I often see people in a rather determined state! ‘Right’ they say. ‘Its time to sort this out’ or ‘I’ve known I need to address this for years’ are common conversation fillers. Our diets, and the choices we make around food, are often one the most tangible things we can change in our lives. In addition, we are bombarded with constant messages about the power of food in the world of health and wellbeing. But what if food wasn’t the only thing that could feed us?
I often find that when I start digging, doing through the process of questioning or image making in a nutrition consultation, I start to realise that there is a lot more going on for the person. Even though they believe that their diet needs to be the focus and they need to push themselves towards change, the conversation often turns to the wider environment in which they live.
They might be going through a particularly busy time at work, they may have many demands being placed on them by immediate or wider family issues or they may not be exercising or taking time out for themselves enough. Or, indeed, they may realise that they feel really good when they are out in the garden, they feel much better after having a coffee with a friend, or feel more in control when they have the time to shop for the week.
Through this process, we start taking the pressure off the diet, their massive expectations for change and desires for a ‘healthy diet’ and start putting food in its correct place. The foods we eat nourish, support and enable us to live our lives to the fullest. They do this by providing us with all the energy and nutrients we need to live active lives. But obsessing, restricting and motivating ourselves to the perfect diet will not necessarily provide us with the health or wellbeing we deserve.
As food is put in its place, there is an opening for people to think about the other activities that fuel them, nourishes their soul and gives them focus or inspiration. They are fed by their relationships, by their work, by their hobbies or the activities that fill their personal time. They realise that what they put into their bodies is the foundation of their health, but that the bricks are made up of their emotional, spiritual and physical health. Finally they start to see their diet as a support mechanism, rather than hammer, carrot or even a stick.