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The Must-Have Tools for Kickstarting Your Intuitive Eating Journey

January 2, 2024

Self-Paced Course: Non-Diet Academy


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A Certified Eating Disorders Registered Dietitian (CEDRD) with a master's degree in dietetics & nutrition. My passion is helping you find peace with food - and within yourself.

Meet Katy

Instead of buying into this hype that you need to change yourself and transform yourself in the New Year, I’d like to invite you to consider coming home to yourself and coming back to your body. What if you took this year to learn how to embrace the ways that your body speaks to you, and to honor what it is that your body needs? That’s such a different way to relate to our bodies compared to the “New Year, New You” mindset.

Intuitive eating is a beautiful framework for learning how to reconnect with (and rebuild trust with) your body. And the new year is a great time to lean into this process because it’s such a perfect alternative to participating in some type of New Year’s diet or wellness routine that’s set up to fail. 

When it comes to the tools that will help you kickstart – or recharge – your intuitive eating journey, I’m not talking about tools like measuring cups or blenders for whipping up protein shakes. I’m going to be sharing 3 things that you’re going to want to have in place, otherwise this whole intuitive eating thing is going to be infinitely harder.

Tool #1) Education

The first one is education. If you’re trying to embrace the intuitive eating framework, and you haven’t read the book and you don’t know about the 10 principles of intuitive eating, then it’s imperative that you start there. And I don’t say that lightly. There are very few times that I’ll be that definitive on something that I think you need to do, and this is one of them. 

Over and over again I’m seeing people who are coming into the intuitive eating space and they are just winging it based on what they think and assume the term “intuitive eating” means. And it’s one of those things where they don’t know what they don’t know, right?

So let’s step back for a second here with a little history lesson. I promise to be brief. 

The term “intuitive eating” originated in the 90’s from 2 dietitians named Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. They way they tell the story, it all began when Evelyn rented office space from Elyse and they were both seeing clients in private practice out in Beverly Hills. And what they noticed is that they’d give their clients meal plans to follow and the clients couldn’t stick with it. 

Elyse shared that she herself had struggled with an eating disorder before she became a dietitian, and she could relate to what it was like for her clients to try and follow this plan and limit their food, only to end up overeating or binging later. 

And Evelyn was working with actors and actresses to help them prepare for roles, and what she saw was that even these celebrities who had personal trainers and chefs couldn’t stick with restrictive weight loss plans. 

They were seeing their clients becoming more and more obsessed with their eating, and continuing to struggle with this back and forth between being in control with food, only to end up out of control with food. 

So together they started talking about a new way to approach food, and they were part of the early wave of the anti-diet movement. They came up with the term “intuitive eating” which includes 10 principles that outline how it works. After getting their book proposal rejected a whole bunch of times, they finally found a publisher who was willing to take it on, and in 1995 the first edition of the book Intuitive Eating was published. It’s been updated and revised a few times, and the most current one is the 4th edition which came out in 2021. 

If you’ve never read this book (and even if you have, it’s worth revisiting again because different things will jump out at you), it’s essential that you read it or listen to the audio version. Where I see so many people floundering with intuitive eating is that they don’t actually understand how it’s supposed to work and what all 10 principles are and how they fit together.

Inside my program called Intuitive Eating Exploration we are use the official Intuitive Eating Workbook to go through the 10 principles together and quite literally explore them not only by talking about them but by DOING them. There’s magic that happens when you not only learn about something but you put it into action and then reflect on how it went. 

And that’s the key as you are working on intuitive eating – is to have accurate information and guidance so that you can implement it in the way it’s intended. A lot of people make the mistake of assuming they know what “intuitive eating” means and they’ll wing it and it ends up becoming a free-for-all with food where they’re just eating whatever they want, whenever they want. That’s not intuitive eating – that’s impulsive eating, which are two very different things. 

Recently someone in my FB group told me that she spent 2 years trying to do intuitive eating on her own only to realize that she needed the support of a professional and that once she finally started working with an intuitive eating dietitian things started to click. She shared that she wished she had sought out that support sooner and didn’t waste so much time messing with it on her own. 

So that’s tool #1 – education. Learn what intuitive eating is, what the 10 principles are, and how they all fit together, as well as how your body works and how your body speaks to you. 

Moving on to tool #2…

Tool #2) Implementation

You can have all the information and knowledge in the world and it doesn’t do you any good if you don’t apply it. You could say to yourself, “Yeah I know that I should stop eating when I’m full, but this food tastes good so I’m going to keep eating anyway.” And then you end up stuffed and miserable, and if this is how you end up eating on a regular basis then nothing’s going to change in your relationship with food. 

You can intellectually recognize that diets don’t work, but if you keep going back to restricting your carbs or doing intermittent fasting every time you gain weight or have a freak out with body image, then nothing’s going to change. 

I want you to take the things you’re learning about intuitive eating, and why dieting and so-called healthy eating doesn’t work, and then to go take it to the next step and IMPLEMENT these concepts.

So as we talk about implementing it’s about that experiential type of learning where you are connecting with YOUR body and are learning what foods genuinely do and don’t taste good to you. And you’re learning what the quiet nuances of hunger feel like, and what a “just right” level of fullness feels like. You’re learning how different emotions show up in your body – maybe it’s the tightness in your shoulders when you’re holding onto stress, or the tingling in your stomach when you’re nervous, or the way you are completely drained of energy when you’re sad. You see, our bodies communicate so much to us, and as we learn to eat intuitively we also learn to connect with ourselves in broader ways. This is the part that allows you to separate out physical hunger from emotional hunger. And you can really only learn to do that when you are implementing the principles of intuitive eating, and you’re learning from the experiences you have. 

Tool #3) Community

It is very hard to make intentional and lasting behavior changes in isolation and with zero support. Most of us, left to our own devices, might try to make behavior changes and we’ll do ok with it for a period of time, but without support we often end up falling back into our old default patterns.

The neural pathways in our brains that are tied to food are pretty deeply engrained. Neural pathways are like the interstate inside your brain. It’s those automatic thought patterns that drive our behaviors. So with food, it’s that automatic thought you have when you see a piece of pizza that tells you it’s greasy, full of carbs and is unhealthy. And it’s the automatic thought when you see yourself in the mirror that your body is gross and disgusting. And it’s the automatic thought when you’ve had a stressful day that you just want to curl up with Netflix and a bowl of ice cream. We’re not choosing these thoughts, they’re just happening – because they’ve been repeated so many times in our brains that they automatically happen and feel true. But you weren’t born with these thoughts. You learned them at one point. It’s the repetition that has solidified them as a neural pathway in your brain. 

The great news is that we can modify our neural pathways. We know this through research on neuroplasticity, which basically just means that our brains and our thought patterns are malleable. We CAN choose to learn a new way of thinking about food and our bodies. That’s what intuitive eating can do for you. 

But it’s hard. Because we live in a society that stacks the cards against you on the intuitive eating journey. Back in mid-December someone in my FB group posted that she was sick of seeing all the weight loss ads and articles online that she was being bombarded with, and it wasn’t even the New Year yet. I don’t know about you, but the volume is turned up all around me with New Year’s rhetoric about getting healthier, losing weight, doing dry January, doing 75 Hard, detoxing from the holidays, all this crap about how we need to change our bodies. And this is such a perfect example of why community is so essential for intuitive eating. 

The vast majority of the world around you doesn’t get it. They either haven’t heard of intuitive eating, or they think it’s a load of crap. They most likely have their own ideas about what type of eating pattern they need to be following in order to be healthy, and they probably desire to lose weight, even people who are in very straight-sized bodies. Sadly, this is the diet mentality operating at a societal level.

Having support from other people who are also on the intuitive eating journey is invaluable. It’s exactly why I created this podcast to give you support from someone else who gets it, and it’s why almost all of my programs have a community component. I’ve included the community and group aspect very intentionally, and it’s SO cool to watch the group members bond with each other and jump in to support each other, to offer insights and suggestions and to chime in with their own experiences. Sometimes we just need to know that there’s someone else out there who gets it who can say, “Yeah, I struggle with that too.” 

Let’s recap what you learned here today:

If you are wanting to kickstart or recharge your intuitive eating journey, then there are 3 must-have tools that I recommend you put into place:

  1. Education
  2. Implementation
  3. Community

If you’re looking for a space to receive all 3 of these tools, along with my personal coaching and expertise along the way, I’d like to invite you to reach out to me and we can chat about which one of my programs would be the best fit for you. I’d love to support you on your journey!

Let’s get connected!

Join my FB Group Intuitive Eating Made Easy

Connect With Me On Instagram

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