If you have tried to lose weight, you know the struggle. There are hundreds of diets that claim to be the quickest, healthiest, best way to burn fat and lose weight. We’ve heard the big names and heavily branded diets like Atkins, Southbeach, Keto, Paleo, and Raw food just to name a few. How can you decide which diet is best for you?
According to our Healthy Chats guest, registered and licensed dietitian Nikki Estep, if a perfect diet that worked for everyone existed, we would know about it. Nikki calls herself the “non-diet dietitian.” She focuses on the health of her clients, making sure they are getting the right nutrition from healthy sources, and making weight-loss a result of healthy eating instead of the main goal. Nikki also gives our Sweet Potato Lasagna a great shoutout towards the end that makes us blush 🙂
See what else Nikki has to say about diets, nutrition, and healthy food in this episode of Healthy Chats:
Owner of Mindful Eats Nutrition
Registered and Licensed Dietitian
HG: Do you have a diet philosophy?
Nikki Estep: My name is Nikki Estep and I’m the owner of Mindful Eats Nutrition and my philosophy as a dietician is that diets don’t work. I call myself a non-diet or anti-diet dietician because we have really great evidence that shows that diets don’t work for the long term.
HG: What makes your approach to achieving a healthy diet different?
Nikki Estep: I bring people in and I help them, what I call make peace with food, so I’ll even have them say, let’s let’s not talk about weight. Let’s look at what can we do to promote your health to increase your health, increase your healthy behaviors. I want people to really shift from, “Okay my goal is to lose 20 pounds in two weeks…” Okay let’s look, pause with that and I would really want people to say what do I really want for life, for my body, what do I want to accomplish, and can we talk more about our health and I’m very successful getting people to imprint their health parameters which is most important.
HG: What are the most common obstacles to leading a healthy lifestyle?
Nikki Estep: Common roadblocks are going to be when people come to me and they’ve been in the diet mentality for a really long time what that means is maybe they’ve tried about 50 different diets you know that’s actually one of my first questions I ask people okay so how many diets have you been on and most everyone can say, “Oh well I’ve done you know Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig or I’ve done low carb or Aikido,” and actually the research shows that most people will lose weight, and then gain it back, plus some. women they’re on the fad diets so the first thing that I do with people is I said okay let’s get off the diet rollercoaster and that’s that’s right block number one.
HG: What are some crazy diet myths that your clients have brought to you?
Nikki Estep: My favorite misconceptions are about eggs. One decade they were horrible, don’t eat them, the next evolution of that was we’ll just eat egg whites right? Egg whites are okay, more recently we’ve actually discovered that the cholesterol in eggs, it’s not a one-to-one like it immediately turns into cholesterol in your blood. You can eat the eggs you know we don’t have to eliminate all cholesterol from our diet to have you know good cholesterol numbers.
HG: Weightloss vs. health, which do you consider most important?
Nikki Estep: We have confused weight loss and health this is the entire issue is that we in order to simplify things, in order for doctors to be able to get the quickest advice for their patients the solution for everyone is lose weight but the question is is that healthy for your body and this is what we’ve got to shift back to saying, “Okay what what are the individual behaviors are actually going to make you healthy,” and a lot of times that has nothing to do with the weight loss.
HG: What is your favorite meal?
Nikki Estep: I actually really love lasagna especially in the in the winter one of the meals that you guys gave me was that it was the sweet potato lasagna. I’m like “yesss, this is so delicious,” and your food does not taste like diet food. You know it is it is it’s delicious food it has all the things in there that you would want and lots of vitamins minerals from sweet potatoes and a good hearty meat, I mean it’s good stuff.
HG: Any general diet advice for the viewers?
Nikki Estep: I want people to instead of being caught up in micromanaging their calories and their macros and being so involved in that I don’t want people to be able to live their life to the fullest and we can’t really do that if we’re preoccupied with food all the time.
Whether you are trying to get in shape, lose weight, or just start eating healthier, its important to find nutritional food that you enjoy eating. Launching into a diet that conflicts with your tastebuds is a surefire way to ensure your diet won’t last. Bouncing from diet-to-diet, losing and regaining weight is what Nikki calls the “diet rollercoaster.” It sounds fun, until you ride it yourself and find the cycle is extremely discouraging.
Get off the ride and start feeling better about your health! It’s not entirely about losing X amount of pounds. Finding meals that give you the nutrition your body needs and being mindful about portion control will give you long-term results. Thank you to Nikki for your valued insight!