Today, I’m like over the moon excited to introduce my oldest friend to my blog! Abi is that one person from high school who “got you.” She was the friend who just knew what was up, called me on my B.S. and was willing to drive me around in her minivan.
Abi is now a dietitian, who lives in sunny Florida and is straight up killin’ it.
My name is Abi Utech, and I am a Registered Dietitian who lives in Sarasota, Florida. You might be wondering how the heck this person ended up on Alyssa’s farm photography blog. Alyssa has been one of my best friends since high school. Even though we’ve ended up doing very different things with our lives, I feel like we both inspire each other to do and try more. When she asked me if I would write a post for her blog challenge and said I could write about whatever I wanted I told her I would (semi-hesitantly), but I also used a quote I had recently read, “If you wait until you are completely ready, you will never do it.” So here is Alyssa, inspiring me to branch out, share, and hopefully inspire and help others.
Let me preface this by saying that every single body is different and thrives off of different things. Some bodies may need more assistance than others. So while I’m happy to share my thoughts and perspectives with you, if you feel the need for more guidance in the nutrition realm, please reach out to your own doctor, dietitian, or functional medicine practitioner.
Food is a huge part of who we are as people and our culture. Incidentally, the mentality that comes with this focus on food has become a more prominent part of our culture. It is now referred to as “Diet Culture.” What this means is that as a society we have placed so much emphasis on making our bodies fit a certain type, that our bodies must be changed, and that we must be changing our eating habits to make that happen. This is so ingrained in our minds today, and for most people ends up being unsuccessful and leading to poorer mental health.
All of this stress we put on ourselves can actually negate all the changes we try to make anyways.
When our bodies experience stress, we release a hormone called cortisol. The release of cortisol is known as our “Fight or Flight” response, which is technically a good response (when a caveman is fleeing from a wild animal). Today a large population of people can probably say they are under some level of stress most of the time. When our cortisol levels stay high it can lead to problems with digestion, trouble sleeping, and even weight gain. This is because when your body stays in a stressed state it does not to lose weight for fear of essentially starving. So, what this tells me, and what you might have surmised already, is that we need to find a way to nourish our bodies, keep our bodies happy, and keep us mentally happy if we want to get to our body’s “happy place.”
This is where a new movement called Intuitive Eating has come in. For the sake of simplicity, intuitive eating is when you let your body tell you what it wants and when it wants it. Now, this doesn’t mean you give in to every craving, but that you are really paying attention to the signals your body sends to your brain and giving it nourishment when needed. There are books on this topic with the most well-known being “Intuitive Eating” by Evelyn Tribole MS, RDN and Elyse Resch MS, RDN, CEDRD. This movement also goes by the name Mindful Eating. This, if you notice the title I gave this post, is the term I like to refer to it as. I like the term Mindful, as it reminds me that the point is still to focus on nourishing my body. Another big tenant of this movement is that if you go out to dinner and splurge on something you don’t normally have, say for a date or for a special occasion or just because you darn well felt like it, there is no need to beat yourself up for it or make it up with an hour on the treadmill. You eat until you’re satisfied and then you go on with your life. Now that sounds pretty nice!
Do you find yourself thinking any of the following? Won’t I eat too much? What if I just eat junk food? Are you sure I won’t gain weight?
You definitely aren’t alone. For most people going down this path, it is not without struggles. You have to learn how to recognize your body’s hunger and satiety signals, and actually honor them. I also feel that having some base nutrition knowledge is key to being successful with mindful eating. This is because as you pay attention to how your body reacts to certain foods, you will probably realize that you feel more energized and satisfied for longer after eating a veggie omelet with some toast and peanut butter than after eating a doughnut or a small granola bar. You will most likely just come to a point where you want to feel physically and mentally better throughout the day, so you end up preferring the more nutritious breakfast more in the end.
We are now to the part where I’m going to fill you in on why I’m doing this journey and how it’s going for me. Even though I am a Registered Dietitian and I “know what I should be doing,” there is no right answer for everyone. I’ve always had trouble with controlling my weight and trying to lose weight. I guess I really should have figured out that my body does not want me to control it, and instead work with it. I’ve recently been doing an elimination diet to figure out inflammatory reactions to some foods I have been experiencing. I won’t go too in depth. They aren’t allergic reactions, but definitely not things I want happening on a regular basis. An elimination diet is when you remove a food or foods that you think you are reacting to for at least 3-4 weeks, and then slowly introduce things back in while monitoring your body’s reactions. (If this is something you think you be useful to you there are books on the topic or contact your doctor, dietitian, etc.)
So why might this step be so important? If you are eating foods that your body does not agree with, it will fight back. So, to get to a good place with your body and your mentality with food, there may be things that you might choose to eat less often. I say less often because let’s just be honest, I’m still going to have pasta, cheese, and beer at some point in my life, just not as often as before since I know how my body reacts to them.
I am very excited to see where this journey leads. It will only help get me closer to the ultimate goal of being happier. I’m also excited to see how this will improve how I counsel patients at my job, and maybe help other people (like you, who are reading this right now).
If you want some mindful eating inspiration, you can find me on Instagram @abi.utech. If you have any specific questions and think I can help point you in the right direction you can direct message me on Instagram or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for letting me into your life for a bit today!
P.S. This girl also is a rep for Young Living Essential Oils! (She has helped me get on board with these amazing products, and she can help you too!)
This is blog 27 of 28 of the #28DaysOfBloggingChallenge! See the Day 1 post for more details on why I’m participating!
Would you like to document your family or farm with heirloom photos and a written story to share with your family, friends and future generations? Contact photographer and writer Alyssa Bloechl for more information at email@example.com or call at 920-445-8727.