Total Therapy Blog
What’s this dietitian’s biggest secret to a healthier 2017? Spoiler alert: it’s not dieting
This post was written by our Registered Dietitian, Kirstie Hilverda.
I have loved food and experimenting in the kitchen since I was a little girl, which lead me to pursuing a career as a dietitian. My goal is to help others embrace food as a way to nourish our bodies and our souls. When it comes to nutrition counselling, I emphasize personalized client-focused care because nutrition looks a little different for everyone! I also advocate for an evidence-based approach, so your treatment is based on science – not fad diets or the latest food trend.
Because I’m such a foodie, my free time is often spent experimenting in the kitchen, trying new restaurants, and perusing food blogs. I also love spending time hiking in the mountains, rock climbing, running, and cozying up with a good book.
So, it’s January. The holidays, with an abundance of Christmas cookies, caramel-filled chocolates, glasses of eggnog, and gravy-laden plates of turkey, have come and gone. Consequently, many people are making New Year’s Resolutions to go on a diet and to lose weight. While I’m certain these goals are well-intentioned, I have to say that they’re also misguided. My personal opinion on January diets (and diets in general) can be summarized with a cute (but smart) encouragement I saw on Pinterest a while ago: “create healthy habits, not restrictions” because eating well isn’t about dieting or deprivation. I promise.
There are many things I can say about dieting and why I urge people to stay away from it. The most important of these is that dieting simply doesn’t work. (Chances are, if you’ve ever been on a diet, you can attest to this.) Dieters are challenged to adopt a strict list of food rules, deprive themselves, and, most disappointingly, ignore their body’s hunger and fullness cues. These “steps” and “guidelines” may seem like a good challenge, or better yet, a solution to your concerns about the way to eat, or even about your body, but they aren’t sustainable. (Chances are, if you’ve ever been on a diet, it didn’t last you very long.)
SO, while dieting doesn’t work, you CAN succeed by making small changes over time that lead to long-lasting (sustainable!) success. If you’d like to make a resolution to eat healthier, pick something small, and break it down into bite-sized, do-able steps. Here are a few ideas of realistic health-related goals and how you can achieve them:
1. Shift your focus from weight to health
Focusing on eating for the health of your body is a more tangible goal than eating for the weight of your body. Bodies are complicated, and there’s a lot more that goes into weight management than calories in/calories out and increasing your exercise…etc. I could say a lot more about this, but I’ll keep it short: if your goal is to be healthier, you’re more likely to succeed if your focus is health, not weight.
2. Drink less sugary-sweetened beverages like sodas or fancy lattes
If you’re getting one every day, cut down to half and choose healthier options (that you still like!) on the other days. For example, instead of a medium mocha, go for a regular latte or an Americano with cream or milk on the other days. When you’re comfortable with that, you can try transitioning your mocha to a Friday treat, and/or choose a smaller size.
3. Have at least one vegetable or fruit with every meal
I think this one stands without explanation. :)
I get the appeal of picking a diet – it’s a specific challenge and a list of check boxes that, when ticked, signify success. Changing eating habits is trickier – everyone’s boxes are different – what you like, what your cultural values are, what foods you’re allergic to or cause you digestive discomfort. Fortunately, working with a dietitian makes identifying goals and developing strategies a lot more tangible. As a registered dietitian, I have a diverse science-based education that helps me equip clients with strategies for success. Having an accountability partner is a key factor in setting yourself up for success!
Call 604-620-9700 to book a nutrition assessment with me if you’d like that person to also be your personal nutrition expert. :)
More tips on healthier new years resolutions coming your way every Friday this month!