Define Your Diet

The word diet has 2 different meanings.

By one definition, seemingly most followed by today’s culture, diet is “a special course of food to which one restricts oneself.” When it comes to this definition of diet, the words on the street are endless: “Drink this!” “Take that!” “Don’t eat this!” “Complete this challenge!” The list goes on…

Here are the facts: 95% of diets fail, and most will regain their lost weight (or more) in 1-5 years. Dieting, A.K.A. the pursuit of weight loss, is ironically one of the top predictors of future weight gain. If you were given a prescription with a 95% failure rate, would you take that medication? Yet the diet industry tops $60 billion dollars per year, thriving from promising more than it can deliver in terms of weight loss or management. Instead, the diet industry thrives on doing just enough to keep people coming back again and again.

Sure, dieting may lead to temporary weight loss. It also leads to increased risk of poor body image, overeating, binging, and eating disorders. Dieting slows metabolism, causing the body to become more efficient with less food. Additionally, any form of restriction can have emotional and physical consequences not limited to depression, fatigue, weakness, social withdrawal, and irritability. As the Snickers commercials say, “You’re not you when you’re hungry.” So why pay big bucks for temporary weight loss with awful side effects?

Many people feel completely overwhelmed and thoroughly confused by all of the mixed messages and misinformation about nutrition. Sadly, the diet industry tricks people into overriding their body’s internal regulation system leading to disconnect and distrust in their natural ability to eat nutritious food when hungry and stop when full. Feeling as though they’ve tried and failed at it all, they hit diet rock bottom.

Fortunately, there’s a pleasant alternative to that first definition of diet. Diet can also mean “the kinds of foods that a person habitually eats.” A diet doesn’t need to be something a person goes on and off of. There need not be a start and endpoint. Intuitive Eating, a process-based approach to developing a healthy relationship with food, mind, and body, aligns with this definition and has over 70 studies to date citing positive outcomes including greater sense of wellbeing, better glycemic control, decreased BMI, lower risk of chronic disease, and decreased overeating. Intuitive Eating allows people to make food choices that honor their health and taste buds. All foods can fit into a healthy lifestyle provided individuals eat with attunement, noticing the various aspects of how one feels before, during, after eating.

We all have a diet. How is yours best defined? Does your definition require manipulation, elimination, deprivation, and rules or does it allow mindfulness, pleasure, variety, freedom, and attunement when eating? It’s never too late to abandon diets consisting of rigid rules about which foods to restrict and to begin viewing diet as a collection of healthy, whole, and satisfying foods.


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Food Trends and FNCE Highlights: Conference Recap

From the moment I drove into Nashville, it was non-stop food and nutrition with around 10,000 of my closest Registered Dietitian friends. The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics hosted their annual Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) on October 3-6th, 2015 at Music City Center. This conference never fails to provide great opportunities for networking, over 140 sessions on a variety of hot topics in the nutrition world, and an expo filled with over 300 exhibitors sharing the latest products and food trends.

Saturday

To kick off the conference, master innovator and former president of Trader Joe’s, Doug Rauch presented his keynote address: “An Innovative Solution to the Hunger Problem” at the opening session. He recently founded Daily Table (read their mission statement and story here). According to Rauch, Daily Table provides affordable food that moves people forward.

Did you know?

  • 1 in 6 Americans are hungry. Many may have enough calories but not enough nutrients.
  • Code dates and expiration dates are not federally mandated, and many Americans do not understand how to read code dates anyway. For example, Rauch showed a photo of honey with a code date on it, but did you know that honey never expires?
  • Between one-third and 40% of the food grown in the U.S. is never eaten. Lettuce is often thrown away simply because it won’t fit in a bag or box.

These statistics and facts about food waste were eye-opening, but Rauch says “All of us together can, and will, make a difference.”

Sunday

Sunday sessions began at 8:00am sharp. Whew! Here are the sessions I attended on Sunday (By the way, these sessions will soon be available to purchase, download, and listen to at home by following the links below):

Claim the Spotlight! Beyond Traditional Media: Videos, Podcasts, and Self-Publishing (Speakers: Julie Beyer & Melissa Joy Dobbins)

  • Who knows what you’ll see from me in the future?!

Interrogating Host Microbiota Dynamics in Diet, the Metabolome, and Disease (Speakers: Charlene Compher & Gary Wu)

  • What we eat shapes the composition of our microbiome which can in turn change our disease risk. Check back tomorrow, and you’ll see how all of this new research about the gut microbiome is affecting food trends…stay tuned!

Satiety Regulation and Measurement: Can Appetite Be Controlled? (Speakers: John Blundell & Richard Mattes)

  • We talk about hunger and satiety all the time in our office. This session focused on various factors that impact food choices and satiety (specific tastes, food labels, textures, food components, digestibility, etc.) and how eating frequency, portion sizes, and composition and timing of meals impact satiety levels throughout the day.

After brunching with Leslie Schilling on Sunday, we headed to the Expo floor to meet up with Rebecca Scritchfield…it was there the trend-spotting began…

Rebecca Scritchfield, Leslie Schilling, Blair Mize with Sabra HummusI promise we were working…

Sunday evening, I was invited to a Rooftop Reception and Tweet Up hosted by Food & Nutrition Magazine and sponsored by StarKist, Lekue World, CanolaInfo, and National Peanut Board. It was a great evening chatting face to face with many RDs I normally only get to chat with through e-mail and social media!

Networking with fellow RDs at Food & Nutrition Reception
It was an honor to share my Music City Barbecue Sauce recipe with Food & Nutrition Magazine this year! The recipe was featured in the FNCE 2015 issue of the magazine.

Food & Nutrition Magazine Music City Barbecue SauceMonday

After an early morning (hilly) run, I attended the following sessions on Monday:

The Young Female Athlete: Medicine & Physiology (Speaker: Albert Hergenroeder)

  • This speaker provided such a refreshing, realistic, and experienced perspective on health (especially bone health) and training for the female athlete.

Meant for Each Other: Health At Every Size and Motivational Interviewing (Speakers: Ellen Glovsky & Molly Kellogg)

  • This was probably my favorite session of the whole conference. You know from this post that I’m all about eliminating weight bias, and these speakers gave concrete examples of how to practice weight neutrality while using motivational interviewing. They encouraged practitioners to affirm patients and clients based on behaviors, attitude changes, and personal discoveries rather than on weight.
  • This session would be worth a listen for anyone who needs help addressing concerns about weight with a loved one.
  • Though there are mixed opinions about how a person should be counseled on nutrition, fellow RD Reba Sloan made a good point, “I’ve never treated anyone who didn’t diet their way to obesity.”

Food for Recovery: Resolving Malnutrition and Disordered Eating Patterns in Addiction and Substance Abuse Populations (Speakers: Steven Karp & Megan Kniskern)

  • Did you know that RDs can support mental health and play an active role in detox by getting the addict nourished? The body and brain must be fed before true recovery can begin. In other words, food is the best medicine!

With so many booths at the expo, I took a time-out from sessions for Day 2 of trend-spotting…

Angie Wallick, Blair Mize, and Sara Foley at Raspberry booth at FNCE
Siggi's Yogurt Booth at FNCE

What can I say? Work hard, play hard…

After stopping by the Ketchum Reception for a bit, it was time for dinner at Husk…delicious!

Tuesday

Tuesday morning wrapped up FNCE 2015 for this RD…I attended the following 2 morning sessions:

Mastering Your Domain: Using Technology to Grow Your Business Online (Speakers: Regan Jones & Anne Mauney)

  • I’ll be using lots of these tools and ideas discussed in this session starting on this blog post! Dietitian or not, if you blog or use social media, this session would be a great listen!

Supplement Savvy: Playing Safe, Smart, and Legal (Speaker: Ellen Coleman)

  • Ellen Coleman did a fabulous job of keeping us engaged on a topic where it could be all too easy to get bogged down in *potentially dangerous* ingredients you can’t spell or pronounce. 😉 One tip she gave, “If your supplement contains more ingredients than a Big Mac, don’t take it.”
  • Check out USA Today’s Supplement Investigations and this Supplement 411 YouTube video before taking any more supplements.

After this non-stop, whirlwind trip to the Music City, the only thing between me and home was a 3 hour drive! I was ready to get back to my family and my own bed (although my friend Emily’s cot was surprisingly comfy!), and I am looking forward to sharing even more information with you and my wonderful clients.

FNCE 2015 was a huge success!


Want to hear more FNCE highlights and food trends? Tomorrow, check out the Top 5 Trends that stuck out to me at FNCE 2015.