As I think back on the last few years, a lot has changed in my life, but in many ways these changes have opened windows into my deep truths, the ones that stay the same regardless of what happens on the outside. You know, the ones down the deep, dark rabbit hole. With my environment shifting around me, I knew I had to dig deep to keep myself grounded. I’ve spent quite a bit of time rolling around down there and I am finally ready to do the work that truly inspires me. My master plan for 2017 and coincidentally my biggest lifetime dream is to turn my passion into a career – I want to help women feel empowered, to make use of their intuition and their unique skills. I want to inspire confidence. For now, my focus is on Intuitive Eating but I have a good feeling this is just my jump off point because the practice of using intuition to guide your actions no doubt extends beyond just nourishing your body and can be used in many, if not all areas of living.
I’ve spent years rounding out my weaknesses and I am ready to start leaning into my innate strengths. This has been profoundly terrifying and freeing all at the same time. What if I’m not enough? What if my fate is not what I expected? At this point, I am ready to face whatever this reality is because NOT living authentically is no longer a choice for me. I’ve been turning things inside out and learning to trust that I am enough as I am. This is really the essence of what I want to help other women with. Eating intuitively is not about wanting to change your body; it’s about leaning into what your body has to offer and treating it with respect. It’s about letting go of judgment, staying focused in the present. I heard this amazing quote recently. Carl Jung is noted to have said - “I’d rather be whole than good”. It’s funny how simple this statement is and I ask myself why the meaning of these words had never occurred to me before. Instead of doing things just to seek out external labels like intelligence beauty or discipline (my previous pursuits), my mission is to pursue a daily life that makes me feel whole. This is now how I approach nourishing my body as well.
Intuitive eating is eating without moral judgment. It’s about understanding your unique needs and your eating style that cares for your body, mind and your soul. This is so individual and the reason one size does NOT fit all. Following a mathematical equation that predicts how to best nourish your body only gets you so far. If you use set meal plans with target calories and nutrients and never look inward, what are the chances this equation will be right for you long term? You see, your needs change from day to day. We don’t have a formula that can predict all the magic your body does from one day to the next. That means it would be pretty darn difficult to predict what you need to eat to be at your best physically, mentally and emotionally. If ‘they’ really knew the magic formula, why in the world would there be so many different diets out there, some even disguised as sensible eating? In contrast, by learning to eat intuitively, you can help your body perform its magic. Personally I’ve always loved all things mystical (unicorns were my favourite). I also find when we try to box in life’s magic by distilling it into a formula, we strip the beauty right out of it. Don’t get me wrong; I am a Registered Dietitian so I understand how important (ethically and legally) it is to guide my clients using the best available evidence. But that’s just it – research shows that up to two thirds of people regained more weight than they lost after dieting (1). So do I just sit back and do nothing until science figures out ‘the diet’? Well you see, science is a dynamic process that builds on knowledge rather than identifying exact and static truths. So instead of waiting for paradoxical perfection, I want to help move you in a positive direction. Research on intuitive eating is showing amazing promise. Intuitive eating supports well being in so many ways (2-9) including helping the body function better (improved blood pressure and blood fats), helping people make healthier lifestyle choices (like exercise and less disordered eating) and improving mental health (mood, self-esteem and body image). In addition, and very importantly, none of the studies using Intuitive Eating interventions resulted in any harm to participants. We can’t say the same for dieting! Dieting has resulted in food and body pre-occupation, weight cycling, eating disorders, weight stigmatization, distraction from other personal health goals, just to name a few (10-12).
The choice is clear for me. I choose body wisdom, I choose empowerment, I choose whole health, I choose Intuitive Eating. I choose to support others to learn this holistic approach to wellness.
Mann T, Tomiyama AJ, Westling E, Lew AM, Samuels B, Chatman J: Medicare's Search for Effective Obesity Treatments: Diets Are Not the Answer. Am Psychol. 2007, 62: 220-233.
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Provencher V, Bégin C, Tremblay A, Mongeau L, Boivin S, Lemieux S: Short-term effects of a "health-at-every-size" approach on eating behaviors and appetite ratings. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2007, 15: 957-966.
Bacon L, Stern J, Van Loan M, Keim N: Size acceptance and intuitive eating improve health for obese, female chronic dieters. J Am Diet Assoc. 2005, 105: 929-936.
Bacon L, Keim N, Van Loan M, Derricote M, Gale B, Kazaks A, Stern J: Evaluating a "Non-diet" Wellness Intervention for Improvement of Metabolic Fitness, Psychological Well-Being and Eating and Activity Behaviors. Int J Obes. 2002, 26: 854-865.
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Tanco S, Linden W, Earle T: Well-being and morbid obesity in women: A controlled therapy evaluation. Int J Eat Disord. 1998, 23: 325-339.
Neumark-Sztainer D: Preventing obesity and eating disorders in adolescents: what can health care providers do?. J Adolesc Health. 2009, 44: 206-213. 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2008.11.005.
Daníelsdóttir S, Burgard D, Oliver-Pyatt W: AED Guidelines for Childhood Obesity Prevention Programs. 2009, Academy of Eating Disorders
Bacon L: Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight. 2010, Dallas: BenBella Books, Second