The People at Person Centred Psychology & Allied Health – Meet Kess!

Meet Kess

Tell us about yourself

I am a dietitian… with a love of psychology! In fact, I started studying psychology – finished this, and dove head first into dietetics and never looked back. I absolutely love being a dietitian and am passionate about supporting my clients to rebuild a positive relationship with food and eating.

What is your approach to nutrition?

There’s a bit of a misconception out there that dietitians are the “food police”. The role of the dietitian is really changing – and in the right direction! I practice from the non-diet approach, which involves reconnecting with our innate hunger, fullness and satiety cues. This approach moves away from diet rules and restriction – to instead eating for wellness and pleasure. It centres the client at the heart of the experience, to rebuild body trust and internal awareness around food.

Do you have a food philosophy?

That all foods fit! There are no “good” or “bad” foods – food is food. It can be really tough and uncomfortable work to challenge these beliefs, but making peace with all foods is 100% worth it.

What can I expect from seeing you?

It can take a lot of courage to seek support around food and eating. Sometimes people feel they aren’t “sick enough”, or their concerns aren’t serious enough. If you are experiencing any kind of eating or body concerns, you deserve help. Asking for support is an important step – and often a daunting one! I provide a safe space to talk through your concerns and support you on your journey towards food and body peace.

But I already know about nutrition…

I hear this a lot! However, when this focus on eating begins to take over your life and gets in the way of living well, this no longer promotes health. In other cases, some people may become fixated on inaccurate or misleading nutrition information. Here, we can work through the myths and misconceptions of food, eating and health. There is a lot of conflicting information out there, and clients often speak about being completely confused and overwhelmed with it all.

What are some of the things we might work on?

Sometimes people need a bit more structure as they move towards normalised eating patterns – this may look like building some regularity and nutritional adequacy into eating, before moving on to flexibility and variety in eating.

We might create opportunities to practise eating foods that feel scary, or you feel “out of control” around. Over time, eating becomes more comfortable, and will take up less thoughts and energy. The end goal is intuitive eating which means people are able to recognise what their body needs, and respond to these without guilt or anxiety. Ultimately, clients develop internal awareness and trust around eating.

I support clients to:

· Reconnect with hunger, fullness and satiety cues

· Explore eating behaviours through curiosity, not judgement

· Fuel the body for nutritional adequacy

· Build flexibility into eating, let go of diet rules and make peace with food

· Practise body acceptance

· Optimise nutrition intake for overall wellbeing

· Combine medical nutrition therapy for a range of health conditions

How do you work with your clients to achieve this?

Collaboration is really key. I will often ask my clients about their experience with food, eating, and their relationship with food, as much as feels safe and comfortable. We might talk about how eating behaviours are getting it the way of living well, and then identifying how to bring about change. Through this partnership, we navigate the transition towards a more relaxed, stable and helpful eating pattern.

What are your areas of interest?

I have a really strong interest in the whole spectrum of disordered eating behaviours, including:

· Negative food relationships

· Disordered eating

· Eating, weight and shape concerns

· Eating disorders (binge eating disorder, OSFED, bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa)

· Orthorexia

· Food and weight preoccupation

I also work with individuals with other health conditions including:

· Diabetes (type 1 and 2)

· Heart conditions, hypertension, dyslipidaemia

· Liver and renal conditions

· PCOS

· Food intolerance, including FODMAP investigation