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You Are HOW You Eat… the link between dining skills and personal and business success Print

Sue JacquesYou have heard the expression, “You are what you eat,” but I also advocate, “You are how you eat.”

After meeting with Sue Jacques, the “Civility CEO” and author of the new book, What the Fork? An Unpretentious Guide to Formal Dining for Informal People (Palindrome Publishing Company, 2013), I’m convinced how to dine has more significance than I ever realized. Note that I have chosen to use the word “dine” instead of “eat” after Jacques helped me realize there is a distinct difference.

“We eat to survive and, at times, to fill holes in our lives. Dining, on the other hand, takes time and involves the combination of flavors, conversation, purpose and ambiance. Dining is both a social art and a business skill,” says Jacques.

Research shows not knowing how to dine may actually lead to obesity and other health issues as well as increase the risk of alcohol or drug abuse in your family. It could also cost you a job or budding relationship.

Dining for Personal Power

“We live in an age of McManners,” says Jacques. “Our over-scheduled lives and emphasis on pre-packaged convenience foods has changed the way we dine.”

Jacques has coined the word mannerexia to describe our civility-starved society. She adds, “Our lives have become one big apostrophe. We are distracted by tools and toys and are often abbreviating communication.”

Distracted eating,” similar to distracted driving, does not allow our brain and stomach time to communicate and notice satisfaction. When you eat, don’t do anything else. Turn off the television, put down your smartphone and become a mindful eater. Less is more when you slow down and savour each bite. This could be one of the most important ways to improve your health and to help you lose unwanted weight.

“We honour ourselves and others when we take time. We also get more than the nutritional value of food — we get the emotional value of food,” says Jacques.

Dining for Family Focus

Jacques emphasizes that learning how to dine is not about formality or right and wrong. She adds, “It’s not about becoming uppity, it’s about being down to earth.” She equates knowing how to hold your knife and fork to confidently to knowing how to hold your own.

Role modeling how to dine is key, after all as the old expression goes — children learn what they live. If you stand by the counter and scarf down your breakfast, fail to plan opportunities for everyone in your family to eat together or mindlessly inhale food in front of the television, don’t be surprised when your kids mimic this as well.

This is a big deal since research shows sitting down for regular family meals is not only good for your nutrition but is one way to protect your kids from obesity, eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse and more.

Dining for Corporate Connection

“As many deals are sealed at dining room tables as at boardroom tables. Relationships are built outside the office, and they deepen course by course,” says Jacques.

Jacques works with executive leadership and sales teams, and provides individual coaching and corporate team building for professionalism, civility and dining skills. Businesses are realizing having their team trained in these skills offers a big return on investment since it enhances what I call the four C’s: credibility, confidence, closing rates and connections.

“If you talk with your mouth full, lick your knife or check your smartphone often, there is a good chance you are irritating other people, but they are too polite to say something,” says Jacques. Since poor dining skills are often inherited and not intentional, Jacques reminds us that it is our personal responsibility to seek out knowledge. Doing so can deepen corporate relationships and enhance your business success.

What the Fork book imageJacques new book, What the Fork? is a must-have practical resource for all of us. If you have ever found yourself at an event wondering which fork or bread plate to use or have limited knowledge about the different dining styles or how to hold your silverware, this book is for you. It will expand your understanding that dining is more than eating; it is about the whole experience, from the invitation and RSVP to the thank-you note and everything in between.

Visit www.TheCivilityCEO.com for more information.

For a printer-friendly PDF, click here.

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Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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