Are Diets Outdated? A New Perspective on Nutrition and Health
Written By: Joline Beauregard RD
The society that we live in has created the script that we need to be thinner, earn our food, work off our calories, cut carbs, and detox regularly. ‘Fat’ has become the worst “F” word, and there is a multi-billion dollar industry that profits from your continued investment in this belief. The goal then becomes losing weight, rather than being healthier, supporting our body, and feeling good. But what if we flip the script? Think differently? Define success in a new way?
As a dietitian I am so interested in the human relationship between ourself and our bodies, and ourselves and food, but also about the relationship between our bodies and our food. And as young adult, I studied nutrition to help people prosper through food and nutrition. I wanted to be a Registered Dietitian to help people become healthier (not thinner).
Fat bodies are not failed thin bodies.
But isn’t weight loss important for health? The answer is not as clear as we have been led to believe. It is important to remember that how we interpret data, and what data the world of health (and fad wellness) decides to promote, is bias. For example, will a 5% weight loss decrease your risk of developing diabetes? YES – prolonged and sustainable weight loss has been shown to decrease this risk. We hear this ALL the time. There are full (and costly) weight loss programs that use this as an advertising tactic “we can help you lose blah, blah, blah… which can reduce your risk of diseases such as DIABETES (SCARY!)”. However, these types of diets generally are focused on drastic restrictions, and many people that try diets like these lose weight and then gain it back.
Do you know what else is true? Weight cycling (defined as weight loss and re-gain) of as little as 4.9lbs can put you at increased risk of developing conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease? We rarely talk about the risks of dieting, and companies certainly don’t advertise it.
If there was a ‘diet’ that actually worked, no one would try so many.
Dieting also puts us at increased risk of nutrient deficiencies and/ or toxicity, eating disorders, hormone imbalances, low energy, poor mood, and many other health concerns. The question that remains then is – for those pursuing health, what can we do to ensure we are eating in a way that is safe and beneficial for our bodies?
One way to do this is to stop focusing on weight loss as a goal. We can not control our weight; if we could many of us would get rid of it. Instead of restricting or dieting, a dietitian can help shift your focus to the habits that are within your control, and help you reach goals that are achievable and beneficial to your health.
If you are ready to ditch the diets, intuitive eating and mindful eating techniques ways to nourish your body better. A good place to start is to learn what hunger and fullness feel like in your body. Try writing this down as though someone has asked you to write the explanation for Wikipedia. From there, a Registered Dietitian can help you use this information to find YOUR optimal eating routine, build a more positive relationship with food, learn how to plan and meal prep to make mealtimes less stressful, and enjoy your food more. When we do this, weight loss might be an outcome AND, likely, so will increased energy, better mood, healthier hair/skin/nails, better sleep… because when we give our body the fuel it needs, it is better able to do all of the things it is beautifully built to do.
For more information on our Therapeutic Nutrition service and/or to book an appointment with Joline, our Registered Dietitian, please call 705 788 1480 or visit our website www.proactiverehab.com/services/therapeutic-nutrition.