About Me

My photo
Technically speaking, I'm a dietitian, but I see myself as a listener, a motivator, coach and teacher of nutrition. I prefer to end a busy day with a glass of red wine while chopping vegetables. Lover of almost anything pickled and fresh baked scones just not at the same time. I'm happiest when I'm cooking for people I love. Why am I so into food? Because I KNOW how much eating well can change your life. What you eat every day is going to impact your body and your mind. It's a confusing world out there - full of diet and food advice that always leaves you feeling like it's that one next diet that's going to be the weight loss answer. Stop waiting for that magic diet, and begin to take one step at a time in the right direction. I'm here to help you on your life-long journey, there's no better time to start!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Most Important Thing You May Not Be Doing

As a dietitian, there are times when I feel inundated with questions from acquaintances , family or friends. Everyone wants to know, what are the secrets to success? What are the best foods?  To be perfectly honest, sometimes these are the hardest questions for an RD to answer. Why? Because, there are no perfect foods, there is no magic answer to how to eat to look great, lose weight or get that perfect body. This blog, Not On A Diet, is about helping people move into a place where they recognize that there is more to food and feeding your body than about what happens on the scale.  I read a great blog this morning and a sentence really stood out to me. It said that we live in a world where chronic dieting and obsession about weight is accepted as the norm.  The most common things I hear.. "I want to look better, I want to be smaller, I want to lose weight.." these are all about how a person wants to improve on the outside, but what about the inside? Why are we so scale-obsessed?

I have a tip for you. Trust yourself. Try truly honoring your hunger and asking yourself to eat, freely, without deprivation or restriction of any foods. Honoring your hunger is one of the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating. Read more about Intuitive Eating by picking up the book by Evelyn Tribole. For the most part Americans, including myself, have lost touch with our natural intuition to eat what we need when we're hungry. We can thank our society's obsession with thinness and dieting. As I personally try to move away from a dieting mentality (which was ingrained in my mind since before I can even remember), I have found that this sounds easier to do than it actually is. Learning to eat mindfully happens over time, and I encourage you to remind yourself of this daily. When you find yourself labeling foods as "good" or "bad", or returning to old diet habits, stop and say "I can eat whatever sounds good to me, there are no rules, and I'm not on a diet." Then, when you eat, stay in tune with your body's signals of fullness. This may sound totally counter-intuitive, like a recipe for weight gain, but you need to trust your body.

I am on a mission to help you break the cycle, and here's how the cycle works:  Unrealistic expectations for perfection -> Negative body image -> strict rules are applied to what/when to eat -> deprivation leads to binge or "falling off diet" -> weight gain sparks more obsession and guilt -> diet ensues -> yo-yo dieting and feelings of failure.  Are you a chronic dieter? These diets are most likely just what keeps you from reaching your goals.

Eat when your body tells you you're hungry, and stop after you've had enough. After you read this, I want you to take 5 minutes and really ask yourself - are you dieting? Are you restricting? Do you over-eat during the holidays because you feel that you are not "allowed" to have certain foods at other times of the year? Holiday weight gain gets a lot of press and you are likely putting pressure on yourself to look great, or not look "too fat" when you see relatives you only see once a year. This type of obsession and anxiety can take you away from the present moment. It can consume you to the point where you're putting more energy into the food and your weight than you are into the people who surround you.  Read this great blog called "Weighless" written by an expert with many links and topics to help you get better acquainted with what it means to stop dieting: http://blogs.psychcentral.com/weightless
You can enjoy real, wholesome, foods like olives, cheese, bread, olive oil and fruit without guilt.  The above is a typical spread of how we like to do it right at my house. You'll be surprised how much more you enjoy life when you're not on a diet. 

So, friends - what's the secret?  Trust yourself and your hunger; Eat freely and mindfully without rules. Incorporate healthy food because you want to and that's what helps you feel your best, not because they help you stick to your diet. When you have no restrictions your food choices become based on what makes you feel good (healthy foods!) and the physical manifestations of eating to feel good can then come as a result.

Be good to your body! Move daily and eat to live

Happy Holiday Season  - Sumner

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree less. I wish more people felt this way! Beautiful post <3