Moving Beyond Diets, An Interview With Michelle Yandle
Who are you and what do you do?
Thanks for asking! I’m Michelle Yandle and I am a nutrition coach, author and health educator based in beautiful Taranaki NZ. Helping people to be their healthiest selves without having to give up the foods they love is a passion of mine. Through my Empowered Eating programmes I help women to finally jump off that annoying yo-yo dieting cycle and begin to take care of themselves through compassion and good health. I am also currently training new health coaches for the Holistic Performance Institute – life is busy, but I love it.
How did you get into nutrition/ wellness?
I honestly don’t remember a time when I wasn’t interested in health and nutrition. Sadly, I think this spawned from a lifetime of dieting and being a bit TOO into what I was eating. Luckily, over the years I’ve learned to incorporate a more balanced approach to health knowing that wellness is holistic and not just about what our body looks like. In fact, that has very little to do with it!
Tell us about your passion for wellness, why do you love what you do?
Everything I’ve ever done in life has been about making an impact in people’s lives. From school teaching to nutrition coaching I just want people to feel GOOD about themselves and within themselves. To be able to see the positive changes every day in the people I work with is indescribable. It just lights a fire in my belly. They have more energy, are sleeping better and all those great things – but most of all – they are more compassionate with themselves and respect themselves like never before. That’s the game change for me.
What is your philosophy when it comes to diet?
All foods fit. The first thing that happens when we start to restrict foods we love is that we ultimately end up craving them, then overdoing it when we actually get a chance to consume them. Rather than restricting, I like to think about ‘adding in’. I encourage the people I work with to look for creative ways to add in more nourishing foods such as fruits and vegetables rather than writing long lists of foods to avoid.
What habits do you practice every day?
I eat foods that make me feel good every day. I am very in tuned to how certain foods make me feel and as a busy person it’s important to me to mainly consume the foods that I know make me feel great as often as I can. I also like to get a walk in every day even if it’s only 15 minutes. Walking grounds me and makes me feel good- as does journaling which I also try to do each day.
What is your view on popular trend diets like ketogenic and fasting.
A few things come to mind. Firstly, restriction almost always leads to worse outcomes. Restriction leads to emotional overeating, cravings, binging, yo-yo dieting and a whole host of other issues.
Secondly, prescriptive diets take us away from our natural ability to listen to our body and what and how much is right for us as individuals.
Lastly, I always ask people if it’s sustainable. Take Keto for example, can you really go the rest of your life without any bread or special treats? If not – it’s not sustainable and weight cycling is a bigger issue than anyone’s body size is to begin with.
What achievement are you most proud of?
I would have to say speaking on the TEDx stage to share my story would have been one of the most challenging as well as rewarding moments in my career to date. Going Back Moving Forward was written as a message for all those women who struggle with dieting and low self-esteem.
Where does exercise fit into your programmes? What is your relationship with exercise?
Ha, that’s a great question! I struggled with exercise, or as I call it, movement for a very long time as I was setting myself up to an unachievable standard of exercise based on what I believed I ‘should’ be doing. This included team sports, going to the gym etc. and was always short lived. Now, however I have found joyful movement which is essentially moving my body each day in a way that makes me feel good. Some days it’s walking, or yoga, some days it’s resistance work and others it’s dancing around the living room. Movement makes us feel good and it’s an integral part of all my programmes as a way to keep our bodies healthy and feel great.
What are some of your go-to wellness products?
I actually don’t take a lot of supplements and products because I don’t really have to as I enjoy a daily dose of Nuzest Good Green Vitality. Good Green Vitality has been my predominant go-to for over 7 years now. I take it daily and love how it makes me feel and how it gives me peace of mind knowing I’m ticking all the nutritional boxes. Usually it’s as simple as a couple scoops of Nuzest Clean Lean Protein with a scoop of Good Green Vitality shaken up in a shaker – but sometimes I like to blend it up with some berries and peanut butter as well. It’s amazing.
Do you have any personal goals you’re working towards at the moment?
Yeah, at the moment I’m really trying to take some time out each day for mindfulness. Even if it’s only 3 minutes of silence, it’s really important to me to make this time even if it’s often a struggle to remember to do so. I now set an alarm for myself in the morning at a time when I know I’m able to and this has been working for me. Mindfulness has a positive impact in every area of my life. Fingers crossed I can keep it up!
Some Top tips for winter wellness.
Listen to your body. Winter is often a time when we crave foods that warm us inside and out. It’s a time for warm soups, roasted root vegetables and well, just about everything roasted! On top of that, be mindful of your emotional needs over winter. Winter can be a trigger for emotional over eating because we’re stuck inside, we’re bored and sometimes faced with negative emotions. Pay attention by asking yourself ‘am I hungry’? before eating and if you’re not – ask your body what it needs. Sometimes a warm hug or a good chat with a friend will do the trick.
In addition to nutrition, what else are you passionate about.
Currently I’ve been doing a lot of work with a local animal rescue group and it’s brought me a lot of joy helping animals find their forever homes. I’m also busy creating some programmes for teens to help them with eating issues and body confidence. It’s lighting a fire in my belly that I haven’t felt in some time. I can’t wait to take my Brave Bodies programmes to schools in New Zealand.
This is the full article, the shortened version was published in Remix Magazine Winter 2021.
The information provided in this article is intended for educational purposes only and is general advice. It should not, nor is it intended to be, relied on as a substitute for individual medical advice or care. If the contents of this, or any other of the blogs in this series raises any concerns or questions regarding your health, please consult a qualified healthcare practitioner.