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intuitive eating tips
Wellness
Published Tuesday Oct 22, 2019 by Connie Weissmuller

5 Things You Might Not Know About Intuitive Eating

Nutrition
Food
Expert Advice

Intuitive eating is an approach to eating that has nothing to do with diets, “lifestyle changes,” cleanses, or anything of the sort. It is a powerful way of giving trust and peace back to your body and mind, likely after a time of giving that trust up to external means of control such as using apps to count calories and steps, or intentionally trying to manipulate your body size. 

Intuitive eating, in its truest sense, is supportive of one’s mental, emotional, and physical health. However, as diet and wellness culture have co-opted the term, there has been some misinformation that actually isn’t in line with intuitive eating at all. As a Registered Dietitian and nutrition expert, I’m here to hopefully clear up some blurry lines and share with you some ways to get accurate information about intuitive eating.

If you see someone promoting intuitive eating as a means for intentional weight loss—run!

Here’s the thing; intuitive eating isn’t used for weight loss. Weight change may be an outcome of intuitive eating, but we have no idea whether that means an increase, decrease, or no change in weight. If someone is promoting intuitive eating as an explicit weight loss, slim down, or detox strategythat’s a red flag.

This is why many intuitive eating informed dietitians, counselors, and therapists suggest ditching the scale. The scale doesn’t tell you how well you are eating intuitively, and it certainly doesn’t give you helpful information regarding your health. At the end of the day, intuitive eating helps you move towards a healthy weight that is right for you. That’s also called your set point weight. It’s different for everyone. Intuitive eating is the nutrition paradigm supported by the larger paradigm of Health At Every Size, which respects body diversity, challenges scientific and cultural assumptions related to body size, and encourages finding joy in moving one’s body. There’s so much nuance, which is why there is value in working with a professional well-versed in intuitive eating and Health At Every Size

1
If you see someone promoting intuitive eating as a means for intentional weight loss—run!

Here’s the thing; intuitive eating isn’t used for weight loss. Weight change may be an outcome of intuitive eating, but we have no idea whether that means an increase, decrease, or no change in weight. If someone is promoting intuitive eating as an explicit weight loss, slim down, or detox strategythat’s a red flag.

This is why many intuitive eating informed dietitians, counselors, and therapists suggest ditching the scale. The scale doesn’t tell you how well you are eating intuitively, and it certainly doesn’t give you helpful information regarding your health. At the end of the day, intuitive eating helps you move towards a healthy weight that is right for you. That’s also called your set point weight. It’s different for everyone. Intuitive eating is the nutrition paradigm supported by the larger paradigm of Health At Every Size, which respects body diversity, challenges scientific and cultural assumptions related to body size, and encourages finding joy in moving one’s body. There’s so much nuance, which is why there is value in working with a professional well-versed in intuitive eating and Health At Every Size

It’s not just the hunger and fullness diet; there is so much nuance!

Often times, intuitive eating gets the most attention from “honoring hunger and fullness,” which is a huge part of intuitive eating, however; it’s not that simple. There are plenty of instances I can think of within myself, or with my clients in eating disorder and chronic dieting recovery, where you simply don’t get appropriate hunger and fullness cues.

Your body sends amazing signals when it needs nourishment, yet the culture we live in tells us that those innate signals can't be trusted. This can lead to diminished hunger and fullness cues from dieting, skipping meals, or following the bogus rule of no eating after 7 pm. This is where working with a professional to gain back appropriate cues is helpful. 

Sometimes we have to eat when we aren't hungry just for the simple reason that we need energy and nourishment. This can be uncomfortable. For example, before exams and presentations, while I was in school, I had no appetite, but I knew that my brain needed fuel. I practiced the gentle nutrition piece of intuitive eating and ate anyways to perform my best academically. This is just one example where it’s not merely honoring hunger and fullness. 

3
It’s not just the hunger and fullness diet; there is so much nuance!

Often times, intuitive eating gets the most attention from “honoring hunger and fullness,” which is a huge part of intuitive eating, however; it’s not that simple. There are plenty of instances I can think of within myself, or with my clients in eating disorder and chronic dieting recovery, where you simply don’t get appropriate hunger and fullness cues.

Your body sends amazing signals when it needs nourishment, yet the culture we live in tells us that those innate signals can't be trusted. This can lead to diminished hunger and fullness cues from dieting, skipping meals, or following the bogus rule of no eating after 7 pm. This is where working with a professional to gain back appropriate cues is helpful. 

Sometimes we have to eat when we aren't hungry just for the simple reason that we need energy and nourishment. This can be uncomfortable. For example, before exams and presentations, while I was in school, I had no appetite, but I knew that my brain needed fuel. I practiced the gentle nutrition piece of intuitive eating and ate anyways to perform my best academically. This is just one example where it’s not merely honoring hunger and fullness. 

It’s not just about eating donuts all day.

Another common misconception is that intuitive eating is all about fun food all the time. The truth is that yes, in order to make peace with all foods, there’s often a “honeymoon” phase, if you will, with certain foods that have been off-limits. Those foods are typically deemed “bad” in our culture, so that’s why you might see more photos of those on Instagram to normalize them. After that honeymoon phase, all foods are fair game, and there’s eventually a great balance in the diet of fuel food and fun foods. Fun foods, like donuts, get old after a while when there are no restrictions (mental or physical) around them, so that’s why intuitive eaters have no moral dilemma when presented with a donut. They eat it, or they don’t because they know that donuts are fair game whenever the craving hits. 

4
It’s not just about eating donuts all day.

Another common misconception is that intuitive eating is all about fun food all the time. The truth is that yes, in order to make peace with all foods, there’s often a “honeymoon” phase, if you will, with certain foods that have been off-limits. Those foods are typically deemed “bad” in our culture, so that’s why you might see more photos of those on Instagram to normalize them. After that honeymoon phase, all foods are fair game, and there’s eventually a great balance in the diet of fuel food and fun foods. Fun foods, like donuts, get old after a while when there are no restrictions (mental or physical) around them, so that’s why intuitive eaters have no moral dilemma when presented with a donut. They eat it, or they don’t because they know that donuts are fair game whenever the craving hits. 

It’s a process, and it takes time.

The last big misconception is the notion that you can become an intuitive eater overnight. Tapping back into your body’s innate intuitive nature takes time. Just learning to re-trust my fullness cues took me what I think was about half a year. Finding joy and peace in moving my body took so much longer after years of using exercise as punishment or to manipulate my body shape and size. It takes time to release the mental rules and rigidity around eating. It takes time for your body shape and size to fall at the range that’s right for you. It takes time to appreciate size diversity and maybe even grieve the loss of the body you had when dieting or restricting. This process can take years, and it’s imperative to give yourself a whole lot of self-compassion and grace, because you are surrounded by a culture that tells you dieting is the norm. It’s hard to swim upstream, but I promise you, it’s a lot more peaceful than living in diet culture. 

Feel free to follow and reach out to me on Instagram at @constancelyeating or if you would like to work with me in-person in Denver, or virtually, check out Nourished With Hannah to learn more about Hannah and me! 
 

5
It’s a process, and it takes time.

The last big misconception is the notion that you can become an intuitive eater overnight. Tapping back into your body’s innate intuitive nature takes time. Just learning to re-trust my fullness cues took me what I think was about half a year. Finding joy and peace in moving my body took so much longer after years of using exercise as punishment or to manipulate my body shape and size. It takes time to release the mental rules and rigidity around eating. It takes time for your body shape and size to fall at the range that’s right for you. It takes time to appreciate size diversity and maybe even grieve the loss of the body you had when dieting or restricting. This process can take years, and it’s imperative to give yourself a whole lot of self-compassion and grace, because you are surrounded by a culture that tells you dieting is the norm. It’s hard to swim upstream, but I promise you, it’s a lot more peaceful than living in diet culture. 

Feel free to follow and reach out to me on Instagram at @constancelyeating or if you would like to work with me in-person in Denver, or virtually, check out Nourished With Hannah to learn more about Hannah and me! 
 

Connie Weissmuller MINDBODY
Written by
Connie Weissmuller
Registered Dietitian
About the author
A registered dietitian who loves helping people achieve food and body freedom, Connie specializes in the treatment of eating disorders, intuitive eating, and body image from a Health At Every Size lens. Working with clients to overcome food and body struggles, she is all about giving you the tools you need to find what healthy means to you.
surfer catching wave in ocean olympics
Fitness
Published Friday Jul 23, 2021 by Bailey Clark

Why I’m Stoked Surfing Will Debut in the Olympics

Fitness

For the first time ever, the globe will be watching surfing take center stage at the 2020 (postponed to July 2021) Olympics. People from all over the world will be appreciating the sport, many for the first time.

This symbolizes the surfing community breaking through centuries of negative stereotypes. Though conditions play a big part in the sport, the biggest hurdle the athletes will have to overcome to see success is mental. The winner will be the one who chooses their waves wisely with their understanding of the conditions and ability to intimidate and therefore overcome components. Meanwhile, they will be challenging themselves to emerge from crashing barrels, fly into the air, and land on the shifting surface gracefully. No big deal. 

You’ve probably heard the invention of a wave pool, which creates the perfect man-made wave. In 2007, Kelly Slater founded his wave company with a passion to build the perfectly rideable wave at his surf ranch. It was debated whether the Olympics should be held in the ocean or on a manufactured wave, with many differing opinions on what would be right. The decision was made, and the event will take place in the sea, at Tsurigasaki Beach in Japan, about 40 miles east of Tokyo, where the rest of the 2021 games will be hosted.

As you watch, take a moment to reflect on the century of effort for this to happen. This initiative can be traced all the way back to the 1912 summer games that took place in Stockholm. Duke Kahanamoku, known as the father of modern surfing, won three gold medals in swimming, and while accepting his medal, he expressed that it was his dream to see surfing be added. To add fuel to the fire, International Surfing Association, recognized as the surfing world's governing authority by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), began lobbying for the inclusion of surfing in the Olympics in 1955.

The magic of surfing

Surfing is a multidimensional sport unlike any other. Nothing compares to paddling out to the serene silence that awaits beyond the breaking waves. Once you get out there, you immediately escape the many annoyances ingrained in everyday life—the constant notifications on your phone and laptop, your back-to-back schedule, answering to other people. You’re no longer on the time that your watch reads, you’re on mother nature’s time. You’re also no longer in control of your surroundings. Now, all you can do is surrender and wait for the next set to come, while trying to position yourself for when it does.

The high from catching the perfect wave is so addicting that surfers would fail on one hundred in a row just to catch that one. After you catch that perfect one, you replay it in your mind for the rest of the day.

A successful session is reliant on so many factors of mother nature—a force way bigger than us. For ideal conditions to exist, a good-sized swell must approach from the right direction, the wind must be flowing offshore, and you have to time your session right with the ebb and flow of the tide.

The sport is always teaching you life lessons. It is humbling, even if you’ve been practicing it for many years. One reason why it takes so long to master is that the conditions are going to be different every time you get out there. You might have caught a million yesterday, but today makes you feel like a kook because you can’t land one decent wave.

The community of people that you become a part of when you surf is special. A shared obsession with the ocean that brings you to dive into the water at dawn to get a session in bonds you quick. When you’re out there, you’ll find yourself interacting with people of all ages and backgrounds. People enjoy sharing the stoke of the sport. When you see someone out there teaching somebody new, you’ll encounter them cheering at the top of their lungs when they catch a good wave, and as you look around, you’ll see smiles all across the lineup. The other day, I caught a long wave in to be met with a cheering crowd of locals who frequent the spot that I do. When I got to shore, a local showed me their secret stash of hot packs to access in case I, or someone else, gets stung by a stingray when they aren’t around.

Being out in the ocean and abiding by her rules gives surfers a deep love and connection to nature. It’s common to see sea animals out there, like dolphins, stingrays, and fish. When you have an encounter, it’s a reminder that we are invading their territory. It sucks when you see trash floating in the water, or on the sand in its route to the water. It’s a sad reminder of the negative impact that humans can have on natural environments. It inspires you to pick up trash and advocate for sustainability so that we, as a collective, can take care of the beauty that we are lucky to have access to.

Tune in to see surfing break into the biggest international sporting event in the world beginning on Saturday, July 24th. 

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About the author
Bailey Clark is a serial optimist whose passion for marketing lies within creating authentic connections to make the world happier and healthier. As a San Diego native, her favorite pastimes are surfing, F45, practicing yoga, meditation, and really any opportunity to soak up the sun.