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By Tracy Lockwood Beckerman

Registered dietitian in New York City and author of The Better Period Food Solution

In a nutshell, what do you do as a registered dietitian?
I write for media companies and consult for nutrition and food brands. I help make sense of nutritional science and research by breaking it down into digestible pieces and actionable goals to help educate the public. 

What do most people seek advice about?
When I saw clients a few years ago, their biggest goals were getting their bodies and minds right for when they wanted to try for a family. They wanted to make sure they were eating the correct number of calories with the right balance of nutrients in order to make sure they were menstruating regularly. That way, when it came to family planning time, their cycles were predictable. 

Can you explain “intuitive eating?”
Intuitive eating is a way of eating by following your hunger and fullness cues. Instead of reading numbers on the nutrition label or weighing your food, this method forces you to rely on your inner hunger and fullness signals. You eat what you want until you are satisfied and then eat again when you are hungry. It helps relinquish “good” and “bad” foods or any food rules that have been engrained over the years because it encourages you to eat what you want, with the hopes of trusting your instincts to eat a diet that can welcome both chocolate and vegetables.  

What are your top tips for losing weight?
Eat more vegetables at every meal. It may sound silly but if you fill yourself up with colorful and nutrient-rich vegetables like roasted cauliflower, crunchy string beans and refreshing peppers, it will naturally steer you away from munching aimlessly on empty calories from low-nutrient snacks or sweets. Plus, the more vegetables you eat, the more fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants you will provide to your body, which will ultimately improve your short-term and long-term health.

What are your top tips for grocery shopping?

  • Make a list. It’s so easy to get sidetracked and influenced by other consumer decisions or product placement. 
  • Don’t go in hungry. Make sure you eat a quick bite before you run into the store or else you may find yourself aimlessly shopping for chocolatey snacks instead of your ingredients for dinner. 
  • Get creative. I always like to buy at least one new spice, herb or seasoning to experiment with in the kitchen. It will force me to get creative when cooking the same boring chicken dish every few nights!
  • Plan ahead. If you know you like snacking on apples or clementines in the fall or snow peas in the winter, stock up! It’s good to have an understanding of what foods you want to have around when hunger sneaks up on you between meals.  

What are your top tips for honoring your goals during the holidays?

  • Stay active. Although the cold weather may tempt you to sit on your couch more, it’s still important to get moving. Whether that means a virtual yoga class or a quick walk or jog outside, it’s key to move your body! 
  • Don’t deny yourself. Even if you are watching your weight or cutting back on certain foods, you can still eat the foods you want during the holidays, just mind the portions. If you deprive yourself of the holiday foods you love (that come once a year!), it may spiral into a negative food cycle, causing you to binge or restrict.  
  • Team up! Stay accountable with a buddy who also has the same health and wellness goals as you. That way, you can motivate one another and lift each other up if one of you is having an off day. 

As women, how can we use food to improve and optimize our health and cycles?
It’s important to know when your cycle is coming, so you know the reason behind your change in cravings, mood and energy. I created a method of eating called “Food Cycling” in my book that teaches you how to eat foods that are in line with your monthly cycle. For example, before your period arrives, it’s so important to load up on vitamin C-rich foods to help arm your body with antioxidants. Your immune system weakens right before your period so it’s key to prepare yourself with immune-boosting foods. During your period, it’s essential to consume more iron-rich foods to replenish the blood loss. Also, during ovulation, your appetite may decrease as your body is naturally more focused on conception than consuming food, so it’s recommended to eat more nutrient-dense foods, like nuts and avocados, since you may be less likely to graze.  

Any extra tips?
Track your cycle! In order to learn about the “whys” behind your cycle, it’s important to know what day you are at. That way, it will help you better understand your abrupt change in mood, energy, productivity, sleep patterns, sexual engagement and even your sociability. 

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