People ask me all the time, “so what do you actually do?” and I have yet to come up with an answer that does not end up with me word vomiting all over them. If I simply say “I help people eat healthier” then I usually hear “I know what to do, I just don’t do it”. At first I use to brush this statement off with a little bit of annoyance but then I got to thinking… why – why can’t we do it for ourselves? Why do so many people find it helpful to hire someone? Why is my job so important? Why do people find it valuable?
Well, let’s go back to the statement that most people know what to do, they just don’t do it. To some extent I agree with this statement. We know that vegetables are healthy and McDonald’s is unhealthy… but does this mean that we know how to put together a nutrition plan that is optimal for our unique body type? Not usually.
So we know that if we want to lose weight we are going to have to eat less and move more, right? You’ll be surprised to hear that this is not typically the case with the majority of the people I work with.
You see, there are MANY different reasons why our weight gets to a range that we are not content with. Many of these reasons have nothing to do with how much we eat or how little we move. Some of these major contributors are:
Poor digestive health
Underlying food sensitivities
Uncontrolled stress (and stress you may not even know you have)
Eating too little
Poorly controlled blood sugar levels
Improper macronutrient balancing
Improper meal timing
To be honest, these are issues that I work though with my clients every single day and when they resolve, incredible things can happen both physically and mentally.
Maybe your goal isn’t to lose weight – which is AWESOME – but nutrition plays a huge role in SO many other aspects of our lives including mood, energy stabilization, sleep, digestive function, and overall health and longevity.
Did you know that depression and development of autoimmune conditions are impacted by the health of your digestive tract? And that the health of your digestive tract is impacted by the foods you choose (and choose not) to eat?
Aside from the clinical nutrition assessment, working with a dietitian can be helpful in a number of other ways as well. We all know that in order to make lasting nutrition changes and maintain our weight loss long term, we need a number of other things…
In order to reach our goals, we need our way of eating to be SUSTAINABLE. This means that we ENJOY what we’re doing and because we enjoy it we feel like we can maintain this way of living forever. I wanted to touch on this topic first because it is the one that is most often overlooked when people decide to change their nutrition plan.
Yes, you can pick up a diet book from the bookstore and you may lose weight initially… but is it something you can stick to forever? Is it safe to stick to it forever? Will it totally damage your basal metabolic rate (the number of calories your body burns at total rest)? Will it negatively impact the health of your adrenal glands? Will it continue to work for you forever or will you plateau with no guidance on what to do next?
Working with a dietitian who can help you develop a plan that you will ENJOY that your body will respond well to, that is nutritionally sound and is maintainable is important. This may take more time and effort than the “Lose 30 lbs in 30 days” approach but I promise you it will be worth it in the long run.
Let’s be real, when you first decide you’re going to make nutrition changes, you do it because you’re MOTIVATED to make change. This motivation would be extremely useful if it only took 1 month to achieve our goals and we didn’t have to worry about maintenance. Here is the thing about motivation… motivation peaks only 3 times each year. You cannot expect to be motivated naturally all year long, it just doesn’t happen for most of us. So, if we can’t be motivated to make change all year long (when realistically it will take 6-12 months to reach your goal) then what happens? I’ll tell you what happens: yo-yo dieting. You go on and off a diet several times a year when motivation peaks and give up dieting when motivation valleys (I’ll write more about yo-yo dieting in another post).
The Best Way Of Eating For YOUR Body
Everybody’s body is different. People respond differently to different amounts of macronutrients and different portion sizes. What works for your sister or neighbor is very likely NOT going to work for you. If there is one thing I’ve learned since diving into the nutrition world 8 years ago, there is NOT one way of eating that works for everyone and you need to find the way of eating that works best for YOUR body.
What does it mean for a way of eating to work for your body? Well, just to name a few things: mood stabilization, better sleeping habits, increased energy, good digestion, clear thinking… the list goes on.
Just remember, if one way of eating or one diet book WORKED for everyone, new diet books would not be coming out every month and people would not continue to struggle.
Good Food, All The Time
This has got to be the number one concern I hear from people when we first sit down together. People are worried that by working with a dietitian they will be stuck with eating chicken breast and steamed broccoli for 6 months while they grind it out in order to reach their goals. This could not be more opposite from the truth.
Eating delicious food everyday is the only way we will continue on this healthy eating journey (see sustainability above). If you’re enjoying the food you’re eating and you feel satisfied at the end of every meal, you are much less likely to have the urge to indulge in sweets or treats later on.
Conquer Your Mindless Eating Habits
The nutrition habits we have play a huge role in our overall health. It’s not what we do one day a week that impacts our health (those glasses of wine are not going to totally derail you) it’s what we do everyday that matters. If we can make healthy habits as easy and mindless as brushing our teeth everyday, that is the golden ticket.
In order to make these nutrition practices become habit, we need accountability for an extended period of time. Accountability is something that many of us need in order to get things done – think about work – if we didn’t have a boss expecting us to get particular tasks completed, there is definitely a chance that we less likely to get these things completed in a timely manner.
I don’t support someone following a meal plan created by me for an extended period of time. What I want to do is give clients all of the tools they need to meal plan for themselves on an ongoing basis.
I’d better wrap this post up now. Basically what I want to say is that if you’re struggling, you don’t have to be. Don’t get trapped in jumping from one fad diet to another in hopes of finding one that works.
Invest in yourself for the next 6 months and really make a meaningful and lasting change. Are you in the Fredericton area and looking for a dietitian? Are you looking to work with someone virtually from across the country? Either or, click here to learn more. If after our first session (which is free, by the way ) you realize that I am not your girl, I will be happy to refer you to some other amazing RDs across the country.
Yours in Health,