You may be wondering if intuitive eating is right for you. Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?
- You’re staring at an unappetizing salad in front of you. You look up and see others at the dinner table eating and enjoying pasta and think, “Why can’t I eat like that?” You want to learn how to eat normally, too.
- You step on the scale in the morning and look down at the number. It’s higher than last week, and your mood immediately sinks. You think, “No sugar or carbs today.” You try to muster up the enthusiasm, but can’t find it in you.
- You find yourself routinely overeating or getting up to search for more food after a meal, and are unsure why. "Why can't I stop eating? What am I really searching for?" You want to feel in control while you eat.
- You don’t know much about nutrition and are interested in feeling healthier, but going on a diet has zero appeal. “How can I eat healthy without feeling like I’m eating plain chicken breast and broccoli all day?”
Intuitive eating is for everyone, chronic dieters and non-dieters alike. We are born eating intuitively. Somewhere along the way, we get disconnected with our innate hunger and fullness cues as we absorb mixed messages from authority figures, the media and society. What results is confusion, anxiety and a general apprehension about what you should and shouldn’t eat.
The Real Deal is designed for the individual confused about what to eat, but wanting to reject the dieting mentality for good. You will discover a lifelong eating approach that is balanced, fun and unique to you. The focus is not on weight or weight loss, but on establishing sustainable, healthy behaviors that respect your body’s needs and support your physical and mental wellbeing.
One-on-one counseling will change your relationship with food as you become more attuned to what, when and how much your body needs through intuitive eating practices. By undertaking this journey, you will:
- Never calorie count or follow a meal plan
- Challenge the voice that tells you what is “good” or “bad”
- Reduce guilt around eating
- Discover foods you actually love and make you feel good
- Trust yourself around your favorite foods and feel in control when eating
- Become in touch with food’s physical effects on your body
- Find alternative coping mechanisms that do not involve food
- Discover joyful exercise that does not feel burdensome
- Arrive at your natural body size and learn to make peace it
- Maintain or increase meaningful social interaction
- Feel happier and healthier
Carol will be there every step of the way to make sure you have support and guidance as you learn to adopt a non-diet life in a diet-filled world.
The packages below are designed to ensure your long-term success, and are available in-person or virtually.
Intuitive Eating FAQs
In a dieting mentality, what you eat is dictated by external rules, which forces you to ignore the internal signals that influence eating. This leaves dieters very susceptible to outside cues such as TV commercials, food aromas or cupcakes that appear in the office. Restriction inevitably sets you up for overeating in a moment of vulnerability.
Intuitive eaters are not daunted by these cues. Chocolate chip cookies may smell amazing, but one might be enough. Or you might not be in the mood for any. With intuitive eating, you are meeting your needs consistently, so the desire for more food dissipates.
Intuitive eating is a non-diet approach that teaches you how to have a healthy relationship with food and your body. The focus is not on food rules, restriction or calories. It’s learning to eating outside of dieting mentality and making food choices based on internal cues such as hunger, fullness and satisfaction. Instead of making food choices based on what’s “good” or “healthy”, you use the direct experience of eating a specific food and observing how it affects your body and mind. As you begin to understand your preferences and challenge long-held food beliefs, you will learn to eat in a way that preserves pleasure and honors health.
Intuitive eating is guided by 10 principles, which you can learn more about here.
Intuitive eating is for everyone. We are born eating intuitively, but it gets hammered out of us as we get older and absorb messages from the outside world. Food decisions often come from a place of fear and confusion, and ignore the signals that our bodies give us.
Intuitive eating ends the cycle of frustration brought on by emotional eating, food fears, dieting, overeating and body dissatisfaction. It can also be an enlightening process for individuals without a dieting history who are interested in becoming healthy without restricting their food choices.
The intuitive eating process can be uncomfortable and unfamiliar because it flies in the face of health ideals our culture holds dear---the pursuit of weight loss and thinness, and the validation of food restriction to achieve these. This discomfort is very normal and decreases over time.
If you undertake this journey, you will start challenging long-ingrained food and exercise rules.
You will learn to listen to hunger and fullness cues and figure out foods that actually satisfy you. You make peace with your favorite foods, and learn that all foods are morally equivalent. You will examine the self-talk that goes on in your head and how this influences your self-perception and your relationship to the outside world. You will also make progress towards accepting your natural body size.
Another wonderful consequence of intuitive eating, and perhaps the most undervalued, is the freedom that accompanies it. As you begin to trust your intuition, you spend less time obsessing about food and your body. These effects trickle into other parts of your life and help you become more confident, self-aware and compassionate.
Unlike diets, intuitive eating is a longer-term process. How you progress depends on how long you’ve been dieting/restricting and how deeply entrenched dieting culture is in you. It takes time to figure out what makes you tick, which foods actually satisfy you and how you can build trust around foods you have been avoiding or overeating. If you have a great deal of body dissatisfaction, it can also take time to accept your natural body size (the size at which your body settles without restriction or overexercise).
Some people lose weight, maintain or gain during this process. However, this is not the focus of intuitive eating. Because we need to tap into a deeper body wisdom, weight loss must be put on the backburner. The more you focus on weight, the more your food decisions are guided by external rules, feelings and events. It can prevent you from rejecting the dieting mentality and making peace with foods.
We can definitely talk about your desire to lose weight and the reasons behind this, but Eathority discourages you from weighing yourself. As you become an intuitive eater and your relationship with food improves, you will arrive at a weight that is natural for your body and easy to maintain.
When it comes to health, behaviors matter more than the number on our scale. Physical health can be obtained even in the absence of weight loss.
Our society is biased against larger bodies. People fearmonger about the dangers of larger bodies, citing studies that show correlation, not causation. We idealize thin bodies and equate them to health and beauty, which is misguided, unfair and deeply distressing for anyone who does not fit this ideal. But contrary to popular belief, you can be in a larger body and be healthy.
Even for those who are thin, negative body image can still persist, and often leads many to fixate on their bodies and diet to achieve “better” health and fitter bodies.
Research shows that a Health at Every Size (HAES) model can improve health outcomes in people of all sizes. The HAES (pronounced hayz) model accepts and respects the diversity of body shapes and sizes, supports life-enhancing movement and eating for well-being. Intuitive eating is the eating pattern that supports HAES.
Intuitive eating and HAES offer viable, evidence-based alternatives for achieving health and happiness. Many studies support their use in clinical practice, with the following demonstrated outcomes:
- Improved cholesterol
- Decreased blood pressure
- Increased physical activity
- Improved blood sugars
- Greater food variety in the diet
- Reduced food and body preoccupation
- Increased body satisfaction
- Less overeating
- Less disordered and emotional eating
- Higher self-esteem
- Better coping skills
Restriction and dieting do not result in long-term weight loss. In the short-term, dieting causes individuals to lose weight quickly, usually peaking at 6 months after the start of the diet. Most diets result in a maximum weight loss of about 5-10%. These losses are modest, and for people in larger bodies, many remain larger bodied and at continued risk for weight stigma and discrimination.
Weight loss eventually plateaus, and once dieting ceases, weight is slowly regained, often returning to original levels. Studies have shown that 90% to 95% of dieters regain all their lost weight within a few years. Within the first year of dieting cessation, less than 20% of people are able to maintain their weight loss, and many regain 30-35% of weight that is lost. After four to five years, one-third to two-thirds of dieters regain more weight than was lost, although researchers believe this latter statistic may actually be higher.
The cycle of losing and regaining usually leads to another diet, more weight loss and eventual regain. This puts people at risk for the following:
- Future weight gain
- Cravings, overeating or binge eating
- Cardiovascular stress due to fluctuations and increases in cholesterol, blood sugars, insulin and blood pressure
- Slower metabolism
- Muscle loss
- Emotional and psychological distress, including lower self-esteem
- Premature death, especially from heart disease
For the small percentage of people who are able to maintain weight loss in the long-term, losses are usually modest. Any health benefits that are observed cannot be fully attributed to dieting because it is difficult to untangle the possible effects of other changes, such as exercise.
Based on this information and studies showing that health improvements can be attained in the absence of weight loss, there is a strong case against prescribing weight loss via diets.