As with most things in life, our dietary choices are influenced and recommended by friends, social media, celebrities, trends, advertisements, self-perception, gyms, and medical professionals, to name a few. Many women are highly motivated to make changes and feel better, and we are often willing to make significant sacrifices to do so. What is often not understood, even by most medical professionals, is that the healthiest diet for one person can be detrimental to another. Generalized dietary recommendations are hurting more people than they are helping.
Just like women’s health and gynecology, the science of nutrition and dietetics is a specialty. The job of a Registered Dietitian is much more complex than just telling patients “eat less and move more.” Nutritional research is challenging to interpret and tends to be flawed. I have spent the better part of the last fifteen years studying, reading, and working to fully understand all the influences food and movement can have on the human body, function, and individual health. As my respect and appreciation for integrative medicine grow, I continue to recognize and value the necessity of thoroughly investigating and understanding each patient, their past and current eating patterns, and their dietary point-of-view.
A recent research study from the Center for Disease Control shows more people are “on a diet” than ever, yet the rate of obesity and chronic disease continues to rise. I have found most women continue to drastically adjust their diet multiple times throughout their 30, 40s, 50s, and beyond, and it has done nothing but cost money, cause frustration, and mental exhaustion.
Months, years, and decades of improper nutritional advice have caused many women to have a wrong understanding and distorted understanding and relationship with food. Incorrect nutritional recommendations can lead to frustration that negatively affects mental health. Just like emotional trauma, misinformation and chronic dietary changes may seem minuscule, but over a long period, these small changes can cause long term problems like nutrient deficiencies, chronic disease, unwanted symptoms, increased medications, and depression.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Have I tried reducing my intake, sometimes multiple times, and still not lost weight?
- Do I avoid certain foods or macronutrients (carbohydrates/fats) because they have been labeled “bad”?
- Do I suffer from uncomfortable symptoms after consuming food?
- Does my body not “match” the amount of food that I consume?
- Have recommendations from other medical professions failed to show improvements (labs, symptoms, weight)?
- Do I feel like my body hates food?
- Is most of my weight gain localized around my abdomen?
- Does my over-the-counter supplement and prescription medication list continue to grow?
- Do I feel helpless or crazy because I have tried every diet?
- Do I wish I could enjoy the same foods others eat?
If you have answered “yes” to any of these foods, consider scheduling a complimentary appointment to discuss your concerns further. The Couri Center recognizes the need for men and women to understand their health, no matter their age. We strive to stay abreast of current dietary and disease prevention research and aim to provide evidence-based information and recommendations to improve health and symptoms and reduce the risk of developing chronic disease.
Our brains are inundated with too much information right now. Depression and anxiety are on the rise. Instead of fueling frustration, feelings of hopelessness, or torturing yourself with restrictive dietary rules, allow yourself the time to seek out the resources needed to fully understand your body, how YOU should be eating, and give yourself more time to HEAL.
Leslie Rusch-Bayer, MS, RD, LDN, CPT