Ditching Diet Culture

Okay guys I'm literally in tears (partly b/c the greek restaurant I am typing this in is cooking some super strong onions right now) but mostly because this is my awesome intern, Zoe Halbert's, last week with Nom-Nomaste! To wrap up she decided to do one last blog post.

Zoe Halbert
Coordinated Program in Dietetics
The University of Texas at Austin

Let’s face it! Diet culture is everywhere; including social media, the grocery store, the gym, magazines, televisions, and even in schools. It can seem impossible to get away from the diet mentality that surrounds us. As you are on your journey to making peace with food, how is it possible to ditch diet culture for good?

It may be difficult to get away from diet culture 100%, but there are some things you can try to reduce its influence on your own life.

Surround Yourself with Support

Who you spend time with matters. Recognize the people in your life that share your values and support you as you work towards having a healthy relationship with body image and food. Connect with others walking the same path via social media. There may still be people in your life that are not as supportive or have their own negative relationship with food, but having some support will help on your journey.

Don’t engage in Diet Talk

Diet talk is so acceptable in our society and it can be difficult not to get sucked in. When it does come up, try to shift the conversation. For example, if your friend says she is trying to lose weight for her next vacation, redirect the conversation by asking her where she is going and what she plans to do there. If someone you spend a lot of time with continues to bring up diet talk you may want to have a conversation with them about how that makes you feel and that you would rather discuss other topics with them.

Check who you’re following

Pay attention to who you are following on Instagram, twitter, or any other social media site. If their posts make you feel any doubt, unworthiness, or negativity about your food choices or body, click unfollow. Find accounts that encourage self-care and body positivity, and that truly are in line with your values. Try to create a feed that displays diversity and true representation of how the world looks.

Fact Check

Next time you hear “gluten makes you gain weight,” “carbs are bad for you,” or any other diet myth being perpetuated, take a second, pause, and fact check. Remember that diets don’t work and no food group needs to be taken out of your diet for you to be healthy. It’s easy to fall into the trap of this ideal that the weight loss industry thrives on; just eat this and you will be happy and thin. The truth is, no diet or amount of weight loss leads to self-acceptance or health.

Throw out the scale

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Smash it with a sledge hammer, throw it out a window, or just toss it in the trash. Banish the idea that your weight has to be micromanaged. If you can, get rid of anything that reminds you of diet culture whether it be the scale, clothes that don’t fit, or magazines that promote weight loss. Write positive affirmations somewhere you will see them every day and have reminders of how amazing you are and to be gentle with yourself.  Make your living space a diet culture free zone.

 Prioritize true self care

Self-care means doing what is best for you and your overall health. Some days it’s moving your body in a joyful way, others it’s eating cake with someone you love, and sometimes it may mean taking a bubble bath. Basically, it looks a little different everyday depending on what your needs are (nourishment, sleep, anxiety relief, comfort, accomplishing tasks, connection, personal development etc.). Remember that feeding yourself in a way that nourishes your body, mind, and soul as well as speaking kind words about yourself are acts of self-care.

We as individuals may not be able to end diet culture alone, but by cutting it out of our own lives as much as possible, collectively we can begin to shift the future towards a culture of self-love and body positivity.  

For more on ditching diet culture follow Nom-Nomaste on Insta!

And check out more from Zoe here

 

 

 

 

Living in Diet Culture

Guess who's back (back back)!!! Back again!!! That's right my lovely lady intern Zoe Halbert is not done sharing her thoughts about living a healthy life and loving your body! This week she tackles a very very very important topic: DIET CULTURE

Zoe Halbert
Coordinated Program in Dietetics
The University of Texas at Austin

I remember once searching the internet for “healthy” snacks and reading about swapping toast for a rice cracker. Since the rice cracker was half the calories, I believed that it must be the “healthier” option. I immediately went to the grocery store and bought rice crackers only to find that after eating my snack I was still hungry and extremely unsatisfied. Honestly, an actual slice of bread would have been so much more filling in my opinion. Yet, I continued to purchase rice crackers instead. What made me so adamant to choose the rice crackers instead of a snack that was truly satisfying? The answer to that is DIET CULTURE.

What is Diet Culture?

“Diet culture is a system of knowledge, values, and meanings that supports interpretations of personal health choices as moral character.”—Kate Browne, PhD

My brief anecdote was just one small example of how diet culture can influence a decision about food. This happens ALL the time, so much so that we usually don’t even notice it. Some other examples of diet culture include:

·       labeling foods as good or bad

·       exercising as punishment for eating

·       talking about food, weight, exercise, diets, etc. excessively

·       feeling the need to justify the way you eat

·       following rules of when and how to eat

·       feeling anxious when making decisions about food

·       feeling guilty after eating

·       restricting food groups or specific foods, believing them to be inferior to other foods

·       using external rather than internal cues regarding your hunger

·       avoiding social situations if the food being served is not “healthy”

·       allowing your worth to be based on your body size or weight

The list goes on.

So, what exactly is so harmful about diet culture?

Diet culture assigns morality to all food choices.

A lot of the focus in diet culture is on weight loss, but it influences so many different decisions made about food in our society. Diet culture sends a message that some food choices are good and others are bad. For example, rice cracker=good, bread=bad, salad=good, cookie=bad or paleo/vegan/keto =good, sugar = bad. This doesn’t take into account the many different reasons we eat food (connection, celebration, taste, satisfaction, nourishment etc.) The truth is personal health is exactly that, PERSONAL.

Diet culture teaches us not to trust our bodies.

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Diet culture creates distrust between our minds and bodies, making us think we need to follow some specific diet or plan to know what to eat. Every new diet or “healthy lifestyle” trend tells us that there is a right way to eat and a right way to look. When we listen to our body it tells us all of its needs, and regulates our energy and shape the way it’s supposed to.

Humans have been eating intuitively for millions of years so why do we not trust our bodies to do what they were designed to do? Well, then we wouldn’t pay billions of dollars toward to weight loss industry.

Diet culture tells us that our bodies determine our value.

Diet Culture emphasizes that the size and shape of our body are the most important factors in determining our worth. It disregards all of the other qualities that make us unique and significant in this world such as compassion, interests, skills, goals, character, leadership, empathy etc. The media often focuses on appearances, teaching people that their body must reach a certain standard to become acceptable and be valued.

Diet culture is intersectional.

Diet culture encourages fat-phobia which is extremely harmful to everyone, but particularly people in larger bodies. It also overlaps with other unjust social systems including racism, ableism, and sexism. It relates to problems within our food system due to lack of food access, health inequity, and oppression while also ignoring many factors that influence body size and health including genetics, the environment, stress, socioeconomic status, etc.

Diet culture is intricately weaved into the threads of our society. Thankfully there are people starting to shift the culture by rejecting its ideologies and promoting self-love and body positivity for everyone. It all starts with the individual taking steps to heal their own relationship with food and body and then helping others to do the same.

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I literally couldn't have said it better myself :)

For more from Zoe check her out on insta

And for more body positivity, wrecking diet culture, debunk myths follow Nom-Nomaste

Walking the Path of Intuitive Eating (Guest blog post)

Okay guys! so I am super lucky to have an all-star RD2B interning with me this month. RD2B is what we use for dietetic interns working hard to complete their hours to eventually officially become dietitians. Zoe Halbert attends the University of Texas at Austin's Coordinated Program in Dietetics. She is one of a small group of fellow interns working hard to spread the HAES™ message - and she has got a lot to say about intuitive eating! Thanks Zoe for this weeks post! 

Zoe Halbert
Coordinated Program in Dietetics
The University of Texas at Austin

Once you learn the principles of Intuitive Eating, what comes next? What does the path to becoming an intuitive eater actually look like? Is it linear and straight forward? Or is it full of twists and turns?

My journey to becoming an intuitive eater was definitely not easy or straight forward. My first thought was that it would be a piece of cake (and at times it definitely did involve a piece of cake,) but I found that there were times it was very difficult as well. Listening to my body felt like trying to understand a language I no longer knew how to speak.

We are all born intuitive eaters. We know how to listen to our hunger and fullness cues and respect our food choices, but, like many, I lost this ability for a while. I had to start anew, learning to notice the sensations I had when I was hungry and when I was satisfied. There were many times I ate to the point of feeling uncomfortably full and even sick. Other times, I had a hard time knowing if I was even hungry at all. Sometimes I even got angry thinking that I was failing at intuitive eating! In reality, I was experimenting with my hunger signals, paying attention to what made me feel good and what made me feel not so good. Experimentation is how we learn. One of the most important concepts of intuitive Eating that we often overlook is that there is no such thing as getting it right all the time. Eventually, I realized that all of the ups and downs meant that I actually was becoming an intuitive eater.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you start to walk the path of Intuitive Eating:

Your Journey is Unique

No two journeys to intuitive eating will look the same, so there is no need to compare. The way you learn may be very different from someone else.

Intuitive Eating is about building trust

At first, I resisted intuitive eating. I didn’t trust that my body would take care of me. Once I finally put my guard down and listened to my body, I realized that it had been fighting for me all along. Just like any relationship, when we break trust, it takes some time to gain it back. Remember to be patient and gentle with yourself through the process.

Intuitive Eating is about YOU

The core of Intuitive Eating involves listening to your own intuition, and eating in a way that makes you feel best and supports all aspects of your life.

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There is no such thing as a “right” way to eat intuitively.

Intuitive Eating means saying goodbye to diet culture. It’s dropping the idea that there are good and bad foods and replacing it with the concept that all foods can have a place in your diet. It abandons the thought that you need a meal plan, restrictions, or strict guidelines to eat in a way that supports your health.

You may stumble on your path.

At first, walking the path of Intuitive Eating can seem like wandering through uncharted territory. It may include doubt, frustration, and fear. Sometimes you may overeat and other times you may not eat enough, but remember that eating intuitively doesn’t always feel intuitive at first. It can take time to learn how to listen to your body, and not eating “perfectly” all the time is a part of the process.  

For me, eating intuitively means enjoying all the foods that make me feel good, whether they make me feel energized, taste delicious, or connect me to the people I love (and sometimes all of the above). Keep in mind that your journey to intuitive eating is yours, and that your path doesn’t need to look like anyone else’s.  It can be a short path or a long path, a straight path or a winding path, but most importantly; it’s a path worth taking.

For more messages like this check out Nom-Nomaste on Insta

And make sure to follow our awesome guest blogger Zoe!

The last principle of Intuitive Eating: Gentle Nutrition

This principle is saved for last for a reason!

I encourage anyone actually going through the book and steps of Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch to pause at this point and decide if you are ready to step into the chapter without being triggered to revert back into diet mentality, have you really let yourself Make Peace with Food?

Today my goal is to talk about why gentle nutrition is important and holds a place in the intuitive eating process.

Disclaimer!

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We all have body autonomy, and you have the right to take care of yourself any way you like. If your health is not a main priority, you may not choose to engage in gentle nutrition and that is completely okay and up to you!

For those of you who do value health but have struggled to figure out how to heal your relationship with food and continue to honor your health this principle is for you.

As a dietitian, I care about health.

You could even say I am PASSIONATE about it. My 8 years in practice have taught me one thing for sure. Obsessing about food is not the path to health. Health is holistic and takes into consideration the balance of both mental and physical well-being. Obsessing over food, diet, and your body is anything but well-being!

Gentle nutrition is looking at incorporating facts about nutrition and how your body feels when you eat while keeping in mind the other principles of Intuitive Eating. No foods are off limits, EVER, unless you have a life threatening allergy then please don’t eat that food, but also don’t pretend you have an allergy because you heard not eating a food is going fill in the blank  – sorry caught on a soap box…

Gentle nutrition is about connecting to how your body feels when you eat.

Do certain foods make your feel energized, alert and others make you feel lethargic, sluggish? Have foods ever caused gas or bloating (and not because you are anxious about eating them – but this topic is for another day) Honoring your body means listening to these cues and eating based on how your body feels while continuing to prioritize picking foods that are satisfying and enjoyable. It may also mean considering where food comes from and the impact on the environment, but again be cautious if the goal of changing these eating patterns is based in a value or potentially a lingering hope that eating this way will “solve your problems,” “instantly make you feel better,” or “give you the body you have always dreamed of.”

It’s awesome to fill your plate with veggies, fruits, whole grains and proteins and heart healthy fats, but if this is the only way you eat then you may be limiting your variety, and the ability to eat in all environments. Sometimes gentle nutrition is eating just because you are hungry and you don’t love the food options, maybe it’s nailing a balanced plate that tastes delicious and is full of a variety of brightly colored foods, other times its eating a fun food just because it tastes good without nutrient density in mind! There is space for it all when it comes to Intuitive Eating.

Biggest take away message when it comes to incorporating nutrition into your Intuitive Eating journey- always go back to the other principles if you find yourself getting caught up in doing it perfectly. There is no perfect way of eating, but deprivation will get you nowhere!

Make sure to check out more thoughts from Gina over on Insta

Click here to book an appointment today or share with someone who may benefit from additional support on their journey to peace with food.

Joyful Movement :)

Joyful Movement or Principle 9 of Intuitive Eating, Exercise: Feel the difference

Honesty moment: I have not written a blog post in quite a while, and since my initial plan was to post weekly I was feeling sort of down on myself for not meeting my goal. But as a recovering perfectionist, these days I find it so much more liberating to be able to mess up, not meet a goal, and keep going verses giving up because something doesn’t look exactly the way I planned it to. Doesn’t that really fit for how we eat and how we move our bodies as well!

Additional side comment – the reason I have not been posting is because I have been spending the last few months completing my yoga teacher training. How perfect since the topic of this post is joyful movement!

Let’s face it! Physical activity has a plethora of both mental and physical health benefits.

Evidence shows that regular movement can lead to reduced health risks including: cognitive decline, colon, lung and endometrial cancers, heart disease, hypertension and stroke, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, and premature death. It can also improve quality of life factors like strength, balance, stamina, mood, stress tolerance, sleep quality and memory to name a few.

But similarly to diet there is so much info out there about what, when, how and how much that it can be confusing to figure out what works for you. I find my clients often in a pendulum of exercising rigidly and obsessively followed by periods of in activity.  The “all or nothing” relationship with exercise can feel similar to dieting and then being “off the wagon,” or restricting and bingeing.

If the main goal of movement is to lose weight, burn calories and/or sculpt your body to look a certain way then it makes sense that movement falls pray to the diet mentality and the same effects that it has on your food. Research has actually shown that those who exercise for the purpose of weight loss are more likely to hit snooze/skip a workout than those who choose to do movement for other reasons like health benefits, reduced stress, and fun!

So if physical activity has loads of benefits, but your relationship with movement is disordered, what do you do? - Insert the intuitive eating way.

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Intuitive or joyful movement as I like to call it, is all about focusing on the benefits you receive from participating in activities that you enjoy.

Screw the “no pain, no gain” mentality – You don’t have to feel pain or soreness to receive the benefits of movement, and in fact, exercising at this level can lead to inflammation in the body, burn out and injury.

 

 

Instead it’s important to practice mindful movement: which focuses on the following:

-       rejuvenates, rather than exhausts or depletes

-       enhances the mind-body connection

-       Alleviates stress, rather than amplifying stress

-       Provides genuine enjoyment and pleasure  (the Intuitive Eating Workbook by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch)

To start, you can think about the types of movement that you truly enjoy doing.

What constitutes as physical activity/movement? It doesn’t have to be a structured sport or exercise to count as movement (though these can be great) activities of daily living like gardening, house work, taking out the trash, dog walks, and doing laundry or the dishes are also movement.

In addition, consider how and where you would most enjoy performing these activities, alone or with others, indoors or outside, etc.

Make sure to explore any barriers to doing the activities you want to participate in. There are several considerations to make here including checking to see if diet mentality is sneaking in and encouraging a type of activity for weight loss vs pleasure; history of teasing or bullying during sports; weight stigma present in several gyms and fitness facilities; lack of knowledge about how to do a certain type of activity; financial requirements of certain activities, and available time.

Then you need to determine how often and how much! This is where your body is the expert. You are the only one who is going to know how you feel and if you want to move your body on a certain day. Remember that this information is supposed to come from your body and not rules that you make up in your head. And remember to consider things like other commitments, social time, energy level, lack of sleep, sickness or injury. If you are finding it difficult to stick to joyful activities or listen to your body vs your head’s rules ie: doing exercise that you don’t enjoy just for the “calorie burn,” exercising while injured or sick, or not taking days off then you will benefit from working with an eating disorder professional for additional support.

Final notes – taking rest days is part of a balanced relationship with movement. Days off allow our muscles to recover, helping us grow stronger and receive more of the benefits from the movement that we do. Even small changes to your daily activities can create impacts on your mental and physical health so try it out! And if you don’t know what activities to start with – May I suggest YOGA! ;)

Schedule an apt with Nom-Nomaste today !

Respect your Body

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Principle 8 of Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch is all about body respect.

A healthy relationship with the body has several terms these days: body positivity, body kindness, body respect, and body acceptance are just a few. You will see these terms used interchangeably in different media sources, and then there are others who believe strongly in identifying with one phrase or another. I don’t believe there is a correct term; it’s all about seeing what fits best for you, and understanding that at the core respecting your body does not mean loving your body every moment of the day. The important thing is how you take care of yourself no matter how you are feeling about your body in a given moment.

In our culture, it is almost impossible to feel positive about your body 100% of the time.

The fashion, beauty and diet industries actually bank on us not feeling our best. They use certain advertising techniques to pray on insecurities in hopes that we will purchase their products and increase their revenue. The thin ideal is so prevalent in our culture that it can take years of work to root out weight bias and move toward a place of body peace. It’s not about perfection and self love all day every day. It’s about taking care of yourself and your body even when you aren’t feeling your best. Over time body respect by meeting your body’s needs can lead to overall improved self-image and self esteem.

I think it’s important to mention that for years and in different cultures, standards of beauty have ebbed and flowed, and there has always been a desire to meet the standard through extreme measures. These extreme measures are often dangerous and can lead to severe medical/mental health complications. Through the changes in beauty standards, the one thing that has remained constant is that humans have a variety of body shapes and sizes. We all have a genetic blueprint that determines most of our body composition. To understand more about variety in genetic blueprints or variety in body types, I like to compare humans to dogs, yep that’s right sweet little puppies. There are so many different breeds out there from tiny shorthaired Chihuahuas, to tall curly coated poodles, water dogs, sheep dogs, basset hounds and bullmastiffs. They are all different colors, shapes, sizes, with different fur and different body structures. But they are all adorable in their own way. When we look at a dog we don’t judge it for it’s breed and force it to look like a different breed. Yet this is what happens when humans force themselves to try and be something that is not their genetic blueprint. This analogy may seem silly, but I think it shines a light on our skewed body standards and supports taking steps to treat your body with respect.

Why is body respect so important in intuitive eating?

Stressing out about your body tends to lead to stressing out about your food. Intuitive eating is really difficult if you are constantly correlating what you eat and wanting to change your body’s shape. For those of you who are starting to feel concerned that body acceptance means not caring about your health, it is actually the exact opposite.  Health at Every Size is a movement initiated by Linda Bacon that has proven that health is possible at any size and that size acceptance actually leads to better health outcomes.

How do you respect your body?

This is definitely a process, and there are some action steps you can start taking now to begin changing your relationship with your self and your body.

For starters, you can make your body comfortable by wearing clothes that fit your ‘here and now’ body instead of covering it up or wearing clothes that are too tight from a previous diet. Consider a spring-cleaning closet clean out! Get rid of any clothes that you don’t feel good in, even if they fit. Being comfortable in your clothes is a key to feeling comfortable in your skin. Plus opening the closet door each morning and feeling fear about what to wear adds to a negative self-image. If everything in the closet feels comfortable then you don’t have this daily added stressor.

Drop the measurements – stop weighing and/or measuring your body. I have a theory that no matter what the number says it only leads to more damaging behaviors with food. If the number is up there is an urge to restrict and if the number is down you may still want to restrict to keep it down. Often my client’s end up bingeing the day they weigh themselves because even thoughts about restriction can trigger binge urges and preoccupation with food. Your heath is not dictated by a number, but it can be damaged by obsessing over the scale.

Stop checking and comparing – Body checking is a way of assessing your body in a mirror or any reflective surface. You may engage in this behavior more than you realize. The first step here is to notice when the behavior comes up and then take steps to reduce how often you are checking. Just like weighing, it keeps the focus on your body size. This is similar with body comparison. Theodore Roosevelt said, “comparison is the thief of joy.” I couldn’t agree more. If you find yourself walking into a room and immediately comparing to those around you, notice it, and see what it is like to just be there without comparing.

My number 1 recommendation for respecting your body is feeding it no matter it's size! 

Deep-rooted negative body image can stem from a lifetime of low self-esteem, or even trauma. It takes time to work through these steps, and I highly recommend finding a support including a therapist and a dietitian to help.

Body respect leads to better self-care and ultimately a fuller life. Let’s stop trying to change our bodies and start living.

If you want more support with respecting your body and finding freedom with food book an apt today!

Coping with Emotions without Using Food:

DISCLAIMER!!!– We all emotionally eat.

Eeeks yep it’s true! It is part of normal eating and is not to be judged. We celebrate with food; we cry over food; we give and receive food as gifts. Food is intimately connected to the human experience, and this can be a completely healthy part of life. In fact, having a relationship with food where you can be open to enjoying it and not feel guilt or shame for eating it is crucial to physical and mental well being. I want to make this point clear because I have seen “emotional eating” being criticized as the reason for “America’s obesity epidemic” or often see individuals beat themselves up for ever taking a bite of food when they aren’t hungry and are feeling an emotion. This just becomes another way of being critical of yourself and your food and isn’t helpful in the process to normalizing your relationship with your food and your body.

So then what is the big deal with emotional eating, if it is something we all do, and it’s part of being a normal eater?

Emotional eating becomes a problem when it is the only or main coping skill used to manage emotions. Food can often become the go to thing used to avoid feeling uncomfortable feelings and this can have several long-term consequences both physically and mentally.

How is food used to cope with different emotions?

To determine if you may be using food to cope let’s look at some of the different emotions and how food may play a part in managing them.

-       Boredom or procrastination – Food can be used as a way to fill time when bored or keep you engaged when having to do boring tasks. I often see busy individuals use food as a break when they don’t feel able to just give themselves downtime due to the perfectionistic or productive mindset.

-       Food as a reward – Food can be used as a reward or bribe, ex: once I meet this deadline, I can have that piece of cake I have been wanting.

-       Excitement/novelty – Food can be used to increase excitement when life may be lack luster, ex: exciting new restaurants or entertaining with food and drink.

-       Love/soothing – Individuals can express love with food, and also use food to feel love or soothing when needing comfort or connection. Just think how much a “comfort meal” that grandma used to make can sooth the soul.

-       Anger – Ever munched through a bag of crunchy potato chips when you are steaming mad! Crunching down on food can be used to manage the feeling of anger.

-       Stress/Anxiety – Some individuals find it difficult to eat when feeling stressed while others turn toward food and eat more when under stressful situations. Research shows that those who restrain their eating (diet) are more likely to overeat when facing stress, contributing to the restrict/overeat cycle.

-       Depression – Food can be used to manage the sadness or apathy that comes with a depressed mood. Eating carbohydrates actually increases brain serotonin levels and eating fats increases endorphins. Serotonin and endorphins make us feel happier and more energized; therefore, it makes sense that one may turn to food when mood is low.

As you can see there are several ways that food can play in to managing emotions. Food can also be used at different levels from just to experience pleasure all the way to numbing out completely with food.

If you feel like you are using food to manage your emotions there are steps to support improving your relationship with your emotions and food.

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First off, you need to be adequately nourishing your body to be able to have awareness of your emotions and skills used to manage emotions. If you are currently struggling with restricting your food intake, you will need to first stabilize your intake to support the ability to work on the following steps. Then you can check in with your hunger cues, notice if you are physically hungry. If you are not physically hungry and have been honoring your cravings for satisfaction but still want food, it is time to assess “what am I feeling.” Once you are able to label the emotions, it’s time to ask “what do I need?” The answer is not food in this case since you are full and satisfied, but instead there may be other coping skills you can use to manage the emotion that is present or fill the need that you are experiencing. It is important to work on getting your needs met through self-care, processing and expressing emotions, and learning coping skills. If you are having trouble connecting to your emotions it may be time to get additional support from a licensed therapist.

It’s important to note that you may not use eating food, but instead you may use restriction, exercise, or the excitement of a new diet to manage emotions in the same way that turning toward food can be used. Let’s say this is emotional “not” eating, and the above skills would still be beneficial to heal the relationship with body and self, except instead of not eating you may need to feed yourself and then try the skills. Eating regular meals is part of self-care after all!

After beginning the work to heal emotional eating and learn other coping skills, individuals often realize what a gift it is to become aware of their urges. In the future, you can use urges that come up as a clue that you have a need that is not being met. This helps you to use your skills, and tap in when you need extra support and self care.

Finding Satisfaction with Food

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Honoring our bodies’ cues of hunger and fullness when we eat is a huge part of intuitive eating, but “what and how” you eat can be just as important. Finding satisfaction with food is all about allowing yourself to eat the types of food that you enjoy and an in environment that is pleasing.

Why is satisfaction important?

Dieting tends to create the sense that you can’t be trusted around food. To avoid feeling out of control with food, my clients tend to eat foods that they feel are “healthy” whether or not these foods are truly what they want to eat, they may not even find the foods enjoyable at all. This can lead to deprivation and the desire for more food.

Let’s look at an experiment:

Have you ever really wanted to eat something but told yourself you should not because it wasn’t “healthy?” Say for example you wanted a cupcake at your child’s birthday party but think that’s a NO, NO! Then you find yourself munching on the veggies and dip, and then some crackers, and some of the cheese tray, and some fruit… then you start to feel over full and probably judge that you have eaten so much, after the party is over you pick on all the leftovers as you put the food away… feeling more guilty…. end of they day rolls around and everyone has gone to bed and you end up going in for the leftover cupcakes, eat one, maybe even more than one, after trying all day to avoid them.

What would it have been like if you would have honored your desire for a cupcake in the first place? You may have been satisfied with just one, and you likely would have eaten a lot less throughout the day and never ended up feeling over full and uncomfortable.  Instead you spent the whole day trying to satisfy a craving for a cupcake with a whole bunch of food that wasn’t a cupcake. IT DOESN’T WORK!

How do you find satisfaction?

It starts with what you choose to eat. I like to think about the 3 T’s. To determine what you want to eat think about:

Taste – do you want something salty, sweet, sour, bitter, or umami

Texture – do you want something creamy, smooth, crunchy, crumbly, oily, gooey, chunky, thick, thin, dense, light, moist, or dry

Temperature – do you want something hot, cold, or room temperature

Picking from each “T” can help you decide what type of food you want. For example if I am craving something salty, creamy, and hot, I may go for a bowl of chowder. In addition to the 3 Ts, consider variety and appearance as these can impact the satisfaction that we get from our meal and even the nutrition!

The environment in which you eat plays a critical role in the satisfaction of an eating experience.  

You don’t have to eat on fancy china with a candlelit table, but eating at your desk while reading through emails is not the best way to truly connect to the pleasure of eating. Consider taking a break from distractions, plating your food in a way that is appealing, and giving yourself the time to savor your food. This can help you connect to your meal and determine if you are actually enjoying the food you are eating. If you aren’t enjoying the food, stop eating it! Find something that may actually be satisfying if you are able.

Life happens – I wouldn’t expect anyone to be able to eat with full attunement 100% of the time. I encourage my clients to do their best with their schedule and what life throws at them. Trying to allow for satisfaction as often as possible can make a huge difference in your overall eating patterns. Sometimes we get stuck in a situation where the only food available is something we don’t enjoy, in this situation you may eat as much as you need to feel full even though it isn’t very satisfying, that’s okay you are still honoring your body by nourishing it! Finding pleasure and satisfaction with food can be a game changer in healing your relationship with food and yourself – give it a try!

Want to connect? Contact me today!