Ok, let’s talk about Intuitive Eating real quick. I keep getting a lot of questions about where people can learn more about the principles of Intuitive Eating, and, more importantly how you can put them into practice, so I figured why not do a round up of my favourite resources?
One thing you need to know about IE is that it’s hard. There are no rules, there are no restrictions. Building a non-batshit crazy relationship with food takes time, and sometimes it needs support. Be wary of people who promote IE and macro counting or monitoring your portions (more on that coming up in another blog) – that’s not IE, that’s diet mentality (read about the problems with diets here).
Ultimately, what Intuitive Eating boils down to is learning to understand and interpret your own hunger and satiety cues. But it’s also SO MUCH MORE than that: it’s about learning to make peace with foods (including sugar, gluten, and dairy), it’s about learning to accept your body and stop trying to control it with food, or punishing it with exercise. It’s about learning to be cool with cookies and brownies, and understanding what’s really going on when you faceplant into a bucket of Ben & Jerry’s. It’s about learning to shut down the Food Police and eat for pleasure and because food tastes good. It’s about honouring your body with food that tastes good AND makes you feel good. It’s about letting go of restrictions on food and trusting that your body knows how to maintain the healthiest weight for it, without you obsessing over every mouthful you eat. Like I said, it’s hard. It’s complicated and nuanced and there are fuck tons of caveats.
But there are loads of great resources to help you with this shit. Whether you’re a Registered Nutritionist or Dietitian looking to move to a non-diet approach and want resources to share with your clients, or if you just wanna learn more for yourself, these are my top resources that I recommend everyone checks out, other than my content, obvs *hair flip*
I mean, no duh that you would start with the book but I wanted to put it in because a lot of people don’t realise that Intuitive Eating is an actual programme as opposed to this nebulous thing that you just say you’re doing because you don’t want people to think you’re doing clean eating anymore. If you haven’t read this book yet, chances are you’re not eating intuitively. Step 1, get the book. Make sure it’s the third edition.
Let’s be real, the Intuitive Eating book is dated. Ain’t nobody been named Nancy since 1988. It can make it difficult to put these things into practice when they don’t seem totally relevant. Kelsey Miller makes intuitive eating feel fresh and cool. She’s funny, and real and I totally dig her whole vibe. Her column The Anti Diet Project is on cool-girl website –Refinery 29. She writes about everything from ditching the diet mentality, to body image, to gentle nutrition and all the things in-between. There’s so much in there that you’ll secretly pray for a rainy day so you can sit on the couch and binge read them all. Kelsey has also been on Don’t Salt My Game and her book Big Girl is another must read.
As an Intuitive Eating practitioner, this podcast taught me a lot professionally; the host, Christy, is a non diet dietitian who interviews other nutritionists and dietitians, therapists, activists, and loads of other cool people about their relationships with food. Most guests have a history of disordered eating or an eating disorder and share their stories of recovery and learning to be cool with food. Christy and her guests are so knowledgeable about non diet approaches but they also get into how the problem is rarely really about food and explore the complex psychological, emotional, and cultural reasons we end up feeling crazy around food. One of my favourite episodes is this one with Isabel Foxen Duke (an.other anti-diet hero) around making peace with food. You can catch Christy on my podcast here.
Kylie Mitchell is another non diet RD who shares really helpful and practical advice and tools for implementing intuitive eating, plus loads of great blog and Instagram posts discussing the practicalities of IE. I’m especially lucky to have done some training with Kylie and love her approach to IE.
I particularly love this recent post she wrote about saying goodbye to her pre pregnancy body; one thing we all struggle with is accepting our bodies. For me, a comforting thought is that bodies are constantly changing; babies, illness, injury, life shit, ageing, accidents. Bodies are never ‘done’ which is why transformation pics are so dumb. What happens after ‘after’? Wouldn’t it be so much better to accept your body where it is right now than keep fighting it for the rest of your life with diets and punishing over exercise. When we stop hating ourselves, it allows us to actually start taking real care of our bodies. Intuitive Eating (and fuck loads of therapy), can help you get there. Kylie’s post on how body bashing is like a comfy pair of sweatpants is another one I love and use with clients a lot. How do you use body bullying as a safety net to stop you doing bigger, better, more exciting things in life? How do your body bashing pants keep you small?
One more RD, just for good measure. Robyn is a non diet dietitian and nurse practitioner based in New York, NY. She likes to talk about hormones a lot, which I really enjoy. This post about hunger shaming is a particular favourite. As is this one about gastro issues.