What is Intuitive Eating Coaching?
In the culture that we live in it’s extremely challenging to have a healthy relationship with food and your body. As a registered clinical counsellor, I’ve seen so many people struggle to make peace with food and their body. I was so relieved when I finally heard about (and later took training in) intuitive eating.
Intuitive eating is the process of listening to your body’s internal cues and wisdom rather than relying on external cues (diets, restrictive rules, etc.) to tell you what, when, and how much to eat. Through the process of intuitive eating you learn to trust your body’s wisdom by becoming in touch with your hunger and fullness cues and giving yourself permission to eat food in a way that is flexible and enjoyable (yes that means being able to enjoy all foods!). Intuitive eating is not a diet or a food philosophy but a way of connecting with the intuitive signals that are inherent in all of us. Although we are all born with the ability to eat intuitively, many of us become disconnected from our body’s wisdom and intelligence.
We become disconnected through our experiences of:
Dieting and controlling our food
Growing up in our family of origin
Trauma and oppression
Internalizing cultural messages that we need to be thin in order to be happy and healthy and that our worth depends on the size, shape, and weight of our body (these messages are so prevalent and so difficult to challenge).
Intuitive eating will help you to reclaim your relationship with your food and your body in a way that is compassionate and connected. You can learn to trust your body, enjoy the pleasure of eating, and free up time and energy spent thinking about food and your body to bring more balance and joy in your life. This means having more time to pursue the things that are meaningful to you (because really food is just food and doesn’t need to take over your life). Here are some signs that intuitive eating coaching might be the right answer for you:
You’ve tried controlling your eating through dieting, counting calories, cutting out carbohydrates or sugar, or through various other eating plans only to find that you lose weight initially but then regain it all back and sometimes end up at a heavier weight than you started at.
If dieting hasn’t worked you, you are not a failure. In fact scientific research shows that dieting fails 95% of the time (I know this isn’t yet common knowledge but trust me its based on years of evidence based research and millions of people’s personal experiences). There are powerful biological and psychological mechanisms that prevent you from losing and keeping off weight. Instead of focusing on weight loss, I focus on well being and reconnecting with and learning to respect and honor your body (your body will be with you your whole life so time to stop fighting against it!)
You struggle to accept your body. Every time you look in the mirror you feel shame and have tried countless different ways to control your eating in hopes that it will bring you a different body.
I hear you. You are not alone. It’s so hard to accept your body in the culture that we live in. We internalize so many messages about our bodies from our culture, our family or origin, and everyone around us. Despite this it is challenging but possible to have a healthy relationship to your body and to still be able to enjoy all foods (yes that means no more cutting out foods that you love!).
You feel guilty every time you eat something that is unhealthy and the list of foods that you no longer eat is getting longer and longer making it difficult to socialize and eat out at restaurants. On top of that foods are becoming more and more difficult to digest.
There are some pretty powerful messages in our culture how bad carbs are and how we are all addicted to sugar (both are false and there is amazing scientific evidence to prove why). Trying to eat healthy is a noble cause but when it becomes an obsession and there are more and more things you can no longer enjoy, food starts to take over your life. Eating becomes very stressful. If you are fearful of eating certain foods and have a lot of anxiety around food this will greatly impact your digestion and will often result in cutting out more foods (in hopes to relieve your digestion problems). So lets explore not just the foods that you’re eating but also your relationship to food so you can enjoy a wider variety of foods (we weren’t meant to just eat vegetables and protein) because eating is how we connect, socialize with others, and celebrate meaningful events (and really that is the one of the best parts about living isn’t it?)
You find that you can control your eating up to a certain point but then all of the sudden you are stressed and you find yourself, bingeing/overeating and feeling out of control around food.
Bingeing is actually a normal response to controlling your eating. We often target binge eating as the problem but yet the problem often start with restrictive eating. Intuitive eating allows you to have a healthy relationship with food so that you no longer to control your eating and as a result you no longer feel out of control around your eating.
You use exercise as a way of giving yourself permission to eat or engage in overexercise as a way to control the size or shape of your body.
It makes total sense that you would try to do this. Exercise has become the most socially acceptable way to try to control our eating and our bodies. There are so many benefits to exercise but we when use it in a way that is overly rigid, we sometimes becomes obsessed with it and we no longer enjoying moving out bodies. Exercise starts to feel like a chore (especially when its paired with dieting) rather than a meaningful way of connecting to our bodies (and that just isn’t right because when we can enjoy moving our bodies it feels so good and benefits us in so many ways).
You find yourself engaging in emotional eating and turning to food when you feel bored, sad, lonely, angry etc.
Sometimes emotional eating can be a reaction to restricting and controlling your food and sometimes it can happen when you don’t have the tools and to connect with and process your emotions. Intuitive eating will help to better manage your stress and find other more adaptive coping mechanisms so that you not longer have to turn to food to help you cope.
If any of the above resonated with you….
It's time to reclaim your relationship with food and your body.
Let’s do this together…
I’m Lorilee Keller, a registered clinical counsellor and intuitive eating coach and I want you to be able to enjoy a health relationship with food and your body (because every human deserves this). That’s why I offer Intuitive Eating Coaching in person and on the phone (across British Columbia). Curious to know more? Contact me for your free consultation