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{Intuitive Eating with a Chronic Condition} Principle #3: Make Peace with Food

{Intuitive Eating with a Chronic Condition} Principle #3: Make Peace with Food

This is the third of a series of posts on adapting intuitive eating for a chronic condition.
Other posts in this series include:

Principle #1: Reject the Diet Mentality
Principles #2 & #5: Honour Your Hunger and Feel Your Fullness

This principle introduces the idea of “unconditional permission to eat all foods”, which is another key feature of intuitive eating. Unconditional permission to eat can feel like a roller coaster—the idea of being able to eat as much as you want of anything you want can be fun and thrilling, especially if you’ve been avoiding some foods for a long time. It can also be freakin’ scary, as it can feel like a loss of control, or that you’re not taking care of your health.

How unconditional permission “works” is via the idea of habituation. Yes, in the beginning you might find yourself swinging to Donutland and eating all the foods in sight, but eventually the food loses its emotional charge. It’s like the first time someone says “I love you” to a romantic partner – there was probably a lot of buildup in terms of finding the “right time” to say it, anticipating a deep emotional connection as the short phrase somehow moves the relationship to the “next level”. Over time, however, “I love you” becomes just something you say; that’s not to say that it has no meaning, but there isn’t that same buildup as the first time. Food can be the same way.

But what if you are struggling with a chronic condition that is impacted by food and nutrition? Can you really give yourself unconditional permission to eat? Can you truly make peace with all foods?
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{Intuitive Eating with a Chronic Condition} Principles #2 & #5: Honour Your Hunger & Feel Your Fullness

{Intuitive Eating with a Chronic Condition} Principles #2 & #5: Honour Your Hunger & Feel Your Fullness

This is the second of a series of posts on adapting intuitive eating for a chronic condition.
Other posts in this series include:

Principle #1: Reject the Diet Mentality
Principle #3: Make Peace with Food

Intuitive eating is often described as “eating according to your hunger and fullness cues”. Though this is correct for the most part, if you don’t also do the work to reject the diet mentality and incorporate the other intuitive eating principles, this can quickly become the “Hunger-Fullness Diet“: “Eat only when you’re hungry.” “Stop eating when you feel full.”

In reality, it’s not uncommon or “wrong” for an intuitive eater to eat when they’re not hungry—perhaps they’re “pre-emptively” eating because they know that food won’t be available at the time that they would be hungry. Perhaps they’re eating socially, whether it’s a celebration or just to be polite.

Similarly, it’s not uncommon or “wrong” to eat past the point of fullness. The difference between that and a “binge” is that the latter feels emotionally distressing; overeating may lead to discomfort, and it may even feel mindless or out-of-control, but an intuitive eater simply notes that it happened, perhaps approaches the reason with curiosity, and moves on.

As you can see, the nuances of “Honour Your Hunger” and “Feel Your Fullness” are already complex, and can be even more complicating when a person’s chronic condition and/or its treatments affect their natural hunger and fullness cues.

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{Intuitive Eating with a Chronic Condition} Principle #1: Reject the Diet Mentality

{Intuitive Eating with a Chronic Condition} Principle #1: Reject the Diet Mentality

This is the first of a series of posts on adapting intuitive eating for a chronic condition.
Other posts in this series include:

Principles #2 & #5: Honour Your Hunger & Feel Your Fullness
Principle #3: Make Peace with Food

“Reject the Diet Mentality” is the first principle of intuitive eating, and also the principle that most people tend to spend the most time on, regardless of whether they’re “healthy” or not. We live in a culture that has normalized the diet mentality, so rejecting it means going against messages that we hear not just from mass media, but from friends, loved ones, and even health professionals every single day.

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Is Intuitive Eating Only for “Healthy” People?

Is Intuitive Eating Only for “Healthy” People?

A few weeks ago, I went through a stretch of writer’s block and asked you for suggestions on what you’d like to read about. (Thank you to everyone who shared, and if you haven’t yet, I’m always open to more ideas!) One of the common themes that came up was navigating intuitive eating while managing health concerns. Although the ideal is to work with a certified intuitive eating counselor or Health At Every Size® expert like myself, I understand that that is not accessible to everyone. So for the month of July, my plan is to write a few posts addressing this topic, and I wanted to kick things off by addressing what this question sort of says about how we promote and understand intuitive eating.

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Body Positivity Doesn’t End with Feeling Positive About Your Body

Body Positivity Doesn’t End with Feeling Positive About Your Body

If I were to share one teeny-weeny gripe I have with Health At Every Size®, body positivity, non-diet, intuitive eating, mindful eating, etc, it’s that none of these are named very well and are often misinterpreted.

Health At Every Size becomes “healthy at every size”. Non-diet becomes “non-‘extreme’ diet”. Intuitive eating becomes the “hunger-fullness diet“. Mindful eating becomes “careful eating“.

And of course, there’s body positivity.

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Let’s Talk About Weight Bias & Stigma

Let’s Talk About Weight Bias & Stigma

TW: This post uses the word “obesity” in the context of describing the current discourse on weight. Studies linked may contain stigmatizing language.

The idea of weight as a social justice issue has become a growing concern over the past few years. While most of us can grasp the idea of treating everyone with kindness and respect, regardless of size, that is just one teeny-tiny part of fighting weight bias and stigma.

What more can be done? How is weight bias and stigma still being perpetuated? Why is it important to be fighting weight bias and stigma? I don’t claim to have the answers, especially as a person with thin privilege, but I hope my exploration of some of these questions will help spark more discussion and potential solutions.

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Can You Eat Whatever You Want and Still Be Healthy?

Can You Eat Whatever You Want and Still Be Healthy?

When it comes down to it, intuitive eating is basically about eating whatever you want, however much you want, whenever you want.

…Scary, right?

After reading that first sentence, you might have noticed some, er… interesting thoughts popping up in your head.

Can I *really* eat whatever I want? Is this too good to be true?

How can a dietitian promote this? (Did two dietitians really write the book (Amazon Associate link) on this?)

Won’t I just gain weight?

What is the catch?

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Why It’s OK to be Dieting {And Why I’m Still Anti-Diet Anyway}

Why It’s OK to be Dieting {And Why I’m Still Anti-Diet Anyway}

Jes Baker was recently on Food Psych promoting her upcoming book, Landwhale (Amazon Affiliate link) when she shared a profound idea: It’s OK to be on a diet.

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How to Share Health At Every Size® and Intuitive Eating with Friends & Family

How to Share Health At Every Size® and Intuitive Eating with Friends & Family

Recently a reader asked me about “introducing [intuitive eating] and [Health At Every Size] concepts to friends deeply steeped in diet culture who you know could really benefit from the message”. To be honest, it’s a question that I struggle with myself.  Given that all of us who are on this path arrived here in a different way, it’s naive to think there is a single answer. I mean, if there were, wouldn’t we all be here already?

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What is Your Why?

What is Your Why?

Many people who are in the entrepreneurial and/or business world will know about Simon Sinek. He is perhaps best known for his TED Talk about the concept of “Why” and why it’s important for business and leadership.

 

For a long time, I really struggled to figure out my why. Or perhaps, I didn’t want to admit what my why is.
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Download a free copy of my eBook, Stop the Food Fight, Start Making Food Peace, where I walk you through my 7 Steps to Start Healing Your Relationship with Food & Your Body.

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