Meet the RD: Katy Fortman

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Hi! I’m Katy Fortman and I am a Registered Dietitian here in Boston. I love working in wellness because there are always new trends to discover and new challenges to overcome. I am constantly learning and researching, which is my favorite way to stay on top of the nutrition myths floating around!

My way of eating is very flexible. I don’t like to meal prep or plan my meals each week because come time to eat, I’ll be in the mood for something else. I like to follow the Intuitive Eating approach. I find this very helpful because Intuitive Eating focuses on listening to your body and understanding what it is telling you, which is crucial these days when we tend to be so busy that we ignore any signal from our body.

What I like most about Intuitive Eating is there is no talk of “good” or “bad” foods. Food is just food without any assigned morality. It also isn’t “everything in moderation” because there are some people who moderation simply doesn’t work for. It really focuses on getting to know your body and learning the signals it sends, whether this is hunger, fullness, or what kind of food is going to be best for you at that moment. Following these signals is important to me because I have a major sweet tooth and since I choose to not restrict anything, I never get strong cravings. Deprivation of any kind, even if it just the thought of future deprivation, affects us so strongly to the point where we feel like we need to get as much of something in as we can while it’s still “available.”

Instead, by allowing yourself to eat any and all foods, you can take away that desire, any guilt that may have resulted and can eat without fear of restriction. With my sweet tooth, this allows me to eat those foods I enjoy because they’re going to nourish my soul, while eating other foods will nourish my body and not feel guilty about either.

One last thing about Intuitive Eating is it focuses on gentle nutrition and physical activity that brings you joy. Gentle nutrition is reminding yourself that if you haven’t had a vegetable today, you should probably include one at some point. It’s the little reminders that help you be aware of what nutrients are entering your body to make sure you are getting nourishing foods without obsessing over them. It also is a reminder to not eat foods that you don’t enjoy simply because they are “healthy.” For example, if kale isn’t your favorite and you put it in your smoothie even though you can’t stand the taste, it’s harming you more than helping because you aren’t going to enjoy it! Using spinach or another kind of green that you like more is not only going to make the smoothie taste better, but also make you feel better about drinking it.

The same goes for physical activity; if you dread going for a run, don’t. There are so many other ways to exercise that you may like, whether it’s getting out any frustrations while boxing, going to that dance class you loved as a kid, or getting out into nature and hiking. When you do something you love, you are more likely to stick with the habit, which is better for you in the long run.

Intuitive Eating is a journey and a process. It can take a while to get to the point of being completely comfortable around food, but for me it is completely worth it. It has allowed me to treat food simply as food and nothing more or less. Food is so much more than “fuel;” it’s how we connect to our culture, our family and friends, and the world around us. Enjoying it is so important to our experience as humans and with that, I’ll leave you with some of the best advice I have heard: “enjoy your food with health in mind.”