Combining Nutrition and Psychology to help students be the best they can be on all levels: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
More and more schools are looking to improve the long-term physical and psychological health, well-being and performance of their pupils. Many children eat food that does not supply the nutrients their bodies and minds would need to function optimally. On top of that, body image issues and disordered eating are rampant among teenagers. Those conditions lead to malnourished (and thus underperforming) bodies and to constantly distracted (and thus underperforming) minds.
Preventing disordered eating: Helping pupils to develop a healthier body image and a more positive relationship with food
When we hear the term “disordered eating”, we usually think of those struggling with anorexia, bulimia and extreme obesity. Yet anyone who eats has a unique relationship with their body and food driven by their beliefs, mindset, emotions, cultural conditioning, and past experiences. Everybody is affected in their eating by what’s going on in the realms of family, relationships, work/school, sexuality, money, spirituality… Body hate and obsessions with food and excessive exercise are epidemic, and those issues are not gender or age specific. Even though it’s traditionally more considered as a girls’ problem, poor body image is also affecting boys big time. Unresolved issues with food and body among parents will affect their children.
Some statistics from the National Eating Disorder Association (US):
- 81% of 10 year-old girls experience a fear of being fat and 51% actually feel better about themselves when they are on a diet
- 95% of individuals who suffer from an eating disorder are aged 12 to 26
- Anorexia is the third most common illness among teenagers.
- Among female college athletes, 25.5% had subclinical eating disorder symptoms.
- 62.3% of teenage girls and 28.8% of teenage boys report trying to lose weight.
- Almost 8 in 10 girls (79%) and even more women (85%) admit to opting out of important events in their lives when they don’t feel they look their best.
Disordered eating is a sign of low self-esteem and positively correlated with substance abuse and teenage pregnancy. It also negatively affects a girl’s long-term health and fertility. Early warning signs are usually overlooked, dismissed as being normal and/or get covered up with medication. They only become apparent when things are already quite advanced. Hence the importance of prevention – the earlier we start, the better and easier.
While nutrient deficiency and malnourishment can contribute to physical imbalances that favor mental disorders, food issues are only partially about what or how we eat. If we ignore deeper issues, such as what is going on in our lives and emotions, we will only scratch the surface and not achieve lasting transformation and happiness.
Nutrition is directly linked to health, well-being, performance and productivity
It`s very straight-forward: Food provides the energy we need to function and perform physically and mentally. Whenever we eat, the food is broken down into its components, which are then either used for important metabolic functions, or for energy supply.
So on the one hand, food is fuel and what and how much we put into our tank affects how long we can go before running out of gas.
On the other hand, food is not just fuel or calories, it is also information. It literally talks to all our cells, conveying different messages, influencing blood sugar, hormones, enzymes and even DNA. This ability to turn on or off certain genes is called “epigenetics” and implies that even if we have certain genetic predispositions, we still have a lot of influence on whether or not those genes will actually express themselves or not.
In other words, our food – and also our lifestyle and mindset choices – determine to a large extent whether or not we will get sick.
Read more in this article.
Mind-Body-Nutrition: Combining Nutrition Coaching with Life Coaching
When it comes to disordered eating and body image issues among teenagers (or adults), looking only at food is necessary, but insufficient at best. In fact, food is never the issue in those cases and in order to achieve true and lasting healing we need to look at what’s going on in the personal realms, in other words, apply Mind-Body-Nutrition strategies and tactics.
Mind Body Nutrition & Dynamic Eating Psychology (as taught by the Institute for the Psychology of Eating) can help to transform eating concerns through a deeper understanding of what they are here to teach us. It looks at all the physical, mental, emotional or even spiritual factors that could affect our eating behavior and metabolism. This includes quality nutrition adapted to the individual needs of each person, but goes far beyond it at the same time. It explores eating challenges from a place of self-acceptance, curiosity and relaxation, applying positive, uplifting, life affirming strategies.
Sustainability is key
Our food choices have an impact far beyond our personal health. Environmental concerns are another reason why companies look to optimize their canteens. The food should not only be healthy, but also sustainable. At Metabolance I believe that what is good for the individual is also good for the planet and vice versa, for their is no separation. Thus by optimizing nutrition and sustainability, we all win.
Metabolance is your perfect partner to help you optimize both: pupils’ health, well-being, performance and creativity, AND sustainability.
I combine expertise in nutrition and nutrition coaching with in-depth knowledge of the organic food distribution system in Belgium.
As such I am in the unique position to provide you with the following services:
- Info Talks, Workshops and interactive events for pupils and/or their parents: Info sessions, workshops and interactive events on nutrition and eating psychology related topics, for example on “Negative Body Image and a Complicated Relationship with Food” (check out other potential topics here). Those workshops and talks can be adapted to the different age groups and needs.
- Holistic Nutrition Coaching for pupils or pupils’ parents: individual coaching, weekly group coaching (i.e. to help teenagers and/or their parents to find peace with food and body, more information here), Metabolic Typing, Mind-Body Nutrition, Eating Psychology…
- Nutrition Consulting Services: assessing, analyzing and optimizing your school’s canteen, regular meal planning & creation, nutritional training and coaching for your cooks…
- Food Sourcing: providing suppliers to provide your school with hot & cold organic drinks, source local and organic fresh and dry food in bulk for your canteen, and/or deliver organic food baskets directly to your school, so parents can take them home easily
- All services are available in English, German, Dutch, French or Spanish.
Contact me for a free meeting to talk about your needs and how I could best be of your service!