Thrive Nutrition Practice: how food and emotions are connected

How many of us mothers love our body?

Be honest. 

I was at the gym this morning despairing about the state of my thighs after the Easter holidays.  Was there a lot of body love happening then?  I can honestly say – no.  Not really. 

I’ve learned to use nutrition as a tool to show my body love, kindness and respect and that’s why the LOVE pillar of my SLEEPLOVEPOOP strategy is so crucial when I try to inspire clients and readers to change their eating habits. 

But – there is a whole lot of emotional baggage that comes with nutrition.  These emotions cannot be uncoupled from the dietary transformation.  Sometimes, those emotions are buried deep under layers of social conditioning, subliminal (and not so subliminal) messages and sometimes physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse. 

After we have children, these emotions become even harder to deal with because we feel disconnected from the body we used to know.  If I could only go back to how “fat” I thought I was before I had kids! 

Learning to love our body again is crucial to nutritional transformation and that’s why I LOVE this new BODY LOVE workshop with Certified Life Coach Rebecca Hopkins.  I interviewed Rebecca so we could learn more about her transformational workshop and why every mother should do it.

First up can you share with me a little bit about your Body Love for Mothers workshop?

Absolutely. It is a 2-day workshop where we take a deep journey into the relationship we have with our body. We talk about our values, how we speak to ourselves, how to practice empathy and we visit the messages that we heard growing up about how our body should look. You will have the opportunity to have much needed meaningful conversations that I think mothers long for, but don't ever get the chance to open up about. And opening up about them, I believe, is crucial to long term sustainable love of our bodies.

Rebecca - tell me why you love this work?

I grew up in a family where all of the women talked about how much they weighed, how much I weighed and what shape our bodies were and how many calories a piece of cake might have all the time. And I mean multiple times a day, every day. As I look back now I see that it was an obsession that lead to us all believing that how much we weighed was a direct measure of our self-worth. It didn't occur to me that this wasn't normal.

When I was 12 I started to panic about being fat. Panic attacks that I could only manage by stopping eating or throwing up what I ate. I was only happy if I was hungry. My eating disorders lasted from when I was 12 until I was in my early twenties. I did a lot of personal work back then to break free of them, but although I was no longer sick, the messages still lingered in the background of my life.

Then when I was 38 I had my first daughter and we moved to Hong Kong. Until then I had moved on from worrying about my body at all. I knew how to take care of it, and that was enough. Then I became pregnant with our twins. Rosie was 18 months old and I was sitting at the Classified cafe in Tai Hang speaking to my best friend in Sydney and telling her that the panic had come back. My body had changed and I wasn't comfortable with it at all. I remember saying to her "How the heck am I going to teach Rosie and the twins to love their bodies, if I don't love my own?" And it was that moment that I decided to use the work I was newly certified in (the experiential methodology of Dr. Brené Brown) as a lens to look at my relationship with my body.

Brené's methodology is perfect for this work as it is ultimately a shame resilience model. And in Brene's research, body shame is the number 1 shame trigger for women, globally. What I unearthed about my own story blew my mind. It all started to make sense as to why I was so critical of my own body size and shape and where it all began. As soon as I started to own my own story, I started to loosen the grip on the judgements and expectations I had of myself. I felt free for the first time in my life.


Brene and her TED talks are awesome. I find myself referring to her work all the time in my daily life. How did you become certified in her work?

After seeing her TED talk, the Power of Vulnerability, in 2010 something shifted inside me. She used words and concepts that resonated wildly with me. I then read all of her books and bought them for my friends and started using her work with my coaching clients. Then she opened up her Certification Program outside of the USA. She ran it in London and in 2014 I flew to London for 5 days and started the 10-month journey of becoming a Certified Facilitator of her work. There is no hiding with this work, it is experiential and it is heart-warming and challenging and it is deep and I was changed forever. It really is the most amazing self-development work I have ever done.

I've heard that your workshop is transformational. Can you share what makes it so?

Yes, look I don't take the word lightly. But after two whole days of digging into this work, in a safe and welcoming environment, you learn so much about yourself that you can't be anything but transformed. Transformation comes when you have realisations about yourself that you didn't see before. You have a new perspective and new tools to make the changes stick. That is what transformation means to me, when you have long term sustainable change.

Two days for a workshop seems like a big commitment. Why 2 days?

We are digging deep here and there is a lot to talk about. We are talking about what is needed to love our bodies and we cover some topics that take time to digest, unpick and work through. It's a joy to do this work, I could do this 5 days a week. Brene's program is actually a three day workshop, but I've cut it down to two as I know it is a big ask for mothers to take two days out of their busy schedules. But I promise, it is worth it!

What is the one big takeaway you want my readers to know about your Body Love for Mothers workshop?

It's not just what you learn that makes this workshop worthwhile, it's the connections you make with the other mothers and the wisdom you unearth about yourself and the tools you leave with that make this worth doing. I hand on heart believe that mothers who love their bodies, raise children who love their bodies. And if I can love my post twin body after doing this work, given my background with body shame, then you can too. And that makes me a better mother. It's a beautiful journey.

Body Love is part of what holistic nutrition is all about – caring for the WHOLE YOU.  And as messy as that can be, that messiness is also what makes us profoundly and utterly powerful.

If you are ready for profound, positive change, don’t miss this workshop.  Register here and find about more about Rebecca and her work.


Cristina Tahoces is a holistic nutritionist and owner of Thrive Nutrition Practice, which focuses on digestive healing, blood sugar regulation & post-natal recovery.  Please join her Facebook Group "Thrive Nutrition Practice" for weekly articles, recipes & promotions.