Have you ever had one of those friends, a healthcare professional, who just never practiced what she preached? My neighbour Terry was like that. She had worked in the ICU at our local hospital for years, nearly a decade, yet still ate fast food for lunch and dinner. She took care of patient after patient after heart attacks and strokes yet continued to do exactly what she told them to stop doing. 

I’ve noticed recently that something has changed for Terry. Where she used to be sick often, I haven’t seen her call out sick for months. She is finally losing weight too. I watched for a while, not sure if I would jinx her if I asked about the changes since she hadn’t said anything. “Well,” she said and paused a moment, “I thought it was time that I started listening to myself. I made the changes I’ve been telling others to make”. Terry decided to talk with her hospital’s nutritionist… and actually, listen to what a professional could teach her.

Terry, working with her nutritionist, developed a meal plan that focused on healthy foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables. Terry focused on preventing illness by eating nutritious foods instead of treating illness after illness. 

A nutritionist looks carefully at your current food choices and attitudes, then develops a plan for healthy eating. The nutritionist helps you make changes, one at a time, explaining the scientific reasoning and helping you with the changes. A nutritionist focuses on developing a new lifestyle, a new relationship with food and nutrition, not simply dieting and returning to your original dysfunction.

What did Terry learn from the nutritionist? She talks about two things: a better perspective on her health and information about better food choices. Terry comments that she knew lots of information about nutrition and healthy food choices. Her mother taught her to eat fresh, healthy foods, saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. She had been sharing that information with her ICU patients for many years. The piece she needed help with was developing a new way to think about food and her health.

Many people who are trying to establish a healthier lifestyle benefit from professional coaching. An outside perspective, especially from a knowledgeable person, helps keep your focus on your progress. Working with a nutritionist gives Terry both information and encouragement.

Nutritionists are available to help you with changes, too. Follow this link to learn more about consulting a nutritionist online.