I pay a lot of attention to what I eat. I love all kinds of foods, love nutrition, love the fact that what we eat becomes us. I became a swimmer at age 13 and that’s pretty much when I started getting very interested in food and what it can do for us or to us depending on the choices we make or foods we ignore.
Long ago, I learned that the best thing I can do as a registered dietitian and some one who cares a lot about health and food is be the best example of how to eat well that I can be. Even though I pay attention to what people eat, I don’t judge what they eat. I don’t preach. And, I offer help only when asked for it. And typically the help I provide is about adding foods not taking them away. Examples of this:
- Pizza WITH a side of carrots or salad
- Hamburgers WITH a side of broccoli as well as French fries
- Desserts in reasonable portions with milk
- Planning for sweet food cravings in manageable portions rather than deciding to resist them (snack sized candy bars, 2-3 small cookies, etc)
- Fruit or vegetable with EVERY meal or snack no matter what
I eat whatever I want. Not because I’m an athlete and can afford the calories, but because I pay attention to my cravings, fullness and hunger, as well as health. If I want a burger even though kale salad is on the menu, I’ll have some of both rather than choosing only the “healthy” option. Since I never feel restricted, I rarely overeat because I know that whatever I want to eat is just one shopping trip or meal away. This is an incredible thing: having access to food whenever or wherever we want it gives us the freedom to walk away from it easily, too. But telling ourselves “I shouldn’t eat” or “I can’t eat” seems to have exactly the opposite effect.