My “Behind The Scenes”

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the saying “don’t compare your behind the scenes with someone else’s highlight reel.” In today’s world of facebook, twitter and IG we all share our perfectly-lighted, filtered, best versions of ourselves and our lives. And it’s great to celebrate and show off the positive things we do: the super healthy salad you had for lunch, the insanely fast pace on your Garmin, the amazing pictures from your vacation. Seeing the likes, retweets and comments can boost our ego and provide reassurance and satisfaction. But it’s a double-edged sword, and when we start comparing our own lives to these snapshots, it might seem like we don’t measure up.

As a dietitian, I encounter this often with clients, but also with myself! If you follow me on any social media, I post pictures of healthy meals and fun fitness activities. I’m totally guilty of showing off my highlights, but I try to show my indulgences too…mostly in the form of mint chocolate chip ice cream and beer. In general, I do my best to practice what I preach. I eat healthy and make time for exercise (I’m even training for my first marathon!). But I was not always that way. I was overweight, inactive and miserable for many years and I am still working toward becoming my best self. It’s a process. As part of this process, I figured I’d share some of my “behind the scenes”, in the form of some confessions…

I’m not at my goal weight (yet). That’s right, I’m a dietitian and I’m overweight. There is an expectation for dietitians to be perfectly fit, thin, picture-perfect people. And just as you might not trust a dentist with bad teeth, my current appearance might work against me in gaining clients trust. But I prefer to see it as a benefit to my practice. You see, in addition to my clinical education and training, I can relate to a lot of my clients because I have personal experience with food and weight struggles! I know what it’s like to be overweight, be on diets and get frustrated. And I also know that what I preach works. There’s no quick-fix, but eating well and getting your sweat on will result in a healthy and happy life (and weight).

I don’t eat “perfectly”. Gasp! I also don’t believe there is one perfect way to eat. There is an assumption that dietitians abstain from anything that may be considered “unhealthy” or “bad”.ย  I often don’t even get offered treats if someone shares at work…and hear comments like “Oh, she’s healthy-she won’t eat that!” Hey! I (probably) eat whatever THAT is! Yes, I do encourage people toย eat their fruits and veggies daily, but sometimes I don’t do that myself! And sometimes with my crazy schedule I can’t fit in exercise! And believe it or not, I absolutely do indugle in treats. I mean, what kind of life would there be without ice cream?


Mmm…Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream!

I don’t know everything. Sure, I’m supposed to be the “expert” in all things food and nutrition!ย  But with over 20,000 new food products being introduced each year, there is no way I can keep up with every protein bar, frozen meal or snack pack. I also can’t remember every medical condition (and appropriate nutrition therapy), lab value or supplement. I have to look things up or reach out to colleagues all the time. And that’s okay! I’d so much rather get accurate information to support my decisions and best serve my clients.

I love nutrition, but it’s not my whole life. I don’t want to talk about food or diets or nutrition all the time and sometimes it’s hard to escape! When someone finds out what I do (especially if it’s in a scenario involving food), the response is usually an embarassed expression or a plea of “please don’t judge me!” People often assume I’m going to analyze or criticize what they’re eating. But I’m not the food police. And I don’t go around giving unsolicited advice! Rest assured that if I’m out to eat with you, I’m not worrying about YOUR food…because I’m too focused on my own! ๐Ÿ™‚

Phew! Now that that’s all off my chest…TELL ME, do you only show your highlight reel?ย  Or try to balance it out with some behind the scenes? Feel free to share your confessions! ๐Ÿ™‚

Just Eat! 5 Reasons to Skip Juice Cleanses

Juices, cleanses, detox diets.  They’re all the rage right now.  And they were a few years ago, and I’m sure they will be again.  People jump on the bandwagon for all different reasons: to kickstart weight loss, cleanse their bodies of toxins, boost their immune systems.  But are any of the claims valid?  Are they worth the money or effort expended?  I say no!

Detoxes and juice cleanses just simply don’t have the science to back up the health claims they make.  Will they help you lose weight? Sure, for a few days.  You’re essentially eliminating all fat and a lot of protein from your diet.  As well as a lot of fiber, which holds onto water, therefore you’ll drop some water weight too. But it’s not effective for weight loss in the long run.  Or much else! 

Yet, it seems like everytime I look at Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, someone is juicing.  And I’ve gotten a ton of questions lately about what the “best” juice cleanse is.  So I figured I’d weigh in and tell you why my argument is to just EAT REAL FOOD and skip the cleanses:

1. You don’t need juice to “cleanse” your system. Guess what?  Your body is BUILT to do this on its own!  Our GI tract, liver and kidneys are all specifically designed to filter out waste products, chemicals and toxins.  More over, juice cleanses eliminate a lot of the fiber found in fruits, vegetables and whole foods, thus reducing the bulk of our stool.  Increased bulk from fiber helps trap “toxins” to be removed through our waste, helping our filtering organs function properly. 

2. There is no substantial evidence that juicing is any healthier than consuming fruits/vegetables in whole form.  As I previously mentioned, you lose some of the fiber and other beneficial properties (antioxidants) that can be found in skin, pulp and seeds.  Fiber helps to slow the absorption of sugars like fructose, so juices can cause a more rapid spike in blood sugar.  This is just one of many reasons juice cleanses are often contraindicated for people with medical conditions, such as diabetes and kidney disease.

3. Why drink when you can eat?  Gulping down a juice is much less satisfying and less filling than biting into and chewing a whole piece of fruit.   Juicing can leave you feeling deprived and craving more.

4. You’re missing out on essential nutrients.  I’m not a fan of most any restrictive diet (unless it’s medically indiciated as with allergies or Crohn’s/Colitis).  Elimating specific foods from your diet creates gaping holes of important macro and micronutrients.  Without adequate protein, your body can actually become more immunocompromised and unable to rebuild.  Eliminating fats decreases absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin A, D, E and K. 

5. Use it or lose it.  This is often said of the brain, but is definitely relevant to our gastrointestinal tract too!  Contrary to popular belief (or claims from cleanse companies), rest does not promote a healthy gut!!!  Providing the gut with adequate nutrients allows the good bacteria to breakdown protein, carbohydrate and fat into the amino acids, simple sugars and fatty acids our bodies can utilize.

But….you’ve heard great things about juice cleanses! Your friend felt great after doing one!  Your co-worker has never felt more rejuvinated or energetic!  Unfortunately, this is most likely a placebo effect.  And there’s nothing wrong with that!  If you feel healthier and better after adding more fruits and vegetables into your diet, by all means add them in!  This R.D. won’t stop you!  But I will tell you to include them as part of a balanced diet of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.  

If you still want a liquid treat, choose a blended drink like a smoothie…and go heavier on veggies than fruits.  My go-to?  Combine 1 cup greens, 1/2 cup berries, 1/2 banana, and 1/2 cup Greek yogurt with ice and enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

What do you think? Have you done a juice cleanse?  Thinking about starting one?  Shoot me your thoughts, questions or concerns! ๐Ÿ™‚