…you eat half a packet of biscuits…
Person A: I could have done without those, but I enjoyed them.
Person B: I’ve ruined my good intentions yet again…. I might as well finish what’s left!
If you’re person B, then someone telling you what you “should” eat, is unlikely to lead to the changes you want. But, examining your thought process and behaviour pattern around why you finish the packet of biscuits (rather than stopping after half it) is likely to be much more effective.
Changing habits is the basis of the work I’m interested in.It’s a journey, an ongoing learning process. But you can start today! Interestingly, I qualified as a Dietitian but this didn’t really change how I ate. Everyone knows fruit and veg are healthy. Chocolate and crisps aren’t. Knowing doesn’t always change how we eat. We generally know what is healthier. It’s the ‘doing’ that we mostly struggle with.
Feel free to get in touch via email to find out more about a nutrition appointment or a package for ongoing nutrition support.
Can’t I just go on a diet?
Well, you can, although you’ve probably already tried that. Start a diet and you’ll come off the diet!A diet often ends with a bit of a blow-out and you can feel disheartened, fed-up or less confident about reaching your goal. It can be a vicious cycle.
- Do you eat the treats in work because they’re on your desk?
- Are you getting really hungry and then grabbing the first thing you can because you’re starving?
- Maybe you eat well during the day, then it all goes downhill as soon as you sit down in the evening?
You were told as a child you would only get a treat if you were good, so you continue to ‘reward’ yourself with food as an adult.
By identifying these thought patterns, situations and emotions that drive your behaviour, you can change how you eat. You can change your association with food. Change the idea that foods are ‘good’ and ‘bad’.
When you feel great, you’re less inclined to reach for unhealthier choices. If you’ve had a rough week, are tired, fed-up and worn out, you’re more likely to reach for pizza than a salad!
I worked for many years in busy clinical settings. I was surprised that in an office full of “nutrition-experts”, people often make unhealthy food choices. This shouldn’t have been a surprise, given I’m a self-confessed chocoholic.
Training as a Dietitian involves practice in motivational interviewing and mindful eating. Mindfulness is a relatively new concept within Dietetics. Personally, I didn’t fully grasp this until I started yoga. Daily meditation allowed me to slow down, recognise my own, often negative, thought processes and associated behaviours.
When I’m stressed or fed-up, I reach for chocolate.
Prior to getting into yoga, I did give up chocolate for an entire year. But I replaced this with jam doughnuts! Five to be exact, because they were cheaper in a five-pack! It followed the same pattern. A busy or tough day at work and I’d be tired and hungry. I’d changed the food but not the thought process or the behaviour.
It seemed stupid that despite knowing what I should do, I failed to do it. Repeatedly!
I felt “normal” eating like this. It wasn’t until I gave up all processed foods and added-sugar for six weeks that I really noticed the difference, especially when I returned to old eating habits!
I felt sluggish, irritable and generally in bad form.
It was the first time, even as a Dietitian, that I really felt the difference with eating well. Despite, telling others on a daily basis about the benefits of good nutrition,
Now, I am more in-tune with how I feel and perceptive to changes. Yoga and meditation is something I continue to find very effective. This awareness in itself, changes what and how I eat.
I rarely practiced what I preached.
Academic and Professional Background
- BA Science (Physiology) – Trinity College Dublin
- PgDip Dietetics – Glasgow Caledonian University
- MSc Dietetics – Glasgow Caledonian University
- Low FODMAP diet – King’s College London
- 2012-2014 Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust (Dietitian covering Respiratory, Orthopaedics, Geriatrics, Weight Management Service, Cardiology, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Coeliac Disease, Endocrine Disorders)
- 2014-2015 Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital (HIV and Respiratory Dietitian)
- 2015-2017 Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital (Gastroenterology Dietitian, Benign and Cancer treatment for diseases of gastrointestinal tract, Gastrointestinal surgery, Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
- 2017-2018 Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital (Diabetes and Specialist Obesity Services)
- 2018-Present University Hospitals Limerick (General Medical Dietitian, Gastroenterology and Consultant outpatient referrals)
- 2018-Present Founder and Principal Dietitian at BiaBodyBetter, offering appointments in Limerick, Nenagh and Online