Martha Henze, Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist at the Apex Center, 13150 W. 72nd Ave., Arvada, CO, would like potential clients to know one thing right off the bat: “I won’t make you eat sticks!” Making a healthful change is challenging, but doesn’t have to be unpleasant, she says. “I start with having clients keep a food diary for three days. That information helps us both to come up with a plan that includes foods that they enjoy.”
That team-oriented approach works on all sorts of client issues. Individuals seek her guidance for general and specific diet/nutrition goals; everything from weight loss to maintaining peak energy for athletic competitions. “The food diary measures not only what the person is eating, but how they felt at the time,” Martha said. “That helps them to zero in on things that might be causing problems, such as low energy or sensitivity to certain foods.”
Sometimes, eating is tied in with the emotions, Martha said. “For emotional eating, the first task is to figure out what might trigger that behavior. It’s also important to help people make good substitutions, so they are moving toward healthier eating but still feel satisfied.”
To that end, Martha encourages simple, easy-to-apply tools for the process of making good choices. One strategy she uses and teaches is the healthy plate method. It starts with a plate that is 10 inches across – a bit smaller than the “normal” dinner plate. Half of the plate is filled with fruits and vegetables. Grains and protein occupies the other half, with the grain segment slightly larger than the protein. Off to the side is a smaller serving of dairy. “Visual aids are very effective and helpful, and the simplicity of this method helps clients understand and implement healthy eating habits.” Sometimes Martha incorporates grocery store visits with clients, guiding them through the myriad food decisions that are par for the course at most supermarkets. For other clients, a phone coaching session is what’s needed, to talk people through the decision processes.
“Accountability and encouragement” are two overriding components of a client relationship, Martha said. In some cases, she says, only a little of both are needed to set someone on the path to healthier eating. One client, she said with a laugh, signed up for an initial consult and kept the three-day food diary before the first session. “He came in smiling to his appointment, reporting that he had already lost 5 pounds just by keeping a food diary!”
However, not everyone has the clarity of vision and discipline to go straight to what’s needed and address the issue. Another challenge is the tendency of the media to sensationalize nutrition/dietary news. “So many so-called health trends and fads are heavily promoted with not much basis in science,” Martha said. “When clients see a registered dietitian/nutritionist, they’re connecting with someone with 4-year degree in nutrition, who has completed a one-year internship in a variety of clinical situations, and passed a national exam.” The RDN certification also requires significant continuing education, so as to keep up with the latest research and results in the profession.
Making and sustaining change is challenging, so Martha encourages clients to take small steps. Then she works with them to develop simple, sustainable tools that center on their own healthy choices. Last but not least, she keeps gentle tabs on them through subsequent meetings, phone calls or both. Fees are reasonable and meeting times are flexible. To learn more about scheduling a nutrition consultation at Apex PRD, call the Apex Center Fitness Desk, 303-463-2541.
Post expires on November 12, 2016
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Apex Park and Recreation District (Apex PRD) in Arvada, CO, has a wide range of public parks and recreation facilities that offer such activities as pickleball, tennis, golf, swimming, and much more. Founded in 1956, Apex PRD supports adult fitness and kids health for those in Arvada, Denver, Wheat Ridge, Golden, and beyond. Have questions or comments for Apex Park and Recreation District? Use our Contact Us page.