A Nutritionist’s Guide To Wellbeing

I am truly fascinated by the intrinsic relationship between nutrition, fitness and your overall wellbeing. I personally have seen the amazing effect a regular workout routine has on my frame of mind, mood and self-esteem. Particularly when we live a modern, fast-paced life, the importance of making time for fitness becomes even more apparent. But what we tend to forget is that living a healthy lifestyle isn’t just about moving more, how we fuel our bodies is just as important.

A self-described sugar-monster until the age of 13, when she experimented with cutting out refined sugar, nutritionist Jenna Hope is fascinated by the way in which simple changes can make a huge difference to not only the way you look but also to the way you feel. Much in the way I view fitness, Jenna and I were very much on the same page when it comes to little changes having dramatic effects. So what else could I do than pick her brain for her thoughts on the relationship between nutrition, fitness and wellbeing…

Running In Glass Shoes Fitness Blog Nutritionist Guide To Wellbeing with Jenna Hope
Introducing Jenna Hope!

On forgetting the scale…

There’s more to life than just a number. Yes, nutrition does obviously contribute to weight, but more importantly, it has such an effect on how you feel. When I have someone come to see me looking to a lose an exact amount of weight I help them change the focus. It’s not about that number that they initially come in with, it’s about making lifestyle changes that will help change your overall diet. Because when you eat well you feel better, you perform better, you mentally just feel better.

On motivation…

Whether it’s food or fitness, it’s not about punishing or being cruel to yourself. I love spinning, and people often ask me how I stay motivated. And quite honestly, it’s because if I don’t want to go I don’t force myself. That way, I’m always going because I want to, not because I feel I have to. It’s the same with food and healthy eating. I’m never going to tell a person to stop eating their favourite dessert because then that’s all they’re going to want. It’s about learning and understanding there is a time and a place to have it. That way, you know that if you want it you can have it, you just don’t have it all the time, and that’s far easier to stick to.

Running In Glass Shoes Fitness Blog A Nutritionist's Guide To Wellbeing
Keep motivation high and appease those sugar cravings with some delicious honey cake. Yum. | Photo Credit: Jenna Hope

On eating on the go…

Our culture of eating on the go is actually a really unhealthy way to eat. Not just because when we are rushing we grab processed foods where the nutrients just aren’t there, but also because we aren’t then engaging our brains while we eat. If you’re not engaging your brain while eating you’re not going to be sending out the right hunger hormones to help tell you when you’re full, and you’re not releasing the right digestive hormones either so you end up not absorbing nutrients properly. It’s so important to step away from your desk, sit and really mentally engage while you eat.

On why you need more magnesium…

Magnesium is the forgotten micronutrient. It plays a massive role in relaxing nerves and relaxing muscles and essentially plays a key role in reducing stress. It also helps with sleep, which can be a huge issue when you’re stressed. This amazing micronutrient can also help lower your heart rate, helping you feel less anxious, and help regulate glucose and insulin so your blood sugar levels are kept more balanced. Our busy, high-stress lives mean that so many people are missing out on this stress-reducing micronutrient in their diets, and it’s actually really easy to add in with things like avocado, nuts and best of all, dark chocolate. Oh, and you can actually absorb magnesium through your skin so I love soaking in a bath full of Epsom bath salts. Just make sure you go straight to bed afterwards, because it pretty much knocks you out for the night!

Running In Glass Shoes Fitness Blog A Nutritionist's Guide to Wellbeing
Why not kick-start the day with a healthy dose of magnesium-filled avocado thanks to Jenna’s delicious shakshuka? | Photo credit: Jenna Hope

On the relationship between food and fitness…

Food and exercise have a massive role to play together. The current focus on social media definitely tends to be on exercise (and sometimes even over-exercising), but the old adage ‘you can’t outrun a bad diet’ is true. You just can’t eat whatever you want and then go to the gym and burn it off, it doesn’t work that way. Besides that, having a healthy balanced diet is so important because of the macro and micronutrients that are going to help your recovery process and boost your performance. Obviously, exercise does so much to improve health, like helping improve bone density and your flexibility and mobility, which food can’t contribute to. But if you’re not eating well alongside your training routine you’re just missing out on all those micronutrients that help replenish, repair, and support your training.

On mental health…

We need to remember that food is there to fuel you and is a good thing. It’s so important to have a good, healthy relationship with food. That’s why it’s so important to go back to basics, make gradual changes and really experiment with how those changes make a difference to your life. Obviously, nutrition isn’t going to cure your mental health, but just like exercise, it can really help your symptoms or your general feeling of wellbeing.

huge thank you to Jenna for giving me her thoughts on nutrition and wellness. It’s so wonderful when you find others who think so similarly to you and take the same, balanced approach to health. Do you use nutrition to help improve the way you feel? As always, let me know in the comments!

Anna x


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