Menus for Success
Aim high! Your health and weight goals are within reach.
The next time a piece of chocolate cake seems to be calling your name, call back—and ask it what it’s going to do for you. Not much in the long term, right?
That’s one of the many messages Gale Reed, RD, an outpatient dietitian at Overlook Hospital, conveys to patients as they turn to her for nutritional guidance in their quest to achieve better, healthier lives. “I urge patients to get present with eating,” she explains. “When you’re eating a food, think about it. Don’t think about immediate gratification; think long-term. That’s not to say you’ll never have chocolate cake—that’s not realistic—but it’s about being mindful of what goes into your mouth. What people want long-term is always much more important than what they want for the short term.
The realization of long-term achievement spurred Reed to create Menus for Success, which provides individualized nutritional counseling services to the Overlook community. These services can be instrumental in managing or improving—or even preventing entirely—such diseases as high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, anemia, and celiac disease.
“Obesity is a disease too,” Reed points out, “and many disease states stem from obesity.” Reed sees all the time how eating well and healthfully, and including the nutrients one needs to deal with any health issues, can help people significantly decrease the amount of medication they must take to manage their diseases, or keep them from ever getting to that point where they require medication. “In many ways, food can actually heal people,” Reed says, invoking the words of Hippocrates: “Let food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.” This recognition of the impact of overweight and obesity on overall physical and mental well-being inspired the production of a flexible eight-session weight-management program that provides one-on-one nutritional counseling tailored to each person’s individual needs. “You can’t learn how to change your life in one or two sessions,” says Reed. “Behavioral changes take time and focus. When people want to change their lives, what they do has to fit in with their lives. If it doesn’t, they are not going to do it for the long term.”
To that end, in designing a personalized eating plan, Reed considers such lifestyle factors as schedules, family life, where a person does most of his or her eating, and what types of food he or she most enjoys. This helps to identify barriers to change—the many roadblocks that prevent people from eating right and reaching/maintaining a healthy weight. “Once the barriers are identified, we work together to knock them down.”
Enhance your life
Without question, diet directly affects physical health on a daily basis; it also has an effect on mental well-being and quality of life. Perhaps that’s why so many people find themselves setting up diet-related resolutions this time of year. Reed takes a different approach. “I don’t buy into the New Year’s resolution thing,” she says. “If you make it just about losing weight—if you make it just about the number of pounds you’re going to lose—it won’t work. You have to make it about behavioral change. Unless you change, you’ll put the weight back on and you’ll be making the same resolutions next year.
To avert the typical pattern of resolutions made and broken, Reed also provides numerous wellness services that truly help people achieve the lives of their dreams. These services range from general nutrition education and counseling to meal planning (for families or individuals), refrigerator makeovers, and supermarket tours to help patients make more healthful choices. There are also resources geared specifically toward prenatal, geriatric, and vegetarian nutrition, as well as infant and child nutrition and women’s and men’s health. All of these services are provided in an environment where patients receive positive feedback and never feel threatened or judged. “People need someone to help them understand what’s going on,” she says. “There’s so much information out there. Most people don’t have the science background to understand what’s true and what isn’t. As a clinically trained dietitian, I help determine the facts as they are understood right now.
“It’s never too late for people to make changes,” Reed says. “Failure is an opportunity to do better next time: They’re not mistakes; they’re mis-takes.”
To learn more about Menus for Success or to schedule an appointment, e-mail Gale Reed at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (908) 522-6114.