Lessons I learned from the Health Bloggers Summit

Earlier this month the Health Bloggers Community ran its first ever Summit. It was a whole day of brilliant talks, workshops and sampling of great healthy brands and I was lucky enough to be helping out. 

Sampling at  HBC Summit.  Photo from  HBC Facebook page . 

Sampling at HBC Summit. Photo from HBC Facebook page

These are six things that really stood out for me from the day that I thought I'd share:


1. Everyone's talking Intuitive Eating 

Having put on a few pounds again recently I was starting to think I needed to go back to entering meals on My Fitness Pal to get my eating a bit more under control. My problem isn't sugar or sweets, or fatty things or take-aways... it's just eating WAY too much of the stuff I make! Complete lack of portion control. 

But something really struck me during HBC Summit and that was intuitive eating. Rather than meal plans (which I have long believed are a waste of time - real life always gets in the way!) and strict regimes or calorie counting, simply listening to the body and really giving it what it needs is what I should be trying.

Instead of denial or limit, intuitive eating is a much more positive and supportive way to think about nourishing yourself. It's also absolutely tailored to you - which a meal plan never can be. We are all so unique, only you know you and how your body is feeling. 

To find out more about intuitive eating have a look at this article from Registered Dietitian Lauren Fowler or if you're going to Balance Festival in London in May, go and see Laura Thomas PhD talking about it. 


2. Nutrition professionals want to help! 

This post really sums this up neatly, but it was a consistent message from everyone on the panels and even in the audience across the day:

Professionally qualified nutritionists and dietitians want to help and share their knowledge and expertise. Particularly in the current climate with the immense focus on  food and nutrition, what to eat and what to cut out, they are keen to make sure you're getting the right facts. 

So find them - online or in person - and ask them questions, they are so open to this. Remember to check out my post from last week about qualifications in the world of nutrition too - so you know the difference between all those letters after people's names.


3. Balance is not about salad + a tub of Ben & Jerry's 

I was surprised how many times this was liked and shared on my Twitter account

Taken from  Twitter

Taken from Twitter

There were even some sarcastic comments from Twitter users mocking it. But it is an important message I think. With the backlash against clean eating now resulting in everyone talking about 'balance', it's helpful to define this. Or at least what it's not - and that is a combination of total over indulgence with periods of severe restriction. That's 'disordered eating' which isn't healthy either. "Consistently good not intermittently great" is a quote I've used before and I think applies here to balance. 


4. I am surrounded 'virtually' by many many like minded people 

Me with the other fantastic  HBC Summit  Ambassadors and  HBC team  Fab and Laura. Photo from  HBC Facebook page .

Me with the other fantastic HBC Summit Ambassadors and HBC team Fab and Laura. Photo from HBC Facebook page.

As I prepare to leave the UK and move to Dublin it was wonderful to spend a day with over 200 people that also feel as passionately as I do about healthy eating and lifestyle. 

Yes there were people who look more fabulous in lycra than me there, and yes there were people waaaaaay more qualified than I ever will be about nutrition and the science of the gut. But there were also LOADS of us who are just enthusiasts. We have turned to blogging to share our recipes and love for healthy cooking, tips and advice and want to learn and talk with each other about what we're discovering. 

It sounds like a cliche but it really did feel like a 'community' - so a massive congrats to HBC Founder Fab for fostering that feeling and making it really shine at HBC Summit. 


5. Doctor's get less than 10 hours of nutrition training in over 6 years at medical school 

Taken from  Twitter

Taken from Twitter

I was in the process of writing last week's blog post when I went to HBC Summit and I'm so glad I could add this fact into my writing. It sort of came as no surprise but it was great to hear from the horse's mouth. Your GP is (usually) NOT a nutrition specialist. So if you have ongoing issues with IBS symptoms or concerns about nutrition and what you are eating the best people to see are qualified nutritionists or dietitians. 


6. I can reconfigure a room like a ninja and love a good bin-bag  

Hazel Wallace aka  The Food Medic  speaking at  HBC Summit . Photo from  HBC Facebook page .

Hazel Wallace aka The Food Medic speaking at HBC Summit. Photo from HBC Facebook page.

And lastly a personal point. I know it's not for everyone but I absolutely love being part of a team organising events. It's partly what I do in my day job so it figures that it translates into how I spend my spare time too. 

It was fantastic to be part of the Ambassador's team along with Lea (Can Eat Attitude), Timea (Train Strong to Live Strong) and Rachel (Healthy and Psyched) and be around to help see everything run smoothly and tidy up a little bit behind you all and keep the place looking good :) I really hope I'll be able to help out again, or maybe even run an event myself when I get to Dublin. Any Irish bloggers out there interested?  

HBC Summit Ambassadors! 

HBC Summit Ambassadors! 

Were you there? Did you enjoy it? What were your highlights or take-home messages that have stuck with you? 

Read these brilliant write ups about HBC Summit from other bloggers that were there:

And check out the whole photo album on the HBC Facebook page

Everyone loves a goodie bag! 

Everyone loves a goodie bag!