I love working as a Certified Nutrition Therapy Practitioner. Seeing people make healthy changes in their lives, whether big or small, makes me feel so happy. Even though all my clients vary in why they reach out to me, their willingness to change, and their need of outside support, they have a lot of the same questions when we get started.
Today I want to address three of the most common questions I get from my clients, and bust some nutrition myths in the process.
Do I have to count calories to lose weight?
I’m thrilled to say the answer to this question is, “NO!” I sometimes recommend clients track for a day or two just to get a ballpark idea of how many calories they are eating, but we don’t need to do this long term. This is unsustainable! I remember my days in Weight Watchers. I was so obsessed with counting points! If I made something and didn’t know the exact points, I’d call the whole day a bust and buy a bag of candy. It felt if it wasn’t written down perfectly, it changed the way it acted in my body. That seems ridiculous but I know a lot of people feel the same way.
The other problem with this mentality is it assumes all calories are equal. This is not true. If you remember one thing from this section, remember this. Calories in = calories out means you should lose weight is not an accurate statement. All calories are not created equal. If I eat 100 calories of M&Ms, I’m taking in 13 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein, 1 gram of fiber, and 0% daily value of my vitamins. This will raise my blood sugar which releases insulin, which tells my body to store. This storage includes fat. Plus I’ll be hungry more quickly. If I eat 100 calories of broccoli I’m getting less than 5 grams of sugar, almost 8 grams protein, all my vitamin C for the day and more than 7 grams of fiber. The fiber will keep you full longer, and aid in digestion. The vitamin C will help my metabolism and immune system. The protein will help my body repair, and the low sugar will prevent blood sugar spikes and dips. Plus, broccoli feeds the good bugs in the gut, which is crucial to maintaining a healthy weight.
Doesn’t this make so much more sense than “100 calories of food + running on a treadmill until it says I’ve burned 100 calories means I’ve negated the affects of that food?”
This is why counting calories doesn’t work. I teach my clients how to build a healthy plate, WHEN to eat (this is very important), and how to eyeball serving sizes. This is much more effective than counting calories.
Do I have to give up the foods I love forever?!
Again, I’m happy to say the answer is, “NO!” This is a hard one. When a client comes to me with some kind of health struggle whether it’s fatigue, digestion problems, skin issues, brain fog, autoimmunity, etc. we go over their plan and they wonder if this plan is permanent. “Will I be able to eat Grandma Jo’s famous pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving?!”
When we are healing, we do have to be strict at first. Our bodies are in a place where they need to be coddled for a while to get them back to a baseline of health. We may pull out a lot of foods to heal, but the plan is to be able to reintroduce foods. That said, the goal is not to go back to the Standard American Diet of fast food, high sugar, damaged fats, and higher carbohydrate than even most athletes need. But the goal is to get your body to a healthy enough place that if you want to have a “treat” for a special occasion or a holiday, it won’t throw you back into the place that brought you to me to begin with. We want to live healthy lives, but we also want to be able to celebrate through food.
If I’m eating healthy food, why do I have to take supplements?
In an initial consultation, I always provide clients with a list of supplements I recommend for their specific goals. In an ideal world, we could just get all we need from food, but sadly, we don’t live in that world. Even if your produce is organic, we live in a day and age where a lot of the minerals are depleted from our soils, which mean they’re depleted from our food. Even when trying really hard, it’s hard to eat enough fruits and vegetables to combat all the stressors we face. What do I mean by stressors? I mean the stress of being on the go all the time, the stress of not sleeping enough at night, and the stress of doing bursts of fitness followed by sitting at a computer desk for 8+ hours a day. This also means the emotional stressors of relationships, deadlines, struggles with confidence, and any kind of loss. I also mean environmental stressors like pollution, mold, and chemicals in our cleaning and personal care products and our water. Your body has a lot to combat and even if you’re eating a super healthy diet, I find that most clients need to supplement. That said, I generally tell clients to give a supplement around 30-60 days depending on the supplement. If they don’t feel a difference, we can re-evaluate.
If you have more questions and would like to work with me personally, please reach out! I’m currently accepting new clients through Colorado Family Nutrition and love to teach about food, healing, movement and how to live healthily in this toxic world. You don’t have to live in Colorado to work with me. I meet with clients virtually, which means we can both be in pajama bottoms and the other person won’t even know!
Now take 10 deep breaths and go drink a big glass of water. Your body will thank you.