Can You Fail at Intuitive Eating?

The short answer is no! You cannot fail at intuitive eating. But let’s dig into this topic a bit because the idea of failure is top of mind for chronic dieters.


You’ve been down this road before. You want to lose weight so the only way you know how to do that is to go on a diet. You’re going along fine, eating what the diet tells you to, not eating what you “shouldn’t” and you start to feel lighter on your feet. Your clothes are fitting better and you are on a high.


Until you aren’t anymore.


What happened?


Well, you had a bad day at work, you lost a client, your boss yelled at you, you got a ticket driving home, and you had a fight with your partner. You walk in the house and you are in a really foul mood. You head straight to the kitchen and open the fridge to grab that chocolate cake you knew was in there, leftover from the party the other night. You dig in, and you tune out.


When you come out of your chocolate cake coma, you are really upset with yourself. You just blew your diet. Now you feel frustrated, angry with yourself, and the negative self-talk begins: “There you go again, screwing it all up”, “You can never stay on a diet, why do you even try”, “You are such a failure”.


The above is just one scenario where your desire to be “thin” led you to a diet which led you to feeling like a failure. What are some other scenarios?


2 Other Scenarios that Lead to Feelings of Failure


  1. Scenario #1: You want to lose weight and be “thin”. You go on a diet, restricting and depriving yourself of your favorite foods. At some point, you can’t stand the deprivation anymore…you must have “just a little” chocolate. You eat a piece, then another, and then another. Now, it’s an all out binge, as you vow to start again tomorrow. What happened here is that the restriction led to cravings which led to bingeing. Now, you feel miserable again and you have a deep desire to lose weight, again. You start the cycle all over> diet>restriction>deprivation>cravings>rebound eating>binge eating. And the feeling you have = FAILURE.


  1. Scenario #2: It’s the holiday season, and you’ve dieted your way into that little black dress. You are going to kill it at the holiday parties and family get-togethers. You can’t wait to hear all the compliments about your weight loss and how great you look. But wow, you are surrounded by all these goodies that you haven’t eaten for so long. You tell yourself you are not going to eat anything you “shouldn’t”. But then the inevitable happens. You aren’t paying attention, there’s a little too much alcohol and before you know it, you’ve dipped into the appetizers and pastries. At this point you tell yourself “I deserve it, I’m going to enjoy the holidays and not worry about the food. I’ll get back on my diet on January 1st.” And on January 1st, you wake up and feel miserable . You’ve regained much of the weight you lost, that little black dress doesn’t fit so well anymore, and you feel like a FAILURE.


What do you do? See scenario #1 above.


A Better Option than Dieting


I have another option for you where you will NEVER feel like a failure. And that option is > Intuitive Eating.


Intuitive eating is eating based on your physiological need to eat, based on your hunger and fullness signals, and NOT based on situations you are in or emotions you are feeling.


Intuitive eating is returning to eating the way you were born.


Now, just because you were born an intuitive eater, does not mean the journey back to it is an easy one if you’ve been dieting for years. You see, while as a baby you didn’t give much thought to eating, it was something you just knew (i.e. hunger pangs, cry for food; full belly, push away), as a dieting adult, you haven’t been listening to these signals. You’ve been relying on outside influences to guide your eating.


One of the biggest challenges I see with women who are learning to return to being intuitive eaters is TRUST. They are afraid to trust that their bodies will guide them correctly.


Is this you too?


I get it! You have lost trust in your body and in yourself to make your own food decisions because of all the “failures” from dieting (see scenarios above).


So, it’s of utmost importance that you understand that there is no pass or fail in intuitive eating.


Read and internalize this next sentence – I cannot fail at intuitive eating!


One of the biggest objections I hear from women who hesitate to commit to working on their relationship with food through intuitive eating is that they are afraid to fail again. That they’ve done it all and failed, so why should this work.


The reason? You have not tried this before. And if you have and you hit some roadblocks, then it’s more than likely that the diet mentality is still lingering. This is NOT FAILURE. This is part of the process.


A New Year Decision


Take this moment to commit to your intuitive eating journey. Repeat over and over “I cannot fail at intuitive eating” so a new neural pathway forms. Let this next year be the year where you leave dieting and all the negativity that comes with it behind.


I am taking new clients now for 2019. If you’d like to speak with me to see if we are a right fit for working together, just click here.


Revealing Your Dirty Little Secret…Night Time Bingeing

You’ve worked really hard to get the amazing body you have now. You’ve been on diet after diet but this last one was THE one. You lost the weight you wanted to, but to do that you eliminated lots of foods that you love.


You know what I mean. Bread. Simple good old-fashioned bread. The kind you make a sandwich with.


Sandwich you say? Oh, you haven’t eaten a sandwich in years. As a matter of fact, if you’re being honest with yourself, you’re probably afraid of eating a sandwich. If you eat a sandwich, your inner critic starts screaming at you that you’ll gain the weight back, you’ll get fat again, and tomorrow you’ll wake up with an additional 3 pounds on your body. Bread is bad!


Does this inner critic voice sound familiar to you?


To quite the voice, you stick to the rules you followed that helped you lose the weight. No bread. No pasta. No cookies, No ice cream. No carbs!


People admire your body, tell you how great you look, how good you are when they see you eating your salad for lunch. But when you get home after a long hard day at work, what happens?


Fatigue, hunger, deprivation all set in and you have just one cookie. But that leads to feeling guilt and shame, and then another cookie. Then you feel even more guilt, shame and alone, and that leads to finishing the cookies and binge eating for the next few minutes, hours or even the rest of the evening.


But no one knows, except you! It’s a secret you are hiding from the world. You look perfect, you act perfect, and you eat perfect. Who would know that your dirty little secret is that you binge eat at night all the foods you don’t allow yourself to eat during the day.


How can you get out of this binge eating trap?


3 Steps to Stop Binge Eating


  1. Stop restriction yourself and allow all foods into your life again. I know this is so scary! But it’s important if you are ever going to have peace with food and your body.


  1. Be aware when you are binge eating. Don’t numb out like you usually do. Stay present, experience it and you will find that you will stop eating before the cookie package is finished.


  1. Breathe through it! Yes, identify the emotions you are feeling and breathe through it. Once you know what the true underlying feeling is, you can address it without food.


You are not alone. There are others who are experiencing exactly what you are! Seek out the support you need to beat binge eating. You don’t need to fly solo.


There’s a community of women ready to welcome you who understand what you are going through. Click HERE to get the support you need.





Food Deprivation Leads to Binge Eating

Overindulging in a food item that you restrict is common if you are a chronic dieter. This is called deprivation backlash-rebound eating.


Here’s a common scenario: you deprive yourself of a certain food, such as your beloved chocolate because you are on a diet and you are not allowed to have chocolate, right? Well an old-time friend comes to visit and brings you a box of chocolates. You put it away vowing you will not open it. A family member spots the chocolate, opens the box and enjoys a piece. Now what do you do?


You think to yourself, “I’m not going to have any, I’m on a diet and I’m doing so well”. You walk away.


A few minutes later, you think to yourself, “Hmmm, I’ll just have one, really only one.” You eat one. It was yummy.


A few minutes later, “I’ll just have one more”. And then…”Oh shucks, I blew it. I might as well finish the box, there are only 4 more. I promise I will start my diet again tomorrow, and I won’t eat chocolate again!”


Sound familiar?


You probably truly believe that you won’t eat chocolate again, or do you? You now feel guilty and as a punishment you skip dinner only to find yourself bingeing into the evening.


The above example is only one example of the backlash that happens when you deprive yourself of a food you love. You rebound by eating, and overeating.


There are many different forms of rebound eating.


Have you ever engaged in The Last Supper eating? I have had many clients tell me that the night before their first appointment with me they ate all the foods that they thought I would tell them they can no longer eat…. the foods that they thought would be off limits. Boy, were they surprised when I didn’t tell them that at all.


Listen, eating shouldn’t be this difficult. It’s time for you to make peace with food so you can once and for all stop the dieting cycle.


Need help? Click here to schedule a time to chat.



Your turn to take action: Tell me about a time that you engaged in rebound eating or The Last Supper. Share your stories in the comments section below.


National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

Eating disorders affect everyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status, sexuality, or background.  With today’s media and advertisements showing stick-thin models as the “right” way to look, it makes sense why so many people may develop an eating disorder. A negative body image can lead to serious eating disorder.


National Eating Disorder Awareness (NEDAwareness) Week starts this Sunday, February 26th and runs through March 4th.  The theme of this year’s NEDAawareness Week is It’s Time to Talk About It. The National Eating Disorder Association wants to encourage you and everyone else to talk about eating disorders.


The two most commonly talked about eating disorders are bulimia and anorexia nervosa.


Bulimia is the act of bingeing and purging.  A person with bulimia will often consume more calories in one sitting than they would in a normal day.  This bingeing leads to guilt and self-shaming which turns into purging.  People with bulimia are often a healthy weight but are struggling on the inside.


Anorexia nervosa is a disease that tricks your mind into seeing a distorted, often larger, version of yourself.  A person with anorexia starves themselves, forfeiting calories as well as many vitamins and minerals that are necessary to keep their body running.  People with anorexia typically appear thin and fragile, but that isn’t always the case.


Although these may be the two disorders that you are familiar with, there are other disordered eating behaviors that you should be aware of.


Binge-eating disorder is very similar to bulimia, but without the purging.  A person with binge-eating disorder engages in uncontrollable, continuous eating past the point of fullness.  This is the most common eating disorder in the United States.


Orthorexia is an “unhealthy obsession” with healthy eating.  A person with orthorexia nervosa has a fixation on righteous eating and it usually starts as an innocent attempt to eat more healthfully.


Regardless of which eating disorder is exhibited, those who are struggling with one seek ways to change their body.  Today’s media makes it hard to find happiness and peace in your own body, so it is important to promote your own body positivity.


In order to break free from the daunting stress and pressure from the media, I encourage you to embrace intuitive eating where you can begin to trust your inner body wisdom to guide your eating. Intuitive eating can help you love your body again and change your relationship with food.  This takes time, patience and support.


If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please share this information and seek help immediately. The sooner you do, the sooner you will find peace with your body.


If I can help, please email me at


Chocolate Doesn’t Solve Your Problems

Overwt woman contemplating chocLife is hard sometimes, wouldn’t you say? Things can be going along wonderfully and then all of a sudden BAM, you get hit in the face with a situation that you are not quite ready for. What I’ve learned in my life is firstly that this is just a part of life. We become better people when we go through tough situations and we learn from them. And, secondly, I’ve learned that food (and for most people…chocolate) does not make the problem go away.


Now, I know you are reading this and perhaps you are saying “you are wrong Bonnie, chocolate makes it all better”.


And, to that I say, it makes it all better for the moment you are in your empty body, stuffing the chocolate in your mouth, pushing your feelings down deeper and deeper. But now, the chocolate is gone and what are you left with?


THE PAIN! The pain of still dealing with the difficult feelings you had originally, AND the pain of the GUILT of bingeing on chocolate and the PHYSICAL PAIN of eating too much of it.


So, what are you to do when you just don’t want to deal with the situation that has presented to you in your life?






Yes, I know that sounds harsh, and I don’t mean to be harsh. But it’s just a part of life. You are here on my blog reading my articles, following my work because you want help. You want and need someone to say to you “let’s learn how to deal with your emotions and difficult situations in life without using food. Because food is not the answer.”


Here are 2 steps for you to take immediately so you can learn how to turn away from the chocolate when feeling down:


Step 1: Make a list of the situations and/or emotions that cause you to turn to chocolate (or any food for that matter).


Step 2: Click on this link to request to speak to me so I can help you craft a plan to overcome emotional eating.


I look forward to speaking with you soon!






Powerful Strategies to Conquer Overeating – The Final 3!

Have you been following my series Powerful Strategies to Conquer Overeating on The Diet Free Zone Show?

Last month I shared with you the first 3 strategies to conquer overeating and today I will share the final 3. But before I do, let me remind you what the first 3 strategies are.

Strategy #1: Be patient!

Forget about quick fixes. It can take 3-6 months to replace bad habits with healthy ones. You want these new habits to last a lifetime, don’t you? Then what’s your rush. Give yourself plenty of time to change, and don’t focus on perfection. If you set an impossible deadline for yourself, you will become discouraged and throw in the towel. Patience is a virtue!


Strategy #2: Talk to yourself!

Positive self-talk is crucial to deal with those inner voices that discourage you from making change. Remind yourself why you want to change, for example “I’ll feel better if I lose weight’. Speak out loud to yourself so you hear your positive voice, rather than just “speaking in your head”.


Strategy #3: Make new friends!

Do you have friends that sabotage your efforts? Or, are the friends you hang out with always interested in going out to eat? If so, find people who will support your efforts, and who are interested in going for a hike on a Sunday rather than a movie. Take a good look at who you hang out with and their influence on your eating and exercise habits. And, if needed, make a change!


Now, on to the next 3 strategies to conquer overeating.


The videos for these strategies can be found by clicking each of the images below:
Strategy #4: Forget About Willpower

Powerful strategy 4






Strategy #5: Set up a Positive Home Environment

Powerful strategy 5






Strategy #6: Cheer Yourself On

Powerful strategy 6






After watching the entire series, let me know which strategies are working for you!

Powerful Strategies to Conquer Overeating

I recently started a series called Powerful Strategies to Conquer Overeating on The Diet Free Zone Show™ on my YouTube channel.

In case you don’t subscribe to my channel (although you should…here’s the link to subscribe for free ) I wanted to share the first 3 strategies with you here.


Click on the images below to watch the videos, then come back and comment below.


Stay tuned for the next 3 strategies in the coming weeks.


Strategy #1: Be patient!

Powerful strategy 1







Strategy #2: Talk to yourself!

Powerful strategy 2







Strategy #3: Make new friends!

Powerful strategy 3







How to Manage Your Emotions without Turning to Food

Sad woman eating donutOne of the things that come up often in my work with my clients is how they deal with emotional eating. We all experience different emotions throughout a given day. For some, there might be more than others. Such emotions include anxiety, loneliness and sadness. Other more subtle emotions that often might lead you to turn to food include boredom and stress. It is totally normal to experience these emotions from time to time, but how you cope with them is key. (Note: if you are experiencing intense sadness and depression, please see an appropriate mental health professional.)


So the question here is: do you find yourself reaching into the food cabinets when these emotions arise? If you do, how do you feel after you eat the cookies, candy or whatever your “go to” mood fixer food is?


I know that deep down you realize that food is not resolving the issue at hand. Yet, you still find comfort even for the moment in the box of chocolates. But you know what? After you eat them, you now have to deal with the guilt, physical discomfort of overeating and the original emotion you were trying to numb. You are now worse off than when you started.


Does this sound like you? How do you get out of this viscous cycle?


The first thing you need to do is acknowledge that you turn to food to comfort negative feelings, even to numb the emotional pain you might be feeling. Then, you need to commit to learning a new way. Before immediately turning to food, STOP and ask yourself what are you really feeling. If you can honestly say you are hungry, then by all means you should eat….a well-balanced power snack or meal. But if you are being true to yourself and really want to help yourself, you won’t automatically say “I’m hungry”. Instead, you will think about what you are feeling and how you can comfort yourself without turning to food.


If you are unsure what you need, seek out the support from a friend, counselor or therapist. Talking through your emotions instead of eating through them is an amazing feeling.  If you are not ready to face your feelings, then engage in an alternate activity.

Write down some things that you enjoy doing that can distract you during these times. Take a walk, do a puzzle, read a book, go for a ride etc.  Figure out what works for you.


I’ll tell you what works for me. When I am feeling overwhelmed, stressed or upset about something, I remove myself from the area I am at that is causing me distress. I then take several deep breaths and count down from 10 to 0. It really helps me clear my head, and prevents me from heading to the peanut butter jar:)


What works for you? Please let me know in the comments section below. And if you need help sorting through your emotions, I am here for you. Just click here and request to speak with me so you can get clear on your challenges and have a clear path towards dealing with your emotions without turning to food.

No Thank You Miss Food Pusher

Hand Stops CakeAround this time of year with the holidays of Passover and Easter just around the corner, it is a good time to talk about a category of people I like to call “food pushers.”  These people mean well, but they have a tendency to start interfering with the hunger and fullness cues you have been working to develop.  To help explain, I am going to tell you a story one of my previous employees who has been on her own mindful eating journey told me recently.


Lucy* had struggled with cyclic weight gain throughout college and it wasn’t until she started studying nutrition that she began to realize it is not about diets, but about living a healthy lifestyle.  The more she started practicing intuitive eating principles, the more she stopped worrying about her weight, and was happy with her health.  The problem was, Lucy’s mom had her own hang-ups when it came to body image that she would sometimes project on her.  If Lucy appeared thinner to her mom, her mom would be more agreeable to offering her dessert, or encouraging her to take seconds at meals.  But when she felt like Lucy was going back to her “heavier” weight, she would make comments like “Are you really that hungry? Do you need to eat more?”


While this frustrated Lucy, the more she listened to her own intuitive eating voice the less she cared about what other people thought about the quality and quantity of the foods she decided to eat.  Recently she was shopping with her mom and sister and they spotted a candy that is only around during holiday time.  Lucy and her sister purchased one and split it.  Her mom said, “Did you need to eat that candy?” As she began to reply she realized there was no need for justification.  There was nothing wrong with her eating that candy, it was not mindless nor was it in excess so she simply said, “yes” and everyone moved on.  No food pushing (or pulling) away—just Lucy “trusting her gut” (pun intended!)


You might find that these people in your family, especially those you see only during the holidays, are the first to comment about your appearance and your eating habits.  They typically have a tendency to comment if they feel you did not eat enough and try to guilt you into taking more food.  There is no justification required for how much or how little you choose to eat.  You know what will satisfy you and you are in charge.  If you are afraid of hurting a family members feeling for not trying something special they made, simply ask for the recipe and say “thanks for the recipe, I can’t wait to make it!”


Family members sometimes have no filter.  Usually the things they say to you regarding your personal eating habits occur because they are unhappy with their own.  Perhaps this holiday season will be a time when food pushers turn into mindful eating converts when they see how well it is working for you.  And hey! If they need some guidance you know where to find me.


Your turn to take action: Recall a time a food pusher got involved in your decision about what and how much to eat.  What are some ways you could have stayed true to your own mindful eating needs instead of being swayed by them?

*Name changed