Diet advice is all about restriction and willpower. It tells you to “just say no” to all the foods you love and enjoy - no wonder so many people are trapped in a cycle or restriction and binging! If you’re wondering how to make peace with food and become a more intuitive eater, it starts with giving yourself permission to eat the foods you love.Read More
Feeling inadequate after seeing someone’s before and after weight loss picture? We’ve all seen how photoshop, different poses and clothes can distort things, but the problem with these pictures goes deeper than that. The truth about before and after weight loss pictures is that they’re a fleeting moment in time, and never communicate the whole story.Read More
One of the most important aspects of health is having strong social connections. Yet diets that are frequently prescribed, supposedly to improve health, lead to social isolation by making it challenging for you to be flexible and enjoy social events that involve food. In this post, learn how dieting affects your social life and harms your health, and why flexible, intuitive eating supports wellness and longevity.Read More
When you look at eating practices and traditions around the world, one thing is clear: human beings were designed to be flexible around food. We have survived by being able to adapt our diet to whatever food is available in a wide variety of environments. Read this post to learn how you can debunk common diet myths and rules by looking at different cultures eating patterns and practices.Read More
Working with people who have spent a huge chunk of their life dieting, many of them come to me feeling like huge Failures, capital F intended. They’ve spent their life on-and-off diets, shaming themselves for “lack of willpower” in between each round. Of course, it’s the flawed system of dieting that’s the failure, not the person, but that’s not how they feel.
So it’s no surprise that when I bring up intuitive eating, this novel approach to eating, their first response is often fear of failure. I mean, if you can't manage eating with clear defined rules, how on earth are you supposed to manage it without all that structure?
The thing is, it's impossible to fail at intuitive eating. Unless you’re going into it with a diet mindset, failure simply isn't a possible outcome. And even if you are going into it with a diet mindset initially (hey, it's hard to break up with diet mentality!), you're still much more likely to become a more competent eater in the long run than if you were to start yet another diet plan.
Food, eating, and dieting is often viewed with this binary lens. There’s good foods and bad foods, healthy foods and unhealthy foods. You’re on a diet or you’re off a diet. You’ve succeeded or failed. Moving towards intuitive eating, your eyes will be opened to many shades of grey. Rather than relying on black and white rules, intuitive eating is based on 10 principles, guidelines really, that you can adapt and incorporate on your own timeline, in your own way. There’s no right or wrong. Some other things to know about intuitive eating:
It's not a test. No one is grading you. Intuitive eating is a tool for better understanding your body and it's needs, and eating in a way that responds to those needs. It's not a set of standards with pass/fail criteria.
The goal is learning. There is no outcome that defines a successful intuitive eater. If you tune into your body, or attempt to do something differently, you’ll learn, and even if the outcome isn't what you expected or desired, you'll still gain valuable knowledge. And that's a win!
Setbacks are opportunities for growth. Working with clients on intuitive eating, I welcome slips and struggles as learning opportunity! Think about something you do well - did you not fail dozens (hundreds, thousands!) of times before feeling competent in it? It’s a cliche, but failure is not opposite of success, it's part of it.
It’s helpful to notice when that success/failure mentality is coming up for you in intuitive eating, so that you can challenge it. Diet mentality can derail intuitive eating, and turn this life saving changing approach into a diet. When you notice black-and-white thinking, lean in and get curious, not judgmental, about where that might be coming from.
You know what to expect with diets. Intuitive eating is unknown, so it makes sense that it would feel scary. That’s why it’s so important to have a support system, whether it’s a friend, partner, family member, facebook group, or an intuitive eating coach who can guide you. My goal in working with clients on intuitive eating is to help break down the principles and individualize them to you and your needs, and normalize what you’re going through on this journey. If you’re interested in working together, here’s more about my practice philosophy and nutrition services.
What's scariest to you about intuitive eating?
This post was originally published in March 2016. It has been updated to give you the best content possible.
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