We are absolutely delighted to welcome Louise Seddon as a guest blogger to share her wisdom and share the importance of nutrition.
Louise is an experienced nutritionist helping women to heal and rebalance their hormones the holistic way.
Louise is passionate about women’s health. With experience helping ladies with complex hormonal issues, from polycystic ovaries to the menopause. She has a degree in dietetics from The University of Plymouth and has worked both in the NHS and private practice.
Foodie hero: Mary Berry
Your breakfast this morning: A banana and yoghurt
Favourite food: Roast dinner
Last meal on Earth: Pizza
Your healthiest habit: Eating well (most of the time)
Least healthy habit: G & T
Your proudest “food” moment: Writing my recipe book
Best advice given: Be kind, always.
Louise, thank you for the opportunity to interview you and for you agreeing to become a regular monthly guest blogger for us. I would love to know how you became interested in nutrition. Was it an early passion? What was your motivation?
I had my first child and a mortgage when I was the tender age of 19, and by the time I was 25 I was a single parent with two small children. I had to grow up really quickly, learning to cook, clean and run a house from an early age – often with little money. I became an expert at cooking on a budget. However, I was determined to make something of my life, so I went to university to do my degree, training to be a Dietitian. After I graduated, children and work seemed to take over, so for a few years, I was trying to keep my head above the water financially, and keep every plate spinning. By the time 2016 arrived I was really unhappy, so I made some bold moves; I trained and ran a half marathon, left a miserable relationship, quit my depressing job…I also sold my home of 15 years!! YES, I was frightened, BUT I was more frightened of the alternative…Sometimes making bold moves can be terrifying, but being stuck and unhappy is 100% worse. I can tell you now, 2016 was an amazing year! I felt so happy, free and unstoppable… and so my journey really began.
Why is nutrition so important?
Our food choices have a direct impact on our performance, an imbalance of nutrients can change mood, reduce energy and contribute to underlying health problems. Healthy eating isn’t just about weight; it is about focus, energy and motivation too.
What interests you most about health and nutrition?
We all have the potential to make big changes to our lives by the food choices that we make, and that is really exciting.
Are there any drawbacks to working in this field?
For me, it would be unqualified people giving incorrect nutrition advice. I trained for 4 years to get my qualifications but lots of people work in the same field and haven’t done the same level of training and can sometimes give unhelpful advice.
What skills do you consider to be essential to work in this industry?
Having good listening skills and an understanding of other people’s lives is essential when you’re providing nutrition advice.
As a nutritionist, what are some of the changes and trends you’ve observed in the food world over the last 10 years?
There has definitely been a trend towards more plant-based / vegan diets over the past 10 years.
Do you see a shift happening in public perceptions of nutrition especially since the pandemic? Has this brought more awareness?
The pandemic has really changed people’s behaviour and eating habits. For lots of people, this has been negative and they have been eating more than they normally would (and are now asking for help).
But, I have also seen families really embracing being at home together. Growing their own vegetables and cooking more meals together – that’s been lovely.
Are there any questions you wish people would ask you as their nutritionist?
People very often ask for meal plans, but what I’d really like would be for them to ask what changes can they make for long term results. Meal plans are useful as a guide but don’t really help with long term behaviour change.
If you could persuade people to change three things about their diet, what would they be?
- Switch to meat-free for one day a week
- Include fruit and vegetables with each meal
- Drink enough water (keep a bottle with you at all times)
What are some of the most common nutritional mistakes you observe with your clients?
People taking unnecessary supplements and diet products when really, there is very little evidence that they work. Some supplements are important, but you can get most of what you need to be healthy via your diet.
What’s the most challenging thing about your job?
Trying to keep up to date with all of the latest trends, there is always something new happening.
What’s the most rewarding part of the role?
Seeing the results of my clients makes me so happy – I love helping people to make positive changes
When you go out to eat with friends and family do they ask you for advice/suggestions?
Haha! Not really, we usually go out just to enjoy ourselves.
What kinds of tools and methods do you use to help your clients achieve their goals?
We work on mindset, meal planning and organisation, education around food choices (getting the balance of carbs, protein and fats correct). My 1-2-1 clients usually have bespoke meal plans designed for them as well, as well as daily access to me so that they can ask questions when they need to.
Can you provide a tip for each of the following: how to eat out; enjoy special occasions; and indulge in a favourite treat, all while still losing weight and eating healthily.
Follow the 80% / 20% rule! If you eat sensibly 80% of the time then use the other 20% to have meals out and enjoy special occasions. If you’re trying to lose weight then it’s what you do the majority of the time that will make the difference.
How important is exercise (and how much of it) – what kind do you yourself do?
Exercise is so important. It’s good for both your mental and physical health. You should aim to exercise at least 5 times a week, for 30 minutes. As for me, I walk for at least an hour a day with my dog, and I also go to aerial hoop classes twice a week.
What non-related issues (e.g., sleep habits) are important to healthy eating?
Sleep helps your body rest and recover if you have too little sleep in can really affect your performance the next day. Aim for 7-9 hours a night, and also try to fall asleep and wake up at the same time every day, the routine is good for you.
What’s a typical day’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner for you?
I usually have a glass of water when I first wake up, then a coffee. I then have breakfast at around 10 am, which is usually overnight oats or a smoothie. Lunch can be anything from a salad to leftovers from the night before. For dinner, I prefer fish/chicken with veg and rice/potatoes.
Do you give in to any food guilty pleasures?
Pizza, definitely – I do love Dominoes occasionally.
What’s your favourite healthy ingredient?
I like adding nuts and seeds to meals to make them more interesting – chia seeds are great, full of healthy fats and can be added to lots of meals (smoothies, yoghurt, baking).
What is your favourite healthy snack?
Protein balls are my favourite! Here is the recipe I use…
You will need…
- 2 cups of wholegrain oats
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 2 scoops of protein powder
- 1 cup peanut butter (I use crunchy)
- 1/2 cup honey
- a few drops of vanilla
- desiccated coconut (to roll in)
Mix the dry ingredients together, then add the peanut butter and honey. Mix well, using your hands. Make into small balls, and roll in the coconut. Place in the fridge to set.
You can keep them in the fridge for up to a week, and they can also be frozen.
They really fill you up, so 1 or 2 is plenty. Each ball contains approximately 66kcals and 4g protein
Any words of advice/suggestions for someone considering entering your field?
Make sure you do your research as there are so many options you can take. I originally trained as a dietitian, so that I could get a good overall perspective of all areas of nutrition, before branching into women’s health.
Also, be prepared that everyone always thinks you’re judging what they’re eating!