Confessions of a Dietitian
Last weekend I bumped into an acquaintance at a local bakery who attends one of my fitness classes. As I’m about to chow down on one of the delicious GF donuts she remarks “OMG you’re eating THAT”?. I replied “hell ya, of course I’m eating that, it’s delicious”. Excited and surprised by my response, she seemed to have a new found perspective that you can be healthy and eat a treat.
As a dietitian and personal trainer there’s a lot of pressure to look a certain way and be healthy on all fronts. The role comes with assumptions of perfectly planned meals and workouts, including: drinking 8-10 glasses of water everyday, loving Kale, eating only sprouted grains, effortlessly getting in 6 servings of veggies a day, and the list goes on. As a sport dietitian, it’s also assumed that I train everyday, and ALWAYS have pre and post workout fuel planned to a tee. Right..
So, let's get real here. I’m a busy mom of two crazy little boys, I’m trying to run my own private nutrition and fitness practice, I'm managing diabetes and a relatively new diagnosis of celiac disease which has been a mentally tough transition for me. Needless to say, there’s a lot going on. While I pride myself on practicing what I preach, I disclose that I am NOT always perfect when it comes to my diet and my fitness regimen, and I’m ok with admitting that.
Are you ready for this? Brace yourself cuz here's the truth…
It’s 4 pm on Saturday and I realize I’ve only consumed two glasses of fluids, this includes my morning coffee. Essentially I’m a desert and borderline dehydrated at all times.. Wonder why I feel lethargic late in the day...Duh
It’s dinner time and I realize I’ve had no vegetables until now. Yikes.
I don’t have much time to eat before training, so lunch ends up being a pre-fab protein bar or a measly serving of greek yogurt. This is 100% insufficient and I admit is a big cop out.
By the time I get my post workout fuel into my belly, it’s been hours. Pretty hard to see results with poor fuelling practices...like I didn't know that?!
I often get less than six hours of sleep. This is simply a reality right now with two small kids, but surely it’s not helping performance, or recovery. Somehow I expect to perform at 100% every workout.
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? Maybe you have your own daily pitfalls. Being aware of them is the first step. The question is what are you going to do about it?!
Not all days are quite this grim, but I certainly know better. While armed with all the education on nutrition, fitness and performance fuel, the behaviours to act on it aren't always there. But I was sick of feeling tired and sluggish, and being stagnant at the gym. So, I went back to good old goal setting to help attack this. I started by asking for help. A fellow RD. Someone I trust, who would understand my goals and has expertise. Someone to keep me accountable and bring objectivity to the playing field. We set small goals. For example chopping 10 peppers on Sunday to make them easy for grab and go snacks. I started making smoothies with all the things to ensure I had accessible nutrition on busy clinic days. I made sure to actually drink them. I decided to refrain from a second coffee later in the afternoon, recognizing its impact on my sleep quality. I'm still working on the fluid thing but I'm making progress. As it turned out, small steps put into writing, making commitments, vocalizing the goals and challenges to an outside source helped to firmly establish my plan and made me compliant.
Through this process, I've learned that getting help from a neutral, objective individual to help me plan my goals was key, even though I already had the knowledge. And that every so often it's important to slow down, take the time to assess my own personal goals, get back in touch with how I'm doing, and feeling. These things together helped me make the space to consider making positive change, and then, to implement them.
What are your challenges and successes? What do you want to change? Do you have a success story to share? I love hearing about your successes and challenges and what helps you make sustainable change.