“Food shouldn’t be something you obsess about. It doesn’t have to cause anxiety. It’s OK to enjoy your favorite foods.”
Laura moved to Cincinnati from Boulder, by way of DC. She swam competitively in college at Rutgers and then the University of Maryland. After finishing her degree in kinesiology, she began coaching collegiate swimming. Athlete after athlete started coming to her with questions regarding nutrition, and many were struggling (mostly with restriction and unhealthy dieting). She wanted to be able to give them answers and support. Laura went back to school and finished a 4-year degree in nutrition in just 3 semesters. Consider us impressed. After her 6-month clinical placement, she moved to Cincinnati with her now hubby. She set up her office in Hyde Park, and over the past two years she has built up her private practice, Lime and Greens Nutrition.
Laura is part of a new wave of dietitians, nutritionists, and health coaches that teach their clients a new food philosophy: the anti-diet.
Anti-diet (as defined to me by Laura): No counting, tracking, or obsessing. Dropping the need for perfection. Eating intuitively.
When you’re on a diet, there are strict rules, which Laura doesn’t find fun or helpful. Ditto, sista. On the anti-diet, all foods fit. What and when you eat is dictated by listening intuitively to your body. Laura says, eating intuitively means (re)learning the difference between “stomach hunger and heart hunger.” Stomach hunger represents a physical need for food. Heart hunger comes from emotion. She went on to explain that food is very personal, and most of the time it’s tied to a lot emotion. Think: eating a carton of ice cream after a break-up, mindlessly eating a whole bag of smart pop while watching TV after a long day, or reaching for chocolate when you’re stressed. Laura spends a lot of time talking to her clients about their emotions around food and how and why people may be using food to cope with or mask stressors.
Laura and I agree, there is just so much conflicting information out there about nutrition. Are we supposed to be paleo, sugar free, on atkins, carb-cycling, counting calories, vegan, vegetarian, eating nothing? It’s confusing as hell. Laura believes we’re on an information overload where we’ve forgotten how to just listen to our bodies. Additionally, most people that try these strict diets slip up and say screw it, binge, and then cycle back into a restrictive diet without success or feeling good.
As part of her anti-diet philosophy, Laura asks clients to block out all this chatter. Right off the bat, shes gives people permission to enjoy their favorite foods. Yes, that includes both bread and chocolate cake(I asked). The ultimate goal is food freedom. A lot of the individuals Laura sees have tried all the aforementioned diets without the results they want and they’re frustrated. Laura uses meditation and journaling to help people learn and notice their habits around emotional or mindless eating so they can shift and change those habits. When we’re mindful and aware of when our body is truly hungry, and what foods make it feel best, no diet is needed. We’ll naturally give our body what it needs to be healthy. And that will most likely mean stopping after a few bites of chocolate cake, not eating the whole thing.
For this holiday season Laura recommends:
1. Don’t be a mean girl in your head. We’re often our worst enemies. Be nicer to yourself!
2. Don’t have “food fomo.” Food fomo (per Laura’s definition) is the feeling that you’ll only get this food once a year so you need to eat as much of it as possible. Guess what? If you love stuffing, you can eat a little now in December and make it again in March.
3. Write down non-food stress relievers to have in your back pocket. Do you normally reach for a piece of Dove chocolate when you’re stressed? Have something in your head that you can do to replace that habit, such as shutting off your computer, closing your eyes and focusing on your breath for 5 minutes.
4. Eat healthy snacks before holiday parties. Most people starve themselves all day and then binge. Don’t go into holiday parties as a, “hangry monster.” Did I mention that I love all of Laura’s vocab?
The smoothie Laura starts her days with:
1/2 c unsweetened almond milk
1 c kefir
Few handfuls of kale
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 c pineapple
1/2 c mango
1 T chia seeds
1 T unsweetened shredded coconut
If you resonate with anything written above, and if you’re ready to partner with an ambitious, compassionate, supportive individual to start an anti-diet, reach out to Laura. She’s currently offering clients 20% off for the holidays. Check it out here.