You’ve all heard or experienced the personal trainers and “nutritionists” at your local gym or in your favorite health magazine who dole out meal plans with the promise of weight loss or even improved athletic performance. What most people don’t understand is that, if you know anything about nutrition, you cannot prescribe a cookie cutter approach to nutrition. Most of the above-mentioned meal plans are exact replicas sold to the masses that offer no individuation or thought to daily routine and eating schedule, preferences, past and present behaviors, or medical history. What these plans are typically based upon are those who have followed it in the past who have achieved results. Remember, what works for one person does not mean it will work for you. Not to mention, “results” (e.g. weight loss, lowered cholesterol or glucose levels) are frequently short-lived and often become worse when the diet is stopped or, more accurately, can no longer be maintained, after which a surplus of weight is regained.
Diets can rarely be maintained any longer than 6 months, as most diets are not conducive to all of life’s situations. People are always prone to “falling off the band wagon”. Failing at dieting further promotes the weight loss industry’s bottom line, as society doesn’t blame the diet, it blames the person…. So said person enrolls in the next diet fad endorsed by those who claim to be experts in nutrition and health. What most people don’t realize is that, within 4-5 years, most of the weight that was lost from dieting is regained, plus about 5 pounds more. In this process, metabolism decreases, muscle is lost, and each subsequent attempt at dieting becomes more difficult.
In contrast to personal trainers and nutritionists without a degree in dietetics (or any medical knowledge at all), registered dietitians are qualified health professionals with years of training who can help you on your journey to improving your relationship with food and your body. As a dietitian, I am afforded the unique opportunity to help clients with the one thing that keeps them alive and going – FOOD! And not just alive – but with more zest and passion for life BECAUSE they are enjoying the foods and experiences that come with living a full life. Food and myths about its effects are a personal passion of mine. There is so much diet fear-mongering out there that is complete bullshit. But this same bullshit is fed to you (no pun intended) with the promise that it will make you happier, healthier, and slimmer. Let’s face it: diet don’t work. If they did, we’d all be skinny already. For the vast majority of people, they only bring pain and suffering and a horrible relationship to food and their bodies. For the small percentage of people who it DOES work for, they go on to develop disordered eating or full-blown eating disorders that they may die from. Let me be clear when I say that the word “diet” means anything that focuses on numbers, macronutrients, weight on a scale, or body size.
Diet culture has its clutches on society, and I would be powerless to stop it. I will, however, continue to endorse a non-diet approach which includes principles from intuitive eating and health at every size because I have seen the life transformations that come about as a result. Don’t get sucked into the common line of, “If it worked for me, it will work for you”. Nutrition is not one size fits all! There are so many other factors you must consider. Working with a Registered Dietitian who uses the non-diet approach is my best advice to you if you are tired of being caught up in cyclic dieting. You can reclaim your thoughts around food and weight and be free to live your life with more substance, more energy, and more compassion for those around you.