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{Intuitive Eating with a Chronic Condition} Principle #4: Challenge the Food Police

{Intuitive Eating with a Chronic Condition} Principle #4: Challenge the Food Police

This is the fourth 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 #6: Discover the Satisfaction Factor
Principle #7: Honour Your Feelings Without Food
Principle #8: Respect Your Body
Principles #9 & #10: Exercise – Feel the Difference & Honour Your Health with Gentle Nutrition

🚓🚨WEE-OO WEE-OO 🚨🚓

Most of us have had a run-in with the Food Police at least once in our life. You might not have seen them before, but its message rings loud and clear in our society: There are foods that we “should” and “shouldn’t” eat, and if we eat something that’s considered the latter, it’s “bad”, “cheating”, “unclean”, and “wrong”. According to the Food Police, we’re killing ourselves with what we eat, and we better be feeling guilty about it.

Of course, the Food Police know that no one would take them seriously if they just said, “Food is bad for you” outright, so they spread their message in more subtle, insidious ways.

It’s the relative who eyes your plate and says, “You’re eating all of that?!”

The friend who looks at your muffin and says, “Oh, I could never eat that.”

It’s the documentary on how GMOs, carbs, sugar, fat, salt, or whatever food baddie du jour is hurting you and the planet.

Shaming you about food and eating is one thing, but the ultimate goal of the food police is for you to internalize the message, so that you become one of them.

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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 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 #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 & #10: Exercise – Feel the Difference & Honour Your Health with Gentle Nutrition

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 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
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 & #10: Exercise – Feel the Difference & Honour Your Health with Gentle Nutrition

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 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:

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 & #10: Exercise – Feel the Difference & Honour Your Health with Gentle Nutrition

“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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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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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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Let’s Talk About Weight

Let’s Talk About Weight

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

Many thanks to the Health At Every Size® (HAES®) community for conducting, supporting and amplifying the science behind a weight-inclusive approach. 

I always feel a bit of impostor syndrome when it comes to why I’ve adopted a non-diet, HAES, intuitive eating approach. I don’t have my own eating disorder journey, nor do I have a lot of experience working with people with eating disorders. What draws me to this work is twofold: it is a social justice issue first and foremost, and secondly, the science really doesn’t support the conventional approach to weight.

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Embracing, not Fearing, the Potential of Food

Embracing, not Fearing, the Potential of Food

This year’s Nutrition Month theme is “Unlock the Potential of Food”. I love how this theme lends itself to lots of possibilities when it comes to promoting the importance of food and nutrition, and the work of dietitians. For its part, Dietitians of Canada has chosen five sub-themes: the potential to fuel, discover, prevent, heal and bring us together.

I’ve always said that food is more than fuel. It’s no secret that I love to cook and eat, and I believe that pleasure and eating emotionally are all part of eating well.

Still, I can’t help but wonder – when we talk about food’s “potential” and give it so much power, are we unintentionally stoking the fears we have around food?

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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.

Download Your First Meditation

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.

Download Your Free Copy

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.)
Download Your First Meditation
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