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No Diets in the New Year! Plus… How a Dietitian Really Eats

Are you planning your goals for 2010? Read on for 12 weeks of No Diets in the New Year.

The holiday season is wrapping up and I find myself doing the same thing I do this time of the year… writing my goals down for the next year. I always save my list of goals each year because I like to look back on them and see how I’ve changed… how I’ve matured. One thing I know I will NEVER have on my list is “dieting.” If you’re not familiar with my views on dieting, you can read them here. I am not a fan of anything that deprives me of the foods I love!

With “dieting season” rapidly approaching, I want to propose something different… NO Diets in the New Year!

Instead of following a silly diet, take this time to get to know your body. Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is all about WHY we eat and HOW much we eat.

NO Diets in the New Year…. 12 Weeks…

Starting January 4th for twelve weeks, every Monday I will be posting a No Diets tip along with a weekly workout tip from the fabulous blogger at How Sweet it is. I will also be adding a “12 Weeks No Diets” page on my blog for readers to keep track of all the tips and ask any questions that may come up.

So what do you think? Are you with me?

Since I’m such a proponent of non-dieting and intuitive eating, I thought it would be appropriate to share my story of how I got here and why I feel so strongly about not dieting.

How a Dietitian Really Eats…

I want to start off by saying that not all dietitians are perfect eaters.

I’m not a perfect eater. I’m human, with normal cravings and needs. I’ve gotten a lot of questions on what I do to stay healthy and how I eat. There is no simple answer to those questions. How I eat to stay healthy is something I’ve learned over time. A lot of what I’ve learned is through the countless mistakes I’ve made. When I was thinking of a way to put how I eat into words, I knew the best way to describe it was to let you know how I got to the healthy place I am now. I could easily list what I eat on a daily basis, but without you knowing how I got there seemed pointless.

About Me

I’m a petite 5’2″ female and have dealt with weight insecurities most of my life. I’ve always been an avid exerciser… often exercising too much. The funny part is during that time in my life, I was at my heaviest. The more I exercised, the heavier I was. And what I mean by too much exercising, I mean exercising for 2+ hours… and not because I was training for a race or event. The more I exercised, the hungrier I got. The hungrier I got, the more I (over)ate. The more I ate, the more I weighed. The more I weighed, the more insecure I became. The messed up part is that all of this was happening while I was studying to be a dietitian. I viewed exercise as a form of weight control, and viewed eating as a something that could only be done once calories were counted and portions were weighed. I was straight-up un-healthy!! My relationship with exercise, food, and my weight were way off.   

How I came out of it

I knew what I was doing was unhealthy. I thought to myself “how can I be a dietitian and tell people how to be healthy when I was struggling with it myself?” Without getting too detailed, I did have sort of a moment and I new a change had to be made. I had to help myself before I could help others. This process took a lot of time. When all this was happening, I was living in San Diego, CA. I discovered the book Intuitive Eating and read the entire book in one day… then continued to read it over and over. The book made so much sense! As a Dietitian, I am well aware of calories, portions, and everything else regarding food (it’s my job). What I had to do was develop more of a healthy relationship with food, and look at calories in a non-judgmental way. This process took time… a lot of time. I worked really hard to eat when I was hungry. The difference was I knew what a proper portion size was for me. I stopped eating “diet” foods and moved to “real” food.

All of the mistakes I made I viewed as a learning experience. I know what happens to my body when I consistently eat when I’m hungry, and I know what happens when I consistently eat when I’m not hungry. The reason I know this is because I’ve seen the results. I’ve gained weight when I mindlessly snack. I’ve lost weight when I cut out the mindless eating. Another big difference is my exercise routine. I view exercise in a totally different way then before. I run and practice yoga (bikram is my favorite). I’m healthier physically and mentally now more than ever.

Why am I Sharing This??

The reason why I’m sharing this personal info is to help people. Dietitians are not perfect… I know I’m not!! Dietitians are a wealth of nutrition knowledge and our job is to give accurate nutrition info based on sound science. There are tons of RD’s who have never had any food issues and some who have. I can only speak for myself. As far as the way I eat now. I never look at calories on a day to day basis. I based when I eat on hunger and sometimes convenience. When I do eat, it’s kind of impossible to ignore the calories… it’s my job to know the calories of things. I look at calories differently now. I don’t obsess over them or crunch my daily numbers. Sometimes I may eat a meal that has 300 calories, and then eat 1 or 2 cookies because I want them and I’m still hungry. As long as I’m listening to my body I am happy. It’s when I get out of touch with my body that I know something is wrong. Like I said… this took a lot of time for me to figure this all out.

I truly hope this post has helped!

Don’t forget…

January 4th… No Diets in the New Year!


Question of the Day?

Did you have a “moment” where you new you had to make a change? Whether it be food or lifestyle?

19 Responses

  1. Anna@ Newlywed, Newly Veg said on December 28, 2009 at 10:40 am

    Thanks so much for sharing your story in this post. It’s always interesting and helpful to hear that other people have had struggles with fitness and health in the past as well.

    LOVE the no diets in 2010 idea 🙂

  2. Andria said on December 28, 2009 at 10:52 am

    Loved this post! I’m planning on losing at least 8 lbs by April 9th… Of course, that coincides with my due date…

  3. Lauren said on December 28, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    I wouldn’t say a had some big AHA moment, but the more blogs and books I read, the more I am slowly changing my opinions about exactly what being healthy is. I definitely don’t believe in diets, and I HATE when someone sees how I eat and assumes I’m on a diet or trying to lose weight. I wish I could wave a wand and fix the misguided eating principles that Americans as a whole have.

  4. One Healthy Apple said on December 28, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Wow, what an amazing post. Your story is truly inspirational! I come from an overweight family and while I believe weight loss is 80% diet, 10% exercise, and 10% genetics, I have been struggling with yo yo dieting since I was about 12 years old. My big moment came when I got engaged. I had stopped exercising like a maniac and got increasingly busy with school and life and practiced moderation. I have cut out everything ‘diet’ except for nonfat dairy and moderately exercise- such a difference!

    I agree about no diets this year!

  5. Jessica @ How Sweet said on December 28, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Looooovvve it! 🙂

  6. Marisa (Loser for Life) said on December 28, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    I love this idea as I am trying to come off of 2 years of dieting and change the way I view food!

    Thank you for sharing your story!

  7. Emily (A Nutritionist Eats) said on December 28, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. Did you find in school or work that lots of dietitians and nutritionists have or have a history of disordered eating? I thought it was quite common among my Nutrition classmates.
    I love your No Diet Tips – keep them coming!

  8. Julie @savvyeats said on December 28, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Love this post! Thanks for sharing… I always assume that dieticians eat perfectly 🙂

  9. Mommy RD said on December 28, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    We have a lot in common. I have a similar background and have come to a very similar realization and happiness about my eating and exercise. I exercise because it’s fun and feels good, not necessarily to burn calories. Not being a practicing RD anymore has made if even easier to not know the calories in things.

  10. Angie said on December 28, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    Excellent post, Estella!!

    I SO believe in Intuitive Eating and a non-diet approach…I am right with you. Thank you for sharing your story.

  11. LiLu said on December 28, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    I am so totally, completely on board with this. 😉

  12. Light Delight with Tou Tou said on December 28, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    Hey Estella, that’s really cooool. can’t wait to read them. if I have something to share, I will definitely join you in this blog series 😀
    I have stopped dieting in Feb 2009. and I work out with an aim to get healthy and strong, instead of losing weight. I feel this state of mind definitely helps. I am not that anxious any more if no pounds off, instead, I just take this healthy active life style. it works!!!

  13. Jacquie said on December 28, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    LOVE LOVE LOVED this! 🙂

  14. Heather @ The Joyful Kitchen said on December 28, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    Thanks so much for your honesty! I love that in this online community of women we can all be honest about where we’ve been, but also support one another for the journey ahead! Your blog is hugely inspiring, and I appreciate all of the info you give us 🙂

  15. jenny said on December 28, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    I absolutely loved this! I’m in! I think it’s terrific that you are so honest and forthright about your own struggles- it really is inspiring. And thanks for the birthday wishes 😉


  16. Veronica said on December 29, 2009 at 12:02 am

    I completely agree with you. I am also a dietitian that does not always eat “perfectly”. Life is too short to be counting calories in every little thing that we eat. I have since taken up some of the advice I give out everyday about limiting portion sizes, eating smaller, frequent meals, and I feel great. I have more energy I can still eat the foods I love. :)Thanks for sharing your story.

  17. Holly said on December 29, 2009 at 9:58 am

    AMEN TO NO DIETS IN THE NEW YEAR! such an amazing message, and i loved your story!

    and the picture of your daughter two posts ago is PRECIOUS!

  18. Schießpulver Tee said on December 29, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    Its good to read your post and of course it is helpful.Sometimes its hard to stick with diet goals and we can’t achieve our fitness goal.I agree with you about diet.You have well written that it is the time to get to know our body.Thank you very much for such useful post.

  19. katie said on January 2, 2010 at 10:57 am

    great story girl! AMEN to no diets! you are truly an inspiration..thank you!