Intuitive eaters choose to live in a way that listens to their body. The body is what drives their decisions for eating and caring for themselves. I call it a practice since that is how you live it – you practice every day. There is no perfection or finish line. The goal is to find a way of eating that feels comfortable for your body and mind. It is a practice that asks you to let go of self-judgment and shame and work for self- acceptance and love. I have a developed a practice of body scans, nourishing meals, journaling, and movement that I think is nice and I would like to share with you.
Wake up and do a body scan. I repeat body scans before each meal and at the end of the day. On stressful days I do them more often. Body scans take a minute tops. But when you are first learning them it may take a bit longer if you aren’t used to connecting with your body. Getting in touch with your body is imperative in intuitive eating and these scans help me to listen to my body.
The way I do a body scan is I start with my toes and go up each part of my body until I reach my head (e.g. toes, ankles, calves, thighs, pelvis, stomach, chest, shoulders, arms, hands, neck, head, face). I note how each part feels. Do I feel tightness, pain, and/or looseness? Do I have a headache; am I hungry? I notice whatever information is available. If I am tight I will actively try to relax those muscles. If I am breathing shallow and stressed I will try to take a few deeper breathes to help slow myself down just a bit.
As I notice my physical feelings I also notice my mental feelings. If you can’t name feelings print out a list from the Internet. Practice sitting with all your feelings: even the ones that are uncomfortable. They don’t need to change. Just feel and accept them as ok. Feelings are just feelings – not facts. It took me a bit to figure out feelings since I had a bunch show up at once. For instance, I might feel happy, mad, sad, and nervous all at once. On days I am more mentally stressed I try to make sure to take extra loving care of myself.
Eat a meal that nourishes my body and soul
Think about what sounds good to eat (when I am with others I ask them as well and we mix up the meal to include something everyone would like. When my children were at home this usually meant that the meal would include chicken nuggets and I was usually the one picking out a vegetable! Another option is to have each person take turns picking out meals).
Take time to prepare it just as you like it
Serve the food in a nice area that you are comfortable eating in (have children help set a pretty table with folded napkins, fun place mats, and or a nice table cloth. They can even make paper flowers for a centerpiece)
Serve the food so it looks pretty (we do eat “with our eyes”)
Take your time and enjoy the moment (being present is a gift to yourself and others)
Eat without distraction and with positive conversation (this is not a time to discipline or do daily “homework”).
When first starting intuitive eating it is interesting to try writing out what you really like about each food as you eat it. (E.g. I love the tartness of the orange and how the little orange pieces are so crisp and juicy and burst in my mouth. I love the smell of the orange as I peel it and the texture of the outside skin in my hands.) I learned a lot and this practice changed my thinking about some foods.
Remember these rules while eating:
You are allowed to eat when you are hungry
You are allowed to eat foods you enjoy
You are allowed to enjoy eating
Do not judge yourself or ask for perfection
After breakfast I get out my computer and journal. I create a daily document to write out a list of what I am grateful for, journal for three pages, and set my intentions for the day. When I am really busy I journal later. I like to write to be more aware of what I am thinking, what is going on with me, and problem solve creatively. This information will usually show up, as I am journaling. Without this practice I tend to be less aware.
At some point in my day I practice joyful movement (exercise to most people). I call it joyful movement because I try to be active doing things I love. My favorite activity is dance but a pretty close second is talking walks with family and/or friends. If you don’t have an activity you like I suggest you keep trying new things until you find something that works for you. I learned to do stand up paddle boarding a few years ago and really love it but would have never known if I hadn’t tried.
This daily practice of body scans, “nourishing” meals, journaling, and joyful movement really supports my Intuitive Eating practice in a positive way. I hope any or all of these ideas will help you start a practice of Intuitive Eating that works for you.
written by Sarah Gold, MS, RD, LDN
Intuitive Eating is a book and process developed by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. Learn more at intuitiveeating.com
There is so much to love about this time of year but my favorite thing is a holiday meal. I imagine our big family all gathered around the table in a home filled with delicious smells waiting to eat our favorite dishes. In my head it looks like a Normal Rockwell painting: the one with the big happy family sitting around the table with the head of the household holding up the big turkey (Freedom from Want 1943).
But that description doesn’t give Norman Rockwell the credit he deserves. There is far more to that painting than you might see at first glance and I think the “unseen” part means the most to me.
Let me explain.
To jog my middle-aged memory, I looked up the painting online. Interestingly, it was created during the Second World War in a time of horror and need when many people didn’t have much. I looked again at the photo and besides the overly large turkey there is actually not a lot of food on the table. There is water in the glasses, a bit of celery, a small amount of cranberry sauce, fruit, a covered dish, and just a few pickles. Not much food for the 12 people (photographer implied) sitting around the table.
To me, this painting shows abundance and lack simultaneously. In a time of great despair and loss there sits a family to share whatever food is available and more importantly support, love, and enjoy one another.
This perspective of loss speaks strongly to me. My mother died this time of year 29 years ago and I can still find myself sad. Others around me have suffered great loss as well. Often when we are most happy we feel loss of those we have loved the most. Life doesn’t spare any of us from great sadness. Many others continue to need even the most basic of items. This time of year can be very hard for many people.
But a meal allows us to share and support one another. Share our lives. We talk, laugh, support, and even drive each other crazy. If your table is like my table not one person is quite like the next. We are different religions; some are rich, some poor, some Democratic, and some Republican. We even have Sox fans and Cubs fans in the same room. Needless to say sometimes we have good conversations and sometimes they can get quite heated. But we are all there for each other. We do our best: even if it is difficult. Sometimes we invite friends and people who don’t have a place to go. We share food; sometimes it tastes good, sometimes not so much. This last Thanksgiving I managed to burn the brussel sprouts and forgot the cranberry sauce in the fridge. We laugh. We cry.
Interesting, my favorite thing is the family meal but I didn’t talk much about food? See- it’s not about the food. Sure that tastes good. But my favorite thing is the love and support – the human kind.
Wishing you and yours a holiday season filled with love, support, and good holiday meals.
Written by Sarah Gold, MS, RD, LDN
I love food. I love to shop for food. I love to eat. I love the smell in the kitchen when I cook. I love having people over for a meal. I love the smell of hamburgers cooked on a charcoal grill. I love homemade bread. I love ice cream on a hot summer’s day. I love my Dad’s famous chili. There is so much I love about food.
But for me food became more than nurturing and satisfaction. It became more than a loving mother’s care: one who would feed me a delicious and healthy meal with a bit of a treat that I would eat with abandon and then leave the table running out to the excitement of life. Food became more.
It became my lover.
I thought about it. I made me feel good. I gave it super powers. It was there no matter what. It became the love I gave myself when I felt lonely. It was the indulgence I would give myself for a job well done. It was the treat I let myself have after a crappy day. It was the extra serving I gave myself when the world wasn’t living up to my hopes and expectations. It was always there when I was bored and needed something to do. My lover got me through many a day – until I saw it for what it was.
It was just there for a moment of happiness and then – poof – left me feeling terrible. It was there to tell me – it doesn’t matter – then it would leave and I realized it does matter. I finally felt used. I felt betrayed.
I left my lover.
Breaking up is really, really, really hard to do. I realized my love had to come from inside of me. Not outside. I have had to teach myself how to meet my needs without food. What does this nurturing look like? How do I love myself without my lover?
First I had to listen to my needs and my feelings. Then I had to learn to use my voice to ask for what I wanted. I had to learn to support myself. I had to learn to let myself feel all my feelings – even the ones I didn’t like. I had to become my own cheerleader. I had to learn to calm myself and be there for myself. I had to learn to accept myself in all my imperfection. This was so hard. This is still hard. I still work on it every day.
My best love comes when I can just be calm with myself just as I am. When I achieve this I feel like a superhero.
Sometimes I will go to the library and pick out a new book to read
Sometimes I give myself a pedicure with a fun nail polish color
Sometimes I take a nice, long hot bath until my skin pickles like when I was a kid
Sometimes I call a friend who will listen to me and not judge
Sometimes I take a walk and just notice nature in all its beauty
Sometimes I color a picture of my feelings – wild, crazy, mad, upset, etc.
Sometimes I journal
Sometimes I meditate
Sometimes I take a nap
Once I even had a pillow fight with a friend to help me get out my anger
Sometimes I just cry if I need to
Sometimes I rock myself in a rocking chair
Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t given up on food. I still enjoy food. I still love a good soft caramel and Italian dinners on the north side in Boston. But now I understanding that nourishment and satisfaction from food are awesome but there are limits to what food can do for me.
Food can’t love me. Only I can love me.
written by Sarah Gold, MS, RD, LDN
I don’t like to be told what to do. It makes me want to do the opposite. I have always been this way. In junior high when the girls my age were all taking sewing and cooking classes I took metals and woods. So it probably comes as no surprise that I have a diet “rebel”.
When I think about this feeling of being rebellious I imagine that my rebel looks something like a teenaged hippie. She will eat standing at the door of my pantry. She is anti-establishment. She does her own thing. Rules don’t work for her. She thinks regulations are just the “big man” trying to control us. She eats what she wants, when she wants it. If I try to talk rationally with her it doesn’t work. She is all about feelings. She wants “peace” and gives the peace sign frequently. There is only one “person” who can handle my hippie. My mother.
This isn’t my real mother. My real mother was fabulous, but human, with strengths and weaknesses. This is my fantasy mother. I consider her my all caring, nurturing piece of myself. She is the one who makes me a healthy breakfast so I can fuel up for the day. She is the one that finds the best peaches so I enjoy a nutritious snack. She is the one who packs a lunch for me so I don’t buy the fast food on the way home that keeps me from eating as I wish. She is my supporter and cheerleader and loves me just as I am. She supports me not to make me more perfect but to help me reach my goals in a loving and supportive way. She never shames me for my mistakes but keeps helping me strive to reach my health goals. She doesn’t feed me cookies to make me feel better but she gives great mental hugs and gets me my favorite blanket and book when I need a break. She is able to take that hippie of mine and pat her on the head and say – “yes dear, I remember Woodstock, now please get out of my way I am closing the pantry door”.
I have found that my process of healing my relationship with food has included three very important pieces of myself: my little girl, my diet rebel, and my mother. My little girl is the part of me that was hurt and had unmet needs. My diet rebel was the part of me that wanted to shun all the rules and regulations that my little girl “had” to follow and disliked. My mother is able to deal with the little girls needs, the diet rebel’s “issues”, and provides love and support in a nurturing and healthy way.
When I think about how I want to eat I try to imagine what my fantasy mother would do. She would set the table and make my coffee just the way I like it and make sure the oatmeal had no lumps and get my favorite raisins – the softer ones I like best. She would make me a lunch; a sandwich with my favorite whole grain bread cut in four pieces just like I like it. She would make sure there were veggie slices and a delicious piece of fruit and always just a little bit of something sweet. She might put in a little note that said – thinking of your meeting today and I hope it goes just right and put a little heart and xo on the bottom. For dinner, she would make something delicious but if I needed to watch my salt she would find just the right herbs to make the soup delicious. We would have a healthy balanced meal that tasted great. She would take the time to cook foods so they tasted great like roasting vegetables in a bit of olive oil, and making sure the meatloaf had green peppers in it since I like it that way best. She would encouraged me to set a beautiful table and encourage me to find family and friends to share it with since my favorite meals are ones I share with others
So when you find yourself feeling like a rebellious teen that doesn’t want to deal with life’s crap and follow rules and regulations perhaps invite your “mother” over to give you some advice.
written by Sarah Gold, MS, RD, LDN
Thanks so much to all of you who read my blog. I hope you find the articles helpful. I love to get feedback and would appreciate any topics you would like me to address in the future. Thanks!
Dieting is a black and white world. You are either on the diet or off. You have succeeded or failed. You are good or bad. These words hold both extremes and judgments. Our society, our lives are centered to be black and white. Your child needs to attend the best school, get the best grades, and never color outside the lines. You need to live in the biggest house, in the best neighborhood, and drive the best car. I suppose it is easier to understand: clear cut.
Intuitive Eating is messier. It is not something you are on or off, succeed at or fail, and it doesn’t make you a good or bad person. It just is. It is a “practice” a way of life. A choice. It is neither black nor white. It is grey. It is not sexy like a diet that promises quick weight loss with glossy photos of flat abs.
And letting go of black and white thinking to get to the grey is not easy. The journey to grey is not linear. It requires letting go of the idea of perfect healthy eating, allowing for “bad” eating, to finally get to healthier eating. You bounce back and forth and then get to the middle and then start all over again. But slowly you get to where you find yourself spending more and more time in the middle. This bouncing is normal. And starting “over” again and again is normal. It is a new way of eating. It takes time. It doesn’t demand perfection just commitment.
My journey in IE started like many others who have had years of restricting food. I went from super healthy to the “other side”. I went from counting calories to eating many meals at my favorite ice cream store. It was joyful since I was now learning to nourish myself by actually allowing myself to eat things I always wanted to eat and actually letting myself enjoy it. But it was also terrifying. I had visions of myself as a huge blob of a person who gave up everything to eat herself to death at the ice cream store. I imagined that people would walk by me sitting on the curb outside the ice cream store in my Mumu dress and say “remember when she was a professional and was so fit and healthy and raise their eye brows at each other as they stepped over me on the way to spin class. This imaginary terror would make me drop my cone and go back to eating “healthy” for a bit until I felt better. I see-sawed this way for a while.
But after eating lots of ice cream and chocolate I slowly found myself wanting more. I discovered much to my surprise that I actually liked more foods than just ice cream and chocolate. In fact, I like good soft warm bread, and roasted cauliflower, and pistachios. The list of foods I wanted to eat got longer and longer. One day I almost fell off my chair when I wanted steamed carrots because it sounded delicious. You see I never thought I would ever like carrots again since it is the food I associate most with dieting. Food slowly become more neutral, more delicious, more varied.
Does this mean I don’t ever find myself back at black and white thinking? Of course not. After spending most of my life thinking in black and white it takes time and commitment to get to grey. I will probably work on this for a very long time. I personally find myself back at black and white thinking and judgment when I am stressed. A sign that I am there is that I catch myself prowling around the pantry looking for something to eat when I am not hungry.
When I notice I am in black and white mode. I will try to listen to what I am telling myself in my head and then try to imagine what the middle might look like. My life coach has taught me that the middle usually includes using the words and/both. I think it also includes a hug.
I start with going from one side to the other. For example, Instead of saying to myself, I eat like crap, I’m fat, and I can’t handle life I practice changing that to: I am a person who eats healthy some days and not so healthy other days. I feel fat some days and not so fat other days. I handle things well some days and not so great other days.
Then I try to go one step further and take out the judgment: I am a person who eats all foods, my body is ok and something I am working to accept with love, and overall I handle life pretty darn well. That is where I add the hug. I give myself a bit of love when I am judging myself so harshly.
So this process of getting to grey with foods also works with life. Being in a neutral, loving place makes both eating and life so much nicer and I find I can handle it so much better. Real life is messy. People are complicated. We are not all or nothing and food is not good or bad. Allowing for this is actually pretty awesome. It allows us to be real. Not a fake glossy picture of airbrushed flat abs that is only as real as the paper it is printed on.
Written by Sarah Gold, MS, RD, LDN, and certified intuitive eating counselor
For more information on Intuitive Eating read: Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD, and Elyse Resch, MS, RD, FADA, CEDRD and check out intuitiveeating.com.
Life is like a roller coaster. It has its ups and downs. Sometimes you can see what’s coming and it is a slow torment until it finally happens and your stomach drops. Other times you are shocked and don’t even have time to react, just hang on. There are some rollercoaster riders who throw up their hands and yell with a smile on their face. I am not one of those. I grab hold, say a prayer, close my eyes tightly, and try to not throw up. My summer was like one long roller coaster ride; that went on and on and on.
How did this affect my intuitive eating? I guess you could say I couldn’t have had better practice if I had asked for it. I fell down and had to get back up more times than I could count. I was so stressed at one point I actually counted calories. Ouch! I stress ate. I judged myself. I struggled. I made EVERY mistake possible.
But there is some good news. With repeated practice comes mastery and I could feel myself slowly making different choices as time went on. In the past, when I would struggle and fail at things (e.g. dieting) I would tell myself I would start over and do it right this time. This time I would be perfect at it and not make any mistakes and get to my goal. This summer I didn’t strive to start over to become better or more perfect. This summer I allowed myself to just be. To be aware of my obvious failings: my anger, my stress eating, and my ability to say all the wrong things. I worked on accepting those parts of myself I didn’t like. I also tried to remember my wonderful strengths. I gave myself a “hug” and got up and said to myself: it is ok. You are doing the best you can. You are loveable even if you are far from perfect. I wasn’t the best intuitive eater. I was just Sarah who was trying to be an intuitive eater.
Allowing for myself in all my imperfection made room for me to be stressed and sad and angry but also start to find pieces of my day that I also enjoyed. I wasn’t on a diet or off a diet. My food choices weren’t good or bad. I wasn’t good or bad. It was just a crazy mixed up experience, like a roller coaster, like life.
I don’t doubt that life will continue to be one long roller coaster ride. I am just glad I am figuring out how to ride it with a bit more self-love and acceptance. Who knows, maybe some day I’ll ride with my eyes wide open and my hands up in the air.
Written by Sarah Gold MS, RD, LDN who is a certified intuitive eating counselor and dietitian
Intuitive Eating is a process developed by Elyse Resch, MS, RD, FADA and Evelyn Tribole MS, RD. Find out more at intuitiveeating.com
Our world today is plugged in 24/7. A person without a phone is like someone missing a limb. TV is on 24 hours straight. If you don’t like a show there are literally 1000s to watch at any time of the day. There is even news at the gas station – just in case, in the 10 minutes it takes to fill up, you might miss something really important like the low price of milk. Our world is filled and fast. Slow is seen as old fashioned and behind the times. We laugh about when it took minutes and not seconds to download something on a computer. We joke about “snail mail”. Beware, all that flash and bling can blind us from our true selves.
In the down time is where you find your own personal GPS. Your body gives you all kinds of feedback during the day - but you must listen to it. It will tell you if you are hungry or full, if you are tired or rested, if you are stressed out or happy. It may feel open and loose when you are being true to yourself and feel tight and closed when something is not right. Each person’s internal GPS will be slightly different and made just for you. You will be the only one who can figure out what the signs and signals mean. But to do so you must listen.
Our society loves brainpower. It emphasizes being smart and doing well in school. We teach our children math and science and computers. I want us to consider that we should also teach our children about their internal guidance systems. How they are each special and different and will get guidance from their body. And that to make good decisions takes listening to not only your mind but also your body and putting all of that information together helps you navigate through life.
But you can’t teach something you don’t know. And you can’t know if you don’t get quiet. I encourage you to unplug and start to listen in. Try finding 10 minutes in the day where you can just be quiet with yourself. Once you get the hang of it you can check in with yourself in just minutes. I call them body scans. I stop – take a slow relaxing breath and then ask myself how I am feeling at that very moment. First I check out how my body is feeling physically and then how my mind is feeling mentally. I don’t judge what I find. I just allow the information to show up.
If you haven’t learned how to listen to your own body it will feel like you are learning a foreign language. You may feel something but you aren’t sure if it is a feeling or perhaps gas. Are you hungry or did you just feel a muscle spasm? Are you full - how does that feel and where do you feel it? How does satisfied show up in your body? It takes experimenting and guessing at first. It is like you are your own personal mystery to be figured out. But once you start to figure yourself out it is awesome! You learn you are your own personal expert. You can use the information you learn to guide you towards self-care. It feels empowering.
I have learned that when I don’t want to deal with my issues I will start to not allow myself down time. I am basically telling myself to go away until I can listen better. The busier I am the more I want to completely avoid something. My body tells me I am stressed with tight muscles, shallow breathing, and poor sleep. Fortunately, I know this so I can stop myself from avoidance and make time to get quiet and face what I am avoiding.
I argue that having the skill to listen to your body is just as valuable or even more valuable than knowing computer science. For computers only compute the information that is imputed.
I am old enough to remember when TV stopped at night. When stores were closed on Sundays. When people wrote letters. When there was only one car in a family and people had to walk places. When it was a little easier to get to quiet time.
Unplug – it’s worth it
by Sarah Gold, MS, RD, LDN
1. Being able to eat all foods is both the best and worst part of eating intuitively while traveling. It is the best since I love trying out new restaurants and local foods when I travel. However, it is the worst since I choose to leave the extra great food on my plate when I get satisfied. That is really hard for me to do. If I am unable to look at the extra food when I am finished without nibbling I will ask the wait staff to remove the plate.
2. Waiting for hunger is a big challenge when I travel and means I end up eating at weird places like the middle seat on a plane or during my daughter’s graduation ceremony. It also means I don’t eat the free cookie on the plane which can be hard to do when 179 other people are all eating their free cookie. However, I will choose to take the cookie for later if it looks good.
3. Travel often includes parties and alcohol. It is hard to eat intuitively when I am at a function and they serve alcohol before the food. When I am able to eat something first it is easier to eat intuitively.
4. Intuitive eating includes movement that brings you joy. This is easy for me to do when I travel since I think that taking a walk in a new place is phenomenal! It is also a nice way to take a break from people or situations that can be stressful. Many cities have interesting walking tours.
5. Self-care is essential when traveling and is an important part of intuitive eating. For my self-care I include: a journal, a good book, and my favorite music.
6. I do better at intuitive eating when I am not overly tired. Traveling usually includes weird hours and makes me tired. Therefore, I try to make sure I allow time for rest whenever possible. This may include taking a nap, a nice hot bath, or listening to relaxation or meditation videos.
7. Traveling situations are not ideal for healthy eating and I try to remember to be kind to myself and remind myself I am doing the best I can. Intuitive eating encourages you to notice your eating behaviors from a curious and non-judgmental perspective. This means that even when I am struggling I am still learning valuable and helpful ideas that I can use later. The last trip I took I learned that when I see a monster cookie food truck I jaywalk to check out what cookies are available. I also learned that I am grateful my hometown doesn’t have monster cookie food trucks.
8. I use my travel time to nurture myself emotionally. I people watch and appreciate how wonderfully different people are in size, color, shape and other fabulous details. I remind myself how awesome it is that we aren’t all the same. I think I am starting to enjoy hair that is dyed on the ends in fun colors like purple.
9. I am unable to eat intuitively when I am overly hungry. Therefore I pack snacks much like the mother of a toddler. My favorite snacks are organic apples, dried cherries, and chocolate. I love those foods and often my travel meal choices tend to be a bit light in fruits. As for chocolate – it is a necessity.
10. Intuitive eating encourages eating in a pleasant environment. This can be a challenge on vacation since it often includes places that don’t bring me much joy like lines at the airport. However, I am often surprised how much I can enjoy a meal alone that includes people watching or the wonderful conversations with strangers or new acquaintances I meet on my travels.
by Sarah Gold, MS, RD, LDN
Intuitive Eating is a program developed by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD, and Elyse Resch, MS, RD, FADA, CEDRD. Their book is Intuitive Eating. Their website: intuitiveeating.com
I was raised to be a "good girl. I learned what many children learn – to be quiet, and do what was needed to fit in and get along. I don’t remember talking back to adults when I was a child. My sister who is eight years younger had the guts to rock the boat. To this day she has a “voice” I admire. Talking back is hard for me. I have to work hard to say what I need to say. But I am getting better.
How is this related to Intuitive Eating? Well, Intuitive Eating requires you to talk back - to yourself!
Intuitive Eating allows for all foods. While this may sound awesome to someone who has dieted for years it can in fact be difficult. Why? Because once you start to eat “restricted” foods your critical voice gets louder.
This critical voice is in all of us. It is there for more than just food. And mine is not nice. My critical voice might say things like: you can’t eat a whole bagel for breakfast that is way too much food, better have coffee with skim milk to save calories, you picked out a burger and fries for lunch - you are a terrible dietitian. It could go on and on. It might quiet a bit if I listened to it – but if I didn’t, it could bother me relentlessly. And I listened and believed its every word.
If I put my “voice” into a picture I would say it was a tall beautiful woman who wears a judges’ robe and carries a clipboard and wears a whistle around her neck. She is tall since she is powerful, she is beautiful since that represents my perfectionist, she wears a judges robe since she judges, and she carries a clipboard like a grueling coach and her whistle is to wake me up when I don’t listen to her message.
When I took the time to listen to her I realized she thought she was helping me. She wanted me to be attractive, accomplished, and a good dietitian. The problem was she was treating me worse than anyone should be treated. When I listened to what she said I felt awful, miserable, and like a failure. She was treating me like I was a small child. I am not. I am a grown woman. I realized her tactics of making me feel terrible were backfiring. When she made me feel small I just ate worse – not better.
Intuitive Eating asks you to notice your critical voice, find out what it wants you to know, and then start to reframe negative thoughts in a more positive and supportive way. When I thought about nurturing I thought about my children. I realized that when they were trying to learn something new I didn’t tell them how awful they were. I would encourage them and be there cheerleader. I would tell them they could do it and when they “fell” I would brush them off and encourage them to try again until they got it.
I decided to talk back. I wanted to be my own cheerleader. If my critical voice told me I was being good if I ate “healthy” I explained that my food choices give me energy and nutrition but aren’t really related to weather I am a good or bad person. When my critical voice told me to eat lower calorie foods I explained that I had the control to eat when I was hungry and stop when I was full and I didn’t need to count calories. When she stated I wasn’t going to be respected if I ate nutritionally poor foods. I explained that I allow for all foods which is very healthy. When I get discouraged my cheerleader helps me realize I am human, and encourages me to get back up and keep going.
I like to think my cheerleader is helping me to find my voice and stick up for myself. Just like my sister :)
By Sarah Gold, MS, RD, LDN
(There is a lot more to challenging the food police. You may want to read more about it in the book Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD, and Elyse Resch, MS, RD. FADA, CEDRD. Intuitiveeating.com)
Sarah Gold is an intuitive eater, dietitian, chocolate lover, and dog lover,