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Andrea Grange - Registered Dietitian Spotlight

 

 

What inspired you to become an RD? 

There were a lot of different reasons, but one of the main ones was that I suffered from an eating disorder in college. When I overcame that I wanted to help other people overcome their eating struggles. I also just really love food.

What do you think is the most underrated/misunderstood part of a healthy diet?

People thinking that you have to super strict about it and it's either all or nothing. But my modo has always been everything in moderation and I like to preach a balance diet, treats and vegetables. Both are important and need to be incorporated

What is your favorite nutrition “hack?”

Making my favorite foods a little bit healthier, adding in avocado in cookies instead of half of the butter. These healthy switches most times people can’t even tell the change and it adds some healthy fats.

How does exercising regularly impact your health?  

Exercising regularly is definitely a super important part of my life. I exercise most days, probably 4-5 times a week. It is a huge stress relief and it help me feel more settled and my anxiety along with keeping me calm and grounded.  

How do you balance a healthy lifestyle while also letting yourself indulge sometimes with delicious treats?

 I just try to go back to that balance of eating a lot of fruits, vegetables whole grains and lean meats but there is definitely nothing wrong with letting yourself enjoy your favorite treats because it is fun and should be enjoyed.

What is the importance of a balanced diet for an active person?

Having a balanced diet is super important, especially if you are active because you have to be able to fuel your body. You have to be able to fuel your activities, which doesn’t necessarily have to be going to the gym but having a healthy diet with all the nutrients is super important.

What is your favorite baked goodie?

Definitely oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. And cookie dough, I could eat all the cookie dough.

Who has been the most influential person in your passion for food and health? 

I don’t know if I can pick just one. I have come in contact with a lot of RD’s working as a dietitian and a lot are super awesome and have unique things to offer that have helped me build my own ideas around nutrition.

Eating disorders awareness week related questions 

What do you think is the most misunderstood part of eating disorders?

I think it’s the fact that people often tend to think that A) it’s about food, which it is but it is very much not and B) that it is all about being skinny and looking pretty or different. An eating disorder, while they manifest in that way are much more about psychological, mental and emotional struggles and the food is how it manifests but it is not necessarily about the food.

Are there some common warning signs of eating disorders? 

One of the biggest ones is people tend to isolate themselves. People don’t want to come out or do things that they normally do, or they don’t enjoy activities they normally enjoy. Obviously, sometimes you can see it in their food, but people can be very tricky in hiding it, I know personally I used to do things to hide that I wasn’t eating very much. If you can see a big shift in their personality and how they act around others is different to what they normally are this is a common warning sign I have noticed. 

What causes an eating disorder?

It's super complicated. Usually, it’s just the perfect storm of different things, genetics is a lot of it, if you have family history of eating disorders you are more than likely to develop one. Also, personality type, people tend to be very type A, organized, motivated people. Also, just circumstance. I know when I developed mine it was a very difficult time of my life and it was my way to gain control, or at least that’s what I thought at the time. When people are struggling and out of control it can manifest in an eating disorder.

What can I do if I’m suffering from an eating disorder?

The biggest thing I can say is just get help. I know it’s hard, I know you don’t want to, I know you are embarrassed or scared, I understand all those feelings but getting help is so important. Luckily, I had parents that were super supportive, and I had good friends and family that made me go to therapy even when I didn’t want to go. I was in denial at first, just like most are. If you know you’re struggling or think you might be reach out to whoever it may be, your parents, your friends, your family, your teachers, anyone you feel like you can trust reach out and ask for help, you will not regret it.

How can I best help and support someone who has been diagnosed with an eating disorder? 

Just be there for them. If they want to talk, if they don’t want to talk just helping them know that you love them and you are there to support them through it. The “pushing them to eat” stuff doesn’t really help that’s what the dietitians and therapy are for but from a family and friend perspective just be there and support and love them.

 

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