Today’s article is written by the lovely Lucy Jade who is a recently registered associate nutritionist. Lucy stands out to me as a nutrition champion because of her values and impactful nutrition science communication which busts dieting myths and addresses nutrition stereotypes.
Lucy graduated in September 2019 with a first class degree in Applied Food and Nutrition from University College Birmingham, and has interest in weight management, busting diet culture myths and helping to promote sustainable, evidence based strategies to improve health and wellbeing. She works for Healthy Lifestyles in Coventry as a weight management advisor helping those that have health issues such as a high cholesterol or pre-diabetes to improve their diet and lose weight to help them. AND she’s the founder of the Nutrition Graduate group (which you know I rave on about) that helps to support those that have graduated nutrition with careers, CPD, networking and other support.
January is the time of year where it seems like the whole world wants to go on a diet. December is such an indulgent month of Christmas chocolates, meals out and parties, meaning that we are more likely to be consuming more, therefore leading to some weight gain. But the media has made us believe that in January we all have to go on diets, detoxes and nutritional resets to ‘fix’ this. But we really don’t.
In the current world, we all seem to obsess over the size of our clothing. How many times have you been disappointed because you’ve not been able to fit into those size 10 jeans in one shop but can in another? But if you really think about it, no one else sees or really cares about what number there is on your clothing. Society has made us believe that certain numbers are better than others and that really isn’t the case. If you have to size up on a pair of jeans for them to look better and for you to feel more comfortable and confident, then do it. The size of your clothes has absolutely nothing to do with your worth and even your weight, brands don’t always go off the same sizing pattern. Wear what feels comfortable.
When it comes to wanting to improve your health, nutrition isn’t always about just food; sleep, stress, activity and mental health can play a huge part in our overall health. You can eat the best diet in the world, but if you are constantly stressing and not getting a lot of sleep, this can negatively affect what you are eating. If you have a bad night’s sleep, this can lead to decreased levels of leptin (the hormone that is linked to fullness) and increased levels of ghrelin (the hormone that tells us we’re hungry). Basically, you are going to be craving food a lot more and it won’t be fruit you will crave, it will be the sweet, salty and higher fat foods to help comfort us.
If you want to use the new year to improve your health and diet, then by all means go for it. But do not use it as an opportunity to restrict yourself because you may have overindulged at Christmas. Start by ensuring that you are eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, lean proteins and healthy fats into your diet, drink enough water to keep yourself properly hydrated, go for a walk to get some exercise and clear your mind, and make sure that you get a good night’s sleep. Start with one thing at a time and slowly build it up. Try to look at your progress as a whole and not by just one meal.
And if you need support in making behavioural changes, I suggest speaking to a registered (associate) nutritionist or dietitian. We are here to support you in healing your relationship in food and your body, which is not an overnight miracle but a stepwise approach to your health journey.