July 27, 2005
A Dietitian’s View on Diets.
As a dietitian, I do not diet. I eat whatever I want. I do practice what I preach – but most of all I actually enjoy eating the foods I recommend to others. Eating healthy for me, isn’t a struggle, in any way. I get the weirdest comments about what I eat. Interning 5 years ago at a hospital, I was asked by a nurse if I was on a diet as I ate my pbj sandwich, yogurt and orange for lunch. I was confused. She said yogurt and fruit were diet foods. So, only people on diets need calcium, fiber, vitamin C and potassium? I eat a piece of cake at a birthday party and everyone is flabbergasted that the dietitian is eating cake! I get the feeling some people think dietitians eat lettuce all day. Yes, I eat pizza once or twice a month. Yes, I eat dessert every so often. And yes, I do eat meat – dietitian and vegetarian are not synonyms.
As a dietitian, I do not write up diets for people. I offer guidelines. How realistic is it for me to write down what you should eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the rest of your life? That’s essentially what people want when they ask me to write them up a diet. Ok, eat oatmeal made with milk and a banana for breakfast. Turns out you are lactose intolerant, hate oatmeal and bananas! My goal is for you to be able to wake up in the morning and decide what would be the best thing to eat – nutrition-wise. I recommend things like whole grains, 1% or skim milk, fruit – so a cereal you like or bread, your favorite fruit and milk, yogurt or lactaid – if that’s the case. Ultimately, you should be able to make a healthy meal without someone else telling you what to eat. Some of you are lucky enough to be related to a dietitian or around a dietitian for a majority of your meals. You may or may not want their advice. But please don’t think I’m analyzing your plate of food in front of you. I know not everyone shares my health-nut-like nature.
As a dietitian, I do not recommend a particular diet to follow. I encourage balance and moderation based on the food pyramid. The word diet to me means everything you eat on any given day. A diet to most people, I think, means a food plan to follow for 3 days, 3 weeks or maybe 3 months. It usually includes avoiding a particular food group, limiting a nutrient like carbohydrate or fat or some crazy idea like eating only cabbage soup. To me, it’s more about healthy choices turning into healthy habits. These habits are lifelong and not short-lived like most “diets��?. What you eat should be based on the food pyramid including the most nutrient dense foods in each food group. It also includes “treats��? like cookies and ice cream and fast food. This isn’t cheating, it’s treating. And most often, you can still make healthy choices when eating these foods. Look at what you eat for an entire week. One food item is not going to make or break your health.
If only we could take the word diet out of the word dietitian. That would make me happy.
Posted by Lisa at July 27, 2005 11:23 AM
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Tracked on March 17, 2008 9:21 AM
Good to know about the plate analyzing. I always try to eat on my best behavior when you are there. Next time we go to dinner I'm getting a bacon cheesburger!! ;)
On a serious note, I'm really enjoying reading your blog. Keep it up girl!
Posted by: Gina at July 28, 2005 10:29 AM