Andrea Miller MHSc, RD
April 6, 2018, 9:19 p.m.
I spent a long time thinking about what I wanted to say in this blog. I did not want it to be about nutrients; I did not want it to be about weight; I did not want it to be about eating. I wanted it to be about acceptance. As I was thinking all of this, I remembered something I want to share; it is a story about a woman in the gym, where I exercise.
There is a woman at the gym where I do yoga that I would like to tell you about. I do not know this woman, I have never spoken to her and I know nothing about her life. I think she is about 60 years old; her hair has been dyed bright red. She comes to the gym, completely made-up, wearing bright blue eye shadow, bright pink blush, lipstick, and brightly coloured nail polish. Her exercise clothes are always bright colours- red and purple or pink and orange. But the most unique thing about this woman is her shoes. She wears sparkly, silver or gold flats as she rides the stationary bike, every time! She also wears headphones, but she does not just listen to music as she rides, she sings and ‘dances’ as she rides the bike.
I think this woman is amazing. Her pure joy, confidence and self-acceptance are enviable. She cares about her health, but she also cares about herself. I think many people, at first glance, would judge this woman harshly; they might think she is not dressed appropriately for the gym; they might not like her singing, and they certainly might think her shoes are all wrong for exercise. Full disclosure- I might have thought all those things for a minute- then I caught myself and I watched her. She did not care what I (or anybody thought)- she was there to have fun, to look after herself, and to do those things in a way that was true to her (including the sparkly shoes). In a world where there is so much comparing, judging, and analyzing of what we eat, what we wear, and how much we weigh, I think many of us could take a page out of this woman’s book. Self-acceptance is a gift, and not one easily given or received. No matter where we are with our relationship with food and weight, a little self-love (and some sparkly shoes) could go a long way!
April 7, 2018 is World Health Day . It is a global health awareness day, under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization (WHO). The theme for World Health Day, 2018 is Universal Health Care (UHC) for All. Universal Health Care enables everyone to access the services that address the most important causes of illness and ensures that the quality of those services is good enough to improve the health of the people who receive them. UHC is not just about health care and financing the health system of a country. It encompasses all components of the health system: systems and healthcare providers that deliver health services to people, health facilities and communications networks, health technologies, and governance and legislation (WHO, 2018).
As a long-time registered dietitian, I have worked in teaching hospitals, community hospitals, long term care homes and now privately in my own practice. The concept of Universal Health Care for All, is something I hope to see before the end of my career. A world where everyone who struggles with their relationship with food and their bodies can seek quality, judgement-free, appropriate care from a provider who understands them, is world I would like to be in. Sadly, that is not yet our world. But in the meantime, like the lady in my gym, we can put on our sparkly shoes, leave our preconceived ideas and judgements behind and do what we can to care for ourselves and others, who struggle with their relationship with food and their bodies.
Andrea Miller graduated with honours from Ryerson University's program in human nutrition. She completed her dietetic internship at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto and her Master’s degree in Health Sciences at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, in Oshawa. Andrea has worked in Family Health Teams, Long Term Care, Teaching and Community hospitals. She is an instructor at UOIT and she writes a monthly sports nutrition column for the local newspaper. Andrea appears regularly in local media in Durham region. Andrea owns and operates a private nutrition consulting practice in Whitby. You can find Andrea’s website here, or you can follow her on Twitter at @AndreaMillerRD and Facebook at Andrea Miller MHSc, RD Consulting Dietitian.