Mindful Nutrition — by Antonia Magor
It’s with eagerness that we bring the collaborative efforts and wisdom of other women to Glow, Antonia is no exception. We were delighted to connect with Antonia and to learn of her heart to help others in an authentic and knowledgable way. Today we bring you the first of hopefully many voices from abroad to Glow as we start off by talking about mindful nutrition.
How one can address Mindful Nutrition in a world that is constantly bombarding us with trends ?
In today’s culture of quick fixes and sensationalised headlines, we often lose sight of original concepts and fuel cycles of misinformation. This, combined with the vast amount of information available (regulated or otherwise) and the expectations we place upon ourselves, creates an environment in which it becomes harder and harder to fully recognise our natural needs of how, when, and what we want to eat. We can become quick to dismiss our thoughts, feelings, and needs, instead overriding them with practical, quick, ‘fixes’. As a result, we often neglect ourselves, our bodies, and the nutrition we need to function and thrive.
Nutrition isn’t black and white, it is an ever-developing science and therefore just one approach or “diet” will never fit all. Healthy nutrition of balanced, nourishing diets and positive relationships with food, will always be crucial to long-term health. Throughout life’s constantly changing trends, Mindful Nutrition is a tool for tuning into our body’s needs and helping us to achieve a better approach to diet and nutrition.
The original concept of mindfulness rests on the principles of being ‘within the moment’, without judgment. It is an ancient philosophy rooted in Buddhist teachings, a technique of returning to the present. ‘Mindful Eating’ or ‘Mindful Nutrition’ has evolved from this; acting to reinstate conscious eating in a way to make our bodies feel well. This can be the practice of performing intentional rituals around mealtimes such as removing distractions, taking time to prepare your food in a certain way or something as simple as chewing and savoring flavors. It also involves paying attention to your natural hunger and satiety cues as well as losing any judgment or preconceptions around food.
Mindful Nutrition looks a little different for everyone and health or ‘feeling well’ isn’t just about eating the most nutritious diet possible. It is about enjoyment, fulfillment, balance, choice and education.
What does this mean to you and how do you incorporate this into your practice?
In my practice my process is very much dependant on the client’s needs - what is practical for them and their lifestyle? I’m aware that everyone is as much an individual inside as we are on the outside and tailor my process to each person. I find that knowledge is the most empowering to making changes, so explaining to my clients what is happening within their bodies, or why I’m making the suggestions I am, is a really important part of my approach.
I also work to improve a client’s attitude towards food and turn around habits of blame and emotional judgment. I work with a lot of young women and it often saddens me that there isn’t just the pressure to look a certain way; there’s now the pressure to eat a certain way. We are constantly bombarded with imagery and expectations from every source. This creates a lot of pressure, guilt and shame, which are emotions and feelings that I work to dismantle. With all my clients I aim to reach the point at which they have a knowledge and understanding of how their body works best for them and a positive outlook on enjoying food in everyday life. The point at which a client not only feels well, can embrace eating healthily and feel comfortable and take pleasure in eating out or enjoying foods without feeling any guilt, shame or pressures, to me is success. The change I see in people as they start to support their bodies through healthy nutrition is empowering. As clients start to care for their bodies through food they start to believe that they are worth looking after which is an incredible process to be a part of.
How do you personally try to practice Mindful Nutrition?
Personally I find practicing Mindful Nutrition is about prioritizing myself, despite the fact that this seems to be at the bottom of my to do list, as it does with everyone! Supporting my body through nutritious food and enjoying the process of cooking is how I care for myself and those around me. This is how I feel most well and centered, which is particularly important when everything is busy and it feels as though I don’t have the time. I am not perfect in any way, but for me this is being mindful of my nutrition and supporting myself.
I also really love food, and I am so excited by it, so when I go out and enjoy a meal or something typically seen as “unhealthy” it is never a negative experience for me or one I feel the need to “justify”. Food is connection, to our health but also connection to our friends and families and a really important part of being mindful around food, is to make sure you enjoy it!
Is there any other advice to women that you'd like to share with us regarding to this area?
Our relationships with food are complex and personal; there definitely is not a one – size – fits - all way of developing or changing this. However I do think it is important not to use the words “good”, “bad”, ‘clean’ or ‘dirty’ around food. No food is inherently good or bad and using this language only precipitates a culture of fear, shame and misconceptions around eating. We need to connect with how food actually makes us feel. Is it really a “treat” if physically it doesn’t make us feel well? Or maybe we are eating to fill the emotional gap as opposed to actually wanting the food? I also think the idea of a “cheat day” isn’t beneficial, as it creates a cycle of restriction and often counterbalanced by overeating, it can be a rollercoaster for our emotions and our bodies.
I would encourage people that if they feel that they have a disordered relationship around food, feel out of control, anxious, or unwell, to consult with a professional. There is always someone who can support or help you through.
Antonia Magor — mBANT, rCNHC, AFMCP
Antonia is a London based Nutritional Therapist registered with the British Association of Nutritional Therapists and a member of the CNHC. Antonia works with individuals on their specific conditions, health goals, or as part of their medical treatment. Focusing on health through diet and lifestyle, Antonia addresses the root causes of conditions and ill health through Nutritional Science. She has great passion for food and the balance between scientific research and giving practical guidance.
She is available for consultations in London or over Skype.