A few years ago, before I was interested in working on my health myself, I went into the doctor for my yearly check-up. We went through the normal things you do when visiting the doctor: step on the scale, check blood pressure, wait, visit with the doctor for 7 minutes, then leave. During those 7 minutes my doctor at the time was going on and on about my weight and how it needed to be lower.
He left the room saying, "I'm going to set you up with our on staff nutritionist and she can give you some advice and tips on how to eat healthier."
Admittedly, I was relieved. Finally, someone was going to hold my hand and help me navigate the waters of dieting and help me of lose weight, something I had never been able to do.
A couple of weeks later I came back to the doctor's office to see the nutritionist. She was friendly and trim so I thought to myself, "she must know what she's talking about. I can trust her."
We talked for about 30 minutes and she told me that I needed to swap white grains for whole wheat products (wheat bread, brown rice, whole wheat pastas), start cooking with vegetable oil instead of olive oil, flavor everything with the "I can't believe it's not butter" spray, switch to low calorie/low fat desserts, and put in an hour of cardio everyday. She said, "do all that and the weight will fall off in no time." She also told me to eat around 1500 calories.
I wasn't surprised by the advice she gave as far as the swaps and other "tips" were concerned. I was, however, surprised and elated that it was going to be so easy to drop the excess pounds.
I didn't know then what I know now. I know now that the advice overall is incorrect. I know about insulin resistance, the effects of processed foods, and that whole grain products are just as bad as white flour products (it all turns to sugar when processed in the body).
When I look back on this experience today I see that the overall worst advice she gave me was not about the butter spray, although that was definitely the 2nd worst piece of advice (I was literally spraying chemicals and toxins onto my broccoli and thinking it was healthy). The worst advice was a copy/paste "solution".
She didn't ask any questions about how certain foods made me feel.
She didn't acknowledge my PCOS diagnosis.
She didn't teach me how to look at food labels and be protective about what goes into my body.
She wasn't looking at me with different eyes, but applying the same logic to me as she did to every patient.
And that was the worst advice. Prescribing a one size fits all solution and not assuming that my issues were different. That I was overweight ONLY because of my choices and not because my body doesn't process things the same way as everyone else.
Telling me that the weight would fall off if I followed her guidelines gave me false hope and brought me nowhere closer to getting healthier.
I certainly don't share this story to belittle this person. I honestly don't even remember her name. I share it because it's a piece of my story. I followed her instructions for a period of time and I hated it. I was miserable and I didn't stick with it because I didn't feel any better and I didn't see the weight loss results that were promised to me.
Again, I didn't know then what I know now. I know now that my body thrives when I'm not overloaded with carbohydrates and sugar. I know my body thrives when Im consuming higher fat and a moderate level of protein. I didn't know that grains, whole wheat or not, were wreaking havoc on my body.
I'm so thankful that I finally became my own advocate. Even though I received bad advice, that didn't give me an out to continue the "nothing" that I was doing. This experience motivated me to start paying attention to what I was putting into my body, how it was affecting me, and realizing that if anything was going to change it had to come from me and not someone else.
Once I started educating myself and believing that I could make and stick to new habits, that's when I started seeing progress. Losing weight and getting healthier is not a simple formula. It's not eating less and moving more ( Read more about the debunking of "calories in, calories out" here.). It's a choice that you have to make and you have to play the long game. Now I'm not just playing a long game, but a smart long game. I'm continually figuring out what works for me, what makes me feel good, and what I enjoy and I hope that you're encouraged to do the same!
And as far as advice goes, stop using the fake butter spray. - JJ