There are a few main principles to the approach that I use. It is this approach that my own coach took, and what the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN) teaches. This is what drew me in so passionately to start coaching myself. I think these concepts set this work apart from other programs, and certainly from other diets and nutrition fads out there.
First, I focus on what to eat, not just what not to eat. When we start eating a sufficient amount of vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats, these nutritious foods naturally begin to replace, or “crowd out” less nutritious foods. Done slowly over time we can make lasting changes to our overall diet, rather than focus on getting rid of a bunch of foods we currently eat all at once and focusing on the negative. When we start really restrictive diets all at once, it might last for awhile, but is generally not sustainable for long term health.
A second concept is bioindividuality. This is the idea that every one of us has our own unique way of eating that will lead to us feeling our best. I focus on you and what feels right, rather than the latest fad, or eating the way your neighbor does. Just because one person loses weight and feels great eating one way, doesn’t mean that you will because your body may react entirely differently to that way of eating.
Third, I believe that being healthy is far more than what we eat. IIN calls this concept “primary food” (our basic pillars of life, and then what we eat is considered secondary food). I practice a holistic approach to health and wellness, which means that I look at how all areas of your life are connected. Does stress at your job or in your relationships cause you to overeat? Does lack of sleep or low energy prevent you from exercising? As we work together, we will look at how all parts of your life affect your health as a whole. This is where my business name comes from – SCERF for self-care or spirituality, career (or meaningful work, paid or unpaid), exercise, relationships, and then food. When I work with clients, we discuss all these areas of life because ultimately it plays into our overall health, and can also have a major impact on why you may be eating in an unhealthy manner – whether that is what you are eating, or how you are eating such as overeating during meals.
Finally, I think flexibility is important to overall healthy eating goals. I think eating vegetables is very important, but so is your great grandmother’s chocolate chip cookie recipe if it has meaning to you and your family. This ties in to finding what works for you, and setting your own educated parameters about how you want to eat and live your life.