Taking the Blame and Shame out of Food and Eating 

So, it was the first Supper Club of the year at Temperance last night and it was wonderful to welcome local lifestyle GP, Dr Hussain Al- Zubaidi as our fabulous guest speaker. His interactive session around food and eating was packed with useful information and advice, and I am sure has inspired everyone to start approaching their relationship with food in a very different way.

He started by explaining how it is much more helpful to focus on adding nutrient dense foods in, rather than focusing on the foods we want to cut out of our diets, which I wholeheartedly concur. When we focus on making healthier choices, our consumption of less healthy foods naturally starts to fall away.

He then talked about the importance of learning to listen to our own hunger signals, and of starting to notice any unhelpful associations we might have created unconsciously around eating. I imagine that if we all take a moment to think about it, it is likely we can all remember times where we have developed unhelpful habits. Perhaps you might associate sweet treats with other pleasurable activities such as watching a film at the weekend. We all deserve treats from time to time but it is important to be mindful of how frequently these associations show up in your day-to-day life. Tiny consistent habits have a big impact on our health and wellbeing, both positively and negatively so developing self-awareness around this is key.

However, Dr Al- Zubaidi was also quick to explain how we are all living in an obesogenic environment. (i.e., we are surrounded by high calorie foods everywhere we turn) Unfortunately, the role of food manufacturers is to create ‘blissy’ foods (with the exact sweet spot of fat and sugar) that entice us, and give us that powerful feel- good, ‘dopamine hit’. Our physiology is set up to respond to these foods… we have evolved to crave calorie dense foods and store them as fat so that we can rely on those calories when food is scarce, which of course is rare for many of us in the UK these days.

He then invited everyone into a discussion around wholefoods versus processed foods and shared alarming statistics that the UK’s average diet is made up of a staggering 50% of processed foods, compared with countries such as Italy and Spain where it is more like 12- 13%!

He then touched briefly on the power of intermittent fasting and eating within a time restricted window which enables our gut to repair. He then explained that eating a diverse range of plant foods (eating the rainbow) feeds our gut bacteria which play a vital role in our health and our immunity.

However, I loved that one of his key messages was to just start adding more nutrient dense, whole foods into your diet, and to start to notice how it makes you feel!

It was so fascinating to me in the Q&A at the end when he was asked … ‘Why aren’t more Drs sharing these brilliant messages because surely everyone knows it makes sense to ‘eat better and move more?’

Interestingly, he said it wasn’t until he went on his own journey did, he realise quite HOW huge that impact would be in terms of his own health and happiness! Everyone has a story to tell and that is what drives them to make change. Dr Al- Zubaidi was keen to encourage everyone to identify their ‘why’ because motivation and will-power doesn’t last. He made changes personally because he had started to develop fatty liver disease, and he wanted to avoid following the footsteps of older generations of his own family who had struggled with their own health and weight issues.

The key is to keep making small changes and start to notice how that makes you feel, and to get really clear on why you are doing it. Perhaps you simply want to have more energy to play with your kids, or maybe you just want to be the healthiest version of yourself, so that you are able do all the things that are important to you in life.

It was such a positive and empowering talk and I hope it encouraged everyone to start taking back more control of their health and wellbeing through their lifestyle choices.

If you would like to read more about the important work Dr Hussain Al- Zubaidi is doing in the local community please do click on this link for details of his lifestyle clinic, and how to access any of his free services. Please also share details of this important work with anyone who you know will benefit!

You might also like to join him and his team on their free weekly walk/ run and talks in Leamington every Monday evening. Please click on this link for more details.

Thank you, Dr Hussain Al- Zubaidi, for a wonderful session. Your work and your story is an inspiration to us all!

If you would like to join us at next months Supper Club please click on this link to find out more and book your place. I really hope to see you there.

Wishing you a happy and healthy week,

Harriet x



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