NUTRITION RIGHT – LOSE WEIGHT AND HAVE A BETTER RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD – EVEN IF YOU’RE BUSY
by Chené Koscielny
Do you have a tempestuous relationship with food? Hands up – I do!
Like so many women (and men) food rules my life in a very unhealthy way. I’m either starving (OK, not very often) or bingeing and I feel like a failure most days after yet another attempt to regain control. I enjoy healthy food, but I don’t like cooking and often go for unhealthy quick fixes. I love eating out and you can usually twist my arm to have a glass of Chardonnay at any point.
The result: Constant stress and guilt about my eating habits and increasing waistline.
IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE DIET!
I’m always looking for ways to lose weight, have more energy and have a better relationship with food. I dream of cooking healthy meals and fantasize about being reborn as Deliciously Chené.
So, when I recently met Oksana Petersen, a nutrition and lifestyle coach in Geneva, who has a very different approach to nutrition, I was intrigued. Oksana combines personality profiling and life coaching to help people find their own path to optimum nutrition and health. Her unusual take on this has struck a chord with me, so I decided to find out more.
LIFE ISSUES MANIFEST IN FOOD
Oksana uses a personality profiling system called Enneagram, usually reserved for the business world, to give her clients the self-awareness and tools to eat better and lead healthier lives.
“It’s not just about diets. People don’t just have an issue with food, but life issues often manifest in food and lead to unhealthy habits,” she explains.
By helping them understand themselves better, Oksana helps her clients not only to lose weight in the short term, but also to change their lifestyles and relationship with food in the long run. Tell me more!
YOUR CORE MOTIVATORS AND HOW THEY TRIP YOU UP
The first step is to uncover your deepest unconscious motivators, your core desires and fears and to understand what motivates you. And that’s where the personality profiling comes in. Don’t be scared to open this can of worms – it’s worth it.
Only once you are aware of your own blind spots and strengths, will you be able to work out what’s stopping you from losing weight and to address the real issues.
You could do the profile online yourself, but as I discovered, it is much more effective when combined with coaching – Oksana grilled me (in a very friendly way) for 2 hours on Skype to identify my true personality type – I’m a typical Type 5 (there are 9 types) – the hermit! Well, that explains a lot.
I’m creative but need to truly understand things and apply my mind before I trust myself to do something. I share this category with writers like Stephen King and Agatha Christie, apparently. It means I often procrastinate and don’t trust myself to be good enough – for example to cook healthy meals from scratch. I lack self-esteem and often watch from the sidelines, even when I know what to do. I live in my head and often fantasize about things, rather than enjoying the moment. When type 5 is in a good place, he or she likes to show their competence and can be very creative and innovative, but in a stressed-out state, he or she is all over the place, chaotic and often paralysed. This sounds awfully familiar.
The solution? I need to slow down, be mindful and learn to allow myself to connect with my feelings and enjoy the moment.
The next step is to connect this knowledge to my eating habits and choices.
MINDFUL EATING – 3 MINUTES TO EAT A RAISIN
I don’t ‘allow’ myself time to buy the right ingredients and plan meals. I dream about healthy meals, but don’t cook them! I never feel satisfied because I’m not eating mindfully and continue eating, even when I’m not hungry anymore. There are a lot of issues around pleasure and guilt – thanks to my Calvinistic upbringing!
Oksana gives me an exercise in mindful eating:
Eat one raisin and take no less than 3 minutes to eat it, using all the senses, playing with it first, inspecting and examining it, touching it, squeezing it, then rolling it on your tongue, biting it and tasting it! It’s amazing what a difference that makes!
Also, before I eat, I have to stop and assess what I really feel like and if I’m even really hungry. Do I feel like something sweet or salty, crunchy or smooth, spicy or not and then, when eating, I have to make myself taste and enjoy every bite.
This simple step has already made a difference to the way I usually approach meals. I find myself eating smaller portions and taking more time choosing food I like.
A TARGETED ACTION PLAN
Next, Oksana will create an individualised action plan to help me reach my goals – using the personality profile as a guide.
I have to complete a health and nutrition questionnaire online, as well as keep a 3-day food diary, which Oksana will analyse.
Bearing in mind my tendency to get overwhelmed, one of my goals will be to cook 2 simple, healthy recipes from scratch every week – with Oksana’s help in planning everything, down to the shopping list.
The idea is to help me gain confidence slowly and then to encourage me to use my creativity in the kitchen and to trust myself more, maybe even to allow myself to enjoy cooking!
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Oksana has challenged me to think about why I eat and drink the way I do and to understand myself better. The impact my own strengths and weaknesses have on my health and nutritional choices is fascinating.
I was meant to only do a ‘taster’ session to write this article, but I have signed up for a full coaching package with Oksana. She is friendly, warm and encouraging – and not judgmental. There is no telling off or shaming. I feel she really gets me and I look forward to learning more and having a better relationship with food! Watch this space.