American Council on Exercise by American Council on Exercise
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ACE has recently partnered with Ate food journal, which offers a non-judgmental place for clients to share their food journey with you. Ate's evidence-based approach to food journaling allows you to help your clients improve their relationship with food and build healthy sustainable habits. We talked with Tom Kiss, co-founder of Ate, about what inspired him to launch this unique platform and how it can help support ACE pros.

ACE: What inspired you to create Ate?

Tom: I always thought of myself as a healthy individual growing up. Unbeknownst to me, my actual health was in a downward spiral, mostly due to poor eating habits. My final wakeup call was in the form of a panic attack, several years ago. It scared me. So I visited a health coach friend of mine, expecting to be given a new workout plan to get me back into shape. To my surprise, they really wanted to focus-in on my eating and other everyday habits. 

This led me to food journaling. I was surprised how complex current digital solutions were, and how much they focused on weight-loss. They were all about the math of calorie counting, and not about me, a human being with emotions and a hectic daily life. So I got a small team together and we set out to build an easy-to-use, non-judgmental journaling solution that focuses on the “why" behind food choices. 

ACE: What makes Ate different than other food tracking platforms?

Tom: Ate focuses on the “why" behind meals. It helps us think about why we crave a specific food. It also slows us down to reflect on how that food made us feel. It’s a positive, non-judgmental way to focus on self-discovery and inner curiosity towards how one can improve their relationship with food. 

The Ate app is also fun and easy to use. With just a couple of taps, you are able to capture a meal. In a few more taps you can reflect on your feelings and build self-awareness. The process of capturing a meal slows down the eating process a little bit, providing a chance to think about the food choice and the feelings around it.  This approach promotes sustainable behavior change.

From a coach perspective, the Ate Coach platform provides insight into your clients’ lives that you have never seen before. Photos of meals can be extremely helpful to get a clear picture. Clients' answers to the mindful questions sheds light on their state of mind, in that moment... Seeing this holistic picture of their lives helps with both accountability and motivation. The built-in easy communication can help with encouragement and deepening your relationship with your clients. Ate helps you reach your clients where they are and get happier and better outcomes. 

ACE: Why do you think mindful eating is an important factor in building a balanced, healthy life?

Tom: It’s important to remember that health is not only physical. It’s also emotional, mental, social, and spiritual. And food is the same way. Food that is not super healthy from a physical perspective, might be extremely beneficial for you emotionally or mentally. Eating a slice of cake slowly, that reminds you of your grandma’s baking and fills you up emotionally is very different from eating the same cake while in a rush from one meeting to another. Ate helps you be more aware of these emotions and more mindful about them. So you can have more balance in your life. You can eat the right foods at the right time for the right reasons. It not only improves your relationship with food, but also with life.

ACE:Why is discovering our “why” with food one of Ate’s goals?

Tom: Mindless eating is often the root of the problems when it comes to unhealthy eating behaviors. And the “why” is a key trigger behind that. Emotional and stress eating often leads us down an unhealthy path... Understanding the “why” behind our choices, when it comes to food or anything else in life, can enable us to not only make choices for the right reasons but also to fully benefit from those choices. If I am eating that cake that reminds me of grandma, I should fully and freely enjoy every single bite, so I get the biggest emotional uplift from it that I can. 

ACE: Why did you want to collaborate with ACE?

Tom: At Ate, we are big admirers of ACE’s commitment to an evidence-based approach to behavior change that prepares their pros to empower clients to uncover, discover and deploy their uniqueness to become the healthiest, best version of themselves.

Ate is designed to unleash the champion within each person through improving their relationship with what they eat. We share common ground with ACE in our understanding of how powerful empathy, trust, and collaboration is for exercise professionals and health coaches to the client journey. Ate operationalizes these attributes daily and simply, putting people on a path towards a more active and fulfilling life, a life where they can fully engage in the human experience.

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