Q: Your background is in the field of nutrition and disordered eating. Given your background, what’s your view on nourishment and healthy eating?
Nourishment isn’t necessarily the same thing as healthy eating. One is a spiritual experience, one is scientific.
Think back to a really great memory you have with a loved one and food. My Grandmother made the best Sunday dinners growing up and everything tasted so amazing. Her house was filled with love and she made everyone feel so comfortable, the feeling I had afterward was not just of eating, but of being fed emotionally.
Healthy eating is macronutrients and vitamins.
Q: What’s your number one tip to eating healthy?
Pick the highest quality food you can afford and eat it as mindfully as possible.
Q: The New Year is now upon us. This is often a time that many women set positive intentions and create exciting goals for the year. However, studies show that by February, many people have already abandoned their New Year’s Resolution. How can women stick with their goals all year long?
I love this question! I like Health goals that are tangible. For example, “get in shape” is super vague. Going to the gym 4x a week for an hour is binary. You either did it or not.
The short-term goals should connect to the long-term goal. One year, I wanted to run the Mothers Day 1/2 marathon in May. Each month starting in January, I made sure my weekly mileage was increasing towards my larger goal. By the time the true training period started for everyone else, I could focus on my time goals as I was already in great shape for the race.
When it comes to food, I have found a great deal of success with a trick I like to call “what would Erin do”. When I was starting my health coaching business, I became hyper-aware of everything I was eating all the time. With so many clients throughout the community and my presence on social media, I was always running into them out and about. Did I really want to run into someone at the grocery store with a cart full of junk food? What if I always ate like I was with a client?
Q: What about when you hit a roadblock? What’s the easiest way to create healthy change when it seems like a struggle to do so?
I just got back from a 10 day Ayurvedic intensive at the Chopra Center in Carlsbad, California. They threw so much information at us and at the last session, people were starting to panic about how they were going to meditate for an hour and do yoga before and after work, while going to the grocery store and farmers market, journaling, oil pulling, chanting… I had absolutely no expectation of doing everything suggested when I got home, assuming I could even remember it all! I picked three things the first week. When I can do those without having to think about them, I will go on to the next three. I know small changes lead to big results.
The easiest way I have found to create healthy change when it feels like a struggle is to just start already. Stop waiting for the perfect time, as there will never be one. Do not waste any more precious days, weeks or months of your life waiting for the holidays to be over, or the kids to go back to school, or for work to calm down, or the basement renovation to be done. The time is now to make your own health a priority.
I taught Pilates for years, and my philosophy was to get the client moving, then we could fine-tune the movement. Some other teachers would have their clients on the apparatus for 10 minutes before they even got started, adjusting their hips and making sure their neck was in the absolute perfect position. Now, I never let my clients hurt themselves, but if I told them the 8 things that were wrong, how would have helped? I would usually focus on the big ones and then we would work out way down the list. My clients always had great results and never got hurt. Oh, and they got to workout!!! I am the same with weight loss. If a client on day 13 isn’t perfect with their food journal, it isn’t the biggest deal in the world to me, we keep moving in the direction of change. I don’t like to have a huge list of what they can’t have, I prefer to focus on what they CAN eat. Let’s focus on what we get to have. We get to have improved health, we get to get off of many types of medication, we get to see what we were meant to weigh once we gave our body a chance to get there and we get to feel amazing. We get the world.
Q: It can sometimes be confusing when deciding on which healthy habits to follow or not. What advice would you give someone to help them decide which habits are right for them?
There is so much conflicting data and stories out there, it can be very confusing for so many people to do know what to do. It can seem as though one-week meat is good, the next week meat is bad. Or at least that is what the movie on Netflix told us!
I tried to be a vegan and lasted for about 2 days, I found it very limiting, even after watching all of the PETA videos. I did the paleo thing for a while, the problem is I do not like bone broth, even though I was into CrossFit at the time. Macrobiotic was too boring and the Blood Type thing confused me.
There is always a new diet of the week, so I do my best to tune out all of the fads. The newest one, Ketogenic seems to have a lot of people excited. I have tried it for a few days as I do most of the fads so I can speak to them for my clients. I see some benefits for those with blood sugar issues, but for the average person walking down the street, I am not so sure they truly understand what ketosis is.
Ignoring all of the noise, there are basics that around 99% of nutrition and wellness people will agree on
– eat a lot of green vegetables, high-quality protein, and non-saturated fats
– have 4-5 hours between meals
– drink tons of water
– eliminate processed food, artificial sweeteners and added sugar
– fewer devices, and more sleep
– find a community
– be active
– get a good support system
Q: In your new book “Why Can’t I Stick To My Diet?: How To End The Food Drama”, you discuss the importance of ditching the dieting mentality. What is wrong with having a diet mentality, and how can we ditch it for good?
The problem with a dieting mentality is we are never solving the problem: our relationship with food and our body. How we express those thoughts is a result of the core issue. So, until we overhaul the actual relationship, all dieting is doing is making superficial changes on a machine destined to break down again. Sure, going on a juice fast might make you lose 5 lbs of water weight for Friday night’s gala, but you will gain it back when you start eating again and what leads you to the weight in the first place? what isn’t working in the life that led you to overeat?
Ditching it for good takes time, which is why my introductory program is for 60 days. It is enough time for the client to see major results, for the two of us to work out any communication kinks, the majority of the sugar to have left their system and to get to the root of the issue, which is NEVER food. Sure, food became a problem. The problem is almost always the relationships in their lives and for some reason or another, it is leading them to look for answers in food. An emotional issue can never ever be solved with food, that doesn’t mean I didn’t look at least 1000 times! Once we stop looking at food as anything but fuel, life changes completely. This is your last diet.
Q: If dieting is so harmful, why does the idea almost seem ingrained in our society?
Probably due to our collective impatience and gluttony, oh and the billions of dollars everyone will spend.
Dieting by design is flawed. Why should it work? We eat badly for an extended period of time, then restrict for the high school reunion or spring break, then go back to how we want to eat. Why should our bodies not go back to how it was in the beginning? Why would anything have truly changed, if nothing changed?
Q: How do you think we can change society’s view on diets and nutrition so that it’s more focused on better health (vs. how we look)?
It is the craziest thing, but when I decided I was done with Sugar. I know you have read my book, but I always use the analogy of breaking up with a significant other. When you are done with a relationship and you give back all of the stuff, take them out of your phone, and you are truly done, you know it in your bones. This time was different because I was different.
I did not care if I ever lost the weight that was tormenting me, or if I ever got to the magical number where life would be nothing but unicorns and fairies, where I would never get parking tickets and my dog would never pee on the rug, I just need the food noise in my head to STOP. This was when my body started cooperating, the weight fell off. Don’t misunderstand me, I am glad I no longer wince when the doctor needs to weigh me and knowing everything in my closet will fit all the time is amazing. Nothing trumps the mental clarity and the space I have in my head for other things now that I am not longer obsessing about how much I need to work out to “undo” all the junk I ate last night.
Q: What’s your favorite wellness habit or hack?
I have two
1) Drinking only water, tea or seltzer.
2) I schedule my workouts one to two weeks in advance like any other appointment. It is the only way I guarantee they happen now that my schedule is so crazy.
Q: What does “Living Well” mean to you?
This isn’t as simple as a number on a scale or an Instagram worthy looking acai bowl. To me, it means having some sense of balance between my home life and my work life. To be fulfilled on many levels. Spending time with my friends, and feeling as though I have some time to myself. My body, mind, and spirit are in alignment with how I am spending my life. We cannot forget to throw in some fun and not be afraid to go on an occasional adventure, and laughing as often as possible.
Want to learn more about Erin Boardman? You can find her at: EW Wellness Solutions