[Women in Health & Wellness] Erin Wathen: Stop Dieting, Start Eating Mindfully

February 1, 2019


After earning a Bachelor’s in Sociology and a Masters in Human Resource Management, Erin worked in Manhattan. After starting her family, Erin began her Wellness career in exercise. She is currently certified in 6 different modalities. Erin is a Holistic Health, Life and Weight Loss Coach and Food Addiction Counselor.


Her book focusing on Women, Emotional Eating & Sugar Addiction will be available on December 18th, titled “Why Can’t I Stick To My Diet?”

Sophie: What led you to become a holistic health and wellness coach?


EW: I got here as a result of needing to figure out my own health. I was always on a diet, worked out constantly and didn't feel my efforts were reflected on my body or how I looked. It was only through getting a real handle on nutrition and my emotional eating that I was able to effortlessly maintain my weight. Becoming a health coach was a natural progression as I wanted to help others.


Sophie: Can you talk to us about exactly what you do? What does holistic health and wellness coaching look like?


EW: It seems lately as my days are all over the place since my book launched. I could be recording three podcasts, writing a guest blog and guesting in on a Sugar Busters Facebook Live and the next day, have coaching clients the majority of the day or spend time with my IT guy reviewing my new website. It all depends.


Sophie: Was it difficult to switch careers and start up your consultancy?


EW: It was and it wasn’t, which I know is not much of an answer. I had been home with my kids for over a decade, so getting out of Human Resources — the area I have a Masters Degree in and worked in Manhattan in — was not difficult. The thing that was difficult was going from teaching five Spin classes a week to being gone for 10 days at a workshop. It was a huge transition for my family.


Sophie: Congrats on publishing your new book, Why Can’t I Stick to My Diet! There are already so many diet books out there. What new angle do you take?


EW: There are tons of diet books out there, but none of them were able to help me. Only I could once I put the science, the concepts and the emotional eating components together in Why Can’t I Stick To My Diet? I had read probably 300 different diet books in my lifetime and they all missed the same crucial component: WHY. What was wrong in my life that I thought the answer was in a carton of ice cream? What will be different after I am done with the 21 day cleansetox or whatever the latest craze is? Will I have worked out with my spouse how s/he needs to chip in around the house so I am not super frustrated and eating my feelings? Or did I simply drink green juice and hope the chore situation would resolve itself?


Sophie: Dieting is such a common New Year’s resolution after the holidays. Do you have any advice for our readers looking to eat more healthfully in 2019?


EW: Eating mindfully is very different from dieting. Eating mindfully is a long term approach to making better choices, being conscious of what is going into our bodies, appreciating each bite, and noticing the flavors and consistency of the food. Eating mindfully is a lifestyle. Dieting is something we do short term with the intention of eventually going back to eating normally, a.k.a. the way that got us wanting to lose weight. There is no personal introspection or thought to lasting organizational changes.


Sophie: What’s the biggest dieting mistake you see people make?


EW: The biggest dieting mistake I see people make time and time again is thinking they can beat science. This time, they can eat whatever they want when they get to their goal weight, when they have been proven wrong time and time again.


Sophie: Do you do any yearly review or planning exercises with your clients at the end or beginning of each year? What do you look at?


EW: I have my clients visualize how they want to look and feel this time next year and how they want to get there. Then we make a detailed action plan, what does the January 1, 2020 version of you look like, think like, what is her day like? How did you get there? What mile markers a.k.a. smaller goals do you need to get there? For example, let’s take the classic goal of losing 10 lbs. Sure, a client could lose it in six weeks, but let’s give her more time and focus on maintaining it. So on February 1, she should be exercising four times a week and keeping a detailed food journal and have lost five pounds. On March 1, keep the status quo, drink more water and lose another pound.


Sophie: I’m curious as to your thoughts on Dry January. Do you encourage your clients to try it? How about the new trend of being Sober Curious?


EW: I am all for a Dry January as it can not hurt to abstain from alcohol for 31 days and see how we feel physically and emotionally. I do encourage my clients to try it. Alcohol will still be sold on February 1st if the individual decides life is better with alcohol in it. Being Sober Curious is a fabulous trend.


Sophie: Do you have any rituals around the new year and setting yourself up for good habits and health? Did you set a New Year’s Resolution for 2019?


EW: For decades my resolution was to “lose weight.” It isn’t any longer. This year, it is to be more organized and to lay off of shopping for clothes.


Sophie: What’s one thing our readers can do to stay healthy all year, beyond the January boost in motivation to work out or diet?


EW: To stay healthy all year, I recommend we stay in the current moment. Do not dwell on the past or worry about the future. Staying mindful of where we currently are versus where we want to be will help us stay focused on how to reach our goals and not be afraid of the unknown.


Sophie: Any parting thoughts or last words of advice?


EW: Remember: food is not our friend, entertainment or to be feared. It is essential to life. Strive to be neutral about it.


About the author:

Anne-Sophie Bousset ("Sophie" to English-speaking friends), is a freelance marketer and community builder. She helps companies build their brand, attract clients, and build a community around their product. Her favorite things include sunshine, yoga, reading, and lazy Sundays in with her cat, Phelps. She can be found on Twitter @Sophie_Bousset.

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