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5 Ways Eating Intuitively Can Help You Enjoy Life
Intuitive eating is becoming more and more of a buzz word these days. But many are using it incorrectly or with the wrong intention - which is to create another weight loss strategy/plan, which makes me (and every other intuitive eating counselor) downright mad. Intuitive eating is grounded on the principles of HAES © and the very first principle of intuitive eating is to reject diet culture. So, you see that using intuitive eating to advocate for another diet and to promote weight loss is nonsensical and perpetuates the harm of weight stigma. Diet culture is the mindset that I need to change my body (usually shrink it - as thinness is the ideal of our current culture) in order to be OK (healthy, accepted, loved). Diet culture is everything around us that perpetuates this faulty mindset. Think social media, movies, magazines, the medical system - pretty much anything that pushes us towards not being OK in our body as we are and needing to shrink it. So now that weight loss is out of the way, let's explore how intuitive eating can help you live your best life. 1) You're grounded in your body wisdom When you're eating intuitively, you're connected to your body wisdom. Yes, you read that right, your body has wisdom. Think about it. Our physical body is where we feel sensations cueing us into what we need- physically, emotionally and spiritually (I refer to spirituality as our inner guidance). With that in mind you can see how intuitive eating opens the door to authenticity and connection to yourself. Let's explore this more. Our physical needs include the need to eat, pee, stay warm, hydrated etc. But often we get so busy, that we ignore our basic needs! Are you someone that ignores your need to eat, thinking that you'd better not so you can loose weight? And later on finding yourself ravenous and binge eating on everything in sight? With intuitive eating you are connecting to your physical needs through a process called inner attunement. - paying closer attention to your physical needs without judgement. When we are attuned to our body we don't question our needs and desires, instead we explore them routinely, knowing that there is no right or wrong way of being. Bringing in curiosity instead of judgement is crucial to connecting to yourself and becoming intuitive in your eating. To understand this, I like imagining a scientist exploring through a neutral lens - with curiosity and awe- rather than judgmental emotions and criticism. So what about our emotions and our inner guidance? What's incredible about this process is that we begin to honour our physical needs, we also begin to explore the different emotions we feel and become more connected to our inner guidance. You may have had a rough day at work - perhaps you feel like you were misunderstood- and now you have a tightness in your throat and heaviness in your chest. These are emotions in your body, wanting to be acknowledged and released. Most of us have not been taught how to recognise, express and release emotions in a healthy way. In this case of feeling angry, frustrated or sad you may find yourself turning to food as a way to feel better. This is a very normal way to deal with emotions, and a coping tool that many of us started using from a young age. And in this case, you can see the problem is not the food but recognising and releasing your emotions. Lastly , and most profoundly, our inner guidance or intuition is our guiding compass in life. That inner knowing is a combination of connection with our body, our cognition and our instincts. And it is most often felt in our gut - you know that gut feeling! 2) You're not swayed by new diet crazes You're straight up more attuned to your body needs. So what if there's a new diet fad that says that all carbs are bad? You're a badass in knowing that when you skip carbs, you feel fatigued, low energy, more likely to binge on candy later in that evening, and your bowels suffer - I'm just giving some examples here, but hey these are in fact some symptoms you may have when not eating enough throughout the day. 3) You've got your own back Why is this important? Well cause when you're honouring your needs, you're taking care of yourself and respecting what's ok with you and what's not ok. So then when it comes to your relationships, you're able to speak up and say "I'd rather stay home and rest tonight, instead of coming out clubbing, cause I have an early start tomorrow morning and I need my sleep." 4) You are less of a people-pleaser By taking the time and space to check in with your own basic needs you begin to be more present and attuned to your own voice and inner guidance. Your friends or mum may suggest something, but instead of jumping into it without a second thought, you now take a moment to sit with it and how it feels for you. You journal about it (or bring in some awareness) and check in with yourself: "Is this what I'd like to do?" 5) You are less resentful In the past, you may have gone out clubbing repeatedly with your friends when all you've wanted to do is have an easy night in and to wake up feeling refreshed - ready to do what's meaningful to you the next morning. Every single time, there was an inner knowing that you do not want to go out, but you ignored it cause - well- FOMO (fear of missing out). This cycle made you feel pissed off with yourself - sound familiar? Becoming an intuitive eater, opens up the door to knowing what you are comfortable with. So now, you're tuned in to you, and more aware of your needs and desires. Plus you are able to communicate more openly and feel way more understood, seen and heard. Continuing from the above example, you might explain to your friends that going clubbing this Saturday is a no go zone for you cause you are so excited to wake up and go horse ridding the next morning (yiiiha!). You get the point! Plus remember that just because it's a no go this Saturday, it doesn't mean that this will always be the case. Remember, showing up authentically feels good. Plus your friends and loved ones need to hear, know and respect the real you. If you don't express what you need or want, how will others know you? Keen to become an intuitive eater and begin living the life you crave? Join me for Intuitive Eating Reclaimed or book a one-on-one session. #intuitiveeating #authenticity #peoplepleasing #emotions
Your Intuition Filter
Our intuition is an interplay of attunement to our physical body, instinct, emotions, as well as mental and spiritual awareness. We need to learn how to balance our intuition together with taking action and to take meaningful action we need to be connected to our intuition. The transition from people pleasing and abandoning our own desires to actually tuning in to ourselves can be tricky, painful and scary. But our intuition is a sacred gift that is waiting to be honoured, heard and acted on. As Albert Einstein said: The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift. This episode will help you begin to unpack your intuition, and how to know when you are tuning in to your "filter". Listen: Spotify | Apple Podcast
How Dieting Is A Form Of People Pleasing
Dieting and people pleasing drain our power. We feel exhausted mentally, emotionally, physically. In this episode, I unpack 5 ways that the two overlap and speak on ways to begin to reconnect to your intuition instead. Common characteristics between dieting and people pleasing: 1. We ignore our own needs. In dieting we ignore our physical cues of hunger and fullness. In people pleasing we ignore our authentic voice to "please" or follow the needs, or wants of others. We abandon our selves and are co-dependent on others. 2. We rely on others to tell us what to do. When we are dieting we are following a diet or a "plan" or "rules" for weight loss. When we are people pleasing, we are "good" in doing what others expect of us. In the process we lose ourselves, we feel alone, cause we are not showing up truthfully in our relationships. It can create an existential loneliness, as people don't authentically know us. 3. We dismiss our deeper desires to feel good in the moment. We all have needs and we try to meet them in the best way possible. But when we are unaware of our needs and the way that we are meeting those needs, we could be repeating cycles of suffering, and not moving towards our highest potential. 4. We are basing our success on people’s expectations. We are basing success on external achievements. Have I lost enough weight, what does the number on the scales say? Have I been good enough? Have I done all the right things for everyone around me to be happy? 5.We suppress our voice, thoughts or beliefs. Our voice is the manifestation of our truth. When we supress what we feel is true, to keep the peace or to shrink ourselves, we feel smaller and smaller inside. Our soul is shrinking, and we are likely to feel hurt, upset, anxious - these are symptoms of being disconnected from our intuition. Listen: Spotify | Apple Podcasts
A Common Reason We Overeat
So you decided to start a new weight loss diet on Monday. The decision brings up thoughts of discipline around food: "I will not eat any of the forbidden foods". You promise to yourself "you'll be good"... this mentality drives you towards one final overeating session, before the diet starts on Monday... Have you ever said to yourself, "No more chocolate from tomorrow! I know it's bad for me and I know I shouldn't have it." This is one of the mindsets, that can cause what can be described as "Last Supper" overeating and overwhelming guilt around food. Dieting disconnects us from our body cues When you feel deprived of something you want or need, you begin to long for it or crave it. For example, if you have been camping and not sleeping the best, your body craves rest and sleep, or you crave a refreshing shower after a hot days work. Similarly, in an attempt to tightly control eating when on a diet, (especially in the case of chronic dieting) we abide by rules that dictate what, when and how much we are allowed to eat. As a result, we become disconnected from our body experience of hunger, fullness and satisfaction and instead live "in our head", second guessing our body needs. It's all fine being under the strict rules of a diet; however when an emotion, event, thought or simply hunger triggers us to eat, we feel that we have failed the "diet rule", and we often go down the path of all or nothing thinking. which says: "Now I've blown it! I am such a failure! I may as well eat the whole packet and I'll be good again tomorrow." As you can see this mindset leads us to overeat, usually quickly (or even secretly) and with a lot of guilt and shame.
Stepping out of this cycle of diet-binge-guilt-diet is a critical step to lasting lifestyle change and authentic health. Join us in The Mindful Eating Program and you will learn how to reconnect to your body cues and feel in charge instead of feeling guilty. Anticipation of another diet causes overeating Yep... you read that right! Even thinking about not having a certain food can spiral us into deprivation and the all or nothing mentality which appears as "Last Supper" overeating . The thought that we need to be restricting, forbidding or be punished for food lead to deprivation and disconnection.Instead we need to have a mentality of freedom and choice around food. Give yourself permission to eat Making peace with food and having freedom around what to eat is a critical component to becoming instinctive in your eating. It means that you are not "good" or "bad" based on what you eat - food has no moral value. As a result you can truly tune in to how food makes you feel - known as your body wisdom. Take way mantras I give myself permission to eat all foods My body I am here an listening to your cues During a meal: "Do I like the taste of this meal?" After a meal: " Would I choose to feel this way again after eating this meal or snack?", "Would I choose to eat in this manner again?", "How do I feel physically, when all the emotions and thoughts quieten down?" I am not a bad or good person by eating this food. This process can be challenging, although it seems simple. If you are ready to reconnect to your needs more effectively and heal your relationship with food join us in the upcoming Mindful Eating Program. It's an 8 week program with live weekly and one-on-one sessions, plus the tools and community to help you create meaningful personal shifts towards becoming more intuitive. NOTE: If you have an active eating disorder you may not be able to gauge your hunger correctly - and this advice may not be appropriate - please reach out to a non-diet dietitian that specialises in eating disorders.
Dealing With Emotional Eating
Eating for emotional reasons is normal - we all do it! It is part of being human and nothing we need to end. From a young age, we connect food with pleasure, comfort, love... think back to a memory of birthday cake, roasts at grandmas or mum's soup when feeling sick. Food and eating is connected to our traditions, connecting with our roots, as well as our emotions and memories. This is why our lived experience is so important when it comes to food and eating - and it is beautiful! So how does emotional eating become a problem for many of us? We often may feel like eating, when in fact we are not physically hungry. In other words, we may be eating food all day, but nothing seems to satisfy our "hunger".
Although you are eating it can feel like something is still "missing", or that no amount of food is enough to satisfy you, or that you're craving something more... This is a huge clue that the urge to eat did not come from a physical hunger, but was triggered from something else - it's a different kind of "hunger", a deeper hunger asking us to look at our needs on a deeper level. Our emotions are cues pointing us toward what our true needs are. The "hunger" (or urge to eat) can be coming from an emotion, but if that's the case, no amount of eating can satisfy this particular "hunger". Once we realise this, we can take a closer look at our emotions and take a moment to explore our needs. This is exactly what we work on in The Mindful Eating Program. Connecting to Your Emotions The first step is to differentiate physical/true hunger from a "hunger" coming from other triggers.
Often we may already know why we're eating: I am mad, I was sad, I feel lonely. So you have an awareness that you were not physically hungry, and in fact you were sad - now what?
Emotions are simply energy in motion, communicating a message to you. Don't push them away, but instead invite them in with compassion. A nice mantra that helps me is: "I am human and designed to feel all feelings. There is no feeling I can't handle. I am open to feeling my feelings." With that in mind, you can then begin to decode your emotions. Here are some steps you can begin to take: Imagine a situation where you typically have an urge to emotionally eat.* Identify (and ideally write down) what you typically experience in that situation. What is the setting? What time of the day is it? Who are you with? Notice any key thoughts that keep popping up? Write them down. Now describe any emotions that are coming up. Imagine you are a scientist and you are looking at the emotions, without judgement. Think about what that emotion is telling you about your underlying need(s). Explore one step you can take to meet that need more effectively than eating. This process can be challenging, although it seems simple. If you are ready to reconnect to your needs more effectively and heal your relationship with food join us in the upcoming Mindful Eating Program. It's an 8 week program with live weekly sessions and one-on-one sessions, plus the tools and community to help you create meaningful personal shifts towards becoming more intuitive.
*NOTE: If you have an active eating disorder you may not be able to gauge your hunger correctly - and this advice may not be appropriate - please reach out to a non-diet dietitian that specialises in eating disorders.
My Journey To Weight Inclusive Practice
I’ve taken sometime to listen, read + reflect without the obsession of having to do more, create more or be more. This shift in mindset from doing, proving + striving, to simply being, has taken me years and I’m still working on it.
I found this transition to be parallel with the shift from a weight centric, diet approach to an weight inclusive approach to health + I’d like to share how it transformed + helped me heal.
In the journey towards becoming a Dietitian I often felt inadequate because I struggled with my relationship with food and hated my body. In fact, the peak of my eating disorder was during my studies in dietetics. The problem was + is diet culture and fat phobia which I internalised from a young age and was then trained as a dietitian in.
Healing meant unlearning. I always had a knowing that I couldn’t practice in the weight centric approach. An approach that glorifies thinness, uses nutrition as a way to shrink our selves + dictates what and when to eat. How could I recommend the very things that triggered my eating disorder?
Back then believed that my worth and ability as a dietitian was based on how perfect I could be. I feared being judged. I feared not being good enough. How can I struggle with my own body + offer advice on weight loss? And so I withheld my truth in fear of shame and disconnection. I ran away from fears, until I got fed up of running and had to make a choice: face them or quit being a dietitian. I chose to listen to that small voice that said: “there has to be a better way”.
I trained with @fionawiller + @themindfuldietitian and began practising in a non-diet approach©️, trained with @michellemaymd on the mindful eating program, read + listened to so many incredible health professionals + found my tribe! Slowly everything started to shift. Personally and professionally, it all started to make sense. In 2018 I created Stay Nourished a weight inclusive clinic in Darwin, and my new approach helped hundreds of clients in creating sustainable changes that were not based on weight loss. I began running the Am I hungry?©️mindful eating program+ saw the transformation and freedom experienced by participants. Then I completed the Intuitive Eating Counselling training with Evelyn Tribolle and Elyse Resch, and learnt incredible skills, research and guiding principles. My course Reclaim Your Intuitive Eating Power has been an opportunity to combine all of my professional and personal knowledge into the tools that will help you break free from dieting and step into intuitive living and eating. This has been the journey back to my authentic self, as a Dietitian that is unlearning, as a human that healed from an eating disorder, as a woman that chose to break free from believing that my purpose here is to constantly work on “fixing” my body.
So this is me: an anti-diet Dietitian that has decided to allow myself to be vulnerable, sit with my discomfort + choose courage instead of perfection. I want this account to be a platform for truth and I wish to connect with you- especially if you are a health professional. 💗