Blog Articles

Blog Articles

Being a Vegetarian: Digging a Little Deeper

Being a Vegetarian: Digging a Little Deeper

Every time I feel like I have a handle on intuitive eating something new comes my way. This is especially true when it comes to giving myself permission to eat all foods label-free and without guilt. I started off with fairly standard “naughty” foods like chips, cake, and donuts. I tackled each one separately and only moved on once I felt that that particular food was normalized for me. This process started about three years ago and, after about year, I felt I had made peace with all foods, that is, until about a month ago.

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Calories In, Calories Out

Calories In, Calories Out

This is a guest blog post from Rhiannon, one of my Intuitive Eating For Beginners group moderators on Facebook. She has so much experience with intuitive eating that I want to share some of her wisdom.

When I think about reverting back to dieting and counting calories, it helps me to know that the “calories in, calories out” meme is a HUGE misinterpretation of the first law of thermodynamics.

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“The Beginning of the End of My Eating Disorder” Is Now Available!

“The Beginning of the End of My Eating Disorder” Is Now Available!

In her honest and open blog, Deborah Raphael delves into how, after dieting herself into an eating disorder, she got fed up with being hungry and miserable and decided to break free. This compilation of personal essays is the first in a series that explores the emotional and physical battles that arise with an eating disorder and the often frustrating journey towards recovery. Not only will this series provide a glimpse into the harsh world of extreme dieting and eating disorders, it will also reassure those who suffer that they are not alone in their fight.

In The Beginning of the End of My Eating Disorder, Deborah candidly describes her struggles with accepting her eating disorder and starting the recovery process. With the help of intuitive eating, seasoned professionals, and an ever-patient husband, Deborah starts on her journey of making peace with food and her body despite her reluctance to part with her eating disorder.

Included in this compilation are several questions and activities for readers to digest as they consider their own relationship with food and their bodies.

What Exactly Is Binge Eating?

What Exactly Is Binge Eating?

My eating disorder was multi-faceted. I restricted food, obsessed over my weight, and over-exercised, but one thing I never did was binge. Sure, I overate after a period of restriction, but I never binged in the traditional sense of the word. When I joined different online eating disorder groups, I noticed that people used “binge” loosely, throwing around the term when referring to going a little overboard with food.1 That would be like saying my restriction was akin to not eating until dinner was ready. It was so much more than that though and I knew bingeing would be no different. Curiosity got the best of me and questions began forming in my brain. Why does someone binge? What happens during a binge? What does it feel like afterwards? I needed answers and went to the best sources out there: the National Eating Disorders Association and those who have suffered through it.2

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Help! I Can’t Stop Eating!

Help! I Can’t Stop Eating!

 

Let’s do an exercise. Hold your breath for as long as you can. When you finally allow yourself to breathe again, what happens? The inhale is quite deep on the first breath and your body takes in as much air as it can. Each subsequent breath requires less and less air until eventually your breathing returns to normal. Now take this same process and apply it to dieting. Returning to regular eating is no different than returning to a regular breathing pattern. Our bodies initially inhale what seems like a huge amount of food, but then our food intake normalizes just like how our breathing did. This is exactly what happened to me when I finally decided to work on my relationship with food.

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Same Brand, Different Fit

Same Brand, Different Fit

I am not your typical girly girl. I don’t gush when someone gives me flowers, I haven’t gone anywhere near nail polish since my wedding, and I would rather clean my toilets than go clothes shopping. Memories of trying on dozens of pieces of clothing and only ending up with one, or even none, in my to-buy pile just squashes my desire to even walk into a store. It seems like each time I pick up a pair of pants in what I think is my size, it doesn’t fit! While some of this may be due to vanity sizing or my changing body,1 a good part of this comes from the frustrating fact that sizes are simply inconsistent.

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Can Intuitive Eating and Distracted Eating Coexist?

Can Intuitive Eating and Distracted Eating Coexist?

 

Mindful eating is a huge part of intuitive eating, and rightfully so. When you are in the moment and eating mindfully, you’ll be able to savor your food and really get in touch with your fullness. On the flip side, there is distracted eating. This often means eating in front of the TV or with your phone in your hand. Even though there aren’t any hard and fast rules with intuitive eating, distracted eating is definitely discouraged. I have a secret though.1 I eat with distractions sometimes…and, in certain instances, it can be surprisingly helpful!

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10 Years of Intuitive Eating

10 Years of Intuitive Eating

This is a guest blog post from Katcha, my friend and former Intuitive Eating Community Forum moderator. She has been practicing IE since March 2007 and has so much experience with it that I want to share some of her wisdom.

March 2017 marked the 10 year anniversary of the start of my intuitive eating journey. My first introduction to not dieting happened years before in the 1980s when I read all of Geneen Roth’s books and even attended one of her 3-day seminars. What I now know was missing from those initial efforts was the support I needed to understand and continue rejecting diet mentality and reconnecting with my own INner (body) wisdom.

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Free E-Book!!

Free E-Book!!

Greetings! Here is a free compilation of a few of my articles about my first steps towards recovery from an eating disorder. It also includes a brand new introduction!

Free E-Book!

Battling Buffets & Potlucks

Battling Buffets & Potlucks

 My husband and I recently paid his parents a visit. Well, this visit must have meant a lot to my mother-in-law because she really went all out. Rather than simply ordering a pizza, she laid out a whole spread for us. We had fruit, salad, cheese bread, and every single sandwich fixing you can think of. She even made apple cake for dessert! As I was eating, I started thinking about buffets. The meal at my mother-in-law’s house was far from what I would consider a buffet, but it was buffet-like in the sense that I had a variety of foods to choose from, some of which I don’t normally have on hand. Buffets, and even potlucks, can be hard for me because they’re so different than other types of eating experiences.

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My Friend, Maslow

My Friend, Maslow

I am going to nerd-out for a bit and show off some of my psychology background. Although I find it fascinating that Sigmund Freud did enough cocaine to kill a small horse and Jean Piaget had an obsession with mollusks,1 I’m going to talk about the comparatively boring, Abraham Maslow.2 Maslow came up with a hierarchy of needs pyramid to show how our more basic needs have to be addressed before our more complex needs. My goal has always been to work on reaching the higher levels of the pyramid so I could move towards my personal potential. The irony is that I thought dieting would help me get to that goal when it really only forced me to chip away at the foundation of my pyramid, making it increasingly unstable.

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Finding Fullness

Finding Fullness

Dieting messed with my fullness cues. Big time. Restricting made me ravenous and then I usually overate because I was just so damn hungry. This ruined my ability to identify comfortable fullness because I only knew what it felt like to be stuffed. It was either-or; there was no middle ground. Because I had ignored this sensation for so long, I forgot what it was like for gentle fullness to emerge.

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Birthday Bummer

Birthday Bummer

 I always get a coupon for a free Baskin Robbins scoop of ice cream on my birthday. It is something that I look forward to every year as my birthday month approaches. Sure, it’s only a kid-sized scoop, but I love free stuff and I love Pralines ‘N Cream, so it’s win-win. When I received my coupon this year, I eagerly drove to my local Baskin Robbins, happily presented my coupon, and left with my treat in hand.1 However, when I sat down to eat it as my post-dinner sweet, it just wasn’t how I remembered it.

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Is Emotional Eating Bad?

Is Emotional Eating Bad?

 

Our brains have an interesting relationship with words. Words can either be taken at face value or they can have an underlying meaning that takes the word to a whole different level. Let’s look at the word “rose”. If you bust out the dictionary and look up this word, you’ll find the description of a flower. While that may be accurate, the same word also can elicit certain feelings or thoughts. In this case, roses are usually associated with something positive like romance and love. Now let’s look at the the term “emotional eating”. It literally means to eat in response to emotions. However, “emotional eating” tends to evoke negative feelings and thoughts in people. But is emotional eating really bad? I would argue that there can be a time and place for it in our lives.

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Purging My Closet

Purging My Closet

Yesterday, I purged my closet. Over the last year, I donated a few pieces of clothing here and there, but this big purge was something I knew I had to face at some point. My dresses, skirts, and tops have always been quite forgiving, but I had put off trying on my pants and shorts for a long time. Because of my insecurity about the current amount of padding on my stomach, I knew that going through them would be something to tackle only when I was mentally ready. Well, I decided that yesterday was that day. Knowing that I had to try on every single pair of pants and shorts didn’t fill me with dread, but I wasn’t exactly anxiety-free.

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Old Habits Die Hard: Don’t Turn Intuitive Eating Into the Hunger/Fullness Diet!

Old Habits Die Hard: Don’t Turn Intuitive Eating Into the Hunger/Fullness Diet!

About a year ago I got a ticket for running a stop sign. As you probably guessed, I was much more cautious when driving after that. Well, at least for a few days. Gradually, my old habits of rolling through stop signs and going a bit over the speed limit crept back into my routine.1 A few weeks later, I was processing my eating issues with my therapist when it hit me that the same thing was happening as I moved along in my intuitive eating journey. Old habits bring a sense of comforting familiarity and that sometimes causes us to take a step backwards. This was never more true than when I subconsciously tried to blend my dieting habits with intuitive eating.

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Fighting Food Rules

Fighting Food Rules

 If you watch a typical infant eat, you will see an intuitive eater. The child will cry when hungry and turn its head from the breast or bottle when full. As we grow up in western society, we learn food rules. Whether imposed by our family members or suggested by the dieting industry, these rules change our relationship with food.

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Intuitive Exercise Revisited

Intuitive Exercise Revisited

 I woke up hungry this morning. This occasionally happens to me, but it is rare. In my dieting days, I would have completely ignored my body and continued on with my morning routine until it was “breakfast” time.1 Today was different. My reaction to this feeling of hunger was very natural and logical, which is something that would have been unheard of for me before I started intuitive eating three years ago.

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Hunger? Is That You?

Hunger? Is That You?

 

Because I restricted food, one of the first intuitive eating principles I decided to tackle was honoring my hunger. Although apprehensive, I told myself that I would eat when I was hungry. It seemed easy enough. I’m hungry; therefore, I eat. It wasn’t that simple though. Because I denied myself food for so long and was used to being famished, the subtle feelings of hunger were completely foreign to me. Although I was born with the ability to identify hunger, I had to put some genuine effort into hearing those signals again.

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Food Flexibility and Practicality

Food Flexibility and Practicality

Diets are rigid. Each come with a set of rules to follow that include anything from a maximum number of calories per day to what/when to eat. Sure, it provides structure which can be a comfort to some, but life happens sometimes and structure goes by the wayside. For me, this is when the guilt and self-loathing would set in because I had failed my diet.1 The beauty of intuitive eating is that there are no rules. IE is a set of guidelines that allow for the flexibility and practicality around food that is required for the bumps in everyday life.

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