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Dietitians Are Key to Unlocking the Potential of Food… Though Not Always in the Ways that You Think

Dietitians Are Key to Unlocking the Potential of Food… Though Not Always in the Ways that You Think

Recently I had a client share with me that she “struggled to understand” my approach to nutrition counselling. At first I thought it’s because I don’t do weight loss (which I think is probably still a part of it) but when I probed further, she said that it’s because she had expected a formula that she’s seen with other nutrition professionals (dietitian or not):

  1. Client brings in food journal
  2. Provider critiques food journal
  3. Provider gives suggestions, recipes, and/or meal plan
  4. Rinse and repeat
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6 “Conscious Uncouplings” to Make for a Better Relationship with Food & Body

6 “Conscious Uncouplings” to Make for a Better Relationship with Food & Body

I’m skeptical of Gwyneth Paltrow as much as the next evidence-based practitioner, and I can’t help but feel my eyes roll as I type the phrase “conscious uncoupling” (it’s actually not a goop original, but a phrase coined by author and family therapist Katherine Woodward Thomas. (Amazon Associates link)) So, I’ll fully admit here that I’m riding the coattails of Gwyneth’s popularity and February being about Valentine’s and love as a way to explore the idea of breaking up with and unlearning old, unhelpful (and possibly harmful) ideas in order to make way for new ones.

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Mindful Eating & Intuitive Eating: What’s the Difference?

Mindful Eating & Intuitive Eating: What’s the Difference?

Mindful eating and intuitive eating are both approaches used by non-diet and Health At Every Size® dietitians and clinicians, so it isn’t surprising that many think that they’re one and the same. Although the two complement each other and have significant overlap, there are some important differences.

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How to Navigate Triggering Conversations During the Holiday Season

How to Navigate Triggering Conversations During the Holiday Season

Recently I attended the Break the Freeze workshop put on by fellow ATB X cohort #5 member Empowerment Inc. While the purpose of the workshop was teaching communication and self-defense skills, I immediately saw that a lot of the skills could be applied to navigating triggering topics, like diet and body talk, during the holidays (or any time of year, for that matter.)

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What Causes Weight Gain?

What Causes Weight Gain?

TW/CW: Almost all of the links included in this post contain fatphobic/weight-centric messaging and/or images, the “o” words, specific calorie/weight numbers, etc. Unfortunately, most weight science is still being conducted with the assumption that higher weights are a problem/disease.

Several weeks ago I received an interesting email from a reader:

“Something I’ve been wondering about in all the reading I’ve been doing about weight loss is about weight gain.


It seems clear that long term weight loss is maybe not quite impossible, but nearly.  I’ve read lots about how your body wants to keep itself at a predetermined weight.


So….why didn’t my body keep me at some previous predetermined weight?  Like, whenever I was done growing or something.  I mean, how does a person gain weight?  


I look at my uncle – he’s always been tall and thin.  Only since he hit middle age did he start to develop a “paunch” (extra flesh in his lower belly)


Some of us gain steadily over our lifetime.  Many start to grow in girth when middle age hits and our metabolism slows.


I know this is really long winded.  I guess the question is how do we gain weight?  I mean, not a how-to guide, but how does it happen?  If there is some secret set point that your body wants to be, where does that come from?  When and how is it determined?


If a person wants to prevent weight gain, is that possible?  Does it have to happen in childhood?  Can an adult prevent weight gain?  Is it all totally arbitrary?”

This is such a good question, because despite our society’s obsession with weight, most of us don’t actually have a good understanding of the mechanisms behind it. In fact, an article published in 2014 on where the fat goes when someone loses weight was still making headlines this year because the answer is surprising to many, including health professionals. (If you’re avoiding the links because you’re worried about being triggered, the answer is that it mostly gets breathed out as carbon dioxide, and the rest is excreted as water.)

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If I Can’t Lose Weight, Then How Can I Be Healthy?

If I Can’t Lose Weight, Then How Can I Be Healthy?

Perhaps you’ve read the research on how diets don’t work. Perhaps you’ve dieted your whole life and can’t bear to put yourself through another round of the diet-binge cycle, or the weight rollercoaster. Maybe you feel mad or frustrated that you’ve been lied to this whole time; that you’ve been given tools that not only don’t work, but actually do the opposite of what they claim to do.

No matter what brought you here, you feel stuck. If dieting doesn’t work, then what does? If you can’t lose weight, how can you be healthy?

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Fat-Accessible vs. Fat-Friendly

Fat-Accessible vs. Fat-Friendly

Photo credit: Representationmatters.me

TW/CW: This post mentions the “o”-word and I have done my best to not link to the offending articles. Please feel free to contact me directly if you’d like me to share specific links. Also, I’d like to acknowledge that as someone in a thin body, my goal with this post is not to centre myself as someone who speaks for fat people (I use “fat” as a neutral descriptor in the context of fat activism here), but to use my privileges as a health professional in a thin, able body to reach those who may not be reached otherwise. I welcome your feedback directly to me, or in the comments below.

A couple months ago, I was listening to an episode of Dietitians Unplugged where they interviewed Bevin Branlandingham, the creator of Fat Kid Dance Party. In the episode, Bevin talked about while her classes were technically “kid-accessible”, as in, children can attend them, they weren’t exactly “kid-friendly” in that the songs that she used often contained explicit language or had mature themes. This subtle yet important difference got me thinking about how it might apply in terms of fat bodies.

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{Intuitive Eating with a Chronic Condition} Principles #9 & #10: Exercise – Feel the Difference & Honour Your Health with Gentle Nutrition

{Intuitive Eating with a Chronic Condition} Principles #9 & #10: Exercise – Feel the Difference & Honour Your Health with Gentle Nutrition

This is the last in a series of posts on adapting intuitive eating for a chronic condition. I would like to acknowledge that I personally don’t have a chronic condition, and am open to learning from the lived experiences of those who do. Please leave your feedback by commenting below, or by sending me a private message.
Other posts in this series include:

Principle #1: Reject the Diet Mentality
Principles #2 & #5: Honour Your Hunger and Feel Your Fullness
Principle #3: Make Peace with Food
Principle #4: Challenge the Food Police
Principle #6: Discover the Satisfaction Factor
Principle #7: Honour Your Feelings Without Food
Principle #8: Respect Your Body

Principles #9 and #10 are about incorporating movement and nutrition, respectively. Though the 10 Intuitive Eating principles aren’t meant to be addressed in order, it’s often recommended to leave the last two on the back burner while you’re working on the others.

Taking the focus away from movement and nutrition probably seems counterintuitive coming from a dietitian, and even more so when you have a chronic condition, as it’s probably the exact opposite of what you’ve been told since your diagnosis.

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{Intuitive Eating with a Chronic Condition} Principle #8: Respect Your Body

{Intuitive Eating with a Chronic Condition} Principle #8: Respect Your Body

This is the seventh in a series of posts on adapting intuitive eating for a chronic condition. I would like to acknowledge that I personally don’t have a chronic condition, and am open to learning from the lived experiences of those who do. Please leave your feedback by commenting below, or by sending me a private message.
Other posts in this series include:

Principle #1: Reject the Diet Mentality
Principles #2 & #5: Honour Your Hunger and Feel Your Fullness
Principle #3: Make Peace with Food
Principle #4: Challenge the Food Police
Principle #6: Discover the Satisfaction Factor
Principle #7: Honour Your Feelings Without Food
Principles #9 & #10: Exercise – Feel the Difference & Honour Your Health with Gentle Nutrition

With companies like Weight Wat—excuse me, WW—getting into the wellness business, it’s no wonder that so many of us seem to have our wires crossed in terms of what’s health promoting, and what’s actually dieting.

Still, I’m hopeful that not only is it possible to focus on health (if that’s what you want) without focusing on weight, I’m also hopeful that we will realize that we all have this knowledge within us. One of my most poignant memories of seeing intuitive eating in action was when I asked, “What does it look like to respect your body?” as part of an Intro to Intuitive Eating workshop. Though they’d never heard of intuitive eating before, the group effortlessly shared a variety of ideas, from gentle movement and sleep to unfollowing “fitspo” social media accounts and reframing negative self-talk. 

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{Intuitive Eating with a Chronic Condition} Principle #7: Honour Your Feelings Without Food

{Intuitive Eating with a Chronic Condition} Principle #7: Honour Your Feelings Without Food

This is the sixth in a series of posts on adapting intuitive eating for a chronic condition. I would like to acknowledge that I personally don’t have a chronic condition, and am open to learning from the lived experiences of those who do. Please leave your feedback by commenting below, or by sending me a private message.
Other posts in this series include:

Principle #1: Reject the Diet Mentality
Principles #2 & #5: Honour Your Hunger and Feel Your Fullness
Principle #3: Make Peace with Food
Principle #4: Challenge the Food Police
Principle #6: Discover the Satisfaction Factor
Principle #8: Respect Your Body
Principles #9 & #10: Exercise – Feel the Difference & Honour Your Health with Gentle Nutrition

I’ve written before about how this is probably my least favourite intuitive eating principle, as it implies that you should never eat in response to your emotions. If it weren’t for diet culture, emotional eating probably wouldn’t be seen as such a negative thing.

Diet culture teaches us that if we only eat the “right” amounts and types of food, we will be able to meet societal ideals of health and beauty. In reality, our weight and health are about so much more than what and how much we eat. When we’re able to consider emotional eating from this lens, it becomes easier to see why we shouldn’t feel bad about turning to food in response to difficult emotions.

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To Heal Your Relationship with Food and Your Body, Start with Mindfulness

Gain a little peace, calm and space by cultivating your personal mindfulness practice with this *FREE* 7-day mini-course, featuring guided meditations and practical strategies from The Mindful Eating Workbook.

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Looking for a few more steps?

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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Give Yourself Space to Heal Your Relationship with Food & Your Body

Learn how to use mindfulness to cultivate peace, presence and awareness with this *FREE* 7-day Intro to Meditation & Mindful Eating mini-course, featuring guided meditations and exercises from The Mindful Eating Workbook.

Aside from the course content, you will also receive regular email updates on mindful eating and intuitive eating. (You can unsubscribe at any time.)
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