I’m new to nutrition. What’s the first thing I should do?

Replace highly processed foods by real wholesome ones. Highly processed junk like sweetened beverages, cakes, or chocolate bars take up space in your diet. They are made with sugar, refined wheat and oils which bring calories but not useful nutrients. But you can’t only take away. Replace stuff like that with any wholesome vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, grains, or tubers. This one rule will solve most of your dietary problems and correct nutritional deficiencies.

Do I need to eat everything organic?

Organic products, including produce, have not been shown to be more nutritious than conventional products. True, they may feature lower levels of certain pesticides, but an organic orange still has the same vitamin C as a conventional orange. Personally, if you are concerned about nutrient content, it’s better to choose local over organic. However, choosing nutritious foods of any kind – including fresh, frozen or canned products – offers positive health benefits. In the end, purchasing organic products is a personal choice, so if you enjoy them and your budget allows you to do so, go ahead!

How do I figure out a “healthy weight” for me?

While aiming for a “healthy weight” is a good concept, it’s quite a personal decision for both you and your doctor. Body mass index (BMI, that connection between height and weight) is only one measure of health – and it’s not one that is well understood or helpful for most people. It’s based on sound science, but many people can be perfectly healthy with a BMI that’s in the overweight, or even early obese category. So, what does that mean for you? Your physical health is the primary measure to start with. And while it might not be your “dream” weight, if your body is healthy, that’s the best baseline weight for you. Also make sure you are at a weight, or have a goal weight, that you can sustain with a realistic, not heroic, effort. Remember that “not-gaining” also requires effort and is part of that choice. That’s why it’s called “lifestyle” – you’re in it for life!