5 Signs Your “Healthy Lifestyle” is a Diet in Disguise

So, you’ve dieted what seems like most of your life…and you’ve finally said you’re “done” with dieting…you just want to be “healthy”…so you look to magazines, blogs, Pinterest, and social media influencer’s to help you…

“This” influencer tells you to take a bunch of supplements, fast once a week, and drink a herbal detox twice a month. You do what they say, after all – this is what it takes to be “healthy”, right?

Then, “that” influencer tell you it’s okay to eat “forbidden” foods, but only on cheat days. And, if you want to eat fruit, don’t eat more than 2 servings per day if you really want to be “healthy”.

…only eat organic, non GMO foods if you want to be “healthy”.

Oh, and don’t even think about touching any grains, legumes, beans or night-shade plants because, well…you want to be “healthy”, don’t you?

“It’s not a diet, it’s a healthy lifestyle”…

Do you see a pattern here? It doesn’t matter if it’s a “fad” diet or not…if someone tells you to completely eliminate one food item out of your “lifestyle” (unless it’s an allergy or legit medical condition) – it’s a diet!

Now, why are diets undesirable? What’s wrong with them?

Well, in short, 90-95% of diets don’t work in the long haul. They aren’t sustainable for life. People go on diets to lose weight, then within 2-5 years after that diet, all the weight that was lost is gained back, plus some extra pounds. Does this sound familiar to you? It definitely resonates with me. And I’m sorry…but if you are still demonizing food but you’re not on an official “fad diet”, you’ve got a poor relationship with food. And without a true healthy relationship with food, you’ll have a hard time getting out of that “diet” mentality – whether you’re on a formal diet or not!

Here are 5 ways you can test if your “healthy lifestyle” is in fact diet culture posing as “wellness” or “fitness” culture.

  1. You have a “good food – bad food” mentality
    You only buy the almond flour crackers because wheat is “bad”. You only buy cauliflower crust because it’s “gluten free”. You’ll only allow yourself to eat blueberries because other fruits are “fattening”, and blueberries are “super-foods”. You eat sweet potatoes over white potatoes because they are “healthier” according to diet culture. You’ll never touch anything with refined sugar in it, but eat the tar out of something made out of maple syrup or coconut sugar.

    My friends, that is diet culture in disguise. “Wellness culture” is just modern day diet culture. If you find yourself forbidding these foods but you’re not on a “formal fad diet” – you’re still being affected by diet culture. Start by normalizing all foods. All foods provide your body with some sort of value, whether it’s nutrient dense or not.

    Now, of course nutrient dense foods are nourishing for the body because they make our bodies physically feel good – packed full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber – but that doesn’t mean it’s “better” than other foods. Food does not hold a moral value – one food is not going to lead to weight gain or weight loss…food in excess leads to weight gain – regardless of what food it is.
  2. You have to “earn” food
    Wellness culture highlights the importance of intense exercise. And if you want to be healthy, you gotta exhaust yourself in your workout (according to fitness culture).

    I’m totally on board with exercise – I love it! I love it because it makes my body feel amazing – inside and out. But, why are you exercising? Are you exercising to burn calories? Do you find yourself overly exhausted after a workout? Can’t sit on a toilet 2 days after a leg workout? You’re likely over-training.

    I used to think I had to burn at least 500 calories in a workout if I wanted to eat for the day. And if I was “planning” on eating dessert or going out to eat, I’d push myself even harder so I could “earn” food. But you know what? Your body STILL deserves and physically needs nourishment even if you lay in the bed all day. You of course need more fuel the more active you are…but you need food every single day – regardless if you worked out or not. You don’t have to exercise to earn food. Your body needs it for survival. Period.
  3. If you’re craving “this”, eat “that”
    Have you ever seen those Pinterest graphics that say “if you’re craving chocolate, that means you’re deficient in magnesium. Eat some kale, it’ll curb your craving!”

    I used to follow that stuff! And y’all – I don’t care who you are – if you’re craving chocolate, I can promise you eating kale will not satisfy that craving. I see this a lot from people’s experiences (and my own) – trying so hard to mask the craving by eating something “healthy” instead…

    What happens is, when we don’t honor that craving and try to substitute with something else, our mind can’t stop thinking about that one food. You end up eating other things to “fix” the craving…but ultimately, those other foods don’t satisfy you. So, you end up “giving in” and eating the craving anyway…you likely feel over-stuffed and intense food guilt. You blame the craving, when really it was all the food leading up to the craving that over-stuffed you.

    Has this ever happened to you? I’ve been there!

    Tip: Always honor your craving in an amount that will satisfy your body to prevent a binge later on.
  4. You have to “track” your food
    This is probably my favorite one. Not too long ago, I did a “fitness challenge” hoping to work on my muscular strength. A big part of the program was tracking your food using MyFitnessPal. I did it for a few days just to see if I was hitting my macros…

    Even though I thought I was “recovered” from diet culture at that point in my life (I wasn’t by the way…I was stuck in “wellness” culture), I found myself feeling guilty about food. I was so obsessed with getting my macros and calorie counts perfect, and when I didn’t count calories, I was worried if I was eating too much…”if I eat this, will I go over my allotted calories for the day?”…”am I allowed to have this?”…”is there too much fat in this avocado?”…”crap, I’ve gone over my carb count for the day, guess I can’t have anything other than water for supper…”

    My “so-called” recovered diet-self was on a downward spiral back into diet culture, so I stopped tracking my food & quit taking “before & after” pics, and focused on how the workouts made my body physically feel. How the workouts improved my strength and flexibility. How the workouts improved my stress levels and mental well-being.

    You CAN love fitness & exercise without tracking your macros. You CAN be “healthy” without tracking every little thing that you put into your mouth. Calorie & macro counting is meticulous and time exhausting – you can do SO much more with your time!
  5. “Cheat days” or “cheat meals”
    This is very popular in the fitness industry. More specifically, cheat meals. You can eat anything you want in an hour time frame. So, you’ve restricted all these “cheat” foods for at least a week, as soon as you gain access to those foods during your “cheat hour”, you’re going to cram that food into your mouth as fast as you can so you don’t waste any of it…so you can eat as much of this “yummy, terrible for you” foods before the hour is up.

    This is wrong on so many levels. First, you have the “good-foods bad-foods” mentality. Second, you’re completely ignoring your hunger & fullness cues – a very instrumental step in mindful & intuitive eating. Our body was designed to tell us when we are hungry & when we are full – to prevent us from overeating. But, when we restrict “forbidden” foods from our “lifestyles”, as soon as we get access to them when it’s “okay”, we go all out! And then, as a result, feel like total crap after the meal- then we blame that food! It wasn’t the food’s fault, it was the food in excess…the decision you made to ignore your hunger & fullness levels because it’s a “cheat meal”. Third, you tell yourself “I’ll just go back on my diet tomorrow”, and it creates a diet-binge-diet-binge-diet-binge cycle. If you’ve been a chronic dieter, I know you’ve been there- I’ve been there too!

Did any of this resonate with you? Let me know in the comments section here or on Instagram. I know it’s hard to let go of the diet mentality – in both diet culture & the fitness/wellness industry. Know that your body is worthy of achieving health promoting goals that have nothing to do with dieting, weight loss, restriction, deprivation, or over-exercising. You CAN be healthy without falling into diet culture’s trap.

Jumpstart your mindful eating journey by downloading my 6 Steps to Mindful Eating guide here – it’s free!



Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Follow me on social media for more food freedom + gentle nutrition + body respect material

4 Reasons Why Diet Culture is Harmful

With appearance and health being at the forefront of society, many people choose to go on a diet at some point in their life…some without even realizing it…

Weight Watchers, Keto, Paleo, Atkins, Whole30, South Beach, Cabbage Soup Diet, Boiled Egg + Grapefruit, The Zone, Fat-Free, Sugar-Free, various Detoxes…

“It’s not a diet, it’s lifestyle change…”

anti diet culture

I can whole-heartidly be on board with choosing nourishing foods, finding joyful movement daily, and respecting your body–but when your “health promoting goals” become just as much of an obsession as a fad diet–it can quickly transform into a diet.

I want you to sit back and think for a moment what your incentive was for trying a fad diet…what was your purpose for it?

For me, it was to be skinny. Yep, original–I know. I was “bigger” than the other girls in school, and all I wanted was to be thin just like them. I tried what seemed like everything–skipped meals, went vegetarian, only ate fruits + veggies, fat-free…and you know where all of this got me? No where. I had little to no energy to exercise (which was the only thing that could uplift my mood), I was irritable (hello HANGRY), and wasn’t losing weight! Food became an unhealthy obsession I struggled with for YEARS, all sprung from society’s marketing for fad diets.

So, what’s wrong with fad diets & diet culture?

1. Poor relationship with food

The fad diet mindset can easily turn your thoughts into negativity when it comes to food and nutrition. Many times, especially if your goal is strictly appearance driven, you will do anything to look a certain way…restrict, diet, over-exercise, juice cleanse etc. If a diet tells you to stop eating a certain food or food group, you’ll do it. If the fad diet tells you a food is  bad, you’ll refrain from it. This quickly turns into a poor relationship with food, and when you consume the “bad foods”, you are overwhelmed with a guilt that consumes your thoughts. These thoughts are likely to turn into an obsession.

2. Obsession

Anything can become and obsession–diets included! A lot of times these low-key obsessions  start out innocently…

For example, when I was 10 years old, I went dress shopping. I found the perfect dress, and someone told me, “Katrina, now you can’t gain any weight if you want to buy this dress”…

Now, at the time I didn’t think anything of it…but eventually I started asking people “do I look fatter than I did before I ate, I gotta fit in this dress”, and it became an obsession with not gaining weight…and that is where my restriction and poor relationship with food & body began.

This obsession can be with appearance or with food. You can be constantly thinking about food, what are you gonna eat next, when can you eat it, where is it gonna come from, etc. That obsession has absolutely no benefit to reach your goals…it will get you no where. There is more to life than obsessing about food…

3. Possibly missing out on key nutrients

Most fad diets encourage an elimination of some food group–Keto: carbs, Paleo: dairy + grains/legumes, Whole30: dairy + grains/legumes for 30 days, Atkins: carbs. These fad diets are teaching people that these “food groups” are bad for you, causing you to have a “fear” of these foods…when really they each serve a purpose in human physiology.

This is how the cycle goes: 
Poor relationship with food–> Obsession over food –> Missing key nutrients

Carbohydrates are our bodies main source of energy–our needs are dependent on activity level, but every.single.person needs carbs. Now, of course certain medical conditions (such as epilepsy) may require very little amounts of carbs–but most of the human population bodies thrive off of carbs.

While we can live without dairy, especially since there are many alternatives now, dairy products have a lot of nutritional value–calcium, protein, vitamin D, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, vitamins A, B12–and if you want to have it in your diet, then do so!

Grains and legumes are nutritional powerhouses full of fiber + protein + carbohydrates. Plants are nutritious, even if they are “starchy”. Grains contain B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folate) and minerals (iron, magnesium and selenium) which our body needs for metabolism. Legumes are the “King of Fiber” containing nearly 7 grams per 1/2 cup serving and are considered a good plant-based protein source.

While yes, you can supplement essentially any nutrient now, it’s always best to get from food first, then supplement if needed. However, our bodies are designed to metabolize FOOD…not factory made supplements…

4. Quick fixes can hinder your long term wellness goals

What happens when you restrict + count calories + eliminate foods??? You lose weight.

What happens a few months later when you reach your “goal weight” and realize you can’t sustain the diet choices you’ve made over the past few months? You start eating food again…and a couple things may happen…

a) If you’ve been restricting calories and food, your body may store food as fat because your body doesn’t know when it will get food again.

b) You could over-indulge in satisfying foods because you’ve been restricting them for so long–leading to excess weight gain.

The problem with fad diets is that they do not teach you how to sustainably eat for life. Going the rest of your life without your favorite food is unrealistic…which is why making SMART goals to transform your lifestyle is the way to accomplish your health and wellness goals.

***DISCLAIMER:  These diets may have worked for you. However, research shows dieting is not sustainable for life long term, which is why I do not promote them. Do what is best for you and your body, and if you are ready to jump-start your mindful & intuitive eating journey – download my 6 Steps to Mindful Eating guide here – it’s free!

Until Next Time,
Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Registered Dietitian
Follow me on social media!
IG: @mindful.eating.dietitian
FB: Live Better with Kat Detter
Twitter: @katrinadetterRD

6 Things that are Damaging for Your Health

Have you ever chased a smaller body? Felt like your worth was dependent on your weight?

Most people try to lose weight at some point in their life…and unfortunately, diet culture promotes quick fixes that do not last a lifetime. Did you know that within 2-5 years of dieting, 95% of people gain weight lost back, plus more pounds? It’s time we stopped chasing diet culture’s lies and started choosing health promoting behaviors > weight loss for good. Here are the 6 things that are damaging for your health.

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    1. You’re not eating foods that make your body physically feel good

What foods make your body feel good physically? Think about it – foods that contain micronutrients – vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Those are found in nutrient dense foods like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. If you are constantly fatigued, constipated, low energy, or you “don’t feel good”, re-assess your food choices and see where you can add in some of those nutrient dense foods. Does that mean that other foods are “bad”? Absolutely not.

With mindful & intuitive eating, choosing food that make your body physically feel good is key…but honoring your food cravings are equally important. You’ll find out why later in this blog post!

 3. You’re not drinking enough water

Our bodies are literally made up of mostly water–meaning we thrive off of water. My college anatomy and physiology professor said if you’re actually “thirsty” then you’re already dehydrated…so be sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day. Enough fluids also aids in digestion to help build that healthy colon and keep you regular, if you know what I mean. Set small goals for yourself – for example: I will drink 4 water bottles by the time I leave work for the day.

   4. You’re restricting foods

A popular diet culture belief–restriction. If you eliminate carbs, you’ll lose weight. If you avoid fat, you’ll lose weight. If you eliminate gluten, you’ll lose weight. If you eat only protein, you’ll lose weight. If you fast, you’ll lose weight. And you know what? Many people do lose weight from restriction–however, when restricted foods are reintroduced into their life, it likely leads to a “binge”, and a food guilt session follows. That is why it is so important to eat balanced meals including all, yes all, foods at each consistent meal. Eating consistently is more sustainable for life, and you get to enjoy all foods.

With a life of mindful & intuitive eating, kales & cookies can coexist!

   5. You’re only doing cardio.

Trust me, I’ve been here! I am a cardio queen-running, dancing, swimming, biking–my favorites! Cardio burns the most calories and makes you sweat-and back when I was in the height of my disordered eating, that is all I cared about. Cardio is important for cardiovascular health…but strength training is just as important. Sculpting exercises builds muscles so we can be strong, complete activities of daily living, improve body mechanics and protect bone health.

  6. Poor relationship with food

Have you ever beaten yourself up over eating a food you consider “bad”? What about feeling good about yourself for eating something deemed “good”? That is the problem. Labeling foods as “good” and “bad”. With mindful & intuitive eating, all foods can fit as long as you’re enjoying balanced nutrition. Labeling foods is not good for mental clarity. Foods do not hold moral value. Part of life is enjoyment, and if that means eating your favorite food, then do it! You will have more food freedom if you get out of the “good food-bad food” mentality.

   7. Self Doubt

Is this something you struggle with? I do too. But hunny, remember – you are beautifully and wonderfully made! This is my favorite positive affirmation to remember. God designed you to be YOU. Unfortunately, we live in a society that glorifies weight loss…and when we aren’t successful with keeping weight off from diet culture, we feel like a failure…but I’m here to tell you that you do not need to give into the lies of wellness culture. You do you, boo!

Jumpstart your mindful eating journey by downloading my 6 steps to mindful eating guide here – it’s free!!

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter
Follow me on social media!

How Much Protein Do You Really Need?

We’ve all heard it…”eat more protein if you’re working out”…

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But what does that really mean?  For the average individual who starts walking for an hour after work–do they really need to bulk up the protein?

For the person who wants to lose weight the “easy” way and not exercise, does higher protein diet benefit their goal?

So many questions, so many opinions…today I am going to share some research with you and my own opinion based on evidenced-based literature.

 

**Disclaimer: I am going into detail of what protein is and how much our bodies need for various different activity levels…HOWEVER I do not typically promote macro/calorie counting for the average individual BECAUSE I believe in mindful eating, balance, and not obsessing over food…if you listen to your body and eat a well rounded, balanced diet, you should be eating adequate amounts of protein, carbs, and fat.**

 

First off, what is protein?

Well, in short, protein is made up of amino acids that build muscle, support metabolism, carry out cellular communication, heal wounds and repair cellular damage–just to name a few. Amino acids help our nails, hair, and skin look and feel healthy. So–it sounds like protein is a very important macronutrient–and it IS! We need protein.

There are 20 amino acids–9 of which are essential, meaning our bodies do not make them. This means we have to get those 9 essential amino acids from the food we eat. Foods like lean poultry, fish, beef, eggs, dairy and plant based proteins like legumes and grains. Animal and soy protein contain all 9 essential amino acids while other plant based proteins like beans, rice and corn are missing a couple amino acids. However, legumes and grains compliment one another making them a “complete” protein…so eating plant based protein is just as beneficial as animal proteins–maybe even a smidge better because they contain fiber. (you know me and fiber…build that healthy colon!)

 

Alright,  now we know what protein is and what it does for us…so how much do we need?

That question is such a debatable one…considering fitness industries promote all kinds of supplements…”Eat protein and have big muscles”…

And sadly, some people believe that…”If I eat over 100 grams of protein a day, then I will build muscle”…

Negative. The only way to build muscle is to work out. It is that simple. You cannot expect to eat more than the recommended amounts of protein and gain muscle mass. Your body does not work that way. You HAVE to put effort in the gym (or home workouts) to build lean muscle. Protein does, however play an important role in rebuilding the muscle fibers being “torn” during your workout. You cannot have one without the other.

 

Protein Recommendations

As far as recommendations of protein, the average adult needs 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram. Through my research, it amazes me how many fitness industry websites recommend 0.8 grams per pound of body weight…can you imagine?

Note: 1 kilogram is equivalent to 2.2 pounds. 

I’m roughly 155 lbs…155 lbs. x 0.8 grams=124 grams protein, meaning I need to consume 124 grams of protein as a sedentary individual…(if I followed the 0.8 grams per pound of body weight recommendation).

Following the 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram recommendation, I would need 56 grams of protein (155 lbs. / 2.2 lbs. = 70.4 kg; 70.4 kg x 0.8 grams = ~56 grams protein). Do you see the difference? That is nearly half of what you’d be getting following the “per pound” calculation…It is so important to calculate our needs using our weight in kilograms versus pounds.

However, I am not sedentary. I workout 6 days of the week doing various cardio and resistance training exercises…the recommendation for active individuals is 1.2-1.8 grams of protein per kilogram…again, some parts of the fitness industry promote 1.2-1.8 grams per pound…

So, if I were to eat 1.2-1.8 grams per pound I would be consuming 186-279 grams of protein DAILY. What does that look like? Typically, 1 ounce of meat, dairy, eggs and plant based protein contain about 7 grams of protein (the figure below will give a more accurate representation of the grams of protein in high protein foods). You would ultimately have to consume 26-40 servings of protein each day. Holy cow! That is 1116 calories in protein alone…keep in mind that all food contains a combination of the macros (protein, fat, and carbs) all of which contain different calorie components.

protein needs
picture found at https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/ultimate-list-40-high-protein-foods.html

 

What happens when you consume too much protein?

A dissertation research article by Jake Fenwich in the UK showed that the average non-athlete male who works out regularly consumes 2.48 grams of protein per kilogram per day…that is still above recommendations for active individuals(1.2-1.8 g/kg). [2] We live in a very protein-heavy nation, but if we do not utilize that extra protein by building lean muscle, then that extra protein can do a couple of things…

  1. Store extra protein as fat

  2. Excrete excess amino acids in urine (wasteful)

  3. Long term= weight gain (especially if your overall calorie intake increases because you are increasing protein)

So in short, yes you need extra protein if you are vigorously working out and “tearing” your muscles (1.2-1.8 g/kg)…but for the average sedentary individual, stick to the 0.8 grams of protein/kilogram.

 

What about weight loss? Can’t eating more protein help you lose weight?

The idea behind this thought is that protein promotes satiety–feeling full after a meal…so you would not need to eat as much altogether because you would be “full” from the high protein diet.

Which is more satisfying:

  1. Having 2 scrambled eggs with 1/2 cup of cooked grits for breakfast

OR

2. Having 1/2 cup of cooked grits with a slice of toast and jelly for breakfast

I think we can all agree that we would be more satisfied for a longer period of time when eating the eggs with the grits versus toast with grits. This is because eggs are rich in protein, which will keep us full for a longer period of time. Also, the protein in the eggs will cause our blood sugars to increase gradually instead of abruptly by just consuming carbs alone.

A meta-analysis study by Ernaehrungs Umschau International titled “Protein Paradox” suggested that high protein diets do show minor beneficial results in overweight individuals short term.[1] This would not be something you’d want to do long term–goes back to my point of excess protein leading to fat storage, amino acid waste in urine, and overall weight gain.

My Advice

Really think about what category you fit into…

Are you a mostly sedentary individual who does not get a lot of movement? You still need protein…but not as much as those who are gaining muscle mass. Stick with the 0.8 grams protein/kilogram recommendation.

Are you a lightly active individual who enjoys going on walks in the evenings or participates in light aerobic activity a couple times a week? I would still stick with the 0.8 grams protein/kilogram recommendation because our bodies are meant to be slightly active and that amount of protein would be sufficient.

Are you an avid exerciser partaking in weight lifting, sports training, regular running, frequent intense biking, or any other vigorous sport/exercise/work most days of the week? You would want to follow the 1.2-1.8 grams/kilogram recommendation because your body is wearing and tearing your muscles and they need to be rebuilt…sufficient extra protein will help rebuild those muscles and make them stronger…just be sure to not exceed your needs regularly as it could lead to unwanted weight gain.

 

Hopefully you have a better understanding on what protein is and what is does for our body, and ultimately what happens when we exceed our daily limits.  Challenge for the week (and hopefully adapted into your lifestyle): calculate your protein needs and see if your consuming the recommended allowance for your particular activity level.

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing,
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Follow me on social media!

Facebook: Live Better with Kat Detter

Instagram: @betterwithkatdetter_rd

 

 

 

 

References:
  1. Ernaehrungs-umschau.de. (2018). [online] Available at: https://www.ernaehrungs-umschau.de/fileadmin/Ernaehrungs-Umschau/pdfs/pdf_2018/02_18/EU02_2018_Special_englisch.pdf [Accessed 29 Oct. 2018].
  2. Fenwick, J. (2018). An investigation into the dietary practices, beliefs and knowledge of protein in resistance training male gym goers between 18-45 years of age.. [online] Repository.cardiffmet.ac.uk. Available at: https://repository.cardiffmet.ac.uk/handle/10369/9945 [Accessed 29 Oct. 2018].
Picture References:
  1. https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/ultimate-list-40-high-protein-foods.html

Food or Fad?

breakfast

Do any of you follow fitness junkies on social media?  I follow several—several that I am super fans of…however, typically I am a fan of their workouts and not so much of their nutrition advice solely because many of them have not had nutrition training…and yet they are promoting nutritional advice that could ultimately be detrimental to one’s body. I will tell you why.

For instance, one of my favorite fitness guru’s recently began selling protein powder—no big deal. I am not against protein powder, especially if you truly are working out your muscles hours in a day and need the extra protein to help rebuild your muscles. I also think protein powders can be beneficial when added to smoothies or oatmeal that way you can consume protein to balance out carbohydrates. However, what I am not a fan of is when people advertise these “nutritional shakes” as a meal replacement and then promote to use it twice a day. Sure, these “nutritional shakes” may have all the nutrition a person needs—but you are getting it all from powder made in a factory. There is no true food, whole food fiber or chewing which may lead to low satisfaction and satiety (the feeling of fullness), meaning that you may be likely to overeat the next time you get your hands on food.

Let’s say you drink these shakes religiously for a while as your main source of nutrition. You lose the weight you wanted and you start eating real food again. Many people end up gaining all the weight back because they did not learn how to eat real food to get adequate nutrition and calories.  They relied so much upon these shakes that were low calorie and convenient that they either:
A) forgot how to eat or
B) never learned how nourish their bodies in the first place

Another issue with some of the faces of fitness is the promotion of “energy kickstart pills”.  These pills are supposed to increase energy, suppress appetite, burn fat, and speed up metabolism.  You know what else increases energy? ENERGY! When we eat food, our body receives energy, or “calories” that we need to maintain major organ processes in the body. Our body burns these calories so we can live! Calories are not bad, they are helpful. When we eat too many calories and do not expel extra calories by way of exercise, then weight gain occurs.

My second problem with these kickstart pills is that they suppress appetite. We want our bodies to tell us when we are hungry. A major problem with Americans is that we do not know our hunger cues, so we eat when we are bored, depressed, or stressed. Many times we go for second helpings of food because we do not wait for our body to tell us we are full. When we disrupt our already messed-up hunger cues by taking these pills, our cues get even more out of whack. It is so important to know when our bodies are hungry so we can feed them sufficiently. When you starve yourself, your body does not eat the extra body fat you’d like to get rid of…it eats muscle. We want to build muscle and burn fat—starving yourself is not the way to do that.

Ultimately, these products are selling and yes, of course they work. When you restrict calories by only drinking nutritional shakes you are going to lose weight. When you take these caffeine pills twice a day to suppress your appetite so you do not eat, you are going to lose weight and have caffeinated energy. And during this time you may go from a size 4 to a size 0…but what is going to happen when you stop using these pills? Or let’s say you use the pills and supplements the rest of your life…but you miss out on the joys of eating real, whole, nutritious foods?

Would you rather take these supplements for the rest of your life so you can be a size 0 but be empty and irritable because you are not in line with your individual hunger cues and missing out on the joys of food–or rather be a size 4 and learn how to eat mindfully & intuitively from nutrition experts (aka registered dietitians) to feed your body and have a healthy relationship with food?

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For me, it is a no brainer. I will nourish my body, enjoy food and choose joyful movement to make my body happy rather than take these factory supplements to lose weight…besides…you are beautifully & wonderfully made and totally capable of achieving health promoting goals WITHOUT actively pursuing weight loss.

I challenge you to learn how to eat mindfully without having to drink meal replacements and swallow diet pills…our bodies were made to eat energy, not restrict calories.

Jumpstart your mindful eating journey by downloading my 6 Steps to Mindful Eating guide here – it’s free!

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Follow me on social media!

What’s a Dietitian?

graduate

It has been just over a year since I became a Registered Dietitian! That was one of the happiest moments of my life (aside from my wedding, of courseJ). Throughout my education, people asked me, “What’s your major?” When I told them “Nutrition and Dietetics, I am going to be a Registered Dietitian”, many people looked at me weirdly…”what do they do? Oh, you’re the food police! You’re going to hate that because nobody will listen to you. Good luck finding a job. People already know what they should be eating …”

And yet…people aren’t.

The dietitian field is growing more today than ever before, and I truly believe it is because there is a definite need! With heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other medical conditions on the rise, dietitians are used to help treat individuals (and sometimes groups) with something everybody has in common: food.

Depending on the interest in this blog, I may share different areas of dietetics and my experiences with all of them, so stay tuned! Today, I am going to elaborate on what dietitians are and how to become one along with my education experience.

To begin the discussion, I am not a nutritionist.  I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. What’s the difference?  Though there are many nutritionists, dietitians are not only required to have a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics but also have to complete a 1200+ hour supervised practice (or internship for didactic programs) and pass National Boards through the Commission of Dietetics Registration (CDR)…and boy let me tell you—that test was not easy. So there are definitely some extra steps one has to take in order to become a dietitian. Dietitians can go on to work in hospitals, public health departments, outpatient programs, school systems, fitness facilities and many more nontraditional areas. In addition to that, RD/RDNs must complete 75 hours of continuing professional education courses every 5 years.  Registered dietitians have many more job opportunities due to being credentialed.

For my schooling, I attended Loma Linda University in a coordinated program. My supervised practice hours were incorporated into my 2 year education plan, so after I received my BS in Nutrition and Dietetics, I already had all my hours completed and was eligible to take boards.

In college, I took numerous classes from basic nutrition to biochemistry. Dietitians are nutrition scientists. We take anatomy and physiology 1 & 2, general chemistry 1 & 2, basic microbiology, basic nutrition, general psychology, and sociology all before getting into nutrition school. In nutrition school, we take those classes to a deeper level by taking biochemistry (several biochemistry classes each building on each other), organic chemistry, medical nutrition therapy, advanced medical nutrition therapy, nutrition counseling, statistics, finance, food service courses, and clinical nutrition managing courses. As you can see from that extensive list, we have a variety of courses to take in order to become a RD/RDN.

All those classes may sound a bit overwhelming and boring to many of you, but they were so informative and fun! One of my fondest memories from my education actually involves one of my least favorite classes!  In one of my food service operations courses, we were required to participate in “The Brown Bag Project” where my instructor gave us 3 ingredients: 1 starch, 1 vegetable, and 1 seasoning to create an entree in under 3 hours…kind of similar to one of those competition cooking shows on Food Network. We were able to use additional ingredients to create this meal. I was given hominy, artichokes, and coriander. Initially, my first reaction was “What the heck am I supposed to do with hominy!?” After thinking it over, I came up with an idea. My lab partner and I created a chile rellano stuffed with pureed hominy, fresh artichoke hearts, and black beans sprinkled with coriander and cheese. It turned out pretty good, and the judges gave outstanding reviews! It was in this class that I my love for experimental cooking sparked and thus my recipe development began.

kitchen dance

Through my excellent education experience, I went on and completed my supervised practice hours, graduated with honors, passed the RD exam, and now am a clinical dietitian. When looking into a school no matter what the profession may be, make sure your program has a lot to offer you. Loma Linda University had so many opportunities for me to grow professionally, personally, and spiritually.

What memories do you have from your professional program? I would love to hear them!

Would any of you be interested in reading about the areas of dietetics? Let me know!

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

 

“DIET”…It’s a bad word

woman measuring her waist
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

How many of you have gone on a diet?  To be honest, who hasn’t?  In the past, I have definitely tried different fad diets. When I was a young teenager, I told myself I would only eat fruit to lose weight. As I got older, I thought restricting my calorie intake through skipping meals, only eating almonds and carrot sticks for lunch, and exercising all the time would make me lose weight.   Do you want to know what the outcome of all these “diets” were?  I lost weight! But, as soon as I lost the weight and started eating real foods again, I gained it all back. You see, the problem was not that I was eating ‘bad foods’–it was that I did not know how to eat.  I did not understand how the body works and why it needs energy.

Let’s look at some popular diets and see what they all have in common.  In general, when people “diet” they are on a special food plan and usually restrict certain food items solely to lose weight.  Diets like Atkins, NutriSystem, and Jenny Craig are specific, planned out meals that are sent to the consumer ready to eat (with minimal preparation involved).  These programs are carefully thought out by their inventors generally based on calories—calories in, calories out.  These programs for sure can help you lose weight, but when we stop purchasing these products, we don’t know how to eat for ourselves. People get in the routine of the prepackaged meal that when it comes down to a free-range way of eating, we don’t know where to begin.

Weight Watchers is one of those diets where you kind of have free range in what you eat as long as you keep up with the points system. This diet does give you ‘free range’ to choose what you want – but what happens when you’re out of points for the day and you’re hungry? You restrict until morning. We can get so preoccupied on that point system to where we become obsessed with food but not in a healthy way. It is a constant battle of “oh this has 10 points, and I am only allotted 23 in one day” or “fruits are free! I can eat as much as I want to”.

Another somewhat recent diet immersion is the keto diet. I scroll through Facebook and Pinterest and see keto recipes and products that made me wonder…are people really putting their bodies in ketosis to lose weight?

Ketosis is a metabolic state characterized by raised levels of ketone bodies in body tissues.  This is usually the result of a diet that is very, very low in carbohydrates.

In my profession, the keto diet is primarily used in children who are diagnosed with epilepsy. The thought behind the keto diet for epilepsy and some other nervous system diseases is to utilize ketone bodies (made from fat) instead of glucose (from carbohydrates) to help reduce seizures. Typically, our bodies utilize glucose to make energy,  but when we restrict glucose (and I mean truly restrict carbohydrate intake), our bodies go into a mode of starvation-ketosis. Scientists are still researching exactly how it can help seizures, but statistics show that the keto diet truly only benefits about 1/3 of people who have epilepsy.

Below is a diagram of what a true keto diet for epilepsy consists of.

photo found at https://medium.com/@beepucsd/sports-performance-altered-by-ketogenic-diet-4d04898b3afe

This diet is majorly fat, little bit of protein, and even less carbohydrates. Though this may benefit someone with a nervous system disease, for the average American, this diet may not be the answer.

Many people on a true keto diet may struggle with constipation because the diet is heavily fats and extremely low in carbohydrates, meaning fiber is difficult to get unless supplemented.

Sources of fiber: fruits, grains, vegetables which brings me to my next point.

10-Important-Tips-for-Digestive-Health
photo found at https://www.medicalindiatourism.com/blog/tips-digestive-health.html

Many of us know what foods contain carbs. Grains and fruits contain about 15 grams of carbohydrate per serving.  In the keto diet, 1 serving of carbs is about all you would be eating daily. However, people generally do not think about vegetables containing carbs. Vegetables contain about 5 grams of carbs per serving.  One half a cup of cooked broccoli contains 5 grams of carbs, but let’s be real…who only eats 1 serving of cooked broccoli?  I know I eat at least 1 full cup which would contain 10 grams of carbs…but that is okay. There are so many other vital nutrients in vegetables (and fruits) that our body truly needs!  Fiber, vitamins, minerals, CARBOHYDRATES.

Carbs are the body’s main source of energy, and when you restrict carbs to lose weight, it can hinder the metabolic process. Take it from me. I have restricted, and I have lost weight, but it was not until I found mindful & intuitive eating that I was finally able to find my body’s natural ‘happy weight’- or set point weight. You see, the more a person restricts, the harder it gets for the body’s metabolism to work the way God intended it to.  The older we get, the slower our metabolism is, especially if we have spent our lifetime restricting vital nutrients.

A GREAT BOOST FOR YOUR METABOLISM
photo found at https://thecalorieninja.com/tag/weight-loss

Many of you may be thinking, “how do I make this lifestyle change when we live in a world that promotes dieting?”

 You see, the reason I hate the word “diet” is because I constantly hear people say “oh, I am starting my diet tomorrow” or “I’m trying to lose weight…I should go on a diet”, but we really shouldn’t be.  One of the most enjoyable parts of life is enjoying what we eat. I hear all the time “eating healthy just isn’t as good as the real stuff”, but the beauty of food is that we can be creative and make it taste good!  Making a lifestyle change instead of going on a fad diet can do a multitude of things for us. This will help our bodies stabilize at the weight it function best and help us develop a healthy relationship with food.

My challenge for you is to not promote any diet but to promote mindful & intuitive eating. By doing so, you’ll say “buh bye” to diet culture, food rules, and weight stigma and finally be at peace with your body, mind and food choices.

Jumpstart your mindful eating journey by downloading my 6 Steps to Mindful Eating guide here – it’s free!

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
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References:
  1. Ketogenic Diet. Epilepsy Society. https://www.epilepsysociety.org.uk/ketogenic-diet. Published March 1, 2018. Accessed June 13, 2018.
  2. Precision Nutrition (2018). The Ketogenic Diet: Does it live up to the hype? The pros, cons, and the facts about the no-so-new diet craze. [online] Available at https://www.precisionnutrition.com/ketogenic-diet. Accessed June 13, 2018.
  3. Popsci.com. (2018): Consent Form | Popular Science. [online] Available at: https://www.popsci.com/not-in-ketosis. Accessed June 13, 2018.