Dietitian Jill Reveals her Secrets for Permanent Change
I have pom-poms. Green ones. They hang in my session room on the wall so I can rapidly rip them off for instant rah-rahs. In other words, I use them to perk up the spirits of clients who are just can’t envision a way out from the perceived pothole in which they’re living. I used to call myself a Wellness Cheerleader. But it made more sense to call myself a “Cheerleader for Health”.
Why? Because at 71 I’m still medication-free, working 16-hour days, and about to launch a “diet-less … lose weight more” concept called “Are You Weighting?” for others AND myself. A program that deals first and foremost with how to FEEL about yourself and your body, how to come to terms with all the tongue-, physical-, and emotional-lashings that you give your size, and first and foremost, learn to forgive, love, and understand it and the nourishment you give to it.
Because, first and foremost, we gravitate toward the NEGATIVE of things … not the positive. And have a penchant for beating ourselves up about our natural appetites and normal body sizes. The other day, I saw a seventies woman who complained about dizziness. Turned out she barely ate … was averaging about 600 calories a day … and fixated about her lack of a waist. No wonder she was dizzy! Being an over-seventies woman myself, I don’t have much of a waist either. And … come to think of it … my own mother lamented her lack of one for years.
The sad truth is that my new client looked GREAT! But she couldn’t see that. A lot of my clients are like that. That’s why I came up with the idea of a CHEERLEADER FOR HEALTH!
What is that? Well, here are some ways what I do is different than your average nutritionist …
I DON’T BELIEVE IN STRICT DIETS! With the exception of my alternative work where clients have to avoid certain foods to feel better, I don’t believe in restricting certain foods or eating in a certain way. Diets make people cheaters, crazy, and fatter. And, like the client I just talked about, malnourished and sick. Instead, I give you basic guidelines so that you can easily structure your own appetites and ways of eating around them.
I ultimately want people to feel good about how and what they eat. But most of us make food the enemy and pariah. Why? Because we’re scared of losing control over it. NEWS FLASH … food has nothing to do with your “problem” with it. Instead, it’s the way you use it to punish or self-medicate that’s the “problem”. And also the way that you feel about and nurture yourself and your body, which opens up a whole new can of … spaghetti.
I GIVE ONGOING SUPPORT. Most good dietitians or nutritionists see you once a week if that. When I worked in clinics, we were expected to wave our magic wands and “fix” people in a session. That always made me uncomfortable. Because the reality is that change is individual. And change takes time.
Dealing with someone’s relationship with food is probably the most complicated issue I’ve ever encountered. Including my own. There’s a line from a movie … “will they be there to pry the cookie dough out of your hands at 2am?”. It takes time, self-reflection, and most of all knowing someone is there who will give you the right tools to make whatever health goals you have for yourself a reality.
So we do meet once a week for a while. But I also insist that people email or text me when they have difficulty. And at the very least, do daily “check ins”. Daily practice of all kinds is key. It makes them accountable for their choices. And they also know that they have the non-judgmental support that allows change to happen.
I USE LOTS OF DIFFERENT WAYS TO MAKE CHANGE POSITIVE AND POSSIBLE. Giving people a diet and then sending them off to do it has never worked. In the last few years, the experts also agree. And advocate things like mindfulness, intense counseling, and a return to cooking to turn the obesity tide around. After attending a seminar about just that, I left chuckling. I had been doing all that for years and years. I even now live in an open-kitchen house so that counseling and cooking can become a seamless affair.
I use many tools for change … I’m passionate about it and them. Mindfulness, guided imagery, behavior modification, cognitive restructuring, Emotional Freedom Technique (tapping), art therapy, drumming, physical acting-out … you name it. Different people have different needs and things that work. And, since I’m an intuitive, I also put that to work too. As well as my prior cheffing experience and downright love of food.
The most transforming thing I think I can do for you, however, is to be in your corner, to walk with you, or to be a mirror for your greatest fears and terrific triumphs. You need someone on your side to walk with you through the fire. And kick you in the butt when you need it.
So, the greatest gift I can give you is to really see and listen to you. To value you so that you can value yourself. To give you great tools so that you’ll pry the cookie dough out of your own hands. And make those changes you’ve always dreamed about but just couldn’t wrap your head and heart around. Hence the poms-poms. Time you got your own?
Leave Your Comments About What IS a Cheerleader for Health? Below
What have you done to make you better or thinner? Has it worked for you? What do you think of the things I’m advocating?