Overeating, poor food choices and obesity is a common phenomenon. Our environment constantly bombards us with cheap, delicious food, and without the skills, self-awareness and knowledge to deal with these temptations it can be a constant battle. As well as all the food temptations, many of us have sedentary, and often stressful lives. Stress can increase appetite, adding to the problem. It’s no wonder obesity has become such a common phenomenon! What’s needed is a holistic weight management approach that inspires people and equips them with more awareness, knowledge and skills to help them feel more in charge of their eating, helps them to address their relationship with food, empowers them through improved nutritional knowledge to make better food choices and enables them to manage their lifestyle in a way that’s realistic, enjoyable and sustainable.
“After years of yo-yo dieting, I felt lost with food…” “Thanks to Emma a bad food day doesn’t scare me.”
My Mindful Eating Service: The Whole Picture
If an individual wants to improve their relationship with food, stop overeating, feel more in charge of the food environment, lose weight and set up long-term healthy eating habits, it’s really important to look at the ‘whole picture’. This includes considering a person’s:-
~ Stress levels
~ Relationship with food
~ Relationship with self/self-concept
~ Eating behaviour (habits)
~ Actual food choices (not just now, but over the past few decades)
~ History of dieting- ‘feast and famine’ eating patterns
~ Lifestyle management
~ Life satisfaction
More Than Just Calories: The Psychology & The Physiology
What’s caused the obesity and diabetes Type 2 epidemic is not people eating too much fat, but the body producing too much insulin too often in response to the frequent eating of processed foods- foods stripped of their natural fibre (including white flour-based foods), often with added sugar: biscuits, cakes, pastries, breads etc. Insulin is vital for keeping blood sugar levels at a safe level, but in excess it can lead to fat storage in the body and insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes). This is why it’s important to look at the composition of meals and snacks, not just the calories they contain.
We must consider the physiology and the psychology, not just how much we’re eating. We cannot just think of the overly simplistic, mechanistic and limited approach of calories in, calories out and relying on willpower to restrict food intake. The above factors can have a significant influence on our mood, the way we think and our physiology (hormones such as insulin, cortisol, leptin and sex hormones), which can determine weight management ability, happiness levels, motivation levels, energy levels and general health and well-being, which in turn influences how, what and why we eat.
The ‘3 Keys’
Exploring our relationship with food and eating habits can feel overwhelming as it can seem like a huge, complex subject. With my expertise in both psychology and nutrition, I teach people about three equally important, distinct areas. I empower clients with the knowledge, insight and skills they need to make positive, long-term change- it’s a journey, not a diet. The three key areas are:-
1. Eating behaviour (mindful eating strategies)
2. Emotional eating
3. The ‘Hormone Factor’
Exploring Your Relationship With Food
Sometimes all we need is to take a deep breath, relax, and have an opportunity to talk about our eating, with a listening ear.
I help people to improve their relationship with food, feel more in charge of their eating and to set up and maintain long-term healthy eating habits. My services include one-to-one sessions, a range of talks (Lightwater Surrey and online), an online fortnightly support group and an online course: ‘Improve Your Relationship With Food’. If you’ve had enough of dieting, you feel out of control of your eating, you’re struggling with your weight and you want to find a fresh, flexible approach, then my services are designed to help you achieve just that. I also help people who might not be overweight but who are seeking support in setting up and maintaining healthier eating habits.
I encourage clients to address their mindset in terms of how they think and feel about food, to help them manage the food environment. I help clients to address unhelpful thoughts, feelings and beliefs around food such as thinking that you deserve to eat a certain food (reward-eating), thinking that you’ve ‘blown’ it after eating a piece of cake (catastrophic thinking), that you must clear your plate (excuses to eat and ‘crooked’ thinking) or telling yourself that you’ll start to eat better once you’re back from your holiday/weekend away (the ‘black and white’ mindset, and procrastination).
“I was a victim of 1980s dieting”
My Mindful Eating service was set up with the aim of helping individuals to make beneficial, long-term changes to their eating and lifestyle, enable them to improve their relationship with food, eat more healthily and mindfully and reach their health goals such as losing weight. Each individual has their own needs, preferences, skills and challenges, so I offer a personalised service that enables me to work with clients in depth. Read about my own weight loss journey here.
“Emma has helped me so much with understanding my relationship with food.”
The Problem with ‘Quick Fix’ Diets
Many people get trapped in a cycle of yo-yo dieting, perhaps losing weight and then re-gaining the weight they’ve lost. Not being fully aware of their mindless eating habits or underlying (emotional) eating triggers, not knowing how to change their former, pre-diet eating or their body having a ‘rebound’ response to rapid weight loss can put individuals at risk of weight re-gain; I’ve experienced this with many clients who have approached me following a quick-fix commercial diet programme. Short-term weight loss diets might not address underlying habits or a person’s relationship with food, and identifying unhelpful eating behaviours as well as unhelpful thought patterns is a key part of helping a client to improve their eating. My service helps clients to adopt more healthy eating habits, more helpful attitudes towards food and weight management and improved knowledge about themselves, food and the body, giving them a much better chance of successful long-term weight management and a better relationship with food.
The Client’s Relationship With Food
Many people come to me with a long history of dieting, yet they’re still overweight, having yo-yo dieted for many years (recurrent weight loss followed by weight re-gain). They’ve realised that going on a diet where you follow someone else’s rules hasn’t helped them to reach their health goals or tackle their relationship with food. Going on a diet doesn’t usually get to the heart of the problem because the focus is often on weight loss alone. Through knowledge and skill-building I help people to tackle any problematic eating habits they have, enabling them to feel more in charge of food and to no longer have to rely on strict diets to control their eating. Read my blog post: ‘How To Boost Your Weight Loss Motivation‘.
“I wanted a way off the yo-yo diet roundabout but couldn’t see a way out on my own. Mindful eating is not a quick fix but has helped me explore and understand my relationship with food“.
I help clients to become more aware of their own eating habits, thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and values when it comes to food, eating and weight management