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A local dietician explains why you should drop the guilt when it comes to eating

Karly Meincke calls her outlook on healthy living and eating 'mindfulness-eating'
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"Drop the guilt,” says local registered dietitian and sports nutritionist Karly Meincke. It’s a refreshing motto for diet modification that hails a new attitude in weight management.

“The guilt is more toxic than anything you could eat,” laughs Meincke.

Besides working at the Group Health Centre’s Diabetic Clinic, she also operates a private practice, called Fuel Up Nutrition, where customization is key. 

“It really depends on your goals,” says Meincke, noting that she even sees people with disordered eating habits – such as binge eating. “Some come for a weight loss strategy, while others might be athletes who want to strengthen their performance by enhancing their diets with nutrient-rich foods.” 

What is mindful eating? “It’s going backwards and figuring out – or remembering – those instincts as a baby when you just automatically knew you were full,” she says.

Healthy foods — those close to nature and less processed — are going to satiate, whereas quick fixes and fast food will leave a person compelled to eat more, according to Meincke.

And the obstacles to achieving this are plenty: “I think a big one is time management and business,” she says. “We live kind of in a crazy busy world — and if someone doesn’t hold nutrition as one of their top values then it will be hard to make changes in that area.” 

When it comes to today’s fads — whether they are keto, plant-based, or intermittent fasting — she says they all have helpful and healthy side effects, but clients need to embrace what’s actually sustainable for them.

So is she on the keto bandwagon? “Honestly, I work with where the client is at and what they are looking for — and I’m careful not to label foods as good or bad per se,” says Meincke.

“For me, it’s about behavioural change and that’s a different picture for every individual.” From a whole-health model — including emotional health \— Meincke works to piece together a do-able plan with small goals. “I don’t go with a single diet plan – but if you had to summarize my perspective, you could call it ‘mindfulness-eating approach.'"

“It’s not just a single approach,” says Meincke. “A big part of my job is figuring out how to create a plan.” And that doesn’t equate to just cutting calories. “Calorie counting is the wrong way to go as they just don’t tell the whole story,” she says, noting something could be only 100 calories and still be awful from a nutritional standpoint. 

For Meincke, it’s all about paying attention to your body.