Eat Live Nourish Blog

On Teaching Healthy Lifestyle Habits to Families

Hardly a day goes by without a headline warning of the dire consequences of our kids’ increasing weights and BMIs (body mass indices). Yes, we know that obesity leads to many chronic health conditions, from diabetes and heart disease, to joint and breathing problems. All too often, however, I have seen the negative consequences of focusing exclusively on a child or adolescent’s weight and body mass index. I am seeing an increase in the number of kids and teens on diets and I am also seeing an increase in eating disorders and disordered eating as a result. I believe there must be a middle ground — and a different way of reacting to expanding waistlines.

I believe this middle ground is a philosophy called Health at Every Size (HAES) and a way of eating called “Intuitive Eating.” Simply put, we change the focus from the number on the scale, to healthy behaviors from the inside out.  We must educate families to take an active role in preventing weight issues in kids. Embracing a healthy lifestyle means honoring and respecting our genetic body types, fueling them with health promoting, satisfying foods, learning to distinguish between physical and emotional hunger and moving our bodies because it just feels good!

Having taught weight management programs for overweight children in the past, I have seen the stress levels caused by frequent weight checks on a scale.

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What is Intuitive Eating and is it Right for EveryBODY?

Created by Erica Leon, Registered Dietitian and Certified Intuitive Eating Specialist, Marcia Meislin, Author, The Goodbye Cookie: A Memoir About Never Giving Up and Michelle McGahan, Project Manager of The Goodbye Cookie
Wouldn’t it be great if we could all be mindful of what we put into our bodies and how each food tastes and feels? To be able to discern, in the moment, whether we’ve had enough and are satisfied? To respect our bodies, including our personal genetic blueprint?

These are some of the principles behind “Intuitive Eating,” a method described in the book of the same title authored by Registered Dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. At its core, the Intuitive Eating approach believes that each person is the expert over her body as she learns to trust herself and develop a healthy relationship with food. This means saying “goodbye” to food police, negative self-judgments, shaming and “shoulds”; and saying “hello” to honoring hunger, registering fullness cues, and finding new ways to comfort oneself without food.

But is intuitive eating right for everyBODY?

The following discussion took place between Marcia Meislin, author of The Goodbye Cookie, a memoir on binge-eating disorder, and her nutritionist, Erica Leon, a Certified Intuitive Eating specialist. It was conducted by Michelle McGahan, Project Manager of The Goodbye Cookie.

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