What is Nutritional Psychology?

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Are you one of those people who are interested in analyzing the relationship between health, nutrition, and psychological factors? If you are, then you are interested in the nutritional psychology field. You may be wondering what the importance of psychology is in nutritional health. Well, in this article, you will find out. So what is nutritional psychology?

Defining Nutritional Psychology

Nutritional Psychology is an innovative new approach to working with some of the most common issues we see in our word today when it comes eating, body image, and weight. Since the key to wellness is often found beyond the actual foods one might choose to eat, the realm of Nutritional Psychology appreciates and respects the profound effects that what we think and feel has on our ability to receive nourishment.

Over the last 20 years, research within the field of the mind-body sciences has shown us unequivocally that how we feel and how we think deeply impacts our body on a multitude of levels.

It’s become widely accepted knowledge in the mainstream that:

  1. Stress lowers our body’s ability to fight disease and infection.
  2. Depression can create aches, pains and digestive disease.
  3. Self-hatred can trigger eating disorders.

These are very important distinctions to consider. Thus, the field of Nutritional Psychology builds purposefully on this mind-body link, and focuses its attention specifically on how thoughts and feelings impact: how we eat, what we choose to eat, and further – how we digest, assimilate, and metabolize that food.

The Mind Body Nutrition

This is why we, at The Institute for the Psychology of Eating, construct our curriculum around the principles of Mind Body Nutrition as outlined by our Founder, Marc David.

We understand that the power of Nutritional Psychology lies in the fact that we are more than just a collection of chemical processes. We are more than a mechanistic conglomeration of cells that require nutrients to survive. In truth, vitamins and minerals cannot feed us alone.

We are complex beings in need of all kinds of divergent sources of nourishment, including, but not limited to: love, pleasure, community, celebration, beauty, movement, and laughter. And, when we “get fed” on these deeper levels, in addition to consuming food that fully supports our particularly unique body, we become fully nourished. We feel at peace and ready to do our good work in the world.

We believe that the time has come for Nutritional Psychology to become more present in our culture, which will benefit greatly by extending beyond the outdated belief in one perfect nutritional diet.

The Right way of Eating Might not be Right for us

When we limit our understanding of health and wellness to merely living within the confines of eating “the right way,” we are likely to miss completely what we really need on both the level of food, and our emotions.

“The right way” of eating as defined by any number of “experts” and “gurus” is often not necessarily “right” for us.

There are so many “perfect diets” offered to us everyday in new books, celebrity magazines, and news media – but they may not fit our body type, our physical requirements at the time, our stage of life, the climate where we live, the season, or our emotional needs.

Nutritional Psychology acknowledges that we each have a body with unique needs, and that there’s no better expert on what makes you feel your absolute best, on all levels, than you.

The Importance of Psychology in Nutritional Health

Nutritional Psychology, as we teach it here at The Institute is never about ignoring breakthroughs and current science, or the power of nutrients, superfoods or supplements – as they all have a powerful role to play. Rather, we are diligent in joining the knowledge of science with our knowledge of the psyche.

By combining the two together, our comprehension of nutrition and our expertise of psychology opens and expands – we create the possibility of positively impacting our health in a more lasting and profound way. Nutritional Psychology endorses a holistic approach, which encompasses all of who we are as eaters – body, mind, heart, soul and spirit.

In taking such a fully embodied, full-being methodology, we optimize the body’s ability to absorb, assimilate and metabolize food.

It allows us to metabolize our life more fully.

By taking a psychological perspective when it comes to what we choose to eat – how fast or slow we eat, why we eat, when we eat and how much we eat – we can shift ourselves away from unwanted eating habits, feelings of stress, or constriction in life, and create instead a positive and healthy relationship with food, life, and ourselves.

Our psychological perspective allows great insight and furthermore, can provide us a nutritional and metabolic edge. That is why we developed the health coach certification The Mind Body Eating Coach. Nutritional Psychology as explored through Mind-Body Nutrition, has the power to heal and nourish us so we can flourish in our lives.

What is nutritional psychology for you? How do you describe it? Did you gain any new insights on what nutritional psychology is? Share your thoughts.

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