Maybe your eating habits are alarmingly healthy – greens, colorful veggies, plenty of fiber.
But if you’re like most of us, inhaling steak burritos and firmly believing that Tuesdays go best with a bottle of wine…then maybe they’re not. Maybe you feel a little off, like something could be fixed but you’re not quite sure what. Maybe you feel lethargic, and don’t have a good reason why. Maybe you want to be exercising, but can’t quite find the motivation under the piles of laundry and junk food.
Your answer could be a nutritionist – someone who will assess your lifestyle and habits and help you shift your behavior to align with your goals.
“My goal is not to have you as a client for life,” says Houston-based nutritionist Adrian Hernandez. “My goal is to have you as a client until you’re able to modify your behavior.” After the Tuesday bottle of wine has been properly analyzed and adjusted, he waves a merry good-bye. After all, you don’t want a schoolmarm rapping your knuckles with a ruler every time you reach for an Oreo. You want to quell the desire to stuff your cheeks with sandwich cookies in the first place.
Kiss Calorie Counting Goodbye
“We don’t like to teach people about calorie counting,” explains Hernandez. Instead he teaches people how food affects their bodies and looks at where and why bad habits are creeping in.
If a client comes to Hernandez with doctor’s orders – lose 20 pounds, lower cholesterol – he helps them parse out how to make that incomprehensible assignment a reality. “Clients will come and talk about their lives and about their stresses and about what makes them happy and sad,” he explains. “Often, the actual education only comes into play after their life has been put on the table.”
Instead of strict structuring or crash dieting, he finds options that fit seamlessly into a client’s life. Be warned: He will ask about more than your refrigerator. A good nutritionist will want to know what changes you can make, even in the areas that have nothing to do with nutrition. “You have to really identify what’s going on in their lives,” he explains.
It Can Be As Simple As Putting Your Clothes In the Hamper
One client realized that tossing his clothes into the laundry each day instead of allowing dirty shirts to multiply and take over his apartment made everything better. Hernandez helped him realize that he didn’t like being at home because his house was always a mess. Together they found a simple, workable solution that spread throughout the client’s entire life.
“He started inviting people over and cooking more at home,” explains Hernandez. “It was a slow process, but over time he was able to eat at home three to five days a week instead of going to fast food joints. He shed pound after pound after pound – something he’d wanted to do for years, but could never manage with his lifestyle.”
Health Is Less About Obsessing and More About Habit Building
One year blueberries are the antioxidant of the stars, the next year they’re injecting nuclear radiation into your morning smoothie. Who can keep up? “Every year you hear something different,” says Hernandez. But as long as you have a solid foundation around how food affects your body, you’re set. “I tell people, ‘It’s built into our wiring. If animals can do it, why can’t we?’”
Knowing that you can do something to alleviate a persistent problem in your life is very empowering. We eat food every day. If you can change your relationship with it, you’ll feel a deep sense of power over your own life. “Food has the potential to have a domino effect,” explains Hernandez.
Three Things You Can Do Today To Get Healthier
- Drink more water
- Eat more colorfully
- Be more active, whatever that means to you
“Just do something,” Hernandez says. “People fall into the mundane and don’t explore. They don’t push themselves.”
Would changing your eating habits help your life? How can you push yourself more today?