An Interview with Ashley Lytwyn, MS, RDN, LDN

ShopZoeLife had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Ashley Lytwyn, the woman behind www.befit-beyou.com, about weight loss, healthy living, and a positive mentality. Be on the look-out for her upcoming article, which will be all about how to make this summer your healthiest and most fun yet!

SZL: Given the description on your personal website, you have dedicated your life to helping others achieve a state of health & wellness. What do you find to be the most rewarding part of working with your clients?
AL: The most rewarding part of working with my clients is seeing the mental shift that occurs with nutritional therapy. I work with a lot of people who have been imprisoned by restrictive diets and have beaten themselves up for years because they feel like a failure. Although sustainable, permanent weight loss is the business model for beFit beYou, the most important thing that occurs is developing a positive relationship with the mind, body, and food, and learning to nourish and treat the body rather than deprive and hurt the body. Happiness creates a much deeper level of health than any number on the scale ever will!

SZL: You mention that personalization is key. What works for some, may not work for others. But have you discovered any universal wellness tips?
AL: Absolutely! Nutrition and health is not rocket science. It is personalized because everyone has different triggers that cause hunger, cravings, and emotional eating. However, as a whole, we can always incorporate more fruits and vegetables into our everyday lifestyle. Hydration is probably the most common topic I discuss.

SZL: What is your current health obsession?
AL: Figs are now in-season in Southern California, where I live. I am a true ‘locavore’ and eat up (pun intended) all of the seasonal, local foods I can! I love visiting restaurants who pride themselves on chef-inspired dishes that incorporate organic food from local farms. Not only do I know I’m getting the freshest, most nutrient-dense food possible, I am also supporting local businesses and organic farmers!

SZL: Do you think that Americans are less inclined to live a healthy lifestyle because of a lack of awareness, or because of other factors (the higher cost of organic products, the perceived time investment, the rampant availability of junk foods, etc)?
AL: I truly think it is a combination of everything; lack of education and awareness, increased costs, perceived time investment, sheer laziness, and excessive junk food that is constantly pushed in our faces. Unfortunately, society doesn’t necessarily make it easy to eat healthy as we have ‘jumbo-sized’ everything! The biggest contributing factor I see is the deprivation/binge cycle that many Americans put themselves on. Americans feel as though they have to deprive and restrict to be healthy. Most don’t understand that a healthy, balanced diet can easily and effortlessly achieve a healthy weight as well. With deprivation and restriction, comes overeating, indulging and rewarding. Americans feel that if they “did well” on a diet for two weeks, they can have a cheat meal and eat whatever they want. Wrong. This cyclical battle perpetuates the notion that healthy food is always tasteless and you can only truly enjoy food when you are ‘cheating’. With education and awareness, we can understand that healthy food can also be delicious, quick, and easy. I know it sounds like common sense, but it’s harder than it sounds to grasp this mentality! 

SZL: What is the greatest difference you see in your clients, after they successfully adhere to your programs?
AL: The biggest success I see is when a client releases the mentality that a number on the scale dictates their happiness or self-worth. Building confidence in one’s body and truly learning to love what you have helps diminish self-sabotage. Once we fix the mental component, weight loss always follows. It’s a win-win for everyone.

SZL: What is your biggest no-no (the thing that you avoid at all costs)?
AL: Artificial sweeteners or any type of artificially made ingredient. Let’s get back to the basics and eat the real thing, as nature intended!

- Maria Vasylivna