My friend said to me today as she was eating a sandwich and chips, “I always feel weird eating around you.. like you’re going to judge me”. I retorted by explaining that I am not the food police and that I don’t pay attention to “eating healthfully” on most days. I eat what my body tells me to eat. I told her that I definitely ate healthy almost always when I was in my disorder. What struck me about her comment was that she automatically thought that my profession as a dietitian meant that I eat healthfully all the time and that I look down on people that do not. Her comment had a lot to do with what diet culture has put into our head; that there is a right and a wrong way to eat and also the notion that dietitians are here to tell us what to eat and what not to eat.
Traditionally, dietitians in the field were there because they helped people lose weight. Times are changing though. There are more and more dietitians who follow the non-diet approach because they know that diets do not work. I am fortunate enough to work with people who have shown me the way, as I was skeptical about sidelining dieting and calorie restriction, as it’s what I was taught in my professional training. Calories in, calories out right? If you don’t eat or burn 3500 calories, you’ll lose a pound right? Cut calories and exercise more and you’ll lose weight right? Not necessarily.
Metabolic suppression is a very real thing and happens to most people who engage in dieting throughout their lives. Each time you diet, your metabolism decreases by as much as 40%. We all know that dieting makes us crazy. Also, when you cut your favorite foods out of your diet, you’ll only crave them more. Most people eventually give into these cravings. When they do, they tend to overindulge if they have been restricting for any length of time. At that point, their metabolism is low enough that it doesn’t protect them against the large influx of calories and they tend to regain weight with each “slip up”.
This is especially true when you are too tired to move your body due to low energy levels associated with dieting. If you are decreasing your energy expenditure, you’re unable to maintain your muscle mass during dieting, so your metabolism decreases even further. Muscle is lost when you diet through a variety of mechanisms (that I’ll probably blog about in the future). Therefore, each subsequent attempt at dieting becomes more difficult. A sounder approach is to feed your body what you need to have the energy to move joyfully, and to maintain your mental wellness and relationship surrounding food all the while.
I am an anti-diet dietitian and I’d like to help you on your journey to your version of health. Health doesn’t look the same for everyone. Health doesn’t have to look like extreme weight loss and long, arduous workouts. Health is what works for you. Health should be sustainable BECAUSE it works for you. Nutritional advice should be very personalized, as you are a unique individual with unique wants and needs. Please feel free to contact me for a free 15-minute phone consultation that will start your journey to true wellness and body liberation.