A Dietitian’s Rant on “Fitspo”

I came across a post on social media this month of a transformation picture – you know one of those before/after body comparisons highlighting someone’s weight loss. This transformation picture, like many others I came across, showed off a stark contrast between the before picture and a lean, ripped body as the after picture (often referred to as “fitspo” aka. fitness inspiration).

Now I don’t want to criticize this individual, that’s not my intention. This person clearly put in a lot of hard work and dedication to fitness. However, I think it’s unfortunate that so often health is shown in extremes on social media. From a starting point of overweight (clinically speaking) to an end result of six pack abs, people rarely seem to set their goals on the in between.

But maybe they should be.  Because “healthy” isn’t black and white like that. “Unhealthy” doesn’t mean overweight and “healthy” doesn’t mean six pack abs. Getting healthy can mean small changes – and in fact this is much more sustainable in the long term. Not to mention for some women, getting visible abs means dropping to an extremely low body fat percentage that can actually be harmful to our reproductive system and bones.

And it irks me to see these transformation pictures with captions that make it sound like anyone can achieve this physique: “You can do it too!”, “Work hard and get this body too!”, “What’s your excuse?”, etcetera etcetera. Sorry, but six packs are not realistic or even possible for some people. And I’m sure those captions have the intention of being motivational, but they can have the exact opposite effect for some people. No, not everyone can achieve six packs abs because some people don’t have the genetics, the time, or the budget. Some people worry about having the time to see their kids between working two jobs let alone having the time to work out at a gym for a hour and a half. And some people’s genetics mean it is difficult to the point of being impossible to get abs, like me. I have never and will never have them – I could go to the gym for 1 hour a day and run and do ab exercises til I’m blue in the face, drop 20 lbs, and I still won’t have abs (believe me, been there, done that).

So amidst all the “fitspo”on social media these days, focus on what’s right for you and remember that drastic change isn’t always the best change.

What do you think? Do you find “fitspo” motivating or unrealistic?

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Spiced Pear Oatmeal

This spiced pear oatmeal is the perfect healthy fall breakfast bursting with fibre, protein, and healthy fats!

This spiced pear oatmeal is the perfect healthy fall breakfast bursting with fibre, protein, and healthy fats!

As a dietitian, people often assume that I eat the “perfect” diet, whatever that is.

And then I laugh at them.

“Ugh I ate so much crap this weekend. But you can’t relate to that, can you?” “Well last night I had – cover your ears, Chelsea – takeout pizza for dinner.” “It must be easy for you, but I find it hard to eat enough vegetables.”

These are all things I’ve heard from patients, friends, and family members… and I can totally relate to all of them! I don’t always eat enough vegetables. I eat out at restaurants frequently and don’t always order the healthier options. I sometimes cook with too much butter. I overeat in social situations. I love dessert.

In the grand scheme of things, I aim for balance, but my diet definitely ebbs and flows with the seasons. This season is currently a little off balance with Thanksgiving, birthday parties, dinners out, and a Toronto trip with my sister taking up my weekends. And hey, that’s life!

This spiced pear oatmeal is the perfect healthy fall breakfast bursting with fibre, protein, and healthy fats!

That being said, it always feels SO good to return to nutritious meals and a regular meal pattern after weekends like that – especially breakfast time. I know the latest research doesn’t necessarily support the idea that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but I still live by that motto. There’s nothing that makes me feel better than starting off the day with a healthy breakfast!

Those of you who have been reading me for a while know I’m oatmeal obsessed. I could eat oatmeal for breakfast every day, always switching up the mix ins and toppings to keep it interesting. My latest favourite is this spiced pear oatmeal that I’ve been loving with local Ontario Bartlett pears. With the warm flavours of cinnamon and allspice, it’s the perfect fall breakfast to warm you up on chilly mornings. I make it with cow’s milk to make it high in protein, and add chia seeds and hemp hearts for a boost in healthy fats, leaving me with a hearty stick-to-your ribs bowl of oatmeal!

This spiced pear oatmeal is the perfect healthy fall breakfast bursting with fibre, protein, and healthy fats!

Spiced Pear Oatmeal
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This spiced pear oatmeal is the perfect healthy fall breakfast bursting with fibre, protein, and healthy fats!
Author:
Yield: 1 serving
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup milk*
  • ⅓ cup rolled oats**
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • ½ pear, diced
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • 1 tbsp golden raisins
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (optional)
  • Sliced pear, granola, hemp hearts, nut butter, etc for topping
Instructions
  1. In a small pot, heat up the milk and add the oats, chia seeds, chopped pear, cinnamon, allspice, and raisins. Add maple syrup if you'd prefer.
  2. Lower the heat and simmer until thickened, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Top your bowl with the other half of the pear, hemp hearts, granola or any other toppings you'd like.
Notes
* Sub almond, soy, rice, or hemp milk to make it dairy free/vegan
** Use gluten free oats if necessary

This spiced pear oatmeal is the perfect healthy fall breakfast bursting with fibre, protein, and healthy fats!

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What I Ate Wednesday: Dietitian Edition 4

This past Saturday I did absolutely nothing for the first time in what felt like forever. And when I say “nothing”, that’s a bit of an exaggeration because I still cooked, went to the gym, did laundry, and finally sorted through my shirt drawer and folded everything in it. Geez when I list it out like that, I actually sound like I accomplished a lot. But I still enjoyed plenty of couch time and relaxed more than I have in a while. And it felt GLORIOUS. Fall, I love you. I don’t love your colder weather and dark mornings, but I love how life seems to slow down with the turn of the seasons.

wiaw-fall-railroad

So my lazy Saturday means a What I Ate Wednesday post for the first time in ages (read: last fall) since I actually had the time to stop for a second before meals and photograph what I ate. As I was taking pictures of my lunch I remember thinking to myself how strange my generation is with our obsession with taking pictures of our food. I mean my mom has albums of photos of her and her friends to look back on, while I’m going to look back on… an Instagram full of photos of food? But I guess in a way, most of my food photos DO represent my memories with friends and family. I wonder if in 20 years I’ll look back on the pictures in this post and remember my lazy weekend at home… probably not ha!

Breakfast: Oatmeal pancakes with sauteed apples and maple syrup (and almond butter added after the picture because #almondbutteraddict) eaten while devouring my latest read, The Danish Girl.

What I Ate Wednesday - oatmeal pancakes with apples

Lunch: After getting defeated by a tough workout at the gym, I came home to make lunch with random leftovers in my fridge. Salad with dried figs and pumpkin seeds, carrots and homemade hummus, and toast topped with gooey brie cheese, sauteed mushrooms, and a fried egg.

What I Ate Wednesday - toast with mushrooms, brie, and egg

What I Ate Wednesday - salad, carrots, hummus, kombucha

Snack: Banana with almond butter and toasted coconut eaten after a nice long bath.

What I Ate Wednesday - banana and almond butter

Dinner: Leftovers from cooking with Tracey on Friday night. We made this tempeh gumbo (minus the fat free aspect because we’re not in the 80s anymore), a miso Brussels sprouts and apple slaw, and jumbo chocolate chip cookies that spread out a little too much while baking, but were still super delicious.

What I Ate Wednesday - tempeh gumbo

Dessert: two of those jumbo chocolate chip cookies. Unfortunately they crumbled as I went to take them out of the tupperware, so I ended up just shoveling the pieces in my mouth.

Annnd then I wrapped up the night by watching The Parent Trap after discovering it’s now on Netflix. Who else wishes they’d done a sequel to that movie? And on that note, who else wishes they lived in Nick’s Napa Valley ranch?  SO gorgeous.

But as much as I’d like to be spending the day in a California vineyard, I’ve got work to get ready for. Happy Wednesday!

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