EATING ACADEMY: Eight years ago, I had serious eating issues. I was overweight and stressed, so I didn't consume enough, then I'd be famished, so I'd chow down on junk food. Eventually, I got it under control -- small, manageable steps was the key -- but in the process I got so interested in nutrition that I dropped my PhD in psychology and started Lisa's Weight Wellness Solutions (www.weightwellness.com). Now, I work with individual clients, teaching them to eat healthily. One of my specialties is cops: I've worked with the Gaithersburg and Montgomery County police, plus the Peel Regional Police in Toronto.
SPEEDING TICKET: Because of their job -- standing all the time, working on a 24-hour cycle, getting stuck at a crime scene for hours and not being able to refuel -- cops have distinct diet problems. They eat a lot of fast food, for example. Drive-throughs are an issue: Cops use them because they don't want an audience during meals. When people see them sitting down, they see a waste of tax dollars. Getting food at the drive-through is easier -- but it's not healthy.
MISTAKEN ID: It's a humongous stereotype that cops are doughnut fiends. But they're notorious pizza eaters, because it's cheap and easily accessible. I worked with one officer who, as a meal, would down an entire pizza from the box with soda or beer. It was daily fare. I had to train him to just eat one to two slices per week and make healthier choices. That normalized his cholesterol and helped him lose weight.
SUPERMARKET SQUAD: To help them commit to their weight-loss goals, I take officers on tours of the grocery store. I introduce them to crackers that are not hydrogenated, cereals that are lower in sugar and meats that don't have nitrates. I try to use their language: Foods that are difficult to have just one serving of, like pasta, I say are "on parole." Candy, chips and crackers are on that list. The officers get two or three servings a week -- and it's a handful on a plate, not fistfuls out of a carton.
FOOD PATROL: To have enough energy on the job, cops need to eat animal protein at every meal and with every snack. You just don't want them getting it from the wrong place. I teach them to carry a small cooler with dried fruits, a can of tuna and some instant meals that they can add hot water to at a 7-Eleven. Then they don't have to pick up crap.
As told to Kelly DiNardo
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