Three Common Missteps Women Make with
Their Health & Nutrition

Katherine Andrew works with a lot of women in her nutrition practice, Nourish to Flourish. She sees the common missteps that they're taking in regard to the health and nutrition space. In this brief video, Katherine shares some of those missteps she sees women making and suggests ways to do it differently.
Katherine Andrew Headshot

By Katherine Andrew, MPH, RD, LDN

TRANSCRIPT:

Cindi:

Katherine, it’s always great to spend time with you, you just, you make me smile. Thanks for being here with us today, I have a question for you that I think our community really would love an answer to. You work with a lot of women. And I’m sure that by working with these women, you see common missteps that they’re taking in regard to the health and nutrition space. Can you share what some of those missteps you see women making are and what they look like?

There's a lot of physical indicators, that if we are truly paying attention, we will start to see change if you're on the right track. I think weight is the lazy way to see change. Because we have scales in our homes, a lot of us, and we can watch that number change. But there are a lot of more helpful indicators.

- Katherine Andrew

Three Common Missteps:

Katherine Andrew:

Yeah, absolutely. I do. I see a lot of missteps. And I, you know, I’ll start by saying that I hate to focus on missteps first.

 

So for those of you that haven’t heard us talk more about what to add in and what you are pursuing as it relates to nutrition, that’s a really important first step, as I work with clients is not to focus on what I’m doing wrong. But where can I focus on what I’m doing right and add to my diet and my health. But I do think in the process that I see a lot probably mostly suggested or compelled by social media, things that I don’t think are helpful. So practices that I think end up sort of pushing us in the wrong direction. And so to talk about a few of those, I think one of the first things that I that I talk a lot about is not taking the time to really adjust the way that you think about health.

 

So a lot of us think about health as sort of a beginning and an end, a start and a finish. And I’ve talked more about this on some of the HER Health Collective videos as well. But really encouraging people all of you out there to take the time to go through some of those foundational and mindset concepts that I talked more about in some of the other videos. To think about, “What does it look like for me to do the pre work?”

 

A lot of us are used to doing that in other places of our life, rather than just jumping into training for a marathon, you would probably start with what is it? You know, getting a trainer, walking more or looking at, like, “How can I move my body differently or my or my hips in line? Do I need to do PT?” Instead of just starting to train immediately. And similarly, with health and nutrition, rather than just jumping into a plan, I think it really helps to think about the first step. So that plan being to change the way that I think about health and the way that I talk about my body, the way that I talk with myself and with others about what I’m doing. And that is a really important first step. As far as I see that I don’t see a lot of people taking. I see people looking for quick fix answers and just trying to get to the end get me to something quickly, understandably, but I don’t think that’s a helpful thing. In line with that.

Another misstep that I see a lot and I’m sure you all see as much is focusing exclusively on weight. And I think we can all agree that weight is a pretty poor indicator on its own of health. I think maybe it has some room in the health world some value to say, you know how healthy is someone but never on its own. And even in that situation, it’s usually one of the very last indicators that I think about, in fact, I needed to weigh my kids for something Ski School recently, and I don’t own a scale. And my siblings don’t on a scale. And I couldn’t find one. I just think that that weight number is just a number.

 

And yes, there are research studies to show us that there’s a connection between weight and health. But usually there’s so much more nuanced there. So when I’m thinking about missteps, I’m always helping people, because usually weight is a part of something that we’re looking to pursue and whether that’s right or wrong.

 

What I want to help men and women do is to expand your vision of health to not focus exclusively on weight, but instead to focus on what does health mean to me, what are all the different indicators of health? Usually people come up with some great answers, right? Like, if I asked you what is health, I mean, I’d love to hear from the health community, right? Like, it’s all sorts of beautiful things. It’s everything down to nuanced bloodwork, to mental health, to I have a daily bowel movement, to I feel good when I walk and run with my kids, right? Like there’s all these different beautiful descriptions of health that are unique to each of us. And yet we focus on like two of them. And when we go to get healthier, we have this hyper focus on weight a lot of times that is hard to move away from.

 

So I think that’s something that I encourage people to think about is how can I pay attention to and sort of observe the changes in all these other ways that are health giving and life giving to me, rather than just focusing exclusively on weight.

 

And then the last thing that I would talk about, which I’ve sort of nuanced a little bit already is this idea of what am I adding to my diet? What am I adding to my day?

 

I do, as I say the word diet, I even still kind of cringe when I say diet. And I would like to reclaim that word. I would like for diet to mean the way that I eat in a day to be clear. But I think we so often focus on the negatives when it comes to nutrition rather than what we’re working on adding in and the layers that we’re going through. And a lot of this I’ve talked about already, but sort of the way that I’m building out my diet and my health and my nutrition. And what does that look like for me, even if I’m trying to look different or feel different, right, there’s still probably some places that if I’m truly, truly listening to my body and tuning in some things that would be life giving to add to my day rather than what I’m removing. So those are kind of the biggies that I think about when it comes to missteps that I see people taking.

 

Cindi:

And those are also important to point out because those missteps, so often trip up women, as we are trying to make our way through the health and nutrition and wellness space. I do actually have a question for you. Throughout these different steps that you were saying to us and trying to help us focus differently, often women will focus on weight or one specific thing that they can change quickly because they want to see results. How can we still get that push of “you’re doing it right! You’re on your way!” Through these missteps?

 

Katherine Andrew:

Yeah, that’s a really good question. And I think that’s maybe the question that that missteps us even more sometimes, right? So we go back to that, what can I see change? I talked about this a lot in the last video with you all, where we talked more about this idea of consistency and curiosity, and patience, right.

 

So I think one of the biggest things that I would say is to make a list of all of the things that you would like to see improve and some of those are not going to be as easy to measure. So some of those are going to be my moods don’t change as quickly, for example, right? Like, I don’t feel as grumpy all the time, those are going to be a little harder to evaluate. But there’s some like I have a daily bowel movement. My sex drive improves around ovulation, my period comes and goes without any pain. I don’t have any rashes or my acne is getting better. My skin’s improving my hair looks good, right? There’s a lot of physical indicators, that if we are truly paying attention, we will start to see change if you’re on the right track.

 

So I think weight is the lazy way to see change. Because we have scales in our homes, a lot of us and we can watch that number change. But there are a lot of more helpful indicators. What does my stool look like, that I can be paying attention to from day to day that we just aren’t in tune with? We’re not trained to pay attention to those things.

 

I would tell everyone to sort of make a list of what are some other indicators and make it as big as you want it to, and start to measure those, like we talked about success is helpful, right? Like being successful is motivating. And I want people to see change. But that might be the change in you know what, I don’t feel bloated every night. And I don’t notice that until I really pay attention to that every night or when I don’t drink as much alcohol I sleep better. And now what do you know, my sleep is getting better. And I’m seeing that change, right? So actually looking for what else you can measure instead of just falling back on weight is what I would say to that.

 

Cindi:

That is so helpful. And isn’t it exactly what mainstream media would do, is give you the more lazy option. That will make them money too, by the way. So thank you so much for being here.

Katherine Andrew, MPH, RD, LDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a Masters degree in Public Health with nearly fifteen years of experience in community public health and private nutrition counseling. Her work experience includes individual and group health counseling, interactive workshops, food systems consulting, non-profit program development and management, and safe skin care advocacy and promotion. She works with clients to identify and address health concerns, navigate food sensitivities, explore body image, plan healthy meals for themselves and their families, evaluate and improve hormone health, maximize stress management, and restore their relationship with eating so they can enjoy food and thrive. Gut health, food sensitivities, hormones, family food dynamics, and intuitive eating are a few of  Katherine’s passions and specialties.

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