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Eat, Drink and Still Shrink

  • Member Matters
  • Health and wellness

We caught up with the Michele Chevalley Hedge, Author of Eat, Drink and Still Shrink, to discuss the key to a healthy diet and lifestyle.

‘Nourishment not punishment’ is a key theme in your book. Why do you think people associate healthy living with extreme sacrifice?

Somehow, we have become a society of dieting and restricting as a means to a leaner body. This can work sometimes BUT often is temporary because it is restrictive. We all know the person who lost 3 kilos on some diet, only to gain 5 kilos the month after they came off the diet. This book is all about finding new ‘micro habits’ that are nourishing and ‘do-able’ because that is when we repeat them and it becomes a lifetime habit.

Do you have any advice for someone who is struggling for motivation following the loss of a loved one?

Yes, my biggest advice is nourish, nourish and top yourself with nourishment. From sleep, to gentle exercise, to sunshine; to quality, whole food - foods that lift you and make you feel light and vibrant, not full and sleepy.

Is sugar addiction a real thing?

Very real. Besides hearing hundreds of client stories about sugar cravings taking over their thoughts and moods, I have had my own personal battle with the ’sugar monster’.

What role does healthy eating have on brain and mental health?

We have only just begun to see the research in Mental health and mental wellbeing and its relationship with food. As a nutritionist, I can speak about the destructive relationship between poor food choices, mood, self-esteem, sleep and overall mental wellbeing. And now we have the evidence based medical research to back it up.

The recipes in your book contain alternative ingredients and suggestions – for eg. Vegetarian-friendly and ‘carb-lover' options. How important is it to be flexible in the kitchen?

I love flexibility because many homes have many taste buds! Often, we are out of an ingredient and it’s important to know that we can swap out with ingredients we have already in our homes. 

A lot of people feel as though they are constantly bombarded by ‘expert’ advice on dieting and eating right. How can you separate fact from fiction?

This is a difficult one. There is so much conflicting information due to several reasons, such as GPs not being taught nutrition, new evidence is emerging every day in nutrition, and some claim to be health ‘experts’ when they have not studied at an accredited institution.

Can you ever be too old to start eating healthily and exercising?

Absolutely not. Why would you not want to have a joyous day at 80 or 50 or 30?  

The simple act of eating well, can lead to the desire to exercise and to sleep better, so the impact can be almost immediate.

Do you have any tips for someone who wants to eat healthier but is on a strict budget – like a pensioner?

Yes, get good at planning and get to your grocer on the day the meats go on sale, buy imperfect fruit and veggies that are on sale, and double and triple your recipes and freeze.

Do you have any examples of older Australians (clients or friends) that have experienced phenomenal transformations as a result of changing their diet or lifestyle?

A must read is a case study in the book by Janise Sammon - Age 62, retired, on page 86. She is one of my clients and she calls herself the ’Rusty pipe’ and loves her new way of eating while still enjoying some wine and coffee. 

What food would you struggle to live without?

Eggs. Inexpensive. Quality protein that makes you feel full and can be cooked so many different ways… poach, hard boil, scramble, omelette, quiche, over easy and when topped with spices you can make your taste buds dance!

You can purchase Michele's book from the Booktopia website.

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