SLOW & STEADY WINS THE RACE!

Sometimes when making a lifestyle change it can seem overwhelming not knowing where to start. You may have started classes or diets and they haven’t worked for you so you feel like giving up. I know it’s not easy but don’t! Your health and wellbeing is the most important asset you have and there is no one size fits all. 

When working with clients I ask them to do three simple things:

  1. Have a health goal
  2. Keep a food and lifestyle diary
  3. Be prepared.

Once you have identified yournumber one health goal and completed a food and lifestyle diary, a very simple and powerful tool to focus on your lifestyle habits, you can start to focus on what you can do to achieve your goal. This is where I sit down with clients and put a plan in place, one that fits around their lifestyle. Because you have to be prepared. There is no point saying, ‘right I am going to start running every day, only eat vegetables, not eat any treats or drink alcohol and I’ll be doing the marathon in 8 weeks time’ without being prepared. Good luck with that! 

Finally, be realistic, don’t worry about what ‘everyone’ else is doing, what can you do to build on new lifestyle changes that become your new norm? Making small changes to your lifestyle, ones you can maintain really do make a big difference. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? Slow and steady really did win the race!

For more information on my health and nutrition coaching services email. [email protected] 

MY KID’S DON’T EAT BROCCOLI

There I said it. My kids hate broccoli, I can’t even mention it, ditto for most things green as well as tomatoes, strawberries and grapes to name a few. Where I used to despair I now just accept that we are all different and it’s finding out what they will eat is far more important.

When I was a ‘younger’ mother I was bamboozled by parenting articles and books. If that wasn’t bad enough now with social media you have “uber Mom” bloggers suggesting rainbow lunch boxes (vegetables and fruit with lots of colours). While they looked gorgeous unfortunately mine came back untouched. Then the other side of the media is telling me that our kids are obese and type 2 diabetes becoming a near epidemic. I kind of felt I was dammed as a parent either way.

We are now aware that the food children eat can make a big difference on their energy, concentration and sometimes behaviour. But mealtimes for a child and parent can be stressful. Especially if a child is what is called ‘a fussy eater’. So what to do?

Well from experience of two very different children there are different approaches to look at different stages of their lives, just as there is with adults.

For the smallies, definitely blending in sneaky veg to say sauces really helps. It just does. As does blending up different fruits, including frozen berries and yogurt, and making them into ice pops. Introducing different foods early so they get used to different textures and tastes is also great. I’m not sure about rewarding for eating your veg or dinner as it makes it seem from an early stage like a it’s not a good thing yet the treat is?

Noticing how your child reacts to food can be insightful. Do they take their time, do they woolf it down, is smell and touch important to them? A great fun game to play is mindful eating, if and when you have some time over a meal. You can say close your eyes and listen to the food ;does it make a sound, smell the food, take a small bit and really chew it and feel and taste what it’s like. I realized one of my children hates strawberries or anything squishy as he just doesn’t like the texture and feel. Children are so much better than adults at using their senses and really get it. Not that you can do this all the time but it can let them notice more about what they are eating.

For older children who may decide to show their own ‘independence’ or really just not like a particular food agreeing on what they will eat can be helpful. So instead of saying ‘Oh my god why don’t you eat your vegetables?’ How about putting it positively? So what is it you do like? Name 5 fruit and veg you will eat, 3, 2, 1 if really stuck! Then you can agree to build on this, taste something and only then can you say you don’t like it. How you cook something can also make a difference some kids really do like veg that is not cooked like peppers and carrots as they can be sweet while not like them cooked. I personally don’t agree with cooking different meals, we are all way too busy to be short order cooks, so if something is in the meal you don’t like just don’t eat that part.

Finally, taking stress out of eating is very important if you are stressed and uptight around a child eating they will pick up on it. When work with clients it’s amazing how many comment on their eating habits as a child that has followed them through to adulthood. Food is there to be enjoyed and should be seen as a pleasurable experience so if they don’t eat broccoli don’t panic, I think they will be okay!

WHAT IS HEALTH & NUTRITION COACHING?

I met someone recently and they said ‘what is it that you do? What is health and nutrition coaching?’ He then proceeded to talk about the pseudo science in nutrition, how “food doesn’t cure cancer etc.” While a tad taken aback, I realized he had a point. There is a lot of confusion around the whole area of nutrition.

While it’s great that people are more aware of health, fitness and what they eat, there is still the perception of being extreme. From ‘clean eating’, the rise in veganism, Instagramming every meal, fridge cleansing (this is a new one), Ironman competitions, etc. sometimes it feels like you have to be “in or out”.

When I started studying, I remember coming home after my first day of college and saying “I can’t do this, I can’t do extreme’” People were talking about courgetti (courgette made into spaghetti), spiralizers, and cleansing diets. I was totally overwhelmed and intimidated. It felt elitist and part of a club.  I then got a present of Dale Pinnock’s recipe books and I saw lovely, easy to make wholesome food that was really tasty. It wasn’t rocket science; it wasn’t pseudo science; it was just simple food that was good for you and made sense. I knew exactly why I was doing the course – I am passionate about food and about people’s wellbeing; not extremes, but balance.

Health and Nutrition coaching is based on the same concept of any coaching, be it fitness, life or work: Working with a person on a one to one basis to help put them back in control. In the case of Health and Nutrition, the focus is to review their wellbeing at this stage in their life. Looking at their work/life balance; how, where and what they eat; exercise, and any stressors. Sometimes we when we are deep in the forest we cannot see the woods for the trees. But when we look up and step back we can see how simple changes can complement our lives and help us to achieve optimum health and balance.

I don’t believe that everyone should cut out dairy and wheat, or that all carbs are evil and juicing is the only way to get optimum vitamins. I believe that some people have a genuine intolerance to some foods and when they cut them out they feel better. Some people bloat with pasta and bread, while others don’t. Juicing is a great and quick way to get some nutrients but our teeth are there for a reason. We should chew our food to prepare for digestion and not drink down our ‘food’.

I believe in a balanced approach to the food we eat. If you have to think about anything too much, then it becomes an obsession and any obsession, especially regarding food, is not healthy. Each of us is unique and therefore what works for one does not for the other. Many of us are thankfully in a position to buy and choose the food we eat. But a lot are not so fortunate so we should always be mindful and be thankful. Healthy and nutritious food should not be elitist, but an essential and accessible option for everyone. 

Feel free to PM me for more information or to arrange a consultation.