We are back with five fabulous Albertan registered dietitians! Earlier this month, we learned some of their top tips for eating more healthfully. Now we are going to get some personal insights on topics such as self-care, body image, weight and activity. These professionals provide a refreshing and balanced take on health and practical tips that you can put into practice starting today. 


What self-care practice(s) have enhanced your overall health the most?

“I’m a HUGE advocate of self-care. The best place to start is value based goals - deciding each and every day to feel the way I want to feel. It has completely changed my outlook on life, and health. I bring this into counselling - less focus on outcomes, more focus on living each day based on how you want to feel.” ~Andrea Hardy, RD (ignitenutrition.ca or Twitter/IG: @AndreaHardyRD)

“Regular exercise (4-5 times a week) including running, cycling, strength training and yoga. Spending time with people who make me feel good and don’t suck the energy and positivity from me. Eating a dark leafy green salad at lunch! This is a core habit for me – it builds momentum for the rest of my day.” ~Kristyn Hall, MSc, RD (energizenutrition.ca or FB: @EnergizeNutritionInc)

“Practising more self-compassion - I'd spent most of my life being very self-critical and pushing myself. In some ways that did serve me in that it played a role to get my life where it is today, but at the same time it was exhausting and difficult. Being more self-compassionate and in tune with my needs has definitely helped push things in a different direction - I feel like I am happier and can really be honest with myself in terms of what are the things that matter most.” ~Vincci Tsui, RD (vinccitsui.com or FB/Twitter/IG: @VincciRD)

In a society so focused on weight and appearance, how do you cultivate a positive body image?

“Celebrate all the amazing things your body CAN do and remind yourself each and every day of something you’re grateful for. Practising gratitude is like a language - at first, it’s hard, it takes thought - but over time it becomes natural and fluent. Start small – it’s crazy how these things can cultivate true love for how incredible your body is - it’s an instrument for USE - let’s celebrate that!” ~Andrea

“I practise positive self-talk, and do my best to limit negative social media influences. “I am enough.” “I am strong.” “I am thoughtful.” Acknowledge, something good about yourself, every day.” ~Emily Mardell, RD (getjoyfull.com or Twitter/IG: @GetJoyfull) 

“I listen to the positive and soothing messages offered by my yoga instructor. That I am perfect the way I am, that my body communicates with me – what is it trying to tell me? Over the winter, I gained about five pounds. Rather than looking at these five pounds with hate and shame, I look at it with compassion and self-care. What is my body telling me with this recent weight gain? I got too busy with work-related projects and did not focus enough attention on my diet, exercise, sleep and stress management. My recent weight gain has signaled to me that I need to refocus my attention on taking care of myself and set better boundaries with work.” ~Kristyn

What do you believe is the connection between weight and health?

“I believe there is a connection – but we are so much more than the number on a scale! What is more important to notice is the pattern of weight – is it creeping up? Falling down? Or staying about the same? Finding a healthy weight is one that can be maintained without constant dieting.” ~Kristyn

“I truly believe that health is so much more than a number on the scale, or what your BMI is. Health is a blend of several different factors including healthy eating patterns, daily physical activity, sleep and stress management. I think it’s time that we stop judging health by the size of someone’s body and look more at the daily behaviours that really define a person’s overall health. I think society has conditioned us to believe that in order to be healthy, we need to strive for weight loss, no matter how unhealthy the behaviours are that get us there (cabbage soup diet anyone?). Making positive behaviour changes (eating better, increasing physical activity, etc.) is really what will best help overall health and should be the goal that is strived for.” ~Amanda Leendertse, RD, CDE (fueledfork.com or IG: @fueledfork)

“I think the connection between weight and health is completely overblown. The existing research that links higher weights and poor health often disregards important factors like lifestyle behaviours, weight stigma and socioeconomic status. Even if we are able to prove that "excess fat" is causing poor health, we currently do not have a reliable and sustainable treatment to get rid of this "excess fat".” ~Vincci

How do you keep activity an enjoyable part of your life?

“Since activity is my number one self-care strategy, my life simply isn’t the same without it. Activity not only keeps my mind and body healthy, it also allows me to connect with friends and indulge my competitive side. I have a great group of friends that I train with, who help hold me accountable to training and keep me motivated to continue improving. I also routinely sign up for various races which helps to keep me motivated to get out there every morning.” ~Amanda

“I’ll be honest. I used to exercise to look a certain way. I talked about that a lot in my live interviews with Jenna Free from You Ain’t Your Weight. And man oh man, was it negative. I HATED exercise. Now, I exercise because I love my body, and it feels good to move it! I’ve discovered HIIT in the last few years, and LOVE pushing my body and seeing what it’s capable of. Jump higher. Run faster. Go longer. I love that challenge! I’m also a golfer - so in the summer, my HIIT takes a back-seat, and I walk. It’s different, but it’s really meditative for me to golf and be out in nature!” ~Andrea

“As a child, I was fortunate to have a strong role model in my mom, who not only shared her love of cooking, but also active living. Nowadays, we’ll hit the bike trail as a family, or practice drills on the soccer field. In the winter we’ll skate and toboggan. When activity involves outside play and someone you love, it’s impossible not to have fun! Even if you (me) can’t skate well, lol.” ~Emily 

Looking for more?

There you have it. In their own words, these dietitians have suggested some great ways to improve overall health, focus on lifestyle behaviours rather than weight, practise positive self-talk and find joy in movement. If you are looking for additional ideas or support on your wellness journey, consider working with a dietitian one-on-one. 



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Jaclyn Chute, RD

Registered Dietitian

Jaclyn (BSc, RD) is a registered dietitian and Project Manager at Dairy Farmers of Canada. She believes eating should be both nourishing and satisfying, and is passionate about helping others develop a healthy relationship with food.

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