I've learned after years of studying nutrition that health isn't as simple as just eating the right foods. Don't get me wrong, eating the right foods is extremely helpful but not the solution to long-term success in and of itself unless we have the skills in place to maintain it. Over at The Empowered Eating Centre, we've put together a manifesto that highlights some of the key concepts that are the foundation of all our programs.
1. Weight inclusivity: This doesn’t mean that everyone at every size is healthy – but we need to understand that size doesn’t equate health. All sizes can be unhealthy and so gentle nutrition aims to help people get to the base of the problem rather than focusing on a number. Tired? Low energy? Aches and pains? Let’s focus on that! My goal is to boost body positivity for all people and bash biases that say we have to fit a certain mould to be healthy.
2. Eating for Well-being: This is about food and nutrition guidance that’s based on our lifestyle and individual needs. An approach that is based on hunger, satiety, nutritional needs and PLEASURE rather than dieting. It’s about finding the foods that work with you AND your life so that you can have the energy and clarity to do the things that you love and perform your best in all areas of your life.
3. Compassion: Responding to the ups and downs that are our health journeys with kindness, warmth, and love. Seeking to find the reasons for our actions and gently analysing them rather than judging them and ourselves. Compassion recognises that pain and imperfection are normal parts of being human and being alive and practising mindfulness so that we can observe our internal thoughts and behaviours.
4. Mindfulness: This is about looking at the thinking that has been keeping us stuck and not allowing us to eat for well-being as often as we’d like to. It’s about looking at our food choices from a state of consciousness rather than disconnect and identifying triggers that might be in the way of making more positive food choices. It’s also about slowing down so that we can better listen to our own hunger cues and removing distractions from our dinners.
5. Life-enhancing Movement: Exercise should never be a burden, it should be joyful and enjoyable. It is non-discriminatory and supportive of all sizes and stages of the health journey. Movement should be something that you love and never come from a place of self-loathing if we want it to last.
Health is the entire package.
It's about eating to fuel ourselves but also being able to enjoy foods for pleasure if a situation arises without feeling guilt or anxiety. It's about bringing back our own intuition when it comes to eating and learning which foods are best for us rather than sticking to one particular diet. The Empowered Eating Course will help you to find the best foods for you - but not without looking at how to maintain good habits for life. Yo-Yo dieting is far worse a health risk than practising compassion with yourself and eating the occasional foods for pleasure. Health is not a quick fix - Health is for a lifetime.