Midlife Un-Dieting Q&A with Amanda Bullat RDN
The scale, the app, and the food rules-they can all feel like double-edged swords. On one hand, they can destroy us, driving us to promise we will never touch them again. On the other hand, they can also feel comforting because they are familiar safety nets. Without them, it can feel like we’ll have no way to judge what is “enough” or course correct when we “blow it”.
One of the biggest challenges new un-dieters come up against isis believing that it’s possible to live peacefully with your body, without dieting and food rules. In this episode, I’ve invited one of my favorite experts in this space, Amanda Bullat, RD to help us understand why so many people feel (and even fear!) that intuitive eating simply can’t work for everyone.
Amanda and I have walked with enough women to know it absolutely can. But the key ingredient to gaining the confidence to even begin the journey is getting evidence-based answers to your toughest questions. See if you recognize yourself in one or all of the questions below.
Question #1 What do I do if I feel like I’m not getting “enough” protein (or other key nutritional elements)?
Without the safety net of tracking, this can feel like an overwhelming challenge. Yet what’s important to remember is that the act of writing down how much you eat doesn’t connect you to your body. Amanda offers a two-fold approach to increasing your confidence in your portions without resorting to tracking. For one, if we make it a habit to include a “main character” protein at every meal, we can exhale.
From there, we can move on to consider where we are on the hunger-fullness spectrum. After a meal, do you feel energized, focused, and able to dive into daily activities as well as intentional movement? Or do you cravecarbs in the evening, or feel irritable in between meals?
Question #2: Can intuitive eating be done at the same time as pursuing weight loss?
Probably not. Because weight isn’t a behavior, meaning we don’t choose what we weigh. To pursue a lifestyle of intuitive eating is to embrace life in the gray. It’s more nuanced than calories in, calories out. What we do know is that every diet we know of relies on food rules to “work”.. When we restrict our eating habits in specific ways, it disconnects us from our internal regulators.
While you may not be following a specific diet at any given time, using all those dieting tools might still feel like second nature to you. When you default to these tools, you are moving in the opposite direction of intuitive eating and won’t experience the full impact of intuitive eating.
Question #3 Why is it so hard to accept that weight loss alone doesn’t improve our body image?
Most of us come up against this question at some point in our journey. The first thing we have to do is expose the fear that lies beneath our fear of living in a larger body. Is it a fear of being judged? A loss of intimacy? Being passed over for career opportunities? We have to get clear on what the idea of weight loss promises us.
The second thing we need to do is see that weight loss alone won’t protect us from a negative self-image. In fact, the more we focus on changing our bodies, the more emphasis we place on our body image. It’s our thoughts and feelings about our bodies that need to change, not our bodies themselves.
In addition to all these fears, we also have to filter the inescapable cultural messages and fat phobia we’re regularly exposed to. It can also be empowering to realize that we don’t have to react to every fear that presents itself. We can learn to let fear move through us and honor our bodies, even when they are not where we want them to be, for whatever reason.
If listening to this episode prompts more questions about starting your intuitive eating journey, make sure to grab your free access to the Intuitive Eating Foundations Course which is free for the month of June! Register HERE!
To learn more about Amanda and her work, connect with her on her website at www.alpinenutrition.org, or follow her on Instagram @alpinenutrition, on Youtube @AmandaBullatRDN, or tune into the Savor Food and Body Podcast,
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