The dawn of a new year inevitably turns thoughts toward eating healthier, especially after holiday indulgences. But how should we approach that goal? Pick a new “diet” at random? Trial and error? Melissa Karch, a registered dietitian nutritionist, licensed dietitian and Certified LEAP Therapist, suggests that a one-size-fits-all approach is not the way to get healthy:
As we enter the new year, our thoughts turn to health, and often our weight. How can we determine what our actual goal is?
Dietary needs are very individualized depending on the medical condition or conditions you are trying to support. Diet education also needs to be adjusted for each person’s personality, lifestyle, and nutrition base knowledge. For example, we may have two patients with diabetes and the ultimate goal for both is to decrease their Hemoglobin A1C (3-month blood sugar average) and prevent additional complications from their diabetes. However, for one patient with limited knowledge this may begin with simply eating regular scheduled meals, decreasing added sugars from sodas or desserts, and increasing physical activity. For the second patient who may have already mastered this, we move on to more targeted dietary goals such as carbohydrate counting at each meal and adjusting their food choices based off of the readings of their Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM). We meet patients at the starting line and everyone runs at their own pace! That’s the beauty of working with a nutrition professional well versed in medical nutrition therapy. There is no “one size fits all’ diet.
How food can and should (or shouldn’t) be used to reach a healthy goal in 2023?
The new year tends to be a time that people focus on weight loss, but using weight as the only level of success can set you up for failure. We use behavior change models like intuitive eating to cut down on binge eating and support eating at the right times, in the right amounts, for the right reasons. We like our patients to make dietary changes that can be sustainable and not act as short-lived “diet”. When there is a focus on outcomes such as having more energy, being in better shape to play with your children or grandchildren, or your clothes fitting looser, this will support wanting to stick to these new habits.
Our staff at Nutrition Dynamix are specialists in different areas of nutrition such as diabetes, heart health, inflammation, weight control, and stomach problems. We pride ourselves on individualized diets to support you getting back to living your best life possible. Most people don’t realize that nutrition education is part of most health insurance plans and can usually be utilized at minimal or no cost to them. Make 2023 the year to improve your diet and improve your health! What are you waiting for?
—By Linda Bond for LONGMONT MAGAZINE