Nutritional Non-Negotiables - She Runs Eats Performs

Episode 13

Published on:

16th Dec 2021

HWHR Nutritional Non-Negotiables

Nutritional Non-Negotiables

Do you ever find it difficult to get started with changing your food plan and making it stick? It’s a common experience! One of the ways we support our clients is to help them discover and establish their personal nutritional non-negotiables which helps lead them to success in achieving their health goals.

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What we mean by nutrition non-negotiables and why we feel that they're important

 Nutrition non-negotiables are the things that you would never do i.e.  totally non-negotiable. So, it’s a tool to help you implement key nutrition practices consistently all the time. Nutrition Non-negotiables are like the big rocks in our food plan. They must happen, because they underpin everything else that we do nutritionally to get the ultimate results that we desire.



Are nutrition foundations, the same as nutritional non-negotiables?

Nutritional foundations are broadly what everyone should have in place at least 80% of the time and doing that will promote good health. The next step is to add sports nutrition on top of foundations to promote good running performance.

Nutritional non- negotiables are more personal to an individual. So, it's something that will contribute to an individual achieving their health goals, and something that they'll stand by no matter what, because they know it's so important to feeling better and performing optimally.


Are non-negotiables the same for everyone or different?

In our Healthy Woman Healthy Runners Programme, we explain the range of non- negotiables and how they may impact on midlife health, but there's always going to be a personalised element. So usually, what we do is help clients rank what would make the biggest difference to them, and then work with them to put new practices in place, so that they'll soon be living in a way which encompasses their personal non-negotiables.


Typical mid-life health goals and how some nutrition non-negotiables would support health

Based on the feedback we’ve had from clients and women in our face book group;


·     Being a healthy weight

·     Having optimal muscle tone

·     Good energy all day – no slumps or dips

·     Minimising hot sweats/flushes

·     Good quality sleep

There are certain physiological drivers which lead to gaining weight, losing muscle tone, experiencing low energy, peri and menopausal symptoms and poor sleep.  These physiological drivers tend to be related to fluctuating female hormones during peri menopause and decreasing female hormones in menopause and post menopause. Other factors which are influential are stress hormones, digestion and liver function.


 Looking at the role of stress related to hormonal balance

 Stress and stress hormones are a key player in disrupting hormonal balance for example:

  • Typically In mid-life we have a lot going on with family – children, elderly parents and lots of responsibilities – job, home etc which may put us in a place of chronic stress so it’s likely we’ll have high cortisol levels which may lead to the body storing fat around the middle.
  •  An increased cortisol production compromises production of sex hormones (known as “progesterone steal” or “cortisol steal”). This effect results in an imbalance of female sex hormones, which could exacerbate peri and menopausal symptoms.

 There are some nutritional considerations which may impact positively on managing stress hormones and have a positive influence on balancing sex hormones …

Balancing blood sugar is the cornerstone of all hormonal health – so following a low Glycaemic Load food plan and the 5 healthy routines which are part of our Easy Nutrition For Healthy Runners programme which are:

1.   Eating regularly

2.   Eating Protein at every meal

3.   Following Plate Balance

4.   Optimal Hydration

5.   Optimal Activity

It’s also supportive to minimise stimulants such a caffeine, alcohol and sugar as they may lead to a spike in blood sugar which may lead to increased cortisol levels. Our lifestyle is interlinked with how we get the best out of our nutrition. When it comes to managing STRESS one of the most impactful thing you can choose to do is REST. Taking short breaks during the day away will also help you de stress and support hormonal balance.  


 Helping you establish your non-negotiables – the circle exercise

An easy exercise to do is get a piece of paper and draw a circle then draw another circle around the first circle. Thinking about food, drink and lifestyle …. on the inner circle list what you’ll let into your life and in the outer circle list again from a food, drink and lifestyle viewpoint what you will not let into your life.



Our suggestion is to do the circle exercise and list what you are letting in and what you are keeping out and from that pick 2 nutritional non-negotiables and start practising them! We’d love to know how you get on – please drop us an email and share what you’ve chosen as your non-negotiable. Just one final note is please don’t use the non-negotiables as a big stick, use them to nurture and support yourself. 

Related Topics:

Restorative Rituals for Runners

Hormone Health in Mid-life

Love Your Liver


The suggestions we make during this episode are for guidance and

advice only, and are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment.

If you have any concerns regarding your health, please contact

your healthcare professional for advice as soon as possible.

Aileen Smith and Karen Campbell met at as nutrition students (Institute for Optimum Nutrition, London) and became lifelong friends and nutritional buddies! Both have a love of running and a passion for nutrition, delicious food and healthy living.

Together they host RUNNERS HEALTH HUB. A place for like-minded runners who are looking for simple ways to support running performance, energy, endurance, and general great health.

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Happy Running!

Aileen and Karen 


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About the Podcast

She Runs Eats Performs
for mid-life female runners of all abilities
Are you confused about the science around nutrition for runners? Listen in to learn about the WHY, HOW, WHAT, and WHEN of eating to fuel your running performance.

We are here to help you translate sports nutritional science, into easy to apply tips and plans, helping you enjoy peak running performance. We focus on the FEMALE FACTORS every mid-life woman needs to know to be a healthy runner.

About your host

Profile picture for Aileen Smith

Aileen Smith

Nutritionists, Educators, Podcasters, Runners and Friends

We have a love of running and a passion for nutrition, delicious food and healthy living. She Runs Eats Performs for female runners of all abilities who are looking for simple ways to improve their running performance and their health with nutrition and lifestyle.
We enjoy sharing our nutritional expertise, reviewing the latest sports science and most of all helping you to take easy action so you can enjoy your running life to the full.
We are here to help you achieve great health and good shape whilst staying injury-free with easy-to-understand sports nutritional concepts and easy-to-implement tips and plans.

Aileen and Karen are BANT and CNHC Registered Nutritional Therapists.