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Easy is probably the most overused word when it comes to behavior change. Unfortunately, changing behavior is NOT easy–especially for diabetes–and as health professionals, we all know that. Helping promote behavior change? That’s something that can be easy, or at least easier. Our newest web-based CE course, Mindful Eating for Diabetes Made Easy (6 CPEUs), is designed to do just that.

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Presented by mindful eating expert Megrette Fletcher, MEd, RD, CDE, this course breaks down the three biggest challenges for diabetes patients–understanding and building motivation, changing habits, and making healthier food choices. Plus, you get a full grounding in the research on mindful eating and diabetes–truly fascinating stuff. Mindfulness techniques have been used to estimate current blood glucose levels, with accurate estimates of hypo- and hyperglycemia.

The best part of this webinar pack? It turns conventional diabetes education on its head by helping you put the client in control, losing focus on ‘goals’ and focusing on practice instead (not perfect!) and working on helping your clients understand and articulate their own personal barriers to change.

Great, and practical stuff. You’ll get free handouts, too–that you can use right away with your clients to put these principles into practice. Not sure yet? Check out Megrette’s FREE webinar “An Introduction to Mindful Eating Made Easy” and discover how easy and fun helping your clients create change can be!

How my 8 year-old got my 5 year-old to eat broccoli

sensory-wonders (1)Becoming a mom is always a humbling experience, but never more so when you’re a Registered Dietitian who used to (smugly) tell other moms what to do. Having an advanced degree in nutrition and experiencing firsthand the near-complete lack of control you have over a small being’s food preferences is the ultimate in hubris.

Witness my own situation: after breastfeeding both my kids and lovingly handcrafting meals from scratch from birth, I ended up with an older kid who loves to eat pretty much everything (and has no concept of when he might be full), and a younger one who is the very definition of a Supertaster (code for ridiculously picky, and able to narrate the various sensory attributes he does NOT like of a given food). Oh, and he also decided to become a vegetarian after a visit to a nearby farm when he was 4.

Thankfully, I read Ellyn Satter’s books when I worked in WIC and her wisdom would resonate in my head pre-mealtime (“The parent decides what and when, the child decides if and how much.”) I also welcomed my kids into the kitchen to cook with me at every possible opportunity, as well as used mindful eating techniques to help my older one recognize and honor hunger and satiety cues. But I still struggled with my younger one’s refusal of so many foods. Little did I know the answer was to get out of the way!

Let me explain. When the after-school enrichment schedule came out, I was delighted to see that Little Chefs was one of the offerings. This after-school cooking club for kids was guaranteed to give my 8 year-old six weeks of pure joy. And it did. Unfortunately, my 5 year-old was too young to take the class. But, like most younger sibs, he was the very definition of a starry-eyed second-born, interested in whatever my older son was doing. So, after the first class, when my 8 year-old came home with broccoli quiche he had made, my 5 year-old begged for a piece. What? I thought to myself. He NEVER eats broccoli when I make it!   To my astonishment, he ate an entire piece, gushing the whole time about how delicious the broccoli tasted. My older one, also not a huge fan of broccoli, had a similar response.

What a revelation. As important as it is for kids to cook with you, I’ve also discovered it’s critical to give them some independence in the kitchen (when they are old enough, of course). We now have a ‘Kids’ Choice’ night once a week, where my kids choose the meal components and cook/assemble it themselves, with my oversight. Not surprisingly, broccoli quiche has made the menu, but also other meal ideas I would never had made for dinner, like corn, tomato and bean salsa and pasta salad (also both recipes from the Little Chefs class). Seeing my kids wolf down sun-dried tomatoes and olives in a pasta salad nearly brought tears to my eyes.

As millennial snow-plow parents, getting out of our kids’ ways can be a foreign concept. But when it comes to eating healthfully, giving them the independence and skills to choose what sometimes, and letting them serve as role models to younger sibs, also can positively influence if and how much.

This month Skelly Skills is focusing on building healthy families–please join us for our FREE continuing education (CE) webinar for RD and RDNs and CDEs on “How to Help Families Build a Better Diet” (1 CPEU / CEU) on April 28th with mindful eating expert Megrette Fletcher, MEd, RD, CDE, author of Discover Mindful Eating for Kids: 75 Activities for Picky Eaters, Overeaters, Speed Eaters, and Every Kid In-Between (35 CPEU / CEU). You can register here.

Healthy Regards,

Sheila

Self-control: It’s not a dirty word?!

freeCPEMy dad used to remark that the nuns gave him ‘C’s’ in self-control when he was in elementary school. How strange to have a ‘self-control’ category on your report card! I would think.  Like a strange Mad Men throwback, the self-control grade made me glad I grew up in the more permissive ‘70’s and ‘80’s when we didn’t have to worry about such things!

Well, what’s old is new (again). Research confirms that developing and practicing self-control for kids is critical to success as adults. Self-control researchers are advising schools and educators how to work with kids to develop this strength.

The nuns were right! I thought to myself when listening to some of this research on NPR. (http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2014-10-01/walter-mischel-marshmallow-test-mastering-self-control) And, like most things I learn, the interview led me to think about what Skelly Skills can do to provide continuing education for dietitians and diabetes educators to help our clients–young and old–develop and exercise self-control.

Unfortunately, many of us have equated ‘self-control’ with ‘deprivation’ and as dietitians and educators, we want our clients to understand that all foods can fit–in some quantity, at least–in their diets. So, where does self-control fit in?

Ironically, self-control can be a great tool in helping our clients understand their hunger, and make choices that lead to increased satisfaction–both during and after the meal. And mindfulness is the link between self-control and satisfaction. Here are a few ways mindfulness can help clients develop self-control and delay gratification, according to Megrette Fletcher, MEd, RD, CDE, author of Discover Mindful Eating and Discover Mindful Eating for Kids:

  • Mindfulness is about helping clients identify what they are feeling, and then applying a strategy to effectively deal with that sensation–also a basic component of self-control.
  • Delaying eating until a comfortable level of hunger is present –a key part of self-control–is not the same as restrictive eating. Mindfulness is a great tool to help understand the difference.
  • Mindfulness helps get at intention. This is not to be confused with goals. Intentions allow us to align our efforts with a bigger picture, making delaying gratification easier and more seamless.

Want to learn more? Join Megrette for her FREE CE teleseminar this month: Using Mindfulness to Increase Self-Control: Strategies to Help Adults and Kids Resist Temptation and Delay Gratification (1 CPEU / CEU)”. Megrette will lead you through two (FREE!) activities from her bestselling continuing education courses and books for dietitians and diabetes educators you can use with your clients to help them understand, strengthen and apply self-control–over the holidays and beyond!

Don’t miss out–register now!

Healthy Regards,

Sheila

Mindful Eating: Can it Change your Practice?

meToday I was reading one of our new continuing education courses on Mindful Eating by mindful eating expert Megrette Fletcher, MEd, RD, CDE. (It’s for kids and it’s coming out soon—stay tuned)! It was so gratifying. Rarely do I see approaches to combating obesity, improving diet quality and helping people truly enjoy their food that I feel are unique and groundbreaking. Mindful Eating is one such approach.

Skelly Skills (as you hopefully already know!) is always looking for new ways to help RDs and CDEs break out of the same-old and be more effective. When I first learned of Mindful Eating many years ago, I immediately wanted to learn more.

I met Megrette about eight years ago when she helped us out with a continuing education course we were working on. She’s an internationally-recognized mindful eating expert and a co-founder of The Center for Mindful Eating, in addition to being author and co-author of several bestselling books on mindful eating: Discover Mindful Eating, Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat with Diabetes, and—now—the forthcoming Discover Mindful Eating for Kids.

Why is Mindful Eating so powerful? Three things about it are most compelling for me:

  • It helps bring awareness to why our clients are eating. As we all know, it’s difficult to figure out sometimes!
  • It encourages curiosity, by helping clients explore what they are really hungry for (hint: often they will find it’s NOT food!), and discover, through this exploration, what food truly feels nourishing to them.
  • Finally, the non-judgment that is a hallmark of mindfulness can help free your clients from the endless guilt they feel over the food and eating choices they make. The journey is about learning and information, not judgment!

Sound interesting to you? You’re not alone. Mindful Eating is one of the most powerful “new” (but really quite ancient) tools around. See what it can do for your practice and your clients: Megrette’s easy-to-use intro webinar series to mindful eating will give you all the information you need to get started (and 8 CPEU/CEUs to boot)! And this week it’s 50% off! You can learn more/purchase here.

Here’s what others are saying about Megrette’s Mindful Eating webinar series:

“I feel that this webinar series has provided tools and resources to help my patients as well as myself pause and notice the feelings we encounter on a daily basis. I truly felt connected to Ms. Fletcher and the principles of Mindful Eating. This series has given me a new, refreshing way to teach the most challenging patients. Even in the most extremely difficult patients, I think it is worth mentioning mindful eating and how it can help us make better choices, and feel OK if we didn’t.” Elizabeth Marques, RD, Tampa, FL

And while you’re at it, sign up for our mailing list and get notified of other FREE CE mindful eating events we offer!