I licked the spoon.
And with that, my diet was done.
It was like a dam broke, and suddenly I couldn’t stop eating. The guilt was overwhelming but not enough to stop this out-of-control binge. I quickly found the weight I had lost and then some. That was in 2010.
This was an all too familiar pattern. My first intentional weight loss attempt was when I was 12 years old. Like so many others, I started at Weight Watchers with my mom and cycled through all the commercial weight loss programs, picking up a few extra pounds every time.
This last time hit me harder than most. I had thought that I’d done it differently this time. I went to Overeaters Anonymous (OA) because food addiction seemed to be the only answer to my problem. I was told that if I ‘just’ never ate my ‘trigger foods’ again, I would be ‘cured.’ That story is long, so let me jump to the ending. I wasn’t cured. My relationship with food was even more screwed up after a year and a half of being ‘abstinent’ at OA.
So what was I missing?
Being the research geek that I am, I immersed myself in the study of dieting, weight loss and food addiction.
What I learned from this research made me angry. The research told me that it wasn’t my fault I couldn’t stick to a diet. In fact, dietary restriction is the leading CAUSE of bingeing. I learned that significant weight loss isn’t possible for the VAST majority of people and that there isn’t a single diet or pill that has significant lasting weight loss effects. Worse, the most likely outcome of any intentional weight loss attempt is weight gain—the EXACT OPPOSITE of what it’s promised to do.
So that left me with my next question: If dieting and food restriction isn’t the answer, then what is? How could I give up dieting and weight cycling and not give up on myself or my health?
Enter Intuitive Eating and Heath At Every Size™
My first introduction to the anti-diet movement was back in 2000. I spent the next eight years not dieting intentionally but was still engaged in some pretty disordered eating patterns. In 2010, I came across Intuitive Eating by Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole, and I knew I had found what I was looking for. The 10 principles of intuitive eating provided a research-supported way to improve my health outcomes AND heal my relationship with food. I found a counsellor to help me work through it personally before I became a certified intuitive eating counsellor in 2018.
I learned about the Health At Every Size (HAES™) movement around the same time and again was thrilled. Here was a way that I could help myself and my patients work toward better health outcomes without engaging in diet and wellness culture. I’ve been a member of the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH) since 2020 and am one of the few HAES doctors in Canada.
What I want you to know
Your struggles with your body and your food aren’t your fault. We’ve been living in a culture that tells us we aren’t allowed to be happy with our appearance. Fashion magazines make up conditions to sell us beauty products (I’m looking at you, cellulite) and only display body types that are naturally available to 5% of the population.
Add to that the wellness industry telling us that our health is entirely within our control (it’s not) and giving us ever-conflicting and confusing messages about food; it’s no wonder that so many of us struggle.
I learned that I couldn’t hate myself into a body I could love any more than I could hate myself healthy. I had to learn how to find compassion and love for myself.
I learned that almost all food problems aren’t about food at all.
Now I approach health care in a whole new way. Since learning that weight and health are not synonymous, I can finally help my patients focus on what really matters to them – their health.
Using the 10 principles of intuitive eating, I help my patients learn to trust themselves with food again. They start to genuinely love food, guilt-free and know that all foods fit into a healthy lifestyle. We find sensible and sustainable interventions using a weight-neutral approach to health care. After all, the only way something can affect your health outcomes is if you stick with it long-term.
If you’d like to discuss how this approach could help you, I invite you to book a free meet-n-greet with me.