When I was a dietetics student, working part-time at restaurants, customers liked to ask what I was doing besides waiting tables. When I told them that I was studying to be a dietitian, they would joke:” Ah, that’s why you look so slim.” (And then they would ask me to help them lose weight.)
I normally just laughed… and took their orders.
Many people think we are dietitians therefore we keep our weight healthy, I guess it’s actually the other way round: we have always been health conscious and therefore we became dietitians. Even though actually, after learning more and more about nutrition, I have become less strict about my diet – I don’t exclude anything from my diet, and I don’t judge people for eating what they choose to eat – as long as everything in moderation.
I don’t mean you should eat fast food every day, or stuff your face with pizza, ice cream and chocolates, nor do I mean that you should not eat those foods at all.
Here I’ve listed a few tips for establishing a good relationship with your food.
- Quality not quantity
For many decades people believed that “fat is bad” and tried to consume as little fat as possible, but not everyone knows which one is really the bad guy here and which one is the good guy. We need fat in our body for metabolism, to “hold” the vitamin A, D, E and K, to keep ourselves warm, and to use it as an energy source. Most of the “bad fat” we know are like fat on the meat, deep fried food, baked products etc. but there are many food items have “hidden fat”, such as chicken skin and processed meats (Vienna, polony, sausages and bacon) which are also high in salt and random food preservatives. The “good fat” would be food items that contain MUFA or PUFA (good fat) such as canola oil, flaxseed oil, salmon fish, pilchards, nuts and seeds, and avocado pears etc. Choosing the higher quality of fat in your diet will not only decrease the risk of heart disease and obesity but also provide you other benefits like lowering the inflammatory response.
Ah, we all know who the bad guy here is – refined sugar! Refined carbohydrates don’t only mean the table sugar that’s in your tea, coffee, cakes and chocolates, but also white bread, corn flakes and instant oats/porridge. Higher quality carbohydrates would include, but not limited to, whole wheat bread, oats, potatoes (I don’t mean fried chips!), sweet potatoes, carrots and other fruits and vegetables. They are lower in GI, higher in fibre and other vitamins and minerals, which means they will make you feel full for longer, give you a better colon health
and make you feel good about yourself.
And no, brown sugar isn’t better than white sugar.
Regarding white rice… I grew up eating white rice most of my life and I don’t think it makes people fat or unhealthy. I mean… you don’t find many fat Asians, but the “refined grain” still makes sense… There are a few posts about it but I think it’s debatable. Article 1, article 2. I’m staying out of this debate.
- Eat wholesome food
Eat a variety of wholesome food.
Wholesome food basically means the food items you can SEE what they are or what they are from. It includes fresh fruits and vegetables, a piece of fresh cut steak or pork, chicken meat, nuts and seeds, beans and lentils, and spices like chilli, herbs, garlic, pepper corn etc.
Wholesome foods are free from food preservatives, chemicals, additional fat, salt or sugar, and are higher in vitamins and minerals in the case of fruits and vegetables.
- Everything in moderation
Too much of anything is not good for you, even too much water can be harmful. You might think that dietitians never eat cakes and chocolates, and that we never touch fast food. That’s actually not true, we all have that craving now and then. We do eat those O-So-Bad foods, but it wouldn’t be every day, or every week, maybe once every two months when we feel like it. I wouldn’t tell anyone to NEVER eat a certain food type as long as they don’t over consume it.
It includes portion sizes as well. When you have your dinner, pace yourself (eat slowly), eat until you’re not hungry anymore instead of forcing yourself to finish the whole plate.
I believe that when you master the concept of “everything in moderation”, you’ll learn to enjoy food more without feeling guilty.
The bottom line is, choosing healthy food and cooking healthy meals should be a life style, not to follow a certain diet. When you increase the quality of diet, so does your quality of life and maintaining weight becomes a piece of cake.
Xoxo Love Tammy