04: Nutrition is Not a Transactional Service

You can pay someone to do almost anything for you: fix your car, roof your house, clean your house, take your SATs (not legally), drive you around, clean your clothes, schedule your appointments, do your grocery shopping, watch your kids, mow your lawn you name it, it can be purchased.  Nutrition doesn’t work that way.

Figure 04.1. Nutrition is Not a Transactional Service. Your Best Results will Occur when You Take Ownership Over the Weight Loss Process.

Nutrition is too intertwined into our personal lives to be left to someone else to take care of.  By some estimates we make 200 food decisions each day!  Some parts of nutrition can be outsourced and there are many tools that make eating easier.  Meal replacements, meal kits, and meal delivery all make cooking much easier.  Meal planning services can tell you what to eat.  Grocery delivery services like Instacart can save you a trip to the store.  A personal chef can take care of meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking.  But even with a personal chef you still need to account for snacks and other food decisions you’ll have to make throughout each and every day of your life.

Research has shown that “flexible” rather than “rigid” dietary control leads to more successful long-term weight loss.  And this makes sense.  In rigid dietary control there are hard and fast rules.  Some foods and food groups are absolutely off limits (i.e., carbs).  Rigid dietary control is very difficult to maintain over time.  On the other hand, flexible dietary control is an agile way of eating.  Food rules are less well defined, which could lead some to believe that there are too many gray areas that will lead to overconsumption.  However, this appears not to be true. With flexible dietary control people are better able to adapt to their food environments, improvise, and make things work.

The reason why we bring up flexible versus rigid dietary control is on the one hand in rigid dietary control, you are following someone else’s (arbitrary) rules, whereas in flexible dietary control you are following a defined set of rules that YOU are comfortable with.  In nutrition counseling there is a technique known as motivational interviewing.  In a nutshell, motivational interviewing isn’t necessarily about increasing the client’s motivation as it is asking the right questions and helping the client come up with a solution that they are happy with implementing. 

So many people just want to be told what to do.  “Just give me a meal plan”, they say.  But it doesn’t work well that way.  It has to be your idea.  You know you better than anyone else knows you.  You know what you are and are not willing to do.  We can give you some advice and in the counseling session you’ll say, “yeah, I can do that” when in the back of your mind you’re saying, “that’s stupid, I’m not doing that”.  You might be able to perform the recommended intervention for a short period of time by toughing it out but you’re unlikely to stick with the intervention long-term and sooner rather than later you’re going to be back to square one.

At The Science of Dieting we strive to guide you through the weight loss process by letting you design a diet for you by you.  We can’t tell you what to do.  It doesn’t matter how many counseling sessions we have together, we’re still not going to truly understand your life, your stresses or your motivations.  This isn’t to say that counseling doesn’t have its place.  We just strongly believe that we can’t tell you what to do.

In our next section (05), we would like to share with you why You Have to Be Fully Committed to your weight loss journey and why if you can’t do that right now, it might not be the time for you to start.