Digging Into Desserts as an Intuitive Eater

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, I am often asked about the role that dessert plays in our eating plan. Many people who are stuck in the diet mentality see certain foods as off-limits. This is largely due to the many diets they’ve been on that place foods into two categories, healthy foods and “junk foods” (or “good” and “bad”, “legal” and “illegal” etc…you get the idea).


When food is labeled as forbidden, it just becomes that much more appealing. When you place limits on how many sweets you can have or when you can have them, you are giving that food power over you. You are treating certain foods like a vice instead of a delightful treat to be savored.


Food is not meant to be categorized in such a way. As a matter of fact, I have a pet peeve when people call food “junk food”. Food is not junk and food is not garbage. Food nourishing to our body and soul. Food is neutral and there are ways you can incorporate what you would call “junk foods” into your eating style without demonizing it.


In order to build a healthy relationship with food, it is imperative to stop demonizing it, and look at it as a source of nourishment.


When working with my intuitive eating clients, I take them on a journey in which, together, we work to rebuild a happy and healthier relationship with food. During this journey, we reframe the way they way they look at desserts and sweets, and refer to these foods as either “fun foods” or “play foods.” They find it enjoyable to incorporate play foods into their eating style once they rebuild that trust within their body. They no longer fear these foods.


Chocolate chip cookies, lemon meringue pie, and salty caramel ice cream are not “off limits”. As you learn to enjoy all foods on your intuitive eating journey, you will find that every food has a place in your life, if you so choose.


Some sweet treats that can’t be beat:

  • Anything with berries in it. Berries are a great way to sweeten up any meal or snack. They have antioxidants, they protect your cells from free radicals and they are delicious. Check out my favorite ways to add berries into my meals.


  • Cookies, in any shape and size. Cookies are great because you can have one or two or five! You decide based on your level of hunger, not based on a pre-determined portion. To learn more about these delicious treats, check out my blog post.


  • Nuts – I’m just nuts about nuts. Nuts are packed with nutrients, fiber and healthy fat making them the perfect snack or after dinner dessert. While nuts might have once been an “off limit” food for you, as an intuitive eater you are now embracing them for their healthy fat content. Learn more about the various nuts and how to incorporate them into your menus.


  • The perfect parfait. Parfaits are a great after dinner treat, especially when they are homemade and you get to decide what to put in them. For simple instructions on how to make your own click here.


In practicing an intuitive eating lifestyle, you will learn how to pay attention to your body’s internal hunger and fullness cues.


Quick Tip

When you are eating a food, try and remember how that food is affecting you both mentally and physically.


Remember how you felt after eating a quinoa salad and compare that to after you had a giant cheeseburger. When you pay attention to how foods affect you, you will feel more in charge of your eating. You may not crave that BLT as much when you realize how much better you feel when you eat a yogurt for breakfast instead. Don’t get me wrong, there are mornings when a giant stack of pancakes is in order, however as you become more intuitive and skilled at listening to your body, this may not be as common of an occurrence as before.


Interested in learning more about intuitive eating? Contact me to learn more about my various intuitive eating programs.


Your Turn to Take Action: What is your favorite sweet treat? Let me know in the comments below!



A Healthy Lifestyle is Not One Size Fits All

Over the many years I have been counseling clients, I have come across those who simply want me to give them a menu to follow, be it a 7 day, 14 day or a month of menus.  Or when I am giving a presentation, someone will raise their hand and ask, “how many calories should I be eating”.  These people want answers, but the point they are missing is that nutrition is not one size fits all.


When you have an ailment, you go to the doctor and the doctor gives you an examination to help diagnosis what is wrong.  He hears about your specific symptoms and reviews your past medical history.  From there, you set up a course of action for how you will treat and hopefully cure the problem.  Your treatment plan is unique to you, your history, and your symptoms.  Just like you wouldn’t want a doctor to streamline your specific case to be like everyone else, why would you want to do that for your nutrition needs?


This concept is the reason why the diet books out there can be so dangerous and can also be so depressing.  Many times people who create these fad diets aren’t remembering that no two people are the same.  They write out a diet plan and make nutrition recommendations without regard to any one person’s specific needs, and expect you to follow it in order to lose weight, or achieve a certain body type.  Meanwhile you could be depriving yourself of so many calories that you’ll actually hinder weight loss, or perhaps the plan has eliminated an entire food group that results in you missing out on important nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.  These diet gurus don’t know your schedule, your activity level, your medical history, and all the things that can affect your nutrition and how much you should be eating.  That is why it is so important to pay attention to how you feel before and after eating meals.  It is why you need to be sensitive to how certain foods affect you so that you can determine which foods make you feel your best, and which ones you would prefer to avoid.


Throughout these blogs I am constantly reminding you that you are on your own journey.  There is no need for you to rely on some celebrity health professional to tell you what is going to help you along your path to wellness.  The more ownership you take over your journey to health and a body you love, the more likely you are to succeed.  You will become more in tune to the things that work and don’t work, and because you know what helps you succeed, it won’t be as difficult as the struggles you may have felt trying to follow a generalized diet.


You are the master of your own body!


And remember, I am always here for you to help guide you in your journey!


Your turn to take action: If you’ve been struggling on this journey, take advantage of a my offer for a Break Free of Dieting Strategy Session so you can get clear on your path to making peace with food in 2014.   Just click here and I’ll get you set up for your free session.

Changes in Life Should Not Change Your Eating Plan

While it is an inevitable part of life, for most of us, change is never easy.  When our normal routine is threatened by things like career moves (good or bad), family crisis, a change in our children’s schedule or any number of other unforeseen circumstances, often the eating plan you have laid out can suffer.  But it is important to remember that just because something is changing in your life, it does not mean that the healthy lifestyle you have been working on needs to be altered as well.

There are different ways change tends to affect people’s eating.  If the change has been brought on by stress, eating to handle the added pressure can sometimes follow.  Or you got that long awaited promotion or a new job and your schedule has changed.  All of the hard work in fitting healthy eating into your old schedule now goes out the window.  What I want you to know is change does not have to set you back to the beginning.

Think about all the strategies you have learned over the past year.  These are all tools you have added to your mindful eating toolbox.  Tools you can use to tackle problems like change.  By maintaining the healthy lifestyle you have created, you add stability to your life that the change threatens.  If you don’t alter your healthy habits, you will find the change seems less intimidating and just another part of life.  By maintaining or taking control of your healthy lifestyle, you will exercise better control over handling this change as well.

A famous German spiritual author named Eckhart Tolle said, “Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.”  Allow yourself to embrace whatever change comes your way, knowing that by maintaining the intuitive eating principles you have set for yourself, you emerge a stronger, healthier person, and become even more ready to face changes in the future.

Your turn to take action: How will you prepare to handle change in your life without changing your healthy lifestyle?

International No Diet Day

No DietingToday is International No Diet Day.  This holiday was initiated in 1992 by Mary Evans Young, director of British anti-dieting campaign “Diet Breakers.”  This day was created to encourage international awareness of healthy eating as opposed to dieting.  It is an annual celebration of all body types, shapes and sizes.  It’s a day where we challenge cultural perceptions and opinions that could result in chronic dieting and discontent with body image.

If you have been reading my blog posts, you probably notice that I never use the word diet when talking about healthy eating.  I use phrases such as, “eating plan,” and “healthy lifestyle,” and I try to eliminate the word “diet” from the vocabulary of the clients I work with.  The word “diet” has come to imply something that you are “on” or “off.”  It leads to cyclically gaining and losing weight, and hardly brings the success and health promised by diets.

There has never been a better day than today to celebrate a life free of dieting that I assure you is out there.  By becoming an intuitive eater, you are no longer a prisoner to the restrictions of a specific diet, counting calories or measuring portions like you’re in a science lab.  Start by tuning into your body by embracing a healthy non-diet mindset and creating healthy habits that will stay with you forever.  By doing this, you have chosen to make lifelong changes, not temporary fixes as diets propose.

I encourage you to celebrate this holiday every day remembering to love yourself and the body that you have, and make healthy choices based on your intuition and the healthy lifestyle you have chosen.

Your turn to take action: Commit today to take time off from the crazy diet plan you are following and listen to your body’s hunger and satiety signals to guide your eating!  If you need help, download my FREE guide here.