Enough is Enough

IMG_2064Recently I read an article which sums up some of my sentiments much better than I can, in fact you can read all about it here…

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-katz-md/nutrition-advice_b_3061646.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

But if you can’t be bothered reading the article… let me summarise and paraphrase… Basically the article talks about how in the world we live in today everyone is considered a nutrition expert, when in fact they are not.  It highlights the fact that while many people have had success with weight loss and improving their health, this does not automatically make them a nutrition expert.  And while that may not sound like a big deal, when you think about it in the context of other industries it makes a little sense.  It is like saying because someone has looked at a house they can build one, or because someone has watched ‘Law and Order’ they are actually now a qualified lawyer… when you look at it like that, it seems pretty silly.

The thing is people do this all the time… they see an interesting picture on the internet, or hear someone who looks healthy, or who is famous recommend something that agrees with their food philosophy, or just seems legit so they think it must be true and they have to tell everyone about it… even if it’s not true.  But because the general population are not experts in nutrition they can’t actually tell you whether it is or not… which just continues the whole cycle and actually helps no one.  This is how most fad diets are born, including things which on the surface look pretty good, for example juicing, or sharing propaganda on specific nutrients which are now apparently toxic… despite the fact that there is no actual evidence to back this up.

You might think I am being a little harsh, but the reality is, poor nutritional information and dietary habits can be dangerous and it is important that people think clearly about what they believe when it comes to food as well what they are going to share when it comes to food.  But isn’t that what I am doing you might say… just pushing my own opinions on nutrition?  Well maybe I am, but I am actually a qualified expert in nutrition, and I not saying that because I want to sound good or because I want to promote myself in anyway, it is what I am employed to do.  I am a dietitian and this means that I am trained to be an expert in nutrition and all that comes with it, including the interactions between nutrition, weight and health and disease…  Often I find myself, in fact most of the time I find myself defending good nutritional advice to people who have heard or read that some obscure supplement with an ingredient in such minute amounts it is almost not there, is better… which no matter how much I explain and provide evidence in the contrary, because the reality is not exciting, like the supplement or quick fix, people don’t want to hear it.

I have deliberately chosen not to write about nutrition and/or dietetics in the past because nutrition isn’t a one size fits all thing, sure there are some general rules of thumb, but what you need can be very different from the person sitting next to you.  And while I know what is right and wrong when it comes to food, sometimes I am not the best example and as this is my personal blog I wouldn’t want people getting the wrong idea about what I think is ok to do because of what I do on here (although I try not to share my worst food habits just in case).  But I have had enough and this blog has been brewing for a little while… in fact every time I see something incorrect on facebook, which is at least second daily, I think now is the time… but I hadn’t done it… but now I feel inspired, maybe because I feel like someone is finally on the side of the dietitian… who knows.  As a result I am going to try and debunk some common food myths or fad diets as I see them.  Please don’t think I am trying to push my own agenda, I just want there to be a place for people to find if they ‘google a diet’ so that some good evidenced based advice comes up… rather than what usually happens… lots of false, unhelpful claims… It’s not going to be all the time, just every now and then because I feel like I need to be better at sharing what I know, breaking some of my own bad habits… but also helping others make sound choices rather than wishing the internet would regulate the rubbish its self, coz lets face it, its not going to happen.

The truth is having a healthy diet may not be the most glamorous diet going round, but it works, what you put in your mouth needs to be used or you will put on weight, extra weight puts you at risk of a number of diseases, as does being underweight.  And unfortunately there is no quick fix… but the good news is even small steps in the right direction help.

So if you want to make sure you are getting correct information, check where it comes from, who wrote it and what their intentions were.  Don’t be afraid to challenge claims and fads, read labels carefully and if you are stuck ask a professional… there are actually a lot of us out there… here is a good place to start if you want one…

http://daa.asn.au

Be careful and if it looks to good to be true, it probably is…

Em – your friendly Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD)

No. 28 – Try Yoga or Pilates

So this year, all year, not just since the revelation of my last blog, I have been making an effort to exercise regularly… and while the last couple of weeks have been a little poor, on the whole I think I am doing pretty well.  Earlier this year I tried yoga for the first time, this was something that I had put on my list (no. 28) because I thought it was about time I gave it a go… well actually I put either yoga or Pilates on the list, and I was secretly hoping for Pilates because I thought that might have been easier, but when I had an offer to attend a yoga class, it was one I couldn’t refuse.

To be honest, one of the reasons I hadn’t attempted yoga in the past was because I was a little afraid of it, I had put it in the spiritual basket of crystals and energies, some thing I wasn’t sure if the rules I had made for myself regarding my own spirituality.  I had it tangled up, and probably fairly so in the traditional view of yoga, one which is deeply embedded in religions which are not my own.  I have learnt however that modern yoga is not this… its an adaption, there are certainly elements that still reflect this deeper connection with inner self and spirituality as other wise you would just be standing in a room pulling strange stances with a group of strangers, but it is only as deep as you allow it to be, you choose the meditation, you choose the focus of your thoughts… or lack there of and attempt to reach the peaceful state it strives for.

As I don’t often do things by halves, rather than just attempting regular run of mill yoga at the local gym, I found myself signing up for a Bikram Yoga class… that’s the yoga you do in a 40degree room with a humidity of 40%… it’s hot and sweaty and intense, it was an interesting experience, not one that I think I would run back to… I think I might need to try just regular yoga first, but I was glad I did it and it crossed it off the list… but here are 3 things I learnt at my yoga experience…

1.       If you have a cold… don’t to bikram yoga… in fact don’t do any yoga with others!  During my class there was a man in the row behind me who brought his own tissues with him… that’s not cool.  You are in a hot room with lots and lots of other people… breathing the same thick air and sharing a confined, contained space… I don’t want your germs… so please don’t come.

2.       I am too fat for yoga… My friends of course say this isn’t true… apparently I am just not that flexible yet… but I know they are just being kind… there were a number of poses which I found impossible… while my flexibility was an issue… sometimes there was just thigh or boobs in the way… there is nothing you can do about that once the yoga class has started… although hopefully all the sweating I did will have shifted that weight in the right direction, even if it is just dehydration.

3.       Bikram yoga makes you sweat in places you didn’t know you could sweat… that’s probably a little too much information I know, but it is true… at one stage we were lying on the floor (on our own towels and mats) and when I lifted my head there was a decent sized puddle left on the floor from my ear… seriously my ear… gross… bring a change of everything!

So there you go… yoga is done… maybe I will try it again… but maybe just regular normal temperature yoga where you can breathe and your other class mates will be encouraged to wear more than just the necessities for the class.

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