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Intuitive Eating 101


Intuitive Eating

Intuitive Eating is such a game changer. I could geek out on the subject of Intuitive Eating all day long.  I love teaching these principles and getting this work out into the world. You are going to be so glad you learned about Intuitive Eating today.  Let’s get started with the basics: 

What is intuitive eating? 

I get a lot of questions about what intuitive eating is.  I want to answer your questions, and speak to what it is not.

Intuitive Eating is an approach to food that helps you find mind/body/food peace.  You can find this again after you’ve been a chronic dieter and are confused about what to eat, how to eat, when to eat, in order to weight balance or live in such a way that works for you. 

Eveyin Tribole and Elyse Resch describe intuitive eating so perfectly in their book, Intuitive Eating, 4th Edition.  They define intuitive eating this way;

“It is “a compassionate, self-care eating framework that treats all bodies with dignity and respect.”

Intuitive Eating challenges a multi-billion dollar diet industry and helps you untangle all the reasons why your past diets didn’t work, why you feel like a failure with this body image thing, why you thought dieting would work and help fix a negative self-concept. Intuitive Eating helps you move forward in such a way that you can establish yourself as your own authority for food, health, wellness and thriving. It also restores a sense of body respect and body trust. 

How I make Intuitive Eating work 

I teach my clients to plan their food. We do realistic food plans and we learn how to stick to them.  We do this without approaching our meal plans in a “diety” way.

Intuitive Eaters don’t put celery juice on their meal plans for three weeks in a row. But they might put it on their meal plans every once in a while, if they like celery juice. If not, they don’t put it on their plans. 

I personally love celery juice. I think it’s yummy and has helped heal my Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism. I go through periods where I actually crave it. There’s a lot of nutrition and micronutrients in celery juice which I won’t go into, but sometimes I enjoy a refreshing glass of celery juice. 

Intuitive Eating teaches you how to like your reasons for why you choose to eat the foods you eat, and to be intentional about those reasons, don’t just eat on default and go brain off about eating. 

Intuitive Eating is not a diet. Instead, it is a system of eating guided by ten principles that help to resolve the conflict of healthy meal planning and weight balancing and enjoying foods you love. 

The book Intuitive Eating outlines 10 principles to help guide you through Intuitive Eating. They are so powerful, each one of them, and inside the Dare Greatly Society Membership, we go in depth with all of these principles and help you heal the chronic dieting cycle a negative body image that can come along with that.  I help you find mind/body/food peace while weight balancing if that is your goal. 

10 Principles to Help Guide You Through Intuitive Eating

 1.  Ditch Diet Mentality

This one can be hard for people to let go of. But I want to offer to you that once you do, you will see your life in a whole new way. When we diet, we sabotage our ability to become Intuitive with food. Dieting is the opposite of listening to body intuition. Our current health and wellness industry bombards us with messages about our bodies and how to feel better about ourselves. They tell us, “when you look better you feel better.”  And there is some truth to this.  But then they try to sell us their products.

Diets promise false hopes.  Ditch Diet Mentality. It’s easier said than done, but makes a big difference.

2.  Honor Your Hunger

This one personally is one of my favorites, especially since I have a long history of restriction and chiding myself for feeling hungry. No more of that. It is important to keep your body fed with adequate energy and carbs. I don’t like the current trend of vilifying carbs. It is false. Thyroids need simple and complex carbs. When we overly restrict on carbs, our thyroids slow down.  We need to listen to the body’s signals of hunger and honor them. I teach my clients how to use a hunger/fullness scale that is really helpful in knowing the difference between biological hunger, emotional hunger, and what I call munchy hunger.

3.  Make Peace with food

This one is another one of my favorites, mainly because I was at war with myself for loving and wanting ice cream and treats. We must stop the food fight that is going on in our brains. We must call a truce! Raise the white flag. Put down your weapons! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat the foods you like. If we do not do this then we feel rebellious.  Rebellion causes a tendency to overindulge.  For my clients who are more on the restriction side of things versus the binging side of things, the principle of making peace with food is important. 

4.  Challenge the food police

I have a lot of fun with this one with clients. The Food Police are the voices in our heads that shout negative things and monitor our eating choices constantly to see if we are following the rules. The truth is, you don’t need any police in your brain telling you that you’re doing it wrong. It’s not helping at all. Instead, we want to develop more helpful voices in our brains, the ones that are nurturing and are more of a nutrition ally versus a nutrition bully. 

5.  Feel your Fullness

This one can sound a lot like number two, honoring your hunger. But hunger and fullness are two different experiences in the body. We want to tune into the signals that show us that we are comfortably full. This usually involves pausing in the middle of meals and asking ourselves if we are enjoying our food. A lot of us mindlessly eat. We’re distracted with our cell phones or the TV on, and we’ve been taught to eat our plates clean. No. Instead, it is important to identify our Last Bite Threshold and that fullness sigh– the endpoint of when our body is satisfied and doesn’t need any more. 

Often our brains will Want more food, but our bodies don’t need any more.

 6.  Discover that satisfaction factor

I love how other cultures and countries do this. I love the French custom to really dine and take time with your meal and plan little courses of food that satisfy all dimensions of the pallet. 

I love hearing what people choose to put on their meal plans. I follow this basic guideline – if you don’t love it, don’t eat it, and if you love it, savor it.  That thought provides tremendous relief to me and gets me to a more grounded state with food versus a more chaotic relationship with it that leads to being afraid of it. 

7.  Cope with your emotions without using food

Oh man – this one is so powerful. Most of us have a lot of work to do here. And it’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with that. It makes sense why we use food to cope with uncomfortable emotions. When my kids are upset, I want to take them out for a drive and get a treat together. I don’t think these things are all bad. But I do think we need to be more intentional and creative about how we use food for rewards.  We need to think of other ways to reward ourselves or to buffer from the hard things that life offers up. 

8.  Respect your body

I spend a LOT of time on this one with clients. And for good reason. We’ve been told our entire lives, as women in American culture, that our bodies need to be changed in order to be admired.  That they need to look a certain way in order be acceptable. If we don’t fit that mold, we hold ourselves accountable in harsh ways in order to get ourselves into shape. The problem with this is that is totally overrides the diversity of the genetic blueprint of the human species. Only 7% of the female population is 5’10” and weighs 110 pounds, which is what 87% of women in magazines and the modeling world represent. That is a huge discrepancy between reality and the diversity of our genetic blueprint.  It’s distortion of unrealistic beauty standards. And yet, these models that fit that mold are the people women compare themselves to. It doesn’t make any logical sense. But it makes perfect sense culturally, why we disrespect our bodies. We are constantly concluding that we don’t fit the mold.

9.  Exercise is about feeling the difference

This is about loving how your body can do some pretty bad ass things like: yoga, tennis, and hiking mountains, or skiing! Or paddle boarding – just really enjoying what your body can do and tapping into that. It’s so funny how serious we get with ourselves about exercise. I think sports are great and they have their place, but fitness and exercise crosses into a toxic extreme for a lot of people where it’s all they do, and they aren’t even enjoying it. 

10.  Honor your health with gentle nutrition

This one is for all of us who tend to go into all or nothing thinking.  

Nooooo. All or nothing thinking, black and white thinking causes all kinds of problems. Mainly because we give ourselves only two options. Perfection or Failure. All in is Whole 30 or bust. I’m so over that. The White side of it, is we do Whole 30 perfectly. But then there’s the dark side, the black side of it, the black hole of failure when you don’t keep it perfectly. Is Whole 30 going to get you weight loss results? Absolutely. You’ll lose weight if you’re perfect at it and you do it. But is it a sustainable way to eat and are you happy eating that way? Maybe. . . and if so, that’s great. 

Approaching our food properly

When we approach our food with these principles, we heal more than our bodies, we heal our brains from the toxic messages we’ve all taken in about diet culture and body image as the way to self-esteem. This is not true at all. 

I’m very passionate about body image.  If you don’t like your body, if you have a chaotic relationship with food and are suffering from diet culture’s lies, then it’s time to turn things around, and adopt these intuitive eating principles. 

 The ten principles I just outlined take practice. There are no promises of how long it will take to become an intuitive eater. For some people, it takes six months, and for others, it takes six years, and for others – anywhere in between – because most of us have given our authority away to the diet gurus and the health and wellness industry. 

It’s time to make your own rules around food and body image and free up all that mental bandwidth, all that brain power on something else besides food and body image. 

Mind/body/food peace is available to you. 

You can learn more in the Dare Greatly Society membership (sign up HERE), my group coaching community of intuitive eaters if you’d like. We have a lot of fun over there and we work hard too. 

Please know that I am cheering you on in your mind/body/food peace journey. 

You can do this. 

You’ll be so glad you did. 

I’m in your corner and I’m cheering you on.

Love you all my friends. 

Take Care


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