RFLA Allied Health Team offering free workshop that explores triggers that lead to unhealthy eating

Adam Prudhomme

A free workshop that explores the link between emotional triggers and unhealthy eating habits will be offered through the Rural Frontenac Lennox and Addington Allied Health Team.

Led by registered dietician Paige Huycke, the four-session workshop known as Craving Change will run Nov. 8, 15 and 29 with the final session Dec. 6. Each session will run from 3 to 4:30 p.m. with the option to attend in person or virtually via Zoom.

Developed in partnership with a dietician and a physiologist, Craving Change is a regulated program that is offered by health teams across Canada. Huycke has been running the program locally for a handful of years now, though the program was forced to go on a bit of a hiatus during the pandemic.

“This is the first time I’ll be doing it as sort of a hybrid model, I have some in person spots and virtual spots,” said Huycke. “It is a really collaborative program. It’s not as much as me telling people what to eat or how much. It’s more the behavioural components of why we eat the way we do and how we can work around that.”

A total of 12 spots will be made available, mixed between those who want to attend in person and those who want to tune in virtually. The in person program will be held at the RFLA Allied Health Team office at 310 bridge St. W in Napanee.

Huycke says the program is designed to be a group effort, with plenty of discussion among participants.

“A lot of it is knowing that you’re not alone in these struggles,” she said. “Others are struggling in a very similar situation.”

Rather than simply list health eating options, the program takes a look at why people crave certain foods in certain situations. Participants are also given workbooks to keep with activities to work on during the week leading up to the next session.

“We talk about marketing and why it’s so hard to make healthy choices when you’re waiting in line at the grocery store, waiting in line at Canadian Tire and there’s chocolate bars right there in front of you,” said Huycke. “We’re talking about eating under the influence of the environment, we talk a little bit about the environment around us, our eating environment. How we grew up as a child and how those eating behaviours that we formed from a young age have developed and shifted over time. The example I use is when you were a kid and went to the doctor, got a needle and felt hurt or sad and then sometimes they would give you a sucker or candy afterwards. You’re associating that feeling of hurt of sadness with sugar.”

The workshop also explores learned behaviours, biology and why people are conditioned to crave certain foods, how sleep can play a role and will help to uncover individual eating triggers.

“There’s something that they call the Change Buffet which is 14 different strategies that people can try to potentially change some of those emotional or comfort eating behaviours,” said Huycke. “There’s just finding different ways to comfort ourselves without food. There are 14 different ones because not every single one is going to resonate with every single person. It’s just providing a wide variety to see what might work.”

The program is open to adults of all ages. To register call 613-449-7984 or email PaigeH@kchc.ca.

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