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Nutrition Therapy- Talking about our relationship with food

Content warning: This article discusses details about specific disordered eating and exercise behaviors. 



Nutrition with N
Nutritionist- Nikki Fata

Nikki is the founder of Nutrition with N, PLLC and an American dietitian who specializes in disordered eating and eating disorders. Nikki is passionate about helping all people improve their relationship with food to be able to live a values-based life, free from food and body worries. 

I found the idea of talking about my relationship with food openly in this way to be so crucial. Talking about our relationship with food can be so sensitive and difficult to open up about. So, one afternoon Nikki came together to make this blog and share a very frank and honest conversation about it and how it impacts our daily lives and experiences.


Annishia:

As a trainer and instructor, I feel like having a balanced and nutritional diet is crucial and is something I take very seriously and is super important to feel and be the best we can naturally, through our diets and advocate a good relationship always with food. However, I have had many struggles with food in the past, more so when I’m working in the model and acting industry. I feel like there is a lot more pressure to maintain a certain look and weight which could cost you a job based on your measurements or sizes, a reality I have found, so there is added pressure there. I also find on big shoot days whether it’s a photoshoot or on set filming, I eat a LOT less. 


Eating habits on Model shoots
2023


“It becomes a form of control almost, not eating, where I feel like I am more composed and able to function better.” 

I think it’s linked to stress and the work environment maybe or just how I’ve felt conditioned to excel and perform better when I know it’s more down to forming a better relationship with what I am eating and when I am eating. Why do you think we skip food in these situations? 


Nikki:

I see this all the time in my work with clients and it shows up in ALL work industries. It is normalised in our society to prioritise work or other tasks and then skip meals when working on a project, trying to meet a deadline, etc, but, what’s the impact of this? 

I often talk with my clients about this issue and encourage establishing a consistent and regular schedule or routine with eating. It may sound silly to spend time planning this out but this is SO important. It teaches you how to prioritise eating, the same way we would prioritise and schedule a work meeting, or a social gathering with friends. Isn’t eating just as, if not MORE, important? Life is crazy but that doesn’t mean we ‘shouldn’t’ or ‘can’t’ feed ourselves. It just means that we sometimes need some support to make it happen. Getting a schedule of eating is the first step. From there and in individual nutrition therapy, we can start to talk about if you’re eating enough so that your body functions optimally and begin to address your larger food and nutrition goals. 


Annishia:

I feel like with something as personal as our relationship with food, so many of us can be in denial about our eating habits. I have certainly found it hard to address some former patterns of my own. I have found at times feeling guilty for certain foods I eat and then restricting it from my diet for weeks on end then get into a cycle of emotionally eating or then binge eating on the foods I cut out with excessive exercise. The emotional eating mostly shows up in a traumatic time or when I’m repressing feelings, food has been an outlet. 

“I feel like emotional eating seems to impact a lot of females. How can we overcome guilt and eating in this way?” 

Nikki:

As a nutrition therapist, I encourage critical thinking and collaboration with my clients to help them achieve their goals, so I suggest that you start talking about it. I’ll often encourage being curious about what you’re feeling and to think about where the guilt is coming from, consider what causes you to feel this way and where you learned that eating certain foods is ok but eating others is not. 

“It’s so important to normalise emotional eating. Food can be something that we turn to when feeling stressed, sad, lonely, or angry to help us cope and find comfort.” 

Having a conversation about it to better understand your patterns can help in making the eating feel supportive for you overall. 


Annishia:

I have also noticed issues around eating in front of people, like especially during COVID, I got so used to eating on my own or almost in secret, I hated the idea of anyone seeing what I eat or how much, especially now with the calories on menus...again how can people combat these fears? 


Nikki:

I would encourage curiosity- asking yourself what feels uncomfortable about eating in front of others, what feels better about eating on your own, what is scary about others observing your food choices? Often this stuff involves a conversation with someone to help in problem solving. 

“I can offer that safe space to talk through some of this, do some unlearning and actual learning to better understand how to care for your body.” 

Annishia:

I used to also have times of using laxatives after binge eating along with marathon amounts of excessive exercise just to keep and maintain my weight accurately. My cortisol levels were SO HIGH and I was living in a place of deep stress constantly. 

“I had clumps of my hair that would come out in the bath when I shower and I weighed all my food.”
Disordered Eating and Excessive Exercise
2018

I would eat or binge then do two hours cardio. It got to a point where I had to take protein shakes as my food intake with around 100 grams of powder to help gain weight again. I was trying so hard to keep in control of my life during this dark time in my life and felt like this was my coping mechanism. All of these behaviours felt normal at the time and it is difficult even now to reflect on. How do we step back and see these patterns? Especially when it feels so ‘normal’? 


Nikki:

I am sounding like a broken record here but again, it involves a conversation with someone who understands and can support you through these struggles. It is so common to get sucked into engaging in different behaviours with food and exercise. Those behaviours become habits and we don’t stop and think about the impact. By taking the first step and starting to talk about it, you can gain a new perspective and start recognizing that maybe what you’ve been doing with food, exercise, or other behaviours to control your body might not actually be helping, but causing more harm. 


Annishia:

I am luckily past these stages now with food but it is such a big journey, especially for females it’s so important to have a safe place to really 'tap in' and talk openly without judgement about your own struggles. I’m so glad you have your service! 


Nikki:

Absolutely. 

“Our relationships with food can be hard to talk about. It’s deeply personal and often not related to the actual food at all. “ 

Having the right person that you feel comfortable with and who you know isn’t judging you, can make it a lot easier. I can provide you with the space you need to talk through some of the struggles with food and provide factual information to guide you along the way. I work with clients by providing virtual nutrition therapy and am just an email or phone call away. 


Annishia: It has honestly felt so uplifting to share my own experiences and relationship with food so THANK YOU x 

If you can relate to any of the things that have come up in this article, or wish to discuss your own current or past struggles with your relationship with food; Nikki is here to support and guide you towards your goals. 

You can find more details and schedule a discovery call for an individual session or sign up for her group program, “Nourish from Within” by joining the waitlist on her website. 

Ways to Contact Nikki: 



on Instagram / Website www.nutritionwithn.com / Email: nikkifata@nutritionwithn.com


From the both of us, have a great month ahead!

Nutrition Therapy
Annishia and Nikki

Whilst here too... Be sure to check out Empezar Clothing line - 'Start your day the right way'




Sube Wallen in Empezar Clothing Line
Empezar

Love and Hugs, 

Annishia xoxo

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