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Intuitive Eating Resources

Intuitive Eating Resources

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.

What is Intuitive Eating?

Body neutrality definition

The meaning of Health at Every Size

My top 4 free intuitive Eating resources

Intuitive eating resources

Body Neutrality resources

Health at Every Size resources

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What is Intuitive Eating?

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.

What is Body neutrality?

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.

What is Health at Every Size?

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.

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My top 4 free intuitive eating resources

#1 The Going Beyond The Food Show

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!

#2 Health at Every Size Manifesto

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.

#3 Beauty Redefined

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.

These two experts teach body image resilience through research-backed online education available on their website, and social media. Visit their blog, Instagram account, and TEDx Talk.

#4 Get Started Guide

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.

Get the FREE guide here.

 

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Intuitive Eating Resources

There are 3 levels of resources for you if you are ready to learn intuitive eating.

#1 Intuitive Eating Books

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 Book

The Intuitive Eating Workbook

#2 Structured Online Intuitive Eating Program

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.

#3 Intuitive Eating Program Private Counselling

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.

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Body Neutrality Resources

Are you ready to get started making peace with your body? Then, there are 3 levels of resources for you.

#1 Body Neutrality Books

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.

#2 Body Image Courses & Programs

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.

#3 Body Image Private Counselling

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.

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Health at Every Size Resources

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:

#1 Health at Every Size Books

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!

#2 Health at Every Size Course

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.

#3 Health at Every Size Private Counselling

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.

What is Intuitive Eating?

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!

 

 

What is body neutrality?

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.

What is Health at Every Size?

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.

What are my top 4 free resources?

The Going Beyond The Food Show

Health at Every Size Manifesto

Beauty Redefined

Get Started Guide

What are the intuitive eating resources?

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

What are the body neutrality resources?

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

What are the Health at Every Size Resources?

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

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The Ultimate Guide to  Intuitive Eating and Diabetes 

The Ultimate Guide to  Intuitive Eating and Diabetes 

At first glance, integrating intuitive eating and diabetes management may  seem counter-intuitive. And for many reasons, most approaches to managing diabetes  are based on weight loss and carbohydrate life-long restriction.

But there’s a major problem with these two approaches: a massive failure rate and unsustainability long term. As of today, diabetes is a noncurable  disease, requiring that requires a treatment plan that can be maintained for the rest of your life. Unfortunately, dieting has a failure rate in a  2-5 years period.

And that’s when a weight-neutral approach to diabetes comes in!

Diabetes and weight-neutral approach to health

What is intuitive eating

Nutrition and diabetes

Switching from judgment to curiosity with food

Get started – Next steps

Free Audio Guide to intuitive eating and diabetes

Intuitive Eating free mini-course

Diabetes Specific free resources

Diabetes and weight-neutral approach to health

1 -The Ultimate Guide to Intuitive Eating and Diabetes 

A weight-neutral approach to health is based on the idea that your health status or risk level can’t be determined solely by your weight.

Moreover, it acknowledges that your weight is determined by a complex set of genetic, metabolic, physiological, cultural, social, and behavioural determinants. Many of these factors are either difficult or impossible to change.

Instead of focusing on a weight-oriented outcome to the management of diabetes, weight-neutral programs teach you to take charge of the factors that can help diabetes within your control.

So taking charge of these factors among many others will help you improve your well-being and management of diabetes regardless of your weight.

Here are just a few of these factors:

1. Stress management

Stress is an important contributor to pathological conditions in humans. And hormonal changes that occur during acute and chronic stress situations can affect glucose homeostasis. In fact, a large body of evidence  supports an association between stress and hyperglycemia (diabetes).

2. Weight stigma

The experience of discrimination and stigma around one’s body has a direct influence on health behaviours and stress levels. And research is pointing at weight stigma as a major contributor to health outcomes including diabetes.

3. Movement

Consistent gentle & enjoyable body movement has proven time after time to reduce blood sugar dysregulation.  Moreover, the recommendation from the American Diabetes Association is clear on the benefit of all forms of diabetes.

4. Body Dissatisfaction

Internalize weight stigma leads people to become increasingly dissatisfied with their bodies and make poor health decisions.

And a  2013 study published by the Journal of Obesity found no link between body weight and the way women feel about themselves. However, the findings show a link between how women feel about themselves and their health behaviours. In other words, the better they feel about their bodies, the more likely they are to take care of themselves leading to a better health outcome.

What is intuitive eating

3 -The Ultimate Guide to Intuitive Eating and Diabetes 

When people ask 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 behaviour.” 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. So this approach enables you to develop a healthy relationship with food and your body. And it teaches you to trust your ability to meet your own needs, distinguish between physical and emotional hunger, and ultimately develop body wisdom.

And eating intuitively is a well research process and proven health framework supported by more than 100 intuitive eating studies as of 2019.

Nutrition and Diabetes

There is no doubt that what we eat influences our blood sugar. And it’s a known fact that carbohydrates will increase our blood sugar level . However, not all carbohydrates have the same influence on the level of blood sugar.

Furthermore, studies are showing that individuals’ blood glucose levels respond very differently to different foods. So this is what we call bio-individuality. In other words, there’s no one “diabetic diet” for every  person diagnosed with diabetes. And while there are definitely generalities with eating and lifestyle that can be helpful, there isn’t a one fit all  approach.

An individual needs to explore what works for them and what doesn’t for them. So as life unfold the individual reaction to certain food will also vary and change with time.

This is how intuitive eating is the perfect approach to diabetes.

2 -The Ultimate Guide to Intuitive Eating and Diabetes 

Switching from judgment to curiosity with food

Intuitive eating is part of a Health At Every Size™️ approach to diabetes and a global weight-neutral approach to health.

Intuitive eating will teach you to become curious about how certain food makes you feel. And to pay attention to how your blood sugar is post-meal, be attentive to how you feel after eating,  and your overall level of energy.

Being an intuitive eater will allow you to engage with food objectively without judgment.  So it puts you back into power when making your food choice. And it  helps you build trust and respect for your body instead of fear and hatred.

Intuitive eating is really about switching to love instead of fear when it comes to food and diabetes.

Get started – Next steps

Are you are ready to  learn more about how you can blend intuitive eating and diabetes in your life?

The first place to begin your journey is with educating yourself about diabetes. And this includes learning about different treatment options so you can make the best choice for you.

  1. Read the material supplied by your medical team and ask a lot of questions.
  2. Access this free handout from Dr. Lindo Bacon on the Health At every size and intuitive eating approach to diabetes.
  3. Access our free  Intuitive Eating Guide
  4. Consider reading the Health At Every Size Book by Dr. Lindo Bacon

Audio guide to Intuitive Eating and Diabetes

This audio guide (podcast) is a collaboration with two of my colleagues. Both are experts in the treatment of diabetes under the lens of Health At Every Size and Intuitive Eating. 

Rebecca Scritchfield is a Washington DC-based Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Exercise Physiologist.  And she has been practicing weight inclusive, HAES care since 2008. Also, Rebecca is the author of the book Body Kindness and the host of the Body Kindness podcast. 

Glenys Oyston is a Los Angeles-based Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. And she has been practicing a HAES® philosophy since 2010 and has provided extensive diabetes education for the past five years. Also, Glenys is the co-host of the Dietitians Unplugged podcast.

What we cover in this free audio: 

  • Is weight loss the solution to treating diabetes ? 
  • 5 most frequent myths about diabetes debunk 
  • The Health At Every Size approach to treating diabetes 
  • Where to find resources to integrate a non-restrictive approach to preventing and treating diabetes. 

Intuitive Eating free mini-course

We created a free digital mini-course that will teach you the basics of intuitive eating. Ans it includes a downloadable guide for your reference.  You can access this free resource by registering here.

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We also have an online self-study course to learn intuitive eating. So this course will take you through the 10 principles of Intuitive Eating alongside integration exercise and coaching videos. You can register for the Intuitive Eating Project here.

Diabetes Specific Resource

Dr. Lindo Bacon has written a guide to help people navigate the journey of integrating the Health at Every size principle in their approach to diabetes management. You can access this free Health At Every Size guide here.

My colleagues Rebecca Scritchfield & Glenys Oyston both registered dietitians who know that self-care for diabetes doesn’t have to involve restriction and weight loss have created an education & support group. The Health at Every Size® (HAES®) Care for Diabetes education and support group can be accessed here.

If you are looking for a 1 to 1 relationship with specialized health practitioners with a Health At Every Size & Intuitive Eating approach, you can search the database of one the site below:

Size and Diversity Organization
HAES Community
Intuitive Eating Certified Counselor 

 

What is the weight-neutral approach to health and diabetes?

A weight-neutral approach to health is based on the idea that your health status or risk level can’t be determined solely by your weight. Instead of focusing on a weight-oriented outcome to the management of diabetes, weight-neutral programs teach you to take charge of the factors that can help diabetes within your control.

What is intuitive eating?

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.

What is the connection between nutrition and diabetes?

Studies are showing that individuals’ blood glucose levels respond very differently to different foods. This is what we call bio-individuality. Meaning there’s no one “diabetic diet” for every persona diagnose with diabetes… while there are definitely generalities with eating and lifestyle that can be helpful there’s a one fit all approach. 

How to switch from judgment to curiosity with food?

Being an intuitive eater will allow you to engage with food objectively without judgment.  It puts you back into power in the face of your food choice. It builds trust and respect for your body instead of fear and hatred.

How to get started in intuitive eating with diabetes?

The first place to begin your journey is with education. You have to educate yourself about your diagnosis including different perspectives so you can make the best choice for you.

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Intuitive Eating to Lose Weight: Your Set Point First

Intuitive Eating to Lose Weight: Your Set Point First

“I’m done with dieting… I’ve had enough. I can’t go on one more diet!” You’ve probably said that at one point. You start looking for an option. Then you find intuitive eating, and it sounds interesting! No more food restriction. You follow your hunger and fullness cues instead of counting calories. You want to try intuitive eating to lose weight… because food freedom sounds oh so appealing and exciting after years of dieting!

More and more women are turning to intuitive eating these days. It’s “cool” to be anti-diet, and even cooler to be an intuitive eater. Intuitive eating has been proposed as the next big “diet trend” in the next decade ahead…and that’s a big problem!

Typically, when we refer to “diet trend,” we refer to ways of eating to achieve weight loss. That’s what we expect, and for most of us, that’s what we seek. We think we need to lose weight. Notice that the keyword here is NEED. We want to lose weight and we don’t want to diet anymore so intuitive eating seems to be the perfect option.

It’s normal to want to lose weight

Intuitive eating to lose weight-1

I want to validate those weight loss desires. Those desires to modify your body to fit the “thin ideal” are real and constantly encouraged in a society that is laden with weight stigma and fatphobia. It makes perfect sense that you have that desire and that you think you need to lose weight.

If you find yourself asking the question, “How can I practice intuitive eating and still lose weight?” then this post is for you. And so, I’m writing this blog post to help you understand what intuitive eating is about, how your body maintains a certain weight through your set point, why it’s useless to fight against this mechanism through dieting, and what you can do instead.

You will learn:

What is Intuitive Eating?

Will intuitive eating lead to weight loss?

Your set point first

Homeostasis and happiness set point theory  

Identifying and manipulating your set point 

Why dieting is not the answer

How to get started with Intuitive Eating

 

What is Intuitive Eating? 

Intuitive eating meaning

If people ask for an intuitive eating definition, this is what I usually give them: “a self-care eating framework that uses your body’s internal cues of hunger, fullness, and satisfaction to guide your eating behavior.” Notice that this definition emphasizes the body attunement element of intuitive eating, meaning that you need to listen to your body in order to eat intuitively.

This approach to eating allows 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.

 

Should you try intuitive eating to lose weight?

If someone who claims to be a health professional tells you that you’ll lose weight with intuitive eating, run the other way! No health professional can rightly claim that Intuitive Eating leads to weight loss. I’ll explain why.

Rejecting the diet mentality is the first principle of intuitive eating. Focusing on weight loss will only hinder your progress as an intuitive eater.

Does that sound surprising? Well, it shouldn’t if you understand what eating intuitively means.

Intuitive Eating is based on interoceptive awareness or the ability to perceive physical sensations inside your body. This means, to be able to eat intuitively, you need to connect with your body and listen to your body’s “messages.” ⁣

In contrast, focusing on weight loss is based on external rules. It dulls your interoceptive sense and leads to body-doubt. It makes you think that something is wrong with you just because you’re not losing weight as you expected. Thus, you’re likely to think that intuitive eating “doesn’t work.”

While it’s true that some people lose weight when they eat intuitively, weight loss is more of a side effect rather than the focal point of intuitive eating. Some people who eat intuitively don’t lose weight, and that’s okay. Intuitive eating is weight neutral and is aligned with the Health At Every Size approach. (For more info on this approach, I recommend that you read the Health At Every Size book by Linda Bacon.

⁣Time and again, research has proven that dieting for weight loss is not sustainable. Besides, it causes more harm than good to your body and mind. Dieting increases the risk of eating disorders, binge eating, weight cycling and weight stigma.

 

Intuitive eating to lose weight? Your set point first.

set point

Think of your set point like a natural mechanism that your body uses to maintain a natural weight. This mechanism runs without your intervention. It’s just like how your lungs manage the appropriate amount of oxygen for your body or the way in which your heart manages your blood pressure.

Another fascinating analogy is how your brain automatically gets you steady on a bike even if it’s been 10 years since your last ride. It just happens without you having to think about it. Set point manages your weight in the same way.

In her book Health Every Size, Dr. Linda Bacon describes our set point as the fat thermostat in our bodies. Your set point acts just like a heat thermostat in a room. When set to a certain temperature, the thermostat will send a message to the heating system to activate when below a determined temperature.

Your hypothalamus is the region of the brain that controls the system in your body that regulates your set point. It sends messages of hunger and fullness to manage your weight. Set point will make you think of the cookies in the cupboard and will also make you say no to the pizza when you’re full.

Our set point manages all the various components in the complex human body that create our body weight. Your set point is your ideal body weight, the body weight you manage naturally without food restriction, deprivation, and over-exercising. It is your weight between diets, the weight at which you can live a non-food or exercise-obsessed life.

The set point is the body’s internal system to maintain healthy weight. One 1970s research study showed that the average weight of a 60-year-old man was only four to five pounds more than the average 30-year-old man. That kind of weight maintenance is no accident and not the consequence of dieting either.

Set Point example

Dr. Bacon has this very powerful example in her book, Health at Every Size:

“Just consider a 50-year-old woman who weighs about five pounds more than she did when she was 20. If she eats about 2,000 calories a day over the course of 30 years, she takes in about 22 million calories. Since five pounds of body fat stores about 17,500 calories, that means that her body was just 0.08% off in balancing energy in versus energy out. This amounts to a difference of about 50 calories per month—less than the calories in one egg!” – Bacon, Linda. Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight (p. 12).

Our set point can fluctuate during our lifetime. Currently, research estimates the fluctuation to be between 10 to 20 lbs. Set point fluctuates so it can maintain homeostasis.

If you are ready to explore Health At Every Size, you can download Dr. Bacon’s manifesto here.


Homeostasis 
and happiness set point theory  

Homeostasis is the ability of the human body to maintain a stable environment. It’s key to our survival. The body’s magical ability to adapt to its environment at any given condition is what allows us to survive.

This ability to maintain balance is what maintains a stable body temperature, stable blood pressure, stable level of iron, blood glucose…and yes, body weight. All of these biological systems focus on maintaining homeostasis, a.k.a. balance, so we can survive and thrive in our environment.

It even goes beyond the physical body. Homeostasis is also what creates your thoughts and emotions. Your mind responds to its emotional environment as well.

The happiness set point theory is almost similar as the body weight set point theory. It suggests that our level of subjective well-being is determined primarily by heredity and by personality traits ingrained in us early in life. As a result, it remains relatively constant throughout our lives. Our level of happiness may change temporarily in response to life events. However, it almost always returns to its baseline level.

For humans, homeostasis means survival. Our bodies will do anything to bring us back to homeostasis so we can survive, including the dreaded weight gain.

Intuitive eating to lose weight-4


Identifying and manipulating your set point  

Are you at your set point right now?

That’s a very good question which unfortunately is not that easy to answer. How much fat protection your body requires (your set point) is the result of a complex interplay of genetics and the lifestyle choices you made today as well as in the past.

You see, at this time, we do not have a tool that will allow us to determine an individual set point. We also don’t have the knowledge on how to manipulate someone’s set point either. As of today, the complexity of the human body and the number of elements involved in managing one’s set point exceed our scientific capacity.

So to be clear, if you see a headline claiming to have the secret trick to lower your set point, like the 21-day set point reset detox, which I just saw recently, that’s 100% diet culture in action. It’s a lie! Don’t buy into it because it’s a scam. It’s just another gimmick from someone who wants to make money from your despair about your body weight.

What we do know is that if we want our body to settle at a natural weight that is effortless and healthy, we must make our brain feel safe. When the brain feels safe, it will send messages to the body that it’s safe. Will you lose weight? We do not know. No one actually knows. But what we know is that health arises or is maintained in a safe physical and psychological environment.


Why dieting 
is not the answer  

When you go on a diet or when you exercise, you create an unsafe condition for your body.

The human body perceives intentional weight loss as a threat. That’s the reason diets don’t work. Your body will adapt to the starvation/deprivation period while you’re dieting and trying to lose weight.

But as soon as you release the pressure of the unsafe condition (i.e. you stop dieting or over-exercising), your body will come right back to your set point. In many cases, it will ensure complete protection from any further threat of weight loss.

So, what can we do? Based on all the current research that I’ve read, I’d like to suggest focusing on creating a relationship of trust and respect with the innate wisdom of your body.  Create a safe environment, both psychologically and physically, in which you and your body can thrive in, not just survive.

The best place to get started is to educate and understand what could be perceived by your body as unsafe especially when it comes to food and body weight.

I would encourage you to get started by listening to episode 214 of the Going Beyond The Food podcast right up to the part where I recommend a tool to help you determine what could be impacting your set point.

Here’s a free checklist and resource to help you understand the set point theory and get started on your journey into a more trusting and respectful relationship with your body.

 

How to get started with Intuitive Eating 

In all the years that I’ve been helping women as a clinical nutritionist, I’ve found that intuitive eating is the best starting point for developing a healthy relationship with food and one’s body. I’ve also made a part of my life. The women I’ve helped, as well as I, can attest that it’s positively life-changing!

I invite you to start your own intuitive eating journey and experience the same benefits that we’ve enjoyed from it. I have put together some resources that will help you get a good head start.

First, you can download my Get Started with Intuitive Eating Guide for free. It will teach you a 3-step process that will help you get started with intuitive eating right away.

Also, you can listen to the intuitive eating podcast episodes. Here, I share my best tips and interview experts who give their valuable insights on eating intuitively.

Intuitive Eating to Lose Weight FAQs

What is intuitive eating?

Intuitive eating is “a self-care eating framework that uses your body’s internal cues of hunger, fullness, and satisfaction to guide your eating behavior.” An approach to eating that allows you to develop a healthy relationship with food and your body.

Will intuitive eating make you lose weight?

Intuitive eating LEADS to weight loss. Some people lose weight when they eat intuitively but weight loss is more of a side effect rather than the focal point of intuitive eating. Intuitive eating is weight neutral and is aligned with the Health At Every Size approach.

What is set point?

A natural mechanism that your body uses to maintain a natural weight. Set point manages your weight.

How to get started with Intuitive Eating?

1. Start your own intuitive eating journey.

2. Download Get Started with Intuitive Eating Guide.

3. Listen to the intuitive eating podcast episodes of the Going Beyond the Food Show.

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What is Diet Culture and 4 Steps to Navigate It

What is Diet Culture and 4 Steps to Navigate It

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:

What is diet culture?

How to navigate the diet culture

Diet culture educational resources

Now, let’s begin exploring the diet culture so you can take your first steps to freedom!

diet culture

What is diet culture?

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.

My 25-year journey inside diet culture

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.

Now, as a health professional, I’ve helped hundreds of women work their way out of this oppressive culture and develop a healthier relationship with food using intuitive eating and body neutrality.

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.

How to navigate the diet culture

how to navigate diet culture

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:

  1. Understand that you have a choice. 

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.

  1. Take responsibility.

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.

  1. Educate yourself. 

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.

  1. Find a framework to help you reconstruct your relationship with food and with your body.

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.

Diet culture educational resources

diet culture resources

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.

Diet Culture FAQs

What is diet culture?

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!

How to navigate the diet culture?

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.

What are the diet culture educational resources?

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.

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Health Beyond Dieting: Chasing Health With Intuitive Eating

Health Beyond Dieting: Chasing Health With Intuitive Eating

Health beyond dieting seems to be a foreign concept to most people.

As I’ve always said, the prevalent diet culture conditioned us to believe that thinner is better in all aspects of life including our health. We’ve always heard that thin equals healthy, and that dieting is the way to a thinner body.

We’ve also been brainwashed into thinking that a thinner body is more attractive because it is associated with health.

This is a belief that’s hard to let go.

health-beyond-dieting-1

Why It’s Hard to Change Your Beliefs About Weight and Health

Your reptilian brain is the reason why it’s not easy to let go of beliefs. It’s the most primal part of your brain that has the survival instinct. It seeks to protect you from danger. Because the diet culture has programmed your reptilian brain into believing that fat people aren’t healthy, you’ve since associated health with thinness.

But as you’ll see, there is evidence that proves that your body size has little do with your health outcome. That said, it’s going to require some effort to reprogram your reptilian brain to fully accept the belief about health beyond dieting.

In this article, you’ll find answers to the following questions regarding health beyond dieting and the Going Beyond The Food Method:

What does it mean to be healthy? 

We all grew up with the idea that health is the absence of illness. But the World Health Organization has a definition of health that’s different from what we’re all used to. WHO defines health as “a complete state of physical, emotional and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

Good health is essential to being able to handle stress and live a long and active life. It doesn’t just refer to the absence of disease, but also to the ability to recover from illness, to adapt to life challenges in general.

When you’re healthy, it doesn’t mean you’re never sick. Humans have the innate capacity to adapt and recover from sickness and health issues. That is to say, being healthy allows you to recover and bounce back quickly.

Does “obesity” cause one to be unhealthy? 

The keyword here is CAUSE. Before we can answer the question, we must first understand the difference between Correlation and Causation. For example, smoking is correlated with alcoholism, but it doesn’t cause alcoholism. However, smoking causes an increased risk of developing lung cancer.

As of 2019, there isn’t any evidence that directly points to obesity as a causative factor in a disease. That said, many studies link or correlate obesity to health risks. Even when body weight is correlated to health risks, it is never the sole factor of any health condition.

For example, research also found that obesity does not affect the risk of having coronary heart disease and stroke “Metabolic status is relatively stable despite rising BMI”. (However, it does increase the risk of developing diabetes)

But if the question is, “Is obesity associated or correlated with health risks?” the answer would be yes.  If the question is “Is obesity causing disease?”  the answer would be no. That’s where the big difference lies.

Here’s where it gets interesting – one-third to three-quarters of people classified as obese are actually metabolically healthy. Being metabolically healthy means having your blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose levels, and other metabolic markers within the normal range.

Is health beyond dieting possible?

Yes, and scientific research proves it!

A  2016 study by researchers at UCLA studied 40,420 adult participants in the most recent U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Researchers looked at the participants’ health as measured by six accepted metrics (not including BMI). These metrics are  blood pressure, cholesterol, triglyceride, glucose, insulin resistance, and C-reactive protein.

The study found that 47% of people classified as overweight by BMI and 29% of those qualified as obese were healthy based on at least five of those other metrics.

Meanwhile, 31% of normal-weight people were unhealthy by two or more of the same measures.

A number of research studies show that weight loss is not necessary to improve physical health. Studies have also found that fitness is more predictive for mortality than weight. This study defined ‘fit’ as 3-4 hrs per week of walking.

health-beyond-dieting-2

Source: JAMA. 1999 Oct 27;282(16):1547-53.

Note: “Fit” is not synonymous with “thin” or “lean.” That’s Diet Culture. Being fit means being in good health, especially because of regular physical movement.

Furthermore, trying to change your health status simply by losing weight has not only proven to be an ineffective approach but also carries potential negative side effects to your health. The focus on intentional weight loss via dieting can be harmful. Multiple studies demonstrate negative side effects of dieting behaviors. The three most documented negative effects are weight cycling, disordered eating, and weight stigma.

What is Health At Every Size? 

As a response to the failure of the traditional weight-loss model of health, the Health at Every Size (HAES) movement emerged over the last decades.

Health At Every Size is a philosophy and an approach to health. Linda Bacon, PhD, an advocate for body positivity, wrote the book Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight. It shows through research that health behaviors influence health more than weight.

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.

Chasing health at any size is possible. Dr. Bacon had led research to support the Health At Every Size approach to health with positive outcomes over the traditional model of intentional weight loss.

Honoring your body, and being able to understand your body’s needs, leads to meaningful changes in health behaviors.

HAES subscribes to the idea of health as stated by the World Health Organization—that it is more than just the absence of disease. It also sees health as a continuum that varies throughout one’s life span. Health, in this model, is from a holistic perspective (physical, psychological, relational, and spiritual).

In fact, the Health At Every Size approach discourages judging others and oneself regarding their health status. It acknowledges that shame and oppression can have significant negative effects on one’s health and wellness.

health beyond weight loss

What is a weight-neutral approach to health? 

A weight-neutral approach to health is based on the idea that your health status or risk level can’t be determined solely by your weight.

It acknowledges that your weight is determined by a complex set of genetic, metabolic, physiological, cultural, social, and behavioral determinants. Many of these factors are either difficult or impossible to change.

Instead of focusing on a weight-oriented outcome, weight-neutral programs teach you to take charge of the factors within your control. These factors include your thoughts and behaviors. Taking charge of these factors will help you improve your well-being, regardless of your weight.

Weight-neutral approaches to health have significantly decreased body dissatisfaction, disordered eating, and depression. They’ve also increased sustainable, enjoyable self-care behaviors such as eating and moving well in the long term.

weight-neutral

Body dissatisfaction and shame: Their effect on health behaviors

Weight stigma (also known as body shaming, or weight shaming) is the social devaluation, denigration, and discrimination of people perceived to carry extra weight based on their weight.

It originated from the “old school” model of inducing behavioral changes through punishment or shaming. A common example today is the “before and after” pictures we often see on social media.

It’s a common belief that weight stigma or shaming will motivate people who don’t meet body size ideals to change their behaviors so as to avoid further stigma.

As a result, many women internalize weight stigma and become increasingly dissatisfied with their bodies.

A 2013 study published by the Journal of Obesity found no link between body weight and the way women feel about themselves. However, the findings show a link between how women feel about themselves and their health behaviors. In other words, the better they feel about their bodies, the more likely they are to take care of themselves leading to a better health outcome.

Conversely, body dissatisfaction discourages women from taking part in certain health-related activities and from eating properly to fuel their bodies. These behaviors could eventually lead to weight gain… cynical right?

Shifting from weight management to health behaviors

Instead of focusing on weight management to improve your health, what if you shifted your focus to health behaviors?

For example, what if you cared more about the quality instead of the quantity of the food you eat?

What if you improve your mindset and thoughts so you can be better motivated to move your body every day?

What if you take steps to reduce and manage stress so that you can enjoy a better quality of sleep?

Research associated healthy lifestyle habits to a significant decrease in mortality regardless of baseline body mass index. Therefore, all BMI groups can benefit from practicing healthy habits. Interestingly, the greatest benefit is seen within the BMI “obese” group.

health beyond weight loss 1

The Going Beyond The Food Method️ is a weight-neutral and non-diet health framework composed of eight core elements. Our health framework is grounded in holistic principles and functional medicine approach to health. It also follows Health at Every Size principles.

What happens if we take the Going Beyond The Food Method™️ approach to health?

The Going Beyond The Food Method is a proprietary methodology that I created. The program is primarily designed to help women make peace with food and their body. As a result, women are able to focus their efforts on health outcomes beyond dieting and weight loss. Certainly, it’s a five-step process that includes mindset, emotional regulation, mindfulness, body neutrality, and intuitive eating.

The method️ is based on four core pillars: Body Wisdom, Body Trust, Body Respect, and Body Neutrality.

The health behaviors we teach inside our programs center around intuitive eating, a well-researched self-care eating framework. Moreover, it teaches Body Neutrality, a framework that neutralizes body dissatisfaction.

going-beyond-the-food-method

Sustainability and health beyond dieting

The single most powerful advantage of a weight-neutral and non-diet approach like the Going Beyond The Food Method️ is sustainability. It helps you develop the ability to sustain health-promoting behaviors throughout your life. Our unique approach, combined with the evidence-based health benefits of intuitive eating, is very powerful!

Certainly, when it comes to health, consistency is significantly more powerful than short-term results. One of the secrets to consistency is self-compassion.

A 2015 study systematically reviewed a weight-neutral and no-diet approach to health. It determined the overall effects on factors including weight, biochemical measures, food, activity, behavior, body image, and mental health.

    • Weight stability (in 5 yrs)
    • Improved biochemical markers
    • Cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, CRP
    • Sustained healthy behaviors
    • Improvement in:
      1.  Dietary quality
      2. Psychological states
      3. Disordered eating patterns
      4. Self-esteem
      5. Depression

The Going Beyond The Food Method framework supports health-promoting behaviors and makes health beyond dieting possible. It encourages the increase of fruit and vegetable intake and variety in diet. In addition, the framework aims to encourage health behaviors such as physical activity, stress management, sleep quality, and digestive health.

intuitive-eating-and-health

Who is an ideal candidate for the Going Beyond The Food Method™️ approach to health? 

Truly anyone! Individuals who’ll benefit most from this approach are:

  • Chronic dieters.
  • Women who are overly concerned with weight and shape (a.k.a. body image issues).
  • Women who are repeatedly trying to lose weight and restricting food for two years or more.
  • Women who have had enough of dieting and regaining the weight that they lost.
  • Women who are intuitive eaters.
  • Women who have disordered eating behaviors.

If you have an eating disorder, I recommend that you work with a qualified health practitioner first. Bring yourself to safety and lay the groundwork with a health practitioner in a one-on-one setting.

Then you can come to one of our programs to learn the mindset piece of health beyond dieting.

Health beyond dieting: How to get started with a weight-neutral approach to health

You can begin by reading Dr. Linda Bacon’s bookHealth At Every Size. If you need more support in the process, you can enroll in one of our programs.

We work with women throughout the world, helping them to make peace with food and with their bodies. Moreover, we help them chase health through a weight-neutral approach. The Going Beyond The Food Health Mastery program will take you through our eight-element framework towards health. It will show you how to chase health without having to diet or lose weight.

Our program is open all year round anywhere in the world. Moreover, we also have other programs to help you with other aspects of healing your relationship with food and with your body.

Health Beyond Dieting FAQs

What does it mean to be healthy?

WHO defines health as “a complete state of physical, emotional and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Good health is essential to being able to handle stress and live a long and active life. It doesn’t just refer to the absence of disease, but also to the ability to recover from illness, to adapt to life challenges in general.

Does “obesity” cause one to be unhealthy?

The keyword here is CAUSE. Before we can answer the question, we must first understand the difference between Correlation and Causation. For example, smoking is correlated with alcoholism, but it doesn’t cause alcoholism. However, smoking causes an increased risk of developing lung cancer. But if the question is, “Is obesity associated or correlated with health risks?” the answer would be yes. If the question is “Is obesity causing disease?” the answer would be no. That’s where the big difference lies.

Is Health Beyond Dieting Possible?

Yes, and scientific research proves it! A  2016 study by researchers at UCLA studied 40,420 adult participants in the most recent U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Researchers looked at the participants’ health as measured by six accepted metrics (not including BMI). These metrics are  blood pressure, cholesterol, triglyceride, glucose, insulin resistance, and C-reactive protein.

What is health at every size®?

Health At Every Size is a philosophy and an approach to health. Linda Bacon PhD, an advocate for body positivity, wrote the book Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight. It shows through research that health behavior influences health more than weight.

What is a weight-neutral approach to health?

A weight-neutral approach to health is based on the idea that your health status or risk level can’t be determined solely by your weight.

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Intuitive Eating: 8 Evidence-Based Health Benefits

Intuitive Eating: 8 Evidence-Based Health Benefits

Does intuitive eating really have health benefits?

That’s not an unusual question for people getting started with intuitive eating. The answer is a resounding YES, and its amazing health benefits are backed by science.

In fact, intuitive eating is picking up popularity, not only among former dieters but also with researchers. As of 2019, there are more than 100 research studies looking at intuitive eating. These studies demonstrate that intuitive eating has many positive health outcomes like:

Have you been dieting for quite some time, but keep finding yourself right where you started?

Intuitive eating can help you break out of that cycle. And unlike dieting, it lets you enjoy eating without regret, guilt, or shame about your food choices.

What is Intuitive Eating?

Perhaps the best intuitive eating definition I can give you is, “a self-care framework that uses your body’s internal cues of hunger, fullness, and satisfaction to guide your eating behavior.”

This definition emphasizes self-care and implies reconnecting with the body. That is to say, you need to be attuned to your body to follow its cues.

As I discussed in my intuitive eating podcast episode of The Beyond The Food Show, eating intuitively is innate in all human beings. When you were a baby, you’d cry when you were hungry, and you’d be fed. You knew when you needed to eat. When you were full, you’d just stop feeding and go back to sleep. We just moved away from this natural state when we were immersed in the diet culture.

Does Intuitive Eating Really Work?

Yes. Hundreds of intuitive eating research studies prove that it does work. It isn’t another fad diet.

Registered Dietician Nutritionists (RDNs) in the U.S. agree. A 2017 study found that RDNs are using an intuitive eating approach more often than traditional weight management practices.

If you’re wondering “How does intuitive eating work?” you may want to read my blog post that answers that question.

Is Intuitive Eating Healthy?

Intuitive eating is both healthy and safe. It’s based on being attuned and aligned with your body’s natural hunger and fullness cues. What could be healthier than that?

But don’t take my word for it. Scientific studies do confirm the health benefits of intuitive eating. Here are a couple of examples:

A study participated by 1,600 middle-aged women links intuitive eating to lower body mass index and positive emotional health. It also showed potential benefits on nutritional and cardiovascular health.

Another study found that chronic dieters can benefit from size acceptance and intuitive eating. It also supports long-term behavioral change. Size acceptance, reducing dieting behavior, and increased awareness and response to the body’s internal cues improved health risk indicators for the study participants.

Certainly, intuitive eating is not only safe; it promotes your overall health!

intuitive-eating-benefits-1

What are the Benefits of Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive eating teaches you to have a healthy relationship with food by empowering you to trust your ability to meet your needs. It helps you distinguish between physical hunger and emotional hunger and ultimately develop body wisdom. This results in improved overall health.

Let’s look at the specific benefits intuitive eating has to offer:

1. Improved Cholesterol Levels

Intuitive eaters have been found to have lower triglyceride levels, higher levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL), and lower cardiovascular risk. One of the possible reasons for the improved cardiovascular health of intuitive eaters is the improvement in the inflammation marker, C-reactive protein (CRP).

In fact, anyone can benefit from intuitive eating, including those with health challenges. Moreover, it can also help prevent certain health conditions.

2. Lower Stress Levels

In my opinion, this is the most important benefit of eating intuitively. One of the most notable transformations demonstrated in studies that look into intuitive eating is with the psychological health indicators such as better body image and lower incidence of depression and anxiety.

Ditching the diet mentality and breaking free from the cycle of “getting on and off the wagon” will tremendously reduce your stress around food.

intuitive-eating-benefits-lower-stress-levels

3. Increased Energy

Intuitive eating increases your energy by creating a lot of mental space for you. By worrying less about eating, you have more headspace to focus on other priorities in your life.

Research also links intuitive eating with increased motivation to engage in regular physical activity. Women who say that they are internally motivated to eat are more likely to participate in physical activity for pleasure. Therefore, they see themselves as physically active.

In other words, when you eat intuitively, you’ll have more energy and you’ll want to move more. Ultimately, that leads to better health and greater productivity.

4. Improved Mental Health

One of the reasons why diets often fail is that they make you feel bad. Food restriction is associated with negative mood, decreased cognitive functioning, eating disorders, weight obsession, and body dissatisfaction.

On the other hand, a study published in the Cambridge University Press website reveals that there is a substantial and consistent relationship between intuitive eating and improved mental health.

If dieting has made you feel bad about yourself, eating intuitively will make you feel better. Therefore, helping you get into a better mental state.

5. Lower Eating Disorder Occurrence

Those who suffer from eating disorders either restrict food or overindulge. In contrast, intuitive eating resets and balances your eating habits.

Researchers analyzed the eating habits of 2,287 young adults. They found that the participants who followed their hunger and fullness cues were less likely to have eating disorder behaviors than those who didn’t.

Your body instinctively knows what, when, and how much you should eat. In like manner, when you eat intuitively, you trust your body’s wisdom to guide you. You can’t go wrong with that.

6. Improved Body Awareness

Your body has a way of giving subtle signals that are meant to guide you in making the best choices for your health. (We call these signals “body messages” in the Going Beyond the Food community.)

It also lets you know when you have a health problem coming up through the symptoms that you experience. This way, you can take the appropriate steps to deal with the problem before it becomes a crisis.

Intuitive eating is based on interoception-the ability to feel the small sensations in the body such as hunger, fullness, and satisfaction cues. Researchers have found that those who follow their internal eating cues are more sensitive to interoceptive signals.

This means that when you eat intuitively, you get more attuned to those body signals. This will help you with your relationship to food and will enable you to make the right decisions for your overall health.

7. Improved Self-Esteem

The diet culture promotes the “thin ideal.” It assumes that you that if you’re not thin enough and you don’t look a certain way, you’re broken. Therefore, you need to be fixed. It also equates food restriction with moral virtue. Obviously, it’s oppressive and can damage your self-esteem.

In contrast, intuitive eating results in positive body image, better body satisfaction, and improved self-esteem. A positive body image and high self-esteem motivate you to make better choices concerning your health while relying less on willpower.

Inside the Going Beyond The Food Method, we teach our students a unique approach to body image: Body Neutrality. For people who have lived through years of internalized and perhaps externalized body shame for years, body neutrality is the bridge from body hate to body positivity.

intuitive-eating-benefits-increased-happiness

8. Increased Level of Happiness

As you can see, intuitive eating can benefit your mental and physical health, and scientific studies prove this. When you become both physically and mentally healthier, your quality of life improves. This translates to an increased level of happiness and contentment.

How to Get Started with Intuitive Eating

Do you want to give Intuitive eating a try? If you are ready to eat better, feel better, and be healthier, we can help you!

We have created an introductory intuitive eating course. Five days, five short videos, and a guide-all free for you!

 

Intuitive Eating Benefits FAQ

Does intuitive eating improve cholesterol levels?

Intuitive eaters have been found to have lower triglyceride levels, higher levels of high density lipoproteins (HDL aka ‘good’ cholesterol), and lower cardiovascular risk.

Does intuitive eating lower stress level?

One of the most notable transformations demonstrated in studies that look into intuitive eating is with the psychological health indicators such as better body image and lower incidence of depression and anxiety.

Will I have increased energy with intuitive eating?

Intuitive eating increases your energy by creating a lot of mental space for you. By worrying less about eating, you have more headspace to focus on other priorities in your life.

Does intuitive eating improve mental health?

A study published on the Cambridge University Press website reveals that there is a substantial and consistent relationship between intuitive eating and improved mental health.

Does intuitive eating lower eating disorder occurrence?

Those who suffer from eating disorders either restrict food or overindulge. Intuitive eating resets and balances your eating habits.

Does intuitive eating improve body awareness?

When you eat intuitively, you get more attuned to those body signals. This will help you with your relationship to food and will enable you to make the right decisions for your overall health.

Does intuitive eating improve self-esteem?

Intuitive eating results in positive body image, better body satisfaction, and improved self-esteem.

Does intuitive eating increase level of happiness?

Intuitive eating can benefit your mental and physical health. When you become both physically and mentally healthier, your quality of life improves. This translates to an increased level of happiness and contentment.

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Thyroid and Peri-menopause: How one impacts the other

Thyroid and Peri-menopause: How one impacts the other

This post is written by a college and our guest expert Bridgit Danner, LAc, FDNP, founder of Women’s Wellness Collaborative. You can find more about Bridgit here.

 

Peri-menopause – the 5-10 years leading up to menopause – is a common time to be diagnosed with a thyroid condition.

In this article, I’d like to address these questions:

• Why then?

• Why more in women?

• What can be done?

Peri-menopause may begin in your late 30s or early or mid 40s.  You may notice that your PMS is worse. You may have spotting between periods. Over time, your periods will likely get more dramatic, with missed periods and heavy periods.  

Other symptoms may be popping up too, like anxiety, brain fog and weight gain. You may be thinking, “these sound like thyroid symptoms,” and you could be right!

But before we explore the thyroid connection, let’s cover what is normally happening during peri-menopause.

What is Peri-menopause?

Peri-menopause is, in short, the opposite of puberty. In puberty your ovaries are waking up to start your reproductive years. Your brain and ovaries are learning to work together to coordinate a monthly cycle, and often the first few reproductive years are hormonally unstable.

In peri-menopause, the brain-ovary relationship is starting to shut down. The ovaries are closing up shop, but the brain keeps knocking at the door, trying to get the shopkeeper working again.   

The sex hormone that needs to rise sufficiently in the first half of the month is estrogen. It is produced by the ovaries as they also grow eggs. If you produce enough estrogen and release an egg, you’ll ovulate.  And if that egg is healthy and hearty, you’ll produce a good amount of progesterone in the second half of your cycle. (The egg sac, or corpus luteum, makes progesterone after ovulation.)

How Your Thyroid Could Be Impacted in Peri-menopause

Even though both estrogen and progesterone are declining in peri-menopause, progesterone declines more dramatically in this stage. This leads to a condition called ‘estrogen dominance.’

Too much estrogen can prevent the thyroid hormone from getting to where it needs to go and can prevent it from converting to its active form. For some women, their thyroid symptoms are simply a result of this high estrogen interfering with thyroid hormone activity.  We’ll talk about how to address estrogen dominance shortly.  

Another thing estrogen effects is the immune system. Estrogen is associated with stimulating the TH2 branch of the immune system (1).  TH2 is short for T Helper cell type 2, a lymphocyte (immune cell). TH2 is part of the adaptive immune system, which mounts a specific attack against pathogens.+  Adaptive immunity is usually a good thing, but it can also lead to autoimmunity if the antigen activity is directed towards itself.

As estrogen is the dominant sex hormone in women, this helps to explain why autoimmunity and thyroid disease is more common in women.  

As we age, we also experience decreased immunity, and a tendency towards TH2 response.  

In the aged, however, naive cells are less likely to become effectors. In those that do, there is a documented shift towards a Th2 cytokine response.

The elderly have impaired ability to achieve immunization but much higher levels of circulating autoantibodies, (due to the lack of naive effectors) impaired response to viral infections, increased risk of bacterial infections, and increased risk of both neoplastic and autoimmune disease.” (3)

However, there is hope and action we can take to keep estrogen in check!

Thyroid and Peri-menopause Solutions

1. Improve Gut Health

If you’ve studied the thyroid, you know that gut health is key to prevent an autoimmune response and to convert thyroid hormone effectively.  Did you know it’s also important to clear estrogen dominance?  One way your gut helps clear estrogen is through the estrobolome, “the aggregate of enteric bacterial genes whose products are capable of metabolizing estrogens.” (4)

You can be friendly to your gut by avoiding:

• Genetically modified foods (GMO) – These kill off friendly bacteria

• Sugars – These feed troublesome bacteria . Challenge with sugar cravings you can consult our free guide to help you manage your sugar cravings here.

• Unnecessary antibiotic use – This kills everything, with bacterial imbalance often resulting in its wake

You can be friendly to your gut by including:

• Small amounts of fermented foods like sauerkraut or kimchi

• A wide variety of fibers from salad greens, fresh spices, berries, etc.

• A long period from an early dinner to breakfast lets your gut bacteria grow in peace!

If you are impacted by uncomfortable peri menopause symptoms a great place to start is with your diet. Making simple changes to the way you eat can have powerful impact to reduce your symptoms.

2. Boost Progesterone

Progesterone helps keep estrogen in check, so boost it by giving your body ingredients to make hormones.

• Hemp Oil – I’ve been very impressed with how 1 T of hemp oil a day helps my own peri-menopausal hormones

• Borage Oil – This oil, usually in pill form, has gamma linoleic acid to spark hormone production

• Maca- This adaptogenic root herb helps boosts hormone production and can benefit your energy levels and sex drive

3.  Help Out Your Immune System

If aberrant immunity could be a problem in your case, add some components that can balance your TH2 activity:

• Fish Oil- Fish oil has a balancing effect on the immune system and decreases inflammation. (5)  Quality matters with fish oil, so do research to find a good brand.

• Vitamin D- Vitamin D deficiency is found at higher levels in people with autoimmune thyroid disease.  (6) Talk to your doctor about getting your vitamin D tested and restoring it to a level around 60-80 NG/DL through sunshine and vitamin D3 supplementation. You can consult our guide to supplement here.

Learn more about the thyroid at perimenopause from experts like Dana Trentini, Dr. Tom O’Bryan and Heather Dubé at the free, online Hormone Balance After 40 Summit.
Thyroid and Peri-menopause

The summit happens live June 5-11, 2017, but recordings will live on after the live summit.  Register here.

You’ll hear 30+ experts on the topics like:

• Boosting your Metabolism

• Reclaiming your Sex Drive

• Restoring Mental Clarity.  

The best part is that it’s all free and you can attend online from any computer or smartphone.  Register here for your own

Hormone Balance After 40! This is possible and normal!

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Natural Remedies For Hot Flashes

Natural Remedies For Hot Flashes

natural remedies for hot flashesToday, I’m sharing my best natural remedies for hot flashes. But what really causes hot flashes? Ask any doctor and they’ll tell you that hot flashes and night sweats are caused by falling estrogen levels as women age. That’s it.

Anyway, that’s the answer most of my ladies in my community get when they ask.

Just a bit on me I’m Stephanie Dodier Clinical Nutritionist and Intuitive Eating expert and I lead a community of women over 40 so we are very familiar with the topic of hot flashes! I developed the Going Beyond The Food Method™️ a proprietary methodology that helps women make peace with food and their body. Chronic dieter and body shy women become intuitive eater & body confident women that live a full life unconditionally. If a life without dieting is something that sounds interesting I’d love to meet you.

Back to the topic of hot flashes.

So when you go to see your doctor say that you want to stop hot flashes and night sweats, what you’re most likely to get is a prescription for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and an extended talk about the issues that are associated with HRT.

Take a moment to stop and think about it though – how can all of this just be from falling estrogen levels? It just doesn’t make any sense, since every woman on the face of the Earth sees a drop in her estrogen during menopause, why don’t all of us get hot flashes? And the women who do get hot flashes get them at different times – some when they’re upset, others when they eat sugary or starchy foods.

Now think about what happens when you flash. You get hot, you get sweaty, your heart rate goes up, and you might well feel anxious. Doesn’t that feel more like someone came up and surprised you – something like a panic attack? A Fight or Flight reaction?

How can this be? Let’s break it down.

Adrenal Glands & Hot Flashes

The part of your brain that regulates temperature responds to both estrogens AND to adrenaline hormones. Adrenaline is a stress hormone in the same family of stress hormones as cortisol and norepinephrine. All 3 of these hormones are produced by our adrenal glands located on top of our kidney.

Your adrenaline level is usually low if you are in a state of relaxation and feel calm. We know that your if your adrenaline level is low that your estrogen level is high or low that you won’t a hot flash. However, if your adrenaline level is chronically high, i.e. you’re more stressed out than you should be, and you have a drop in estrogen you will trigger a series of reaction in your body that will produce a hot flash.

Yes hot flashes are in part due to estrogen level being low BUT it’s triggered by our stress level via adrenaline. Addressing your stress level is as important as considering how we can stabilize our estrogen level.

Natural Remedies For Hot Flashes: Stress Reduction Techniques

If you’re stressed, then your body is responding to stressors in your environment. We’re talking about physical and emotional things that are affecting your body to bring it out of balance. These are things that we know may cause hot flashes.

Environmental stressors can come from a myriad of places, and here are some examples. Check out which ones you think you might be struggling against.

  • Nutrition
  • Illness
  • Relationships
  • Finances
  • Lack of movement
  • Negative thoughts

Reducing sources of stress in your life will help you to stop hot flashes. Let’s see how.

Nutrition

Diet-induced stress is a great place to start. We know that when we eat sugary & highly processed food our blood sugar levels go up. This makes our insulin kick in to reduce them. When insulin rises, cortisol goes up with it. ! Making dietary changes is one of the best natural remedies for hot flashes. Read more about how to modify your diet here.

Movement

Incorporating movement in your life can be incredibly critical when it comes to managing your hot flashes. Lack of movement is not only a cause of stress for pre and postmenopausal women but for everyone. For women in menopause, it can escalate to more symptoms than in many other people, so adopting a practice of mind/body light movement techniques like walking in nature, yoga or even swimming will have an amazingly calming effect on your nervous system, reducing the impact on your adrenal glands.

Supplementation

B-vitamins offer a great place to start supplementing to stop hot flashes since B’s are in high demand in the metabolism of stress in our body. They’re also a powerful methylator in the metabolism of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. Find a complete B-complex formula and take it 3 times a day with food.

Herbal supplements have been studied and demonstrated to help manage your cortisol level and thereby your stress level, thus reducing the load on your adrenals. Licorice Root is well known for helping to support adrenal balance as well as energy levels and endurance. Rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb that protects against stress-related fatigue and ultimate “burnout”, increasing mental clarity, supporting the immune system and assisting in balancing blood sugar regulation – an all around great supplement!

Vitamin C is another powerful nutrient that can be added to your daily regimen and will help support your adrenals. It’s also, of course, one of the most powerful antioxidants and an immune booster. Use 1000mg x3 day with food if you’re unsure where to start.

You can access my favourite brands and recommendation in my store right here

Your mind and thoughts: the most powerful tips for stopping hot flashes

One of the key natural remedies for hot flashes is focusing more on loving thoughts. Thoughts that bring you pleasure (like thinking about people you love or favourite pets) short-circuit the harm done by the body’s physiological reaction to stress.

This learning to “think with your heart” may be challenging at first, but it’s definitely worth it. If you faithfully work at this technique and regularly pay attention to the areas of your life that bring you joy and fulfillment, you will evoke biochemical changes in your body over time that will recharge your adrenal batteries. You can read more about my personal journey with connecting mind and body here.

Learning to quiet your mind and focus on positive thoughts can be easy with the practice of deep breathing or meditation. Start with a quick and easy 5 minutes a day as you wake up. Then as you get more comfortable, increase your quiet time (aka meditation) to 15-20 minutes a day. I teach techniques to overcome food cravings that can get you started on this journey to quieting your mind. In my free guide Crave Cure Guide I take you through my 4 steps to cure you cravings.

The good news is that there are many natural remedies for hot flashes and other unpleasant and unwelcome symptoms of peri–menopause and menopause. Reducing your level of stress in many aspects of your life can not only leave you feeling more relax and healthier but also cooler! You can stop hot flashes.

Next steps would be for you read the first article in this series Nutrition for Menopause and last one Sleep and menopause.

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Natural Remedies for GERD and What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know

Natural Remedies for GERD and What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know

Natural remedies for GERDGERD is something that so many people suffer with including many of the women in my free and private community, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Living with GERD means living with stomach acid, and sometimes stomach contents, flowing back up out of the stomach and into the esophagus where it can cause damage, and always causes discomfort. Fortunately, there are natural remedies for GERD.

This is a consistent and constant problem for those who suffer with it, and it can seem like there are few solutions for GERD patients. There is hope, ways to address the burning chest pain that comes with GERD, things that your doctor doesn’t know.

GERD : The Emotional Connection

GERD is fundamentally connected to our emotional life. Our inability to process new things that are coming into our lives, the fear that we feel about the future and what it means, the feeling that we can’t do it and so we don’t process life the way that we should in order to be healthy.

Not processing emotions = not processing food.

These two are one and the same in our lives! Chinese medicine tells us this as well, as it teaches us that digestive and stomach problems come from worry, anxiety, mistrust and fear. Even modern-Western science tells us that, anxious feelings are connected to the symptoms of acid reflux.

The goal is to learn on how to listen to yourself, and take away the power of that stress by confronting it gently and then planning to remove it. Here are some things that you can do to help calm the emotional state that is driving gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Natural Remedies for GERD: The Acid Connection

What your doctor WON’T tell you is that the primary issue driving GERD isn’t too much stomach acid – it’s too little. Research shows us that GERD is closely linked to stomach pressure, gas which is pushing up on the opening to the esophagus. That pressure comes from food not being digested properly.

Right after chewing, the second step in digestion is stomach acid breaking down the food. Without proper digestion, “bad” bacteria in the gut start to grow out of control as they feed on undigested carbs. H. Pylori affects more than half of people in modern society, and it produces many of the symptoms associated with GERD, as well as other digestive issues like constipation and IBS.

The good news is that you can combat the effects of low acid and resolve GERD! Here’s how.

  • Have your HCL production tested (many doctors are hesitant to do this, but it’s important!)
  • Don’t drink during meals
  • Add HCL to your diet (watch my video to learn how!). Don’t add this if you’re on an anti-inflammatory medication as it could cause serious side effects.
  • Try bitters or apple cider vinegar, two natural remedies for GERD, although the HCL is more effective.

You CAN resolve GERD! What your doctor doesn’t know about GERD, are these incredible techniques. Things that can make your life yours again, without the pain and discomfort. The first step as always is to start with food which you can refer to The Crave Cure Program for guidance on how to change your nutrition.

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The Truth About NSAID Side Effects: What You Need to Know

The Truth About NSAID Side Effects: What You Need to Know

the truth about NSAID side effects

NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs) are over-the-counter medication sold under names such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Celebrex, Naprosyn, Toradol, etc. They’re commonly used to reduce pain caused by headaches, arthritis, coughs, colds, and sports injuries. However, very few people know about the truth about NSAID side effects.

How NSAIDs work

NSAIDs work by reducing or blocking the production of a compound named “Prostaglandin”. You can think of prostaglandin as something similar to a hormone (i.e. estrogen or cortisol).

Prostaglandin has certain negative effects such as increasing inflammation, pain and fever, but on the positive side it protects our stomach lining from the damaging effects from HCL (the acid we have in our stomach that helps digest our food) and it also protects the small intestine lining from the damaging effects of the digestion process.

Therefore, prostaglandin serves both a good and bad purpose in our body. Remember that NSAIDs reduce prostaglandin, and therefore, they influence both its positive and negative effects. This means, that yes, your pain is reduced, but your stomach and small intestine are exposed to the damaging effects of the digestive process that occurs in our gastrointestinal tract every minute of the day!

The Truth About NSAID Side Effects: The Ugly Side of NSAIDs

NSAIDs have positive side effects of reducing pain but also can lead to the following body messages or symptoms:

  • Stomach ulcer (a hole in the stomach lining) leading to poor production of HCL (hydrochloric acid), which in turn leads to poor digestion and malabsorption.
  • Small intestine lining perforation causing leaky gut (hole in the small intestine) leading to food allergies and intolerances, and in the long term to auto immune disease.
  • Depression (in most cases due to the above leaky gut syndrome)
  • Delayed digestion
  • Kidney damage
  • Liver damage
  • Dizziness
  • Tinnitus
  • Increase blood pressure

The Root Cause of Our Pain

Taking NSAIDs is a way of affecting and treating symptoms, and doing so is only hiding the root cause of the issue. When we experience symptoms such as headaches, this sends us a message that something is wrong inside of us. We must listen to these messages to find the root cause and treat it, or otherwise the pain or inflammation will continue indefinitely.

In the case of chronic diseases such as arthritis, which require long term usage of NSAIDs, always take the time and care to consider natural options. As an example, fish oil (specifically the EPA component of fish oil), is a powerful agent that reverses the effects of prostaglandin (inflammation & pain) without the side effects. So, choosing an alternative could potentially be as easy as taking a regular dose of fish oil….

Body Messages

To recap the two critical points – when our body manifests symptom such as headaches or pain, this a way for it to give us a signal that something abnormal is happening.

We must listen, or otherwise chronic diseases will be waiting just around the corner. Lastly, it is important to keep in mind that although available over the counter, NSAIDs are very powerful drugs that have many side effects and we should avoid taking them on regular basis.

Alternative Solution to NSAIDs

Now that you know the truth about NSAID side effects, you’d want to look for effective pain relief without any of the dreadful side effects I mentioned. You have a few alternative as outlined by Dr. David Williams here.

If you pain is due to inflammation, which is most likely the case for symptoms such as arthritis, joint pains in general and most injury you can follow my anti-inflammatory protocol here.

Share your thoughts: Do you currently use NSAID? Do you use an alternative? What is your go to for pain relief?

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Welcome!

 

I’m Stephanie Dodier - Clinical Nutritionist, Intuitive Eating expert, Podcast host, and Creator of the Going Beyond The Food Method™️, which was born from my own journey with chronic dieting & body image and has since grown into a global movement.

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