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The Secret to Stopping Emotional Eating? You Can’t. {Here’s What You Can Do When it Feels Problematic}

The Secret to Stopping Emotional Eating? You Can’t. {Here’s What You Can Do When it Feels Problematic}

This week’s Nutrition Month sub-theme is “Help! I Eat When I’m Stressed!”

Eating for comfort or to numb your emotions doesn’t address the true issue at hand, but I think often the frustration around emotional eating stems from the fact that we’ve been conditioned by diet culture to believe that eating for any reason other than fuel or nutrition is “bad” or “wrong”.

Heck, it’s not just emotional eating – any eating that happens outside of our planned meals and snacks, even when we’re physically hungry, is blown off as “emotional”. As a result, we beat ourselves up for the simple act of nourishing ourselves (then eat again because of how bad we feel for beating ourselves up.)
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How to Spot a Diet

How to Spot a Diet

The diet industry is on to us.

In the past, diets were pretty easy to spot—Atkins, South Beach, Cabbage Soup, you name it! They were proud to be called diets, and people felt good and virtuous about dieting to lose weight.

But then, people started realizing that diets don’t work.

It’s well-documented that dieting is associated with weight gain, not weight loss. Anyone who has been on a diet has probably figured out that yes, weight loss generally happens while they’re on the diet, but once they’re off, the weight comes back (often with some extra to spare).

While most dietitians secretly hoped that this would cause the diet industry to implode, instead the industry is more successful than ever.

Nowadays, the diets hide behind euphemisms like “detox”, “cleanse”, “reset” or “clean eating”, and we gladly hop from one to the next, losing and gaining that same amount of weight, hoping that the next will be The One that will finally make the weight go away for good.

Are you tired of feeling stuck on the yo-yo, and ready to ditch dieting for good? Here’s how to spot whether your next “lifestyle change” is really a diet in disguise.

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Liked Embrace? You’ll LOVE These Body Positive Resources

Liked Embrace? You’ll LOVE These Body Positive Resources

Last week, I saw the documentary Embrace with some of my fellow dietitians. It was the perfect girls’ night in, and we all resonated with Taryn Brumfitt’s empowering message.

My original intention was to share a list of all the resources that I could think of to help you dive a little deeper into the world of body positivity and size acceptance. I quickly realized that the list would be LONG, and there’s so much out there that I haven’t taken the time to explore myself.

Instead, here is a short list of some of the resources that have impacted me the most on my own journey, as I transition from weight management specialist to anti-diet, body positive coach.
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Of Course It’s OK that You Want to Lose Weight

Of Course It’s OK that You Want to Lose Weight

'Health At Every Size® is not anti-weight loss, it is anti-pursuit of weight loss.' —@bodypositivephd Click To Tweet

Earlier this week I attended a webinar hosted by the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH) titled “When Your Client Says, ‘But I Need to Lose Weight!’” which still remains the #1 reason people see dietitians, including dietitians who have proclaimed for years and years that they use a weight-neutral, body positive, Health At Every Size® approach. (I think the word “diet” in dietitian throws people off.)

One of the key takeaways for me from this webinar was that I was making a common mistake that many healthcare practitioners make when they first adopt this philosophy.

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Why We Keep Getting Trapped in Diet Culture {And How to Start Climbing Out}

Why We Keep Getting Trapped in Diet Culture {And How to Start Climbing Out}


I talk about “secrets” in this blog all the time. It started with my top two secrets to healthy eating (prioritizing and planning), then I added prepping and pleasure to round out the “4 P’s”. More recently, I shared that setting an intention was the secret to a happy and healthy holiday season.

All my “secrets” were simply things that diet books, nutrition articles and well-meaning eaters weren’t telling you—everyone seems to have an opinion on what or how much you “should” eat, but to figure out how to actually make it happen? You’re on your own.

This secret is different.
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The Facts on Fats and Your Heart

The Facts on Fats and Your Heart

Updated from original post published February 11, 2015

February is Heart Month, and while there are many dietary factors that can influence heart health, the conversation often turns to fat. For instance, Las Vegas’s Heart Attack Grill prides itself on milkshakes with “the highest butterfat content” and fries and onion rings cooked in pure lard! I’m sure many of us have heard (or even said) at least once that high fat or deep-fried foods “clog our arteries” or raise our cholesterol.

However, the tide seems to be shifting a bit when it comes to fat and heart health. The most recent USDA Dietary Guidelines no longer set a limit on the amount of cholesterol we should eat in a day. A few years ago, a systematic review that concluded that saturated fats have a neutral effect on heart disease risk sparked news headlines proclaiming that butter and bacon were a-OK. Books like journalist Nina Teicholz’s The Big Fat Surprise recommend increasing our fat intake for better health.

So is fat good or bad? Let’s take a peek at some of the evidence.
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What if Managing Obesity Had Nothing to do with Weight?

What if Managing Obesity Had Nothing to do with Weight?

Photo via the Canadian Obesity Network Image Gallery

A couple weeks ago, I “came out” as a dietitian who no longer helps people lose weight. I’m touched by all the support I’ve received for what I feared was a really “out there” move. In a way, this post is like a “part 2”; it’s all about where I really want my practice to go, given my experience working with people with obesity and with people who have had bariatric surgery.

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Why You Shouldn’t Use Mindful Eating to Lose Weight

Why You Shouldn’t Use Mindful Eating to Lose Weight

“Mindful eating is not about weight loss. It’s not about body size. It’s all about discovering who I truly am. What are my core values? What are my real needs as a human being?”

The Center for Mindful Eating is celebrating its second annual Mindful Eating Day this Thursday, January 26. To celebrate, the center is running free webinars featuring interviews with international mindful eating experts. There’s also a Facebook group featuring daily tips and exercises.

Mindful eating is certainly on trend, and of course, the diet/weight loss industry has jumped on the bandwagon – a quick Google search of “mindful eating” and “weight loss” gives you almost 400K hits. There’s even a Mindfulness Diet!

I, too, used to believe that mindful eating could be used for weight loss. I mean, mindful eating helps you to slow down your eating, which in turn should help you eat less, right? In fact, my Mindful Eating Day blog post last year cited a systematic review that found that in 13 of 19 studies, people who used mindful eating while trying to lose weight did lose weight, but it was unclear whether they lost weight because of mindful eating or because of something else.

The truth is, if you are entering the practice of mindful eating with the intention of weight loss, then you are probably missing the point.

If you're practicing #MindfulEating with the intention to lose weight, you're missing the point. Click To Tweet
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Why I No Longer Help People Lose Weight

Why I No Longer Help People Lose Weight

About a year ago, I decided to turn this practice from “side hustle” to “moving toward full-time gig”. One of the first things you learn as a businessperson is to “find a niche”. At the time, I’d worked at a bariatric clinic for over three years, so naturally, I picked weight management as one of my niches, especially since it was a service that many people ask for.

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Stuck with the Same New Year’s Resolution Year After Year? Try This. {Worksheet Inside}

Stuck with the Same New Year’s Resolution Year After Year? Try This. {Worksheet Inside}

Before the holidays, I attended a Yoga for Dietitians class put on by my friend and colleague, Casey Berglund of Worthy and Well. (She teaches Yoga for Mindful Eating and Wellness for non-dietitians too! She will be leading two sessions here in Calgary later this month – one at Yoga Passage and one at Journey Yoga.) One of the exercises that we did in the class had a lot to do with figuring out why there are goals or new year’s resolutions that never seem to stick, and she has graciously allowed me to share the exercise with you here.
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