Intuitive Eating: I Don’t Know Where to Start

It’s Intuitive Eating Wednesday when I answer your questions and troubleshoot your challenges around intuitive eating and emotional eating.


This week’s Intuitive Eating Wednesday Question comes from Sandy, and it is:

“Bonnie, I have decided not to start a diet in the New Year! And while I’m excited about this, I just don’t know where to begin my intuitive eating journey. I have the original Intuitive Eating book, which I’ve read twice, but I just feel overwhelmed. Can you help me?”


Yes, of course, thank you Sandy for writing in to me.


As I started to put together some steps for Sandy, I thought about you.


Are you in the same place as Sandy?


Have you historically started a new diet or “healthy way of life” (a.k.a. diet) every January 1st?


Have you decided that this year it will be different….no more dieting, but you don’t know where to start your intuitive eating journey?


First, let me congratulate you for making the commitment to yourself to not diet in 2018! That is huge! I realize that it might have been a difficult decision with all the diet ads and marketing of the ‘right’ way to eat and exercise to shrink or sculpt your body (into something that is not sustainable anyway)!


Second, I feel your overwhelm. There is so much information on the internet about how “to do” intuitive eating, but often these suggestions contradict one another.


Most of my clients that finally reach out to me for help have already dabbled in intuitive eating. That dabbling can look like a few things:

  1. They’ve read the book Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elsye Resch.
  2. They’ve taken an online course in intuitive eating.
  3. They’ve been receiving support in the myriad of free private Facebook groups that offer intuitive eating support (by the way, if you’re not a member of my group yet, click here).


So the question is, with all this ‘dabbling’, why are you still feeling overwhelmed and questioning “where do I start”?


I believe the answer lies in the following reasons:

  1. You’ve read the intuitive eating book, but are having trouble implementing the principles because while reading the book helps you become familiar with intuitive eating, for most people (I’m not saying all people, but most people), they need more structure and coaching to help implement the principles into their daily life. Is this you too?


  1. You’ve taken an online course but admittedly didn’t show up for yourself by taking appropriate action. Or, the course lacked the private coaching that you really need to take this to the next level. Or, the course was marketed as an intuitive eating course, but in fact once you got into it, it was really dieting.


  1. You’re a member of a number of free Facebook groups but you aren’t receiving individualized coaching by certified intuitive eating counselors in these settings, nor should they be giving you coaching for free. This would be a disservice to you and to their clients who have invested in themselves. The free groups can only take you so far.


So what’s your next ‘first’ step?


Grab your freebie here: 5 Steps to a Body You Love Without Dieting. This will give you the step-by-step approach I take my clients through.


Then, if you want me to walk you through this step-by-step journey, contact me here.


5 Tips to Get Your Spouse on Board Your Intuitive Eating Journey

There are many women that I coach in my 5 Step Intuitive Eating Program who complain to me that their spouse is not supportive of their journey. This is either because they just don’t get it or they think that you should be able to “do it on your own”.


They may say to you, “just stop eating”, and don’t understand it often isn’t even about the food.


Do you find this to be true about your spouse?


Let’s explore this further…..


Perhaps your spouse himself is a dieter and isn’t ready to stop dieting.


Or, he doesn’t see an issue with your eating and doesn’t understand your need to make changes.


If we go even deeper, he may fear that your relationship will change once your relationship with food changes. After all, who will he binge eat at night with while watching TV?


Whatever the reason, there are ways to get your spouse on board with your intuitive eating journey. And, there are ways you can approach the topic of support with him without him getting defensive.


5 Tips to Get Your Spouse on Board:


1. Share your BIG WHY with him – This will help him understand why you’ve made the decision to no longer diet and why you are making changes in the house. If you explain to him your desire to be more in tune with your body and why this is important to you, he’ll know more of what you need, i.e. no T.V. while you eat dinner.


2. Be open with your struggles – Sometimes your spouse can be threatened by your new way of living because as we said, he may be a yo-yo dieter and is not ready to stop dieting.       It can be helpful to show him that it’s not that you’re better than him; it’s that you are ready to end your struggle as you’ve come to the realization that diets don’t work for you. And, you need help. Explain to him that you are struggling with your relationship with food and need to make changes in your own life to help form a stronger, and healthier relationship with food.


3. Be specific with the support you need from him – Remember that your spouse isn’t a mind reader!       If you want help from him, you need to specifically ask him for it. The more specific you are, the more support and help he will be able to give. If he always suggest to go out to dinner for happy and sad occasions, ask him if you guys can do something else together that doesn’t revolve around food for those same occasions.   Whatever it is, just be specific!


4. Understand it’s not about you, it’s often about him – Unfortunately, your spouse may not understand what you are going through and won’t want to make changes in his own life, even if they are better for you. If that’s the case, remember it’s about him and has nothing to do with you. You can still change your relationship with food and look for support from friends and others on the same journey as you. Hopefully once he sees how happy you are with your changes, he’ll get on board too! If you haven’t yet joined my free intuitive eating support community, you can do that here!)


5. Don’t try to change him, that will never work – You can’t force your spouse to change his lifestyle just because you want him too. Although it would be nice and better for you, he doesn’t need to change.  You are still able to change your own relationship with food, even if he doesn’t change his.


If you are looking for more help on how to get your spouse on board, please reach out to me. I can help you. Answer a few questions at and I’ll be in touch to set up a time to talk.


Your Turn to Take Action: What steps will you take this week to get your spouse on board with your intuitive eating journey? Let me know in the comments below!


Can I Fail on My Intuitive Eating Journey?

No failures in IEI was thinking about a conversation I had with a new client a few weeks ago. She was really fed up with dieting and was looking for a solution to help her finally be at peace with food and her body.  We talked about the process of intuitive eating and it resonated with her greatly, but she had one big fear:  would she fail at this process, like she failed at dieting?


Her fear of failure was initially holding her back from saying yes to embarking on the intuitive eating process.  So we talked about that fear and one of the things I helped her to understand is that you cannot fail at intuitive eating.


You see, dieting is something you go on and you go off. Dieting is what actually triggers overeating.  Dieting is what causes the feelings of failure.


With intuitive eating, there is no failure. Intuitive eating is this process where you’re learning to become an intuitive eater, which is an ability you are born with.  That ability is already within you.   Every step along the path, is a lesson learned.  Every experience you have will be another lesson learned.


So what you might have thought of as a “failure” or “setback” on your diet, is now going to be thought of as a lesson learned.  Its growth and progress.


If you can view the process of intuitive eating from this place, a place of growth, a place of learning new things and new experiences, it will help propel you forward towards reclaiming being an intuitive eater. Here you will realize that you will always learn something from the process and you will never fail.


Once my client realized that she is not embarking on another diet, she realized she cannot fail on this journey.  This process is not something that ends.  You learn to live as an intuitive eater, it’s a practice.


And so when there is no endpoint, there’s no failure and no fear that’s attached to that.


Once she was able to let go of that fear, she was able to say “YES, let’s do this.  Let’s go on this journey together so I can reclaim being an intuitive eater”. She’s on that journey now and really enjoying it.


I say the same to you.


There are lessons learned in every experience you have on this intuitive eating journey.


If you come upon an obstacle or you think you have fallen off the wagon, let’s change that thought process and just think of it as a lesson learned that’s given you growth so you can continue along your journey.


As always, if you need me, I am here.



Abolishing the “Eat This, Don’t Eat That” Rule

Portion control is something that is always stressed when discussing weight loss and healthy eating.  It is undeniable that the portions of food people eat are much larger than they were years ago, which is a direct contributor to the obesity epidemic this country is facing.


Several experiments have recently been conducted at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.  It was discovered that people have a “taste-health balance point” – a proportion of unhealthy and healthy foods in each meal – which they find satisfactory.  Thus, eating a smaller portion of a food you love (that might not be deemed the healthiest), rather than eliminating it completely, and pairing it with a healthy food choice allows the person to be satisfied with a smaller amount without feeling deprived.


Yet, in most commercial diet plans, along with portion control, there are “eat this, don’t eat that” rules.  Inevitably, the dieter can only stand not eating a favorite food on the “don’t eat” list for so long.  Cravings then lead to overeating and the diet is foregone.


Is this sounding familiar to you?


This is one of the reasons that I stress to my clients the importance of really understanding the concept of providing yourself with the unconditional permission to eat when hungry what food you desire. It takes the “taboo” label off foods that you would otherwise deem as “bad”.  It eliminates the desire to overeat on these foods and creates room for healthier food options.


So, if you are stuck in the diet mindset, try balancing your next meal with healthy wholesome foods plus those that you might deem “not as healthy” but are your favorite. See if you are satisfied with less and let me know in the comment section below.


To learn more about becoming an intuitive eater and How to Break Free from the Pain of Dieting and Get the Body You Love Without Feeling Deprived, join me for a Free Webinar on Tuesday September 16,2014 at 8 pm EST. Click here to register for FREE.




We’re All Human

Older women dancingThis week’s blog post will be a bit different.  I am sharing with you a story told to me by a very close friend who happens to also assist me in my office.  For anonymity, I will call her Mary.  Mary was instrumental in helping me launch my iEat Mindfully™ Intuitive Eating Program.  At the time, she was in her final year of college preparing to enter into her dietetic internship to eventually become a registered dietitian.

Mary had shared with me early on that one of the reasons she had gotten into the nutrition field was because of her experience with her dieting history.  She had a strong diet mentality throughout her early twenties. Despite a healthy body weight, she was addicted to seeing the number on the scale go down, and to trying whatever diet of the moment was around so she can lose weight.  She would always end up starving by the end of the 6-14 day trial period, gaining back any weight she lost and then some with a vengeance.

Lucky for her, through her studies in personal training and then even more so in nutrition, she began to learn not just the science behind how food works in the body, but the mentality with which to truly approach healthy eating.  Mindful eating in particular appealed to Mary because so much of her difficulties with weight stemmed from not trusting her own intuition about food.

Despite her knowledge of nutrition, Mary recently went through a stressful time in her life.  She was in the midst of her dietetic internship program, and between the stress of the program and other things going on in her life, she found herself deflecting that stress into disliking her appearance.  An unflattering dressing room light and a glimpse in the mirror while trying on clothes spiraled her thoughts into a whirlwind of, “How can I lose weight quickly, I need to get back on track.”

Fortunately for Mary, she sat down with herself and had a clarifying moment.  She thought about the idea of jumping into a fad diet, but realized she knew better.  She also knew that she had been out of touch with her intuitive eating and instead was eating to decrease stress instead of listening to her body and eating to nourish it.

Mary decided to be positive and invest in a gym membership, and started collecting healthy recipes she wanted to try.  She treated herself to new cooking appliances and reminded herself what it means to be healthy, and also reminded herself of some of the things she liked about her body.

Mary wanted me to share this story with you to remind you that roadblocks are inevitable, but they don’t have to derail you.  We are all human and there will be times when we forget the things we have learned, and want to jump back into a negative place.  If you can take a breath and refocus, whatever “damage” you may have felt you did, you can learn from it. Remember this all part of the journey which will lead you to where you want to be.

Your turn to take action: Have a heart to heart talk with yourself. If you have been having a difficult time on your intuitive eating journey, try to figure out why. Please share your thoughts with me and together we can help you get back on the road to a body you love without dieting!