Georgie Fear is a trainer and dietitian, and currently studying nutritional science as a graduate student at Rutgers. She’s the Sports Dietitian for Rutgers University Athletics, and teaches a wide variety of fitness and nutrition classes for Rutgers Fitness and other facilities in central NJ.
I caught up with Georgie and asked her 7 questions.
1. What are the top 3 things you see people do to mess up their nutrition?
#1: People consume too much processed food
Iin particular processed carbohydrates like granola bars, bagels, frozen diet meals, and 100-calorie fake foods.
In some ways I can’t blame people for not knowing better; with all the advertising making Special K bars and “fruit drinks” look healthy, we’re up against a lot. Most PN eaters understand that fresh, whole foods are the way to build your diet.
A protein bar here and there, a canned something once in a while won’t “hurt” you, but the core foods you eat daily should be unprocessed.
#2: Consuming too little protein and vegetables.
I spend a lot of time educating people about how a higher protein, lower glycemic diet can help them lose weight, decrease cardiovascular disease risk factors, and is unlikely to cause any kidney damage.
For veggies, I do my best to point out the wide variety and dishes you can make with them. Most people just need practice to become a little more “veggie-centric.” With a few new recipes they like and a bit more time spent preparing them, people find out that eating more produce feels good, tastes good, and gets them results.
People think in terms of black and white, going head-over-heels committed to their nutrition plan for a week, then throwing all caution to the wind.
This goes along with impatience. Often people don’t give a strategy enough time to see if it’s really working for them, so if they don’t have a six pack in a week, they give up and jump on another bandwagon.
Changing habits takes time, changing your body takes time. I believe strongly in the power of nutrition, but it’s not a quick and easy fix.
2. How has your perspective on nutrition and exercise changed over the years?
When I started nutrition and fitness counseling, I thought I would be educating people. I figured people must be eating the wrong things, or too much, because they don’t know better.
But it’s a very rudimentary dietitian who thinks telling someone which foods they should or shouldn’t eat will help their client change. It takes much more than that and I’ve learned my job is just as much psychology, motivation, and self-efficacy building as knowing nutrition and biochemistry.
I’ve learned that it’s not just okay to ask the hard questions, but that I have to probe people for their motivation, their fears, and their obstacles to really help them.
I’ve learned to not just give information, but to teach people why.
I try to be a cheerleader while they’re in my office, and also to teach them how to cheer themselves on, because I’m not always there! And the real motivation must come from within.
I’ve also realized that there is no one true path: different exercise regimes and nutrition plans work for different people.
Some people find optimal health through a vegetarian lifestyle, some people find it eating meat. Some people avoid soy, some people avoid milk, some people avoid artificial sweeteners or wheat or fish or beans… but you can build a healthy diet in many ways.
And with exercise you can build a fit body by lifting, swimming, running, rowing, or any mix of activities. I don’t feel the need any more to do exactly what someone else is doing, just because it’s working for them. I’m okay doing what’s working for me.
3. What is your favorite quote?
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~ Aristotle
I love this quote because it encourages consistency and doesn’t let me rest on my laurels from what I once did.
It also forces me to put failures and mistakes in perspective. My habits are good and I am consistently working to do my best, therefore one slip-up matters very little in the scheme of things.
4. What are the top 3 things you see people do to mess up their exercise?
#1: Lack of consistency.
People have trouble keeping up with things year after year.
#2: Over-thinking a program.
This can become a source of stress and kill the enjoyment. I know people who have spreadsheets of periodized training, reps and set schemes that look like calculus to me… and if it works for them, great.
But for me, I keep my options open and don’t set out a concrete plan that, to me, feels restrictive. I make sure I do some strength work, some speed work, some endurance work, but I don’t micromanage my workout routine.
I think keeping it fun and low-stress is why I have grown to love it.
#3: Paying bad trainers!
I see so much bad training going on. If you wonder how good your trainer is… they probably aren’t very good.
Now Georgie, finish the following sentences.
5. Fast food is…
6. The key to my fitness and health success is…
…absolute passion and a love for what I do. This erases the border between work and play.
I shop the produce section like some women browse jewelry. I don’t eat my dinner like a prisoner eats a cold bowl of gruel, wishing I had a bacon cheeseburger.
I dine, I relish, and I revel. That’s why I called my cookbook Dig In, because I think nutritious eating is juicy and flavourful and shouldn’t be thought of as second-class living.
Same with being active., I love the feeling of running, of swinging a kettlebell, of pushing myself. And when you love it, it’s not work, and it’s not something you’d ever stop doing.
Once you know you’re in this for the long haul, you worry less about little setbacks and enjoy the ride.
Bonus: Georgie, what is your favorite supplement?
I don’t take any supplements other than whey protein (Optimum Whey) and vitamin D. Never have.
I’d have to say the whey protein is my favorite, because you can’t make chocolate cookies out of vitamin D softgels.
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