Hi and welcome to my latest blog post. A couple of notes before you dive in. Firstly, a trigger warning; we do have a small discussion about weight and diet culture at the begining here. And secondly, I’m providing some general information here for you, however, I always recommend having a consult to ensure you’re receiving individualised nutrition education that’s based on your needs.
Education based on your requirements is always going to be superior to general advice. I haven’t been able to go into great detail on some topics and there‘s so much information I wish I could include, but the purpose of this blog is to share with you some of the importance of a non-diet approach to your 2023 new year resolutions!
What do you want to achieve in 2023?
Perhaps Weight loss, Exercise & Diets came to mind? This is often a cyclic pattern that people can be stuck in and it’s something that comes up for many people at this time of year.
Year after year, people are trying the new exercise or diet regime that “guarantees” you to lose weight or fit back into certain clothes etc. But too often these diets and regimes fail and you’re left blaming yourself for not being able to “stick it out” and get the results advertised.
If you’ve spent years seeking to change your lifestyle and body, read on. This is the last time we will mention weight loss and body size.
This year can be different! This year you can achieve body acceptance and food freedom by building healthy habits. Each day of 2023 can be a fresh start where you can try something different that moves you towards your health goals.
How to start building healthy habits?
Ditch the diets:
Building Healthy Habits begins by ditching diets & unsubscribing from diet culture.
Restricting foods, calories, cutting carbs and many other ‘standard practices’ used in diets today are extremely unsustainable and impact your long term health.
Diet can cause and exacerbate:
→ Nutritional Deficiencies
→ Anxiety & Depression
→ Mood Disorders
→ Loss of Muscle strength and endurance
→ Decreased oxygen utilisation
→ Thinning Hair
→ Dehydration, fainting, weakness, loss of coordination
→ Slowed metabolism
→ Increased risk of heart disease
Most people will read that list and think back to a time when one certain diet worked and remember these things happening. You’re not immune to it, not matter what diet you’re doing.
Educate yourself on the pro’s & con’s of dieting. Look past the elusion that being healthy has anything to do with your body size. When dieting can cause so many health issues, it’s surprising how any one can think they will be healthy by the end of it.
Learn about the intricate nature of the impacts of food on your body. This aims to build trust in your bodies natural processes and ability to digest and metabolise food. Trusting your body will ease anxiety, guilt and shame.
Set a daily affirmation as a reminder of your worthiness to consume food. This helps you to become gentle with your body. Saying hurtful things like “ I need to work this off later” can reinforce a negative narrative that says “we only deserve food if we are have done enough work”.
Eat. Guilt Free.
Guilt and shame may be felt before, during and after eating foods. Often exacerbated if you’ve eaten “bad” foods or if you’ve been eating what is seen as “too much”. These feelings tell you to eat as little as possible, skip meals or eat differently to your friends and family.
It may be hard to fathom life without restrictions. You may think ‘I’ll just be naughty and eat everything I shouldn’t’ or you won’t be able to ‘control’ yourself etc.
All of these fears are valid. You’ve trained your brain to think this for years now. It’s going to take some time to unravel these narratives. Breaking free of dieting and diet culture involves challenging these thoughts and moving away from these beliefs.
The first step is recognising these thoughts when they come up and challenging their relevance. It might happen at every meal, maybe more. You might hear yourself saying it in your head or out aloud. Start to recognise the story you’re telling yourself. Ask yourself where this story came from. Is it relevant today?
As a dietitian I approve of all foods, and I say they can all be enjoyed. A life filled with healthy habits involves eating some foods that have higher sugar, or some foods that are full of fat but most importantly you will find the most enjoyment and fulfilment from foods that support the healthy functioning of your body. This means eating a variety of foods that have protein, fats and carbohydrates (sugars).
Finding food freedom allows you to eat, Guilt Free.
Fuel your body
The intricate nature of our bodies should indicate how carefully we need to care for them, however, we are often told to reduce, cut, moderate, restrict and eliminate foods.
This often leaves you confused and hungry!
You don’t often learn how to fuel your body. We learn everything we know about food and nutrition from our family, friends and social circles, and occasionally the internet.
Learning about your bodies needs will liberate your food intake by allowing you to eat a variety of foods. Although, getting tangled up in the numbers of calories etc is not what you’re aiming for. Understanding WHAT foods are best at sustaining your health is going to give you more options when you’re eating. You can fill your plate with a variety of foods that you know will make you feel good.
Everything we eat, drink and ingest through other means, is used in the metabolism cycle. Fueling your body with a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, dairy foods, and wholegrains is one of the most important messages we need to remember.
Wholegrains such as wholemeal bread/rolls/wraps, rice, pastas, quinoa, barley etc., are important Carbohydrates. They provide you with energy (glucose) for the body to utilise to keep you awake, moving, and all bodily processes, as well as providing many micronutrients such as B12, Zinc, Iron & more. Fibre is also a very important nutrient coming from wholegrains. This contributes to a healthy gut and bowels.
Lean meat/protein coming from tofu/tempeh, beans/legumes, red meat, chicken, turkey, fish, seafood are all excellent sources of protein and fats. Amino acids from protein is used to build cells within our body as well as provide micronutrients such as iron and omega 3 fatty acids.
Fruits + Vegetables are also an excellent source of carbohydrates, fibre and micronutrients (Vitamins A, C, E to name a few).
Dairy + non Dairy alternatives is a fantastic source of protein, and calcium as well as fats and other micronutrients (incl vitamin D).
There’s not many foods that don’t provide at lease one of these foods groups. If you think about your daily intake, how many of these food groups do you find? If you can say you’re having foods from each of them, you’re doing pretty good. If you struggle to identify any of these food groups in your daily intake, you may benefit from some nutrition advice.
Each adult needs 2 serves of fruit, 5 serves of vegetables, 2-3 serves of dairy, 2-3 serves of lean meat and 6-9 serves of wholegrans.
Each person has different requirements and may need to focus on certain food groups more than others. This is what building healthy habits is about. It’s finding out what foods work best for you and what you can ADD to your life that makes eating healthy a bit easier.
Be guided by an Accedited Practising Dietitian
Seeking help from health professinals can be daunting for some people. Especially those who have been ignored or dismissed by the health care system by telling them to “just lose weight”. This is not the sustainable option and is often unnessesary advice.
As an APD I aim to guide people to make sustainable changes to be healthy and happy. Leaving their appointment empowered and enriched with knowledge to make choices to sustain their health. I do not use a weight centric approach and I find my clients have great success by doing so. Sessions focus on building healthy habits to achieve your nutrition goals.
Get in touch or book in online if you would like to work with me in 2023 to build your healthy habits.
If you would like to purchase a comprehensive Ebook for Building Healthy Habits follow the link below.
By Jen Darnell Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD)