The Intuitive Eating "Scale"

The Intuitive Eating "Scale"

 

When my clients move from the diet paradigm to the non-diet approach, there’s understandably a lot of apprehension. Even if we understand that diets fundamentally don’t work, we almost can’t bear the thought of outright “giving up.” I mean, even if the latest fad doesn’t amount to anything, at least we can say we tried. 

 

I get it. I really, truly, deeply get it.

 

Especially as women where our bodies are currency and our hotness level a type of status, I can understand the attachment to diet culture and the resistance to embrace anything else. 

 

Diets help us to feel productive and useful, especially at liminal (transitional) points in our lives when things feel irreparably messy. Puberty, pregnancy, menopause - these are all points in time when we don’t have a whole lot of control over our lives, so we take the reigns by focusing on the concrete (you know, like on our bodies.) We feel out of control, so we react by making changes to the one thing the body myth tells us we can shape: our size.

In Defence of Cookies: Why Sugar is Not a Drug

In Defence of Cookies: Why Sugar is Not a Drug

With the sheer amount of fear-mongering inspired by the unicorn frappuccino, I figured it was time to set the record straight. While I love pure maple syrup and local honey, my kind of cookie includes some kind of sugar. And though there’s much to be said for “natural sweeteners,” I think we often forget sugar is a natural sweetener, too, sourced from the stems of sugar cane or the roots of sugar beets. 

 

Health experts are generally quick to criminalize sugar. Sugar is “bad”, sugar “causes obesity” or “leads to obesity”, sugar makes us fat, sugar gives us various diseases and leads to metabolic syndrome, sugar is the devil, sugar is a drug. And though sugar isn’t exactly a vegetable, there’s no reason why kale can’t co-exist with real, fresh-out-of-the-oven oatmeal cookies.

The Anti-Diet Guide to Enjoying Vegetables

The Anti-Diet Guide to Enjoying Vegetables

For every person touting the benefits of green smoothies, there’s a kid out there —  the last at the dinner table — forcing themselves to eat sad, steamed cruciferous vegetables. 

Maybe you eat salads because you were told to. Or you begrudgingly tell yourself you actually like vegetables as you choke down another bite of bok choy. 

Maybe you never imagined it could be any different. 

Imagine…

…Rummaging through the fridge in search of arugula.

…Sliding your knife through a roasted cabbage coated with tahini, decorated with parsley and pomegranate aerils. 

…Folding grated, summer fresh zucchini into a chocolate to make a loaf cake. 

…Enjoying a bowl of oatmeal, mixed with carrots, raisins, ginger, brown sugar, and cinnamon. 

Though I spent my early days as a nutritionist handing out vegetable prescriptions the way my grandmother might candy, I’ve since drastically changed my approach.

It's Not About Giving Up, It's About Moving On: Why All Diets Make Us Feel Crazy Around Food

It's Not About Giving Up, It's About Moving On: Why All Diets Make Us Feel Crazy Around Food

“Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told.” -Cheryl Strayed

  1. How Sweet It [Was]:Pre-Diet Culture
  2. The Myth of Diets and Weight Loss
  3. 3 Reasons Why Diets Make Us Feel Crazy Around Food
  4. Can You Actually Control Your Weight? What the Science Says
  5. Solutions for a Post-Diet Culture: The Importance of Self-Care

HOW SWEET IT [WAS]: PRE-DIET CULTURE

Dieting — whether we call it by name or one of its other names, such as “being good” or “watching our weight” — has been rendered so normalized that it’s nearly impossible for most of us to think of food without it. What would life look lies if we were all normal eaters who moved because we enjoyed it, never said “I shouldn’t” in response to a slice of chocolate cake, and associated food with joy?

 

The truth is, we did live without diets. And we remained relatively healthy. We ate steak piled high with mushrooms and onions, served beside a baked potato and sour cream. Apple pie with cheese. Eggs and bacon, cooked in animal fats; pancakes soaked in sweet maple syrup. And we mostly maintained our weight without obsessing over any of it.

10 Reasons You Still Hate Your Body (And What To Do About It)

10 Reasons You Still Hate Your Body (And What To Do About It)

I’m not anti-weight loss, but like most intuitive eating coaches, I’m anti-pursuit of weight loss. 

But what happens when you know this on an intellectual level and you’ve succeeded in ditching the diet, but you still haven’t made peace with your body? 

In my experience as an intuitive eating coach, the body image piece is the last to click. It isn’t a linear or quick process; it often takes a lot of self-compassion, patience, and perseverance. But the time is going to pass regardless of whether you like your body or not. I figure you can spend the rest of your life trying to change it while loathing it, or you can do the necessary work to make peace with it and move on to other things that will ultimately prove more fulfilling. 

Here’s 5 reasons you still haven’t made peace with your body and how to troubleshoot each piece of the puzzle. 

 

“Feeling Fat”: How to Move On From Using Diets as Coping Mechanisms

“Feeling Fat”: How to Move On From Using Diets as Coping Mechanisms

I felt utterly, completely lost when I finally ditched diet culture. 

Sure, I’d mostly untangled myself from the mess, but still — diets were an easy coping mechanism. Like a deck of cards, you could fan them out and pick one to play. Low energy? There’s a diet for that. Sluggish digestion? There’s a diet for that. Hormonal imbalance? Yup, one for that too. 

Whatever your problem, whether a bad breakup (too much ice cream? There’s a diet for that) or trauma, there’s a diet in the wings, just waiting for you to mutter, “I’ll start this on Monday.”  

According to The Bodywise Woman by Judy Mahle Lutter, 50% of American women are on a diet at any given time, up to 90% of teenagers diet regularly, and up to 50% of younger kids have tried a diet at some time. 

Can't Stop Overeating at Night?: 5 Steps to Stop Feeling Like a Post-Dinner Food Junkie

Can't Stop Overeating at Night?: 5 Steps to Stop Feeling Like a Post-Dinner Food Junkie

You make sure to sit down to a nourishing breakfast. Maybe it’s a green smoothie made with Granny Smith apple, celery, cucumber, Romaine lettuce, watercress, and the juice of a lime and lemon. Lunch is always a salad topped with some kind of protein or a bowl of soup. You snack on hummus and vegetables. But come nighttime, you find yourself compulsively raiding the cupboards, eating whatever you can get your hands on. Crackers, half-empty bags of potato chips, that lone pint of ice cream, chocolates your friend brought over on the weekend. You can’t stop and feel totally out of control. You don’t feel satisfied, and worse, you feel crazy. If I could just control the mindless snacking, you’ve said. If only I could stop bingeing, I’d be able to maintain my weight. 

It’s not you, darling. It’s the diet.

4 Questions I Filter My Food Choices Through Before Eating

4 Questions I Filter My Food Choices Through Before Eating

While intuitive eating is a land without rules, learning how to navigate its waters isoften challenging for those of us who’ve spent the fast few years relying on macros, calories, and carb counts rather than listening to our bodies. How will I know when I’ve had enough to eat? Can I trust myself to stop eating? Will my body ever stop wanting pasta and mashed potatoes? Am I actually full or should I keep going? My head is spinning just thinking about it. 

To ease your way into intuitive eating, I’ve pulled together a list of four questions I filter my food choices through before I eat — and that you might wish to filter your food choices through, too! I want to emphasize that these are not rules; they’re guidelines to help you to become more intuitive about your food choices and to connect with your internal wisdom.