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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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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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