Even though my title is "Registered Dietitian," I'm not a huge fan of it. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my career and spent YEARS working away to achieve the title, but somehow it doesn't sit well with me.
What this title implies is that I put people on "diets," which I don't at all. Quite the opposite actually! I follow a "non-diet" approach for the simple reason that diets just don't work! The diet industry is one of the biggest industries in North America for a reason—people want quick fixes, but unfortunately they are not sustainable, so what happens? People look for the next quick fix diet! And so on and so forth...
Most people (and don't feel bad if you are one of these people), assume that Dietitians not only put people on diets, but also forbid any foods that taste really good or give them joy (like desserts, chocolate, chips, donuts etc.) and try to force them into eating copious amounts of vegetables, whole grains and chicken breasts.
Much to the contrary, I would be worried if one of my clients only ate vegetables, whole grains and chicken breasts and avoided any delicious, flavourful rich "treat foods" foods. In my mind, healthy eating includes things like chocolate, cookies, cake, chips, cupcakes, and other foods that aren't necessarily "healthy." Yes, food nourishes us with essential vitamins and minerals, carbohydrate and protein. But food also provides us with happiness and joy, creates memories and brings families and friends together. Food encourages creativity and helps to nurture friendships and relationships. I believe, that healthy eating most certainly includes foods that are delicious, flavourful, rich, sweet, salty and maybe not-so nutritious.
Does that make me a bad Dietitian? Geez, I hope not! Maybe it makes me a Dietitian who thinks outside of the box though?
I believe that once you start depriving yourself of foods that you love or succumb to the "diet mentality," you drift further and further away from a healthy, balanced lifestyle. You stop looking forward to meal times, your creativity in the kitchen all of a sudden decreases and you dread events like parties, meals out, and Sunday brunches.
Here's the thing...
Healthy eating DOES mean having a healthy balance of foods that provide essential nutrients every day. It means eating breakfast soon after waking on most days and eating balanced meals and snacks roughly every 3-4 hours on most days. What healthy eating also means (to me) is enjoying your favourite "treat" food everyday in moderation. It means eating out once in a while, not feeling guilty about it and not limiting your food intake the next day because of it. It means eating something before bed if you're hungry.
Healthy eating means trusting your body to be your BEST guide. It means eating when you're subtly hungry and stopping when you're comfortably full most of the time. It means ditching bland "diet foods" and enjoying the real thing in a healthy but satisfying portion.
This is what healthy eating means to me.
Thanks for reading!