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Values and Intuitive eating: Can they help me stop dieting and make peace with food?

Do you constantly diet, feel super motivated and suddenly — out of nowhere —  comes a craving?  You give in to it and your resolve is gone. “I cheated” say those voices in your head,  feel like a failure – so what the heck? I might as well eat more and worry about it later.”

If you value yourself — and authentic health and happiness — than starving, bingeing, and over-exercising certainly seems to go against those values.

 

What are values?

Values are the core aspect of who we are as people. We drive our kids to soccer and attend all their baseball games because family is a core value. We spend hours cramming for an exam because we know deep in our hearts that we value education and want to attend a good college. We get out of bed to earn a living because we value being a productive member of society. Our actions are all driven by the values we hold near and dear.

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Intuitive-Eating-Basics Nutrition Group program

What is Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive Eating is the most effective and lasting nutritional approach to your health.

Intuitive Eating is a method that teaches you to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are comfortably full.

Intuitive Eating helps you integrate the messages of your body with your thoughts and behaviors and ultimately puts YOU in charge of your body and its health.

Research consistently shows that diets do not work, but the problem is we live in a world where our entire perception of health and fitness is molded by a diet mindset. Many of us reach the point where we are done with obsessing about what, how much, and when to eat each meal and snack. We know there must be a better way, but walking away from dieting means letting of many pre-conceived “truths”, and intuitive eating can feel radical!

Learning to eat intuitively neutralizes foods so there are no “good” or “bad” foods. You get to decide if, when and how much of that cake, piece of chicken or chips you will enjoy. When you first allow yourself the freedom to eat without guilt, your choices may skew towards heavier and more “fun” or “play” foods — that is okay and totally normal. You cannot learn to eat intuitively without neutralizing all foods.

Intuitive eating helps people rid themselves of the diet mentality by learning to distinguish between physical and emotional feelings, trust their own inner wisdom, and ultimately make peace with food and discover true satisfaction in eating.

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healthy diets

April Showers Bring May Flowers (and Diets / Disordered Eating?)

It’s Spring — time for proms, graduations, and thoughts of warmer weather. For many, this time of the year is also synonymous with insecurities about body size, leading many to start a brand-new diet. The billion-dollar diet industry feeds off our insecurities, and sales of the latest and greatest diet products soar. At the same time, the incidence of eating disorders also rises. Although eating disorders involve complex biological, psychological, social and cultural factors, dieting is a strong risk factor for their development.

According to the National Eating Disorder Association, “Cultural pressures that glorify “thinness” or muscularity and place value on obtaining the “perfect body”; narrow definitions of beauty that include only women and men of specific body weights and shapes; cultural norms that value people on the basis of physical appearance and not inner qualities and strengths; stress related to racial, ethnic, size/weight-related or other forms of discrimination or prejudice” play a role in the development of eating disorders.

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Nude Posture Photos and Self-Esteem

Did the Ivy League Nude Photo Scandal Affect Self-esteem & Body Image?

Part 1:
In doing some research on body image over several generations in my family, my 86- year-old mother mentioned an incident of which she had never spoken.

Imagine for a moment — Going off to your freshman year of college a little nervous — “Will you do well in your classes? Will you get along with your roommate? You then learn about a mandatory procedure for freshmen — a “posture study” where you’re photographed stark naked from the front, back and side.

Sounds ridiculous — but this really happened. My mother’s brief flashback started my research to verify if her mental faculties were still intact! There it was — a detailed and compelling article by Ron Rosenbaum in the New York Times Magazine Section, January 15, 1995: “The Great Ivy League Nude Posture Photo Scandal. “(1)

“One fall afternoon in the mid-60’s, shortly after I arrived in New Haven to begin my freshman year at Yale, I was summoned to that sooty Gothic shrine to muscular virtue known as Payne Whitney Gym. I reported to a windowless room on an upper floor, where men dressed in crisp white garments instructed me to remove all my clothes. And then — and this is the part I still have trouble believing — they attached metal pins to my spine. There was no actual piercing of skin, only of dignity, as four-inch metal pins were affixed with adhesive to my vertebrae at regular intervals from my neck down. I was positioned against a wall; a floodlight illuminated my pin-spiked profile and a camera captured it. The procedure did seem strange … But I soon learned that it was a long-established custom at most Ivy League and Seven Sisters schools … All of them — whole generations of the cultural elite — were asked to pose.” – Ron Rosenbaum

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The gentle diet

Is Intuitive Eating like a “Gentle Diet?”

The “Gentle Diet” 

Recently, a client told me that she looked up the words, “gentle” and “diet.” to learn about Intuitive Eating.  I love that description, because intuitive eating is a gentle approach to improving health as we become the expert over our bodies and its many sensations. This means saying “goodbye” to strict diets as they promote: negative self-judgments, shaming, and “should” around food intake and body size. We must welcome compassionate self-care by:  honoring hunger, registering fullness cues, moving our bodies in a way that feels good, and finding new ways to comfort ourselves without food.

When people come to me with weight or food issues, my philosophy is to help them gently make changes that feel sustainable. Some people come because they have made a decision to change their lives, and they will do whatever it takes to make that happen. Others are sent by a loved one who wants them to lose weight, and they may be resistant to change.

The Gentle Diet

Pain, Suffering and Eating Disorders from Diet Mentality

I reject the whole notion of the strict diet mentality because I have seen the suffering and pain that it can cause – being a slave to the scale, judging oneself as “good” or “bad” depending on what you have eaten, and ultimately, disordered eating. I encourage people to eat in a way that feels good for their bodies and their self-esteem.

My concept is that a person needs to get away from the notion that she is “good” or “bad” based on calories or “forbidden” foods, and that there should be no rules or guilt associated with eating. I am not aware of any sin inherent in eating a donut. Are we more virtuous if we deny ourselves the pleasure of chocolate cake, and instead choose a piece of fruit when our taste buds surely would have preferred the chocolate?

For more information on Intuitive Eating, “The Gentle Diet,” and to download my e-book, “Three Steps to Get off the Diet Roller Coaster for Good:” CLICK THE LINK BELOW

Free Guide: Get off the Diet Roller Coaster for Good

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Three Things You Have To Let Go Of Once You Are An Intuitive Eater

Written by Ashley Seruya, BA

We live in a diet world, plain and simple. Our entire perception of health and fitness is molded by a diet mindset. Our views about nutrition, food, exercise, movement, and wellness are all colored by this paradigm that permeates every aspect of our lives. This diet culture that we live in takes us all hostage, and the result is a dysfunctional, if not completely disordered, relationship with food and our bodies.

Many of us come to a point where we know we need something else; something different. The constant yo-yo dieting, trips down eating disorder lane, and various obsessive tendencies eat at us until we are begging for a way out. The only way out, of course, is through. We have to dig through the muck and change our perspective; shift our paradigm. We have to leave the world of dieting behind and embrace a new way of being. Simply put, we have to walk forward into the world of intuitive eating and Health at Every Size. But this transition is anything but simple, and walking away from dieting means letting go of many perceived “truths;” truths that you’ve likely learned and held onto throughout the majority of your life.

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So what do we actually have to leave behind when we walk into the world of food and body peace? What parts of our lives do we have to shed and mourn? Ahead, three diet-centric “truths” that get the boot once intuitive eating takes root:

1. Weight Loss:

Diets are sold off of the promise of weight loss. Some diets have gotten a little more clever, and claim that “health” is the goal… but health and weight are currently so conflated in our world that claiming your meal plan or way of eating will lead to greater health while promoting restriction, restraint, and rules about we can and cannot eat is really just a weight loss goal in disguise. The core of intuitive eating, by contrast, is blanket permission to enjoy all foods without guilt or self-judgment. In order to truly find satisfaction and not fear certain foods, or certain amounts of food, we have to let go of the hope of weight loss. If we truly tap into our hunger and fullness cues and don’t try to interfere or curb our cravings and appetite, our weight will naturally regulate itself to the place that feels most comfortable for our body. For some of us, that will mean losing weight. For others that may mean staying the same weight, or gaining weight. If we aren’t neutral about these outcomes and prepared for them, we can never truly embrace intuitive eating and body trust.

2. “Good” and “Bad” Foods:

We live in a world obsessed with “super foods” and ultimate nutrition. The thought of eating a doughnut pushes people into a sinful frenzy, and drinking a kale smoothie is akin to finding deliverance. It is so hammered into our heads that heated debates can erupt over the sheer idea that someone who eats steamed broccoli doesn’t have claim to superiority over someone who eats cupcakes. The fact that this statement would ruffle feathers at a cocktail party is truly laughable, because the reality is that no food on this planet is inherently better than another. Do some foods have different macronutrient qualities? Yes. Do some people feel both physically and mentally better when they focus on including certain food groups in their diet? Yes. But there is no morality attached to food, and until we accept that, we can’t give ourselves non-judgmental permission to eat all foods. Without non-judgmental permission, we can’t stop the shame spirals that lead to emotional eating and bingeing. The key to stopping these binges is stopping the guilt; to stop the guilt, we must stop attaching morals to our food. Food is just food, an apple is just an apple, a cheeseburger is just a cheeseburger, and all foods fit into a well-rounded life.

3. Shoulds: Diets have rules… rules about what time you should eat, what you should eat, how much of it you should eat, and many more. There are clear parameters so that you know when you’ve “failed” the diet, and you know what you “should” do in order to do it “right.” Intuitive eating on the other hand doesn’t really have any rules. There are guiding principles to help you along, but learning and integrating these principles takes time and personal experimentation. The only “right” way to do intuitive eating is to approach it from a place of exploration and discovery. There are no prescriptive ideas; no you “should” do this or that; no perfect set of rules to follow in order to do it perfectly. The beauty of intuitive eating is that every moment, whether it feels good or bad, is a learning experience, and a chance for you to undo all of the shoulds. There are no shoulds, but rather the opportunity to find your own truth in this mess.
You will likely discover many other diet “truths” that need to be let go of once and for all on your journey towards intuitive eating, food peace, and body trust. These are just a few of the most common, and I hope you find your own experience within them.

To begin your intuitive eating journey, or deepen your practice, join my 6-week Online Intuitive Eating Class which starts this Wednesday night. To sign up or get more information, Click below.

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