Posts

When Eating is a Non-Issue and Food Decisions Just Happen

When you want to get into a routine and build something new into your life, one way to do so is to schedule and plan.  As a chronic dieter, this was (or maybe still is) also true for you when it comes to eating for weight loss (a.k.a. dieting).

 

You schedule the number of meals you’ll eat that day based on when the plan tells you to, and you restructure your life around that plan.  You find that you’re constantly thinking about what you’re supposed to be eating next, will you be eating it “on time” and if you didn’t pack it with you, will you be able to find something comparable.  You find the only thing you are thinking about is food.

 

I want you to remember a time where you weren’t worrying about your weight or your food.  You lived your life and when you were hungry you ate, you stopped when you were full and you weren’t frantically wondering if a food fell into your plan if you wanted to have it.  For many of you trying to get back to this memory, it might take you all the way back to your childhood days—and that’s OK.

 

When you were younger and there’s less to worry about, that carefree attitude translated easier to food.  Eating was just something you did in between all the other fun things you did each day. And you enjoyed every bite you took.

 

This is intuitive eating at its finest….when

 

…..Eating is a Non-Issue and Food Decisions Just Happen

 

Now that you are older and have been influenced by the diet culture that surrounds you, well, it hasn’t been so easy for you to return to the way you were born.

 

I know you have this deep desire to become an intuitive eater again. I know this because I have spoken to hundreds of you wishing it were easier.  I know how easy it is to fall back into diet mentality, and I also know how important support is for you on this journey.

 

Free Training

Join me tomorrow, Thursday September 7 at 8 pm EST for a Facebook Live training where I will discuss how you can make intuitive eating second nature again.

 

I’m going live in my private Facebook group, so if you aren’t yet a member of our group, click here now to join us for free.

 

Here’s what you’ll learn during our Facebook Live training:

  • The #1 reason you struggle with implementing the intuitive eating principles
  • What it really takes to make intuitive eating a part of your being
  • How you can be at peace with food and yourself so you can enjoy life to the fullest

 

Oh, and if you are not on Facebook and want to watch the replay, just send me an email to Bonnie@DietFreeRadiantMe.com and I’ll send you the recording.

 

YES, I Eat Cake!

Funny thing about what I do for a living. Most people think I don’t eat cake, sweets, or what they call “junk food”. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I don’t call food “junk”. I call less nutrient-rich food “play foods”. And, yes I do eat play foods when I feel like it.

 

Two weeks ago, I went into the local bakery to buy a graduation cake for my daughter, Jennifer, who graduated college in May! She graduated college the same day she started grad school and unfortunately, she had to miss graduation to attend her first day of classes (she is going for a degree in occupational therapy – I’m so proud of her!). Jennifer felt bad about missing graduation, and I wanted to make a big celebration for her on the evening of her big day. So, I planned a family dinner, bought her a card, some graduation balloons, and went into the bakery to buy a cake that we can present to her while singing “Happy graduation…”.

 

I was standing on line and turned around to see a man from my community. He looked at me in shock that I was in the bakery, ordering cupcakes (I decided not to buy a cake, the cupcakes looked more fun!). He knows that I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and I guess upon seeing me, he immediately thought I don’t belong in a bakery. I felt the need to start explaining to him that my daughter graduated and we are having a celebration, to which he put his hand up and said “okay, not a problem”. I left the bakery really angry…at the man for assuming I wouldn’t eat the cupcakes and at myself for feeling the need to start explaining why I was buying them.

 

The following week was my younger daughter, Lauren’s, birthday. I went to the same local bakery to order her a cake for our birthday celebration dinner that evening. Again, after I ordered the cake and was waiting for them to write ‘Happy Birthday’ on it, I saw a different man from my community and he said “oh, it’s a birthday cake. I didn’t think you were buying something for yourself in here”.

 

Really??

 

Well this time, I did not explain myself at all. I smiled and said, “nice to see you too”. I was so tempted to start explaining to him about intuitive eating, but I realized that it would fall on deaf ears. He wasn’t interested in understanding about intuitive eating, and that there are no good or bad foods. I know him for a while, and while he is a fit man, I know that his wife struggles with her weight and it just wasn’t the right time and place.

 

The beautiful thing about intuitive eating is there is no right way or wrong way to eat. Once you learn to listen to your body’s cues and trust that your body will guide you, you will find you will “crave” nutrient-rich foods most of the time, and play foods some of the time.

 

Contrary to what some people think about intuitive eating, intuitive eating is not eat what you want when you want without considering your hunger level or how that food feels in your body. It is not giving you permission to eat doughnuts all day long just because you can. If you want a doughnut, eat it and move on. If you don’t want a doughnut, don’t eat it. I know this is a hard concept for chronic dieters who label food good/bad, and who have guilt after eating certain foods.

 

I base my teachings around 3 essential ingredients. They are: a healthy mindset, caring support and nutrition education. Think of it like 3 pieces to a puzzle. All 3 pieces need to be in place to have peace with food, your body and a freedom to eat without guilt. But the nutrition piece comes once the healthy mindset and support pieces are in place. Then we integrate nutrition and you will find that you will be choosing nutrient-rich foods most of the time not because you think you “should” but because you feel awesome eating them. And, you will incorporate play foods as you see fit. Have the doughnut, cupcake, ice cream or whatever your play food is, or don’t. You are in the driver’s seat. Releasing the fear around these foods is key to making peace with them.

 

I enjoyed a nice piece of birthday cake on Friday evening to celebrate my daughters 15th birthday (it had custard inside…yum!) No guilt, no regret, just pure pleasure.

 

 

 

How to Be an Intuitive Eater When You Are Sick

tea 3Learning how to be an intuitive eater after years and years of chronic dieting is certainly a journey with twists and turns. But it’s those twists and turns that lead to movement forward on your path towards food freedom.

 

Some of these twists and turns we can expect and plan for, such as an upcoming wedding, party or night out on the town. We think ahead, set intentions for the evening and stay aware during our night out.

 

But there are some twists and turns that we do not plan for. One such is getting sick. Now, there’s all kinds of sick. There’s the flu that keeps you in bed, the stomach virus that keeps you in the bathroom, and there’s migraine headaches which keeps you under the covers. And, then there’s laryngitis.

 

I am writing this blog as I sit at my desk with no voice. I open my mouth to speak and nothing comes out. Zero, zilch, nada! This happened last night after I finished a 90 minute webinar training on my 5 Step System to Break Free of Dieting (if you didn’t catch the webinar, you can listen to the replay here!)

 

I could tell my voice was starting to go earlier in the day, it felt a bit scratchy. I drank hot tea and sucked on throat lozenges all in hopes of preserving my voice so I can host the training that hundreds of people signed up for.

 

And, my voice held out! Until right after the webinar. It was so strange. Within a half hour of the training ending, I lost my voice. The universe really wanted me to share my 5 Step System with as many people as possible, as it is really a life changing process towards eating without guilt and achieving a body you love without dieting.

 

I was grateful. I took a cup of tea and headed to bed.

 

Then, this morning, when I awoke, I noticed something. I wasn’t experiencing my hunger signals for breakfast like I usually do. And, throughout the day, I noticed that I was having a hard time identifying hunger. I knew, however, that illness blunts or dulls the hunger signals and in these types of situations, it is important to eat and nourish my body with wholesome foods to aid in my healing.

 

So this is what I did. I chose soft foods that wouldn’t irritate my throat, and I took the time to sit at my table and eat in a mindful fashion. I found that I became satiated a bit earlier than usual, and I stopped eating at this point.

 

It takes a bit more effort to tune into your inner signals when you are not feeling well. But your body deserves to be nourished, especially when it needs to heal. And, food is thy best medicine.

 

Your turn to take action: If you missed my free webinar, request access to the replay here.

 

 

 

 

Doctors Who Just Don’t Understand Intuitive Eating

Doctor telling woman what to eatIt seems that ever since I started teaching the process of intuitive eating to my clients, the terms “intuitive eating” and “mindful eating” are popping up everywhere on the internet. These are the new buzz words when it comes to people looking for a way to lose weight.

 

You might wonder why that bothers me. I’ll tell you why.

 

Intuitive eating is not about losing weight. It is not a weight loss program per-se. It is a process that helps you transform the way you look at food, think about food, and have food present in your life. Becoming an intuitive eater (or shall I say reclaiming your ability to be an intuitive eater since you were born one) is about you making peace with food so you can enjoy a diet-free life of guilt-free eating which in turn will help you achieve weight loss and a body you love.

 

Will you accomplish this in one or two months of intuitive eating work?

 

Absolutely NOT!

 

And anyone who expects that you will just does not understand what intuitive eating is or what the process entails. This is also probably someone who has never had a weight problem before and has always told you to “just stop eating what you shouldn’t eat”. Really, if only it were that easy.

 

This is also possibly your doctor who is so good at telling you that “you have to lose weight” but doesn’t give you any realistic coaching on how to do that. Or, worse yet, the doctor tells you to “avoid all bread and carbs to lose weight”.

 

Listen, there are many quick weight loss methods out there that you can follow to successfully lose weight. If your doctor is looking for the weight to come off in any way possible, then he will recommend these quick fix methods for you. You will lose the 50 or 100 pounds he is bothering you to lose. Great. But where will it leave you when one year later those pounds are back on plus another 30?

 

Do I sound frustrated? If I do, well that’s because I am. There are too many people out there in the world falling prey to the latest quick fix diets, and doctors who push their patients towards them for the quick weight loss are really doing a disservice to their patients. While they think they are doing a service, they are truly not!

 

The process of intuitive eating is not about disregarding what you are eating. I am not telling you that in intuitive eating, you should overfill your plate with pasta a la vodka, donuts or cookies.

 

While on the intuitive eating journey, you can still nourish your body with wholesome foods but the guilt of eating the piece of cake is gone. I actually encourage nourishing foods but you are the one who chooses it because you will find that as you learn to tune into and listen to your body, these are the foods that make you feel well, energized and healthy. You aren’t eating them because you are TOLD to eat them, and that is the big difference.

 

So, the next time someone says to you “you need quicker results”, tell them that statement is part of the diet mentality, and you are no longer dieting. Intuitive eating is a process and you will allow it to unfold naturally for you, whether that be 6 months, 9 months, or one year.

 

If you need help in getting started on your intuitive eating journey, request a free consultation here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food Shaming and How to Break Out of the Cycle

Sad woman eating donutAre you suffering from food shame? Have you recently encountered someone telling you not to eat something because it is fattening? Do you get looks from people if you eat a cookie? Or maybe you are the one engaging in these behaviors and judging others based on what they eat. The concept of classifying food as “good” or “bad” and then judging others based on where your perception fits is called food shaming.  This can negatively impact your health.

 

Does this scenario sound familiar to you? You are in the company of a particular family member who once again makes a comment or gives you a look when you reach for a food that they consider “off limits”.  You become extremely frustrated to be on the receiving end of this judgment. As a result, not only do you end up depriving yourself of the food you really want, but you also find yourself experiencing an emotion such as anger. You become angry with this person for making a comment and because then you end up not eating that food to avoid the judgment.

 

It becomes a vicious cycle in which you may also find yourself engaging in this behavior, such as when you are at the grocery store and see another shopper with a cart full of unhealthy, fat and sugar laden food. You automatically make the assumption that they must be in poor health.

 

How did this happen? How has this become a socially acceptable norm?

 

It boils down to influences and messages that you receive throughout life. These messages come early in life from parents and build throughout your years from the media, friends and even healthcare professionals.

 

What you may not realize is how detrimental this is to your health and mental well-being. These kinds of beliefs and thought processes go against your natural feeding instincts. You are born with natural hunger and satiety cues. Allowing food shaming to influence you effectively violates these inborn cues. Instead of indulging in a craving when you are actually hungry for it, you are doing yourself a great disservice and instead create feelings of deprivation and anger. Feelings of deprivation and anger can then backfire and cause an overeating episode in an effort to satisfy the deprivation and quell the anger. Overeating episodes such as this often happen when you are not actually hungry. This then results in feeling bloated and lethargic as well as powerless over how much you just consumed. So the anger and deprivation finally result in powerlessness and low self-efficacy from the loss of control.

 

How can you best defend yourself from food shaming? You need to embrace intuitive eating to tune into your physiological cues to eating, avoid emotional eating, develop a healthy relationship or make peace with food, and respect your body. Intuitive eating brings you back to your roots and re-engages you with your innate drive to eat.

 

Now it’s your turn to take action: What will you do this week to combat food shaming?

 

 

Eating Out Mindfully

Restaurant Meal

Restaurants can be one of the greatest challenges of trying to eat healthy.  New labeling requirements have made us more aware of just how unhealthy some of our favorite dishes can be.  But eating out is part of our culture and it is a fun social event to go out to eat with our friends.  It is also an opportunity to try new foods that we don’t eat on a regularbasis and that should not be missed out on just because you feel like you won’t be able to make healthy choices.

I often hear from my clients that they don’t go out to eat because they fear they will make “bad” choices and overeat.  I tell them if you were dieting then I can understand how difficult it would be.  But I quickly remind them that they are not dieting.  Eating mindfully is about enjoying whatever foods you want, and knowing that the enjoyment can come guilt-free.  One of the best intuitive eating principles that can help you in a restaurant setting is “Respect Your Fullness.”  By eating what you really want to eat, not what you think you should eat, you will enjoy your restaurant experience and be able to stop when comfortably satisfied without risk of overeating.

It’s easy to get distracted when eating out.  You might be wrapped up in conversation and eat more than you expect because you were not paying attention to your food.  Here are some strategies to increase your consciousness while eating:

  • Be aware of how hungry you are when you sit down.  Sometimes restaurants make you wait for a long time before seating you at a table, and then you still have to wait for your food once you get there.
  • Never arrive overly hungry or it will be harder to identify when you had enough. Have a small snack before you leave home.
  • Wait to take bites between conversations so you can be aware of the food you are eating.
  • Pause mid-meal and ask yourself if you are still hungry.

Eating out is fun and can be included in a healthy eating lifestyle.  All food and food related activities have their place in mindful eating, and as you continue on this journey, you will see how you will enjoy food socially more than ever before, without the guilt and the uncomfortable fullness!

If you are interested in learning more strategies to help you get off the diet roller coaster, request your Free – Break Free of Dieting Strategy Session Here.

Your turn to take action:  How will you increase your consciousness while eating out?