When I first started my company as a nutritionist and health coach, one of the most difficult things to do was pick a name. I really wanted to incorporate the word lifestyle into the name since what I do is help people enhance their lifestyle though nutrition. But for anyone who knows me personally and any clients I’ve worked with know that I am realistic about nutrition and lifestyle. I ended up calling my business Lifestyle in the Raw, but I meant raw in the sense of real and genuine. And that is just what I am! I am real about getting healthy and how to find your balance. I know that finding my balance took me 26 years and even now I find myself teetering off balance ever once in a while. Sometimes life gets shaken up and you need to find a way stay as healthy and grounded as possible.
For years I struggled to find my balance. I would excessively diet or go to the gym twice a day. I wouldn't go out with friends because I didn't want to ruin my workout by drinking alcohol and cancel out my hard work. I would get very anxious if I ate something that wasn't healthy, and would feel guilty. This would lead me to go to extremes to try to lose weight. I was so unhappy it consumed me - I was sick.
I would be lying if I said I never treated myself and that I don’t have the odd cheat day or skip the gym. Sometimes it’s a vacation and for the entire week I'm thrown right off balance. I have the odd week where I spend so much time helping other people with their nutrition that I go home to an empty fridge. Although I occasionally drink alcohol and indulge in unhealthy foods I still consider myself to be extremely health conscious, just not in a way that hinders my enjoyment of life. As someone with an extreme personality, I’m usually either all-in, or off the wagon. I must say, when trying to maintain a balanced lifestyle, that isn't the best way to be. What I encourage my clients to do, is to be realistic about their health in relation to their lifestyle. This is something I have been working on myself.
I would never ask anyone to take something away from their life without offering a healthier alternative. My success as a nutritionist has been solely based around my ability to get to know my clients' individual needs, and to enhance what they love from a nutritional stand point. For example if you love pasta I would help you choose between quinoa pasta, chickpea pasta, brown rice pasta, spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles or red lentil pasta. You still get your pasta fix, just nutritionally enhanced with options to choose from leaving you in control. Also, if you enjoy drinking alcohol I would recommend to buy one beautiful bottle a week of your favourite red wine and have a glass each night – really savour it. There are a multitude of nutritional benefits to drinking red wine in moderation, including antioxidants for good heart health. And this way you get to really appreciate your indulgence instead of mindlessly consuming something that is more detrimental to your health than it is enjoyable for your palate. Sometimes finding a balance is about taking control back of your life and of your health. Some people need to set goals to be held accountable but being realistic is usually what keeps my clients happy and hitting their goals.
If someone wants to lose 50 pounds I am not going to starve them or be unrealistic and tell them it will be off in a few weeks. What I will tell them, is that I will help them make the healthiest, most delicious choices until they lose the weight and that I can coach them every step of the way.
Finding a balance isn't the same for everyone, for me a balance is making mindful decisions about what I am putting into my body and being organized, without restricting myself from indulging from time to time! I can say that I am healthy but also that I am happy - I found my balance.