Personal Program Nutritional and Lifestyle Guidelines
by Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP
Eating is a primitive urge, like sleeping or going to the bathroom. When food sources
are abundant, we are hard-wired to eat as much as our body needs to function, survive,
and reproduce, but also — more critically — to store against the possibility
of famine. Eating is also a source of comfort and pleasure. This too is hard-wired.
When we sit and eat, our bodies get the message that — for the moment —
it is okay to relax. We are nurturing ourselves. No hard labor or strenuous physical
activity can occur at that moment. This is powerful motivation.
What has caught us unawares is the degradation and manipulation of our food supply
combined with a major decrease in our physical activity. Over-processed food, refined
sugar products, preservatives, trans fats, artificial sweeteners, and food substitutes
now populate the bulk of our grocery aisles. Our food is transported thousands of
miles and must keep for weeks, losing much of its nutritional value in transit.
Today, we drive instead of walk, use machines more often than our muscles, and eat
out or on the run more frequently. In addition, we have multi-million dollar industries
bent on coercing us to buy and eat a seemingly endless supply of unhealthy food.
Instead of berating ourselves for “cheating” when we eat a food that
is not in our best interests, we need to think about the totality of our lifestyle
choices with our individual histories and needs (both physical and emotional) in
Let’s face it: Food is good! Eating is fun! It’s no wonder we find it
agonizing to deprive ourselves of this most basic and nurturing act. Instead of
all the negativity, I’d like to encourage women to rediscover the positive
nature of sharing food around the table. It all begins with that magic word: balance.
The best way to jumpstart your metabolic function is to eat well (which includes
taking a daily multivitamin), and to eat regularly and often — just watch
that portion size.
And you have a great portion control tool right at hand — your own hand!
- Your thumb = 1 oz
- Your palm = 3–4 oz
- Your closed fist = 1 cup
- Your thumb tip = 1 tsp
- A handful = 1–2 oz of snack food, like nuts
Just as your body needs to be in balance to function well, your meals need balance
to provide adequate nutrition. It may be helpful to revise your mental picture of
a healthy meal from a pyramid to a square. The square has four compartments: protein,
healthy fat, fruits/vegetables, and grains/legumes. Eating three “squares”
a day is a good way to think about it; we also want women to have two healthy snacks
a day. In fact, the USDA food guide pyramid will soon be adjusted to reflect new
Daily Reference Intake (DRI) guidelines based on similar research.
We have adapted our own Personal Program nutritional suggestions based on years
of research into healthful eating for hormonal balance. This plan restricts sugar
and carbohydrates without depriving your body of necessary nutrients. The basic
guidelines are as follows:
- Eat 3 meals a day and 2 or more snacks.
- Eating every 2 hours is a good idea if you are under stress.
- Eat protein at every meal.
- Eat a vegetable or fruit at every meal. In fact, eat as much as you want when it
comes to organic greens and vegetables, as long as they aren’t coated with
- Include healthy fats in your diet, particularly foods rich in
omega-3’s. Avoid trans fats.
- Target no more than 60 grams of carbohydrates a day (15 per meal and 7 per snack)
while your metabolism heals.
- Limit dairy products to 4 servings a day, preferably organic.
- Completely avoid soft drinks (including diet
sodas) and juices with high-fructose
corn syrup. Limit use of artificial sweeteners.
- Drink 6–10 glasses each day of filtered water, seltzer, or herbal teas.
- Eliminate/taper sugar, sweets and junk food from your diet.
- Eliminate/taper alcohol — the ultimate “sugar buzz.”
- Eliminate “white food”: white sugar, white flour, white cereal.
- Be sure to take a medical-grade nutritional supplement, including a fatty acid supplement.
Your hormonal balance depends on a supply of rich nutrients.
In addition to what you eat, a few positive lifestyle habits can really make a difference
in how you feel. We have learned that you have to get healthy before you can lose
weight and keep it off. Once you create a health foundation, your body will naturally
seek and maintain its ideal weight. Remember that a safe and healthy weight loss
is 1–2 pounds per week. Here are the things we know work:
- Shop the outside aisles of the grocery store.
- Buy organic and local whenever possible. Pay attention to chemicals, heavy metals,
and bacteria in your environment. Shop at farmer’s markets and specialty food
stores that have a wider range of healthy foods.
- Stop weighing yourself. Use your dress size as your gauge.
- Start exercising. A 45-minute walk 4–5 times a week is great.
- Get 8 hours of sleep — no exceptions!
- If you recognize that you have a habit of
emotional eating, get some counseling. The underlying emotional issues create
other health problems too. And they won’t go away without intervention.
- Reduce the stress in your life to the extent you can. Make time for yourself to
compensate for when you can’t.
- If you have obvious digestive problems or food sensitivities, consider a hypoallergenic
diet or the elimination diet. Discuss getting a bioimpedence analysis from your
- Above all the dietary and lifestyle choices you make, learn to love and accept yourself.
Focus on your health, not your weight. And if you wander from your personal blueprint
for health, forgive yourself and step back toward balance. If you can’t do
it all, do what you can.
I also encourage you to explore our website, including the article on
menopause and weight gain. You’ll find additional reading material
and references you may find useful and interesting.
The suggestions above are a great starting place for all women concerned about their
weight and being healthy. For more detailed nutritional and lifestyle guidelines,
including meal ideas and recipes, see our New Member Guide, which we include
in our Personal Program, an at-home version
of the approach to holistic health and wellness that we use at the clinic.
Click here for more information
about the Personal Program, or call
speak with an Advisor. The Support Desk is available to help seven days a week.
Our Personal Program is a great place to start
The Personal Program promotes natural hormonal balance with nutritional supplements,
our exclusive endocrine support formula, dietary and lifestyle guidance, and optional
phone consultations with our Nurse–Educators. It is a convenient, at-home
version of what we recommend to all our patients at the clinic.
If you have questions, don't hesitate to call us toll-free at
1-800-798-7902. We're here to listen and help.
Last Modified Date: 04/20/2011