Relationship with food
Our personal relationship with food is complex and influenced by various factors like family background, trauma, culture, stress, allergies, and personal temperament. Emotions such as shame, guilt, sadness, joy, and excitement are also deeply intertwined with how we interact with food, adding layers to an already intricate topic. Moreover, our biological makeup plays a significant role.
Binge eating, for instance, is not solely driven by emotional factors; it's also linked to our survival instincts, brain neurology, and hormones. This means one might binge eat even without emotional triggers, showing the complexity of our eating behaviors. My approach to discussing eating habits is rooted in compassion and understanding.
It's crucial to recognize that emotional eating doesn't automatically signal an eating disorder. Within health coaching and emotional eating counseling, I address this behavior. Eating for emotional comfort, rather than hunger, is quite common and normal. However, emotional eating varies in intensity and, in some cases, can lead to binge eating. The focus, therefore, is on altering your relationship with food, which is not about weight loss but rather about changing your relationship with yourself.
Eating triggers a relaxation response in our bodies, characterized by deeper breathing, a slower heart rate, and muscle relaxation. This response shows that emotional eating is part of a natural process. However, consistently addressing and understanding your emotional needs without relying on food is crucial for long-term well-being and self-care.
A note about binge eating
Emotional eating and binge eating exist on a spectrum. Emotional eating, which isn't classified as a DSM diagnosis, typically isn't considered medically necessary for insurance coverage. It involves eating for reasons beyond hunger, like responding to various emotions but still includes a sense of control over eating habits.
On the other hand, binge eating is characterized by a loss of control, an intense desire to stop eating but an inability to do so, and often occurs in isolation during a short period, typically around 2 hours, in response to emotions like anger, stress, depression, or anxiety.
Addressing binge eating effectively often requires a collaborative treatment approach, including counseling and comprehensive physical and nutritional support. This is because it impacts health more significantly and involves more complex behavioral patterns than emotional eating.
How I work with our relationship with food
I utilize the principles of intuitive and mindful eating, combined with EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques or 'tapping'), to address not only your thoughts and emotions but also the ingrained habits within your brain's wiring.
Intuitive and mindful eating focuses on creating a healthy relationship with food and your body. This method is more aligned with maintaining a stable weight, rather than pursuing weight loss. Maintaining weight stability is crucial for health, as fluctuating weight, or weight cycling, can increase the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. While weight loss might be a side effect, it's important to understand that the primary goal of intuitive and mindful eating is to transform your relationship with food. This transformation is an internal process, rather than one focused on external outcomes like body size. Emphasizing weight loss can perpetuate weight stigma and a restrictive dieting mindset.
Research indicates that dieting and restrictive eating often lead to binge eating. The objective of mindful and intuitive eating is to foster a healthy connection with food, your mind, and your body. It's about building trust and resilience within yourself, by tuning into your own needs and responses. This approach also helps in understanding our brain's natural tendencies towards binge eating, which can reduce self-criticism among my clients.
Ugh Dieting! The impact on our mind and body when we "diet"
Encourages Weight stigma
Maintaining an overly strict diet is so hard: You’re fighting nature when you try to cut out foods your body craves. Having healthy limits ( ex. reduce sugar and processed foods) is appropriate but some diets are so restrictive that they only encourage yo-yo dieting later.
So easy to become preoccupied with food and make weight loss connect to your worth. If you see your weight as something you need to “fix” about yourself and think of not sticking to a diet as a personal failure, that’s an unhealthy place
It is making food the enemy
Feeling guilty when not eating diet foods. The ultimate goal is to cultivate a healthy relationship with food, where you value it as fuel and value the way it makes you feel.
Turned on body's defense mechanism in order to confront another famine so your body will self-induced survival by slowing metabolism
Fad dieting doesn't work but....we think it will be different this time
Several studies also found that the most effective way to lose weight was to limit, not completely restrict, foods that contribute to health problems. Those foods include things like added sugar and processed foods. Dieting is the biggest trigger for restrictive eating and binge eating. The goal with working within disordered eating, is not another diet! Instead its all about a shame-free relationship with yourself.
I am a national board-certified health coach and wellness enthusiast, personal yoga teacher, meditation/mindfulness coach and motivational expert,
My hopes as a health coach:
I guide individuals to find and embrace their own path to optimal health, helping them to flourish and achieve their full potential. My approach focuses on how your behaviors, habits, emotions, motivations, and even how you manage stress and time can either support or obstruct your health goals. While I am not a licensed nutritionist, doctor, or nurse, and our roles differ, I understand that implementing lifestyle changes recommended by a doctor isn't always straightforward. The key to successful change often lies in understanding and managing our habits, motivations, and emotions.
Health Coaching is about behavioral and habit changes.
A health coach dedicates time to assist individuals in identifying their health and wellness challenges and developing strategies to address them. This can include goals like maintaining a healthy weight, improving cardiovascular fitness, reducing stress, enhancing sleep quality, or reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
I help clients establish positive daily habits across key areas of lifestyle, including nutrition, hydration, physical activity, sleep, self-care, stress management, social connection, nature, mindset, and life purpose. By tailoring daily practices to each of these areas, my clients can create a sustainable and personalized healthy lifestyle that aligns with their individual goals and values.
What is a health coach:
health coach, also known as a wellness coach or lifestyle medicine practitioner, assists you in identifying your health goals and developing practical steps to achieve them. My role is to help you overcome barriers that prevent you from reaching these goals, effectively helping you move past any stagnation. I offer regular check-ins through email and video telehealth, typically over a period of at least three months. During these sessions, I'll engage you with questions designed to address challenges and celebrate your achievements.
Research indicates that working with a Health Coach leads to significant improvements in eating habits, overall quality of life, blood health markers, and mental well-being. Often, it's the small, gradual, and enjoyable modifications in daily life that lead to remarkable health transformations.
How health coaching works:
First, I do not tell you want to do! I work with you to help you reach your goals. We work collaboratively together to address your concerns and also focus on your accomplishments (so you can do more of what works!).
I help you find your inner motivation! I use motivational interviewing with solution-focused coaching to help you self-motivate.
Depending on your goals and interests I can teach you several ways to reach your goals by maybe implementing new habit setting, resources for healthy eating, mindfulness, tapping (EFT), stress management skills, personalized yoga workouts, breathwork and motivational coaching.
I hold you accountable to YOUR goals: Reaching health goals on your own can be challenging. A health coach can be a gentle source of accountability, providing encouragement as you make progress.
Meet on a regular basis or as needed via video platform
Email support between sessions