As a nutrition professional, I have chosen to counsel clients using the principles of Intuitive eating. If you aren’t familiar with these principles, I would highly recommend the book by the same name:
There are particular reasons that I choose this method and I would like to take this opportunity to explain them.
1. On a briefly personal note, I have found peace with food by applying these principles. I have become more accepting and loving of myself. As crazy as it may sound, a more balanced and less rigid or chaotic mindset about food has allowed me to be more present, accepting and open with LIFE and all that comes with it. I would feel horrible if I didn’t try to share that with others.
2. Professionally (well, and personally), it’s made me a more compassionate person. I don’t feel the need to “fix” anyone, nor does any client expect it. The idea behind Intuitive Eating is that there isn’t anything TO fix, it’s just about learning to trust yourself once again. We all start out as Intuitive Eaters and somehow lose our way. So, I just help people reconnect with what they already have.
3. I care more about WHY people eat and much less about WHAT they eat. Here’s what I mean: I always feel uncomfortable talking to people about food. Weird right? I’m a dietitian! Since food is often used as a status symbol (you know, who can eat the most “clean”) it feels like an emotionally charged conversation. I dislike the comparisons and judgments I hear even in casual conversations about food choices. I don’t like the flaunting of “clean” food choices or the shaming of “bad” food choices. Those comparisons and judgments don’t exist in Intuitive Eating so it’s a natural fit for me.
4. There’s less talking and more listening. The focus is patient centered, which is always a good thing. Clients trust me with their stories, which means we are connecting and digging deep. This means less band-aids and quick fixes while really getting to the heart of the problem. To be honest, as a clinician, that can be very emotionally draining work. That means that I have learned how to be emotionally present with myself so I can be emotionally present with others. Another reason to love it.
5. Finally, I love love and Intuitive Eating is about love. In our culture, it’s easy to feel shame about our bodies and food choices. With this approach, there isn’t room for shame. Connecting with and accepting your body leads to love, which crowds out any shame. That process isn’t necessarily easy, but most definitely worth it. In my opinion, Intuitive Eating is the answer for long-lasting mental AND physical health.
As you can see, I would be lying if I said that the only reason I used Intuitive Eating is because I feel it’s best for the client. I do, absolutely. But I also know it’s best for me. It is so rewarding to teach these principles and watch someone transform into a confident and compassionate person. Best job there is!
Emily Fonnesbeck RD, CD