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Written by: Sarah Kirton on Dec 7th, 2022

Tianna Nilsen (Temecula Dietitians) 2022: Our Bodies Are Not The Problem

Tianna Nilsen MS, RD and Owner of Temecula Dietitians, has specialized in eating disorders, disordered eating, digestive issues and women’s health issues for over a decade. She shares her passion for helping people achieve their goals with DeliveryRank.

How do you quantify a ‘non-diet approach’?

A non-diet approach really means that you are not using external sources to dictate what you eat and when you are going to eat. I think a lot of people struggle with diet rules and therefore believe they are not dieting. 

The reality is that whenever we are looking towards any external source which dictates our food intake, we ARE dieting. People are starting to learn that diets don’t work but the diet culture industry is getting sneaky in the way that they sell their product or program. Even if they call it a lifestyle, or a psychological approach, it nevertheless remains a diet!

Could you talk us through one of your typical programs - method, approach, duration etc…

We always meet with our clients for an in-depth 60-90 minute assessment where we cover everything from what their daily eating habits look like, their exercise habits, medical history, labs, emotional health… We ask how they feel about their body and get a good idea if there are any struggles or patterns with eating disorders. 

From here, we are able to help them work through any challenges they are having that are coming in the way of them feeling their best, both mentally and physically. We always use a health centered and health behavioral approach for follow-up appointments, meaning we will always focus on the health behaviors rather than the number on the scale. By doing this, we make sure that through our eating it is supportive both for physical and mental health.

Follow-up appointments can vary from person to person. All concerns are on a spectrum so we may spend a couple of years working with some clients, while others may only need a few sessions or a couple of months. 

Do you feel that the mental and the physical are intrinsically intertwined?

Absolutely 100%. We often don’t realize how much our mental health affects our food choices and our food behaviors. Something that comes up often in my sessions is stress and anxiety. Many of my clients are either on one end of the spectrum or on the other. Perhaps they eat out of stress, when they are anxious or out of boredom, while others struggle to feed themselves at all when feeling stressed or anxious. So, our mental health absolutely filters down to our food ‘culture’.

Why do you think so many people are so obsessed with a negative body image?

We have unfortunately grown up in a culture that has pushed this ‘thin’ ideal that feels impossible for the wide majority of people to fit into. Body trends sadly seem to change every decade, and our bodies are being objectified every single day when we fall victim to this ‘fat-phobic’ culture that exists in our world today. 

I used to read magazines every week and thought that I too could look like the models, even though our genetic disposition was completely different. Victoria Secrets is a good example - It was created by an older man in Ohio. I grew up thinking that these super thin models with large breasts were beautiful. Our culture is the problem, not our bodies. We need to fully understand and believe this.

Is your approach to working with clients considered to be part of the health scheme?

It actually is not. What I often hear from my clients and what their doctors say is that they are focused on BMI as a measure of their health. Weight loss is something that is constantly pushed regardless of their labs or health behaviors. It seems that a lot of doctors want to blame weight for many problems that their patients are coming in with and wanting help with. Because of this, many of my clients don’t want to go to the doctor anymore, for fear of being lectured about their weight.

The Government and the medical profession as a whole think that weight equals health. In our practice we focus on the health behaviors such as eating patterns, variety, moving one's body in a way that feels good, getting adequate sleep, working with a health professional if necessary, and potentially getting on medication…we focus on health behaviors rather than the number on the scale.

What is your primary goal?

My primary goal is to help people feel their very best physically and mentally, and the two go hand in hand. Both aspects of health need to be focused on when we think about our health as a whole, and feeling our very best.

If you would like to find out more about Tianna Nilsen, visit https://temeculadietitians.com/ or follow on https://www.facebook.com/dietitian.tianna or https://www.instagram.com/dietitian.tianna/

About The Author

Sarah Kirton
PR Writer, Delivery Rank
A wannabe global ‘food-trotter,’ Sarah nurtures a deep-seated passion for food and cultural diversity and believes the two go hand in hand. Having lived in Europe for many years she has a great knowledge of Mediterranean and French cuisine. She now lives in Cape Town, the food capital of Africa. When she is not dining out or cooking up a storm you will find her kite-surfing on the ocean, up a mountain, or cuddling her cat Samson!
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