by Amber Charles-Alexis, MSPH, RDN
August 16, 2021
I often encounter someone who feels lost, confused and overwhelmed by the myriad of health and nutrition information available to them.
There are (likely) thousands of YouTube videos and health/nutrition blogs with opposing information. Yikes!
For instance, what's the verdict on eating bread?... adding butter to your coffee?... or "fast" versus "slow" carbs?
The crazy part? It's not just on the internet, but also between health professionals - whether they be general doctors, specialists or even nutritionists/dietitians.
You may even get caught up in the latest nutrition trends because - if it worked for them, it will work for you, right? Not necessarily.
Healthy eating is all about YOU
Your health and nutrition needs are unique.
Even if you have a "common" health or medical condition, that does not mean you need a common and popular solution.
For example, someone with diabetes may not need to avoid potato to manage their blood sugar levels, but if you have diabetes and kidney damage, then your needs vary.
The same applies for fat loss and weight management - not because it's working for "them", means it is something you have to do... especially if it is a fad diet or quick fix.
How to cancel the noise
Online searches are all good until you realize that they're probably not answering your questions (...and believe me, it's designed that way).
Know what you need to do to improve your health. Know your numbers.
Is your blood pressure high? What does your lab work look like? Have your hormones been out of whack? Is your thyroid health optimal?
Instead of self-diagnosing, seek professional intervention and guidance.
But, choose the right provider for YOU...
Learn more about your (potential) provider's philosophy - this is going to be evident in their approach to health management.
Will your dietitian place you on a strict diet, or take a flexible approach to eating? Will your doctor offer lifestyle changes before meds (***when appropriate***)?
How do these align with your philosophies and the type of support that you need?
Ensure that you are comfortable with your provider so that you build trust and are open to the changes that they suggest.
Take it slow
There's the unsettling effect of 'hurry sickness' - where everything must be accomplished NOW.
That instant gratification is also why many are consumed by quick fixes that promise rapid results in an incredibly short period if only you'd drink that magic solution.
You did not get to where ever you are 'overnight', and you need to give yourself time and space to build new habits that will serve your new journey in a more beneficial way.
With that being said, determine a reasonable timeline for your goals but intentionally work towards those goals during this time.
If your HbA1c was 5.9 today, and this test can be performed every 3 months, give yourself 3 months to actively work on reducing this number to within normal again (and actually retest to follow-up).
It's all about you my friends - not the trends or random internet searches - never forget that.