This morning, I was reading a great Huffington Post blog called “If I Don’t Sell You Weight Loss, I Won’t Make Any Money” and it resonated with me. It’s a weird paradox for RDs to promote healthy eating in a world full of people who want to be thin. We continually see and hear that obesity is rising, and along with it, cases of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. On the other hand, we also hear that we should love our bodies as they are. So, who’s right?
This question reminds me of my experience in March when I attended the annual California Dietetics Association conference (Fun Fact: Out of over 300 RD’s, I was 1 out of the only 5 men there). I asked two speakers one very important question: How do we as RDs make our jobs sexy while maintaining the integrity of our nutrition recommendations of moderation and balanced healthy eating? Nowadays, many define “sexy” as being a certain goal weight, looking a certain way, or having a tiny waist. People want results and they want it NOW! Sadly, healthy eating is so painfully unappealing to many.
But, what I think the answer to all of this is that we need to change the conversation from one that focuses on how we look to one that focuses on how we feel and our relationship with food. Instead of following a trendy elimination diet for a week, how about we really build a healthy relationship with food? Once we let go of that pressure to be thin and practice healthy lifestyle habits that we enjoy, we may even lose weight naturally. And when we do, it will be an added bonus, not the main prize, which is a happy and healthy emotional, mental and physical state of being. To me, that is sexy. Just like I find people’s intelligence, sense of humor, and passion sexy, I think there is more to the “sexy” definition beyond how we look.
I’m going to continue to do my part, voice my message, and inspire some change. My passion for nutrition and healthy living are indescribable. I truly believe that we can make positive progress in this industry. Taking the cue from the writer of the HuffPost writer, I would say the following to all my clients, friends, and family:
– Weight-loss is not wrong, but it’s not the only answer. You don’t need to be skinny to be beautiful or healthy.
– Eating healthfully is not scary or boring. Healthy foods can be delicious and fun to prepare.
– Food should be enjoyed. Learn to be mindful when you sit down for a meal. Food is fuel to your body and look at what it can give you naturally and nutritionally.
– Listen to your body more often. It knows when too much is too much.
– Being active can be fun with friends and family. You don’t have to be in a gym (unless that’s what you like).
I echo the words my best friend once told me: “Celebrate your progress.” Your life doesn’t have to be defined by a number on a scale. It’s defined by how you live it each day.
Be happy and healthy, friends