When it comes to nutrition, one simple question leads to 10 different google articles saying 10 different things and you leave just as confused as before you even bothered searching. Yes, nutrition can seem extremely complicated. However, I live my life by a few different rules that allow me to keep my sanity, while also being mindful of what I’m putting in my body.
- Do not restrict yourself
- While I will always advocate eating minimally processed, whole foods, lots of fruits and vegetables, adequate protein, and a good amount of fiber, I will never advocate cutting out any food groups, or individual foods. Yes, there are some foods that are better for you than others, however, when it comes to diet, I believe in looking at the whole picture. I struggled for a long time with trying to force myself to stick to chicken, rice, potatoes, greens, tilapia, and eggs, however, all that lead me to was a dark road full of stress, no social life, eating peanut butter out of the jar with a spoon at 2am, and anxiety over food. I was unable to lose weight because I was stuck in a vicious cycle of restricting myself throughout the week and then eating as much as I possibly could on the weekends. I will never tell someone they cannot eat something because they are trying to lose weight. We will make it fit. That leads me to my next philosophy!
- A diet should be tailored to your life…not the other way around.
- So often people try to follow specific guidelines that they found on google to promote weight loss… For example, “don’t eat after 8pm,” “you have to eat breakfast,” “don’t ever eat white bread,” “you have to cut out sugar in order to lose weight.” All of these are not necessarily true, and if you are not able to follow them, do not think you are doomed! As a future registered dietitian and coach, I want to work with clients to create lifestyle changes that are sustainable for them. If everyone listened to these crazy rules that random internet sensations put out, then night shift workers would go 10 hours without eating while still being awake, parents wouldn’t be able to enjoy their 3 year old’s mermaid birthday cake, people who have dinner at 5:00 would be starving by 8:00, and… do you see my point? Everyone is different, and you need to find a diet style that will fits YOUR lifestyle. Not your mom’s. Not your best friend’s.
- It isn’t a diet; it’s a lifestyle change.
- How many times have you tried starting a diet for a week or two, losing weight, going back to the way you were eating before, and gaining all the weight back, only to start the cycle all over again? I do not promote dieting for events, or having “cheat days.” I encourage people to find a balance in their lives… to not be afraid of foods that contain sugar, flour, or milk… to think they have to tell their friends “no” every time they ask to go out to dinner. We get 1 life. You can bet your a$$ I will not be spending that life saying “no” to friends and family because I am afraid of food that will be at social events.
- Eat your greens. Eat your fruit. Enjoy some cookies now and then.
- In other words, be smart and balanced with your food choices. If your breakfast and lunch consist of fast food sandwiches, maybe a home cooked dinner with whole grains, vegetables, and lean protein isn’t such a bad idea. Look at your nutrition as a whole. You will often hear people promote the 80/20 rule. This means that 80% of your consumption is whole foods, while 20% is, let’s say… “fun” foods. Look at it this way. If you eat 4 meals per day (or 3 + a snack), that is 28 meals/snacks in 1 week. 80% of that is 22. This would mean that 22 of your 28 meals should be of higher nutrition quality, while the other 6 of your meals may include dessert, or may be pizza on Friday night, etc. You get my point. If you aren’t there yet, maybe we start with 70/30. Again, implementing healthier choices is something that takes time, practice, and maybe even some guidance! Be patient with yourself, and do the best you can.
If I have the opportunity to work with you, understand that I am working for YOU. You are not working for me. I will do my best to get to know you and understand the best way to help you reach your goals.