Nutrition is today’s topic of conversation, because it’s so damn important for our health, and even though we all know that, so many of us do a really poor job of eating healthily – from the quality of the food we eat, to the amount we consume, the way we consume it, and so on and so forth. Healthy eating can definitely be a tricky one to master, particularly with our busy daily lives – with work, play, family and fitness taking priority for many of us. After a busy day in the office, I choose to unwind by going to a fitness class, or seeing friends, maybe I will do some writing – and honestly, the last thing I feel like doing is preparing a meal, or setting up lunch boxes for the week. So what are my options? Well, I either need to hire a personal chef to be at my beck and call (because that’s a realistic option), or I could invest in one of those over-priced meal plans perhaps? In reality, I need to prioritise home cooking, and integrate it into my daily routine; and realistically, for me to do this, it needs to be simple and efficient.
That’s where Heidi Jones, Advanced Integrative Health Coach comes into the picture. Heidi is based in Dubai and is working to create a community which inspires and enables people to go above and beyond the ordinary to achieve healthier and more fulfilled lives. After attending one of Heidi’s workshops, I wanted to talk more on the subject of nutrition, and just how important it is when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle – giving us the nutrients we need to both fuel our bodies and push us that much further. I caught up with Heidi to talk all things health and nutrition. This is what she had to say.
1. How did you get into health & nutrition coaching?
I went through my own health transformation by working with a health coach. Through the process shifting my perspective on diet, exercise and lifestyle I found a new direction in which to take my life and made the career change from teacher to coach. One of the reasons I get out of bed in the morning is to help and support others in becoming the healthiest and happiest they have ever been.
2. Why is nutrition so important when it comes to staying fit, losing weight (if that’s the goal), and generally maintaining a healthy lifestyle?
Good nutrition helps us feel energised and more focused and helps us achieve a leaner, overall healthier body. These feelings trigger us to develop other healthier habits, such as wanting to exercise more, spend more time in nature and making healthier choices on a day to day basis. Some of the positive side effects my clients have shared since improving their diets include having more time to have fun, managing stress better, less sick days, glowing skin, improving health scores at the doctors and a sense of overall wellbeing.
3. What is the biggest mistake that people make with their nutrition, even if they keep healthy otherwise?
Depriving themselves of particular foods or food groups because they view foods as either ‘bad’ or ‘good’. As a coach I support people to nourish their body and mind. I prefer to use the approach of crowding out foods that do not provide what the individual needs to achieve optimal health and happiness. Feeling deprived is not a form of nourishment and can trigger many forms of unhealthy habits.
4. What is your most simple tip when it comes to nutrition?
Eat plants with every meal.
5. How do busy people maintain a healthy diet? (Career, family life, business travel)
Everyone needs to find out what works best for them to maintain a healthy lifestyle. For many it is about having a system in place such as a food preparation day at the start of the week. For others it can be getting a healthy meal delivery service; it really does depend on what your goal is. What they do all have in common is they choose a system that allows them to continue to eat real foods whatever their circumstance.
6. Why should we prepare our meals at home?
Learning to cook your own food is an act of self-care and something we all can have control over. When you cook your own food you are making a conscious effort to put your own needs first, which is what many of us find a challenge, but is what we actually need the most to improve our health and happiness! By cooking at home you can control the type of food you eat and how much you eat; it brings a feeling of satisfaction and personal achievement which in turn helps to improve overall wellness.
7. What do you think is one of the biggest misconceptions about eating ‘healthy’ food options from restaurants/supermarkets?
That being healthy is boring and restrictive. There is a fear you lose the enjoyment from food and eating out when you choose to lead a healthier lifestyle.
8. How does food keep our minds healthy?
The ripple effect of having a healthier, energised and leaner body means you can achieve more in your day. You are more motivated to exercise, you’re more focused at work and have more energy to spend time with your family and friends. This behaviour keeps us feeling more positive; we have healthier thoughts, more creative ideas and experience a sense of joy on a more regular basis.
9. Can we have cheat days?
I don’t believe in cheat days. When you shift perspective on food and consciously eat foods that make you feel good, you don’t actually want or need cheat days.
10. How has an improved diet changed your overall performance?
By improving my diet, my health and overall wellness have increased year by year. The first improvement was in my physical performance due to increased energy levels. The knock-on effect was that I was more productive in and outside of work, including getting a promotion and achieving my first marathon. A big element for me was an increase in mental energy, by reducing and eventually stopping my emotional attachment to food, including the dreaded ‘food guilt’, ‘comfort cravings’ and ‘overindulgence’. I have a much healthier body image and have much more respect for how I treat my body. I feel happier and much more confident in who I am and the decisions I make.
So there you have it – some great tips from Heidi Jones, that you can take away and apply to your day-to-day lives. It helps to take more of an interest in the value of good nutrition, and the power that it has over your state of wellbeing, because it brings you more in tune with your body and how you feed it to fuel and care for it long term.