What is Diet Mentality?

We've all been taught that the holy grail of wellness is weight loss and that fatness is, on it's own, unhealthy. I've learned from my own experience that food isn’t your enemy. Food is your fuel and it’s time to STOP the food fight! It’s honestly okay to break ALL the dieting rules and repair your relationship with food and yourself. I am an Intuitive Eating Counselor, trained by Evelyn Tribole, one of the authors of the Intuitive Eating book. Watch this video to learn a little bit more about Intuitive Eating…

What is Intuitive Eating?

“Intuitive eaters march to their inner hunger signals, and eat whatever they choose without experiencing guilt or an ethical dilemma.” from the book Intuitive Eating, 3rd Edition written by Evelyn Tribole and Elaine Resche

Is Intuitive Eating a weight loss program?

No, working with an Intuitive Eating Counselor means you’ve learned that diets don’t work. Intuitive Eating Counselors gently guide you back to being an intuitive eater because that’s how you began your life. Something happened along the way that disconnected you from the innate wisdom of how to fuel your body.

Am I guaranteed to lose weight when working with an Intuitive Eating Counselor?

No, weight loss is entirely up to your body. Once you’re emotionally and mentally healed from the inner chaos created by dieting and body image issues, if there’s a need, your body will release weight. I’ll be honest….this is not a 30-day process. Depending on the tools we use during our time together, this can take years to accomplish, especially since there continues to be sooo much talk about how to lose weight fast. There’s no magic pill for weight loss. The more diets you follow the more weight you’ll have to lose.

Will I be expected to weigh myself and report in weekly?

No, with Intuitive Eating you learn how to reject the dieting mentality. It’s time for you to throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently. It’s okay to get angry at the lies that have led you to feel as if you were a failure every time a new diet stopped working and you gained back all of the weight (and more). If you allow even one small hope to linger that a new and better diet might be lurking around the corner, it will prevent you from being free to rediscover Intuitive Eating.

Will I be expected to go to bed hungry?

No, with Intuitive Eating you learn how to honor your hunger. It’s important to keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy sources, such as protein, fat and carbohydrates. When you don’t, you can trigger a primal drive to overeat. Once you reach the moment of excessive hunger, all intentions of moderate, conscious eating are fleeting and irrelevant. Learning to honor this first biological signal sets the stage for re-building trust with yourself and food.

What foods will I be expected to limit or completely eliminate?

None, food is fuel and it’s time for you to make peace with food. STOP the food fight! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, bingeing. When you finally “give-in” to your forbidden food, eating will be experienced with such intensity, it usually results in Last Supper overeating, and overwhelming guilt.

In the past when I've given myself unconditional permission to eat, my inner voice has stopped me. How will you help me deal with that as well as everyone around me who will remind me about what I "should" and "shouldn't" be eating?

It’s time for you to challenge the internal and external food police. It’s okay to scream a loud “NO” to thoughts in your head that declare you’re “good” for eating minimal calories or “bad” because you ate a piece of chocolate cake. The Food Police monitor the unreasonable rules that dieting has created . The police station is housed deep in your psyche, and its loud speaker shouts negative barbs, hopeless phrases, and guilt-provoking indictments. The external satellite police stations will also be re-programmed as you teach your family and friends what you’re doing now. Chasing the Food Police away is a critical step in returning to Intuitive Eating. This is another area where the Aroma Freedom techniques or EFT is beneficial. These techniques help to shift the inner voice (aka Food Police) to a positive and supportive voice.

How I keep from over-eating?

Over time you will learn how to respect your fullness. Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry. Observe the signs that show that you’re comfortably full. Pause in the middle of a meal or food and ask yourself how the food tastes, and what is your current fullness level. You were born knowing how to do this. 

Will I be satisfied with this type of change in my life?

Diets are all about deprivation. Diets deprive you of food AND pleasure. Intuitive Eating is all about discovering the satisfaction factor in life again. The Japanese have the wisdom to promote pleasure as one of their goals of healthy living. In your fury to be thin and healthy, you often overlook one of the most basic gifts of existence–the pleasure and satisfaction that can be found in the eating experience. When you eat what you really want, in an environment that is inviting and conducive, the pleasure you derive will be a powerful force in helping you feel satisfied and content. By providing this experience for yourself, you will find that it takes much less food to decide you’ve had “enough”. If at any time you realize you’re not satisfied with this process, we’ll re-evaluate because means something isn’t going right in the process.

How will you help me stop emotional eating?

You will learn how to honor your feelings without using food. We’ll discuss the wide range of ways to comfort, nurture, distract, and resolve your issues without using food. Frustration, loneliness, boredom, anger are emotions we all experience throughout life. Each has its own trigger, and each has its own appeasement. Food won’t fix any of these feelings. It may comfort for the short term, distract from the pain, or even numb you into a food hangover. But food won’t solve the problem. If anything, eating for an emotional hunger will only make you feel worse in the long run. You’ll ultimately have to deal with the source of the emotion, as well as the discomfort of overeating. I will teach you how to use the Aroma Freedom Technique on your own so you know you have a way out – other than food – whenever an emotionally charged situation arises.

What do I do with my ugly body, especially if it never decides to release weight?

You learn to love and respect your body where it is right now in this moment. It’s keeping you alive. Surrender to your unique genetic blueprint. Just as a person with a shoe size of eight would not expect to realistically squeeze into a size six, it is equally as futile (and uncomfortable) to have the same expectation with body size. But mostly, respect your body, so you can feel better about who you are. It’s hard to reject the diet mentality if you are unrealistic and overly critical about your body shape.

What about exercise? How many hours will you expect from me daily or weekly?

Forget militant exercise. Exercise – or movement as I prefer to refer it – is not about weight loss. Just get active and feel the difference. Shift your focus to how it feels to move your body, rather than the calorie burning effect of exercise. If you focus on how you feel from working out, such as energized, it can make the difference between rolling out of bed for a brisk morning walk or hitting the snooze alarm. If, when you wake up, your only goal is to lose weight, it’s usually not a motivating factor in that moment of time. Besides, if your goal is weight loss, what happens once you reach the goal?

I've noticed you haven't mentioned anything about food. Is there an unrealistic meal plan involved?

Nope, no meal plan. Start out eating whatever you want. Make peace with food and surrender to the fact that food is fuel. That’s it. Food is the fuel that runs your body. Over time you’ll come to honor your health and tastebuds while making you feel well. Remember that you don’t have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy. You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency or gain weight from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating. It’s what you eat consistently over time that matters, progress not perfection is what counts.