Intuitive eating has become a trend in the last few years as women seek to simplify and reconnect to their bodies. The journey to becoming an intuitive eater though takes practice, awareness, and reflection.
In this episode, my guest, Victoria Myers, of Nourishing Minds Nutrition dives into what intuitive eating IS and IS NOT in order to help more women feel empowered to improve their relationships with food and body.
Topics like today’s can make us feel overwhelmed. When we have so many things that we want to accomplish, and we can’t see the forest for the trees, we can get very overwhelmed.
For that reason, I have created a workshop just to help you overcome the overwhelm in your life.
If you go to Feel Amazing Naked, you can choose from one of 3 times to attend. Grab your seat now and let me show you how to overcome overwhelm by taking 2 simple steps.
Victoria Myers is a registered dietitian, new mom, and business owner of the virtual practice and online education center, Nourishing Minds Nutrition.
Victoria and her team specialize in helping women to ditch the diets, heal digestion, regulate hormones and learn to practice wellness without obsession. You can also find Victoria as the host of the Nourishing Women Podcast, where her goal is to empower you to live your life to the fullest through conversations on intuitive eating, body image, holistic healing, and wellness.
What Is Intuitive Eating?
If you’ve heard the term “intuitive eating, you may think it means you should just eat what you want, whenever you want. And that’s not it.
The term “intuitive eating” was coined by two women and is comprised of 10 principles. True intuitive eating is making decisions on what to eat based on what your mind and body are telling you.
It is a way of eating that says you don’t have to listen to external sources in order to make decisions on what to eat. It is learning to trust yourself to make good decisions on what your body needs and when.
Intuitive eating is also part of the “Health at Every Size” movement which seeks to lead women away from diet culture and the constant feeling of needing to lose weight.
Intuitive eating is about more than food though.
When you become more mindful of your innate needs, you begin to take better care of your overall health and your confidence in all of life grows exponentially.
This is why I spend so much time with my clients working through journaling and meditation practices. I want my ladies to dig deep and get to know themselves so that they are able to grow in self-confidence, which then affects every area of their lives, including food.
The Shift Away from Intuitive Eating
If you think about it, babies and young children almost exclusively follow intuitive eating. A baby or young child is well aware of his or her hunger cues and they will observe those cues, crying until they are fed.
At some point, though, we move away from listening to our hunger cues. We believe that we need others to tell us how and what to eat.
Diet culture is pervasive in our society and not only in the weight-loss scene.
If you go to the doctor for any type of illness or health problem, you will almost certainly be given a special diet you need to follow.
And while yes, we definitely need to be eating more veggies and less sugar, we no longer trust ourselves to know what is best for us. We’ve moved away from the intuitive eating that served us well as babies and into a way of eating that says only the professionals know what we need.
How to Move Toward Intuitive Eating
Maybe you’ve had it with diet culture, or you’re tired of others telling you how to take care of your body. If you’re ready to move toward a more intuitive approach to food, Victoria is going to share some tips on how to get started.
- Knowledge is power. The first thing you must do is educate yourself. You can listen to podcasts like one; you can read books like Intuitive Eating; you can find blogs and books written by those in the non-diet culture. Coaching and counseling can also make the process easier. Learn what you can from the sources mentioned, and then seek out a coach (like me!), to help you put all the pieces into place.
- Notice your internal dialogue. What kinds of thoughts are you having surrounding food and your body? Start to notice them and what you’re constantly saying to yourself. Once you identify your thoughts, you can begin to question them and decide if they are your true beliefs, or if you tell yourself what society says you should believe.
I can’t stress enough how helpful a coach can be during this process.
It’s not that we know everything, but that we’ve been where you are. We know what it means to obsess over our body or our eating habits.
I personally know what it means to lose the weight but not achieve the happiness and fulfillment I thought would come with my new body. It took a lot of internal work to build my self-confidence.
Are You Ready for an Intuitive Eating Approach?
Some of the things that Victoria looks for when assessing whether a client is ready to move toward intuitive eating are things like overall health, attitudes surrounding food and diet, and any emotional or mental struggles with food in general.
She wants to see a client maintaining an adequate food intake that leads to enough energy for monthly periods and digestive health.
Many people overlook the symptoms of inadequate food intake and blame them on other things but as a dietician, Victoria knows all too well the complications that a lack of food can cause.
Women overwhelmingly don’t eat enough.
We starve ourselves because we think that’s the way to lose weight and finally find happiness. If you’ve been denying yourself food, you need to overcome that deficit before moving toward a new method of eating.
Intuitive Eating and Weight Loss
While Victoria doesn’t work with clients with the goal of weight loss, she does acknowledge that for women who are significantly above their weight set-point (listen in to hear all about set-point), some weight loss is possible with intuitive eating.
If you binge eat, emotionally eat, or you don’t have healthy eating behaviors in your life, you may lose weight with an intuitive eating approach.
Victoria says that one of three things happens with intuitive eating:
- You lose weight
- You gain weight
- You maintain weight
She works with so many women who aren’t eating enough that she sees a fair amount of weight gain for her clients, who absolutely need to gain weight. But if someone is overeating on a daily basis, they very well might lose weight if they begin eating more intuitively.
Consistency in Intuitive Eating
Just like with everything we do for our health, consistency is key. There is no get thin quick magic that I or anyone else can offer you. Reaching your health goals requires consistency over a long period of time.
We also have an ingrained belief that anything we do for our health should feel hard.
While the path toward intuitive eating isn’t the easiest path to travel, because you do have to take the time to get to know your body and your thought patterns, once you get that figured out, intuitive eating is simple.
Many of Victoria’s clients rediscover a love of cooking once they get settled in this way of eating, as well as discovering a love of moving their bodies. Not because they’re cooking the meals a diet book says they should cook, or stressing their bodies with some crazy-ass workout plan, but because they are figuring out what they need personally.
One of the ways we can be consistent in this style of eating is by getting back in the kitchen with our families and making dinner together.
Sitting down with your family at the dinner table multiple times per week is not only good for the kids, but it’s also good for you, too! It helps to build those habits of eating good food instead of eating fast food or not eating at all.
Intuitive eating isn’t really about eating whatever you crave; it’s about thinking rationally about the foods you need and planning meals around those foods.
Wow, I hope this conversation has helped you to see what intuitive eating is, what it’s not, and whether it might be the next step for you to take.
There may be many layers of this onion that you have to peel back before you get to all the root causes. If you don’t know where to start, I am here to help.
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