applicants. The green line is the number of dietetic internship applicants who are actually matched. I thought it was helpful to see that there are lots of students graduating with nutrition degrees, but a far less number actually become Registered Dietitian. In terms of the job market and preventing over-saturating the market, I am ok with this, but I think it is that much more important to work with these students and help create the best dietitians in our work force. 

I have enjoyed working with the Coordinated Program in Dietetics through Purdue since I completed my internship back in 2011. I have been a preceptor for the last 7 years. I have also gotten to work with some IUPUI students and Ball State students over the years. It is rewarding to get to see these students learn and gain confidence. It is also exciting to be able to teach them about my passion for nutrition. I also love seeing these students apply and land their first jobs. It is neat to get to be part of that process and stay in touch with those students. 

If you work in an area where you can serve as a preceptor and help teach students, take advantage of those opportunities. Thank you to all those Registered Dietitians who have served as preceptors over the years and for those who helped me get to where I am today as well. You all are amazing! 

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Can You Really Have It All?

So disclaimer, this post isn't one about nutrition advice or exercise recommendations. This one is for women out there who have felt that tug between their work/career and their family. For me this is about being a mother, wanting to have kids and continuing in my career. I know I have heard that you can't have it all and I believe that in life we make compromises. We give up things in order to do other things. I wanted to take the time and write up my struggle and feelings. I feel like as women, it is different for us compared to men. We are different beings and that should be celebrated. Lots of times though I feel a sense of guilt about struggling with this choice between a family and work. 

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I, like lots of my peers, finished my 4 year college degree and got a job. I have been a Registered Dietitian for 7 years and I now moved through being a novice in my field into more of an expert. I don't know everything, but after passing that 5 year milestone, I feel like I know some things, but of course have way more I want to learn. I would say that I have a career. I have a specialty area where I work that I love. I am good at it and I enjoy the challenges. I have learned some new things about myself as well - my desire to write and possibly run my own business in the future. I enjoy educating people about my specialty area. I have learned those things about myself over the last 7 years and I have worked hard to be good at what I do. 

I am also a mother and have a child. A 15 month old little one, who I love and enjoy spending time with. Now I have this desire to spend time with him and I have thought about do I want to keep working? Being a mother starts bringing all these questions into your mind that never had been there before. I start wondering if that is something I would want to do? If I didn't have a child, I never would be asking these questions. But now, I feel like I am being asked to choose; between being a Mom or continuing with my career. What I find frustrating is this idea that I HAVE to choose. That some how my desire to continue with my career shows a lack of desire to be the best mother I can be. I know not everyone thinks that, but that is the mindset that society puts on us. 

I believe that as a woman, you have to choose what is best for your family. What do you want from life? What do you want to do? That is what Chas kept asking me the other night. Not what would I would be willing to do for my family. Not what I think I could see myself doing if I had to. The simple question ... where do I see myself in 5 years? Right now, what do I see myself doing? 

As I look into my crystal ball, I see myself working and continuing in my specialty area of dietetics. I would love to have another child, but I understand that additional strain that would put on me as a working mother. I can't help, but want to have it all. I have worked too hard for my career to just step away from that, but at the same time I want to be the best mother I can to my son and hopefully future children. 

I don't have an easy answer to that questions ... where do you see yourself in 5 years? I have hopes and dreams. As a woman, I just want to celebrate other woman out there in that pursuit of "having it all." We give up time with our children to pursue our career and we hope that teaches our children how to be successful later in life. We are mothers, but we are also more than just that vocation. We are still the women that went to college to pursue our dreams and in the end, when our children move out, we will still be those women with our aspirations. Is you choose to stay home with your babies or go to work and snuggle your little ones at night ... doing what is best for you and your family is always the right choice!