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Why It’s So Hard (And So Crucial) to Let Go of the Weight Loss Dream

Why It’s So Hard (And So Crucial) to Let Go of the Weight Loss Dream

Let me start by saying that there is nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight. There is a $60 billion industry that feeds off of (and into) our insecurities with our body and our weight, so we’re constantly bombarded with these marketing messages. We also live in a culture that conflates weight and health, and places morality on body size. No wonder it feels like trying to lose weight is the “right” thing to do!

However, to truly heal our relationship with food and our bodies, letting go of the desire to lose weight is crucial. In many cases, our desire to lose weight or change our bodies is what got us here in the first place – obsessing over calories, points and/or macros, feeling guilt and shame whenever we eat a “bad” food, letting the scale dictate our mood, weight cycling, etc. This same desire is also what’s going to keep us from moving forward and making progress.

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7 Signs You Might Have Disordered Eating

7 Signs You Might Have Disordered Eating

Most people know about the three main eating disorders – anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. Disordered eating, however, can be difficult to define.

A survey conducted amongst over 4,000 American women aged 25-45 found that 3 in 4 women reported disordered eating behaviours, with 1 in 10 suffering from an eating disorder. 74.5% of the women surveyed also reported that “their concerns about shape and weight interfered with their happiness.”

Disordered eating is often ignored, or worse, celebrated or prescribed in our fatphobic, “wellness”-obsessed culture. Are you curious if your “clean eating” might be too clean? Here are some signs that your relationship status with food is “Complicated”.

3 in 4 women have some form of disordered eating. Are you one of them? Click To Tweet

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3 Weight Loss & Dieting Truths No One is Telling You

3 Weight Loss & Dieting Truths No One is Telling You

Have you “fallen off the wagon” and gained all the weight back yet again?
Are you looking for the one secret that will help you get the weight off once and for all?
Have you tried every diet under the sun and clicked through just to say, “What does a skinny dietitian like you know that I don’t?”

Well, I don’t think I have exactly what you’re looking for.

Whether it’s because of looks or “health”, we live in a culture obsessed with thinness. Our fear of being fat affects everyone – fat people are told that they need to lose weight in any way possible in order to be fully accepted, while thin people are told that they need to avoid becoming fat in any way possible in order to continue to be fully accepted.

I started my private practice with a focus on weight management (I mean, that’s what dietitians are supposed to do, right?) and have also worked with many people pre- and post-bariatric surgery over the past 4½ years. It is this experience that has motivated me to move toward a non-diet, Health At Every Size approach, and I want to share some truths about weight loss and dieting that our mainstream, weight-focused culture is not telling you.
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The Power of Language & Identity in Food & Eating

The Power of Language & Identity in Food & Eating

One of the most common complaints that I hear from clients is, “I know how what I need to do, I just need to do it.” Most people have a good handle on basic nutrition (though sometimes there is some myth-busting to do), and my work has become less about nutrition education, and more about helping people make their good intentions more than just intentions.

Here’s a strategy that’s come up in a few of my client sessions lately that I thought I would share.
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What This Non-Diet Dietitian Took Away from the Canadian Obesity Network National Summit

What This Non-Diet Dietitian Took Away from the Canadian Obesity Network National Summit

Last month, I attended the 5th annual Canadian Obesity Network (CON) National Summit. The three days—plus full day of pre-summit workshops—were packed with information and networking, and I went to bed every day exhausted. I took lots of notes that I still need to review and analyze, but here are some of my personal takeaways from the conference.
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Two Truths & A Lie: Intuitive Eating Edition

Two Truths & A Lie: Intuitive Eating Edition

Have you heard of the game Two Truths and a Lie? Snoop & Martha have played it, but they reversed it and did two lies and a truth. Basically, it’s a party game where you share three statements about yourself – two of the statements are true, and one of them is not; everyone else has to guess which one is a lie.

I thought it’d be fun to get to know our new friend, Intuitive Eating, a little better by playing the same game. Ready? Here are the three statements:

  • Intuitive Eating will help you get to your healthy weight.
  • Intuitive Eating doesn’t always come naturally.
  • Intuitive eaters only eat when they’re hungry, and stop when they’re full.

Got your answer? Read on and see if you’re right!

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Why I’m Retiring the 80/20 Rule

Why I’m Retiring the 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 Rule is a popular phrase for dietitians, alongside “everything in moderation” and “fill half your plate with vegetables”. The idea is that you want to eat healthy 80% of the time, and allow yourself to eat less healthy 20% of the time.

I have used the 80/20 Rule for years, and in a culture that can be very “black and white” or “all or nothing” when it comes to food and nutrition, the spirit of and intention behind the 80/20 Rule is a good one: you don’t have to be perfect in order to be healthy. In fact, it is often the pursuit of perfection that leads to an obsession with numbers, distorted body image and disordered eating.

So, what is my problem with this seemingly sensible statement?

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Help! I’m Addicted to Sugar!

Help! I’m Addicted to Sugar!

“I have an uncontrollable sweet tooth.”
“I’m obsessed with chocolate.
“I can’t have anything sweet, not even fruit! If I do, I’ll just lose control and binge.”

Does this sound like you?

If so, you might have heard of the idea of food addiction. Though not an official diagnosis, the idea that food itself is addictive, like drugs or alcohol, has been gaining lots of attention and traction in the past few years.
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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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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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