This article was originally written and published as part of my work supporting the employees of the Cambridge Health Alliance
Every weekend my husband and I lace up our shoes, pack the kids in a double stroller and head out the door for a long run. The distance varies depending on the goals we’re working towards. Currently our eyes are on the virtual Boston marathon (for CHA) so the distance is getting up there... along with the mental effort.
This weekend my husband mapped a 15 miler in an area of Massachusetts we’ve never been. I looked at the map and signed off on the route with a pretty good general understanding of where we were going. I have never been more wrong. And the “not knowing” was agonizing.
Why is nutrition so hard? Why do 10 people hear a nutrition message, 1 can "easily" make the changes, 7-8 struggle, and 1-2 develop an eating disorder? Because what we eat is not a cognitive decision. It has much more to do with our psycho/social circumstance and where we are rooted as people.
It’s easy to post tips and suggestions for people to try on the surface - “eat this” or “buy that.” But how do you begin to help people address their deeper thoughts and beliefs?
One strategy is visualization. People are perhaps most familiar with positive visualization. Books and social movements like “The Secret” inspire the notion that we are in control of what happens to us. Does that mean we are responsible if / when things go awry?
We all know someone who lost weight and kept it off. However, how many people do you know who have lost weight and gained it all back (+ more)? How many people do you know who are “fighting” their weight? Chances are when you look at the numbers, for every 1 person you know who kept it off, you know another 20 "battling" their body. Why do so many struggle and what's the solution? Read on for more.
Meal plans are the top request in a dietitian's office - "just tell me what I can eat." It’s no secret that diet programs impose rules on your life - what you can eat, what you can’t eat, where you can eat, and when. While rules seem great, they have pretty serious drawbacks. Why?
It's easier than ever to find an article about "healthy eating." A quick search on Google provided over 860,000,000 results...and another 35,800,000 videos (yikes).
I recognize and appreciate that people are passionate about nutrition. I also recognize that once we find something that "works" for us, we want to shout it from the roof tops! I truly believe that many professionals should talk about food to with their clients - it's a cornerstone to health. However, it's important to recognize whether the "truth" you preach to your clients is helpful or harmful.
Picky eating is one of the top reasons families set foot in my office. I wish the solution was quick and simple, but the reality is that it's not our job as parents to "get our children to eat." Instead, it's about helping kids be confident around food and learn how to interact with it.
My work in Autism was a happy accident. In 2008 I attended a lecture by Elizabeth Strickland - a dietitian specializing in Autism. I was fascinated by the complexity of the condition and the powerful impact that nutrition had on physical complications for children and adults. After graduate school, I had the honor of coordinating research for the Autism Treatment Network (ATN) and the Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P). My time spent among these experts enriched my practice in so many ways, it only seems fair to share a few tidbits.
We all want to be happy with our food and “eat well.” However that means something different to everyone – eating for a health goal, in alignment with our spiritual/cultural values, and/or in relationship to our taste preferences.
But eating well isn’t simply a choice. If it were that easy, we’d all be doing it! Other circumstances and situations can make it hard. Many people “make the decision” only to find it hard to make it last more than a meal or two. What gives?
We live in weight focused society. In a typical week as an outpatient dietitian and personal trainer, I see between 20 and 30 patients a week (that’s 960-1440 / year). Most want to adjust their weight (usually down) in a quest for health [and the others struggle with disordered eating...] The majority have been losing and/or gaining weight for most of their lives. So why can’t we “get it right?”
I became a dietitian and a personal trainer because I wanted to know the “secret” to weight. I assumed there must be a reason why some people are smaller than others. But over 15 years of counseling has taught me the true secret, and it's not what I expected.
So read on to understand how food and movement affect our body and what we can do about it.
We all have a set amount of time and energy to spend each day. And we each have a choice in how to spend some of it (admittedly, some “energy suckers” are non-negotiable). It can take some serious creativity and a different thought process to spend those resources wisely.
DISCLAIMER: The information presented here is meant to be for general education. If you want individual guidance to reach your unique health goals, please contact me or a local dietitian directly
Dietitian, personal trainer, mother, wife, runner, and triathlete staying healthy one bit and bite at a time