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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Time for some cooking lessons

After almost 10 years of pretending it didn't really matter, I have now got to face the harsh reality that I can no longer be a dietitian who cannot cook, and I am going to have to go and get lessons. Yes, it is true. Each and every day, I routinely tell complete strangers what they should eat and how to cook it, only to retreat home to eat eggs mixed into an omelet like mixture or a bowl of soup my mother has made for me.

This conclusion has been reached when just tonight I reached my all time low point of having to beg a celebrity chef to cut the avocado for me on the TV shoot because I was terrified I would cut my hand off doing in during the record. Pathetic I know.

So, tonight I am making a commitment to find someone who will teach me how to chop, and possibly throw a recipe together so never again will an avocado be so scary.

So if you are looking for me over the weekend it is likely I will be at Border's looking for "Cooking for Dummies" and Nigella had better watch out.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Go with your gut feeling

Just tonight, in several different ways I was reminded that your gut feeling can be a pretty powerful guiding light on making the right decisions in life. Three years ago I started a job that I coveted more than anything in the world. I had waited for that job for a very long time; I wanted to be around the people in the organisation and I thought it was the next significant stepping stone in my career.

Right from the beginning though, things did not run smoothly. The management continually behaved in ways that were not appropriate. Work was not valued, inappropriate requests were repeatedly made, payment was poor and I was compared to the cleaner also being forgotten when it was questioned why I had not been invited to the groups annual gala dinner with the other members of staff. All in all, pretty powerful signs that it was not the best place to be around, professionally or personally.

Unfortunately, back then I was far less wise, and have stuck it out, which is the reason why now, some three years later I am now in exactly the same position I was back then. The only difference is that I am now significantly more resentful about how low this role and treatment has made me feel and pondering the ways in which I would be much better off if I had told them to fuck off three years ago, as I should have then, and would now if I had my time over.

It is the same with diet programs. If it sounds too good to be true, it will be. Each week I get contacted by new gurus in the diet and exercise space, wanting to pitch new products and claim they have found the newest, most effective way to lose weight. Now, call me cynical but seven years of uni and hundreds of patients of all different weights, ages and genders has taught me that there is no easy way to lose weight and any new idea is simply another poacher wanting to grab his or her five minutes of diet hall fame.

And in relationships? How many of us are kicking ourselves when we saw the first sign of disrespect, of bad behaviour, of infidelity and choose to ignore it, to justify it, only to make a split or the harsh truth so much more hurtful and difficult months, if not years on?

So, the main thing I have learnt this week is go with your gut instinct because it is usually the right option. If someone treats you badly, it is highly likely they will again. Remember, past behaviour is the most powerful predictor of future behaviour. And finally, we teach people how to treat us. If someone is not treating you well, something you did told the person that it was OK to treat you that way and it is now your job is to not make the same mistake again.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Will banning TV advertising to children really fix obesity?

Working with overweight kids for 7 years has taught me that there is not one simple thing that makes kids fat. Fat kids do not eat Macca's every day, nor do they eat a particular type of food that makes them fat. Kids get fat because they do not burn enough energy and, like many adults, eat too much for the amount of energy they burn.

So, while banning food advertising to children does seem to be a powerful response; one that successfully raises the emotions of the health professionals involved in the lobbying to something rivalling that of saving the starving children in Africa and definitely one that removes the notion that food companies are taking advantage of our precious darlings by exposing them to the wicked Ronald McDonald and the Paddle Pop Lion; I am not convinced it is the answer.

If we just get kids more active in their daily lives; more active at home, more active at school, not only will they watch lessTV anyway and hence reduce their exposure to television advertising but they will also need to worry far less about what they are eating.

So, rather than starting another health crusade which focuses on the negatives of food companies, perhaps looking at the positives in terms of what parents and kids CAN do to help prevent and manage obesity will be a WIN/WIN situation for all.

The truth is that TV advertising to children has been banned for some time in some Scandinavian countries but alas, despite this, there as been no changes in childhood obesity prevelance in these countries. So, I am not convined that shielding the kids eyes from all things fun and yummy with protect them from obesity at all, but going for a regular walk may well do, and that, is proven to work.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Italian anyone?

I fell in love with an Italian family when I was at uni, but most of all, as a budding nutrition student i fell in love with the way that they ate. A very long way from the grilled chops and mashed potato I grew up with in the western suburbs of Sydney; these delightful people sat together every night and savoured a number of courses of salad, bread, grilled seafood, marinated vegetables and coffee, every night. It was the best insight into food culture and one that could never be learnt from a text book.

Now, 10 years later, this family remain a very important part of my life and just last weekend, the 70 year old table head painted my townhouse. With him he brought his esky, filled with fresh Italian bread, proscuito, fruit and aged cheese, food which he survived on for the entire weekend.

I do not think that a scrap of butter, margarine has ever passed through this man's lips his entire life and not much processed food either-bread is about as processed as it gets. And maybe this is the very simple reason he is still working full time without a scrap of fat on him at the grand old age of 70 - or perhaps it is the 1/2 bottle or so of red he also polishes off each night!?

Either way, that kind of diet doesn't seem so bad after all

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Are you in EBB or FLOW?

Have you ever noticed how sometimes things just tend to fall into place. Work is going well, you have plenty of clients, when you head out, the person you hope is there turns up, people are paying their bills on time and life is ticking along nicely; things are in a state called FLOW.

Other times, nothing is going right. You couldn’t get a date if you paid for it, no work deals are being done and the phone is not ringing, every envelope you open is a bill and you have not been paid for months, everything you try and do becomes a hassle and life is really a chore; things are in a state called EBB.

While life can’t always be in FLOW, sometimes EBB comes when we need to make changes. Things are not flowing because we are not on the right path. We are in the wrong job, wrong relationship, looking for the wrong thing, training the wrong way.

If you think that you are in EBB, and have been there for some time it might be a sign that you need to make some changes in your life. The mid to late twenty’s are an age related period when these lags become apparent and big questions do need to be asked.

Key things to consider at this time include:

1) Where do I want to be in 12 months, 2 years and in 5 years; personally, professionally, financially?
2) And then, what do I need to change/do/alter/consult with to get to these places?

Confronting? Yes, but life is too short to be stuffing around on a path that is not in line with your authentic self, the journey you are meant to be taking and ultimately personal happiness.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Is your coffee making you fat?

When do you have your coffee? Just before breakfast? One the way to work? With breakfast?

A increasingly common eating pattern I am noticing with my clients is the propensity to have a milk based coffee such as a Latte or Flat White early in the morning, only to follow it an hour or so later with breakfast. Remember, the body is programmed to digest food with reasonable time intervals between eating occasions, meaning if you have a coffee that is milk based (or with added syrup, cream) you are effectively having a breakfast, albeit a small one. Rather than dragging your feeding occasions out by sipping on milk coffee all day or doubling your breakfast eating occasions in the morning, try and allow 2-3 hours in between your meal times with no calories going in. This mans that plain black coffee, tea or green tea are fine but milk based drinks tells the body you are eating again, which releases digestion hormones continually, which is not ideal for optimal fat burning.