Eat for your health, not just a number on the scale! I’m sharing 8 Scale-Free Nutrition Tips from Dietitians on how you can be more mindful about your diet and long-term health goals without fixating on the number on the scale.
I love that more and more registered dietitian nutritionists are recommending that you focus on positive, healthy eating patterns rather than a number on your bathroom scale. After all, weight is such a “heavy” subject! We all have our own unique genetic makeup, which affects our metabolism, nutrition, health and weight. So we all have different body shapes. No, we all can’t (and shouldn’t) look like the often photoshopped photos you see in magazines or on Instagram. Obsessing over that number on the scale can often lead to unhealthy relationships with food. So build a better understanding of food by focusing on the best food choices you can make. I asked leading nutritionists to share their best tips for making healthy food choices to inspire a better relationship with food. Read on to learn more about how to eat for health, not a number.
8 Scale-Free Nutrition Tips from Dietitians
1. Think taste, pleasure and nutrition
“I’m thinking about the taste and pleasure of food that could come from French fries and roasted Brussels sprouts. When I plan meals, I make sure I have access to a variety of foods that I like, and then when I prepare a meal, I think about how the food will sustain me and help me feel good in the long run. This usually leads to more balanced meals with vegetables, beans and lean protein foods. If a client is feeling guilty about eating a certain food because of concern about their weight, I would help them resolve the critical thoughts in their mind so they can feel better about flexible eating patterns,” says Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN, EP- C, author. of Courtesy of body.
2. Balance food with energy
“Instead of labeling ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods, explore what amounts, combinations and types of food make you feel how you want to feel. For example, if you want to have more energy, instead of cutting out foods, experiment with foods that may help balance energy and play around with them to see which ones you enjoy! By focusing on the foods we can add more of, more people are likely to make long-term changes!” says Kori Kostka, RD.
3. Focus on Whole Foods
“It’s great fun when people discover the overall health benefits of eating whole foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, peas, lentils and nuts and seeds with more energy and focus, as well as improving blood sugar in the blood, blood pressure and lipid levels, and most often weight loss occurs in the process,” says Vicki Shanta Retelny, RDN.
4. Indulge your senses with seasonal plants
“Go to your local farmers market and indulge in the colors, aromas and flavors of the new season. Ask growers questions about how to prepare their produce. You’ll discover new foods and techniques to bring out the great flavor of fruits, vegetables, and yes, even desserts. That way, you’ll naturally attract a variety of plant foods and reap the proven benefits,” she says. Tamar RothenbergRDN.
5. Eat for health, not body size
“When we eat for a number on the scale, inevitably, the weight comes back and the foods are discredited. Categorizing foods into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ according to your dietary rules can lead to shame, food obsession and inevitable body dissatisfaction. When we eat for health rather than body size, we can become curious about how we feel physically after eating foods and begin to make food choices that either nourish our bodies (i.e. provide energy, support the ability to manage a year illness) or feed our souls (ie, bonding over coffee and snacks with friends, celebrating birthdays with cake). When we honor our bodies and move away from manipulating them, we pursue not only physical health, but also emotional, social, and mental health,” says Beth Rosen, MS, RD, CDN.
6. Create healthy habits
“Good habits are what will lead to better health, which is usually the real goal anyway. If your goal is to eat more fruits and vegetables, for example, focus on all the ways you can do that. Make it enjoyable. Find new foods to try, new recipes to experiment with. Just pay attention to the process to learn what you like, what you don’t like, what you can do differently to make it more enjoyable and sustainable,” says Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, CHWC, FAND, author of Prediabetes: A Complete Guide.
7. Nourish yourself
“Nourish is a word I use often, and although it usually refers to food, it means so much more. Don’t get me wrong, what we eat plays an integral role in our overall health and that feeling will not be abandoned in any way on this new journey. But, I learned that healthy eating is less about counting calories and “good” vs. “bad” foods and more about self-love. When we love ourselves, we can simplify our relationship with food!” says Katie CavutoRDN.
8. Eat foods that make you feel good
“I call donuts the ‘crunchy crime’ because I feel like crap after eating one. Eat food that makes you feel energized. For me, apples with peanut butter and a little cinnamon beats a donut,” says Lisa Andrews, RDN, owner of Sound Bites Nutrition LLC.
For other blogs about healthy living goals, check out these:
7 Steps to Going Plant Based
18 Tips for Healthy Eating Without Dieting from Top Nutritionists
5 Tips to boost your diet
Plant-based tips for eating healthy on a budget
Top 5 tips to green your plate