Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | COVER STORY - WORDS: SARAH DIONY­SIUS To find out more about Kathryn Chan­dler and her nu­tri­tional and well-be­ing ser­vices visit http://kathryn­chan­ Fol­low the Nutrition Guru and the Chef’s on In­sta­gram or check out the Face­book page https://www.face­

In a day and age where nutrition ad­vice is given out left, right and cen­tre, two Coast women have set out with the goal of de­mys­ti­fy­ing and sim­pli­fy­ing mes­sages around liv­ing a healthy life­style.

Holis­tic health coach Kathryn Chan­dler and nutritioni­st Tara Leong, both based in Noosa, are big ad­vo­cates of pro­mot­ing a whole ap­proach to health.

Their mis­sion is to ed­u­cate, in­spire and en­cour­age peo­ple to make healthy choices and give peo­ple the tools and tips they need to live a bet­ter life­style.

Grow­ing up, Kathryn was heav­ily in­volved in danc­ing and when she was in her early 20s she moved to Bris­bane to pur­sue her pro­fes­sional bal­let ca­reer.

She said it wasn’t un­til she had been in­volved in the in­dus­try a few years that she came to re­alise how neg­a­tive the bal­let world was in terms of pro­mot­ing an un­healthy body im­age.

Plagued by thoughts of not be­ing good enough, a de­sire to lose weight and hav­ing de­vel­oped un­healthy habits, Kathryn said she knew some­thing had to change.

“I saw a very dark side to the bal­let in­dus­try and af­ter a cou­ple of years danc­ing pro­fes­sion­ally, I re­alised it was not for me,” she said.

“So I be­gan re­search­ing ways to be healthy, fol­lowed in­spi­ra­tional blogs and started work­ing on my­self a lot.

“I was feel­ing amaz­ing, eat­ing well and I de­cided I re­ally wanted to help oth­ers as well.”

Kathryn said she wanted to pro­vide peo­ple with the right knowl­edge and ad­vice so she be­came a qual­i­fied nutritioni­st through the In­sti­tute for In­te­grated Nutrition.

She is now a cer­ti­fied holis­tic health coach and well­ness blogger and has started her own busi­ness on the Coast.

“I have so much love for the com­mu­nity here on the Coast and I have a very im­por­tant mes­sage to share,” she said.

“So­cial me­dia has a lot to an­swer for in terms of how much pres­sure it puts on peo­ple to look a cer­tain way and I think we need to start spread­ing some more pos­i­tive body-im­age mes­sages.

“We are in a time now where ev­ery­one is so stressed out and in our fast-paced lives, we re­ally need to be putting our health first.”

Tara also started out with a dance back­ground and was a bal­let teacher and per­sonal trainer be­fore she de­cided to take a holis­tic ap­proach to health.

She said she found the mes­sages she was re­ceiv­ing about health to be “very confusing” and so set out to go back and study nutrition at the Univer­sity of the Sun­shine Coast.

“I wanted to get a good ed­u­ca­tion and re­ally have ev­i­dence be­hind the ad­vice that I was giv­ing,” she said.

“There are a lot of peo­ple on so­cial me­dia with­out qual­i­fi­ca­tions who are giv­ing peo­ple health ad­vice.

“It’s re­ally scary be­cause peo­ple are un­aware of what they don’t ac­tu­ally know and peo­ple are very sus­cep­ti­ble to the mes­sages they re­ceive.”

Tara said she would love to see more ac­cep­tance of dif­fer­ent body sizes and shapes, less fo­cus on diet and weight loss and a big­ger fo­cus on healthy be­hav­iours.

“We need to con­cen­trate less on re­strict­ing our eat­ing. Peo­ple should give them­selves per­mis­sion to be hun­gry and to eat when they feel like it but be mind­ful of what we are eat­ing,” she said.

“Our brains be­come re­bel­lious teenagers when we tell our­selves that we can’t eat some­thing and then that just makes us want to eat it more. When we are so fo­cused on food, that is when we binge, go to the fridge and in­stead of hav­ing one bis­cuit we eat the whole packet. Then we re­strict our­selves be­cause we feel guilty and then the cycle be­gins.”

With all the mixed mes­sages peo­ple re­ceive about health, Tara said she be­lieved there should be re­stric­tions and guidelines around peo­ple who gave ad­vice on health and nutrition on so­cial me­dia.

“Young teenagers are es­pe­cially be­ing in­flu­enced on­line and if they are learn­ing the wrong mes­sages from the start then this is re­ally harm­ful,” she said.

“The food prod­ucts peo­ple go out and buy are in­flu­enced by the peo­ple who are pro­mot­ing them on so­cial me­dia and the prob­lem is that what they are pro­mot­ing might not ac­tu­ally be good for us.

“We have the power to take con­trol over our own health de­ci­sions and not be­lieve the click bait we are bom­barded with.”

Tara said de­vel­op­ing a healthy re­la­tion­ship with food was key, as was think­ing pos­i­tively about our bod­ies. “Re­search shows when peo­ple think pos­i­tively about their body, they are more likely to treat it well,” she said.

Kathryn’s top three tips to fo­cus on liv­ing a healthy life­style;

Re­ally fo­cus not just on nutrition, but gut health. We have a lot of happy hor­mones in our gut and if they are not right, then we are not ab­sorb­ing all of the nu­tri­ents from the foods we are eat­ing.

Mind­ful move­ment is key. A lot of peo­ple go in to the gym and slog it out and work out as a pun­ish­ment for over-eat­ing or to look a cer­tain way. I’m a big be­liever in do­ing move­ment that you en­joy and you are more likely to go back and do some­thing if it makes you feel good. Some­times it is bet­ter to do some­thing more restora­tive that is good for your body and for your men­tal health.

Stress man­age­ment. I strongly en­cour­age peo­ple to en­gage in med­i­ta­tion, ide­ally ev­ery day and deep breath­ing ex­er­cises. I also prac­tise grat­i­tude and write down three things that I am grate­ful for ev­ery day. This helps to fo­cus on the pos­i­tives and it’s easy to re­duce stress when you look at all the things you are grate­ful for in life.

Tara’s top three tips to fo­cus on liv­ing a healthy life­style;

Check the facts. Make sure when you are look­ing for in­for­ma­tion about health that you are al­ways check­ing the au­thor’s cre­den­tials. Click on the “about” sec­tion of the web­site and check out who has writ­ten it and what cre­den­tials they have. You want to make sure you are get­ting the right in­for­ma­tion from the start and that it isn’t go­ing to cause any harm.

Make slow changes. Start off chang­ing things re­ally slowly and make small changes that are re­al­is­tic. Many peo­ple think that to be healthy and to make changes, you start a diet. You don’t have to fol­low a keto or a pa­leo diet. It could just mean adding more fruit to your diet through­out the week.

Find your own ap­proach. I be­lieve in in­di­vid­u­alised eat­ing. What works for one per­son won’t nec­es­sar­ily work for an­other. My hus­band has grown up not eat­ing un­til 11am and that works re­ally well for him but if I try to do that, then I turn into a zombie by mid-morn­ing and can’t con­cen­trate on any­thing.


HOLIS­TIC AP­PROACHES: Tara Leong (main im­age above and far right with daugh­ter Lucy-belle Leong) is a nutritioni­st and well­ness ex­pert. Kathryn Chan­dler (right) is a holis­tic health coach and well­ness blogger.

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