“Forget the Word Diet, Focus at Nutrition for Healthy Weight Loss”

An Interview with Gauri Agarwal

Are you a weight-conscious human being? Do you consistently go on diets and follow various diet plans but still have not been able to lose weight? Then you must read this EXCLUSIVE conversation between Nutritionist Gauri Agarwal, Founder of Livable Planet, and Mahima Sharma, Editor-in-Chief of The Think Pot. Learn the distinctions between a weight loss dietitian and a nutritionist to make informed choices about your health. Discover the science behind personalized nutrition and the drawbacks of a one-size-fits-all diet plan. Explore the challenges in creating customized diet plans and how to address them effectively…

What is the difference between a weight loss dietician and a nutritionist? Please explain this to the masses who consider both the same.

The answer is in the question itself, a weight loss dietitian helps us lose or manage our weight, sugar, . Increase or decrease as per our body mass index with knowledge of Food. Sharing us with the knowledge of the right food groups for our bodies. You would see the Dieticians practicing separately and in hospitals and clinics.

However, a nutritionist would have a wide knowledge of overall nutrition. Helping people have a balanced diet not only just to lose weight but to keep our body and mind healthy and active. A healthy body is also equal to a Healthy mind. Many nutritionists also have a holistic approach to the same.

Here’s a brief outline of what a nutritious diet plan typically includes:

  1. Balanced Macronutrients: A balanced diet should include an appropriate mix of macronutrients, including carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. The ratio of these macronutrients can vary depending on individual needs and goals.
  2. Adequate Caloric Intake: Whether your goal is weight loss or general health, it’s essential to consume the right number of calories to maintain or achieve a healthy weight. A dietitian or nutritionist can calculate your daily caloric needs.
  3. Variety of Foods: A diverse diet ensures you get a wide range of essential nutrients. Include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats in your meals.
  4. Portion Control: Controlling portion sizes is crucial for weight management. Dietitians and nutritionists can guide you in understanding appropriate serving sizes for different foods.
  5. Hydration: Staying well-hydrated is essential for overall health. Adequate water intake aids digestion, nutrient absorption, and overall bodily functions.
  6. Nutrient Timing: Depending on your goals, the timing of your meals and snacks can be important. For example, athletes may need specific nutrient timing for optimal performance and recovery.
  7. Customization: A diet plan should be tailored to an individual’s specific needs, taking into account factors like age, gender, activity level, and any underlying medical conditions.
  8. Mindful Eating: Practicing mindful eating involves paying attention to hunger and fullness cues, which can help prevent overeating and make more conscious food choices.
  9. Sustainability: A nutritious diet plan should be sustainable in the long term. It’s not about quick fixes but about making lasting changes to your eating habits.
  10. Monitoring and Adjustments: Regular monitoring and assessment of progress are essential. A dietitian or nutritionist can help you track your results and make necessary adjustments to your diet plan.
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In a world where fad diets and social media trends, weight loss challenges, and gaining no-logic-based popularity. Can you explain the science behind personalized nutrition? Enlighten our readers how NO one-size-fits-all diet plans and they must be cautious.
Here, I would like to say It is so easy to Google “How to lose weight in 10 days“ & you will find 100’s of diet plans for the same. I have been one of them. Since my childhood, I followed all these fad diets or starved or even followed a celebrity diet because I craved that flawless Barbie figure and skin. Little do we know that they follow the same under guidance & we do it with all the half-baked information. So yes never follow such plans or diets, you may lose weight for a short span of time but lose on your health and gain much more weight later.
In Nature Cure, we do not do anything extraordinary just focusing on healthy habits with ample exercise, adequate rest, positive food, and positive thinking & very important is to engage in an activity that gives you joy and also gives you the opportunity to help others. Yes, our diet plan is not just food because health is not just food, but much more, as I have already shared above.
How do you determine a person’s unique nutritional needs, and what factors do you take into consideration?

Well, I focus on what they like or dislike to eat. What we need is a balance of healthy eating for our body and as well as mind. For example, if someone really loves eating sweets post their meal instead of cutting down the same, we find alternatives to making healthy desserts at home. Talking about nutrition, we don’t really calculate the same as what veggie or fruit to eat for any sort of mineral deficiency. Instead, we focus on eating whole food and loads of veggies, fruits, and healthy juices.

I am now sharing all the factors we nutritionists take into account:

Determining a person’s unique nutritional needs is like piecing together a puzzle, and there are many factors in play. First up, you’ve got age—whether you’re a sprightly kid, a busy adult, or a wise elder, your nutritional needs are different. Gender matters too, as men and women have distinct requirements due to biological differences.

How active you are is a big piece of the puzzle. Athletes, for example, need more calories and specific nutrients to keep them going. Your body composition, like your muscle mass and body fat percentage, also plays a role. Are you looking to bulk up or trim down? Your metabolism, or how quickly you burn calories, matters too. Some folks are speedy burners, while others take it slower.

Any existing health issues, from diabetes to allergies, will also impact your nutritional plan. And if you’re expecting a little one or nursing, that’s a whole different set of nutritional needs.

Don’t forget about your food preferences and dietary restrictions—what you love and what you can’t eat. They’re important. Cultural and ethical dietary restrictions, like being a vegetarian or vegan, are part of the picture too. Food allergies and sensitivities? They need consideration.

Stress, sleep, and your overall lifestyle matter. Your goals—whether it’s shedding pounds, gaining muscle, or just staying put—guide your nutritional journey.

And finally, your genetics and where you live also have a say in your dietary needs. Phew! It’s a lot, right? To put all these pieces together and create a personalized nutrition plan, it’s often best to chat with a registered dietitian or nutritionist. They’re like the nutrition puzzle masters, making sure your unique needs are met in a way that keeps you healthy and happy.

What are the potential challenges in customizing diets for each individual, and how do you address them?

So sometimes it happens that when the client is going through an emotional turmoil the word diet makes them crave food more than they usually eat. So people come with a thought that I can make them healthy or for example lose weight, but it is equally important for the individual to be able to follow it. Even if they follow 70-80% of what we discuss they will see results within a week.

So when I face such a client I don’t usually focus on diet, but becoming a friend first. So that the individual trusts me to share all that he or she is going through and what all makes them happy. When we cross the stage of building trust and friendship I slowly bring in minimal changes to their schedule which will include what they eat, how they eat, focussing on their hobbies, some exercise, and more. This way we move slowly but we surely move towards good health.

How do you stay updated with the latest research and developments in the field of nutrition to ensure your recommendations are evidence-based?

Well, I attend health retreats of my mentor;  health conferences, read books related to nature cures and as well as other authors who focus on healing with plant-based diets, watch documentaries on health, attend vegan potlucks nearby me, and try to attend all sorts of seminars and talks in Delhi-NCR on healing by nature and plant-based diet.

While I attend, study watch, and learn from documentaries my faith in my practice grows stronger. The people I meet in retreats and the transformations I get to witness are just a treat to watch.  Let me tell you, what Nature Cure means- Every being is endowed with the potential to self-heal and self-repair. When we give the right nutrients, cleanse the body, and give it some time we see beautiful transformations every time.

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Can you provide an example of a particularly challenging case where you had to create a highly customized diet plan, and how did you approach it?

Mahima,  I can still recall that one person came to me through a recommendation. Let me share that case study here.

She was quite skeptical of doing so as she had tried a lot of diets and they hadn’t worked. So she took weeks to decide if she actually wanted to do it. She not only had weight issues but, acute sinusitis, low confidence, dull face, low energy, and gut issues.

One day she gathered the courage to start with me as she had seen a lot of good changes in her friend who recommended me to her. I will not say that it was a highly customized diet plan but we worked on keeping the mind happy with interesting recipes, and some water therapies, and focussed on hobbies too. In one week she looked more happier and her face looked more fresh and relaxed. She had done a lot of damage to cure her cold allergies with too many violent activities of hot steam, and too many medicines and injections too. Post one week we stopped all of these as she didn’t need them anymore. We focussed on running, Pranayama, and Sunbathing. Within 3 weeks she had a lot of energy and a positive mind. She started to love herself more and could even start to breathe from her nose which she wasn’t able to because of severe blockage.

What role does behavioral psychology play in your approach to nutrition counseling? How do you support clients in making sustainable dietary changes?

As I always assert, it is important to keep the mind equally happy as our gut.  I don’t really believe in becoming a coach rather than a friend whom they trust and share their worries and desires too. They should be able to share what they feel anytime they feel like. I myself have gone through a rough patch in my health, I share how I found myself and how nature healed me. Sharing my story with my clients helps me make them feel like them. Not someone who has acquired all. I am also an individual who has a mind with cravings and I share how I control them when my hormones want all crazy things to eat in the middle of the night. I even take suggestions from them on how they control it as it is so difficult to know. 

What is the core strategy that you use to ensure that clients stay motivated and compliant with their personalized diet plans over the long term?

Ah, that’s my favorite One Line Answer – To forget the word – DIET.  It never works. Instead, bring in all we wish to eat in a healthier form. Of course, many things will still have to be sacrificed but not to completely eliminate them. To keep it sustainable important to balance out everything and make changes slowly. Slow and steady always wins the race. Do not rush to lose weight. Instead, focus on building long-term health goals.

Do you know anyone who follows a random diet plan to lose weight? if they have not been able to lose weight, do ensure that you share this interview with them to make their health better! After all, it’s Kindness that makes the Planet Livable, right? 

ABOUT GAURI AGARWAL: Nutritionist Gauri Agarwal is a health coach and nutritionist who focuses on the core nutritional values of the human body. She is also the founder of Livable Planet – An important step towards sustainability is to raise awareness amongst the younger generation. Livable Planet focuses on holding workshops in schools/ colleges/societies on how to reduce plastic waste, veganism, how to practice zero waste, tree plantation campaigns, etc. 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the above interview are the personal opinions of the protagonist/protagonists for which The Think Pot is not liable in any manner. To share your views on an apolitical and intense subject like this you can reach out to us at mahimaasharma@thethinkpot.in