The World Health Organization (WHO) defined health in 1948 constitution as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.
In this sense we can recognise that optimal health is more than just want we eat and what we weigh, but it also takes into account our thoughts, feeling as well as our social connection. I like to think of health as an equilateral triangle with one side the physical (your weight, skin health, joint health, etc), one side is your emotional self (mood, motivation, stress, mental health etc) and the third your chemistry component (food, supplements, drugs, hormones etc). To be in optimal health we cannot simply focus on one of the triangle because if one side is out, then the other two sides are out too. We must be in balance to thrive and flourish.
Health for each individual person is going to be a little bit different as it considers all the influences on their health including their circumstances, lifestyles, family, environment, work, study and financial situation. A nutritionist seeks to not only look at a person’s food but their life as a whole to achieve optimal health now and in the long term.
Disordered eating or emotional eating is not simply eating poorly. It is much more complex than that and if we consider the triangle of health we can examine what is going on in the other areas of ones life that are or have been contributing to the problem.
When working with clients I help them to see beyond the numbers (both body weight and calories) and consider all of these aspects as we move towards health promoting behaviors and self-care.
Some of the things a nutritionist may focus on to help people make this shift include:
- Working with clients at the level of change that they feel comfortable with.
- Exploring the relationship between food and anxiety, emotional triggers and how a client can change this situation.
- Helping people to break the cycle of binge eating.
- Working with clients to find out if there are any underlying issues driving the behaviour such as nutritional deficiencies or neurotransmitter imbalances.
- Achieving a balanced diet with a healthier relation with food.
- Working towards empowering clients to feel confident without the need for structured eating plans and calorie counting and instead acting on body cues (hunger, fullness, stress, cravings etc.)
- Self and body acceptance.
- Strategies to incorporate exercise and activity that is desirable and achievable for the client.
- Responding appropriately to food desires and cravings.
- Seeing all food as nutrients to nourish the body as a whole instead of making decisions purely based on if a food is ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
Preoccupation with food and your body is incredibly tiring. If you are ready to make the change and feel free of dieting contact me for a consultation. Rediscover the pleasure in eating and develop a health relationship with food and your body.