HUNTERSVILLE, NC — Carolina Garrison, a registered dietitian with Novant Health, specializes in weight management and wants to help patients lead healthier lifestyles that outlast any new fad or trend.
“I help people make healthy lifestyle changes, and working with a dietician really digs deeper into nutrition and a lot of misconceptions about common nutritional practices to help patients lead and live a healthier lifestyle, more sustainable and happier,” Garrison told Patch.
This goal is not always easy, but it is what many fad diets and weight loss trends promise.
“These diets are designed for patients to fail, none of them are meant to be a successful long-term lifestyle. So, you know, a lot of the patients I see are very, very discouraged,” Garrison explained. .
One of the things that frustrates Garrison is the common misconception that a severe calorie deficit is the answer.
“For some reason, 1200 calories is there as the ideal number for weight loss, when in reality that’s about the amount of calories most toddlers need. So, and that is a big eye-opener for a lot of patients,” she said.
Some of the trends include replacing meals with shakes, which Garrison says is a short-term option that often doesn’t yield long-term results.
“I see this quite often, I think it’s, it’s tempting, because it’s quick, it’s easy, there’s really no thought behind what you’re going to have for that meal or that meals if you’re just taking a supplement,” she explained. But just because a label promises nutrition doesn’t mean it’s going to work.
“You’re not going to absorb nutrition as well as you do from food,” Garrison said.
Many people are glued to apps that also track calories, steps and heart rate, which she says can be useful in moderation.
“It can be useful to know how much you’re eating just because we see a lot of bits and pieces of eating habits that are all over the place. But I think it’s definitely a fine line with tracking your food, there’s a when it gets a bit obsessive and more harmful than it’s helpful,” Garrison said.
She says this isn’t a long-term solution either, but it can be helpful early on in identifying problems.
“I always recommend using a tracking app as a tool to help guide your journey in making these lifestyle changes, not necessarily to stay tied to them forever and track day in and day out,” she said. Explain.
She says small changes are key to starting a new life, like adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet or drinking more water.
“Once you start making these lifestyle changes. I always encourage people to really tune in to how they’re feeling and that’s really good motivation. A lot of times once you realize ‘I cut out all the sodas and the extra sugar and I feel so much better throughout my day, you have more motivation,’ Garrison said.
She recommends seeing a registered dietitian to start identifying your unique challenges and how to address them.