Honouring your Health with Gentle Nutrition – Q&A

During my recovery, Binge Eating Disorder – Personal Story food was the enemy. I felt guilt, shame, anxiety and stress around it.

If you ever felt those feeling around food, let me introduce you to this concept that helped me, the Gentle Nutrition Approach.

First off, let’s start with a definition of intuitive eating. 

An intuitive eater is a person who “makes food choices without experiencing guilt or an ethical dilemma, honours hunger, respects fullness and enjoys the pleasure of eating.”

I also think that it’s important to emphasise that intuitive eating is an ongoing process in which you cannot fail. Yes, that’s right. It is a inwards journey, not an outside one.

Intuitive eating is a lifelong journey to become more in touch with our bodies’ signals. It does get much easier over time, specially after a long term of yo yo dieting, it becomes very difficult to recognise our hunger and fullness clues “eating when truly hungry and stopping when satisfied.”

That’s part of it and we also have to understand that there are times when we will eat past fullness and that’s okay, other times when we might not be able to get to food when we’re hungry and that’s okay too. When we become an intuitive eater, we approach this moments with curiosity instead of judgement and explore how we behave and feel about it.

Note: Fullness is a physical feeling of being done eating, you’re tummy feels comfortable and you probably won’t start to get hunger signals for another few hours. Satisfaction is the emotional feeling of being done after eating. you’ve enjoyed the meal and you feel like the meal “hit the spot”, happy and satisfied.

I’ve been educating many of my clients on the idea of “gentle nutrition.”

“Honour your health with gentle nutrition.” This concept means you will learn how to trust your body signals as well as use your nutrition knowledge to appropriately fuel your body. There are no judgements, or preconceived notions on how your body should be fuelled.

To quote Tribole and Resch: ““Make food choices that honour your health and taste buds while making you feel well. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters – progress not perfection is what counts.”

One meal, one day of even one week of eating off a schedule isn’t going to detrimentally affect your health (considering that you don`t have a special condition or food allergies, of course). It’s about giving yourself permission to enjoy food and enjoy life.

You trust that your body will lead the way.

 

With the concept of gentle nutrition in mind, let me answer some common questions

1)      Well, if I eat intuitively, I’m afraid of going “the other way” and eat “too much.”

So, what does eating too much actually mean? Does it mean feeling really full? Or mean eating more than the perfect meal plan you think you were supposed to eat? I prefer to explore with clients what worries them about “eating too much”.

I was scared of that too, and guess what? When we give up restricting the “forbidden foods”, they stop being so appealing to us. If this is something that resonates with you, or If you’re really concerned or confused about the signals your body is sending, I encourage you to get in touch and ask some questions, or journal about it for yourself.

Also check Why dieting is stopping you from being the best version of yourself

“Eating too much” is the body’s natural response to being restricted for so long. Our body is cleverly programmed to keep us alive.

2)      What about healthy eating? You can’t just eat whatever all day long.

Well, actually you can! I’ve seen so many clients, including myself, work through the process of intuitive eating and it’s amazing to see when they transition into trusting their bodies, it feels amazing! When you eat “whatever” you fancy, all day long, your meals consist of a variety of different foods that are nutritionally adequate and balanced.

This includes, but is not limited to fruits and veggies. If you feel like living on candy forever, you are using food as a main source of joy, to numb your uncomfortable feelings or to reward yourself; work on differentiating true hunger from emotional hunger.

Gentle nutrition doesn’t mean you will start eating or not eating a certain food. Yes, you can keep nutrition in mind and increase fruit and vegetable intake because it feel good in your body, but it doesn’t make you a terrible person if you go a few days without having your 5 a day.

3)      I’ve been struggling for ED for so long, how can I just flip the switch and eat intuitively?

Keep in mind that intuitive eating is an ongoing process. I see my previous Eating Disorder as a blessing in my life, every time something is off and I try to ignore an uncomfortable feeling, I immediately reflect it on my eating patterns. When this happens, I step back and try to figure it what bothering me on my own or I speak to my therapist. It`s works like a thermometer for me. I had to learn how to approach it with kindness, instead of judging myself.

When I am working on this idea with clients, we take a session or two to dive into the very first principle of intuitive eating, and explore all the limiting beliefs that are still there.

Basically, it’s important to feel out where your eating disorder or the diet culture still has control over you. Now, we all live in a diet culture world, so navigating against it’s messages can often be tricky. We need to listen to advertisements, especially ones that advertise body changes, with a critical ear. This way, you can work on identifying what’s BS and have the tools to move on from it.

4)  What if my body changes when I listen to its signals?

Well, it might. I personally experienced my weight going up and down for a while until it finally reached its natural and healthy set point. Dietitians who do this work with clients can’t make any promises that your body won’t change.

Respecting your body and fuelling it properly, tapping into what you’re body is actually telling you vs. using outside signals, practising true body acceptance from the inside out; will bring a lot more than just a thin body, it will allow you to experience sustainable health, food freedom, peace of mind and overall joy.

I hope this post made things more clear for you, get in touch if you have any questions.

Mindful & Intuitive Eating

Eat when you are hungry, drink when you are thirsty, sleep when you are tired. – Taoist adage.

Mindful & Intuitive Eating is sometimes defined as simply eating “whatever you want, whenever you want.” Whilst this description is partly true, the authentic process is much more refined and ‘awake’ than this catch phrase might look at first.

The simple tools of tuning into our bodies and fully experiencing each bite of food have the power to resolve many questions about food choices and diet. However, after a long period of ignoring our body’s signals, getting back in touch with them can take a little bit of work – this is where working with a skilled therapist can help.

It’s hard to listen to the body when a symphony of opposing authorities on diet are shouting their new findings and guaranteed weight loss methods from the rooftops, but it IS possible and the benefits to your physical and psychological health are considerable.


WHAT IS INTUITIVE EATING?

Intuitive Eating can also be referred to as Non-DietingMindful Eatingand Attuned Eating. These eating philosophies are a class of eating behaviours guided primarily by awareness of and agreement with internal body cues of hunger and satiety. Instead of fighting your body, mindful & intuitive eating guides you to connect with and ultimately befriend your body.

WHY IS INTUITIVE EATING HELPFUL?

Mindful and Intuitive Eating are powerful strategies for breaking the trap of yo-yo dieting, compulsive eating and releasing ingrained emotional eating patterns.

Weight-control diets often teach us to disconnect from and distrust our body. Diets encourage us to categorise foods, to be fearful of them, to measure and control. Dieting can turn eating into an entirely cognitive process devoid of body signals and laden with guilt and power trips. Eating this way can be extremely frustrating, anxiety provoking and typically leads to yo-yo weight cycling. Intuitive Eating is a valuable and evidence-based alternative to dieting, more conducive to our physical and mental health.

WHAT ABOUT WEIGHT LOSS?

There is no guarantee of weight loss or gain when you adopt a mindful eating practice. The focus of this practice is attunement, acceptance, health and well-being. However, if you have been eating out of attunement, is very much likely that you are out of your healthy body weight.

Authentic Intuitive and Mindful Eating behaviours promote improvements to health and well-being that include physical, emotional and mental aspects. These improvements can occur irrespective of changes to body weight (assuming you are not significantly underweight).

Intuitive Eating respects that body weight is highly individual and maintains that good health can be sustained outside of standardised body weight tables when our behaviours are healthy. If you are interested in these ideas you can click here to read more about Health At Every Size HAES.®

YOU CAN LEARN INTUITIVE & MINDFUL
​EATING

Whilst we can lose the ability to eat in tune with our body through dieting, the great news is that these skills can be re-learned in teachable steps. This ‘re-learning’ process can sometimes require a period of structured eating, and this is particularly true if your eating is highly restrictive or you are prone to very regular binge. Everyone’s journey to reconnecting to their body and eating with awareness is different.

Experimentation, with the guidance of professional counselling can assist you to reinstate a sense of eating competence that is sustainable, flexible and authentic.

Get in touch here, and let`s work together

THE CORE SKILLS OF INTUITIVE & MINDFUL EATING

There are three core skills of intuitive and mindful eating:

  1. Being able to pay attention, and be fully present to what we are doing and experiencing
  2. Being able to sense our body’s signals, accept our body’s signals and respond to these signals with permission, compassion and wisdom
  3. Being able to practice 1 & 2 realistically and with flexibility as often as possible

The only reliable authority, in the end, is your own body.

Non-dieting, body acceptance and HAES, what`s all that about?

The Native Nutrition approach to health include:

NON-DIETING

The Non-Dieting movement reflects the understanding that restrictive weight loss diets are not the key to health and well-being. Instead, dieting often leads in one of two harmful directions:

  • the path of yo-yo dieting and weight cycling where people swing between periods of controlled, restrictive eating alternating with times of difficulty regulating hunger and fullness due to a focus on food rules rather than intuitive eating
  • the path of obsessively focusing on weight and body shape to the point that people become unable to eat in a relaxed, enjoyable way, placing them at risk of a clinical Eating Disorder.

The non-diet approach may still involve a focus on nutrition, but it does so in combination with a consideration of other aspects of well-being such as moderation, flexibility, spontaneity and pleasure.

BODY ACCEPTANCE

Body Acceptance encourages a self-compassionate approach to caring for the body we have. This approach prioritises a healthy mind-body relationship enabling us to be kind to ourselves and grateful for our body’s functionality, taking a holistic approach to caring for our overall health.

This approach offers a non-judgemental approach which appreciates size diversity.

HEALTH AT EVERY SIZE​®

Health at Every Size® (HAES) is a ‘weight neutral’ approach which focuses on health and well-being, not numbers on the scale.
The HAES® principles from the Association for Size Diversity & Health are as follows:

  1. Weight Inclusive: Accept and respect the inherent diversity of body shapes and sizes and reject the idealising or pathologising of specific weights.
  2. Health Enhancement: Support health policies that improve and equalise access to information and services, and personal practices that improve human well-being, including attention to individual physical, economic, social, spiritual, emotional, and other needs..
  3. Respectful Care: Acknowledge our biases, and work to end weight discrimination, weight stigma, and weight bias. Provide information and services from an understanding that socio-economic status, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, and other identities impact weight stigma, and support environments that address these inequities.
  4. Eating for Well-being: Promote flexible, individualised eating based on hunger, satiety, nutritional needs, and pleasure, rather than any externally regulated eating plan focused on weight control.
  5. Life-Enhancing Movement: Support physical activities that allow people of all sizes, abilities, and interests to engage in enjoyable movement, to the degree that they choose.

​BUT if you are under your most healthy weight…
MY APPROACH WILL BE A LITTLE DIFFERENT.
Some of our clients have restrictive Eating Disorders and may be struggling to meet their basic nutritional needs. These people may need a more deliberate focus on their eating patterns and weight in to restore their body’s health and vitality. The approach we take will depend on your needs and will be negotiated with you
as part of your treatment.
Get in touch today!

Why dieting is stopping you from being the best version of yourself

Things have changed around here, I changed.

As dietitian and I woman, dieting has being part of my life since — always.

I spent my whole life trying to lose weight and going from one diet to the next, things started when I was about 10 years old (yeah, you read it right, 10).

Since my graduation in 2013, I have being trying to help others find their “perfect body”, so then they could feel happy, accepted and fulfilled, exactly the way I wanted to feel.

I genuinely just wanted to help people and I still do, that`s why I live for, but let me tell you what I found out.

—- Dieting is stopping you from being the best version of  yourself —-

Food rules takes out mind space, and this makes you be disconnected from your body. 

It’s hard to notice your intuitive body messages when you’re mostly in your head thinking about food, eating, and/or your body weight. If you are new here and want to understand where I`m coming from, check Binge Eating Disorder – Personal Story and About Binge Eating Disorder

When you’re spending hours distracted, looking for paleo, keto, free-from, celery juice or whatever latest weight loss trend in the media, instead of doing the things that truly matters to you, those things that nurtures your unique gifts, talents and skills, something is off.

We, women, we are naturally intuitive beings, and we are able to connect to the wisdom we already have. This is our super power!

INTUITIVE EATING, intuitive EVERYTHING.

Intuitive eating is a way to open a doorway to intuitive living

I found out more about intuitive eating during my last trip to Sri Lanka last year, it was when I really took time to just be. And connect. And listen. To my own body and my own intuition. And, everything was already there!

Then, after that, back in the UK, and real research began. It was life changing.

If you are not familiar with Intuitive Eating, let me get you a short brief:

Intuitive eating asks that we begin listening to the hunger and fullness cues of our bodies. It is as simple as that. But that’s not all. It also offers ways to reject the diet mentality, connect to our bodies and let go of the obsession of thinness so grounded in our cultural and inherited conditioning.

If you’ve been chronically dieting (like me), or you’re, basically, in a semi-starved state, listening to and honouring your hunger and fullness can be difficult and complicated. This is where getting help from a non-diet practitioner can be of great value to re-nourish your body first so you can begin to receive and interpret those messages correctly.

Let me tell you something, from my own experience

It’s almost impossible to be deeply connected to your intuition while you’re still tracking macros like there’s no tomorrow, over-exercising, not eating enough, or you’re deadly afraid of carbs.

Getting a balanced, satisfying and adequate intake of food can ease mood swings, panic attacks, anxiety, and mild depression. Mental health takes a dive when we’re in a state of semi-starvation as the body struggles to construct all the neurotransmitters it needs to remain healthy. Intellectual clarity and intuition is improved when the mind receives proper nourishment.

It’s time to stop wasting your energy on the obsession of weight loss or maintaining a “non-natural” low weight as if that’s the most important thing in life. Guess what? It’s not.

In the other hand, if weight loss is important to you (and only you), I have good news! Working on improving your health and connecting to your body hunger clues, will help you land on your natural and healthy body weight. Brilliant, right?

Hey sis, we need you on the other side. Stop comparing yourself to others, get rid of toxic influences, show some love to your body today, the way it is, restricting diets are only stopping you from reaching your full potential. The world needs you, and it needs it now.

Are you ready to improve your relationship around food? Get in touch here