What Can a Dietician Do For Me? 10 Things I Learned From My Dietician
What can a dietician do for me? I got to know myself in terms of my eating habits and I learned the ideal diet to be my best physically, mentally, and emotionally.
What can a dietician do for me? That's what you'd say if I told you to visit a dietician. I mean, a cardiologist checks on your heart health, and an oncologist looks at those bumps and knows if they mean anything. But, what can a dietician do for you?
Before going to the gym for the first time in my twenties, I never visited a dietician. I only go to doctors for two reasons: when something's wrong, or when I need a certificate for work. And I only know two doctors: our company doctor and my allergist.
My gym membership introduced me to a dietician, and my first consultation was life-changing. I could still remember the first diet plan I received from him. And I learned a few things from it.
1. A Matchbox of Meat
I can only eat one matchbox of meat a day. That's ten times more than the amount of meat I regularly consume. And this could result in kidney problems later on in life.
2. Muscles are Made from Eat, Sleep, and Excercise
The body needs enough sleep, a healthy diet, and regular exercise. Fortunately, the gym environment is very encouraging of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. My friendly and handsome coach would remind me that if I wanted my hours of lifting, sit-ups, curl-ups, Tabata, and treadmill to mean anything, I should also watch my diet.
3. Find Your Circle of Fitness
More fruits and vegetables, just the right amount of rice, less meat, and even less sugar — we all know these things, but it's easy to forget when you're in fieldwork, finding a place to eat in between meetings.
Going to the gym and regularly interacting with people working on their physique and watching their health affirms your fitness goals. As they say, you are the company you keep.
4. Food is Not a Solution for Boredom or Stress
I have always loved food. It was my source of excitement and stress relief. Fortunately, as a student, I can only buy the food my allowance can afford. However, when I had enough money to buy more food, I quickly became overweight. At one point, I have eaten in every restaurant in our city, and some waiters know my name or face. If I wasn't working in corporate, I could have been a food blogger.
I have to admit, I wasn't able to fully follow my new diet plan, but it made me more conscious that I was eating rice and meat most of the time. And I developed a habit of stocking on fruits and vegetables.
5. Nutrition is a Vital Component of Overall Health
Globally, our focus on health care has always been on developing medicines when something is already wrong. Less attention is given to understanding one's health history and daily food and nutrition to boost immunity and prevent diseases from developing.
Many superfoods like banana, dragon fruit, berries, and citruses possess different health benefits like regulating cholesterol and blood sugar levels, reducing stress, promoting good sleep, and producing vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Knowledge of nutrition in different fruits and vegetables helps us rotate our fruits and vegetables smartly.
6. With Great Stress Comes Great Appetite
By the time I was in my late 20's, I had considered myself mildly successful. I landed my first managerial job and bought my first property.
However, young managers experience experienced higher demands, higher levels of conflicts, and fewer opportunities to socialize, which can be stressful.
There were days when I only had minutes to get my stuff together before returning to work, and I turned to coffee and food. I would miss family dinners because I go home late from work, later eating more to reward myself.
7. Re-learning Old Habits
Sometimes, we need to re-learn essential lessons and habits from the past.
Five years after my first gym visit, I was settled in a new home. And for a while, it was difficult for me to maintain a balanced lifestyle. By the time I was 29, I was 70 kilos and officially obese.
At first, I didn't care. I can buy clothes that fit me well. I learned to be confident and body positive.
However, it was a different story when I had a routine vaccination, and my blood pressure was at 130 before and after getting vaccinated.
Realization hit me hard. I was not even at 30 yet. I worked hard to reach my life goals, get married, do something for my parents, have children. I can't have hypertension at 30. So, I made it my number one priority to get in shape.
What Can a Dietician Do For Me? Re-learning Health Habits
What can a dietician do for me? I booked myself an online consultation with a nutritionist dietician. And here are some things I re-learned from her.
1. Regular Blood Pressure Monitoring
Regular blood pressure monitoring is a highly recommended practice to detect signs of hypertension and prevent the disease. It is especially recommended to people over 30 and those who have a history of hypertension in the family. Nowadays, digital blood pressure monitors make the task easier. Just make sure you use a trusted brand.
Take your blood pressure twice a day, usually at the same time. One should be in the morning before taking in anything. Make sure you're completely relaxed before you do so.
2. Lipid Profile
When you have signs of hypertension, such as a blood pressure of 130 and beyond, taking a lipid profile test gives you a better measure of your cholesterol and triglycerides level and approximate risks for cardiovascular disease.
3. Flaxseed and Plant-based Source of Omega-3
Usually, dieticians recommend fish as a source of Omega-3, which promotes heart health. However, as I am allergic to fish, we turned into plant-based sources of Omega-3, including Flaxseeds.
4. Plant-Based Protein
The body needs protein to maintain and repair tissues. The most popular protein is collagen which is taken by celebrities for younger-looking skin.
Gym buffs usually take whey protein, a complete, high-quality protein that contains all essential amino acids, in their post-workout smoothie to build and repair muscles and bones, especially after a workout.
While we get most of our protein from meat, it's ideal to get some protein from plant-based sources such as avocado and tofu.
5. Fruits and Vegetables
Fifty percent of our plates should be fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, only one in ten Americans are getting enough of this.
Smoothie Juices made from real fruits and fruit purees are recommended to increase fruit intake while enjoying a refreshing drink.
Bonus: Food Over Supplements
Food supplements are popular nowadays for getting one's daily recommended nutrition in a tablet. While supplements can be good, it is not a substitute for real food, which is better absorbed by the body.