What you’ll learn listening to this episode on my goals for 2021:
- The reflective process for 2020
- The 6 questions to use to reflect on 2020
- My 4 lessons learned in 2020
- The goals I have for 2021
Mentioned on the show:
Conquer & Thrive
Conquer & Thrive
I’m Stephanie Dodier – Clinical Nutritionist, Intuitive Eating expert, host of the Going BeyondTheFood podcast, and Creator of the Going BeyondTheFood Method™️, which was born from my own journey with chronic dieting & body image and has since grown into a global movement.
Get started with our free Freedom Roadmap.
I’ll see you on the other side!
I rounded up my best free intuitive eating resources, body neutrality resources, and Health at Every Size resources. It includes books, blogs, podcasts, programs, and courses.
Intuitive eating and body neutrality are increasingly becoming popular among women for a number of good reasons. For one, it’s been proven to lead to positive health outcomes. In addition, both are a healthy approach to health that puts you in control of your eating behaviours and body image.
Health at every size is the overarching weight-neutral health principle that drives the foundation of both intuitive eating & body neutrality.
This blog post is aimed at helping you discover intuitive eating resources to support you in your journey Going Beyond the Food: which means ditching diet culture, making peace with food and your body.
Intuitive eating is an evidence-based approach to eating that allows you to be the expert of your own body. And this self-care eating framework enables you to develop a healthy relationship with food and your body.
Moreover, it teaches you to trust your ability to meet your own needs, distinguish between physical and emotional hunger, and ultimately develop body wisdom.
Most importantly, eating intuitively is well–researched and proven health framework supported by more than 100 intuitive eating studies as of 2020.
Body Neutrality definition is about empowering you to embrace yourself as you are. That’s including the parts you don’t like about yourself. And its focus is to avoid self-hate while simultaneously relieving you from the pressure of having to love your body.
And the framework of Body Neutrality recognizes that not everyone is going to love every part of themselves all the time because that’s an unrealistic expectation, to say the least.
In short, the goal is to respect and accept your body for what it is – and that’s it.
Health at Every Size definition is a philosophy and an approach to health. Linda Bacon, Ph.D wrote the book Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight.
The book demonstrated through health at every size research and studies that health behaviours influence health more than weight.
Above all, the HAES movement promotes the simple truth that all bodies are good bodies. It shifts the focus away from dieting for weight control.
Instead, it steers you toward self-care practices that support your body’s natural wisdom and vitality.
This is my intuitive eating podcast. A collection of 200+ episodes that cover all topics about intuitive eating, body neutrality, and health at every size.
I suggest you get started at show 199 and move your way up!
A free HAES guide is provided by Dr. Linda Bacon. And it explains the Heath at Every Size approach to health and provides sustainable research-based evidence that demonstrates that health is accessible at any body size.
Beauty Redefined is a non-profit, dedicated to promoting positive body image online and in live speaking events. This website is run by identical twins Lexie Kite, Ph.D. and Lindsay Kite, Ph.D.
I created this free guide to help women understand the basics of intuitive eating. Most importantly, this guide is followed by a series of educative articles to help you to get started on this new journey.
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There are 3 levels of resources for you if you are ready to learn intuitive eating.
Evelyn Tribole is the ultimate intuitive eating expert, my teacher, and my mentor. She has dedicated her career to training health professionals with the intuitive eating framework.
All of our programs at Going Beyond The Food are certified by The Original Intuitive Eating Pro®.
The Intuitive Eating Project is a 5-week online program.
In addition, it is a self-study program to teach you Intuitive Eating in an easy step by step, supported by an online community, and dozens of videos, guides and integration exercises. And it’s lead by myself, Intuitive Eating Expert, Stephanie Dodier CNP.
Two options for you:
#1 If you want to work with a local intuitive eating certified counsellor, then, you can visit this directory to locate someone to work with you 1-on-1.
#2 You can visit this intuitive eating coaching page on my website. Not only will you be able to read more on my coaching programs but also submit your application if you would like to work with me 1-on-1.
Most importantly, my 1-on-1 coaching is inclusive of body neutrality and health at every size alongside with intuitive eating.
Are you ready to get started making peace with your body? Then, there are 3 levels of resources for you.
I would suggest starting reading books. Things No One Will Tell FAT Girls by Jess Baker is a lived-experience book combined with research. This book was a game-changer!
The second book you should read is definitely The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women by Naomi Wolf. This is a classic that redefined the relationship between beauty and female identity. Body image issue is a feminist issue! Must read for all women.
I would suggest two online programs. Both of these programs are a step by step structured program to heal your body image and make peace with your body.
#1 Beauty Redefined Body Resilience Program. A 8-week program to build body resilience by helping you navigate body shame, objectification, and unreal ideals.
#2 The Body Acceptance Project, this is my baby. A 5-week self-study online program to help you accept your body using the body neutrality framework.
Two options for you:
#1 Jess Baker is a Recovery Support Specialist with a long history working as a Psychosocial Behavioral Specialist. With both formal education background and lived experience I’m pleased to recommend Jess. You can find more about working with her here.
#2 Would you like to work 1-on-1 with me? You can visit this intuitive eating coaching page on my website. Not only will you be able to read more on my coaching programs but also submit your application if you would like to work with me 1-on-1.
My 1-on-1 coaching is inclusive of body neutrality and health at every size alongside with intuitive eating.
Ready to relearn health and adopt a weight-neutral approach to health? I have a few options for you. Three levels of resources for you:
The first place to get started is to read Dr. Linda Bacon’s Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight. Think of this book as the bible of the weight-neutral approach to health.
Next, I would suggest my colleague, Christie Harrison’s book Anti-Diet. Her book is very well researched and structured for you to understand why health is available to you now!
If you are looking for a step by step structured program to teach how to support your health in a weight-neutral holistic methodology…
Going Beyond The Food Health Mastery is a 9-module curriculum. And this program will teach you how to support your body towards the best health without having to lose weight. Not only without restricting food or taking any supplements! This program is taught by myself, Stephanie Dodier CNP.
Want to work with a Health at Every Size care provider? You can visit this directory to locate someone to work with you 1-on-1.
Intuitive Eating definition is an evidence-based approach to eating that allows you to be the expert of your own body.
This self-care eating framework enables you to develop a healthy relationship with food and your body.
Teaches you to trust your ability to meet your own needs, distinguish between physical and emotional hunger, and ultimately develop body wisdom.
I hope this helps sister!
Body Neutrality definition is about empowering you to embrace yourself as you are, including the parts you don’t like about yourself.
Its focus is to avoid self-hate while simultaneously relieving you from the pressure of having to love your body.
Health at Every Size definition is a philosophy and an approach to health.
The HAES movement promotes the simple truth that all bodies are good bodies.
It shifts the focus away from dieting for weight control. Instead, it steers you toward self-care practices that support your body’s natural wisdom and vitality.
The Going Beyond The Food Show
Health at Every Size Manifesto
Get Started Guide
1. Intuitive Eating Books
a. The Intuitive Eating Workbook by Evelyn Tribole, Elyse Resch, Tracy Tylka (Foreword)
2. Structured Online Intuitive Eating Program
a. Intuitive Eating Project by Stephanie Dodier
3. Intuitive Eating Program Private Counselling
a. Intuitive eating certified counsellor
b. Intuitive eating coach, Stephanie Dodier
1. Body Neutrality Books
a. Things No One Will Tell FAT Girls by Jess Baker
b. The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women by Naomi Wolf
2. Body Image Courses & Programs
a. Beauty Redefined Body Resilience Program
b. The Body Acceptance Project
3. Body Image Private Counselling
a. Jess Baker
b. Stephanie Dodier
1. Health at Every Size Books
a. Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Dr. Linda Bacon
b. Anti-Diet by Christie Harrison
2. Health at Every Size Course
a. Going Beyond The Food Health Mastery
3. Health at Every Size Private Counselling
a. Health at Every Size care provider
These intuitive eating myths come as no surprise since intuitive eating has been named the #1 nutrition trend for the year 2020.
Since it is such a departure from dieting it’s bound to have lots of misconception, fear-mongering (Thank you, diet culture!) and yes false beliefs surrounding this practice.
These myths cause confusion and doubt. As a nutritionist and expert, I get all sorts of questions like:
“Is intuitive eating healthy?”
“Will eating intuitively make me gain weight?”
“Will intuitive eating work for me?”
In this article, I dispel the biggest 13 intuitive eating myths that I’ve come across since I started my own intuitive eating journey. And in the process of debunking these intuitive eating myths, I hope to help you better understand what eating intuitively means and what it can do for you.
Before we dive into these myths, let me first explain what intuitive eating means.
The best and most accurate intuitive eating definition I can give is this: “a self-care eating framework that uses your body’s internal cues of hunger, fullness, and satisfaction to guide your eating behavior.”
Note that this is an eating framework, not a diet program. Unlike diets that dull your sensitivity to your body’s eating cues, intuitive eating encourages you to listen to your body and helps you develop trust in your body’s innate wisdom. Intuitive eating is supported by 100’s of studies showing the health benefits of intuitive eating.
Now let’s look into the 13 intuitive eating myths one by one:
This comes mainly from the fact that intuitive eating allows you all kinds of food, even the ones you may consider “unhealthy.”
Fact: Yes, when you eat intuitively, you can all the foods, because part of the intuitive eating process is to give yourself unconditional permission to eat. This means if you start intuitively, you will likely eat the food that you’re currently restraining. Perhaps that’s carbs if you’re doing keto or animal products if you’re vegan.
Now, one interesting fact to understand is that the World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Health is also the quality and quantity of sleep you get, your mental health, emotional stability and balance, spiritual health, movement, etc.
Researchers have found that food restriction has negative physical and psychological side effects. This means food restriction affects your mental health.
For instance, studies reveal that women who go on a diet and restrict food have higher levels of cortisol in their bodies. Cortisol is a hormone that our body releases in response to stress. This hormone is linked to higher levels of inflammation, high blood pressure, change in blood lipids, and other negative factors that can adversely affect your health. Also, the restriction has been associated with depression and anxiety.
We also know that scientific studies associate weight cycling with morbid health conditions, meaning that being caught in an endless cycle of restricting and overeating leads to negative health consequences.
So is intuitive eating healthy? The answer is a big YES because it prevents all the negative side effects associated with dieting!
Not only that…Many of the intuitive eating benefits such as lower cholesterol levels, decreased stress, and improved mental health is backed by scientific evidence!
Another version of that myth is intuitive eating causes weight gain.
Now, before I go any further, I want to validate the desire for weight loss that you might have. These are real and consistently encouraged in the society that is laden with weight stigma. Weight stigma is also known as weight bias, weight-based discrimination, and also stereotyping based on a person’s weight.
So it makes perfect sense that you are afraid of gaining weight or that you desire to lose weight.
Fact: Intuitive eating DOES NOT cause weight loss or weight gain all the time. The truth is, none of us knows what the body will do as a result of changing the way you eat. If a dieting coach or guru predicts that you will lose 20 pounds in four weeks as a result of their new diet, that is BS.
But we know that, when you start eating in accordance to your body’s natural hunger and satiety cues, this eating behavior will send information to your hypothalamus, that gland in your brain that regulates the hormone production around appetite and weight regulation.
Your hypothalamus establishes your set point, which is the weight range which your body believes to be healthy for you. Intuitive eating will take you to that weight range.
Now, that weight range may not be what you want. It may not be the “ideal” BMI for you. But your body’s innate wisdom knows it’s best for you.
(You can read my blog post about your body’s setpoint if you want to have a better understanding of the topic. Also, here’s a study that shows that Health At Every Size has more positive outcomes than dieting for weight loss.)
Intuitive eating will not either make you lose weight or gain weight. It will only support doing your body what is best for you.
Another version of that is “Intuitive eating is lazy” or “Intuitive eating is just an excuse to eat whatever you want and not have to practice dietary control.”
Fact: If you think this myth is true, it means that your self-worth is based on how you engage with food. Likely your self-image is tied to the size of your body or looks and food is the weapon of choice to control your body appearance.
The truth is we were all born worthy. Along the way, someone came and led us to believe that we needed to earn our worth. Perhaps a few years later, dieting came into your life and then you associated a thin body with worthiness.
Then, after a few years of dieting, you associated your eating habits with how worthy you are. Thus, in your mind, eating “everything” meant you weren’t worthy.
Also, people judge those who eat intuitively as “lazy” because they associate their self-worth with dieting or eating “healthy.”
But does intuitive eating mean you’ve given up on yourself and that you’re lazy? Quite the contrary. It means that you are actually trusting yourself and that you have removed your self-worth from the way you look and the way you eat and reconnect to your innate power.
Fact: This seems to be one of the most common intuitive eating myths, because the diet culture is prevalent in our society. When you have this myth in mind, that’s your diet brain speaking to you. It makes you believe that you must control what you eat in one way or another and that you are innately not smart, wise, or good enough to know what you should eat. Your diet brain makes you fall for the next diet or repeat the same diet.
The truth is, intuitive eating is not just another diet. Rather, it’s an entire eating framework. It’s a philosophy that changes your entire relationship with food. There’s more to it than just what you eat, when you eat, and how much you eat.
Intuitive eating is about the entire relationship, what comes before and after. This means changing your perception around how you should engage with food and what it means to be engaged with food. I’ve broken down how to eat intuitively in 5 easy steps.
In other words, intuitive eating works for some people and it doesn’t work for others.
Fact: We know that diets don’t work.95% failure rate within 1-5 years. As a result, you have worked really hard at a process that doesn’t and adopting on the way perfectionistic behaviors and an all-or-nothing mindset. With each diet, your brain gets rewired to see food, exercise, lifestyle, health, behavior as good or bad or “all in or all out.”
The longer you diet, the longer you maintain this all-or-nothing frame of mind. I’ve worked with women who are typically 40 plus and that have been dieting at least 10, 15, 20, 30 years. What I’ve found is that this all-or-nothing mindset has spread throughout their entire life.
That’s why Going Beyond the Food Academy is a life-changing process. The first step of the program is to learn tools to shift your mindset away from “diet brain.” Subsequently, this changes the way you interact with your whole life.
Is it possible for you to be good or bad at intuitive eating? The answer is no because intuitive eating is a process, not an end goal. It’s a way of being.
As intuitive eating becomes more popular, I’ve been seeing other versions such as keto-intuitive, flexible eating with intuitive eating, vegan intuitive, intuitive cheat day, etc.
Fact: People are getting tired of dieting. Their bodies are getting run down. Their emotions are all over the place. People are looking for another way. And so, diet culture is repackaging and renaming their diet programs so they could fit into intuitive eating because that’s what people want.
However, none of those programs is intuitive eating.
Their diet culture version of intuitive eating is the same old diet programs with “intuitive eating” attached to them. They do this so you’ll feel better about their programs and get you to be more attracted to their products.
Any rule around food is not intuitive eating. When you have rules as to what you should be eating, that means you don’t trust your body. Can you count macros or be keto-intuitive or a flexible eater and still be an intuitive eater? The answer is no.
Another version of this myth is “You can’t eat healthy on intuitive eating. Intuitive eating means intentionally eating unhealthy food.”
Fact: In a way, this is true. But then so what? Why is it a problem to eat what we want whenever we want?
Human’s love dichotomy. Labeling good or bad food makes us feel safe… It makes us feel like we are in control which cannot be further from the truth.
There’s a period of time, the honeymoon period, from the moment you begin to when you become at peace with food where you’re trying to figure out what it means for you to eat when you want and whatever you want.
I call it in my program the elastic band period, where you go from restricting to finally achieving food freedom. Imagine pulling an elastic band towards you and then releasing it. What would happen? The elastic will go completely the other way. Then, it will rebound to restriction and go the other way again.
Every time it does a loop, it’s going to have less force in it. Then with time, it’s going to stabilize and be back to normal. That’s what happens when you become an intuitive eater.
When you release the rules, your reptilian brain is like “Holy crap. You mean we can eat the carbs we’ve been restricting for years? Let’s eat it all!” That’s what happens.
But it doesn’t last long, because intuitive eating teaches you to respect your body. When you eat too much of the food that was forbidden before, you likely not feel your best. Ever tried to eat donuts at every meal for a week?
You have to satisfy your reptilian brain and to really prove to your body that there are no more rules. Then your body will stabilize itself.
Another version of this myth is, “Intuitive eating works only for certain people. I’m different.”
Fact: Intuitive eating is not another diet or a new scientifically-created way of eating. It’s innate in all of us. We were all born intuitive eaters.
Just observe a baby. When she feels hungry, she cries. When you feed her, she stops crying. Then, she stops feeding when she’s full and falls asleep. The cycle begins anew she feels hungry again.
Intuitive eating is simply going back to the way you were born.
Now, why would you feel it’s not for you? Your diet brain is partly responsible for that. It’s saying, “You know, girl, you’ve been dieting for years. Look where you are today. You’re not doing this right. You have to have a lot of restriction and control. Otherwise, you’ll lose control. You’re not good enough to do intuitive eating.”
Is intuitive eating only for certain people? Absolutely not. It’s for everyone because we all have it within us to be an intuitive eater. But if you want to be 100% sure, take the intuitive eating quiz.
Fact: There is only one truth around that. Intuitive eating does prevent emotional eating. Now, here’s the thing. I didn’t say solved it. I said to prevent it.
If you find yourself saying that eating intuitively won’t solve your emotional eating problem, again, it’s your diet brain speaking. You have been programmed to seek an external solution to an internal problem. You internally developed the behavior of using food as a soothing or regulate your emotions. This behavior is what we commonly refer to as emotional eating.
And now, you want a quick fix, a formula to come along and tell you how to prevent that. That’s the model of dieting. It’s all external. It’s just about food.
Intuitive eating will not solve the problem of emotional eating… but you will. It’s really up to you. Through the process of intuitive eating, you will figure out why you’re using food to cope with your emotions. Here’s another scoop for you: emotional eating is normal. Emotional eating is a gift when understood properly.
Another version of that is “Intuitive eating can work for weight loss.”
Fact: Intuitive eating is not a weight loss program. The purpose and the goal of intuitive eating have nothing to do with weight management.
Now, because intuitive eating is becoming more and more popular, diet culture has latched onto this trend. It sells intuitive eating as a way to lose weight.
But I’m going to tell you this: if you see intuitive eating being marketed as a weight management program, then it is NOT really intuitive eating.
“… but I need to lose weight” the root causes of the desire to lose weight is what needs to be addressed for most women.
Another version of that is “I’ll eat intuitively, but I’ll just eat junk food.”
Fact: If that’s what your body needs, then yes, you’ll binge on food you shouldn’t eat.
It may make you uncomfortable because you might believe that your body does not know what it needs. Thus, you might be thinking that you need to rely on someone or something else to tell you what your body needs.
The part of the intuitive eating journey is coming back to a respectful relationship between you, the spirit, and your body. This means that you do support your body through healthy behavior. In response, your body supports you through life.
When you experience a desire to binge or overeat, it’s because your body is trying to tell you something. The body is trying to point out to you that you are in a state of imbalance, that is something inside you is not okay, and it needs to comfort itself through food.
So does intuitive eating lead you to binge on food you shouldn’t eat? The answer is no. But it does make you more aware of the messages that your body tries to send you.
Now, among the intuitive eating myths, this is a loaded one. Before anything else, if you are currently holding the belief that there is such a thing as food addiction or sugar addiction, I would refer you to episode 153 of The Beyond The Food Show. We had a food addiction specialist actually do a complete analysis of my eating pattern and my eating history. I shared all the results publicly with everyone via the podcast and a video interview.
She came to the conclusion that the Going Beyond the Food Method was extremely effective in healing or helping people to overcome what they believe to be sugar addiction or food addiction.
Fact: The belief that food can be addictive is debatable. At this time there is no study demonstrating human addiction to food and sugar.
The only study showing demonstrating evidence of sugar addiction in a rat model and researcher came to the conclusion that sugar addiction in the rats was only present when sugar was restricted.
If you’re currently thinking you are addicted to food and or sugar, I highly recommend that you seek help immediately.
Is intuitive eating impossible because of food addiction? The straight answer is no. But if you struggle with food or sugar addiction, there’s a deeper level of work that you need to do before you can actually become an intuitive eater.
Fact: No. In fact, it is not, because intuitive eating is the natural way that humans engage with food. We were all born with this propensity.
Now, intuitive eating is used in the treatment of eating disorders. Why? Because it’s very effective. People who suffer from eating disorders are actually not connected to the innate cues of hunger and fullness and satisfaction. They use food in a disordered way to meet their unfulfilled needs.
When your eating behavior is causing harm to you physically, emotionally, or mentally, that’s when you need to seek professional guidance and help immediately.
Intuitive eating is not only for eating disorders, although it is used to treat eating disorders. It is for ALL of us.
Fact: This is by far the easiest of all intuitive eating myths to debunk. Intuitive eating is a proven and well-researched eating framework. As of today, there are well over a hundred intuitive eating research studies published, most of them peer-reviewed, that demonstrate the efficacy of intuitive eating.
To this day, there is not one scientific research that shows any kind of danger associated with this eating framework.
Intuitive eating has a scientific basis. There will be more research around it as more and more people become intuitive eaters.
Now that I’ve debunked all these intuitive eating myths for you, I hope you have a better understanding of what eating intuitively really is. So how do you feel about intuitive eating now? Are you ready to start becoming an intuitive eater?
Here’s what I recommend that you do:
Download my free intuitive eating handout. It will show you how to get started with intuitive eating immediately.
You can also read my article, How To Eat Intuitively in 5 Easy Steps.
For more intuitive tips and information, read my intuitive eating blog.
I also invite you to listen to my intuitive eating podcast where I share my best tips and invite experts to give their insights.
Myth 1: Intuitive eating is unhealthy.
Myth 2: Intuitive eating will make me gain weight.
Myth 3: Intuitive eating means I’ve given up on myself.
Myth 4: Intuitive eating is simply the “eat when you are hungry and stop when you’re full” diet.
Myth 5: You can be a good intuitive eater or a bad one.
Myth 6: You can count macros and still be an intuitive eater.
Myth 7: Intuitive eating means you eat whatever you want, whenever you want.
Myth 8: Intuitive eating is for healthy-minded people. I won’t do it right and I’ll gain weight.
Myth 9: Intuitive eating doesn’t solve my “over-eating problem.”
Myth 10: Intuitive eating doesn’t lead to weight loss.
Myth 11: Intuitive eating will make you binge on food that you shouldn’t be eating.
Myth 12: Intuitive eating is impossible because of food addiction, and certain foods are addictive.
Myth 13: Intuitive eating is only for people with eating disorders.
If you’ve been following me on social media or reading my blog, you certainly have come across the term “diet culture.” I’ve mentioned it many times before. But what is diet culture? How does it impact your life? And what should you do about it?
This article tackles this topic and teaches you how to opt-out of it. Also, I offer some resources that will help you start a new life outside of this oppressive belief system. Here’s what you’re going to learn from this blog post:
Now, let’s begin exploring the diet culture so you can take your first steps to freedom!
From the sound of it, you might think the term “diet culture” refers to a group of people who are on a diet. But it actually has a different meaning.
Christy Harrison, a colleague of mine, has the best diet culture definition. She defines it as a system of belief that worships thinness and equates it to health and moral virtue. It’s now prevalent in our society and oppresses women from all over the world!
How does this impact your life?
This means you may have spent your entire life thinking that you’re broken just because you don’t look like the impossibly thin ideal.
That’s just one angle. You can also look at the diet culture from three other angles:
The second angle is that it promotes weight loss as a means of attaining higher status. It makes you feel compelled, almost obligated, to spend massive amounts of time, energy, and resources, trying to shrink your body so you can fit into this thin ideal. Now, research is very clear that the dieting model has a 95 percent failure rate, so it might as well be an exercise in futility.
The next angle is it demonizes certain ways of eating while elevating others. It forces you to be hyper-vigilant about your eating, shames you for making certain food choices, and distracts you from the pleasure of eating as well as from your purpose and power.
Last but not least, it oppresses people who don’t match the supposed picture of health or the thin ideal. This affects us most particularly as women, although it’s starting to affect men.
As you probably know, I used to have a love-hate relationship with food and my body. A 25-year career in dieting left me obsessed, frustrated and confused about food. I was also at a loss on how to take care of my body.
Dieting was stealing my life and at 39. Then I decided that I had enough… I finally chose to take my power back and free myself from dieting and body shaming. The Going Beyond The Food Method™️ was born out of my personal journey.
Is diet culture affecting you, too? I invite you to consider its impact on your life. Take our quick self-assessment tool we created to help women determine if intuitive eating is the right solution for them.
I invite you, and honestly all women, to become diet culture dropouts! Below are the four steps you need to take in your journey towards freedom:
Now is the best time to be a woman. Unlike the generations before us, we’re liberated and empowered! You have to understand that diet culture is a tool that the patriarchy uses to keep us from being in our power. It keeps us busy minding our calories and macros. It induces guilt and so we feel inclined to punish ourselves when we fail.
Whether you want to stay in the diet culture and be oppressed or to break away from it and change your life, it’s totally up to you. But you should know that you have the power to make that choice.
With great power comes great responsibility. Now, that sounds like a quote from a Spiderman movie, but as an empowered woman, you are responsible for your life. No one else is!
Now, you can be the victim of diet culture and drown yourself in self-pity and helplessness. Or you can say, “Screw this! I’m going to take responsibility, and I’m going to work myself out of it and change my life.”
It’s your call.
Read books and blogs. Listen to podcasts. Consume content that supports the choice that you’ve made for yourself. Be on guard against the content that might suck you right back into the diet culture. As I’ve said before, beware of diet culture programs disguised as wellness practices.
I’ve made it my personal mission to empower women by educating them so they don’t allow themselves to be oppressed. And so, I have put together some resources for you.
We have anti-diet culture podcast episodes on the Going Beyond the Food Show, where I interview health professionals. I invite you to listen as they share their expert insights and opinions on our relationship with our bodies and with food.
You can also read our anti-diet culture blog posts on this website. Here, we go deep into the research and the studies around diet culture as well as dieting and its impact on health.
If you’re looking for an anti-diet culture book, I recommend Health At Every Size by Linda Bacon, PhD. Dr. Bacon does research around health and dieting. It’s a book that gave me a lot of “aha moments” and subsequently changed my life.
You’re going to shift from the way of life that diet culture has taught you to a more empowering way of thinking and doing things. This means there’s a lot for you to unlearn and relearn, so you’re going to need all the support you can get.
The Going Beyond The Food Method™️ is a 5-step strategic process to help women move out of diet mentality and into self-care. Our 5 pillars are: mindset, emotional wellness, mindfulness, body neutrality and intuitive eating.
As a clinical nutritionist, I’ve found that intuitive eating is the most effective tool for developing a healthy relationship with food and your body. Intuitive eating teaches you to tap into your innate hunger and fullness cues. It requires you to relearn how to engage with food without restriction and without labeling food as “good” or “bad.”
The trauma around body image is more powerful than the one around food. What I have found over the years is that when we work through our relationship with food, it’s a lot easier and faster to heal body image issues.
We offer a variety of programs that will help you should you decide to opt-out of diet culture:
1) The Intuitive Eating Project – This is a self-study program that will help you relearn how to eat intuitively at your own pace.
2) The Going Beyond the Food Academy – This is group coaching program where we teach the Going Beyond The Food Method™️ and offer support and coaching in a more in-depth approach. In this program, we talk about mindset, emotions, body image, intuitive eating, and mindfulness.
3) Conquer and Thrive– This is a six-month, high-touch intensive program where you work one-on-one with me. Here, you learn how to work your way out of the diet culture and heal your relationship with food, your body, and yourself.
Christy Harrison defines it as a system of belief that worships thinness and equates it to health and moral virtue. It’s now prevalent in our society and oppresses women from all over the world!
1. Understand that you have a choice.
2. Take responsibility.
3. Educate yourself.
4. Find a framework to help you reconstruct your relationship with food and with your body.
Intuitive Eating Project – This is a self-study program that will help you relearn how to eat intuitively at your own pace.
The Going Beyond the Food Academy – This is a group coaching program where we teach the Going Beyond The Food Method™️ and offer support and coaching in a more in-depth approach. In this program, we talk about mindset, emotions, body image, intuitive eating, and mindfulness.
Conquer and Thrive – This is a six-month, high-touch intensive program where you work one-on-one with me. Here, you learn how to work your way out of the diet culture and heal your relationship with food, your body, and yourself.
Intuitive eating is increasingly becoming popular among women for a number of good reasons. For one, it’s been proven to lead to positive health outcomes. Also, it’s an approach to eating that puts you in control of your eating behavior. You’re the expert of your body and the boss of you.
But how do you start eating intuitively? How do you make it work? This blog post aims to answer these questions by introducing you to the 10 key principles of intuitive eating that Evelyn Tribole developed. Here, I also show you how to get started in five easy steps. This guide is virtually intuitive eating made simple for you!
Here’s what you’ll learn from this blog post:
Ready to learn how to get started with intuitive eating and make it work? Let’s dive in!
When people ask me what eating intuitively means, this is the definition that usually comes to mind: “a self-care eating framework that uses your body’s internal cues of hunger, fullness, and satisfaction to guide your eating behavior.” It’s literally trusting your gut! Note that this intuitive eating definition emphasizes self-care and not weight loss.
Intuitive eating an evidence-based approach to eating that allows you to be the expert of your own body. This approach enables you to develop a healthy relationship with food and your body. It teaches you to trust your ability to meet your own needs, distinguish between physical and emotional hunger, and ultimately develop body wisdom.
Eating Intuitively is well –research and proven health framework supported by more than 100 studies as of 2019.
So how do you make intuitive eating a part of your life? Here are the 10 key principles of intuitive eating that will guide your journey towards a natural way of eating.
Get rid of all the diet books, articles, videos, and other materials that give you the false hope that you’ll lose weight easily, quickly, and permanently. Scoff at the lies that try to convince you that you’re a failure or something is broken in you just because another diet has failed you and you gained back the weight that you lost. Never allow yourself to be deceived again.
Keep your body well-nourished and provide it with enough calories to keep it energized. Depriving your body of food can kick the drive to overeat into high gear. On the other hand, honoring your hunger lays the foundation for learning to trust your body’s messages.
Allow yourself to eat without any conditions. Telling yourself that you can’t eat a particular food because it’s “bad” for you will do you more harm than good. It can lead to an intense feeling of deprivation that can result in uncontrollable cravings and binge eating. And if you give into the “temptation” to eat what you think is “bad” for you, you’ll experience intense guilt. You don’t need any of that B.S.! Stop labelling food as good or bad and instead make peace with it.
When a voice inside your head says you’re “good” for minding your calories or “bad because you ate some French fries, tell it to shut up! The diet culture is insidious. It deploys the food police into your psyche. Every time you allow yourself to enjoy the pleasure of eating, the police induce guilt and the fear of weight gain. It may also call you unsavory names. If you want to make eating intuitively a part of your life, you have to drive the food police away and tell it to never come back!
Be aware of your body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry. When you feel comfortably full, pause in the middle of eating and ask yourself:
You’re meant to eat, not just to live, but also to enjoy the pleasure of eating. The ability to enjoy the experience of eating is a gift. Sadly, because the diet culture pressures us to fit into the thin ideal, we often forgo this wonderful gift. The truth is the pleasure of eating is a powerful force that will help you feel satisfied sooner. Thus, the more you enjoy the experience of eating, the less food it takes to satisfy you.
There are ways to comfort yourself and resolve your issues other than food. We all experience uncomfortable emotions throughout our lives. While food provides temporary relief, it won’t fix the underlying problems that cause uncomfortable emotions. If you eat to relieve emotional discomfort, you’ll only feel worse if you don’t deal with the source of the emotion.
Let’s say you had a shoe size of 9. Would you waste your time wishing you could wear a size 7 shoe? It just doesn’t make sense, does it? Well, the same is true for dress sizes. It doesn’t make sense to try to fit into a size 2 dress if you weren’t born with the genetic makeup for that size! Every person has a genetically predetermined body size and shape. Stop trying to fit into the thin ideal that the diet culture worships and start respecting your body. You’re perfect just the way you are.
You don’t have to spend countless hours at the gym and do a particular type of workout. You can just go outside for a brisk walk or turn on your favourite dance playlist and bust some moves! Just get your body moving. And move your focus from the calorie-burning effect of exercise to how you feel while moving your body. Exercise releases endorphins, your body’s “feel-good” hormones. It also energizes you. So make feeling good your motivation to exercise rather than losing weight.
Choose foods that support your health and please your taste buds. But remember that you don’t have to eat a perfect diet to stay healthy. What you eat consistently over time is what truly matters. Aim for progress, not perfection.
But is intuitive eating really healthy?
Intuitive eating is not a diet fad. It is an approach to eating that’s backed by scientific research. In 2014, an intuitive eating research study involving 1,600 middle-aged women showed strong links between eating intuitively and having a lower body mass index and positive emotional health.
I’ve written a complete guide that walks you thru all the evidence-based health benefits of intuitive eating.
Weight loss is the be-all and end-all of all diet and exercise programs, thanks to diet culture. The end goal of eating intuitively is not weight loss, period.
Rather, it is developing a healthy relationship with food and one’s body. This healthy relationship then leads to optimum physical and mental health. In other words, when you eat intuitively, you chase health rather than weight loss.
Weight loss may be one of the many outcomes of becoming an intuitive eater as much as it may not be. Your weight may also remain stable.
Caution: If anyone attempts to sell intuitive eating as a way for you to lose weight… run the other way. Eating intuitively isn’t compatible with intentional weight loss. Losing weight intentionally will prevent you from attuning to your innate eating cues and instead keep you focused on controlling how much you eat and what food you eat.
You can read more in this article, Intuitive Eating Before and After: My Story, where I share my personal journey of becoming an intuitive eater.
You might be wondering if mindful eating is the same as intuitive eating. Certainly, the answer is no, they’re distinct from each other. Mindful eating is part of eating intuitively.
Mindful eating is being fully present while you eat. It’s being present in your entire eating experience on purpose.
On the other hand, intuitive eating is an entire eating framework and philosophy. It includes physical activities, how you engage with your body image, and gentle nutrition. Mindful eating is an important component of intuitive eating, which is not limited to simply being mindful.
Eating intuitively in 5 easy steps is possible! You can start your intuitive eating journey and build a healthier relationship with food following the next steps:
Step 1: Understand the diet culture and your power to choose.
The diet culture worships the thin ideal and equates thinness with good health and moral virtue. It’s prevalent in the world today. But you don’t have to be a part of it. You have a choice!
Step 2: Reject the diet culture.
Refuse to be controlled by this oppressive culture. Unfollow social media accounts that use the weight loss lingo and uphold dieting myths. Throw out the books and delete videos, apps, and e-books that support the diet culture. Beware of diet-culture programs that masquerade as wellness programs.
Step 3: Be present with your food.
Practice mindful eating. First, turn off all distractions such as your phone and the television. Then, use your five senses to enjoy the experience of eating.
Step 4: Shift from external eating cues to your body’s internal eating cues.
Stop counting calories and macros. Instead of following dieting rules, use your body’s innate hunger and fullness cues to guide your eating behavior.
Step 5: Seek satisfaction from food.
Eat foods that you like. Get attuned to your body and notice how certain foods make you feel. Eat more of those that make you feel good.
Want to have a better relationship with food and become healthier in the process? I’ve put together some free resources to help you begin your intuitive eating journey:
2. Get Started with our free intuitive eating guide
3. Listen to our Intuitive Eating podcast episodes on the Going Beyond the Food Show.
4. Get some tips and more information from my Intuitive eating blog.
Yes, eating intuitively is a well–researched and proven health framework supported by more than 100 studies as of 2019.
1. Reject the diet mentality.
2. Honor your hunger.
3. Make peace with food.
4. Challenge the food police.
5. Respect your fullness.
6. Discover the satisfaction factor.
7. Honor your feelings without using food.
8. Respect your body.
9. Exercise—feel the difference.
10. Honor your health.
Step 1: Understand the diet culture and your power to choose.
Step 2: Reject the diet culture.
Step 3: Be present with your food.
Step 4: Shift from external eating cues to your body’s internal eating cues.
Step 5: Seek satisfaction from food.
If you’ve been on the fence about intuitive eating or you’ve been struggling with body image issues, these lessons will prove to be valuable to you.
But first, let me explain what intuitive eating is.
This is the most concise intuitive eating definition I can give you: “a self-care framework that uses your body’s internal cues of hunger, fullness, and satisfaction to guide your eating behavior.” It emphasizes self-care and attunement to one’s body cues.
Scientific research has proven intuitive eating to be healthy and safe. I have a blog post that describes all the intuitive eating health benefits. Read this article if you want to know how eating intuitively can help you become healthier.
As for me, eating intuitively has changed my life for the better. I’d like to share all the lessons I learned from my intuitive eating experience, hoping that they’ll inspire you to start your own intuitive eating journey.
You can click the links or scroll down to go over the lessons and to learn about my intuitive eating before and after story in greater detail:
When I was 9 or 10 years old, my body was different. I was taller, heavier, and bigger than most kids in my school. My classmates bullied me…a lot. I didn’t know it yet, but I was dealing with weight stigma.
Then I grew up. The bullying became less frequent, and after some time, it stopped altogether. But there was a voice inside me, shaming me for the way I looked. For 25 years, I was brutal with myself because I thought that was the only way I could change.
I internalized the stigma that I dealt with as a kid.
Weight stigma, defined by the National Eating Disorders Association, is discrimination or stereotyping based on a person’s weight. Scientific research on weight stigma reveals that it has a huge effect on stress levels, hormones, and eating habits.
There are two types of weight stigma: externalized and internalized. Mind you, internalized weight stigma is more powerful than externalized weight stigma. Why? You can avoid the people who taunt you, but you’re with your body 24/7.
It was only when I overcame my internalized stigma that real transformation began. I became happier and more confident than ever before.
The diet culture is an insidious monster that crept into my life when I was very young. It affected how I saw and treated myself. It also influenced my mother who, out of love and concern for me, sent me to Weight Watchers.
For 25 years, I was a slave to this oppressive monster. I tried one diet after another. Nothing worked. I thought there was something wrong with me and I needed to be fixed.
You might be wondering, “What the heck is diet culture?”
Diet culture is a system of belief that worships thinness and equates it with health and moral virtue. It makes you believe that you’re broken just because you don’t look like the “thin ideal.”
I had no clue that the diet culture existed. I thought that pursuing weight loss and thinness was the norm. When somebody presented me with the idea that I could actually live my life without aiming to lose weight or to become thin, it didn’t even sink in.
Fortunately, I came to realize that being part of the diet culture is a choice. Whether we want a thinner body or just lovingly accept ourselves–it’s completely up to us. The suffering that comes from wanting to be thinner is completely optional.
This led me to lesson number three…
A significant turning point in my life happened when I was in my late 30s and at the peak of my corporate career. I was about to deliver a speech before a large crowd when I suddenly collapsed. Shortly after that, I found myself in the ER.
Subsequently, the doctor diagnosed me with five chronic conditions: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, anxiety, panic disorder, and depression. The doctors prescribed a medication for each condition.
Medication was the solution that these doctors had for me. But I decided to take a different route in my pursuit of health. I took responsibility into my own hands. However, I knew that I needed support, so I hired a coach.
It was during this time that I experienced a huge shift in mindset. I stopped being a victim and began to think that life happens for me instead of to me. I realized I could choose to either repeat my actions and have the same results. Or I could change my choices and make progress. Because I had the freedom to choose, I also had to be responsible for the consequences of my choices.
If you find yourself in a situation or condition that you don’t like, remember this: You can stay wherever you are and just keep repeating your old patterns. Or you can create new patterns of behavior and evolve.
Either way, it’s your decision and you’re responsible for it.
Geneen Roth is the person who taught me the emotional and spiritual aspects of food. She is the bestselling author of Women, Food, and God I had the privilege of interviewing her in one of my emotional eating podcast episodes.
I remember the time I was reading Geneen’s book, at a poolside in Florida. One concept struck me so hard that I had what I now call a “holy shit” moment.
“Holy shit! It’s beyond the food!” my brain screamed.
This realization deeply changed my relationship with food. I became aware that I was using food to numb discomfort, because I hated being uncomfortable. Using food is just one of the behavioral patterns I developed when dealing with discomfort. There were other things, too, such as people-pleasing, perfectionism, etc.
These unhealthy behavioral patterns offered me a way for me to avoid change and stay comfortable. Realizing this, I became aware that it’s really not about the food.
When I realized that I had to go beyond the food, I decided to stop dieting forever.
But then I learned about the paleo diet. Paleo doesn’t require you to eat less. You only have to make sure that everything you eat followed the guidelines.
I convinced myself that going on paleo wasn’t about losing weight. Instead, it was about balancing my hormones and fixing my body.
Then I encountered the Ketogenic Diet and decided to adopt it into my lifestyle.
The truth is I was still chasing weight loss, but I didn’t see that. Paleo and keto are deceptively packaged as tools for achieving health. But really, they’re products of the diet culture.
Because it was so restrictive, the keto diet sent me down the path of binge eating. My body was so angry with me for restricting food and chasing a thinner body, although I couldn’t admit it to myself.
Later, someone sent me a book called Health at Every Size. It pretty much says you can be healthy regardless of your weight. To me, it meant that everything that I was doing wasn’t going to get me where I wanted to be.
I was so offended that I couldn’t go beyond the first chapter.
It took a while before I finally accepted what it teaches. But after that, I felt a sense of freedom and relief.
I later learned that the pursuit of thinness has devastating consequences on mental and emotional health. In contrast, the Health at Every Size approach to eating emphasizes self-acceptance rather than weight loss.
Does it work? Research on Health at Every Size shows that this approach improves eating attitudes and practices, perception of body image, and health among other things.
(Read the Health at Every Size Manifesto to learn more about it.)
After learning that I can be healthy regardless of my weight, I quit the Keto Diet and I realized that I had to accept my body just as it is.
Now, body acceptance requires some work. This work is different from dieting. It’s not physically, emotionally, or mentally harder. It’s just different. But again, it’s uncomfortable.
I had to learn new tools to work through body acceptance–the mirror exercise, journaling, and breathing. I had to deal with the discomfort of being a beginner again. But that got me to this beautiful place of embracing body neutrality, which I now teach.
Body neutrality empowers you to embrace yourself as you are, including the parts you don’t like about yourself. Its focus is to avoid self-hate while simultaneously relieving you from the pressure of having to love your body. The goal is to respect and accept your body for what it is – and that’s it.
I encountered the concept of intuitive eating a few times. To be honest, at first, I wasn’t convinced that intuitive eating was any good. My colleagues sent me a book and some links to articles, but I refused to read anything about it. I simply said, “Nope, it’s not for me.”
Until Evelyn Tribole came into my life. Evelyn is one of the two coauthors of the ground-breaking book, Intuitive Eating. She is now my mentor. Through her, I learned that healing my relationship with food is necessary so I can make peace with my body.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Evelyn in my intuitive eating podcast. If you want to learn more about what she teaches about eating intuitively, listen to the episode.
Intuitive eating teaches you to respect your innate body messages such as hunger and fullness so you can have a healthy and respectful relationship with your body. This kind of relationship with my body is exactly what I’ve been enjoying since I started eating intuitively.
We’re here to help! You can read my article that will walk you through the step-by-step process of integrating intuitive eating into your life.
The Going Beyond The Food Academy is our intuitive eating online program that can help you, not just develop a healthy relationship with food, but also to embrace your current body. Go check us out.
Lesson 1: Weight stigma is real and freakin’ powerful.
Lesson 2: Diet culture is a powerful motherfriggin’ monster but it’s optional.
Lesson 3: Repeat or evolve…It’s your choice.
Lesson 4: It’s beyond the food!
Lesson 5: The wellness diet and healthy body are BS
Lesson 6: You can’t hate yourself to happiness
Lesson 7: Intuitive eating is the gateway to health and happiness.