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International NO Diet Day

No DietingToday is a very important day: International NO Diet Day!

 

The purpose of this nationally recognized day is to raise awareness of the harmful effects unhealthy dieting can have as well as the importance of respecting and accepting body types.  The goal is to teach people how to have a healthy relationship with food and ditch restrictive eating habits.

 

May 6th has been the designated day for NO Diet Day ever since it was created in 1992 by Mary Evans Young, director of the British Group “Diet Breakers”.  After overcoming anorexia, Young worked to help people appreciate themselves for who they are and the body that they have and established the following set of goals for this very important and meaningful day:

 

GOAL: Celebrate the beauty and diversity of all our natural sizes and shapes.

 

GOAL: Declare a personal one-day moratorium on diet/weight obsession.

 

GOAL: Learn the facts about weight-loss dieting, health and body size.

 

GOAL: Honor the victims of eating disorders and weight-loss surgery.

 

GOAL: Help end weight discrimination, size-ism and fat phobia.

 

These are a great set of goals to set not only on International NO Diet Day, but for every day of the year.  Learning ways to eat intuitively by honoring your hunger and satiety cues is the best way to ditch the diet mentality and develop a healthy relationship with food.

 

Chronic dieting and the perpetual obsession with food and body weight is something that we are faced with constantly, especially in a culture that glorifies the notion that thin is beautiful.  This misconception has caused food to become the enemy for most people.  This is sad because food is something we should all cherish and enjoy and view as a means to nourish our bodies.

 

If you have been struggling on and off diets, let today be the day that you say NO MORE! Contact me for your FREE Break Free of Dieting Strategy Session and let’s turn this around for you. I will help you transform your relationship with food, your mind and your body so you can achieve the body that you love!

 

Your turn to take action: Click here for your Break Free of Dieting Strategy Session.

Intuitive Eating: Make it a Family Affair

Family meals 2Many of the eating behaviors that you are trying to change have likely been behaviors and habits you learned while growing up through your childhood. Statements such as “you can’t leave the table until you clean your plate” or “clean your room and we will go for ice cream” puts food in the category of either punishment or reward.  It is so important to think about how these statements mold your children’s thoughts and beliefs about food.

It’s very important to me, as a mom of 4 children and 1 grandchild, to help my family respect their individual food preferences and inner signals of hunger and satiety. They need not eat what they don’t like, nor should they eat when they are not hungry or continue eating when they reach satiety. That doesn’t mean, by the way, that I don’t ask them to be open minded and taste a food that they “think” they won’t like, or that they didn’t like years ago. Tastes change, especially in growing children.

Let me share a story with you. Last week we were eating a family dinner. My youngest daughter (11 years old) stopped eating and put her fork down. There was a little food left on her plate (I think it was potatoes) and my husband asked her why she didn’t finish.  She said that she’s no longer hungry and that she had enough. She looked at me when she said it, as if to say “mom, aren’t you proud?!” Yes, indeed, I was beaming. I quickly said that I will put away what she left over and she can eat it tomorrow. This was important as my husband doesn’t like to waste food and as long as he realizes I wasn’t going to throw her food in the garbage, he didn’t say a word other than, “oh, okay”.

Practicing intuitive eating should be a family affair. In this way, your kids will grow up with a healthy attitude towards food, their mind and their body.

Your turn to take action: Please share in the comments below one of your dinner table stories depicting intuitive eating.

My Experience with Comfortable Satiety

iStock_000019977922XSmallWhen working with my clients, it is often hard for them to identify what comfortable satiety feels like.  This is truly understandable. If you have been eating mindlessly and/or cleaning the plate without consideration if you’ve even had enough (“how can I leave food over, I’m entitled to eat this amount on my diet?”), then that would partly explain why this part of your journey might be difficult.

 

As I’ve previously mentioned, I have incorporated intuitive eating into my own life. I want to share an experience with you that I had yesterday when I was eating lunch.

 

I identified that I was “gently hungry” and decided to take my lunch break. I remembered that I had some soup left over in the fridge from dinner the night before, that I did not eat but that my family raved about. While the soup was heating up, I prepared my sandwich, which is what I often eat for lunch.

 

I sat at the kitchen table, took a deep breath to center myself, and began eating my soup.  Yum, it was truly delicious. The texture of the vegetables, the flavor of the spices, and the temperature really hit the spot. I noticed the trees and the sunshine out my bay window (it was a nicer day yesterday than today…brrr, its cold today).

 

I finished the soup, rested a moment to check in with my stomach. I felt good, but was still slightly hungry so I picked up half my sandwich. I ate focusing on each bite. It too, was delicious.  After I finished the half sandwich, I once again checked in with myself. I was feeling content. I didn’t need to eat the other half of the sandwich. My son had left me a small bowl of 4 peeled grapefruit sections with a note “Enjoy, Ma, Love Jason”. How sweet.  He knows how I love grapefruit sections.

 

At this point, I decided to wrap up the other half of the sandwich and finish off my meal with the 4 grapefruit sections. What a wonderful experience. I was being intuitive, listening to my body, and being mindful.  And I enjoyed every bite.

 

Now it’s your turn to take action: Tune into your internal signals at mealtime, and share your experience in the comments below.

Freedom From Dieting….Finally!

Freedom from Dieting Inner CircleHere we are again!  Mid January, the start of a new year and the media bombardment of promises to help you fulfill your weight loss goals for this year.

Click here to watch and listen, or read below.

You can’t read a magazine, listen to the radio or watch TV without a commercial or advertisement touting the latest diet, meal replacement drink, detox program or miracle pill to help you lose the weight in the new year.

http://www.youtube.com/edit?video_referrer=watch&video_id=ilA9ohhy2vc

If you suffer with emotional eating, yo-yo dieting and just feel lost, trying another diet this year is NOT your answer.  Time and time again it has been proven that diets don’t work for long term weight loss.  They work great short term if you are good at “following” what someone else tells you to do, what to eat and how and when to eat.  But by now you’ve realized it’s not your FOREVER.

 

The solution to your struggles is reclaiming what you were born with…and that’s the ability to become an intuitive eater.  That means learning to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are comfortably full.  If you’ve been ignoring your inner signals for some time now, this might sound difficult to do.

But the ability to be an intuitive eater is buried inside of you and I would be honored to help you bring it back up to the surface so you can live your life free of food worry and free of the pain of diet failure.

 

Sounds great, but you want to know HOW, right?

 

Join me in my new program called              Freedom from Dieting Inner Circle

 

This is a small intimate group coaching program; I’m only taking 6 people max so you can get the attention you need.

 

It’s perfect for you if you are ready to take action and realize you’ll accomplish more by having the accountability, structure, and support you need to succeed.

 

What to hear all the details?

 

I’m offering a FREE Break Free of Dieting Strategy Session for you where we will discuss your biggest challenges preventing you from achieving your weight loss goals, and we will see if the Freedom from Dieting Inner Circle program is right for you.

 

Click here and submit your request for this Free Session.

 

Writing the Right Way

If you have ever tried dieting in the past, it is likely you have attempted at some point to keep a food journal.  In theory, this is a good way to hold yourself accountable for the food you’re eating, to notice when you may overeat, and to gauge any other patterns and habits that perhaps you weren’t previously aware of.  However like many things associated with dieting, it is hard to sustain in a real life situation for a long period of time.

While journaling can alert you to patterns, it can also cause you to become a little too obsessive over the food you are eating.  It can also create feelings of guilt when you look back to what you ate, or start a pattern of rationalizing about what you ate.  I would like to offer a new spin on the food journal that I think will help you with your intuitive and mindful eating journey.

Instead of chronicling every bite you eat, start journaling how you feel before and after you eat.  Writing down your feelings before you eat something will help you to tune into your hunger level and the reason you are eating.  You will be able to see if you are “famished” and recognize that maybe you waited too long to eat.  The pause to journal these feelings also gives you a moment to make a decision about what you want to eat.  It can help keep you from making an impulsive choice that perhaps is not the best for your health, or not really what you want to be eating at the moment.

If you journal how you feel after you eat, it can help you get a sense of your fullness level.  You will be more aware of whether you ate too much or stopped when you had just enough.  Writing down your feelings after you eat will help you learn the reasons why you might have finished what was on your plate even though you identified you were satisfied way before the plate was empty.

Journaling can definitely be used to help you stay healthy, but you’re better off using it to truly get to know you and your eating habits, rather than just writing down the details of the actual food you put into your mouth.  If you journal properly, you’ll get “write” to fixing some of your unhealthy habits, and be on the right track to wellness!

Your turn to take action: Do you keep a traditional food diary or a food feelings journal?  How does this help you on your journey toward intuitive eating?

Relax…and Enjoy Your Food

iStock_000019977922XSmallGiven my profession, I spend a lot of time speaking and thinking about food and how it relates to the lives of my clients.  However, what I have noticed when meeting with new clients who are coming to me from a place of chronic dieting, they too speak and think about food all the time, but they do it from a place of worry.  “What did I eat yesterday, what am I eating today, what will I eat tomorrow”.

This is exhausting, don’t you think?  Balancing life and responsibilities such as family, friends and work is often difficult and stressful in and of itself.  Food should not add to that stress.   Eating should be pleasurable.

As a reader of my iEat Mindfully™ blog, you are likely coming from a history of dieting.  A past littered with carefully laid out menu plans with just the “right” amount of carbohydrates, protein and fat.  A history that includes feelings of panic when you are in a restaurant or at a family gathering where the food served is not on your “plan”.  The amount of grief you give yourself in these situations takes away from all the pleasure you could be getting from your food.

By employing all the techniques I have been writing about such as slowing down, listening to your hunger and fullness cues, and using all your senses to enjoy your food, you are hopefully seeing that there is a place for enjoyment in food, even foods that were previously deemed “bad” in your mind.  And you know what?  It is okay to get excited about a specific dish at your favorite restaurant that you will be having tonight for dinner because you now know how to go about enjoying it.  You will enjoy to the max and achieve full satisfaction without feelings of guilt.

When it comes to repairing your relationship with food, this is such an important step to learn.  Ask yourself what you really want to eat, use all your senses to enjoy and really taste it, and savor the moment.  You don’t have time to waste on food worry.  Focus on the positive aspects of the food, how it nourishes you and makes you feel, the memories from your childhood and recapture the pleasure of eating once again.

Your turn to take action: Did you enjoy your meals this week?  What senses did you use to improve your satisfaction?  Please let me know in the comments section 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!

 

A Comparison between the Evolution of the Food Graphic and the Intuitive Eater’s Journey

MyPlate coloredOver the years, we have seen the USDA food graphic evolve.  The evolution of this graphic speaks a lot to living an intuitive eating lifestyle.  The old graphic used to break down the food groups into how many servings of each group you should eat each day.  Servings were not defined, so you were forced to figure out portion sizes on your own—and with pictures of loaves of bread, whole chickens and steaks filling in the sections of the graphics, it certainly wasn’t clear what a “normal” portion size was.

The graphic soon evolved to a pyramid shape, this one with vertical triangles in different sizes to depict visually how much each food group should be represented in your daily meals.  It gave more freedom for you to decide how much to eat.  In giving you that freedom, you still needed to rely on portion control, something that can be difficult in our culture given the over-sized meals we see in restaurants.

We have since moved to the current USDA food graphic, MyPlate.  This graphic depicts a 9-inch plate divided into different sized sections, meant to show how much space each food group should take up on your plate, since people eat off a plate and not a pyramid.  This graphic does focus on the bigger problem in our country of over-sized portions and overeating by providing a visual that people can relate to.  It is a helpful tool to build a healthy meal.

If you look at the journey the food graphic has taken, it is similar to the journey of someone with a diet mentality on the path to becoming an intuitive eater.  The earlier versions of the food guide pyramid told Americans how many servings to eat from each food group, very much like a diet to follow, which turned out to be very unrealistic for most people.  Thus, the movement to today’s MyPlate which provides more of a blueprint from which you can build healthy meals and is based on your food preferences and desires.

As a past (hopefully!) chronic dieter, you too followed a regimented diet plan telling you what, when and how much to eat.  But as you have been moving forward on your intuitive eating journey, you have banished those diets, shifted your mindset, and have taken the power back to decide what, when and how much to eat.

You know the foods that make you feel healthy and strong and those that make you feel tired and bloated. You understand what it means to eat until you are “just satisfied” and not to the point of overfull and overstuffed.  And if you are still figuring this out, no worries.  You are on the path to self-discovery and will get there!

Taking back control that was taken away from you has made you stronger.  Continue to follow your intuition, and you will find that you are likely choosing lighter, healthier foods that help your body run its best.  And, in the end, I bet your plate will look like MyPlate.

Your turn to take action:  Please share your thoughts…How has your intuitive eating journey been going?

Am I Always So Bubbly and Happy?

8950365_sAs I sat down today to write my post for the iEat Mindfully™ blog, I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to write about.  But then it came to me.  Earlier today, I was told for about the 10th time this week, how bubbly and happy I am.  “Am I always like that, my client asked me?”  And I realized, yes, when I am teaching my clients about intuitive eating, I absolutely am giddy, bubbly and oh, so happy.

 

You see, for years when clients came to me for help in losing weight, I would create a healthy eating plan that fit into their lifestyle.  It included foods they liked, times they should eat, and even recipes.  My clients did very well…when they “followed” the meal plan.  But what happened when they didn’t “follow” the meal plan?  Or when a life event, stress, or bad day at the office had them dipping into the cookie jar.  Out went that healthy meal plan.

 

I dreaded the sessions when I would weigh a client and the rest of the session revolved around why they only lost 1 pound, or why they gained ½ pound.  I got so burnt out….I just wasn’t enjoying my work any longer.  This is when I knew I had to find another solution for my clients who struggled with chronic dieting and overweight/obesity, which I believed would in turn bring the passion back into my work.

 

That is when I found intuitive eating.  After spending time researching, studying, learning, and applying the principles of intuitive eating into my own life, I slowly worked it up into a program that would help transform my client’s lives.  It wasn’t easy at first.  Trying to get people to trust me that they should give up the “diet” or the “meal plan” wasn’t easy.

 

I quickly realized it really was more a matter of whether they could trust themselves.  After years and years of dieting and listening and following what other people/diet programs told them to eat, when to eat and how much to eat, well I guess it’s only natural that one would lose trust in themselves.

 

Fast forward to today…I am helping many people learn to regain that trust in themselves; to shift their mindset away from a diet mentality; to listen to their internal hunger and satiety signals.  The light bulbs that go on in their heads in our sessions are truly inspiring to me.  The “aha” moments are like no other.

 

So, yes, I am always bubbly, giddy and happy when I am working with my intuitive eating clients.  That’s what happens when I am doing what I love to do…when I am passionate about the transformation that I help my clients achieve.  Thank you to my wonderful clients.  I absolutely love working with you!

 

Your turn to take action:  If you would like the light bulbs to go on for you, head on over to http://www.talkwithbonnie.com and we will schedule a time to talk.

 

 

The Trials of Technology and Intuitive Eating

Eating while on cellDid you ever look around while you are walking somewhere and notice the people around you?  Is it more common that they are on a smartphone, listening to music or interacting with some electronic device rather than conversing with one another and paying attention to their surroundings?  I know for me the answer yes.

 

Technology has a way of taking over our lives, making us distracted.  When that distraction carries over into your eating, it finds you mindlessly munching away, not even aware of how much food you are consuming.  It also takes you away from being able to focus on your hunger and fullness cues, making it more difficult to be intuitive.

 

Sometimes it is nice to have information constantly at your fingertips.  You can look up food items at restaurants if you decide to eat out and you can look up healthier dining options if you find yourself stuck somewhere without any pre-packed meals or snacks.

 

But the problem is you develop a reliance on that technology rather than using your own common sense and internal signals.  If you are in the mood for a slice of pizza but one of your apps is telling you that you haven’t burned enough calories or you have eaten too many calories for the day, you decide to deny yourself of that pizza.  Then later on what happens?  The deprivation from earlier in the day leads to overeating on pizza that night.

 

You can see how technology can sometimes fight being intuitive.  Having so much reliance on electronic devices has you not relying on one of your most important devices—your brain and your body.  So hang up, turn-off, and listen to your hunger signals and desires rather than your iPhone app!  See how it goes.

 

Your turn to take action: Commit to not using technology or calorie counting apps for the next 3 days.  Listen to your internal signals and consider your needs.  How did it feel?