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Helping Members Avoid Fad Diets


Denise HernandezwebAccording to Denise Hernandez, a dietitian at The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa in Houston, Texas, it is essential that clubs provide members with nutrition services, so that they can obtain optimal health. With this in mind, Hernandez shared tips for helping members make the best nutrition decisions and avoid fad diets.

CS: How can clubs guide members to have healthy eating habits?  

DH: The best route to ensure that a club’s members are pursuing healthy eating habits is to provide healthy foods within their facilities to model what they should be doing at home. It is also important to provide information regarding pursuing a healthy diet. Members of clubs, such as The Houstonian, are always seeking the most current information regarding nutrition and health. This is why nutrition services are a valuable resource to club members.

CS: What do you think of fad diets? And how can clubs discourage members from pursuing them? 

DH: I am not a fan of fad diets and trends. They are a factor in society’s increasing obesity epidemic because instead of focusing on the problem at hand, these diets force people to continue their unhealthy habits without working on their main nutrition issues. Once these diet crazes subside, the individuals engaging in fad diets end up gaining the weight back. Clubs can discourage the promotion of fad diets by continuously addressing the importance of a healthy, well-balanced diet and exercise.

CS: Why are some members drawn to fad diets? 

DH: Most fad diets claim they have found a quick fix or a revolutionary method to losing weight or improving your health. The secret is not so much a secret, but the age-old approach of balanced nutrition and daily physical activity. It is not going to deviate from that. Sure, every now and then new evidence will emerge where what we thought was healthy is no longer considered so by scientists. But for the most part, the basics will help with weight maintenance.

Promoters of fad diets also cite some type of research that supports their method in order to convince prospective clients to follow their method or use their product. Always get a second opinion regarding a diet, trend or supplement from a dietitian. I make it a point to stay updated on what is the latest buzz around diets and nutrition to be equipped to handle these inquiries in an educated manner.

CS: What does The Houstonian do to educate members on nutrition? 

DH: The Houstonian sends out monthly newsletters to members discussing nutrition and exercise. These newsletters are authored by a registered dietitian and a personal trainer. This practice helps to reinforce what members see throughout the club regarding nutrition, exercise and general health.

Nutrition lectures, healthy food sampling and grocery store tours are also a means to provide on-going nutrition education and guidance to our members. Members are always encouraged to speak to one of the dietitians on staff when facing any dietary challenges.

CS: What are some quick tips clubs can utilize to help their members with nutrition?  

DH: A quick tip would be to start with a simple concept such as highlighting a nutrition aspect, like heart health, and discussing it via newsletters, bulletin boards or your website on a monthly basis, at the very minimum. The idea is to ensure that members are receiving some information routinely. By being exposed to written content in this form, members can start making the necessary changes to their lifestyles.

Rachel Zabonick

Rachel Zabonick is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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