Are you working on your recovery from an eating disorder?
Or trying to quit dieting because you’re tired of starving yourself, exercising to the point of total exhaustion and counting macros or calories day after day?
If you value authentic health and happiness — then starving, bingeing, over-exercising or any other disordered eating behavior would seem to go against those values. But the fact is you can do both!
Let’s start with understanding 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.
When we engage in activities or thought patterns that go against our values, we feel uncomfortable.
When I worked in the field of “weight management,” I came up against my own personal values of resisting diet culture and providing compassionate, evidence-based, nutritional care. I value my work as a nutrition therapist and feel tremendous satisfaction in helping people make peace with food. Focusing on weight management was very difficult for me because of my values.
Knowing our values helps us move forward in new ways. In my case, it was finding a different approach to caring for our mind and bodies, other than rigid diet and exercise.
Finding different approaches to health, that are in line with your values, can help you get off that diet roller coaster, and on to the path of recovery from chronic dieting and/or disordered eating.
What is Intuitive Eating?
Intuitive Eating is a gentle approach to improving health by becoming the expert over your own body and its many sensations.
This means moving away from strict diets and food rules, which inevitably fail because they promote negative self-judgments, shaming and body loathing. These rules create black and white thinking of “good foods vs. bad foods” and try and control your food intake and body size. Intuitive Eating, on the other hand, supports embracing compassionate self-care by honoring hunger, registering fullness cues, finding satisfaction in our meals, moving our bodies in a way that feels good, and finding new ways to comfort ourselves without using food.
You need to define your core values and then take specific actions to support these values. This helps move you away from disordered thinking and behaviors, and learn to notice thoughts and feelings without judgment. The idea is to work on taking actions that support meaningful and mindful choices and a compassionate relationship with one’s food and body image.
Take the time to understand true priorities in your life, and you’ll be able to determine the best path moving forward.
Recovery from disordered eating takes time and patience and using a values-based approach can help you identify your reasons for recovery. Quitting diets is an act of courage and quiet rebellion, as the world still believes that our bodies need to be controlled and manipulated to be smaller at all costs.
Learning Intuitive Eating Principles will help you find authentic health and can help anyone in their recovery from disordered eating and chronic dieting. It will allow you to consider your values as well during your recovery.
If you would like to explore more about Intuitive Eating as you make your journey to recovery, register for my free Nutritional Guidance Program. It is an online program aimed at helping people working on eating disorder recovery & ready to practice skills that connect your mind & body.
Click here to register for this free program that will get you started with a new approach to your own eating habits and recovery from disordered eating.
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!
Download our Free Intuitive Eating Guide and get off that Diet Roller Coaster for good!