3/29/13

Eat like me - I'm a RD!


This morning at work, while enjoying my delicious blueberry loaded oatmeal (w/ coconut shavings, almonds, cinnamon, ginger, chia seeds, a little whey protein and milk) and looking at my patients charts before seeing patients in the hospital, a nurse walked into our charting room and looked over at me and said "What are you eating?"

I smiled and told her what was in my yummy creation and her response was "Sounds interesting. I should eat like you. I always want to know what dietitians eat 'cause they are always so skinny."

Ahem. Skinny?


                         

I politely smiled and said nothing although in a nice way, I assured her that I do not eat to be "skinny" by telling her how yummy my oatmeal was and how easy it was to make - hopefully she is inspired now.

Healthy - absolutely. Strong - yep. Fueled - without a doubt. 

This assumption has happened to me several times in the past for I guess if your profession revolves around teaching people how to eat, what to eat and why to eat, I guess it is important to lead by example.

But regardless if you are in a health-related field, shouldn't we all be proud of how we eat and are we quick to judge a person's health simply by a body composition or what we see them eat every now and then?

As an athlete, it would be no surprise for me to say that my health status is best represented by my actions - physical and daily.

I feel that no matter what you do in life, you are constantly judged when it comes to food. Maybe not all the time but how you look, how you act, how you perform and how you live all relates back to food. Nothing wrong with enjoying food but many people take it overboard. There is more obsessing and talking than doing.

I don't enjoy being in a food lecture when I eat. Do you like to be around people who tell you about bad food, what diet they are on and how awful they felt after they were bad last night. Of course, you may not want to be around those people while you are enjoying your meal (that makes YOU feel good) so rather than lecturing about food,  try to inspire. When I work with individuals who desire a change in eating, it is not my "job" as a RD to tell others how to eat in order to eat like me. There's a lot of research out there as to how to eat but if you are unable to connect healthy eating with healthy living, what's the point in following a diet plan or having an off-limit food list?

I feel we all need to re-discover the enjoyment with eating. The pleasure, the nourishment and the fuel that comes with meal time. I suppose I am doing my "job" well as an RD for I am living an active and healthy lifestyle that is supported by a plant strong diet but I hope that I am not being judged by my body composition as if the way I look is a representation as to what is required by my professional role. 

I am healthy. Not as a RD, but as a health conscious, active individual. My health is not determined by a number on a scale and certainly I am not "skinny" for I have jiggle just like the rest of the women out there who don't choose to restrict food and aim for perfection. I love my life and my diet keeps me active, it keeps me well and it keeps me happy.

Moments like this remind me why I love what I do. I get to help people in many different settings  - from athletes racing to finishing lines, to health-focused individuals and to patients in the hospital in order to help others live a more balanced lifestyle. I get to improve the quality life of others because we all know we have no guarantees in life so why not enjoy every day that happens, when it happens.

Because everyone is looking for tips and suggestions on weight loss and "getting healthy", I thought I'd share a great read from the March 2013 issue of Environmental Nutrition: 

Top Eight Cancer Findings of 2012
The American Institute for Cancer Research released the top 8 scientific findings in 2012 that advanced the field of cancer prevention.

1. Pancreatic Cancer is preventable - a healthy weight can prevent 19% of pancreatic cancer cases.
2. Exercise helps cancer survivors - physical activity in cancer patients helps improve function, quality of life, body weight, strength and fatigue.
3. Soy is safe, despite previous warnings - breast cancer patients and survivors can safely eat moderate amounts of soy. 
4. Inactivity is harmful - sedentary lifestyle causes 10% of both breast cancers and colon cancers. 
5. Lightening our heavy nation - 2/3rds of adults are overweight or obese, which increases the risk of seven cancers.
6. Sugary drinks linked to weight increase - regular consumption of sugary beverages contributes to weight gain. 
7. Losing weight to lower risk - losing weight can reduce chronic inflammation, which is linked to some cancers. 
8. How to keep weight off - adding vegetables and fruits is the single most effective strategy for long-term weight loss. 

So in other words - no need to eat like me. Hopefully I can inspire you to love your life and the food you choose to put in your body. Use your body, love your body and respect your body. It's your life - live it and love it!