I am a Registered Dietitian. I went to school to learn all about health and nutrition and how food can make us sick and how food can help us feel better. My job as a Dietitian has been to help others learn how to make healthy choices. We advocate integrating whole grains and lots of fruits and vegetables into a healthy diet, in moderation and with variety. However, even the best of us can lose their way sometimes. Even though I know what to do, it doesn’t mean I always do it.
When people ask me why I chose Dietetics, there were a lot of influences, but one was the fact that I was a chubby kid. My diet crazed parents started me at the tender age of 3 on my first diet. It’s too late to call child services, so I guess I turned out okay. I did learn to watch what I eat early on. And I never stopped.
I have maintained a normal weight up and down five pounds without giving it much thought since I was a teenager, never quite where I wanted to be, but normal. But recently, I stopped watching. After three kids, living in New York City and a change in lifestyle (working full time) I am less active, getting older and just can’t cheat on sweets the same way I did before. That doesn’t mean I am going to give up my chocolate or not enjoy a nice meal out once in a while, but I have to start paying attention again.
Eating healthy is important, but it is not enough to lose weight. To lose weight we have to eat less calories. Healthy foods can still have a lot of calories, think nuts and avocado. I downloaded a popular app, My Fitness Pal, and it makes keeping track and paying attention to what you eat so easy.
Gone are the days when I was in school, looking up in books (remember those?) the calorie information for everything I ate, spending hours analyzing recipes. This app is on my phone, so it is with me everywhere I go. All you have to do is plug in your personal data, height, current weight, ideal weight and it does a pretty good job figuring out how many calories you should eat. Then use it throughout the day, every time you eat. Use it to plan what to eat and watch how you do all day. It helps you make the decision between one or two slices of bread. Do I really need to butter my toast for an extra 100 calories? Or should I save it so I can enjoy two chocolate truffles after dinner?
I haven’t gotten on a scale yet, I need to get one of those, but so far I feel good and know that I am on the right track. The one trick is, you still have to know how to eat healthy. You still want to get whole grains and fruit and vegetables to help you get your nutrients and you don’t want to walk around starving because you chose a bag of potato chips that didn’t fill you up instead of an apple for less calories that could actually sustain you. I’m not sure I am going to be tethered to an app forever and of course on Shabbat and Yom Tov, I’m offline, but it is great to have a tool in my pocket to help make smarter choices when I’m in the kitchen, at the market or dining out.