The popular food writer Michael Pollan, in his book Food Rules, wrote: "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants."
Sounds simple enough, right? I wish it was!
Our bodies, minds, and culture create a more complicated dynamic than following a set of food rules could ever address.
Because of this dynamic, My Nutrition Philosophy values the psychology of eating first and foremost. Sorry, Michael Pollan, but too many food rules can actually cause restrained eating and have real negative consequences!
Through years of witnessing clients struggle with body image, permission around food, and worsening health despite dieting and focused goal setting, it became clear that more restriction or “self-control” wasn’t the answer.
I use quotes here because “control” is often an illusion. We can exert control over our behaviors, but we don’t have control over how our body reacts to our behaviors.
When I became an Intuitive Eating, non-diet dietitian, everything changed! It is the most rewarding work I've ever done.
What is Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive Eating is not a diet. It's a dynamic process that guides us back to our own body wisdom, and it's based on 10 Principles. Using these principles as signposts for our nutrition therapy work, we tune into our body to help us determine what and how much to eat.
We remove the psychological, social, environmental, cognitive, and emotional barriers to accessing and responding to our hunger and fullness cues, respecting our body, and making peace with food.
Intuitive Eating rejects dieting and restraint outright. It frees us from guilt, shame, and the fear of eating what we find satisfying.
There are over 100 research studies supporting the benefits of Intuitive Eating which include:
Higher self- worth and self-regard
Improved connection to body signals and cues
More positive body image
Increased quality of life
Optimism and well-being
Better ability to cope with negative emotions
Is associated with lower BMI
Metabolic improvements such as lower triglycerides and higher HDL cholesterol
Decreased emotional eating
Lower risk of disordered eating
Essentially, Intuitive Eating helps heal our relationship with food and body while improving our health.
As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, I believe dieting or dietary restraint impedes body trust.
Within Intuitive Eating, there are no “good” or “bad” foods. Labeling foods as "bad" or forbidden increases restraint and guilt. If we don't give ourselves permission to eat the foods we crave, it can lead to a cycle of binge eating and restriction.
Binges or overeating partly occur because we feel we might never have that food again. Opening up permission takes back this control of our eating.
We were all born as Intuitive Eaters, but through many influences we unlearned this innate body wisdom. In Nutrition Therapy, I find extreme value in analyzing our past to inform our future and take back control of our eating and health.
My Body Philosophy
Our bodies were given to us. They are gifts. We have unique and beautiful abilities and attributes! We don’t all look the same and nor should we.
We can’t work on our eating without discussing our body beliefs and how they affect our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. We unpack these beliefs together and work toward a place of body acceptance. When we accept our bodies, we open up mental space and energy for truly living fully.
My Weight Philosophy
I believe that weight is just a number on the scale. It just isn't a good health indicator. In fact, the body mass index (BMI) range with the lowest mortality risk is the 25-29.9- the "Overweight category" which is a group that may be told my a doctor to lose weight.
The categories below and above this range (the "Normal" and "Obese I" categories), have the same mortality risk. Increasingly, evidence tells us health is independent of weight and more connected to health behaviors, Intuitive eating, and positive outlook.
The Health at Every Size (HEAS®) movement is a weight inclusive, peace movement focusing on how our ideas about weight and health connectivity are inaccurate and unhelpful. The emphasis should be on goal setting around behaviors, not weight loss or attempts to change our bodies.
I believe our bodies respond positively to eating well and moving, but the focus should be on the journey, not on manipulating the body. Research shows that our culture’s fixation with weight causes harm and discrimination on social, psychological, and humane levels.
I work in the Weight Inclusive paradigm where we focus on behavior change for the improvement of quality of life, functionality, and what is best for your and your body.
Goals are not weight-directed, and this provides such freedom because we can’t control how our body will react. Why fixate on something (our weight on the scale) that a) we can’t control and b) doesn’t tell us much about our health?
My Overall Interpersonal Approach
My interpersonal style is based on my love of connection and the partnership that occurs when you support someone to achieve their goals and live fully. In client care, I strive to be open, empathetic, honest, aware, and an active listener. I want to learn about your values, struggles, and triumphs. I want to hear if something isn’t going well for you so we can modify our approach and make progress.
Overall, I view the client as the master of their body and universe, and I am merely there as a guide to help you find your own body wisdom and acceptance- a wisdom and love that is already there and ready to be awakened.
Nutrition Knowledge & Experience
My expertise includes many conditions and disease states as well as meal planning, health coaching, and fitness. From the purview of Weight Inclusion and Intuitive Eating, I also discuss what the evidence says about nutrition and fitness for the specific needs of my clients.
Giving up dieting and restraint does not mean giving up on health goals, but rather, looking at goals from a new perspective. If you have questions about any of this, let me know! I'd love to hear from you.