Intuitive eating Q&A time! I asked through Instagram the other day if anyone had questions, and these were the first that came through. If YOU have questions, please let me know. Hope this is helpful!
Intuitive Eating Q&A
Q: Would you mind talking about how you can do Intuitive Eating (IE) even if you have high cholesterol/blood sugar etc.?
A: Yes! Intuitive Eating is very pro-health. While IG may make it look like donuts and cookies (guilty), it’s a lot more nuanced than that. IE is all about listening to, and honoring your body. Once you have removed food rules, are able to identify hunger/fullness, and have tuned out the food police, gentle nutrition, the final Intuitive Eating principle, comes into play. With clients, we often talk about what can you ADD to your diet to help improve health conditions (ie high cholesterol/blood sugar regulation). So, coming from a place of abundance, rather than restriction. The key is to make these health decisions from a place of self-care, rather than basing them off of any lingering diet culture beliefs. This might look like noticing that your blood sugar is more stable if you eat consistently, or if you eat certain food groups together. It might look like avoiding gluten if you have Celiac disease, or realizing that adding x food helps decrease your cholesterol. IE provides you with the framework to feel empowered about your health. So yes, you can absolutely do Intuitive Eating with a health condition, and/or a chronic illness or disease. Intuitive Eating is for everybody (and every body).
Q: What can I do about my job constantly pushing Weight Watchers? Or other “fit” programs?
A: Eh, jobs pushing “wellness” programs are the worst. Don’t even get me started on “Biggest Loser” competitions. I guess this depends on a lot of different factors. You could choose to not participate. You could choose to participate in the screening, but opt out of any programming associated. If the job is trying to hook you with a discount on your insurance benefit, you could try and fight it if you have the energy. From what I understand, the rules regarding workplace wellness from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) up in the air. Wellness programs are subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), and if found impermissible, are subject to fines and penalties. Read more about the legal jargon here.
In my opinion, if workplace wellness actually cared about health, they would do things like provide:
- opportunities to engage in enjoyable physical activity
- resources to improve mental and financial health
- framework to ensure that employees honor a certain hour workweek
- information about the importance of sleep, and how to improve sleep hygiene
- adequate and fair time off
- comprehensive health insurance (medical, dental, vision, etc.)
- fair maternity and paternity leave
- voluntary smoking cessation programing
You can read more about workplace wellness programs here, and why they aren’t as “successful” as everyone thinks.
Q: I really love the IE concept, but then read books like (insert a hormone book) which encourages restriction. How do I figure out what’s going on with my hormones without getting triggered by restriction?
A: Good question! I would suggest reaching out to a Health at Every Size (HAES) physician, nurse practitioner, and/or a dietitian who specializes in hormone health from a non-diet approach. Robyn Nohling, who blogs at The Real Life RD, is a NP/RD who works with women on their hormone health. If you have a very specific diagnosis, feel free to reach out again and I can help refer you too. I also recommend checking out this site to find a HAES practitioner near you. If you can, I would set aside those types of books for now 🙂
Q: What should I do if my doctor tells me I should lose weight because my BMI is now in the “overweight” zone? How do I navigate a doctor who is telling me to lose weight?
A: This is something that I see all.the.time, and it makes me furious. Sending you so much compassion. If you can, take a moment to read this post about why BMI isn’t a good indicator of health. Then, there are a couple things you can do:
- You could say nothing, and then change providers. Check out Ample app, or this site to find a HAES practitioner (aka someone who won’t just tell you to lose weight).
- You could set boundaries. “I don’t agree, my health is otherwise fine. What else can you recommend?” “Thank you. I’ve decided that pursuing weight loss is harmful to my mental health. What else might you suggest.” “I’m not here to talk about my weight/diet. I’m here to talk about xyz.”
- Call ahead and say you don’t want to discuss weight and/or be weighed.
- Get support from a therapist and/or dietitian about how to go into these conversation. Practice can be so helpful!
Physicians are human, they are trying to do no harm, and unfortunately, they are steeped in diet culture too. But, as a reminder, doctors work for YOU, not the other way around. AND you deserve quality care that doesn’t involve being told to lose weight. For more information, I think this blog post might be helpful too!
Do YOU have questions? Feel free to comment below, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me via social!! Hope this was helpful!
PS. Interested in working 1:1 together?? I’m still accepting clients to do the hard work of breaking up with dieting once and for all, and start on the path to becoming an intuitive eater! Send me a message if this is something you are interested in!