“I passionately believe that understanding the influence your food and life choices have on how you feel, look and behave is a key first step in becoming, and staying, healthier.”

Sabra RalphFounder, Happier Eating

My path to happier eating

I’ve been where you are now.

More than 25 years ago, I realised that something had to change. My unhappiness stemmed from feeling fat and frumpy. I was miserable in my own skin, feeling nothing like the person I could be, and my choices weren’t helping.

A chance remark about acceptance or change lead me to take That First Step. Maybe the one you’re contemplating now.

Back then, before the body autonomy, positivity, and acceptance movement, if you were dissatisfied with your weight or shape, you joined a commercial weight loss programme. So that’s what I did. I tried the soups, the shakes, the meal replacements (hello, Lean Cuisine!). I weighed my food, and myself. I measured my food, and myself. I went to the groups. I found my ‘tribe’ and we shared so much: the good, the less good, the celebratory chocolate bars after the meetings.

I lost the weight. More importantly, I kept it off by making changes that stuck, even once I stepped away from the diet.

What started out as a personal weight loss journey transitioned into a deep interest in health, particularly food, and I undertook a four year training programme in nutritional therapy with the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in London, graduating in 2005.

Over the years, as I’ve walked along my path, I added various postgraduate and professional trainings including Intuitive Eating with Evelyn Tribole, the co-developer of that approach. To help you embrace change at a deeper level, resolving issues around sleep, mood and food choice, I qualified in Clinical Hypnotherapy. And to help you resolve emotional, or binge, eating, I’m currently training in the Eating Freely approach.

On my path, personal and professional, I’ve learned that change can be messy. Sometimes, change comes easily; other times, you need a little help in identifying, understanding, and dismantling those influences, conscious or otherwise, that hold you back from better informed choices. But, when you’re ready, embracing change is easier. And it’s more likely to stick if it’s quieter, stealthier, and more flexible. A bit like a Ninja.

Change is like a scary rollercoaster, there may be moments of anxiety or uncertainty, especially just before the ride starts. But there can also be a sense of euphoria when the ride is over.

Switching up your food, eating and lifestyle approaches can be just as challenging, especially when it’s something as emotionally charged as food, or when taking a leap of faith and stepping away from the “one size fits all” advice that takes up so much of the health management space. But, if what you’ve been doing, or dreading having to do (again), isn’t serving you well, then why keep on doing it?

My approach to health behaviour updating is simple, practical and grounded in science and, if weight is your concern, rest assured there’s no deprivation, guilt, or calorie-counting.

Like the roller coaster, it might get a little scary but more ‘Squirrel Nutkin’ ride than ‘Nemesis’. And I’ll hold your hand all the way. Yes, switching up your behaviours and choices and creating a plan that works for you – not for your partner, your friend, or the latest social media influencer – may be a little different but maybe it’s time for something new.

Maybe it’s time to nourish, not punish, yourself.

Oh, and the black Lycra is optional.

You're in safe hands

MSc. (Weight Management) MSc. (Psychology) PGCert. (Exercise & Nutrition Science) DipION D.Clin.Hyp.

Where's your best
fish and chips?

Yes, I know but, although generally considered “unhealthy”, an occasional, planned, indulgence can help you stay connected to healthier, happier, eating for the rest of the time.
By the way, mine are in North Wales, about three times a year, on a Thursday when the oil is fresh; I eat them on the beach, and share them with my family. No, I don’t feel guilty, and yes, they are delicious.