I recently met a goal of getting on the local news to talk about intuitive eating, rejecting diets, trusting your body and making peace with food!
A local news crew visited my office in East Town to interview me. I am proud of the work I do and the incredible people I get to serve as they take their power back from diet culture. Healing is possible (trigger warning for video: removing foods you crave from your life and pretending you are allergic to them is NOT part of intuitive eating!)
I was able to get across many of the key points of intuitive eating in the short segment, though some points were missed or misunderstood.
So I am providing clarification on key questions around intuitive eating:
Is Intuitive Eating a diet or weight loss plan?
Intuitive eating is not a diet, it is a whole framework grounded in 10 guidelines, the first is which reject dieting! Traditional dieting and restrictive lifestyles take the joy out of eating, Intuitive Eating brings it back.
Intuitive eating is an on-going practice…you can’t fall off or get back on the wagon like traditional diets, intuitive eating ditches the wagon all together!
Rather than waging a war on our body size, intuitive eating is about embracing our bodies with loving, lifelong care.
If the focus isn’t on weight loss, what is the focus?
Intuitive eating is rooted in satisfaction and connection to our bodies, not having a weight loss focus can be hard for many to grasp in our weight-focused world, yet it is so freeing and healing. Intuitive eating is about sustainable, self-care behaviors, regardless if weight is lost or not.
What are some of the fears you hear from people when they learn about intuitive eating?
One of the things I hear often is that people worry they will start intuitive eating and never stop eating or gaining weight, and that is just not what typically happens. As we learn to find satisfaction and pleasure in eating, and start caring for ourselves, not out of fear and punishment, but out of respect, appetites often regulate and bodies fall at a steady weight.
How else is intuitive eating different than traditional diets or restrictive lifestyles?
What popular restrictive diets miss is that we actually do not need a bunch of external rules to nourish ourselves well. Our own bodies are amazingly wise and can tell us when we are hungry and full as well as which foods feel good in our bodies and give us pleasure.
For many this is a novel concept. Our bodies send us signals around hunger and fullness, and lots of other things, and we can learn to trust them. Sadly, for many their first diet was started so young they have never really been able to experience this connection to their bodies and much of my work with people is unlearning all the contradictory rules and body shame the culture of restrictive diets has heaped on them, as well as exploring their barriers to seeing themselves as worthy of exquisite care and pleasure.
Jennifer DiGennaro MA, LLPC, is a psychotherapist and couples counselor in private practice in Grand Rapids, MI. She is a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, Certified Body Trust® Provider, Lead Hungerwise™ Facilitator and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, as well as the founder of Nourished Energy. She specializes in treating chronic dieting, binge eating disorder, body image concerns, trauma, PTSD, mood disorders and relationship issues. She brings a deep passion for social justice to her trauma-informed, evidence-based and heart-centered clinical work. She is committed to ending the war that is waged against bodies in our culture. Learn more at: www.nourishedenergy.com/meet-jen/
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