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From Fear to Freedom: Embracing Intuitive Eating and Sustainable Food Practices

July 11, 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

You know that moment when you’re eating, and you realize you are comfortably full and satisfied, but there are only a couple of bites of food left on your plate, and you think, “I might as well finish it.” 

Perhaps you’ve been at an expensive restaurant, and the food is so good, and you’re full, but you want to keep eating because it won’t be as delicious as leftovers, and heck, you paid good money for it. 

Maybe this summer, you’ve been on vacation, and you’re at a restaurant in another state or another country, and you won’t return anytime soon. You can’t take the leftovers with you because you don’t have anywhere to store them or heat them up in your hotel room, so you feel like you need to eat all the yummy food on your plate.

This might show up in everyday life for you too. Perhaps you’re eating dinner, and there are a few bites left, and you can hear your mom or dad in the back of your mind telling you that there are starving children in Africa and you’d better finish what’s on your plate. Maybe you feel like you have to choke down that salad because the lettuce or the veggies on it will spoil if you don’t eat them today, and you don’t want to throw that money down the drain.

There are so many ways this fear of wasting food manifests, and it can really interfere with our ability to listen to our bodies and honor what they need, even when we’re trying really hard to eat intuitively

Shifting Your Beliefs About Food Waste

Today’s the day you resign from the Clean Your Plate Club, and I’m going to show you how to work through this discomfort.

Essentially, what we are going to do is some belief shifting. We will name your old beliefs, the ones that are getting in your way and holding you back, and we will shift those beliefs to ways of thinking and approaching your eating that are more helpful and productive (not to mention FREEING) for you. 

Old Beliefs to Let Go Of When Eating Intuitively

✗ You must earn certain foods, such as dessert, by eating other foods, such as vegetables.

✗ There are starving children in Africa.

✗ It’s wasteful to throw food away.

These comments basically teach you not to listen to your body. For instance, if you were raised to believe you couldn’t have dessert until you finished your meat or veggies, you might feel compelled to finish what’s on your plate before you let yourself have dessert. Then you’re overfull after dessert because you were overriding those signals to earn the dessert at the end.

Embracing New Intuitive Eating Beliefs

Now we get to call in and embrace some new beliefs. There are three that I want you to practice and integrate into your thinking and into your relationship with food.

1. Food Waste is Normal

We are human beings, not robots, and there is no way for us to know exactly how much food to put on our plates at every meal or snack, every day of our lives. There will be days that you finish what’s on your plate and want more because what you initially portioned wasn’t enough. There will also be days when you don’t finish what was on your plate because you portioned more than you needed.

The longer you practice intuitive eating, the more accurate you’ll get at portioning your food. You’ll also find it easier to order at restaurants because you’ll know how much food you need. For example, recently, I stopped for lunch at a diner with my family, and I ordered a quesadilla off the appetizer menu, even though I knew it would be huge. I ordered it anyway because it sounded good, and I was fully prepared to leave behind what I didn’t want because we were traveling, and leftovers wouldn’t have done me any good.

2. Routinely Leaving Food Behind is a Positive Sign You’re Eating Intuitively

The other day, I was eating a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, and I usually finish my oatmeal most mornings. On this particular day, however, I noticed I was full, and I stopped with probably 2-3 bites left. No big deal, I just rinsed it down the garbage disposal and put my bowl in the dishwasher. 

One of my clients sent me a picture the other day of a dessert she was eating, and there was probably about ¼ of the piece of dessert left on her plate. She was so excited because it was a big deal to let herself eat dessert in the first place.

When you eat intuitively, you don’t let the size of a package or plate determine how much you eat. It doesn’t feel good to override our body’s signals. 

There’s something really empowering about listening to your body and honoring your fullness, knowing that it’s a good sign when there’s sometimes a little bit of food left, and you choose to stop eating.

3. You Get to Prove to Yourself that You Can Trust Your Body

When you start practicing “wasting” food, your brain will begin to see that nothing bad happens to you. In fact, some wonderful things will start to happen. You’ll feel more empowered and physically comfortable because you’re listening to your body, and you’ll feel free from the constraints of these rules about food waste you’ve been holding onto. 

You’ll start to realize and believe that whether or not you finish your chicken, green beans, or bowl of ice cream, it all has no impact on other people, certainly no impact on people on the other side of the world. If you care so deeply about food insecurity, there are many ways to donate your time, resources, or money to that cause. Cleaning your plate is not one of them.

Key Takeaways

This is what’s possible when you overcome your fear of food waste. It takes your freedom with food and your ability to eat intuitively to the next level. 

Let’s recap those old beliefs that we are shifting one more time:

✗ You must earn certain foods, such as dessert, by eating other foods, such as vegetables.

✗ There are starving children in Africa.

✗ It’s wasteful to throw food away.

And now, let’s recap the new thoughts we are calling in:

✓ Food waste is normal.

✓ Routinely Leaving Food Behind is a Positive Sign You’re Eating Intuitively.

✓ You Get to Prove to Yourself that You Can Trust Your Body.

Don’t forget to check out the Food Freedom Summer Bundle with all sorts of goodies for your intuitive eating journey this summer – everything from body image to nutrition to dinner menus – it’s all waiting for you, and you get instant access to it all. DM me FREEDOM on Instagram for the link! 

In case nobody has told you today – you are worthy just as you are. 

Listen & subscribe on your favorite platform:  Apple Podcasts  | Spotify | Deezer |  Google

Search for Episode 129: How to Increase Your Odds of Binge Eating and Gaining Weight

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