Nutrition Counseling ~ Intuitive Eating
When things just aren’t working…
Everyone’s journey to health looks different. However, what I have seen time and time again is society and dieting taking over and dictating how individuals decide to view food and feed themselves.
You can continue looking for the quick fix, trying a new diet, asking for a perfect meal plan to be created and handed to you… but is that realistic?
Instead of letting the rest of the world tell you whats best and when and what to eat, I want you to learn how to make those decisions for yourself.
My role in your nutrition journey is to help guide you into becoming an intuitive eater. This means getting optimal satisfaction and pleasure from eating. It means there are no off-limit foods, but nutritional balance still remains. Instead of feeling the need to clean your plate or eat when the clock strikes twelve, you’ll learn to listen to your inner hunger and fullness cues and let your body be your guide as to when and how much to eat.
If you’re looking for a diet or weight loss remedies, you will not find those here. In fact, I do the opposite. I empower you to never feel the need to follow a diet ever again. You don’t need it!
This is your life and your journey. I’m here to give you tools and support, but you’re the artist.
If you’re interested in learning more about Intuitive Eating, see my blog post, Intuitive Eating or check out the Intuitive Eating Group!
What to expect | Initial session
This may be your first time with a dietitian, or I could be your 2nd, 3rd, or 4th dietitian you’ve seen. Regardless, this journey is yours. It will be different than all the past attempts. All I ask is that you are open, honest, and willing to try something new. During our initial session we will discuss your history regarding eating and dieting. We will then dive in to what your current relationship is with food and begin to unpack what has brought you here. Together we will set goals regarding your current relationship with food and where you’d like to be. You can expect assignments regarding your relationship with food, disordered eating behaviors, and meal planning. This is your space to focus completely on food and how you can use it to heal rather than harm.
Principles of Intuitive Eating
Intuitive Eating includes 10 principles, these are not rules. The 10 principles are meant to help you explore the nature of intuitive eating, helping guide you and create curiosity in how you view your decisions about food. The following are the 10 principles from the book, with a short description including my insights from working with clients.
#1 Reject the diet mentality
This is one of the most difficult, but also one of the most liberating steps you will take. I often hear, “I cannot even fathom the idea of not focusing on my weight or what I am eating.” Not long into their intuitive eating journey I hear, “I cannot even imagine going back to dieting! I will never do it again.” When dieting is all you have done, it makes sense that you cannot imagine your life looking different. You will realize through the intuitive eating journey, that you are capable of so much more than dieting.
#2 Honor your hunger
Many individuals have become accustomed to ignoring their bodies hunger signals. You may no longer feel hunger or be able to recognize it. Retraining our bodies to feel hunger and fullness is one thing, but being able to honor your hunger and give yourself something to eat when you know you need it is more difficult. Hunger is our body communicating with us and telling us how to take care of ourselves.
#3 Make peace with food
Food is not the enemy. There are no good or bad foods. Food is food and all types offer us different forms of energy. No one food is to blame. It is the emotion that we place behind food that makes it difficult to make peace. Lack of peace with food leads to restriction, bingeing, guilt, shame, and more. If you are experiencing these feelings around food, you may strongly benefit from this principle.
#4 challenge the food police
The “Food Police” is the voice in your head telling you what you can and cannot eat. It is the subconscious dieting voice that places blame and encourages you to follow dieting rituals. The Food Police is a voice you have been listening to for many years, it may not just disappear within a short while. For this reason, the purpose of this principle is only to challenge the voice.
#5 respect your fullness
Paying attention to our fullness is very difficult. Especially given in today’s world we are typically distracted eaters. When you are distracted during a meal, it makes it more challenging to listen to your body’s fullness cues and honor them. This principle takes time and practice eating mindfully and beginning to recognize fullness.
#6 Discover the satisfaction factor
There are times when we feel full and put our fork down. There are other times that the food in front of us is so delicious that even though we feel full we keep eating. Both are ok to do! Through distracted eating, diet culture telling you what you can and cannot eat, and your own feelings of guilt surrounding food, food loses its satisfaction. Once you work towards making peace with food you will begin to notice how amazing food tastes. If it doesn’t taste good, don’t eat it. If it tastes good, enjoy it!
#7 Honor your feelings without using food
Many of my clients feel emotional hunger and fullness, but do not realize it is from emotions rather than physical hunger and fullness until we bring it up in session. From the book, Eating in the Light of the Moon, it recognizes we have two tanks, an emotional tank, and a physical tank. Both need attention and should be recognized as separate from each other.
#8 respect your body
In addition to principle #1, this is typically the second hardest for many of my clients. Respecting your body may not mean that you completely love every body part, but that you respect that it has gotten you this far. Your body is the home your spirit lives in. You may not be in love with your home, but you must take care of it and treat it kindly. The more peace you make and the better your relationship with food, you will see that loving your body will come over time.
#9 Exercise- feel the difference
When you exercise with weight control in mind, it is difficult to enjoy the movement. When you exercise because it feels good, no weight goal in mind, it is easy to enjoy the movement! Curiosity surrounding why you exercise, why you do the movements that you do, will help you to determine the underlying thoughts and feelings you have when it comes to physical activity.
#10 honor your health
The most common feeling I get from my clients is that with intuitive eating, you have to stop focusing so much on health. This is not true, but a common thought. It is possible to have food freedom and still be mindful about nutrition. As a dietitian, my goal is not to disregard nutrition, but to teach it in a way that is not compulsive or destructive. There is a balance and a way to have both food freedom and be mindful of nutrition.
If you are recovering from an eating disorder, there may be other steps in your road to recovery that need to take place before you are ready to explore intuitive eating. Please consult with your outpatient treatment team to see if intuitive eating is the right for you. If you do not have a treatment team, I would be happy to discuss this with you further!