Here is my story:
I used to think that willpower and self-loathing were the keys to happiness and a smaller body.
I thought that if I had a smaller body, all my troubles would go away – I would find a soul mate, become uber successful, skip among the clouds and the critical voice would finally be silenced. Yes, I believed what the diet industry told me. If I changed my body, my whole life would be transformed. The way to get there? Being a harsh critic towards my body every chance I got, restricting favorite foods, forcing myself to run (I hate running) and playing small until I achieved the unattainable.
Then I finally got it, I mean really got it. I couldn’t think of a single person who was made happier by dieting, not my family or friends, not even the hundreds of patients I have seen. I’m a good counselor but I was never able to convince someone to exercise long term or eat in a radical different way if they were forcing themselves to do it.
In general, people don’t take good care of something or someone whom they loath.
By taking weight loss off the table, I was free to focus on wellness – and wellness is a far more achievable and meaningful goal. You see, my attempt at perfection was a sneaky way of rationalizing my fear. Who would I be if I no longer body bashed? What big things would I have time to focus on if not my body? How could I call myself a dietitian if I didn’t have a perfect body?
My heart had been trying to tell me that I was so much more than just a body, that my gifts to the world were being tramped down by self-loathing and that if I would just let the whole weight loss obsession go then I would be happier and healthier and might actually learn to skip among the clouds. My head, on the other hand, had some severe reservations.
As a busy mom and business owner I can relate to the staggering amount of information available and how all that information can make it even more confusing and challenging to reach your health goals. Who can you believe? Your parents? Your Friends? Neighbors? Doctors? The internet? It’s all too much and most of the information seems to conflict with other information from other sources! It’s frustrating and confusing and sometimes it seems easier to just give up! I hear you! I’m a dietitian with a degree in nutrition and close to 20 years of experience and even I have, at times, wanted to throw in the towel!
When I first started my private practice, I discovered a process known as Intuitive Eating. I was thrilled that Intuitive Eating or IE, offered a different approach to wellness than a traditional diet. I knew dieting hadn’t worked for me. Now, 5 years after discovering and becoming a trained counselor in IE, I can say that I am finally in a good place with food. My body isn’t perfect, I’m not a perfect eater, but I have also learned that perfection is not a healthy goal.
Gone are the days of obsessing about what foods are good and what foods are bad. Now, I listen to my own body (most of the time) and have figured out which foods make me feel great and which foods lead to me feeling sluggish, tired or bloated. I learned that taking a walk with a friend is a far better choice than the 5K that I never run.
I have a good balance between activity that feels good, taste, nutrition and satisfaction, you can too!
-Heather Rudalavage, RD LDN
“I would recommend Heather, she has an excellent bedside manner and was very helpful. I was nervous- but Heather was encouraging and non-judgmental!” -Nichole