Kimmi Katte


People get so frustrated with me when I talk to them about self-care in a Nutritional Medicine consultation.⁠

They just want to be told what to eat because by the time they’ve gotten to me they have already run the gamut of dietary and lifestyle advice from many well meaning dietitians, naturopaths, nutritionists, doctors, relatives, keyboard warriors, friends, and neighbours.⁠

They’re tired, and they’re fed up, and very often quite unwell. I get it. I get it because I’ve been there too.⁠

And by the time they get to me they truly believe that if I will just tell them exactly what to eat, and exactly which supplements to take, that they will automatically be able to apply that information and get their longed for results.

But that’s not how it works.⁠

Typically we start out with the very best of intentions with excitement around sticking to the dietary protocol and excitement levels run high. The novelty factor is in place and it’s powerful! It’s a bit new, a bit different, and it’s really easy – just follow the instructions.

Until boredom sets in. Or stress. Or <<add whichever word fits best here for you>>.

Then intentions and excitement leave the building and we’re left with the needs that aren’t food related – the things that are related to self-care, the things that in the past we’ve addressed with unhealthy food choices.

The big secret is that unless my patients get their self-care game on in addition to getting advice on food choice and meal timing, it’s unlikely that food recommendations will be implemented over the long term.⁠

It’s because we all have an emotional relationship with food which can sabotage our choices no matter how clear the recommendations are, and no matter how desperate we are to see some changes in our body.⁠

The “need” to eat a food that doesn’t support your health can often feel physiological, but that craving most likely originates from an emotional need that food will never be able to satisfy.⁠

To be clear, we have physiological needs and we have emotional needs – food is one of the things that go in the physiological needs department, but won’t fit in the emotional needs department. That’s a different key to a whole other door.⁠

In the case of people who have lipoedema, our food history has been littered with many and varied diets – low calorie, low fat, low salt, nutrient poor, and health destroying in so many ways. Food has been both our friend and our enemy, and it’s no surprise that our emotional relationship with food is no less than tortured. This is one of the reasons why self-care is prioritised in my treatment plans for my lipoedema patients.

Self-care strategies dial down emotional cravings for foods to make them manageable, and will help you to make decisions about food that aren’t clouded by unmet emotional needs. If you come to me for a Nutritional Medicine consult or for keto coaching, don’t be surprised when part of your treatment plan involves daily emotional care strategies because your success in getting healthy is my #1 priority.⁠

One very effective strategy is to ask my patients to write themselves a “happy list”. This is a list of things they can do (that don’t involve food) that bring feelings of happiness. It’s a unique list for every patient, and mine doesn’t look anything like anybody else’s – we’re all so different, and our sources of happiness will be very personal! I ask my patients to do two things from their list before lunchtime each day if it’s at all possible, and to build on that list every day,

It sounds way too easy, and is often overlooked by my patients in relation to the more technical and direct parts of the treatment plans that I write. But it’s so effective in combination with those more direct instructions, especially if you have a tortured past with food like me.

I keep my happy list in my journal and each evening after I’ve written out my gratitudes, I decide which two things I’ll be doing before lunchtime the following day to satisfy my emotional needs – it’s part of setting myself up for a successful day. Ending my day with gratitude and considering my emotional needs for the following day has been life-changing for me in the last few months and I hope you might be able to incorporate a strategy like this for yourself! It really is a secret to tackling self-sabotage!