Sharpening the Saw: A Focus on Nutrition


I’m glad to continue my blog series on Stephen Covey’s idea of sharpening the saw by focusing on the physical dimension, specifically nutrition. Nutrition was my first career, and even though I gave up my registered dietitian credential long ago, what I learned getting that master’s degree in nutrition still lingers. But you really don’t need special credentials to see why nutrition is an important topic for everyone.

More than two-thirds of Americans are overweight or, worse yet, obese (often defined as being 20 percent or more above normal weight); the statistic for children is even more frightening. Weight is a leading cause of serious public health issues such as hypertension, diabetes and heart disease, to name a few. And it should come as no surprise that the big culprits are fat and sugar.

So, what does someone need to do to lose weight? Despite new fad diets that seem to come out every month, there really is no magic to the formula: if you eat more than you burn, you store the excess intake as fat. Therefore, to lose, you have to burn more calories than you consume. Regardless of whether you have a weight issue, it’s still important to make healthy choices. But where to start? With the basics, of course.

Good-bye Food Pyramid
The USDA recently replaced its recommended food pyramid with MyPlate, which uses a picture to illustrate the relative proportions of the food groups we should be consuming. You’ll notice the picture does not include fat or sugar; compared with other food groups, those two tasty ingredients provide calories but few nutrients. Compare that with your own plate; see any adjustments you could make? It’s a change from the pyramid we all grew up with, but the message is simple—eat a wide variety of healthy foods, the less processed the better. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water.

Words of caution: The super athlete looking for a competitive edge from nutrition would do well to consult with a sports nutritionist. And anyone looking to make major changes through diet or weight loss should consult a physician.

What Does This Have to Do With Practice Management?
Have you ever run into someone who has recently lost weight? The effects of weight loss are more than just physical. People who have lost weight seem invigorated in all aspects of their lives, including their careers. Just talking with them is refreshing. Instead of being tired and not having time to get things done, they have more energy and they choose to make time for what’s important. Having worked with many patients who struggled with their weight, I always shared in their sense of pride when they shed the excess pounds.

Of course, nutrition is just one component of the physical dimension of sharpening the saw. In the next blog, we’ll add exercise. In the meantime, eat well!

Joni Youngwirth
Managing Principal of Practice Management
Commonwealth Financial Network
Waltham, Mass.

2 thoughts on “Sharpening the Saw: A Focus on Nutrition

  1. Thanks, Joni. I’ve found plant-based nutrition to be the ticket to not only losing weight but improving overall health. Check out the film (on dvd) “Forks Over Knives” for inspiration and “Forks Over Knives Cookbook” for great recipes.

  2. Pingback: Sharpening the Saw: 4 Ways to Manage Stress « FPA Practice Management Center Blog

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