Satisfaction is a key part of “gentle nutrition,” which is why it’s the very last principle of intuitive eating! It takes time and lots of patience to unlearn years of dieting and to fully embrace and respect your body.
There are many ways that diving into nutrition too early can derail your intuitive eating journey. Fears of weight gain, and worries about eating in an “unhealthy” way, lead some people to turn intuitive eating into another diet. Some people try adding rules or restrictions around their food intake in the name of “nutrition,” while others try to avoid weight gain by following what some professionals have called “the hunger and fullness diet.” But these are both diets in disguise, and ways to twist intuitive eating away from its original intentions!
Instead of getting wrapped up in how to make intuitive eating “work” (i.e. how to make it help you to lose weight or eat “better”), remember that intuitive eating is process-oriented, which means that it functions completely differently than a diet. In fact, it functions outside of dieting altogether, which is why it’s such a wonderful tool to free yourself from the awful diet rollercoaster.
So now that we’ve got that sorted… how do we approach nutrition when we’re ready to navigate intuitive eating in a non-diet way? Well first, let’s start with the basics. What the heck is gentle nutrition??
Gentle nutrition is a nutritional approach that aims to look at our food choices from a non-judgmental, neutral perspective. It also recognizes that we can look at our food consumption over the course of a week or two, or a month, rather than simply one day in order to assess whether or not our nutritional needs are being met! Gentle nutrition means we take matters of food preference, as well as nutrition, into account when we choose what feels “just right” for our mind and body. This might sound a little funny… food preference is a part of nutrition? Yes! Satisfaction is a cornerstone of gentle nutrition, and it must be respected if we are to really embrace the gentle nutrition model. Gentle nutrition also means that we can make mistakes in our eating, simply because of circumstance or choice. It means that we can view these “mistakes” not really as slip ups or problems, but as learning experiences. Finally, gentle nutrition acknowledges that a diet including a wide variety of satisfying food will ultimately leave us feeling our best.
Ok so we’ve got gentle nutrition down… what else is there to know?? Click here to read the next installment on VARIETY!
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Erica Leon is a Registered Dietitian and practices from a Health at Every Size (HAES®) lens. She is certified as an eating disorder specialist and is passionate about helping women at midlife, menopause and beyond to make peace with food and body image.
Erica is a highly sensitive nutrition therapist who takes the time to learn where you or your family are in the pursuit of health. Respectful of your individual needs and lifestyle, she will provide an honest assessment of whether or not you are a good fit to work together. Click here to schedule a 15-minute Discovery Call with Erica to let us know about your needs, and to see which of our Dietitians is the best fit for you!
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