Balancing Nutrition without Fads

June 7, 2021

Dr. Lisa Young

Dr. Lisa Young is a registered dietitian nutritionist who has been counseling clients on health, wellness, weight loss, and a variety of medical conditions for 25 years. She has a PhD in nutrition (her research tracked the history of growing portion sizes in the US), is an adjunct professor of nutrition at NYU, wrote 2 popular books, numerous articles, and made a movie debut (Super Size Me.) As nutrition is her passion, Lisa loves inspiring her community, clients, students and friends to live healthfully.

Lisa’s food philosophy: “All foods fit.”  With every manner of diet fad being written about, Lisa says that if you love a food, don’t give it up.  “Enjoy it! Be mindful of your portion size.  And enjoy lots of fruits and veggies. Healthy eating should not be complicated or stressful!,” says Lisa Young.

Lisa specializes in the area of portion control and making lifestyle changes for healthy weight loss as opposed to rigid diets. Salonpas sat down with Lisa to learn more the pandemic and mindful eating and about about balancing nutrition without resorting to fads:

Has the pandemic upended balanced eating for many people?

Yes! People’s routines have changed which affected eating habits. With many people working from home, and having a lack of structure, this led to a lot of overeating on ultra-processed foods as well as skipping regular meals. 

What us the ‘Portion Teller’ plan?

This is a healthy weight loss program focusing on portion control. All foods fit in a healthy diet. The problem is that we eat too much of the wrong foods and too little of the right foods. The Portion Teller Plan, along with my newest book Finally Full, Finally Slim teaches people how to overcome portion distortion and learn to right size their food portions. I also focus on mindful eating and creating healthy habits.

Tell us about your nutritional philosophy for people to get to their best selves? 

My food philosophy: All foods fit. Eat what you love. ❤️ 

If you love a food, don’t give it up.  Enjoy it! Be mindful of your portion size (but don’t obsess!) And enjoy lots of colorful fruits and veggies. 🍉 🌶 (Healthy eating should not be complicated or stressful!) Think about what you can add to your diet rather than take foods away— crowd it out, as I say!! 

Why do rigid diets generally fail?

They fail because they are not natural and go against what is natural. You are “on a diet” which is not sustainable as opposed to creating a healthy way of life. 

How did you become a registered dietitian nutritionist?

My inspiration to become a nutritionist originated from my late grandmother, a breast cancer survivor, who recognized the importance of nutrition long before it was a field. 

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and have been counseling clients on health, wellness, weight loss, developing a healthy body image, and a variety of medical conditions for 25 years. I also spent time at University of Pennsylvania medical school (psychiatry dept) working with  binge eating disorder. 

Have you always had a healthy relationship with food?

As a college student, many years ago, my friends and I would chase the latest “diet” food to try thinking they were healthy. Luckily, once I entered grad school for nutrition, I realized that healthy does not equal diet. In fact, quite the opposite. There’s no one magic food to make you healthy. A healthy diet is composed of a variety of whole foods from the various food groups. 

Tell us about a typical day in your life, from when you arise to when you retire.

I don’t have a typical day. Some days I counsel clients, some days I teach, and some days I write. I exercise daily— either taking a swim or doing yoga, —and I eat healthy meals and snacks. E-mail takes up a lot of my day as does working with the media. I try to relax in the evening, listening to music, and reading a novel before bed. I also catch up with friends and family each day and focus on being present.