We spoke with holistic nutritionist, Alina Islam. Alina helps people improve their health and lifestyle with her simple food rules. We found out how to change your lifestyle in six hours, where to go on your next food vacation, and how to be healthy and have your cake too.
Why do you think so many people struggle with weight loss?
I struggled with weight loss throughout childhood and high school. I wasn’t drastically overweight, but I was always “chubby” and obsessed about it. The reason I struggled was because I was only focused on the results, and dropping the number on the scale. And when I didn’t see results fast enough, I simply gave up. My motivation stemmed from vanity, not from a place of wanting real health.
Years later, I became interested in wanting to feel better, and live a healthier lifestyle everyday. I noticed when I put good food in my body, I felt more energetic, vibrant and confident, and weight loss was a side-effect. I would say that the mindset shift is what sets the wheels in motion, and then it’s really hard to stop.
You recently got married (congrats!). We have to ask, did you serve cake at your wedding?
Totally did. And cut it with a sword too. That’s just how they roll in the Middle East. (Now that’s a celebration!)
It seems everyone is taking to a special diet these days. Is there one that you follow yourself + prescribe to clients?
I like to keep it simple. In the words of Michael Pollan “Eat [real] food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
If you eat whole foods and avoid boxed, processed and junk food, you’re already 90% of the way there. The other 10% is determined by your genetic makeup, i.e. does a certain food make you feel worse or cause a bad reaction?
So who is your ideal client?
First and foremost, it is someone with the right attitude who is committed to creating a healthier lifestyle in the long-run. My coaching method is rooted in taking small, baby steps that can be built into sustainable, everyday habits. If anyone is looking for rapid weight loss or a quick fix, I’m not your person!
And secondly, because I’ve experienced the crazy/stressful corporate life in a big city, I tend to attract more of those clients. I understand their reality, the pressures they face, and how a lack of time can get in the way of wanting to feel their best.
You offer a 6 week Energy Bootcamp. Six one hour sessions sounds like a great deal to us, but is changing our diet in an online program enough to make us feel better?
Absolutely! Most people want to lead a healthier lifestyle, but they don’t know where to start or feel they don’t have time…it just feels WAY too overwhelming. This program provides that kickstart most people need to start taking small, educated steps towards better health. At the end of the bootcamp, you come out with six hours worth of eye-opening education, six newly formed habits that make a BIG impact, and a recipe book and resources to your health journey to the next level.
Favourite meal to make?
Baked salmon on top of a salad. Because I’m lazy and it’s the easiest thing to make without compromising nutrition.
Favourite meal to eat?
It’s so simple, but somehow I can never get enough. My mom’s homemade lentils, with a side of rice and a kebab.
You’ve lived + travelled to many different countries. Where is your favourite place to enjoy fresh, delicious ingredients?
I spent 6 months abroad in the Far East, and I have to say it was just one long, culinary feast. Till date, I think some of the best food I’ve ever had was sitting in an outdoor hawker market in Singapore, Malaysia or Thailand.
We love your website, and that you did it yourself! What page should everyone bookmark?
Thank you! I would say My Journal, because that’s where I regularly post twice a week. Sometimes it’s educational, sometimes it’s about food, and sometimes I just get philosophical and put thoughts out to the universe, hoping someone somewhere will connect with it and feel inspired. (You can build a website like Alina’s following the same simple instructions she used here).
For more information, visit alinaislam.com. Tweet her @AlinaIslam, connect with her on LinkedIn, and follow her on Instagram too.