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Mutli award-winning nutrition coach and author Nikola Howard is urging people to give carb-loaded lockdown comfort eating the boot
After surveying members of her 12,000-strong Facebook community Nikola found many were overeating due to boredom and lack of structure.
Of the 161 respondents who answered: “I am comfort eating due to . . .”
• 43% said it was due to not having many things to look forward to, so they are eating food as a treat
• 29% were comfort eating due to being locked down with little to do and felt bored
• 28% said they did not have a plan they could keep to for eating healthily, and were returning to old patterns
Nikola was awarded Nutritional Coach Mentor of the Year this week by Corporate LiveWire Innovation & Excellence Awards 2021
According to Nikola, people comfort-eat for a variety of reasons including anxiety, depression, stress, trauma, and boredom.
While this is sometimes seen as a harmless way to de-stress there can also be a more shameful stigma attached.
Nikola said: “These mixed messages set people up for feelings of needless guilt and shame as well as embedding that food is a ‘treat’ that a person either has to earn with ‘good behaviour’ or use as a comfort if they are feeling bad.”
Humans are hard-wired to enjoy the physical sensation of eating from birth at the safety of a mother’s breast, drinking the combination of sugars and fats contained in breast milk.
Beyond this, children and adults are often rewarded with sweet things for being ‘good’ and something comforting, usually carb-based, when feeling low.
It is this relationship with food that often causes people to falter when trying diets.
Nikola believes a great deal of comfort can come from community support and this led her to create her low carb group.
“We can change the ways we react to certain situations and feelings with the proper support and not eating carb-rich foods.,” she said. “I still have comfort eating episodes, and now they are filled with steak, broccoli and Mushroom and a red wine sauce. “So called comfort food is essentially a learned behaviour and this behaviour can be changed. “I have developed unique methods over the past 20 for my clients and the community. They have been expertly tested and validated and shown excellent results over and over again.”
Nikola’s Facebook group, Low Carb in the UK, is a community offering advice, support and recipes helping people in their lifestyle journey on a low carb diet.
The website https://lowcarbinthe.uk offers a whole range of courses, webinars and articles information and details of her books
Notes to editors
Nikola Howard is one of the UK’s leading champions of the benefits of a low-carb lifestyle and creator of the website https://lowcarbinthe.uk.
Nikola was recognised at the Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Awards 2020 as Most Inspirational Nutritional Coach & Mentor (London) and at the Fitness and Nutrition Awards 2020 as the Best Women's Weight Loss Coach (South East England).
Nikola’s own story
Nikola’s work and mission are based on her own experiences.
While in her 20s, Nikola’s comfort food was ice cream which she would eat when experiencing extreme stress.
“I would plan for the times when I knew that things would cause me to feel over emotional. Family gatherings, in particular, were difficult for me and when that happened, I would head to the freezer, pull the pint of pralines and cream I had waiting for me, and dive right in. I usually did not stop until I hit the paper at the bottom of the carton.
“Thankfully, my coaching training has given me a way better relationship with my family and also the ability to retrain what I see as comfort food.”
Nikola is an award winning coach, author, speaker, human physiology mentor, educator, woman in technology, orchid obsessive, and has been low carb since 1999. She is on a mission to free people from Diet Prison, remove the linguistically horrific words “weight loss” from common usage and her 2020 mission statement is “Assist the UK to eat itself healthy.”
Nikola also wants to disrupt the diet industry paradigm and move us away from guilt and shame when it comes to food and our bodies. She is one of the only people working within the diet industry to work on the mental/mindset side of body composition management, to break people away from “victim mentality” and so ensure long term success.
Nikola began her low carb life on the 6th of December 1999. The lifestyle suited her body a great deal, however she very soon discovered that there was a dearth of UK centric information and that most of the information coming from the US actively contradicted the UK’s food context and labelling laws.
Because of this, Nikola set up the Low Carb in the UK Website (https://lowcarbinthe.uk) in August 2000 as well as a Yahoo! Mailing list to help people connect with UK centric Low Carb information.
Nikola has over 20 years’ experience in assisting UK mums struggling with “pregnancy belly” and the “middle ages middle” to gain more energy than a toddler, a slender optimal body, and far more importantly, much better health and a renewed sense of confidence and self-love.
Nikola went all in with a coaching career via Low Carb in the UK in October 2019, having worked on the business part time since 2016. Via her innovative H.O.P.E Protocol, she has assisted thousands of people with their body composition goals via her website, books, courses, and 1:1 client work.
Nikola has written three books based around living a low carb life, written using UK information and from a UK angle. They are well received by her audience, and she is planning a 4th book in 2021 “How to tame type 2 diabetes”
Nikola was awarded “Best Nutritional Coach & Mentor 2019 – London” in the 4th Annual GHP Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Awards 2019 and “Most Inspirational Nutritional Coach & Mentor (London): Nikola Howard” in in the 5th Annual GHP Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Awards 2020.
Nikola was awarded “Best Women's Weight Loss Coach - South East England” in the 3rd annual GHP Fitness and Nutrition Awards 2020
Before going all in, Nikola studied Physics and Chemistry at University and then worked in IT roles for both public and private sector clients, starting as a desktop support person in 1989, and rounding out her IT career as a Data Centre Manager before she left to work on Low Carb in the UK full time. She managed people and projects as well as stakeholders for over 30 years. This means that she brings forward that logical and structured approach into her client work.
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