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Why is it so Hard? …Or is It?

Healthy at your size. It’s not a cookie cutter approach.

Fitness. Health. How to lose weight. How to manage stress. Farm to table. Any of these on their own is a big topic to tackle. Put them together (we will, because they are related), and it feels like your real full time job.

We need more than a phrase or single word to get it right. Here are some lovely ways to help make some of these latest messages more meaningful to YOU.

health at every size
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Healthy at your size = There is no “perfect”, only what’s “perfect for you”. How are your health markers, like blood pressure, joint function, and risk for diabetes? If you only look at numbers on a scale or clothing size, you are totally missing the mark. Whatever your body structure, care for it. Long and willowy or short and booty-full – or any combination of all the wonderful, healthy shapes our bodies can come in. Use the right metrics to determine what that means. For YOU.

Paleo, keto, insert-diet-name-here = Eat balanced meals daily (research shows most people don’t eat enough fruits and veggies in particular). Enjoy the mix of food groups and the choices within each food group.  Besides nutrition, eating a variety of foods adds taste and interest to your plate. Thai pork and mango saladchiliwhole grains with cranberries, squash, and pecans. Yes please.

people are eating less vegetables
From: USDA “U.S. Food Commodity Consumption Broken Down by Demographics, 1994-2008”

Get smart about gluten = If you aren’t diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance by your doctor, figure out which ingredient(s) in these types of products truly may be causing your symptoms (if any). For example, gas and bloating can be from so many things. If you try adding fiber too fast when you didn’t eat fiber before, this can cause some initial “digestive drama”. Sugar alcohols, which are often added because of the “added sugars” chatter, can also contribute to your “tummy talking”. Too often I hear people saying they feel like they feel better by removing something. What if what you think it is, isn’t really what it is? Make sure you pinpoint the right ingredient/component/thing (with your doctor/healthcare team’s help). Otherwise, the frustration may continue as you willy nilly your way through your meals and snacks.

positive motivation cloud with silver lining
Image by Marianne Sopala from Pixabay

Obviously, there are naughty people in every profession. Let’s be honest. With that said, going through life assuming good intentions by most people is my preferred way to go.  Get the evil and bad out of your bubble.  Broad, sweeping statements about “only one right way to eat or take care of yourself” are not right.

Talk with your doctor and healthcare team about what the research is saying and how that boils down to reality in your world. Then enter confidently into any of these conversations as you wish, knowing you know what to do and letting others find their own way, too. Recipe swapping? Yes. Sharing ideas? Yes. “Should-ing” someone? NO.  What context will you consider in your next food or health conversation?

By Kim Kirchherr

I am a dietitian working in food and fiber (agriculture) through retail, addressing opportunities to make things better for people and planet.