The foods and the nutrients we put into our bodies are the foundation blocks for our health. The meals we make, the groceries we buy: these food choices are ours to make. However, this freedom puts our wellness on a balance beam. Poor choices can alter your health in detrimental ways, affecting your energy, emotions, physical well being, and lifestyle. If your relationship with food took a turn somewhere along the way, you may want to meet our dietitian, Dr. Fatemeh Giahi. Her first piece of advice? Get rid of the guilt. Tell yourself that from now on, you have to concentrate on building a healthy relationship with food and getting there may require some help.
Fatemeh didn’t know nutrition and food science was her calling from the start. In fact, her Bachelor’s Degree was in Chemical Engineering! Her interests after graduating led her to get her Master’s Degree in Food Engineering, but then something changed. She was in the process of finishing her thesis; trying to figure out how to extract antioxidants from tomatoes to make health supplements when she had a moment of realization. FOOD was the underlying component that establishes our health. It’s the fuel that keeps our bodies strong and our minds functioning. So, Fatemeh went back to school, this time to get her PhD in Nutrition from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Since then, Fatemeh has taught nutrition and related topics at colleges such as Simmons, UMASS and Hampshire College. She also became passionate about international nutrition, learning about hunger, malnutrition and the politics behind them.
After many years of teaching about the benefits of a good diet, it was time to see the effects on patients of her own. Fatemeh now has a private practice in Hadley and works with AFP part-time, offering nutrition counseling and teaching a small-group, conversation-based class called Mindful Eating. She teaches this class with another Dragonfly Provider, psychologist Greg Petrosky. Patients who join this class not only get the expertise of a certified dietitian, but also a unique insight into why our brains want what they want, how to understand hunger cues, and solutions to resist cravings. Making a change in your diet doesn’t happen overnight, and Fatemeh understands that to the fullest. The key is to take small steps and set reasonable goals, followed by more small steps and more reasonable goals.
It is also important to remember that educating yourself about how to eat mindfully isn’t just for those with diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, or other health conditions. It is for anyone who wants to better understand their diet and how their choices can lead to balanced nutrition. It’s a powerful thing to have the knowledge to change your body for the better! As Fatemeh says, there are as many diets as there are individuals; one size cannot fit all.
Here is a quote from one of Fatemeh’s clients: “During my very first visit she listened and didn’t preach and then she said, “I can help you.” That was a mighty powerful, truthful statement. She is so much more than a nutritionist. She needs a new title. She helps you gain control of things and appreciate things. Not just to savor food but to savor life. If you feel unhappy with your relationship with food. If it’s impacting the quality of your life. Don’t waste one more minute. RUN to the phone and let her help you love your life again!“
If you’re an AFP patient interested in Mindful Eating or Nutrition Counseling, check out our services page to learn more. To schedule an appointment, please call our front desk at (413) 549-8400. Fatemeh and Greg will soon be accepting patients for the upcoming Mindful Eating session beginning in July (2018) and running for 6 weeks.
To learn more about Fatemeh, read her professional bio on our Providers & Staff page.
Post written by: Anna Gelotte