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What This Non-Diet Dietitian Took Away from the Canadian Obesity Network National Summit

What This Non-Diet Dietitian Took Away from the Canadian Obesity Network National Summit

Last month, I attended the 5th annual Canadian Obesity Network (CON) National Summit. The three days—plus full day of pre-summit workshops—were packed with information and networking, and I went to bed every day exhausted. I took lots of notes that I still need to review and analyze, but here are some of my personal takeaways from the conference.
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Two Truths & A Lie: Intuitive Eating Edition

Two Truths & A Lie: Intuitive Eating Edition

Have you heard of the game Two Truths and a Lie? Snoop & Martha have played it, but they reversed it and did two lies and a truth. Basically, it’s a party game where you share three statements about yourself – two of the statements are true, and one of them is not; everyone else has to guess which one is a lie.

I thought it’d be fun to get to know our new friend, Intuitive Eating, a little better by playing the same game. Ready? Here are the three statements:

  • Intuitive Eating will help you get to your healthy weight.
  • Intuitive Eating doesn’t always come naturally.
  • Intuitive eaters only eat when they’re hungry, and stop when they’re full.

Got your answer? Read on and see if you’re right!

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Why I’m Retiring the 80/20 Rule

Why I’m Retiring the 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 Rule is a popular phrase for dietitians, alongside “everything in moderation” and “fill half your plate with vegetables”. The idea is that you want to eat healthy 80% of the time, and allow yourself to eat less healthy 20% of the time.

I have used the 80/20 Rule for years, and in a culture that can be very “black and white” or “all or nothing” when it comes to food and nutrition, the spirit of and intention behind the 80/20 Rule is a good one: you don’t have to be perfect in order to be healthy. In fact, it is often the pursuit of perfection that leads to an obsession with numbers, distorted body image and disordered eating.

So, what is my problem with this seemingly sensible statement?

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Help! I’m Addicted to Sugar!

Help! I’m Addicted to Sugar!

“I have an uncontrollable sweet tooth.”
“I’m obsessed with chocolate.
“I can’t have anything sweet, not even fruit! If I do, I’ll just lose control and binge.”

Does this sound like you?

If so, you might have heard of the idea of food addiction. Though not an official diagnosis, the idea that food itself is addictive, like drugs or alcohol, has been gaining lots of attention and traction in the past few years.
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The Secret to Stopping Emotional Eating? You Can’t. {Here’s What You Can Do When it Feels Problematic}

The Secret to Stopping Emotional Eating? You Can’t. {Here’s What You Can Do When it Feels Problematic}

This week’s Nutrition Month sub-theme is “Help! I Eat When I’m Stressed!”

Eating for comfort or to numb your emotions doesn’t address the true issue at hand, but I think often the frustration around emotional eating stems from the fact that we’ve been conditioned by diet culture to believe that eating for any reason other than fuel or nutrition is “bad” or “wrong”.

Heck, it’s not just emotional eating – any eating that happens outside of our planned meals and snacks, even when we’re physically hungry, is blown off as “emotional”. As a result, we beat ourselves up for the simple act of nourishing ourselves (then eat again because of how bad we feel for beating ourselves up.)
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Of Course It’s OK that You Want to Lose Weight

Of Course It’s OK that You Want to Lose Weight

'Health At Every Size® is not anti-weight loss, it is anti-pursuit of weight loss.' —@bodypositivephd Click To Tweet

Earlier this week I attended a webinar hosted by the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH) titled “When Your Client Says, ‘But I Need to Lose Weight!’” which still remains the #1 reason people see dietitians, including dietitians who have proclaimed for years and years that they use a weight-neutral, body positive, Health At Every Size® approach. (I think the word “diet” in dietitian throws people off.)

One of the key takeaways for me from this webinar was that I was making a common mistake that many healthcare practitioners make when they first adopt this philosophy.

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Why We Keep Getting Trapped in Diet Culture {And How to Start Climbing Out}

Why We Keep Getting Trapped in Diet Culture {And How to Start Climbing Out}


I talk about “secrets” in this blog all the time. It started with my top two secrets to healthy eating (prioritizing and planning), then I added prepping and pleasure to round out the “4 P’s”. More recently, I shared that setting an intention was the secret to a happy and healthy holiday season.

All my “secrets” were simply things that diet books, nutrition articles and well-meaning eaters weren’t telling you—everyone seems to have an opinion on what or how much you “should” eat, but to figure out how to actually make it happen? You’re on your own.

This secret is different.
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The Facts on Fats and Your Heart

The Facts on Fats and Your Heart

Updated from original post published February 11, 2015

February is Heart Month, and while there are many dietary factors that can influence heart health, the conversation often turns to fat. For instance, Las Vegas’s Heart Attack Grill prides itself on milkshakes with “the highest butterfat content” and fries and onion rings cooked in pure lard! I’m sure many of us have heard (or even said) at least once that high fat or deep-fried foods “clog our arteries” or raise our cholesterol.

However, the tide seems to be shifting a bit when it comes to fat and heart health. The most recent USDA Dietary Guidelines no longer set a limit on the amount of cholesterol we should eat in a day. A few years ago, a systematic review that concluded that saturated fats have a neutral effect on heart disease risk sparked news headlines proclaiming that butter and bacon were a-OK. Books like journalist Nina Teicholz’s The Big Fat Surprise recommend increasing our fat intake for better health.

So is fat good or bad? Let’s take a peek at some of the evidence.
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What if Managing Obesity Had Nothing to do with Weight?

What if Managing Obesity Had Nothing to do with Weight?

Photo via the Canadian Obesity Network Image Gallery

A couple weeks ago, I “came out” as a dietitian who no longer helps people lose weight. I’m touched by all the support I’ve received for what I feared was a really “out there” move. In a way, this post is like a “part 2”; it’s all about where I really want my practice to go, given my experience working with people with obesity and with people who have had bariatric surgery.

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Why You Shouldn’t Use Mindful Eating to Lose Weight

Why You Shouldn’t Use Mindful Eating to Lose Weight

“Mindful eating is not about weight loss. It’s not about body size. It’s all about discovering who I truly am. What are my core values? What are my real needs as a human being?”

The Center for Mindful Eating is celebrating its second annual Mindful Eating Day this Thursday, January 26. To celebrate, the center is running free webinars featuring interviews with international mindful eating experts. There’s also a Facebook group featuring daily tips and exercises.

Mindful eating is certainly on trend, and of course, the diet/weight loss industry has jumped on the bandwagon – a quick Google search of “mindful eating” and “weight loss” gives you almost 400K hits. There’s even a Mindfulness Diet!

I, too, used to believe that mindful eating could be used for weight loss. I mean, mindful eating helps you to slow down your eating, which in turn should help you eat less, right? In fact, my Mindful Eating Day blog post last year cited a systematic review that found that in 13 of 19 studies, people who used mindful eating while trying to lose weight did lose weight, but it was unclear whether they lost weight because of mindful eating or because of something else.

The truth is, if you are entering the practice of mindful eating with the intention of weight loss, then you are probably missing the point.

If you're practicing #MindfulEating with the intention to lose weight, you're missing the point. Click To Tweet
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