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!



What Does it Mean to Be “Feel Hungry” and “Feel Full”?

iEat Mindfully & Intuitive EatingIf you have been following my iEat Mindfully™ blog, you have probably seen me use the terminology “honor your hunger” and “respect your fullness.”  You may read these phrases and think that it sounds nice, but do you know what it actual means?  Do you think you’re doing this but aren’t exactly sure?  I want to delve a little deeper into both of these terms because they are such important pillars of eating intuitively.
For those of you who have had babies, or for anyone who has been around someone with a baby, when those little ones are hungry, they want to eat and they will let you know.  They also let you know when they are full by stopping to eat.  This is a basic instinct that somehow, for some of you reading, you lose as you go through life.  Getting back in touch with this is very important to being able to live a life free of dieting where you can trust your “gut”.
If you come from a place of dieting, you may have associated hunger with “I’m doing something right.  Hunger=losing weight.”  However, by not honoring your hunger and by delaying your eating you silence your hunger signals so that you only begin to hear them in the ravenous state.  And if you wait too long to eat, you become so hungry that you either eat whatever is in front of you or you eat way too much because you waited too long to eat.  Had you simply acknowledged the fact that you were hungry when you were first aware of it, you could have stopped the situation from becoming one that could cause you guilt and regret.



On the heels of honoring your hunger is respecting your fullness.  Trusting that it is time for you to eat a meal or a snack also comes along with trusting you know when it’s time to stop eating.  There is no need to have foods labeled as “off limits” when you know how to implement “eating for satisfaction”.  Taking the time to enjoy your meals (see last week’s blog to learn ways to involve all 5 senses and slow down) will help you to tune into that last bite that you acknowledge is the bite where you have reached your comfortable level of fullness.  Pretty soon it will involve less focus, and you will simply know–it will become intuitive.
These two principles work together to help you live a life where you are not afraid of going to a restaurant or a party.  You will be able to navigate situations that in the past may have scared you because you didn’t think you would be able to “be good.”  Practicing awareness of both hunger and fullness will truly open the door to a new chapter in your diet-free life.
Your turn to take action:  This week keep track how hungry you are when you sit down to a meal or a snack, and how full you are when you get up.  Let me know what revelations you had from doing this!