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Tips for Intuitive Eating Grocery Shopping

Many clients ask me how to grocery shop after they start the process of moving away from “dieting” and into intuitive eating. Since they are now trying to rely on body signals instead of their head, it can be hard to know what to get at the grocery store. A shopping trip can sometimes feel like a big binge or really overwhelming to clients. Good news is that intuitive grocery shopping can happen! Just like with intuitive eating, it’s okay to have a flexible plan and alter depending on what happens in your life.

Here are my top 7 tips for “starting over at the grocery store”:

1.  Plan a few meals for the week- this is not dieting!! Planning meals just means have a loose plan, that is flexible, for the week. I tell clients that you don’t even need to know what you’re eating on what day if you want to make a last minute decision. Your meal plan could range from just 1-2 or even as high as 4-5 meals per week.  Look at your schedule and see what you have going on.  My biggest piece of advice is to never plan 7 meals/week- things are sure to get in the way and I bet you’ll go out to eat at least once.

2.  Make a list.  Using the above tentative “meal plan”, create a list with ingredients you need to purchase as well as staples like fruit, milk, cereal, snacks, etc.  If you a budget, use coupons as a way to create meals with expensive items that may be on sale.

3.  Have a white board or list somewhere in the kitchen so family members can put “requests” on the grocery shopping list.  This will save time and energy asking everyone what they want.

4.  Grocery shop with a full stomach, meaning after a meal or snack.  You are much more likely to make impulse purchases when you are hungry! I once spent over $100 going into Whole Foods “to get a few things” but I was starving so picked up lunch, extra snacks, food items that looked good and “I just had to have them”! You are also more likely to listen to your body when you are nourished and this will help your budget.

5.  Know the layout of the store and what works for you. The perimeter of the store is where nutritious food is located and will give you lasting energy for the day and nutrients for your health. With this in mind, don’t forget about “the middle” of the store! This is where a lot of the “fun foods” are located, as well as pantry staples that you will need.

6. Use the frozen food section if you don’t get the opportunity to shop often.  Getting frozen vegetables or frozen meals can be a quick easy way to add nutrition in a fast, realistic way.  Best of all, they don’t go bad.

7.  Know that it’s okay to get a few impulse purchases!! You may see something that looks really good or something on sale that you just need to buy.  That’s listening to your body in a way that works for you.

5 tips for eating disorder recovery

If my client comes to me with a diagnosis of an eating disorder (or suspicion of something “weird” with eating habits), I act like a guide for their journey to eating disorder recovery. This journey is filled with ups and downs for all clients, and no one will ever be “perfect”. It’s hard to see this in the moment of struggle, but eating disorder recovery can turn an individual into a resilient human being.

With this in mind, I guide clients to resources for eating disorder recovery, but really work with them on a nutrition plan using a non-diet approach.  So many of my clients have mixed messages in their heads about nutrition and many clients fear certain foods (for various reasons).  I always work in alignment with clients, setting them up with information and support to succeed in ED recovery and help them fight the eating disorder voice. However, I understand that that ED voice sounds totally legit at times, and that it’s also there for a reason.  I invite all parts of my client into the session, as weird as that may sound!! (But I bet if you’ve ever lived with an eating disorder, you get what I’m saying).

Here are 5 tips for eating disorder recovery (from a dietitian!):

1.  Sounds ironic but have a “flexible” meal plan:  You are not going to find this plan on the internet!  Everyone has different needs, different food preferences, different food “fears” and a unique style of eating.  Also, everyone has different jobs, different families, and different daily schedule.  The only way you are going to find a meal plan that works for you is to see a Registered Dietitian.  A Registered Dietitian will take all of these factors and come up with something individual for YOU.  A meal plan is a tool used to teach someone the right amount of food for them as an individual.  Together, we will assess where you are today and where you need to be.

2.  Learn nutrition facts vs. myths:  “Carbs are fattening…”, “I can’t have fruit after dinner…”, “Peanut butter is bad for me…”, “Since I had chocolate after lunch, I can eat whatever I want for the rest of the day…”, “If I don’t exercise 6x/week, exercise is pointless…” <– guess what?  These are all myths!  I find people with any eating disorder behavior are sometimes what I like to call “chronic dieters”, where they have run into lots of nutrition “rules” throughout their lifetime and have taken those rules with them.  A Registered Dietitian will help you learn the real nutrition facts vs. myths.

3.  Monitor your feelings with a journal and write down your food choices.  When a person has an eating disorder, sometimes certain feelings like depression, anxiety, boredom, loneliness, avoidance, and/or happiness (yes even happiness!) will lead to overeating or undereating.  The first way to “figure this out” is to write down your food in a journal, and try to also write down your feelings when you are eating.  Pay attention to any times where your food intake is below or above what you consider “normal”.  This exercise will help you to start to connect the dots!  A team of healthcare professionals will take it from there.

4.  Use a hunger/satiety scale:  My clients are always given my “cheat sheet”- my hunger scale ranging from 1-10 to identify feelings of hunger/neutral/full.  Ideally you want to start eating at a place between 3-4, where your hunger starts to build up… and stop at a 6-7, where your satisfaction kicks in and you no longer need any more food to feel satisfied.  People with eating disorders may not have the same feelings of hunger/satiety (sometimes the “eating disorder voice” will kick in and go against what your body is telling you)- therefore trying to pay attention to your hunger/satiety cues will help YOUR VOICE be louder than ED.  This can also be called mindful eating.

5.  Surround yourself with support:  Getting help for an eating disorder is not easy, and recovery isn’t any easier.  Anyone struggling with any food issue (not just eating disorders!) needs the help of a team of professionals, as well as support from their friends, family, and community (whoever that may be).

Tips for a Healthy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from Eat With Knowledge!!

Holidays are not just about family, friends, and being thankful… it’s also about the food!  So how can we honor our bodies this time of year and be thankful for a healthy relationship with food?  Here are some of my favorite tips for Thanksgiving.

1.  Be mindful of what you’re really craving at the table. There are no right or wrong answers! For me, I savor the homemade food, and leave the store-bought stuff behind.  My plate is full of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and lots of homemade bread and butter! I tend to say no to the store-bought mac-n-cheese or appetizers ahead of the main meal. When it comes to dessert my plate is always filled with pie!! As much as I love ice cream, I usually say no because I have that all year.

2.  Be intuitive.  Allow your body to tell you when to stop eating, not when you think you should or when the food is gone from the plate.  Listen to your internal cues and try to be aware of the hunger/satiety cues your body gives you.  Chances are you WILL overeat at this meal but make it feel good and not too stuffed that you feel sick.

3.  1 & 2 are always easier when you eat a balanced breakfast and lunch before the big dinner splurge- you won’t be setting yourself up for a binge if you’re not absolutely starving by the time you get to the big holiday meal.

4.  Make choices that work for you and your body.  Bring something healthy to the party if you want to!  And on the flip side, if you want to indulge go for it with no guilt and shame!

5.  The most important rule- Thanksgiving is about the family, friends, and people in your life you are thankful for.  Can you add being thankful for your body and good relationship with food to the list?

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"I was officially the heaviest woman to complete a marathon. This title will serve as an example to the plus-size community that there is no such thing as a limitation. I'm often asked if I think everyone should run a marathon. The answer is no. Running -- and sports in general -- isn't for everyone, and that's cool. What I do think, and the reason that I'm on a journey to complete an Ironman, is that whether you want to run a marathon, or knit the world's largest tea cozy, if there's an achievement that captivates you, go after it. The bigger or more ridiculous, the better!" I just love what @ragenchastain  is doing for the plus-size community!! I hope you all read her story in @espnw  about how she decided to go for this Guinness World Record!!
#eatwithknowledge #haes #bodypositive #healthateverysize #healthyliving #bodypositivity #endED #allfoodsfit #edrecovery #balancednotclean #nourishnotpunish #eatingdisorderrecovery #eatingdisorderdietitian #HAESdietitian #RD #HAESRD #intuitiveeating #bodykindness #bopo #effyourbeautystandards #antidiet #selfcare #foodisfuelforthebody #ragenchastain #marathon #plussizefitness #bigfitgirl
Happy Valentine's Day!! Wishing you all a beautiful day filled with #selflove and #selfcare. Go out and do something loving for yourself!! #linkinbio to last year's valentine's day post all about self-care practices for Valentine's Day.
#eatwithknowledge #pursuingprivatepractice #eatingdisorders #endED #eatingdisorderdietitian #dietitian #healthateverysize #HAES #haesdietitian #healthyliving #soulfie #dietitian #rd2be #antidiet #allfoodsfit #bodypositivity #edrecovery #eatingdisorderdietitian #selfcare #bodykindness #bodypositivity #foodisfuel
Yep!! It’s happening again!! Thursday at 8pm #Repost @balancedtx with @get_repost
Ready for Take 2 of the Twitter Takeover?! Join us Thursday night @ 8PM to make our voices heard with force. Keep the conversation going from now until then, spread the word & let’s remind @weightwatchers we won’t be silent! #WakeUpWeightWatchers 💥👊💥💪 (link in our profile for details!) #edrecovery #bodypositive
This. Is. Everything. @streetsmart.rd with @get_repost
If you've been following along with me you know it struck a chord when @weightwatchers announced free memberships for teens 13-17. These years (pictured here, horrible fashion and hair styles galore) are the time when teens should be allowed to grow - without attempts to subtly or openly shame their bodies, police their food choices, and initiate them into diet culture. My friends & fellow RDs have been sharing photos of themselves during these (painfully) awkward years to remind us bodies are meant to change. Here are some fast facts:
☝🏼️Children gain an average of 40 pounds during the years before, during & after puberty. It is normal for some kids to gain weight before they grow taller. But there is no wrong way to grow and restricting nutrition or limiting food choices can also limit critical nutrients needed for a lifetime of good health
☝🏼️Teens are among the highest risk populations for developing issues with body image. The average age of onset for an eating disorder falls during the years in which WW is offering a free membership
☝🏼️Diets do not work. If you look at the success rate (meaning, someone reaches and maintains a "healthy" body weight or normal BMI and maintains it for 5 years) it's embarrassingly low. WW in particular cites ~6% success rate and many of those people started at a BMI around 27. Meaning they didn't have a significant amount of weight to lose (on average, ~10 pounds)
☝🏼️ Dieting is the top predictor of future weight gain & weight cycling. That's what we used to call yo-yo dieting, where someone loses X number of pounds only to gain it all back plus some. Weight cycling is more harmful than simply existing at a higher weight and never engaging in dieting behaviors. Fatness isn't the problem. Fatphobia and misinformation about health is the problem
☝🏼️ Taking dieting behaviors like counting points, compensating with exercise, assigning morality to food, and letting the scale determine your worth and happiness and calling it "not a diet" doesn't mean it's not a diet. It's a way to capitalize on the high failure rates of diets
As an eating disorders dietitian, I need to to do all that I can to prevent disordered eating. By allowing teens to have free access to the weight watchers program (aka dieting) it sets them up for weight cycling and negative body image for the rest of their life. But guys weight watchers knows what they’re doing. They’re capturing an audience young to get them to “diet “lose a bunch of weight” only to have it come back on, and therefore thinking Weight watchers is the only way to go. So many weight watchers have been weight watchers for so long. Let’s end the ups and downs and teach teens positive body image and a healthy relationship with food. Join me on Twitter tomorrow!!!! JenmcgurkRDN see you there!! #repost @balancedtx with @get_repost
Want to make your voice heard? Join us & many other #eatingdisorder, #HAES & #bodypositive professionals and advocates tomorrow afternoon for a Twitter Takeover to let @WeightWatchers know what we think of their free teen program! 💥 Get all the details via the link in our profile 💥#WakeUpWeightWatchers
Another great quote from a @recovrywarriors article about how yoga can be a part of eating disorder recovery. Obviously not everyone is going to like yoga. It can be useful for some people to learn how to get through difficult emotions and learn to be in their body in ways that may not have been possible before. Plus learning to be grateful for your body can be really useful tool of recovery. It can help to move away from body hate to a body neutral and/or body appreciation space.
#eatwithknowledge #haes #bodypositive #healthateverysize #healthyliving #bodypositivity #endED #allfoodsfit #edrecovery #balancednotclean #nourishnotpunish #eatingdisorderrecovery #eatingdisorderdietitian #HAESdietitian #RD #HAESRD #intuitiveeating #bodykindness #bopo #effyourbeautystandards #antidiet #selfcare #foodisfuelforthebody
I found this quote in an article by @recovrywarriors and I think it is sooo important to remember! Recovery from an eating disorder doesn't only include physical recovery, but mental recovery too. Changing the thoughts that ED can bring is usually harder than stopping eating disorder behaviors. Thoughts can be overwhelming, and it can be easy to dwell on them. They key is to learn how to either fight back, distract, or (perhaps the hardest thing) just be a human being in the moment of uncomfortable feelings. I want you to remember that you aren't broken or failing!! It's all part of the recovery journey. Keep going because it’s worth it 💜
#eatwithknowledge #haes #bodypositive #healthateverysize #healthyliving #bodypositivity #endED #allfoodsfit #edrecovery #balancednotclean #nourishnotpunish #eatingdisorderrecovery #eatingdisorderdietitian #HAESdietitian #RD #HAESRD #intuitiveeating #bodykindness #bopo #effyourbeautystandards #antidiet #selfcare #foodisfuelforthebody
I love this quote from @marcird who was featured in the January issue of Today's Dietitian! Focusing on weight loss is not the way to reduce weight stigma. The problem with weight stigma is a societal problem, and not something that should be put on individuals to solve by treating their bodies as a never ending project. And really weight stigma effects all of us, not just those at higher weights. It's time to let go of fixing ourselves and concentrate on decreasing weight stigma within our society as a whole. Articles like this really help move our profession (and society) forward. We have a long way to go!!!
#eatwithknowledge #haes #bodypositive #healthateverysize #healthyliving #bodypositivity #endED #allfoodsfit #edrecovery #balancednotclean #nourishnotpunish #eatingdisorderrecovery #eatingdisorderdietitian #HAESdietitian #RD #HAESRD #intuitiveeating #bodykindness #bopo #effyourbeautystandards #antidiet #selfcare #foodisfuelforthebody #weightstigma #endweightstigma #weightinclusivehealthcare #weightneutralselfcare
Time is almost running out!!!! Sign up for @foodpeacedietitian PCOS course before enrollment closes!!! Also as a dietitian wanting to learn more about PCOS, Julie has taught me so much!!! I credit her for a lot of my nutrition knowledge and am so thankful 🤓. If you are a dietitian wanting to learn more about PCOS this course is for you!!! And continuing education credits are coming this spring, what better combo of learning and crossing off CEU’s!!! #Repost @foodpeacedietitian (@get_repost)
The Step-By-Step Guide to PCOS + Food Peace course is an investment + not for everyone. Wonder if it is right for you? I want to help! Here's who I designed it for:
**The Recovery Warrior: 
If you experience PCOS + trying to recover from an eating disorder this course is for you. It is laid out to help you make steps toward health w/o triggering relapse. You have worked SO VERY HARD to recover + you can continue to do so wPCOS.
**The Chronic Dieter:
So you're at diet rock bottom, huh?! I totally get it. We know diets don't work because you have tried them a million times. This course will NOT be million + 1. This is a new path to reclaiming health + diets are not included.
**The Determined Newbie:
Did you just get word you have PCOS? Don't get sucked into Google's dark hole of confusing PCOS information. This course will help direct you to accurate research based info gathered over 20 yrs of working in nutrition + avoid the common rookie mistakes.
**The Wanna Be Mama:
Has your PCOS lead to infertility? I am so very sorry. This course will give you access to non-diet approaches to enhance your body image (because infertility will tear it apart!) + promote healthy ovulation.
**The Dedicated Diabetic:
Are you concerned you will never find a non-diet way to treat your PCOS because you have Pre-Diabetes or Diabetes?? I appreciate diabetes is a scary diagnosis + the course has you covered. You CAN make peace w food too + there's even a special BONUS designed just for you.
THIS COURSE IS NOT FOR those w/o PCOS or unsure if they have it. It is not for you if you are only looking to lose weight. This is not a quick fix rather a long term way to promote health. 
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