The Non-Perfect Diet
By Brooke Parker
As a new writer for The Christian Pulse I would like to introduce myself, give some background of my professional abilities and explain a bit about my style of nutrition.
Let’s get started. My name is Brooke Parker. I live in a small town in northern Utah with my husband and three children. I have a son about to turn six and twin girls who will be three this month. My life as a mom is very busy and wonderful. I am a mostly stay-at-home mom, which I am very grateful for and find a lot of joy in. I also enjoy working in my yard, cooking, exercising, dates with my husband, and those amazing occasions when I get to relax and read a book all by myself.
Now some information about my career experience: I am a registered dietitian currently working for Utah State University. My specialty is eating disorders, which I have an enormous passion for. I have also organized and conducted numerous weight-loss classes in my community. I have written a cookbook for families focusing on nutrients and am in the process of writing a book on guilt-free eating and positive body image. I love what I do and hope you will become motivated by my enthusiasm.
The nutrition plan I advocate is a Non-Perfect Diet combined with gradual life-long changes. I will never tell anyone to completely eliminate their favorite foods (unless of course there are medical reasons). My clients and I have learned that DEPRIVATION DOES NOT WORK! Popular diets are based on what you can’t have and normally fail. If I told chocolate lovers to never have chocolate again, they would most likely become angry and obsessive. Eventually they would break down, find chocolate and possibly binge or overeat. Once they break a rule, they consider themselves bad and think they need to be punished. This starts the deprivation cycle all over again.
It is more beneficial to ADD things to your diet in efforts to lose weight or become healthier. Adding fruits, vegetables or water is the best place to start. Habits and lifestyle changes are more likely to stick if they are fueled by kindness and well-being, not by deprivation and unrealistic expectations. The best way to form an action plan for better nutrition is to decide which food groups will be the easiest to add and then create a specific goal with a realistic range. For example, if I wanted to eat more produce, I would determine my average intake per day. For this example, it might be two different fruits or vegetables per day. My goal would then look like this: 3-4 fruits or vegetables at least five days a week.
This style of goal setting really works! It allows for slow change. Notice we did not go for an amount that would be too difficult to reach. We also gave a range which allows for flexibility while still striving to improve. Finally, notice the five-days-a-week clause. Never expect to achieve a goal seven days out of the week. It will not happen because no diet should be perfect. Life definitely isn’t.
Goal this month: Add healthy things to your diet using effective goal setting. Remember realistic, specific and forgiving.
Brooke Parker is a registered dietitian currently working for Utah State University. Her specialty is eating disorders. She is in the process of writing a book on guilt-free eating and positive body image. Brooke is a wife and mother of three. © 2009