What I promote:
Eating that is: healthful, conscious, pleasurable and flexible
Movement that is: joyful, sustainable and flexible
Size & body acceptance, love and appreciation
About The Author:
I have been involved in the prevention and treatment of eating disorders for around 5 years. I practice from a standpoint called “Health at Every Size”. HAES, simply put, takes the focus off weight and places it on health. In my practice, believe it or not, I discourage any/all forms of intentionally restricting food intake or “dieting”. Plenty of research has demonstrated that dieting is not an effective technique for long-term weight loss.
So if I don’t promote diets, what do I promote? Nourishing and appreciating the body we are living in . . . and moving on. Adopting healthful habits, “living well” and letting our weight fall to a natural, optimal “set point”. I work with my clients on neutralizing food: food is neither good, nor bad. (Different, yes! Some foods are more/less satisfying, more/less nourishing – yes! But not good or bad). In the dieting mentality, food is often evaluated based on it’s ability to help us lose/change our weight. But this type of black and white thinking is often emotionally, psychically, and spiritually taxing.
Alternatively, someone who sees food neutrally can make intuitive choices based on hunger, taste, satisfaction, time, place, and situation. I teach “intuitive” (IE) or “competent” eating, as well as body acceptance and empowerment. Dieting is the opposite of empowering!
As a Christian, whenever possible, I talk about what Christ teaches about food and body. (1 Samuel 16: 7); (Mark 7: 15); (Genesis 9:3); (Deuteronomy 12:15); etc, etc. Many of my students know I’m a Christian, and I find my job is made a whole lot easier when I’m able to talk about Jesus. What does Jesus have to do with nutrition?? Honestly, my job has very little to do with nutrition. Eating disorders are only superficially about food and weight. An eating disorder is like the infamous gigantic iceberg; what we see on the surface is someone preoccupied with food and weight; hidden from view are the coping mechanisms to endure emotional pain or trauma. Recovery from an eating disorder is more often about healing emotional wounds. We all need
a the healer who can heal our deepest wounds, and the true healer is Jesus Christ.
I try to practice what I preach when it comes to nutrition and body acceptance. I really do think of all food fits in a healthy diet, and I really am invested in wellness, not weight loss. Of course, it’s the nature of life to throw little tests our way; pregnancy and postpartum really challenged me to live my philosophy of anti-dieting, intuitive eating, and size acceptance. There was a tiny niggling urge to try to control my diet postpartum to lose weight. But as I talk about in my blog post, this urge was pretty quiet and easily quickly stomped out by HAES principles: eat in accordance with hunger/fullness, enjoy exercise that is joy-based, and love and accept your body.
For me, the biggest struggle is remembering that what our culture teaches us about beauty is flawed. Eating disorders are violent, abusive deceivers that are often fueled by support from our family, friends and culture. This support is evident all around us: from the airbrushed/photoshopped models on magazine covers, to the TV shows featuring underweight actresses. From the size discrimination & threat of violence towards fatter people to the never-ending advertisements for diets. From the fat-talk you might’ve heard from mom growing up, to the association between body type and masculinity or femininity. The list goes on…
If we were to believe that we were beautiful just the way we are (cliche as it sounds) it would be pretty disastrous for any kind of beauty or diet company: magazines, makers of eye cream, deodorant, razors, botox and weight loss surgeries would see $-signs flying out the window. But you are beautiful and uniquely you, in a way that no company can bottle or sell. This site is about celebrating that!
So, this in a nutshell, is my philosophy as a dietitian. I hope you find this website to be helpful, empowering, and inclusive to all bodies and experiences.