Mary Atkinson is the Director of Wellness at TMC, she’s also part of the team organizing the TMC for Women Bootcamp. In Mary’s Words of Wellness we share her updates as we make 2013 the year we take care of our health.

Mary Atkinson, RD, Director of Wellness,

Mary Atkinson, RD, Director of Wellness,

March is National Nutrition Month, so let’s talk FOOD!  Food is a very personal and individual thing.  What satisfies and makes one person feel wonderful, may make another feel awful and cause their blood sugar to soar.  That is why I really like the theme for this year’s National Nutrition Month…”Eat Right…Your Way, Every Day” implying that our preferences, lifestyles, cultural and health concerns impact our individual food choices.  While there are some general guidelines that can be applied broadly such as choosing lower fat foods, increasing our intake of fruits and vegetables, or choosing whole grains, specific food recommendations must be tailored to the individual.

This is why so many diets don’t work long term.  They make sweeping generalizations that either don’t work for an individual’s lifestyle, or so restrictive that it is near impossible to maintain.  Diets by nature aren’t ever going to work because they are always “started” which implies we will end them at some point.  When we do stop dieting or slip up, the weight returns with our previous unhealthy eating habits. Why then do we tend to fall prey to the diet that proclaims things we logically know can’t be true….because regardless of how intelligent we are, it is impossible not to get sucked into the idea of getting something for nothing!  Who wouldn’t want to “eat whatever you want” and still lose weight?!   SIGN ME UP!  But alas, it never works, so we must rely on the tried and proven method:  Consistently make the healthiest food choices you can that fit with your lifestyle.  The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website, Eat Right, contains some of the top fad diets that have popped up over the past century.  It is interesting to see how many show up repeated, just re-named.

How do we make healthy food choices when there seems to be so much conflicting information?  Carbs are bad, carbs provide energy…Meat causes cancer, choose lean meats….have three servings of dairy, dairy is bad for you!  If you buy into everything you read, you will think that nutrition professionals are crazy, or perhaps you will realize that all sources aren’t necessarily reporting information accurately.  Here are a few suggestions from TMC’s Medical Librarian, Marni Dittmar, about how to find and recognize legitimate health information:

  •  Look for sites that end in ‘.org’ or ‘.gov’
  • Avoid any site that demands your personal information before giving YOU information or one that charges money
  • Avoid sites that tells you, in any form, that your doctor is wrong and that only that site can help you
  • Avoid sites that states “limited time to take advantage of this special offer..”


These three sites that contain GOOD information on nutrition and consumer issues.  All of these are government sites, all FREE to access, with full text to download:

National Institute of Health 

 Medline plus

and the FDA home page (here is the consumer site within FDA)

Have a healthy week!

Mary