Christmas is almost here which means lots of feasting on delicious food. It seems like a good time to repost this interview with nutritionist Dr Joanna McMillan who told us back in July that we need to stop feeling guilty about each and every calorie and start enjoying the food we put into our mouths. Bring on the Christmas pudding!
Dieting has become a way of life for many of us. We spend our days counting calories, reading about the latest and greatest weight loss programs, stocking up on ‘super foods’ and trying to prepare meals that are healthy. But has this obsession resulted in a generation of women who no longer allow themselves to enjoy a piece of cake? Are we losing our love of food?
In this interview, nutritionist Dr Joanna McMillan tells Deborah that diets are creating unnecessary obstacles around food.
“Fad diets are really eroding people’s relationships with food, particularly for women. I find they are so caught up and worried about what they should eat, what they should cut out, and what approach to follow, that they’ve forgotten about the fundamentals. This creates body image problems … it’s like some women are almost too scared to eat,” Dr Joanna said.
With a glut of conflicting dietary information on the internet it can be hard to know exactly what constitutes ‘healthy’ anymore. Are we allowed to eat pasta? Should we be cutting out dairy? Is tofu good or bad for our bodies? Dr Joanna says that this is causing serious food anxiety for many women.
“We’re making ridiculous associations with food. We’ve been eating bread since biblical times and yet nowadays it is seen as ‘bad’ in terms of our diets,” she said.
Dr Joanna also believes that the rules we create for ourselves around what we can and can’t eat are affecting the way we consume food in social situations.
“To me, eating goes way beyond what nutrients are in the food. Sharing a meal should be about taking pleasure and being grateful for the food we eat,” she said.
When asked about the 5:2 diet (also known as intermittent fasting) which involves restricting calorie intake for two days in a row and eating normally for the other five days, Dr Joanna says it is a diet that has some merit, but more research needs to be done.
Dr Joanna recently launched a new program called ‘Get Lean’ which aims to help people improve their diets – as well as their sleeping and exercise patterns. The program, which she launched through her website, offers women tools to manage stress and achieve positive change in their lives. She has also set up a Food Library which contains nutritional information on a wide range of edibles – from agave syrup to mangosteens.