Episode Title: Real talk: Non diet Dietitians share ideas on why changing behavior is so hard with Andrea Heyman

By: Tricia

Welcome back to the show. I’m your host Tricia. I’m so happy that you’re here today. In this episode, we have a conversation with Andrea Haman and Andrea is a fellow dietician who shares the same philosophy that I, that I do in that all foods fit. And, you know, we both believe in this non diet, weight loss approach. Andrea has podcasts as well. Hers is called adventures in feeding my family and I had an Andrea on this show and episode 27. So if you want to find more about her, you can head over to the show notes. And there is her information. This episode is it’s just real talk between two dietitians. And some of the conversations that we talk about is why changing behavior can be really hard. And some of the emotional challenges that come up when it comes to changing your life or your eating habits.
And we talk about how our professional training has affected our personal approach. I mean, I think probably I know for me, I used to teach this whole, you know, counting calories kind of approach. And I realized that it didn’t work because I would keep doing it and I would do it myself and then I would also have other people do it. And it may work up to a point, but it’s hard to maintain it on that approach. So we just talk a little bit about that in this episode, kind of the mistakes that we’ve made before we start the episode, I want to invite you to join the newly formed Facebook group, whole health empowerment project. In that Facebook group, it’s focused towards women greater than a 40 who are having the same struggles as you. I want it to form a community of other women so that you didn’t feel like you were so alone.
And that also you’ll have access to me too. We can all just kind of just talk about what’s going on, being on the microphone. It’s really hard to get your input and to talk to you. So it’s kind of a way that we can do that, that we can, you know, if you have any questions that you want answered, I’ll be happy to do that. So head on over to Facebook and it is the whole health empowerment project Facebook group. Also, before we start the episode, I want to let you know that I am doing a free five day meal prep challenge, and that will happen the week of April 26 at the end of that, there’ll be a webinars. So there’s more information in there. So it’s totally free and I’ll send you some tips and it’s all kind of going with this whole meal prepping vibe and how to make it a little bit more simple. So sign up over, you can go to my website, Tricia rd.com or you’ll find information on my Instagram, whole health empower. And then also you can find information on the Facebook group. Okay. So thanks so much, guys have a great day and enjoy this episode.
Tricia, back in October, when we were both involved in a podcast, I guess coaching group, she is also a dietician with the whole health empowerment project. We share a similar philosophy on nutrition and we both take a non diet approach, a no food rules approach to providing guidance and support for women on their health journey. So this was more of a conversation between the two of us, just kind of promoting our philosophies and sharing our ideas and how as dieticians in the clinical field, working with other women, how we have gotten to this place and how we also incorporate our ideas and philosophies into our own lives and into our households, adventurous and feeding. My fan is a weekly podcast discussing the challenges and fun around feeding your family healthy meals. I’m Andrea Haman, and I’ve been a registered dietician for over 25 years. So I know he importance of good nutrition, but I’m also a mom of three. So I understand the challenges and tumor that comes along with trying to make this happen in this podcast. I’ll share my tips, tricks and menus, but also share the stories and food prep failures that come along the way to interview guests. We’ll discuss family food, traditions, how to strengthen bonds around the family table, as well as their favorite family recipes. There isn’t one right way to feed your family, but there are countless stories and you can take bits and pieces and learn from all of them.
Welcome Trisha. I’m so glad you came on to be a guest on the podcast. I’m really happy to have you here.
Thank you so much. It’s such an honor to be here. So thank you. I’m really excited about this interview
Because I have never had a dietician as a guest on my podcast. So this is something new for me. And I’d love to hear a little bit about your background as a dietician. How did you become a dietician? How’d you decide on that career?
Well, yeah, I’m excited to be your first dietician. It’s really exciting and I’m really thrilled about it. So thank you. So for me, I was somebody who, um, I always growing up my dad or, you know, other family members had a history of, you know, diabetes and heart disease. And so I always liked that, you know, that food could somehow contribute or somehow, um, make those diagnosis as a little bit better. It was always in the background of my mind when I had gone to school, I decided I went to a college and I kept changing majors and I ended up not doing nutrition at that particular time. And instead of doing my undergrad is in kinesiology. So more like an exercise science kind of background. What I realized is, is that within that what I could do and where I could work, there was a ton of people giving information that really weren’t qualified, including myself at that time.
I wasn’t a dietician and I wanted to be the expert. I wanted to be the person who gave information out to people that was true and real, and that could help their life. So it led me back to school to be a dietician. And, you know, I loved it. I loved learning all of the coursework and I loved it. So I ended up working in a clinical setting. I worked in that clinical setting at a hospital for about 14 years and I loved it. It was wonderful. I mean, it’s really different when you are working with people and they’re sick and you feel like for me anyway, to be able to provide information to them that could potentially change their life and make their life so much better. It was wonderful. Loved it. But during that, because my particular population that I worked with was heart disease, diabetes, that kind of mix of probably that’s prevalent in the general population. I also want it to do, you know, some things that were closer to, how do you get to the point that you can, um, change these behaviors before people get to a point that, you know, medicine is required or they become really, really sick. So that’s kind of my journey into becoming a dietician and why I loved working in a hospital, but then also transitioning and trying to, you know, go more of that preventative. Right?
Yeah. So really it’s almost like this was infused in you kind of watching your dad’s experience and kind of a seed was planted, and then you thought, huh, there has to be a way to avoid this, or, you know, how can we go through life and not have to develop diabetes or heart disease or other illnesses? And that it’s almost, that is like your mission for a lot of years.
I mean, I think that I look at my family history and like most family histories, I have, you know, parents with heart disease, diabetes. And so I am aware of the risks that, that presents to me. And so sure there is this point of like, how can I avoid that from happening? But I think also when you’re going through that, you know, I think life can be different for me, you know? So, and, and kind of learning like what worked for my parents and what didn’t and what contributed to those things and what’s it in, and then how I could make my life different and how I could help others make their life different too. But recognizing that there’s a lot of challenges in there too. There’s a lot of emotional challenges in there. So it’s not just simply like giving somebody education one time and that’s enough to change their life.
And that really for that, you know, for that behavior to change, to occur at, it needs to be something that, you know, that it’s done over, you know, over a time period that can make that change happen. So it is something that I’ve, you know, I think it started with my own desire to avoid diseases that were rampant in my family. And then also, you know, I’m that kind of person that when I learned something, I want to share it with everybody. And so that’s kind of exactly where that came from. So I want to share with people what I’ve learned. And so that continues to be my mission.
I love that, you know, we have very similar background, not necessarily backgrounds, very similar missions. And I love that you said that you understand that, that there are emotional challenges with changing eating habits and changing lifestyle habits. Can you talk a little bit more about that?
I think a lot of people know what to do, right. For the majority, including myself. Like I know what to do, even though I don’t always do it. And I’m sure Andre, you probably have been in that same position. Yeah. So I think that most of us know what to do. We know what to do, but there’s this cognitive and emotional part of it that, you know, that hinders that. So most people know that exercise is good. Most people know that eating right is good. And so it’s trying to really tap into those things that, and those emotions or feelings or whatever is hindering you from making that happen over the longterm. You know, there have been a few people that I’ve met along the way that really like once you teach them, they can, they, they run with it and they do really great.
But I think for the majority of people, it’s a history of, um, foul dieting attempts and having a lot of knowledge of what they can do to lose weight initially, since that tends to be the goal, but really like, you know, trying to refocus that onto how can you maintain maximum health and being okay that it’s going to take a little bit longer of a time and that you know what to do. And it’s just kind of tapping into what you’ve used in the past and trying to make it more of a lifestyle and something that’s doable so that you can in the longterm increase, you know, and have the health goals that you desire, whatever that may be.
Yeah. That’s definitely my experience too, that folks absolutely know what they quote unquote want to do, but it’s really putting that into practice. And how do we, if it were just as easy as doing what we know to do, then you and I wouldn’t have a job, we would not be in demand and there wouldn’t be a billion dollar diet industry out there, but it really is few and far between the number of people that can just get a little bit of information once or twice and follow through with that, you know, for forever and incorporate that into their lives permanently. And it’s really that additional piece, that cognitive piece that you were mentioning, I was thinking that, well, you are absolutely right that, you know, most people are coming to nutritionists and dieticians because they want to lose weight. And I, if that’s primarily because of they’re getting that message from their doctors, like the doctors might say, Hey, I think you, if you lost weight, then you might not develop diabetes.
Or if you lost weight, your heart disease, risk factors will reduce. But what if they started changing the message and instead of physicians focusing on, Hey, you need to lose weight. What if that message was different? How could that impact, um, how people approach their eating habits? I feel like, I guess my point is that physicians tend to wait to give that advice until there’s already a problem. But if we could shift that earlier and physicians would say, I’d love for you to shift your eating style or your lifestyle or your sleeping habits, all of these things that could kind of focus more on the side of prevention. What do you think about that?
Yeah. I mean, I think that it’s easy. That’s the easier way to go, right? So when you go to a doctor’s appointment, it’s, they’re probably pretty booked. And so it’s hard to probably have a lot of time with the person, right. With your physician. And so what happens is, is like what’s really easy is to take a heightened, a wheat and then put that in and calculate this BMI and the doc, the doctor can say, okay, BMI is elevated. Let’s talk about weight loss. And I think for most people that tends to be the goal, at least average, initially people think it’s going to be weight loss, I have to lose weight, but then, you know, then the blood work will come in. And so the doctor will do some blood work and then maybe they have high cholesterol or maybe they have diabetes. And so then it becomes also to lose weight.
Right. And so, yeah, I, and I, but then I also think that what happens is, is like the doctor has to give an intervention. So it’s like a diet tip sheet on how to lose weight, maybe how to eat a little bit better, not taking into account anything about the patient, which I think is that’s just the way the healthcare system is. And I think that, you know, unfortunately that’s just kind of where you’re at. And so yes, I would love the focus to be more, um, based on behavior in terms of, instead of just based on weight. But I think unfortunately that’s kind of the route that it goes when it comes to healthcare. And so, you know, then where is the, where is the person supposed to go after that? Because the doctor isn’t going to have all of the information that the person needs.
And so that’s, I kind of think where it, it tends to kind of break down is that either the person does nothing at all or the person’s offered medicine or the person’s offered like a diet sheet or maybe to go meet with a dietician. I find that people usually come to me because it’s gotten bad enough. Then they know that they have to come back and see their doctor. So they want to make a change. And I think initially it usually tends to be either weight loss or, you know, I have high, um, numbers and I’m worried that I’m going to get diabetes or my cholesterol is high. My triglycerides are high. And then that’s when they come see me and I’m sure it’s the same for you. And so then over time, once you can kind of get that person, then you can kind of be like, okay, I know the weight loss is your goal, but there’s all these other things that we can do.
And then you can really allow people to tap into that emotional eating and whatever else and focusing on really a healthy lifestyle change. I think what happens is with prevention is we all think we know what to do. There’s a lot of information out there in terms of nutrition information. Some of it’s true, some of it isn’t. And so I think a lot of people think like, Oh, I can just go research this and do this. And that’s it. But, you know, unfortunately it’s, we live in a very diet culture world. So weight loss becomes an issue and you haven’t, that tends to be the messaging. And then you have a lot of people that aren’t, you know, that are nutritionist, that don’t have the training that we do as registered dieticians. And so, you know, there’s a lot of conflict, conflicting information. And so it’s very confusing for people to even practice prevention, I think. And, and, and what I’ve seen, because they don’t know where to go. They don’t know where to get information and they don’t know what’s reputable.
Yeah. I love it. When folks come to me and they are more in a prevention state as opposed to sort of a reaction reaction reacting to the blood work or the physician’s recommendation. And I, I can think of someone really recently, maybe two weeks ago
And, and people that do that, that comes through, I’m sorry. Do you have a lot of people that come to you for prevention, just with the desire for prevention based on, you know, just not on any blood work or anything?
Occasionally. Yeah. And a couple of weeks ago I had somebody who was, that’s exactly why she came. And she stated just that she was like, I really just want to get the information from a trustworthy source because I read so much and I’m confusing myself and I’m getting overwhelmed. And I, I really praised her so much because, um, you know, we had a very simple conversation and she had her questions ready and she’s like, great. That answers that. Okay, thank you. And it was, it was actually very satisfying for me.
And I, I think what also can be confusing is that we have people that have, like, most people it’s only have like one underlying diagnosis it’s usually multiple. And so then the diet advice, not the Hyatt, cause it’s not the nutrition, advice is very different. So I think the nutrition advice can be conflicting based on the underlying whatever’s happening. So if you have heart disease, if you have like, if, if you have something else IBDs that the nutrition approach might be different. So I think it’s confusing to people to really know what to do and to find the information, especially if you have multiple co-morbidities or things that you’re trying to focus on and really change.
That’s such a good point. You’re absolutely right. I’m really glad you brought that up. Tell me how your professional training has kind of affected your personal approach to eating and food. So
My whole philosophy, which I know we share in this is just kind of, you know, trying to simplify it and to make it like not so crazy and to get so caught up that my health eating isn’t. So that it’s part of my lifestyle that it’s not like this fat, right. So it’s not like I’m eating healthy and I’m on a healthy lifestyle and then I’m not. So I think that’s the big thing is trying to, for me have the balance. And that’s where my professional experience I think helps for sure, because I can kind of figure out in my head what the balance looks like for me and to be in tune with that. And then I have a little kiddo who’s four. And so it’s trying to figure out how to get him to have some balance, but certainly, you know, we eat at McDonald’s sometimes too.
And so it’s trying to have the balance is the big thing, because I think we’re a lot of, you know, families, women in particular, there’s this guilt of like, I have to eat really great for myself. Well, I see two things. I see either women that are women. So I typically say, so I’m saying women, women that will feed their kids really great and then feed themselves like crap. So I see that. And then I see people where it’s the other extreme where it’s like this, like, everything is revolving about revolves around nutrition and Uber restricting. And so it’s trying to really tap into the simplicity of it and the balance of it. And you know, for me, like I kind of know how my work week goes. And so I write down if you want specifics, I kind of like write down what my week is going to look like every, every weekend.
And then I meal prep on Sundays because I know that that’s what works for me and for my life with my son is to having food around the house. I have it like schedule when I’m going to go grocery shopping. And that that’s pretty non-negotiable because I know if I don’t do those things, then it’s going to be really hard for me to have the lifestyle and the balance that I really want. But I also know that there’s going to be week when it’s really hard and that’s not going to happen. And so I’ve been able to kind of figure out what to do during those weeks and how to kind of get myself through it, the two of us. And so I think that’s where the professional part is, is like just having the simplicity and the balance, because what I’ve mistakenly done so many times is like, you have people in you’re having people you really are excited for them because they want to make these behavior changes. And then I think the mistake that I’ve made is giving so much information and not really trying to figure out how it fits people’s lives. And so I have found that simplifying that message and creating balance a lot, it seems to work a lot more for people. So instead of making these huge drastic changes all at one time, trying to figure out ways to do it over time so that it can become part of a lifestyle. And that counts for me too. I do that
Same thing. Absolutely. I love that you’re using the word simplicity here because as a culture in general, and I’ll definitely say women, we, we try to make things so hard and it doesn’t have to be hard. Do you ever have come to you and say things like, do you eat, you’re a nutritionist. You must never eat bread. It’s like, they’re imposing their food rules on, on you. Do you ever get that?
Oh yeah. It’s always like, Oh gosh, the dietician is here, Hydra m&ms the dietician is here, hydro pizza. But the thing is, is like I worked in a place right in the hospital and we would eat like eminent, like all of these things. And so I think, yes, there is like that thought that you’re somehow the food police and you’re monitoring that. But, you know, I know something that we both believe is that every food fish, right. So there are some foods sure. You probably don’t want to eat all the time. And there’s some that, you know, you want to eat a little bit more of, but yes, I don’t. I want to, I know that we both have this philosophy of like never avoiding things that you, you know, I wouldn’t tell you to avoid cookies and donuts and then for myself to go eat cookies and donuts.
Cause I love cookies and donuts. So yes, I think that we are human as dieticians, you know, and we’re going to eat all the same things and we want to have all those same things because it’s fulfilling something that I really desire and that I really want, then I don’t want to sacrifice that. And so I know the approach that we do is to kind of encourage that in our, in our patients too, because that’s the only thing that’s gonna gonna work in the longterm. So yeah, I try not to go with the food rules for myself and then for my, for my patients too. And yes, I do have people that impose that. And so then I just kind of give the spiel that I’ve just given here that like, you know, like in order for this to fit in, to be a lifestyle, it’s not going to be something it’s not realistic for you to avoid bread and carbs and food groups and things, especially if you love them. And besides the fact that, you know, the things that I think we tend to cut out in terms of carbs and stuff, we need them. And so that’s just kind of, you know, educating on that message and why it’s important.
Right? I love that. I so appreciate you. I love your messaging. And I’m just so happy to have somebody who is on the same page as me working in the same field, doing similar work. And I, I really, really appreciate that. I feel like we need more of us and we need to like have a megaphone, trying to talk above the noise of the rest of the diet industry, because we need to, we need to prevail. We need to get our message out there for sure.
Yeah. And I think what happens is, and I think why our messages are so important and why we’re using our platform to help other people hear this message by our podcast is because what I feel like what I see in women is, is there’s a lot of like guilt and shame. And I’m sure in men the same way that they’re not doing the things that society and diet culture is telling them to do. And so then it ends up hindering their progress of RA. So I think for you, and I think what we do is important because it’s kind of like, wait, it’s all within your control. You can do it. It doesn’t have to be perfect and it can just be just starting. And it doesn’t, you know, like it doesn’t, it doesn’t have to be what do, and the changes that you make.
It doesn’t have to be what, you know, somebody on Instagram is doing, it can be something that’s really simple and you make a change and you start one day, but you keep doing that behavior over time. You’re going to see a result. And so, you know, it’s just trying to remember that it’s not something that’s going to be quick in terms of making behavior changes because it happens over time, but that that’s okay. And then that’s normal. And I think that’s the big thing is the normalizing it and not taking in the, the game that, you know, the shame and the guilt that often comes with feeling like we’re not doing enough because as women, we already already feel like that baseline. And so then to add that in with our health, it just makes it, it just continues that cycle of shame and guilt and feeling like you’re not normal or you’re inadequate in my opinion.
Yeah. I think we could do a whole nother episode on shame and guilt around this one, for sure. For sure. Do you have one final message that you want to convey to women just who are feeding themselves and trying to feed their family like one lasting thought you want to share?
My philosophy is progress over perfection. So progress over perfection with all health changes that could be, you know, um, meal prepping, whatever you’re doing, whenever you’re changes that week, it’s just taking one step forward every day and doing something that works for you. And it doesn’t have to be every day. But knowing that you are, you know, if your goal is to eat more fruits and vegetables, that every day, you’re just kind of looking at that and figuring out ways to do it. Because again, over time that will get you to the bigger goal of what you’re trying to achieve.
That is such gold. That is a fantastic nugget. Thank you so much for your time. And I appreciate you and your message so much.
I, well, I love talking to you and I will always talk to you. So I am honored to be here and to share my message with your audience and just, I’m very grateful for the friendship that we’ve, that we’ve recently formed. So thank you so much. I really appreciate your time.
We’ll talk soon. I really love how Trisha said progress over perfection. That’s such a good phrase and such a good reminder for us as well. During this episode, I mentioned that I work with clients. One-on-one did you know that if you’re interested in seeing if you’re a good candidate to work with me, please sign up for a 30 minute discovery call. Those are free, and we can begin to outline and identify your health goals and determine the next best steps for you to get there. That link will be in the show notes, and I would love to see you there. I’m always here to help guide and support you on your health journey until next time, take care.
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