How Much Protein Should You Eat?

How Much Protein Should You Eat?

Protein is my favorite nutrition topic. It keeps you feeling full while helping to build muscle. Additionally, protein stabilizes glucose levels, and supports a healthy immune system. 

 When adding protein to your diet, recall the importance of mindfulness: 

 Before you eat, pause, and ask yourself if you are truly physically hungry. Understanding your body’s signals, like hunger and cravings will help you be more mindful about what you are eating. Cravings are mental, emotional, and habitual and might take the form of wanting something sweet or salty, right away. Cravings can arise from stress or boredom, the need for reward, or distraction. Hunger is felt in the gut. It is the physical sensation of a grumbling stomach or feeling a little shaky or dizzy. You can trust it to tell you it is time to eat. Mindfulness is “noticing and naming” what is going on IN THE MOMENT.

With that in mind, let us discuss how much protein to eat. 

We can easily calculate your protein needs based on the answers to these questions- Is your goal to lose weight? Gain muscle?  What is your level of exercise?  Did you just have a baby or are you recovering from surgery?!  

 An objective measure is the size of your palm. One palm is approximately 1 serving of protein. Be sure to get about 1 palm-sized serving of protein per meal. One reason this works is that you can use this to easily estimate how much protein that you are eating. You do not have to get a precise measurement. And it is portable! You can use it anywhere, whether you are out to dinner, dining at home, or at a party. It is an uncomplicated way to start practicing including some lean protein at as many meals as possible. 

 For those who like to measure, 1 palm sized serving of protein is about 20-30 grams, or 3-4 ounces of cooked meat, 2 eggs, or 1 cup of Greek yogurt.  

 Here are a couple of guidelines for sources of protein: 

 Eat more:  eggs, fish, shellfish, chicken, duck, turkey, lean beef, bison, lean pork, plain Greek yogurt, tempeh, tofu, and cultured cottage cheese.  

 Eat less:  fatty meats, processed and fried foods, and processed plant-based meats. 

Some strategies for working protein into your diet: If it is more convenient, buy your protein sources pre-prepared (for example, rotisserie chicken, canned tuna, or Greek yogurt). What can you prepare and keep in the fridge? Spend some time on Sunday grilling chicken breast, lean steak, or hard boiling some eggs. Prep a stir fry with pre-cut vegetables, chicken or tempeh, and olive oil to reheat when you get home from homework, and you are too tired to cook. For some variety in your diet, try bison or tempeh. Also try improving the quality of your food, including organic or pastured meat, wild-caught fish, and free-range eggs).

Keep it simple. It does not have to be perfect. Experiment. See what works for you. Even one meal with a little more protein is a success. 


Do you need help with your nutrition?  Don’t know what to eat or where to start?  Schedule a Nutrition Coaching Consultation with Dr. Hessel.

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How To Recognize Stress Eating and What You Can Do About It!

How To Recognize Stress Eating and What You Can Do About It!

We have been discussing moderation and mindfulness. Click here for a quick refresher. 


As we dig deeper into mindfulness, we need to examine stress eating.


We rarely recognize when we are stress eating. I have experienced this myself. The day is going great, then something stressful happens and I find myself opening the refrigerator and cabinet doors. How do we stop before we are elbow deep in the cookies and chips?


To be mindful about what we are eating, we need to get in touch with the body’s signals, like hunger and cravings. 


CRAVINGS: Cravings are felt in the head, and can arise from boredom, and the need for a reward or distraction. Stress is another cause of cravings and might take the form of wanting something sweet or salty right away. Cravings are mental, emotional, and habitual.


Stress eating is triggered by certain sights, smells, people, or emotions. The process is automatic, and you are usually not aware of what is triggering it. You might find yourself in front of the cabinet or refrigerator, reaching for something and wondering “Why am I eating this?”  If you start to pay attention, you might realize these cravings come after a difficult meeting at work, or after talking to your mom, or watching the news. 


HUNGER: On the other hand, hunger is felt in the gut. It is the physical sensation of a grumbling stomach or feeling a little shaky or dizzy. You can trust it to tell you it is time to eat.


Can you recognize the difference for you? Mindfulness is “noticing and naming” what is going on IN THE MOMENT. Learn the difference between hunger and cravings and between hunger and stress eating.


Eating feels good and offers a temporary solution to stress. It helps us forget our stress for the moment. The problem is the feeling is temporary and will not solve our problem.


When we experience emotional eating and the guilt that follows it, it is so easy to give and say “Well I give up. I’m going to eat everything now.”


Here is where I can help you.



3 Strategies to Deal with Stress Eating.


Go Ahead and Overeat.


Many of our thoughts, emotions and actions happen automatically. Habits develop from years of practice until all we need is a trigger to set off our stress eating. It does not require the brain to make decisions.


Next time it happens, give yourself permission to eat. Use it as a learning experience, without judgment. Write down what happens and how you feel before, during and after. This will help you identify triggers. It will also help to remove the guilt and shame around overeating. Also, because you are “allowed to eat,” it becomes less urgent, the cravings are less and often manageable. You will find you can eat 1 or 2 cookies instead of the whole box.


Review your notes. Do you notice a pattern? Once you are aware of the trigger, you can make choices. You can decide if this is something you can avoid. Even If you cannot avoid the trigger, you can become aware that it is happening. 


Create a Menu of Alternatives.


Make a list of options that you can use before stress eating. Things that will help with the stress, but also break the trigger-stress cycle:


  • Take deep, cleansing breaths.
  • Drink more water.
  • Check for signs of hunger.
  • Play with your dog or children. Call or text your partner or friend.
  • Listen to a favorite song. What gets you pumped up? Or more relaxed?
  • Get up. Go for a short walk. Do a few stretches.
  • Spend a few minutes on housework or organizing your desk.


We are using a delay and distract strategy. Oftentimes we think we are hungry, when in fact we just need to drink some water. Make it easy for yourself. Keep water on your desk. Cut up vegetables in the fridge. Most important, keep this list nearby for when you need it. 


Remember, you do not have to use it every time. We are not aiming for perfection. Try it and see how you feel. You can still have a snack. A better alternative when snacking is to measure out the portion, put it in a bowl, sit down and enjoy it mindfully.


Try Self-Compassion.


Often when we are stress eating, we will use negative self-talk before, during and after. It reinforces the trigger – stress eating – feeling bad cycle.


Self-compassion can help break that loop. It can interrupt the “screw it” feeling that leads to over-eating.


Self-compassion is

  • Giving yourself a break.
  • Being honest about your problems.
  • Being kind to yourself.


How do we practice self-compassion? 

  • Mindfulness – being aware of what we are doing but not judging ourselves.
  • Knowing that stress happens to everyone.
  • Self-kindness. We should treat ourselves like we treat our loved ones. 


Before stress eating, you can use mindfulness and self-kindness to break the cycle.


After stress eating, use kindness to remove the guilt and shame that can lead to binging.


Remember, self-compassion is not:

  • Eating whatever you want all the time.
  • Ignoring your problems. 


So, let us not use food to bury your feelings and our problems. Let us use strategies to opt-out of the stress eating cycle.


Do you need help with your nutrition? Do not know what to eat or where to start? Schedule a Nutrition Coaching Consultation with Dr. Hessel! Follow the link here to get started: 

Do you need help with your nutrition?  Don’t know what to eat or where to start?  Schedule a Nutrition Coaching Consultation with Dr. Hessel!  Follow this  link to get started: 



We can LEARN to eat in moderation!


Start  by doing  a body  scan  and noticing your sensations: What are you feeling?  Hunger? Thirst? Craving chocolate? Next, notice your state of mind. Ask yourself, am I bored?  Am I feeling stressed at work?

Chances are the answer might be the reason you start  snacking as soon as you get home from work, or when the TV goes on.  These may have nothing to do with being hungry. 

If you were to dig a bit deeper, you might see a pattern to :

The times of the day you get hungry.

The types of foods you crave and the time of day when you crave it.

By noticing and naming your sensations and recognizing  what you are feeling, you can use strategies for handling hunger and cravings. 

 Remember your goal is to never feel deprived.  The feeling of withholding is what leads us into the cycle of deprivation and overeating.  

 But let us be realistic.  Sometimes you might go for a walk instead of eating a pint of ice cream.  Sometimes. But other times, the desire to eat treats will be too great to resist. That is normal and we all do this. 

With that said, you only need to  answer the following:

What can I do in that moment to alleviate that hunger?

What strategy can I put in place when I notice I am craving?

 Here are strategies to help:

Continue to choose moderation.

You need to own that you are on the moderate path. The more you eat in that mid-range (make the choice to eat a small treat or eat something more nutritious), the less extreme those urges to overindulge will become.  Giving yourself small treats during the week and avoiding deprivation will help you avoid overeating on the weekends. 

 Practice!  And keep going.

 Aim for satisfaction, not perfection.

 Find healthier replacements for what you are craving.   It  might not give you the same amount of pleasure , but you just might feel satisfied without consuming an excessive amount of calories .

Suppose  you’re craving an afternoon sweet, and Starbucks is nearby – how about a hot chocolate? .It might feel great for a while – until you finish it!  At 590 calories, a Venti Starbucks White Hot Chocolate has more calories than some meals. The drink also has 15 g of saturated fats, or 75% of the recommended daily value.  

 Perhaps you can find something that will take the edge off, and be satisfying enough without feeling bad physically or mentally? An Americano with cream and sweetener or a latte might be all you need to satisfy that sweet craving.. You do not need to drink black coffee, and It is not “mocha or bust” !  

You do not have to be perfect. In fact, choosing slight imperfections daily will provide you with long-term solutions.

 By taking this mindful approach to your cravings, you have time to think through your choices.  In this example, taking a moment to  think  about what you’re craving (something sweet) how you can get it (Starbucks is nearby)  and what will satisfy  the craving (Hot Chocolate), you can then  consider something not as indulgent that you  know will make you satisfied (Americano with cream and sweetener).

 You can do these quick assessments and turnarounds every day.

 Eat to 80% full.

 This can be difficult,  because we were brought up to eat everything on our plate. You might  have been eating healthy all week — but here comes the weekend! 

This has always been a problem for me – this is typically  when I go out to dinner.  

That means an appetizer,  bread, wine, an entrée, and sides, and of course  we can’t  skip dessert!  I work hard all week!  I deserve it!  It tastes so good – I do not want to MISS OUT. 

I would eat beyond feeling full.  I would feel sick afterward and regret eating so much. This would extend to the next day, having not slept well, and again on  Monday when I would get on the scale.  I started weighing myself on Wednesdays to avoid that Monday morning weigh-in, hoping my weight would go down in 2 days. 

 I used mindfulness in order to  practice  moderation.  I started being more mindful DURING my meals. I  will now  ask myself , “Am I starting to feel a little full?”.

I PRACTICE ending my meals before I am full.  I know I could eat more, but I CHOOSE  not to.  That is what I consider 80% full. At this point I might  use a few  different strategies like putting a napkin over my plate or taking my leftovers to go.  At home I will fill  one plate of food and not  refill it .

 You will learn to recognize when you are 80% full.  It is the feeling that you are satisfied but you “could” eat more. Once you PRACTICE THE FEELING of 80% fullness, it becomes second-nature.

 Mindfulness makes the entire eating experience more enjoyable.   Mindfulness slows the decision process down.  Mindfulness means that you can savor the taste of the food, enjoy the conversation with your friends, and admire the ceramic plate and the visual presentation of the food.   It gives you the space to relax.  

In summary, the goal is to not deprive yourself  and to not give in completely to your cravings. It is moderation.

Be mindful of :

  • your physical sensations (hunger, cravings).

  • the fact that you have a CHOICE of how you manage things.

  • the STRATEGY that you CREATE in that moment.

Mindfulness and Moderation take practice, and all you need to  see better results. 

Do you need help with your nutrition?  Don’t know what to eat or where to start?  Schedule a Nutrition Coaching Consultation with Dr. Hessel!  Follow this  link to get started: 

How Can We Learn to Eat in Moderation?

How Can We Learn to Eat in Moderation?

Aren’t you tired of dieting and restrictions?  Do you find it difficult to give up what you like to eat?  Do you find that when you deprive yourself all week, you end up overeating on  the weekends? Or when you deprive yourself all day, you overeat at night?

Think about your favorite food (Peanut M&M’s are mine-220 calories and 26 grams of carbs.) Imagine you could have 500 calories of your favorite food every day-(that would be 2 bags for me) would you be satisfied?  

You wouldn’t feel deprived, because you’re not denying yourself.  You wouldn’t spend all day thinking about the foods that you can’t eat- especially during those  common “trigger times”,  like the  mid-afternoon lull or before dinner. Chances are, you would  feel satisfied, knowing you would be getting what you want.

You would also be able to avoid overeating  the rest of the day because you know that you would get your treat after dinner. 

Now that you’ve removed the feeling of deprivation, you can focus on what you’re eating the rest of the day.  Just knowing you will get your favorite treat later, you can improve your nutrition and regulate your consumption of other foods. 

Without that feeling of deprivation, you will lose the urgency to eat.   You’ll feel less anxiety and less fear about getting hungry or experiencing cravings.  You’ll eat less, and your calories will adjust. 

This is an example of an “Abundance Mindset”-   When you know a food is available to you anytime, the urgency to have it is removed.  You can have it if you want, or you can skip it.  It will still be there. No anxiety, no obsession, and if you do eat it, it doesn’t mean that you blew your whole diet. 

So give yourself permission to eat your treat.   Remove the stress of constantly monitoring every bite of food. You will be able to manage the rest of the day more easily.   This is eating in moderation- You will see better results. 



We work so hard to help our family and our friends when they are struggling — so why is it so hard to help ourselves?

We work so hard to help our family and our friends when they are struggling — so why is it so hard to help ourselves?

It is so  important that we prioritize self-care as well.  It’s like the oxygen on the airplane – you have to put your own mask on first so that you can get enough oxygen to help those around you. 


Simply becoming aware of the habits you are engaging in may be helpful in shifting your own perceptions around food, exercise, and health. You can also try some or all of the following strategies: 


  • Treat your body with respect and practice positive self-talk and self-compassion.


  • Look in the mirror every morning and give yourself a compliment or recognize three things about yourself that you’re proud of or thankful for. 


  • Try some physical activity outside of a structured exercise session that brings you joy and doesn’t revolve around improving fitness, changing body shape, or compensating for calories eaten. I’m a big fan of walking around the neighborhood and hiking whenever possible!


  • Practice intuitive eating — pay close attention to your internal hunger cues and focus on eating what makes you feel good. 


While these steps are a great start, you may still struggle with a preoccupation with food, exercise, or your body. Please feel free to reach out at any time.  Click here to learn more about my nutrition coaching program.


Cervical Cancer Screening After Age 64

Most Women Aged 64 To 66 Years May Need To Continue Cervical Cancer Screening, Study Finds Cancer Therapy Advisor (6/25, Bennett) reported that “most women aged 64 to 66 years may not meet requirements that would allow them to forgo cervical cancer screening, according to a study.” The findings were published in Gynecologic Oncology June 03, 2021.

 The majority of women aged 64–66 do not meet criteria to discontinue cervical cancer screening.

  • Findings were similar in a national cohort with private insurance and a safety net hospital system.


  • Even among women with 10 years of continuous insurance coverage, 41.5% did not qualify to exit screening.


  • Most women were inadequately screened between ages 55 and 65 years.


  • Ensuring adequate screening prior to age 65 may decrease preventable cancers in women over age 65.

Do you need your gyn exam and pap smear?  Contact us to Request an Appointment. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Mammography 101: What to Expect

Getting a mammogram can almost be considered one of the rites of passage in any woman’s life. If you’re about to go for your first mammogram, it might be helpful to know what’s in store so you can prepare.  Knowing what is involved may also help you to think of questions to ask your doctor during the process. (more…)

Light your porch purple for world prematurity awareness

  One in 9 babies are born too early in the United States each year. Around the world, 15 million babies are born before their 37th week–and these numbers are rising. Preterm birth is about more than just being small. Babies born too early can have life long health consequences including hearing and vision impairment, cerebral palsy and learning disabilities. Prematurity is the  leading cause of death in babies less than four weeks of age. And you know what’s worse? According to the World Health Organization, three quarters of these deaths could be prevented, even if there’s not an intensive care unit available. (more…)

New Study Finds Breast Biopsies Could Need a New Approach

Breast cancer awareness is everywhere today—as it rightly should be. Breast cancer affects about 1 out of every 8 women in the United States during their lifetime and 232,000 new cases are identified every year. It’s no secret: breast cancer can be a killer. You probably know at least one woman (or man) who has battled the disease, or maybe you’ve been there yourself.

The medical community continues to research breast cancer and works tirelessly to find better ways to identify and treat the disease.  According to new research conducted by the Mayo Clinic, there may be cause for doctors to change yet another breast cancer screening tool to help identify potential cancers early. The biopsy is a procedure that uses a needle to collect cells from a mass inside the breast. These cells are then studied to determine their type and what risk they may carry for breast cancer later. (more…)