So, you eat half a packet of biscuits, do you think like person A or B;
Person A: I could have done without those, but I enjoyed them.
Person B: Ahh I really didn’t need those. I’ve ruined my good intentions yet again…. Oh well, I might as well finish the rest now!
If person B sounds familiar, then finding out more about nutrition or what you “should” eat, is unlikely to lead to the changes you want. Working on your thought process and behaviour pattern is likely to be much more effective.
Recognising your thoughts is the basis of the work I’m interested in.
It is a journey, an ongoing learning process. But you can start today! You can start now!
I qualified as a Dietitian but I soon realised that this, in itself, didn’t change how I ate.
I had always known fruit and veg were healthy, chocolate and crisps weren’t. It didn’t change much. After years of working in the health service, this had become even clearer to me. We generally know what is healthier. It’s the ‘doing’ that we struggle with.
If you’d like some top tips on how to bring more awareness into your everyday eating and start to make some changes today, check out my Free Resources.
Can’t I just go on a diet?
You can, although you’ve probably already tried that.
Start a diet and you’ll come off the diet!
Invariably, it ends with a bit of a blow-out and essentially, you feeling disheartened, fed-up and less confident about reaching your goal. Often, it’s a vicious cycle.
- Do you eat the treats in work because they’re on your desk?
- Do you get really hungry and then grab the first thing you can because you’re starving?
- Do you eat well during the day and then it all goes downhill as soon as you sit down in the evening?
Many of the thoughts and behaviours we develop around eating are long-standing.
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, bringing awareness to the situations and emotions that drive your behaviours, you can change how you eat. You can change your associations with foods. Change the idea that foods are ‘good’ and ‘bad’.
Meditation brings awareness to the thoughts going through your mind. It helps identify eating in response to your internal thought process that you may be unaware of. Mindful eating will allow you to seek foods which your body needs.
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, it’s more like to be pizza and dough balls!
Meditation also helps you let go of negative thoughts around eating. And allows a healthy relationship to develop with food.
I worked for many years in busy clinical settings. I was surprised that people armed with the necessary information, often failed to make dietary changes that would benefit them. 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 process.
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 was also used to feeling normal with this pattern. 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 went back to it.
I felt sluggish, irritable and generally in bad form.
Ironically, it was the first time, 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,
I rarely practiced what I preached.
With regular meditation and yoga, I am a lot more in-tune with how I’m feeling and am more perceptive to changes in how I feel, dependent on what I eat.
Academic and Professional Background
- BA Science (Physiology) – Trinity College Dublin
- PgDip Dietetics – Glasgow Caledonian University
- MSc Dietetics – Glasgow Caledonian University
- Yoga Teacher Training (200 Hour, Yoga Alliance Certified) – Dylan Ayloo, 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 Yoga Teacher (Vinyasa) + Mindful Eating Online Dietitian