If you’ve met me personally you will agree I am a certified goof ball walking to the beat of my own drummer. Working toward ending the normalization of disordered eating has led me to take a different stance on nutrition in the name of health.
I am thrilled the REBEL Dietitians out of Maryland recently selected me to be one of their featured REBEL Dietitians. Kait Fortunato Greenberg RD asked me questions about what made me a Rockstar. I explained I couldn’t keep a beat (just ask my guitar instructor!) yet they still wanted to feature me. Thank you Kait and the rest of the REBEL Dietitian team! You can read the interview here.
Diets don’t work yet trusting ones body seems, well, crazy. We are taught directly (“Eat one more bite!”) as a child via well meaning parents. And, we adults learn indirectly (remember that orange furry hunger monster from an unnamed diet company?) via diet’s multi-billion dollar industry.
I know it is not crazy to trust my body. And, I know it is not crazy to trust yours. Depending on your experience with food, getting to this peaceful trusting place may be easy or a bumpy journey worth its work. It promotes health and makes life much more enjoyable.
The quick criticism of intuitive eating usually includes:
if I trust my body, I will only eat chocolate, French fries, carbs, etc.
whenever I try a forbidden food, I can’t stop eating it. I obviously have to avoid certain foods and can’t have permission to eat everything.
I am over 40 so I need to watch what I eat. If I don’t, my weight goes up.
as a new college student, I gained the freshman 15 because I was around all that food all the time.
Research is starting to point out Intuitive Eating’s physical and mental health benefits. Consider this recent Intuitive Eating research published in the peer reviewed scholarly journal Appetite. It suggests:
those who trust their bodies identified bingeing less often.
They also dieted less. Hmmm. Rejecting diets can lead to less bingeing!
Trusting hunger and satiety led to less eating disorder behaviors.
And, if you value weight, trusting hunger and fullness was associated with a lower BMI.
If you’ve rejected Intuitive Eating in the past, I hope you consider this and other recent research. If you’ve tried unsuccessfully to work toward healing your relationship with food, consider contacting a Registered Dietitian who specializes in this. You can work through the bumps together and move forward.
What gets in the way for you to trust your body? Would love to learn more about your struggles. We could all benefit from the discussion in comments.
My dental hygienist likes to chat as she cleans my teeth although my responses all sound the same: “Whaaaai waaa wu wooono.” I always wondered the point to her questions if she couldn’t understand my answers.
Recently she asked me what I did for a living. “Iah het hehul enoy eeaan ahen.” She put her utensils down and asked me again without the obstacles. “I help people enjoy eating again.”
Asking for more clarification, I told her about my work with individuals affected by disordered eating and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). She was surprised to find out people actually work with PCOS.
I was surprised by her surprise. I let her know PCOS affects the mind, body and spirit. It can affect work, relationships, and family. Without treatment, a woman can experience emotional and physical pain while thinking she is to blame for all of it.
My dental hygienist’s jaw dropped enough for me to see zero cavity history (all that flossing!). Her eyes seemed to be connecting dots. Then, she looked at me and said, “When I was diagnosed I was just given a pamphlet.”
Runny nose, sprained ankle, flu, and pink eye are pamphlet diseases. Getting this type of treatment minimizes its impact and your ability to change it. PCOS is not a pamphlet disease. Here’s why:
It is a chronic condition that cannot just go away on its own.
It affects your physical health. Untreated PCOS promotes insulin resistance and can progress to Type 2 Diabetes.
PCOS disturbs sleep. This affects attention ability, food choices, and mental health.
This condition is the number 1 cause of infertility.
Untreated PCOS promotes hormonal changes making one feel depressed and/or anxious. Mood disorders are very common when affected by this disease.
Women with PCOS are at much higher risk to develop an eating disorder. One reason I see daily: insulin resistance (IR) promotes weight gain. A woman may try to lose weight yet IR makes this tougher or impossible through cutting calories or other diets. Even more, IR promotes intense carb and sugar cravings. Dieting plus carb cravings set up a person for bingeing. When this happens, the woman trying to lose weight can blame herself and tries harder. This only makes the craving and binges worse.
If you experience PCOS, I encourage you to move beyond the pamphlet. This disease requires you to be an advocate and seek out information to heal. And, heal you can! To start, add a registered dietitian trained in PCOS management as well as a counselor to your treatment team. Further, support groups provide more emotional assistance and can keep connected to the latest treatments. Lastly, stay abreast of PCOS research by following inCYST blog and on Facebook.
And, give your health care provider back her pamphlet. Tell her how unhelpful it was.
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