[The following article on Intuitive Eating introduces a different approach to feeding ourselves by listening to the innate hunger and fullness cues we were born with. This approach is not another diet nor is it appropriate for someone newly diagnosed with an eating disorder. Disordered eating is the opposite of Intuitive Eating and requires guidance from a qualified provider to heal the illness before trust in the body can be restored.]
National Nutrition Month: Focus on Intuitive Eating
Written by Kaiser University Dietetic Intern, Jenniffer Hubbard
Do you ever get confused about what you should eat, when you should eat it, or how you should eat it? It seems like every day we are bombarded with messages that aim at having “the perfect answer” to these questions. It may seem complicated but it doesn’t have to be. In this article we will help you navigate these choppy waters and lead you towards a calmer stream of practical tips based on the concept of Intuitive Eating.
Intuitive eating is “a personal process of honoring health by listening and responding to the direct messages of the body in order to meet your physical and psychological needs” (Tribole, 2018, para. 2).
First, let’s go back to when we were children. Your day may have looked a little like this: you got up, got ready for school, went to school, came home, played, did your homework, went to sleep, and the next day repeated this cycle. You may have eaten breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, but that was not the focus of your day. Unless children grow up in an environment where there is a focus on food and dieting, they typically intuitively listen to their bodies for cues that tell them when their bodies need to be refueled and replenished, with no rules, expectation, or guilt. They do need an adult’s guidance in having healthy options available, but their minds are not restricted by the messages that our society seems to bombard us with; they already intuitively know “the perfect answer.”
How do we get back to this place of naturally tapping into that intuition? This place that has always been in us, has been temporarily replaced by all these confusing and conflicting messages society throws at us. The founders of Intuitive Eating, Registered Dietitians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, have outlined ten principles that can help us get back to that place. Visit www.intuitiveeating.org or a Registered Dietitian to get a deeper understanding of how these principles can be applied in your life:
- Reject the diet mentality.
- Honor your hunger.
- Make peace with food.
- Challenge the food police.
- Respect your fullness.
- Discover the satisfaction factor.
- Honor your feelings without using food.
- Respect your body.
- Exercise- feel the difference.
- Honor your health.
During March, National Nutrition Month®, strive to find balance when navigating the variety of nutrition messages presented to you, and when in doubt, turn to an expert in nutrition, a licensed and Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist. Sarah Starr, RD is accepting new nutrition clients and enjoys incorporating this concept into her practice.
Tribole, E. (2018, September 12). What is intuitive eating? Retrieved January 23, 2019, from https://www.intuitiveeating.org/what-is-intuitive-eating-tribole/
Resch, E. (2017). 10 principles of intuitive eating. Retrieved January 23, 2019, from https://www.intuitiveeating.org/10-principles-of-intuitive-eating/
In honor of Eating Disorders Awareness Week (Feb 24-March 2), we’d like to highlight one of the primary, preventable contributors to this deadly illness.
While about 1 in 10 people have a genetic risk for eating disorders, it takes one universal factor to turn that risk into the illness: it is weight loss.
Unfortunately, weight loss has become such a ubiquitous national pastime, that few people escape its ravages unscathed. Our fear of obesity and obsession with so-called “health & fitness” has turned normal, healthy eating into a minefield of confusion and worry. Weight is often viewed as the most important health parameter, when it is only one single measure in an ocean of data.
We all know that adolescence is a time of enormous physical, mental and emotional change. As a girl puts on extra fat around the hips and belly in preparation for puberty, the alarm bells start to ring – OMG! I’m getting fat! Well-meaning parents, healthcare professionals, teachers and coaches preach about the dangers of obesity and avoiding “bad” foods without helping these kids understand the Normal Development taking place. It is normal and healthy for girls to gain an average of 40 pounds between the ages of 10 -14. There will always be individual body types and shapes inherited from the family gene pool that affect a person’s size and shape no matter what they eat or how much they exercise.
We can legitimately blame social media for promoting unrealistic body ideals. The most common reason kids are bullied is because of their weight, so parents’ concerns about weight are not frivolous. But body awareness and acceptance, including the profound changes of adolescence, start at home.
These concepts promote a healthy relationship with your body and with food, while dieting promotes disconnection from body cues, shame and guilt about eating, preoccupation with food, hoarding food and even binge eating.
What to do?
* First and foremost, DO NOT ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILD TO DIET.
* DO encourage eating a variety of food from all the major food groups.
* Model healthy eating without obsessing about “good/bad” food, weight loss, etc. Just eat together and enjoy the inherent satisfaction of a good meal.
* Do encourage fun physical activity, but don’t ruin it with a lot of pressure and rules.
* Teach media savvy and challenge unrealistic body ideals and unrealistic standards, in general.
Mindful Eating Programs and Training – amihungry.com – An excellent resource for learning how to have a healthy relationship with your body and with food.
Creating a Healthy Relationship with Food, Mind and Body – intuitiveeating.org – This is a different approach to feeding ourselves by listening to the innate hunger and fullness cues we were born with.
Feeding Children – ellynsatterinstitute.org – For in depth information on feeding kids at all ages and stages.
Here are some miscellaneous helpful links:
A Checklist for Parents with Children with Mental Health Problems
For Teachers: Children’s Mental Health Disorder Fact Sheet for the Classroom
Healthy Eating and Depression: How Diet May Help Protect Your Mental Health
Drug Abuse and Addiction: Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Drug Addiction
Anger Management and Addiction: How to Take Charge of Anger Issues in Sobriety
Elderly Mental Health: How to Help Your Senior
Coping with the Loss of a Loved One
The Family Learning Program at FIT
We are completely grant funded and provide all services at absolutely no cost to victims and families.
We provide targeted therapy every Tuesday evening, using evidence-based and evidence-supported interventions including Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Due to the nature of our funding and the design of our program, we specifically address only issues surrounding sexual abuse and encourage our families to maintain services with you as their primary provider. Our program is designed to supplement the services they continue to receive from you, and we actively collaborate with community partners throughout treatment.
We can be reached at the Scott Center at FIT, at 321 604 5898
La Amistad Behavioral Health Services
La Amistad Behavioral Health Services is a treatment center outside of Orlando, FL that provides the kind of health care that residents recommend to family and friends, physicians prefer for their patients and in which our employees take great pride. We are one of the top mental health facilities in the Orlando region and have patients come to us from all over FL and throughout the US.
The Renfrew Center – for Eating Disorders
The Renfrew Center has been the pioneer in the treatment of eating disorders since 1985. As the nation’s first residential eating disorder facility, now with 18 locations throughout the country, Renfrew has helped more than 75,000 adolescent girls and women with eating disorders and other behavioral health issues move towards recovery.
Discovering a loved one has an eating disorder can be difficult and confusing news to absorb. Many caretakers may not know what they can or should do to help. It is common for caretakers to wonder, “what caused this”, “is this really an eating disorder”, or “what can I do to help”. It is also common for caretakers to feel emotions such as guilt or worry. This article serves as a brief summary identifying useful tips for helping your loved one address and recover from an eating disorder.
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