How many times have you said to yourself “I really shouldn’t eat that, it’s bad for me”, or found yourself reaching for the comfort food, only to feel guilty about it later? Sometimes food can seem like the enemy, especially when we’re trying to lose weight or fight food allergies. Negative relationships and associations about food are responsible for a substantial amount of disease burden in Australia (including obesity and eating disorders) and are fueled by confusing messaging and misinformation that comes from a variety of sources.
Unhealthy relationships with food result in guilt, shame and a stress response that contributes greatly to the problem. Unraveling these beliefs and replacing them with positive thoughts that support healthy eating habits can make incredible changes to how and what we eat, and form a far more solid basis for us to be influenced and empowered by the notion of food as medcine!
Instead of saying, ‘I shouldn’t be eating this”, we should be saying, “What can I eat that’s going to really nourish my body and make me feel great?”.
I’ve been inspired by my own personal journey of seeing how different ways of eating have improved my relationship with food, healed my gut and turned my skewed body image right side up . This knowledge has served me well in supporting my clients and given me a passion for personalised nutrition that has been incredibly rewarding. In reality, we all have the power to influence our health and wellbeing through making changes to our dietary intake and lifestyle. Unfortunately, many of us have forgotten that we have this ability, but accountability is the key to taking it back.
Goal-orientated food solutions
Understanding where the problem lies is half the battle. The other half is planning and navigating through the challenges, right through to achieving our goals. Setting achievable goals and rewarding yourself (with something other than food!) is super important and will help you build a better relationship with food much faster. A food journal is a really simple way to get back in touch with the innate intuition we were all born with. It can help you to:
- Understand what your body needs VS what is serving a purely emotional purpose.
- Find out how different foods make you feel (physically and emotionally) and recording it so you can view patterns.
- Uncover negative beliefs regarding food.
Many food intolerances can be diagnosed simply by food journalling. If it doesn’t make you feel good, don’t eat it! I had to rip the bandaid off with gluten in order to heal my gut when I discovered, after food journalling for a few days, that every time I ate bread or pasta I ended up bloated and in pain. Most of my symptoms vanished in just a few days, but it took me longer to realise that gluten was not my enemy, just something I could easily replace with other foods that my body truly loved!
How personalised nutrition supports healthy eating.
What is personalised nutrition? Well, it’s quite simple really. It’s taking away all the ideas society and the media feed us about food, and throwing it all in the bin! There is no ideal diet, no ‘one size fits all’, and no magic pill. There is hard work, dedication and amazing results to reward you! What your body needs in terms of nutrition changes throughout the lifespan so at any given point, your requirements may differ from what they were a year or even just a few months ago. For example, consider how nutritional requirements change if you or your partner fall pregnant; if you decide to take up endurance training; or if you suddenly discover you have a food allergy. All these are examples of how nutritional requirements change, and how personalised nutrition can help us adapt to them.
There is no ideal diet, no ‘one size fits all’, and no magic pill.
It’s the more subtle changes to nutrition that I find fascinating. Did you know that our food choices can contribute to the symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression? Did you know that gut health, skin and hormonal health can all be positively affected by making a few minor adjustments to your daily food intake? This is what personalised nutrition is all about – working with the foods that work for YOU, and replacing foods that may be causing harm.
Hints and tips to personalise your nutrition
- DO NOT DIET! Unless it’s a sustainable change, eating nourishing food must be a habit.
- Experiment with different foods; find out what makes you feel amazing and what doesn’t.
- Keep a food diary. This is my favourite way to help my clients discover their innate knowledge about nutrition and also provides clues to possible food allergies/intolerances that may be sabotaging their attempts to achieve great health.
- Be accountable. You alone are responsible for what you ingest, make it count!
- Keep it personal. Just because it worked for someone else, doesn’t mean it will work as well for you – it could be the opposite!
- Consult a qualified practitioner. This person will be your own personal food coach and mentor, helping you set goals and make a clear path to achieving them.