I’m the Imperfect Dietitian – Here are the 7 Diet Habits Keeping You From Losing Weight
Start the day with good intentions and reach for a biscuit in the afternoon?
Do you feel confused about what is and isn’t good for you?
Jennifer Medhurst, also known as The Imperfect Nutritionist, knows your pain.
“When I started my health journey, the archetypal ‘healthy’ person drank juices and ate chia seeds,” she says.
“It didn’t feel accessible or sustainable.”
After being diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, nutritionist Jennifer threw herself into learning what constitutes a healthy diet.
“I was so ill that I had to quit my job as a lawyer.
“You have nothing if you are not healthy,” she says.
Now Jennifer has put all that knowledge into a new book, The Imperfect Nutritionist: 7 Principles of Healthy Eating — and her tips will help you make better food choices And feel great…
Eat whole foods
Learn which foods are highly processed and which are not.
“It means having the confidence to flip a label and decide whether or not it’s worth consuming,” says Jennifer.
“Look more at the nutritional value than the calorific value.”
Dodge items that are full of things you don’t recognize.
“Instead, eat fruits, vegetables, and fiber—fiber is so important.” Find it in whole grain breads, beans, and legumes.
Top tip: Redesign your dinner plate.
“You most likely grew up eating half a plate of carbs, a quarter of protein, and a quarter of vegetables — that needs to change,” says Jennifer.
“Half the plate should be fruit or veg – ideally more veg than fruit – then 1/4 whole grain and 1/4 protein.”
Make a variety of decisions
“Ideally, we should be eating at least 30 different types of plant-based foods each week, which might scare people,” says Jennifer.
But no fear. This number includes spices, herbs, nuts and seeds.
Complete Jennifer’s food variety assessment in her book, or make a list yourself, to see how close you are to 30 and get ideas for vegetables you wouldn’t normally eat.
“People are really good at eating two or three vegetables, but then forget about the others,” says Jennifer.
Top tip: Increase the colors in your meals. “Different colors of fruits and vegetables indicate different nutrients,” says Jennifer.
“Research shows that regular consumption of blueberries is linked to long-term brain health, but we could also throw in some raspberries and you’ll have blue.” And ticked red.
“Before you check out at the supermarket, look at your shopping cart, see how many colors you have, and then pack an extra one.”
Fat has long been considered an enemy.
And while some fats, like saturated fats in cheese and cream, should be a treat, artificial trans fats (often listed as mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids) found in most fried foods and processed foods should be avoided entirely.
However, you should actively seek others. “Omega-3s are wonderful,” says Jennifer.
They are especially good for the skin, heart health and during pregnancy.
“They’re mostly found in oily fish: salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, herring, and trout.”
So stock up – the NHS recommends eating a serving of oily fish a week.
Top tip: Not a fan of fish? There are plant forms of omega-3.
“I include walnuts in my breakfast, as well as freshly ground flaxseeds, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids, are good sources of fiber, and are phytoestrogens, so they support hormones as well,” says Jennifer.
From kimchi to kombucha, it’s time to start fermenting.
“We’re not good at eating fermented, prebiotic, or probiotic foods in Western society,” says Jennifer.
“But they are so important in supporting a diverse gut microbiome.”
Sauerkraut, miso and kefir all count, and we like LA Brewery Sparkling English Rose Kombucha, £10.
Top tip: If you care about a healthy gut, then care about how you poop.
“You want effective defecation to properly empty the body, so the position in which you poop is important,” says Jennifer.
“It’s about getting your knees above your hips, so try using a trash can or step to elevate your feet.”
Avoid refined carbohydrates
Sweet treats and chips are highly addictive and delicious, so it’s no wonder we munch on them without thinking.
“People may not eat candy bars because they feel like it.
Instead, it could be, “I need something to eat right now, and this is the closest I can get. It’s not about nutrition.”
Instead, try opting for a packet of nuts or dried fruit.
Top tip: Eating breakfast can help prevent sugar crashes.
“People often skip breakfast, eat a salad for lunch, reach for sugary snacks out of desperation in the afternoon, and then eat more dinner than they would have had they eaten more evenly throughout the day,” says Jennifer .
Try overnight oats with fruit for a filling mix of slow-release carbohydrates and protein.
Think about drinks
“People forget the effects of liquids,” says Jennifer.
“Sugary drinks are incredibly difficult for the liver to process.”
The NHS recommends six to eight glasses of liquid a day, and with good reason.
Check your urine – if you are well hydrated it will be almost clear.
And be careful with fruit juices, Jennifer says: “You can be one of your five a day, but 150ml should be the max, because when fruit is mixed, its structure changes, acting like a fast-release sugar.”
Top tip: As for alcohol, dress your tummy before hitting the vino.
“Eat whole grains with some lean protein, like chicken or turkey, and something high in B vitamins, like broccoli or cabbage, since alcohol depletes B vitamins,” says Jennifer.
Eat well, less stress
Think about the state you are in when you eat.
“Picking up something from a store and then devouring it while checking email isn’t good for your digestion,” says Jennifer.
“You can have the perfect diet, but when you’re stressed, you won’t absorb nutrients the same way.”
Eat mindfully – sit down, eat slowly, and pay attention to each bite.
Research shows it can help people make better food choices, feel happier and prevent weight gain.*
Top tip: Take your time – digestion begins before you start eating.
“Saliva contains digestive enzymes, and it takes time for your body to start producing them,” explains Jennifer.
“If you suddenly ram down a load of food, you won’t reap the benefits.”
- The Imperfect Nutritionist: 7 Principles of Healthy Eatingg by Jennifer Medhurst (£25, Kyle Books) is available now.
https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/health/10457207/food-diet-habits-lose-weight/ I’m the Imperfect Dietitian – Here are the 7 Diet Habits Keeping You From Losing Weight