10 Philosophies of Healthy Eating
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Nutrition’s role in becoming a happier and healthier you

mindsets of healthy eating
With the development of economics and science, there is a growing amount of interest, also pressure, in pursuing better health and quality of life as many people are no longer satisfied by being “just disease-free”. Merriam-Webster defines the word “healthy” as “beneficial to one’s physical, mental, or emotional state: conducive to or associated with good health or reduced risk of disease.” What I would like to add to this definition, from a registered dietitian’s perspective, is the important role food and nutrition play in one’s overall health. The purpose of this blog post is to provide you with insight into some of the mindsets and philosophies about nutrition change that may be helpful for you to consider and propose a pathway to better health.

Adapted from Healthy Measures 10 Steps to a Healthier You 

10 Key Mindsets to Being a Happier and Healthier Person  

1. Enjoy being unique

My definition of “healthy eating” is “eating to meet our unique body needs,” which includes the need for not only energy and nutrients but also satisfaction and enjoyment. Age, gender, lifestyle, medical conditions, and individual preferences are all factors to consider in determining one’s body needs. In other words, healthy eating should not be simply copying what other people do, but truly understanding the rationales behind it and authentically adapting the principles into your unique way of living and eating. 

2. Accept yourself

Another key to starting on and maintaining a healthy eating journey is to be able to recognize and accept that we all come to this journey at different Stages of Change (i.e., Precontemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action, Maintenance). For instance, people in Precontemplation/Contemplation stage may show progress by developing an interest in learning more about nutrition. Moving forward may also look like eating breakfast three times a week if you have never been a breakfast eater. 

3. Forgive yourself

Healthy eating is not a test that we either get right or wrong. In fact, if your main driving force for healthy eating is because “it is the right thing to do,” I would like to invite you to rethink this and whether it was a choice made for you or by you. If your motivation behind this can’t really benefit you, such as “I tend to have better energy and mood when I eat healthy,” the healthy changes probably won’t last either. There is no wrong way of eating healthy if you really want to, so be compassionate with yourself because you are just trying to help. 

4. Turn negatives into positives

Healthy eating is a journey full of ups and downs and is never perfect. In fact, perfectionism and self-criticism are two big demotivating factors that make everything counterproductive. Similar to all other learning processes, acknowledging and being curious about the mistakes we’ve made is how we discover areas for improvement and continue to move forward. Learning about what makes your body uncomfortable, such as overeating at times and feeling uncomfortable, is part of understanding a lifelong healthy eating journey. 

5. Celebrate you

Once you have the right motivation and equipment (such as the proper nutritional knowledge), it is unlikely that you will “fail” this journey. See so-called “failures” as the opportunity to begin again with new learnings. We all learn and develop skills from previous experiences, negative or positive, so think back – what has worked the best for you? Maybe it’s your determination or willpower that helps you overcome challenges in healthy eating or your creativity and passion about food that makes healthy eating more fun and enjoyable.  

6. Be above diet culture

Everyone in society is inevitably under the influence of it, such as the impact of diet culture and the weight loss industry on our relationship with food and body. Although health and weight cannot be discussed separately, here at Health Stand, we acknowledge body diversity and dedicate ourselves to helping people live at their personal best weight. In the end, we do want healthy eating to be a lot more sustainable than how fast the fashion world changes, don’t we? 

7. Be yourself

Some people may think healthy eating is abstinence. I disagree. Again, there is no one way to healthy eating, and hence no need to force yourself to eat or like what other people consider or deem as healthy as this increases the risk of demotivation and decreases your self-worth, self-satisfaction, and self-confidence. Essentially, healthy eating is supposed to please yourself, not others. 

8. Make time for yourself

Healthy eating should be one of the top priorities in life since the vehicle (i.e., our body) can’t really move without the proper fuel (i.e., food). Unfortunately, with so many competing priorities with our family, friends, work, and hobbies it can be difficult to prioritize health. Taking care of our health and nutrition doesn’t necessarily need to take extra time – work with a Registered Dietitian to help you with small steps that make a big difference.  

9. Reward yourself

Don’t forget to celebrate every small success you’ve made as this will transfer into your internal motivation, keep things rolling, and eventually turn healthy eating into a habit. However, there is no need to use food as a reward (for example by saying “I’ve gained my chance to indulge in ice cream.”) A healthy relationship with food is a fundamental part of healthy eating, and all foods can fit in an overall healthy diet. You don’t need to “earn” the ability to eat soulful foods you enjoy the taste of; these can absolutely be included without guilt.

10. Relax

Proper management of sleep and stress is essential in achieving and maintaining good health, including nutritional health. Both lack of sleep and accumulation of stress can alter one’s appetite and/or food choices, as well as blood sugar. This means that you can be eating all the right things but still have an elevated blood sugar if your sleep and stress are not taken care of. It is also important to relax and find peace in those times that we may not be eating as healthy as we think we “should” since healthy eating is flexible and not perfect. 

The desire to become healthier is always encouraged, but please don’t feel ashamed if you are not ready yet as healthy eating really is a life-long journey. Please also be careful to not get caught in the mental block of black-and-white thinking or “healthiest eating” (e.g. so-called clean eating that can lead to orthorexia) as there’s no such thing. As long as you have the right intention and continue to practice, you will soon meet the definition of healthy eating before you even realize it (similar to learning how to ride a bike, ski, or swim)

Are you ready to find Food Freedom? We can help!  

Our Calgary dietitian, online nutritionists, and certified intuitive eating counselors do everything we can to help you move towards your personal best weight and a sustainable lifestyle.

You won’t find any weird fad diets, unnecessary food restrictions and anyone trying to sell you shakes, supplements or so-called miracle cures here. 

As trained Registered Dietitians, you can count on us for credible advice and practical meal planning so you don’t have to stress about food anymore. You can achieve a healthy and joyous relationship with food and your body. Let’s talk about what this can look like for you. 

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Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

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I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
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Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
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