I don’t know about you, but I follow a LOT of people on instagram. Hundreds in fact. I have my favourite accounts that I follow, and every now and then someone really, REALLY resonates with me. I have been following Michelle Yandle for some time, but it wasn’t until a few months ago that I started feeling like she was speaking to me. Every post I would think to myself ‘Yes, YES! This woman gets it!’ Every. Single. Post. And that’s because she does get it.
She gets that what you eat is part of a much bigger picture, that there should be no restricting or punishment, and balance + sustainability is key. She talks about mindfulness in the same way I do – our philosophies are very aligned.
What I have learned has been through my journey of self-discovery and advice from key people who have encouraged & supported me. Michelle took her own journey of self-discovery to the next level and studied nutrition at the Holistic Performance Institute. Michelle is part of The Wellness Project in New Plymouth, coaching people every day with their nutrition and lifestyle.
Michelle recently released her latest book, ‘The Empowered Eating Handbook’. I have really enjoyed it, so many AHA moments. This book is full of insight, and to be blunt, bloody good advice.
I contacted Michelle to see if she would answer some questions for My Balance Project and she was of course, lovely, and said yes.
Michelle, can you give us a quick run down of what your new book, The Empowered Eating Handbook , is all about?
The Empowered Eating Handbook is essentially a guide book for anyone who wants to feel physically and mentally well without having to give up the foods that they love. It’s for the person who would love to have their favourite foods in the house but not over eat them. It’s for those who want to go out to eat dessert without feeling guilty. For those self sabotage and self loathe and ultimately – anyone who is sick of yo-yo dieting and is ready for a new approach.
So many people are confused about diet and have lost the natural ability to listen to their own bodies to tell them what works for them. We’ve become so dependent on outside advice and we’ve forgotten how simple and joyful eating well can be. The Empowered Eating hopes to change this with a modern approach to ancient understandings.
In your book you talk about compassion, and that we need to be kinder to ourselves when making mistakes. I feel really strongly about this, it’s a topic I’ve talked about a lot as I believe a positive mind is everything.
Do you have any advice or tips on how someone can start putting this into practice, and turn negative talk into positive?
Yes! It’s so important. If we can change guilt to compassion that’s when the magic happens but as you’re probably aware, sometimes this can be easier said than done. A couple tips to help change our mean-girl mindset right off the bat are:
- Catch these negative thoughts in action. As soon as you do, think STOP! It’s amazing what a sudden jolt to our thought process can do to wake up a different mentality. Imagine a giant stop sign if you need to but thinking STOP! Loud and clear can help us to pause and re-evaluate what’s going on. By recognizing your non-positive thoughts it’s only then that you’re able to change them.
- Challenge your thoughts. Are they true? Are they really true? You may initially think so, but let’s consider the following example. Say you’ve a ton of nutrient dense foods throughout the week. Friday rolls along and that bag of chips is calling your name. You think “Ugh! I’ve blown it!” and so you just keep going and next thing you know the bag is gone. Have you really blown it? Does a couple of handfuls of chips really take precedence over the 21 healthy meals you’ve had otherwise? I’d like to say the real issue is the thought that you’d blown it. The chips were fine! Challenge that negative thinking. Tell it off if you have to!
One of your first chapters is called ‘Finding your Why’, which I know is something a lot of people struggle with. What is your advice for anyone trying to lose weight or change his or her lifestyle?
So many things! I guess the most important in regards to making change and finding your why is that you have to be doing it for YOU. If you’re doing it because you feel you should, or your husband, family member, doctor or even society in general tells you you should, it’s not as likely to happen. When we identify our values, align our goals with them and find a powerful motivator, your WHY this is when change happens. Rarely does someone quit smoking because the images on the carton or because their wife tells them to. The same goes with health – to make change you have to want it, really want it, and then the process becomes so much easier. That’s why I have people identify their why in the book, because without it, lasting change is not going to be an easy journey, no matter what the goal.
What are some of your favourite nutrient dense foods & why?
Good question! I love talking about food, haha! My favourite nutrient-dense foods would have to be berries. Berry season is my happy season and there’s nothing better than fresh strawberries, blueberries and raspberries in the summer time. Even in winter I load up on frozen berries for smoothies, sauces and jams. Berries are nutrient-powerhouses full of antioxidants; I often recommend a cup a day for my clients –an easy quota to fill!
Tell us what you like to do on your downtime!
Downtime? What’s that? In all honesty though, I am working on finding some more non-food related outlets. Recently I’ve started volunteering at the Taranaki SPCA because animals always bring me joy. I also love going on road trips with my husband and taking our dog to the beach. There’s also nothing better than a good book or smashing out some Netflix. I’ve also recently started up my sea glass jewellery making, which I often sell at Christmastime. I love collecting it and to me, it’s just not Christmas in New Zealand without a good holiday market.