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Hypocritical Health Hurdles - the 2nd visit.

I’m a little behind on filling you all in with how my second visit with Registered Dietitian Sarah Dunphy-Morris went.

I had my second visit with her on Friday, August 30th. This was the day that I gave her my 3-day food log, and was nervous about what she’d say about it.

I logged everything I ate on Thursday August 22nd, Saturday August 24th and Monday August 26th. I had to pick three days that were not consecutive and included at least one day that fell on a weekend. Having a visual for every cookie I ate, every latte I drank (with shots of chocolate in them of course), and every breakfast I skipped was kind of an eye opener. But I followed the rules and didn’t try to modify a single thing for those three days, because she needed to see an accurate starting point in order to make better recommendations.
Our second visit was approximately 30 minutes long, and I would say it was kind of divided into two halves.

The first half of it was going over my food diary, and the second half was education based – teaching me about label reading.

When I sat down in her office on Friday morning, I was prepared for the judgment. My hackles were up and I was ready to defend every crappy thing I ate. I didn’t have to though, as once again there was no judgment and I wasn’t lectured. We sat down together and she went through the list with me, simply asking for clarification on what I had written down. She asked about approximate portion sizes for each item consumed, and the times of day that I consumed them. For example, she confirmed that it was actually butter on my dinner roll and not margarine, asked if it was milk or cream in my iced lattes, and whether my pasta was white, whole wheat or rice. I was also pretty vague on some of the things I wrote down. My “glass of juice” could have been any size, so she made me clarify how big the glass was I was drinking from. For all she knew I could have been drinking out of a bucket, just like the drinks they serve on the beaches in Thailand.


Buy all the fixings for your drink in a bucket, fill up that bucket with the stuff provided, drop a straw inside and the bucket becomes an instant drinking glass!

Once she had all of the details clarified, she explained that now she would be able to enter all of this information into her computer program that analyzes everything. The results of the food diary will be given to me on visit number three, once she’s got the data and the cold hard facts in front of her. I’m actually kind of glad that we’re taking baby steps, because I think if I was overloaded with information and changes all at once, I’d start to become overwhelmed and quit.

The second half of our visit was all about label reading. I learned to compare two similar products and pick the one that is the overall better choice. I now know to look at the portion sizes and make sure they are comparable to each other, and to look at the % daily value. I also learned the 5% and 15% rule – Keep the “bad” things under 5% and the good things above 15%. Well I’m paraphrasing a lot, but basically if things I want to cut back on (ex. sodium, sugars, trans fats) are under 5% of the daily % value on the label, then it is considered not too bad. If things I want to increase (ex. fibre, vitamins, calcium) are above 15% then it is considered good. But if it had 20% daily value of sodium, and only 2% daily fibre, and not a lot of other good values, then I might want to compare and make a better choice.

I was only half looking at labels before. I would look at two crackers, and see which had more fibre, which had less sodium and pick the better of the two not knowing anything about percentages. Now I have some more to look out for at the grocery store.

So basically from the labels I have to look at 5 things:
1) Serving size. Compare the serving size on the label with what I ACTUALLY eat. I probably eat 3-4 times what the portion size says I should have.
2) Calories. Pretty self explanatory.
3) Percent daily value. Tells me if there is a little or a lot of a certain nutrient in a food.
4) Get less of these things: Sodium, Cholesterol, and Saturated and Trans fats.
5) Get more of these things: Fibre, Calcium, Iron, Vitamins (A and C the most I think).

Nutrition facts

This image by the Government of Canada (Health Canada) is very similar to the one I was given.

Overall, I think things are going really well so far. This week my homework is to read the labels when I grocery shop and let her know anything that has surprised me, or any changes I made in my purchases because of my findings. I’m taking baby steps, but I think that will be better in the long run. Small changes are easier to manage than big ones, and so far I’m doing alright. If I had to change a million things at once, I’d probably cry and quit.

This, I can do.


4 Join the Conversation

  1. Jess says
    Sep 05, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    Great blog of day 2, Jen! I think it's great the way Sarah eases her patients into everything. I know I would feel very overwhelmed if it were all thrown at me at once. Keep it up! You're inspiring many people; myself included!

    • says
      Sep 05, 2013 at 4:47 PM

      Thanks, Jess! :) You'd better keep on me at work so I don't fall off the wagon!

  2. Cheryl Armitage says
    Sep 05, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    Good Luck on your journey Jen! You've taken the first step and believe me it was the hardest! I've been on my own journey this year and what helped me the most from getting overwhelmed is to just think about what I can do "right now" and not concentrate on everything that has to be done. It makes the journey more enjoyable. : )

    • says
      Sep 05, 2013 at 4:47 PM

      Thank you for your encouragement, Cheryl. It hasn't been easy to convince myself to do this, but I'm grateful that Sarah is easing me in with baby steps along the way. I like your idea of focusing on the "right now" and not on the overall task at hand. That seems much more achievable! Jen

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