What is Intuitive Eating? And does it work?
Answers from a Intuitive Eating Certified Naturopathic Doctor
"What is Intuitive Eating?"
Imagine trusting yourself completely with food.
Put simply, Intuitive eating (IE) is finding a pattern of eating that suits you. One that satisfies your appetite, respects your likes and dislikes, feels good in your body and feels good emotionally (read: without guilt or anxiety).
The aim is to learn how to trust yourself and your body’s innate cues to tell you what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat. Ultimately, being an intuitive eater is where nutrition meets satisfaction. “What do I want?” and “What do I need?” stop being at odds with each other. We no longer have to choose between nutrition and satisfaction.
Before we can get there, though, we have to unlearn a lot of food rules that we’ve been accumulating over our lifetime. We learned food rules from our families (“Clean your plate club," anyone?). Every time we started a new diet or wellness plan, we picked up more of them. IE teaches us how to quiet those voices and allows us to put trust back within ourselves instead of with the food trackers, apps and influencers.
We no longer have to choose between nutrition and satisfaction.
"Who is Intuitive Eating for?"
In short, just about anyone.
People often come to intuitive eating when they're fed up with yo-yo dieting. They want to learn how to eat again without the constant narrative in their head about good vs bad foods. They want to stop feeling guilty for enjoying food.
Others come into IE as part of their recovery from an eating disorder, disordered eating or body image work.
Intuitive eating is also for people with diabetes, food allergies/sensitivities, neurodivergence or other health conditions where dietary needs vary. These conditions certainly require a more nuanced approach, but they don't exclude people from the benefits of eating intuitively.
I'm also seeing more and more teens in my practice since parents and caregivers are overwhelmed with nutritional information. They want to spare their kids from the torment of dieting and poor body image, but they don't feel qualified to help because of their own relationship with their bodies and food.
I adopted IE into my practice through my recovery from binge eating. It helped me reconnect with my body and heal my relationship with food. When I saw the robust body of evidence to support IE, it felt like the only ethical way to treat my patients.
Patients don't need a cleanse or reboot. They need sensible, satisfying and sustainable solutions. Intuitive eating provides the framework for this to happen.
If you can't follow the plan long-term, it won't improve your health outcomes.
"What about my health?"
You can ditch dieting and care about your health.
Most women know that diets don't work. They've been on somewhere between 65 and 125 diets, losing 17 years of their lives to them.
But they also don't know what else to do. Especially if they're concerned about their health.
I have good news for you. Intuitive eating is associated with:
Focus on your health without dieting and food rules.
Won't I just eat junk all the time?
Advice like "Just eat what you want" or "Eat when you're hungry, stop when you're full" is crap.
Since most women have spent their lives following one diet or another, most of us are disconnected from our internal cues.
Our minds are full of food rules. We've been told that we're not really hungry; we're thirsty, bored, or stressed.
We don't trust ourselves anymore.
Or maybe you've tried giving up dieting before and found yourself eating in a way that didn't feel good physically or felt out of control.
That's unsurprising since that voice in your head is LOUD telling you what's what about everything you're eating.
It's hard to imagine not having SOME food rules.
We have to put first things first. And stocking your freezer with ice cream, isn't it.
Intuitive Eating is about reconnecting with your body.
How it works
If you are...
Then you are in the right place.
This is where I come in.
Intuitive eating can feel very overwhelming. Whether you've been at it for a few years or just considering it, the biggest part of my job is to help you break down the process into bite-sized pieces (pun intended).
Being a Naturopathic Doctor, I can include your medical history to provide the nuance that’s needed to implement intuitive eating into your lifestyle.
And even if you don’t have a complex medical history, you’ll know that the intuitive eating counselling I provide comes from an educated place and 20 years of experience as an ND.
Intuitive Eating is like learning a new language.
You can learn a language from books and apps. That will certainly get you far enough to get directions or order a meal.
But to become fluent, you must speak it conversationally.
Our world is speaking diet (even though we call it wellness now). It's likely that most people around you only speak diet.
I am that conversational coach. I help you find the nuance and beauty of this new language called intuitive eating so that you become fluent.
Hi, I'm Dr. Kerri!
I've been there.
When I first called it quits with dieting, I felt free. That is until I ate a bag of cookies for dinner (no food rules, right?) and felt awful.
I started dieting when I was 12 years old. Binge eating came along with it. So I spend my teens and 20's in a constant swing between 'being good' (restricting) and eating everything in sight.
It was no wonder that I couldn't just quit dieting. I had completely lost touch with my internal hunger and fullness cues. I was met with a barrage of internal dialogue when I asked myself what I'd like to eat.
Do I want salad because I want it or because I should want it?
Over the last 15 years, I've helped hundreds of women reconnect with their bodies and build trusting and peaceful relationships.
I love getting excited texts about a forgotten chocolate bar or half-eaten cookie.
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