About a year ago, I embarked on a journey to find a nutrition program that would certify and allow me to start working with others in a coaching and workshop/retreat fashion. A lot of programs sounded great, but none felt 100% right. I thought about going the Master’s in Nutrition route and I thought about starting all over and getting my credentials as a Registered Dietician.
Problem was, I didn’t necessarily want to spend years upon years (and thousands upon thousands of dollars) on classes that I didn’t think would be geared towards me working with people one-on-one and in group settings.
Because of my own struggles with eating disorders, disordered eating, and poor body image, I knew I wanted some sort of training or program that got deeper than just what food to put into your body for optimal nutrition, energy, and weight loss.
And since discovering and falling in love with yoga, I also knew that I wanted to incorporate yogic philosophy and mind body principles into what I do.
Last spring I gave myself a deadline to enroll in some nutrition program by the summer’s end or forget about it and move on. I had spent nearly 5 years hemming and hawing over what I should do. I needed to take action.
My former research analyst self went into overdrive. I was about to sign up for mega “Health Coaching School’s” online certification program, but I still wasn’t completely sold – something didn’t feel 100% right with me. After hearing some chatter about the Institue for the Psychology of Eating, I decided to check it out.
Lo and behold, the angels started singing.
From the first page I read on their training, I knew this was the one for me. Its unique approach using psychology and mind body nutrition SCREAMED out at me. There are only a few times in my life where I can say I felt like this, but I am pretty sure there was a neon marquee sign with a big blinking arrow pointing down at my screen on the “Apply Now” page.
And while I got a lot of use out of my Psychology degree in my past life in marketing research and consumer behavior analytics, I felt like THIS was what my education was leading me towards.
To top it off, the mind body nutrition aspect mirrored so nicely what I loved so much in yogic philosophy and the mind body connection.
And a year later, I’m honored and thrilled to say that I’m officially wrapping up my training with the Institute for the Psychology of Eating this week with a conference in Boulder on the Future of Healing.
I could wax poetic about why and how I’m so excited to start this new chapter in my life (and don’t worry, I’m sure I will ), but before then, perhaps I take a step back and explain what exactly Eating Psychology and Mind Body Nutrition is. Sound good? Good.
More “textbook” definitions are below, but the best way I like to think about it and talk about it is this: WHAT we eat and don’t eat – meaning food, supplements, etc. – is only half the story. The other half is WHO we are as eaters – our feelings, thoughts, and beliefs around food, calories, and fat.
Think about it: if the equation really was as simple as fewer calories in vs. calories out, we’d all be rocking the bodies we lust after and be happy and healthy. The fact that we’re more obese than ever and facing unheard of health challenges just even a couple decades ago, is proof enough that something is missing. And it’s not the latest “superfood” or fad diet.
What is Eating Psychology?
Eating Psychology is a positive, empowering and transformational approach that’s designed for anyone who eats. Each of us has a unique, fascinating, and ever changing relationship with food. Eating Psychology affirms the primary importance of this relationship.
It sees our challenges with eating, weight and health not as an indication that we’re broken, but as a beautiful opportunity to grow and evolve. Previously, eating psychology has been limited to those with clinical eating disorders.
Eating Psychology though, is for everyone.
It affirms that our relationship with food has important lessons to teach us if we choose to listen. And it recognizes that our challenges with eating, weight and health are intimately connected to other primary life dimensions – relationship, family, work, sexuality, our search for meaning and fulfillment, and so much more.
What is Mind Body Nutrition?
Mind Body Nutrition is an exciting and timely new field that advances the practice of clinical nutrition by exploring the psychophysiology of how thoughts, feelings and beliefs impact nutritional metabolism and health.
Originated by Marc David (author of the Slow Down Diet), it goes far beyond classical nutrition by focusing on the fascinating connections between brain, body, and behavior. As I mentioned, what we eat is only half of the equation of good nutrition.
The other half is who we are as eaters. Mind Body Nutrition reveals how stress physiology, the relaxation response, breathing, awareness, pleasure, meal timing and much more profoundly influence digestion and calorie burning. It also offers practical and results-oriented strategies for the most commonly seen eating challenges and health issues of our times.
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