fruit stand

Welcome to our healthy lifestyle challenge lead by our program dietitian Vicki Bovee and her husband, Bill. Because we can always do better to live a healthier lifestyle Vicki and Bill decided to work on a weekly challenge together to provide support and accountability for each other and hopefully inspire you to make healthy changes. Follow along with them as they tackle a variety of challenges to eat better, eat more mindfully, and improve physical health and emotional well-being. Vicki and Bill invite you to participate and accept the challenges to improve your lifestyle too. Some of them may be difficult and please feel free to modify the challenges to accommodate your dietary needs and physical abilities.


Challenge # 27 Gimme a High Fiber
OK, so maybe eating a high fiber diet isn’t the most exciting topic or challenge we have done, but being constipated and or having health issues from not eating enough fiber isn’t fun either. The average American eats about 40% of their recommended dietary fiber. USDA recommends adults consume 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories, or about 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams a day for men. And so we decided to eat the recommended fiber grams to see how difficult this would be. If you are one of the average Americans eating only 40% of your recommended amount of fiber, it’s time to add more. A higher fiber diet helps keep you regular, can decrease your risk of developing hemorrhoids or diverticular disease, and help lower your cholesterol and blood sugars. If you are working on weight loss, eating more fiber helps you feel full sooner and for longer, and makes it easier to manage your hunger.

A food is considered high fiber if it contains 3 to 5 grams per serving and you can easily check the nutrition facts label for this information. Beans, like navy, pinto, black, garbanzo, or kidney beans provide the most fiber at about 16 grams per serving. Eating your apples, pears and peaches with skin gives you more fiber than peeling the fruit. If you are eating grains, check the label to make sure it is a whole grain or whole wheat. For a more comprehensive list of high fiber foods, click here Fiber Rich Foods.

Vicki’s Observations:
• Eating processed foods isn’t going to get you to your fiber goal. For this challenge I spent time planning meals, shopping, and cooking. Every time we do a food challenge we eat clean and I feel better. I found some great recipes and we ate our fruits and vegetables.
• I kept my food record on My Fitness Pal so I would know if I met my fiber goal. I averaged 31 grams per day with my lowest day at 23 grams and my highest at 48 grams. Whoa! What did I eat? I love blackberries and at 8 grams per cup, about 1/3 of my fiber goal for the day came from berries. I also added some flax to my morning protein shake. We ate bean-based entrées for dinner several times. (Check our newsletter coming in February for the super easy Recipe of the Month.) We ate meatballs with marinara sauce over spaghetti squash. I made whole wheat bran applesauce muffins and they made a good snack.

Bill’s Observations:
• Eating a diet high in fiber is necessary for me. I sometimes have trouble when I get constipated because I had a hemorrhoidectomy operation years ago and it is critical that I don’t become constipated.
• According to My Fitness Pal I needed to eat 30 grams of fiber a day. On my first day I only ate 14 grams because I didn’t record it until the next day so I didn’t know where I was until it was too late. I got much better when I was tracking my food in My Fitness Pal after I ate. I had over 30 grams 4 days and in the high 20’S the other 2 days.
• I believe it is much easier to get your daily requirement by just eating more fruit and vegetables and staying away from processed food which is really tough for some people.

It would be difficult to eat enough fiber if you eat junky processed foods, fast foods, and don’t eat fruits and vegetables. The food manufacturers are adding more fiber to packaged foods to help you meet goals but you can’t rely on the added fiber in processed foods to get you to your goal. There are fiber supplements but the research shows they do not have the same impact on your health as foods and are not a substitute for healthy foods. Your best bet, and healthiest choice, is to eat foods that are naturally high fiber.

I have been a follower of food psychologist and eating behavior guru, Dr. Brian Wansink since his first book based on his research findings came out in 2006. In fact, I have incorporated many of his findings and tips into the preop Steps to Success class, our non-surgical Health & Lifestyle classes, and even some of our weekly challenges. Our contrasting plate challenge #24 came out of his research. Next week we apply a tip he has used with thousands of people to reduce calories and eat healthier. Stay tuned!

Eat Smarter…
Vicki Bovee, MS, RDN, LD

Want to catch up on what you’ve missed?
The road to success is always under construction.
Challenge #1 Eat everything sitting down.
Challenge #2 Eliminate cheese as an ingredient.
Challenge #3 Walk sideways in your home.
Challenge #4 Include a fresh herb in your daily meal plan.
Challenge #5 If there is food in your mouth there should be nothing in your hand.
Challenge #6 Eat the MyPlate recommendations for fruits and vegetables.
Challenge #7  Stand (and walk if possible) while talking on the phone.
Challenge # 8 Don’t eat out of the package. Put your food on a plate or in a bowl.
Challenge # 9 Keep a food record.
Challenge # 10 Power down while eating.
Challenge # 11 Eating to reduce inflammation.
Challenge # 12 Eating to help our environment.
Challenge # 13 Switch it up.
Challenge # 14 The road to success is still under construction.
Challenge # 15 Little bites.
Challenge # 16 Drink your water.
Challenge # 17 Count your chews.
Challenge # 18 The 100 Bite Diet.
Challenge # 19 Start your day right.
Challenge # 20 Holiday moves.
Challenge # 21 Limit TV time.
Challenge # 22 The Paleo Diet: Eat Like a Caveman.
Challenge # 23 Sweet dreams.
Challenge # 24 What color is your plate?
Challenge # 25 Six month reflections
Challenge # 26 Retro-walking.


Vicki Bovee is the Registered Dietitian for Western Bariatric Institute and leads the non-surgical weight loss program, "Health and Lifestyle Program."
Vicki Bovee is the Registered Dietitian for Western Bariatric Institute and leads the non-surgical weight loss program, “Health and Lifestyle Program.”