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PSA: Healthy nutrition also includes mental and social health

A funny thing happens when you are a dietician. People get nervous when they are around.

When I say people, I'm not talking about individuals who talk to my clients in one-on-one interviews, where the food is obviously the focus. I speak of encounters with friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances and all the others with whom I do not work .

I often hear comments like:

"OMG, the nutritionist, is here. Let me hide these biscuits. "Or" I am bad and eat cake … LOOK WAY "or even" Seeeee, like good I am? I eat salad for lunch instead of enjoying all the other tacos.

The thing is, as a dietician, I do not pay much attention to what you eat (unless you are my client, and in this case, you) asked me to do just that). But what strikes me is how people eat, how their relationship to food is, and whether external rules determine how they eat. So, when I hear things like "cookie = bad" and see subsequent shame or guilt about the food, I get worried. Although many people think dieticians are the "food police," I'm much less interested in controlling what people eat, and much more in helping people gain a more complete understanding of what healthy eating is all about , In fact, at least half of what I do as a nutritionist is to help people who have a healthier food relationship, not their diet.

This is because healthy eating is not just about nutrition.

Yes, food has nutritional value and can have important health effects. But food is also a source of joy, a way to celebrate life events and connect with friends and loved ones, and the heart of many cultural traditions. What is the Super Bowl Sunday without nachos, a happy hour without cocktails, a summer afternoon without ice or Thanksgiving without sweet potato cake? If we only view food as something that needs to be restricted and controlled to lose weight or be "healthy," misfires can occur. This way of thinking does not just make most people feel disadvantaged (which can make them binge later). Through this relationship to eating, you also miss important things that we all need for our mental health. From a lunch with a colleague who will energize you for the rest of the day, to dinner with your best friend, to a late afternoon biscuit on a bad day: food and dining events play a central role in connecting with other people and with you us. Of course, food is not the only way to get in touch with loved ones, celebrate things, or calm down, but it's a very legitimate tool in our toolbox. If you do not miss enough of what food has to offer to help you find healthy food and wellness, it may deprive you of the joy of living one's greatest pleasures.

I come across many people who are afraid to be concerned with friends or the food family because they can not control every aspect of the meal. At first glance this may seem like a big deal, but over time he misses dinner, business lunches, birthday parties, happy hour, as you call it, all adds up. I've seen patients miss more and more of the funniest and most connected aspects of life, all of which serve to eat healthier food. Keep in mind that many of the restraining people who work for weight loss or healthy diets do not necessarily actually make you eat a more nutritious diet. There are many diets whose advocates say that weight loss and better health will be the result, but for many of these diets, such as the ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting there is little evidence of it that this is the case. In addition, most diets fail to lose weight . In other words, in addition to all this limitation, which is socially and psychologically challenging, it probably does not do much for your health or weight loss efforts anyway.

Although this may be the norm due to our diet-obsessed culture Many rules about what and when to eat are not healthy foods.

Maybe you know someone who would refer to it (or maybe you have something to do with it as well): Instead of being able to make afternoon cookies and continue with the day. They clash and swear to "exercise it". (I really can not imagine a better way to make a workout less enjoyable or less sustainable training than to associate it with self-esteem.) Punishment to add chips to dinner, they must save calories by having lunch earlier omit during the day. In addition, I've heard that people say that since they "did not exercise this morning", they will keep it "clean" and only eat fruit and vegetables for the rest of the day. This type of eating behavior seems to work in the short term and leads to intolerable weight loss. However, this almost always causes people to feel disadvantaged and to overeat at some point, which keeps them in a never-ending cycle. It happened to me again and again. The "healthier" I tried to eat, the more fast food / sweets / sweets I would end up infecting. From my experience as a dietitian, the only surefire way to prevent discrepancies is to lift the restriction.

As a dietitian I consider a behavior to be disturbed when it interferes with a patient's everyday life and satisfaction. When a patient is afraid to eat out, eat in between, consume carbohydrates or – [insert other food rule here] – even when it comes to healthy food only – to obsessively think or avoid situations that are expected to be food I would like to help them to recalibrate their relationship with food and eating.

Unfortunately, many of us keep eating rules without realizing it. If you felt hungry at night and thought you should not eat or ignore your hunger because you should not be eating by noon, you probably know what I mean.

The best clues to follow Eating is what our bodies send us.

Our bodies are naturally built to help us figure out when to eat, both for hunger and pleasure. But many of us had so many food rules that it's hard for us to access those hints. In Their Book Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works Registered nutritionists Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch write about how they can come back in contact with these clues and make peace with food through intuitive eating. This means refusing the diet mentality, honoring your hunger, respecting your fullness and feeling your emotions while at the same time respecting your health through "gentle diet".

If you draw just one point from this article, it should be so healthy Food is flexible and all foods fit into a healthy diet. For people who need a little more guidance to construct nutritious and satisfying meals, I recommend the My Plate Method . This means that half of your plate does not need to produce starchy vegetables, a quarter of protein, and a quarter of carbohydrates. It is important not to turn this into a diet or an all-over end. There are meals (or days) that vegetables are not on the plate, and that's fine. And if you are unable to let go of eating habits or be particularly worried about food and eating, consider consulting a licensed dietitian who can help you, or refer to another practitioner who can do so ,

Finally, I want to do something It's clear that being flexible about food choices is a privilege. For many, a condition like celiac disease means that there is no choice but to eliminate certain foods. This kind of restriction is part of your health, and that is perfectly true. What's important is that you listen to your body, respect it, and have fun with it for the sake of heaven.

Jessica Jones, RD, CDE, is co-founder of Food Heaven Made Easy a multimedia platform for people who want to learn how to prepare healthy meals that do not require hours of kitchen work. Jones has a passion for helping people rearrange their eating habits, make peace with food, and live their best lives using culturally relevant approaches to well-being.

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