Break Up With the Scale

As a dietitian that believes in the Health at Every Size principles, I choose to practice something I like to call weight inclusive wellness. I respect size diversity and believe that people of various weights can have healthy behaviors and habits, and also have a positive relationship with food.

I had a really great conversation with a client last week about why I hate the scale. I cannot take credit for the following analogy but I love it! Dieting for weight loss is like playing the slot machines at Atlantic City. You see everyone around you winning (ding ding ding!!) and go into gambling thinking that YOU will hit the jackpot. But remember, we all know casinos get your money and statistics show we will not win. This is why weighing yourself does more harm than good: We all think we’re going to see a number we like (aka hitting the jackpot) but statistics show we will not win. The scale will probably creep back up over time and lead to negative feelings about food and body image. The good news is that there is a solution in weight inclusive wellness. You can be happy and healthy without focusing on the scale.

why scales harm

5 Ways to Measure “Success” Without Using the Scale:

Instead of focusing on the scale to measure progress, try to ask yourself these insightful questions:

1. How are you feeling about overall body image?

2. Are you responding to different emotions in a way that works for you?

3. What can you do to increase your self-care?

4. Can you try to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full and mentally satisfied?

5. Can you move your body in a respectful, joyful way?

These questions can help guide you to a plan of action to feel happy and healthy about food and body image.

Resources For Eating Disorders And Intuitive Eating

I find myself suggesting resources all the time to clients and healthcare professionals to help everyone learn more about eating disorders, intuitive eating, and health at every size. I figured it’s time to share these valuable books/podcasts/e-courses with all of you.  It doesn’t matter if you are a client, family member, or healthcare professional- we ALL have a lot to learn.

 

Top Resources for Eating Disorders

International Federation of Eating Disorder Dietitians www.eddietitians.com/

International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals www.iaedp.com/

National Eating Disorder Association www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/

BOOKS

Life Without Ed, by Jenni Schaefer

8 Keys to Recover from an Eating Disorder, by Carolyn Costin

Overcoming Binge Eating, by Christopher Fairburn

Almost Anorexic, by Jennifer Thomas

PODCASTS
(Find these in your podcast app or itunes!)

The Recovery Warrior Show

The Eating Disorder Recovery Podcast

Resources for Health at Every Size and Intuitive Eating

Registered Dietitians for Body Confidence www.rd4bc.com

The Health at Every Size Community www.haescommunity.org/

The Association for Size Diversity and Health www.sizediversityandhealth.org/

Intuitive Eating Community http://www.intuitiveeating.org/

BOOKS

Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch

Intuitive Eating Workbook

Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon

Body Respect by Linda BaconBody Kindness by Rebecca Scritchfield

Savvy Girl, A Guide to Eating by Sumner Brooks and Brittany Deal

PODCASTS
(Find these in your podcasts app or itunes!)

Love, Food

Body Kindness

Food Psych

Dietitians Unplugged

Life, Unrestricted

The Body Love Project

E-COURSES

EDRDPro Symposium:15 experts (myself included!!) presenting on eating disorders, HAES, and intuitive eating! The symposium begins April 28th.

Kylie Mitchell’s IMMAEATTHAT “How to Eat” Course 

Christy Harrison’s Intuitive Eating Fundamentals Course

 

3 Things to Do in January Besides “Diet”

Ugg… January is here! It really is “national dieting month” and even though I’ve tried to avoid “diet talk” as much as possible, I still hear friends, family, and clients talking about how they are going to be “good”, “eat clean”, “lose weight”, and “finally take control back”.

So if you know me, you know I’m all about creating a happy and healthy lifestyle. No diets needed! Dieting can increase disordered eating behaviors and habits, and also send you down a destructive relationship with food. So rather than diet, what can you do? Here are some ideas so you don’t have to diet and feel deprived. Rather live your life and feel fabulous about food!

1. Practice Your Intuitive Eating Skills. One of the best things you can do for yourself when everyone around you is trying to detox or go on the latest “New Years Resolution Diet” is practice your intuitive eating skills. Intuitive Eating is comprised of 10 principles that help you reject the diet mentality, honor your hunger and fullness signals, and improve your relationship with food and body image. Instead of removing foods from your diet this month, try adding in more healthful options and remind yourself that there is space for both apples and ice cream. Practice eating mindfully instead of restrictively by truly tuning into your body’s hunger and fullness signals. Finally, one of my favorite principles is “Challenge The Food Police” – which means that you practice saying ‘No’ to that voice in your head that tells you that you’re bad for not doing the detox that everyone at your office is doing, or good for skipping dessert at that party. Food is neither good or bad; food is just food and all foods fit into a healthy lifestyle!

2. Go for a daily walk. Gyms are notorious for their New Years Resolution marketing campaigns. If a gym is not for you, try the cheapest exercise on earth: WALKING. Taking a daily stroll for even just a few minutes/day can do wonders for your health. Start with 5 minutes and slowly work your way up! This is also a great way to manage stress levels. You can find a walking buddy in your neighborhood or at your office, walk your dog, or listen to your favorite podcast or music, all while improving your health and well-being.

3. Start a gratitude practice instead of “trying to change”. Unfortunately we connect “losing weight” to “being happier” when this simply isn’t true. Try to focus on what you have, right now! Actively thinking about what you are grateful for has been shown to reduce stress levels and increase happiness. Practice saying out loud one thing you are grateful for each day. Bonus if you can write it down or post on social media! Spread the word 🙂

Non-Diet Ideas for Health

I love these ideas to focus on health and well-being for the new year. All of these sound so much healthier than a diet!

  1. Go to a yoga class. Even better if you sign up for a class package!
  2. Try a new recipe and cook with your family
  3. Go grocery shopping and pick some new food items
  4. Eat out at a new restaurant
  5. Go on a hike
  6. Plan and BOOK a vacation!
  7. Go to bed 1 hour earlier tonight and get more rest
  8. Diffuse essential oils throughout your house or office
  9. Pick up a new book and read for 20 minutes each day
  10. Volunteer and give back to your community

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day- Why I LOVE what I do

Happy Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day!  I am so grateful that I choose this career path all the way back when I was 18 years old enrolled in Nutritional Sciences at Penn State University.  I really had no idea what a career in dietetics “meant”, but I loved food and nutrition and especially the mental/behavior change part of the puzzle in overall health.  Fast forward 12 years, after 4 years in school, 1 year at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center for my dietetic internship, and many jobs later, I now own my own business and keep evolving as a dietitian.  My interests have changed over the course of 7 (!!) years working in the field, but I am still so passionate about the role of a dietitian in health, especially eating disorders.  Happy Registered Dietitian Day to all my colleagues and clients.  Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life and help guide you to health and happiness with food 🙂  Here are my top 10 reasons why I love being a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist:

1.  I get to help people change their relationship with food into a positive relationship rather than a negative relationship

2.  I get to see people get excited about food, rather than fearful and scared

3.  I help people overcome eating disorders and change the way they feel about eating

4.  I see the difference that nutrition makes in your mood and attitude about yourself

5.  I see hunger and satiety signals come back in people that lost them for years

6.  I work with people to get to the root of the problem of emotional eating, rather than “covering it up”

7.  I help clients fuel their bodies the right way for physical activity

8.  If you have any other medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure we work on that too!!

9.  Nutrition science is always changing and I love how there are no “right” answers some of the time.  What we’re discovering now about nutrition is cutting edge information and that’s exciting!

10. I love having an amazing network of dietitians to work with.  If I’m not the best fit you, I can almost guarantee that I know someone who is!!  My network of dietitians expands across the county!!  :)

Tips for Eating Well with a Newborn

Going into pregnancy, labor, and delivery I read everything I could get my hands on about “life with a newborn”.  However there really is no way to describe the emotional roller coaster you go through until you experience it yourself.  With that being said, self-care is so important during this time and having a healthy relationship with food and body image is one of the most important self-care aspects.  Whether a mom had a vaginal birth or C-section her body just went through a MARATHON and now needs to recover.  Calories, carbs, protein, fat, and all the vitamins and minerals that food provide help your body heal from labor and delivery.  Here are my top 6 tips for getting in proper nutrition with a newborn.

  1. Understand your body just did an amazing thing:  Thank your body for what it just did, it’s perfect in every way right now. It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of “get your body back” but remember it’s just not realistic after giving birth to expect everything to go back to what is used to be like.
  2. Try to listen to hunger and satiety:  Are you eating now just because you have 5 minutes or are you truly hungry?  Or are you absolutely starving because you haven’t eaten anything in 6 hours?  Try not to let yourself get too hungry or too full to avoid feeling uncomfortable.
  3. Have snacks and easy to grab foods:  I personally ate with one hand the first few weeks of my son’s life.  My favorite grab and go healthy foods are sandwiches (turkey and cheese or peanut butter and banana and honey), protein bars, trail mix, hard boiled eggs, roasted chicpeas, yogurt, cottage cheese and fruit.  Also packing some of these staples in your diaper bag is a good idea.
  4. Go for EASY meals.  No need to be a gourmet chef in the first few months.  I stocked up on frozen Steamfresh veggies and rice to throw in the microwave as sides for a quick dinner.  Coupled with grilled meat (thanks to my husband) dinner was ready in under 15 minutes.  I also tried to make double recipes anytime I actually did cook to have lots of leftovers and even froze some meals.
  5. Get enough sleep:  This really isn’t realistic because your sleep will be interrupted for months but sleep has a lot to do with our hunger and satiety cues and metabolism (and sanity!).  Just know the more you can get the better even if it’s not your usual 8 hours.
  6. Don’t stress about nutrition:  Ironically this is probably the most important tip.  Babies can feel our stress and react to it even if they don’t understand everything that’s going on.  Don’t stress about body image, getting in all the nutrients you need- just try to do your best and that’s “good enough” which is mentally better than trying to be “perfect”.

 

Definition of “Normal Eating”

With the new year here, many people vow to start a “diet” or lose weight.  But when 95% of all diets fail and cause even more problems (physically and emotionally), what is someone to do?

So what is normal eating if you’re not going to “diet”?

Taken from Ellyn Satter’s website the definition of “normal eating” is:

Normal eating is going to the table hungry and eating until you are satisfied. It is being able to choose food you like and eat it and truly get enough of it -not just stop eating because you think you should. Normal eating is being able to give some thought to your food selection so you get nutritious food, but not being so wary and restrictive that you miss out on enjoyable food. Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad or bored, or just because it feels good. Normal eating is mostly three meals a day, or four or five, or it can be choosing to munch along the way. It is leaving some cookies on the plate because you know you can have some again tomorrow, or it is eating more now because they taste so wonderful. Normal eating is overeating at times, feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. And it can be undereating at times and wishing you had more. Normal eating is trusting your body to make up for your mistakes in eating. Normal eating takes up some of your time and attention, but keeps its place as only one important area of your life.

In short, normal eating is flexible. It varies in response to your hunger, your schedule, your proximity to food and your feelings.

 

I think it’s important to understand that the definition of normal eating is different for everyone.  Because everyone has different emotions, environments, food preferences, etc.  With the help of a professional, many people can make their own definition of normal eating and make it work for them physically and mentally.

All About Hunger and Fullness in ED Recovery

One important aspect of recovering from an eating disorder is hearing and listening to hunger and satiety cues.  Anyone trapped in an eating disorder knows that your second head (the eating disorder) controls what you eat, when you eat, how you eat, etc.  aka NOTHING to do with hunger and satiety.  In fact, a lot of people with eating disorders completely lose these hunger and satiety cues and tell me they have no idea what I’m talking about when I ask about these signals.

 

First step at finding your hunger/satiety cues is following an appropriate meal plan, created by both you and your eating disorder dietitian.  Together you can come up with suggestions for meals and snacks that are realistic and will meet your nutrition needs.  Once your body starts “working” again, your metabolism will start to come back and clients say slowly but surely they start to feel subtle signs of hunger and satiety.

 

Once that happens I start having people track their cues.  This is not to be “perfect” but to learn more about your signals and what they mean and where they come from.  Take a few days or a few meals and rate what you are before and meal and after a meal.  That’s all- no need to do this 3-4 times/day, 7 days/week.  Pick a few meals and few days/week, that’s all the info you will need.

 

Here is an example of a hunger scale:

1: Ravenous, weak and light-headed.

2: Over-hungry. You feel irritable and unable to concentrate.

3: Hunger pangs. You may feel uncomfortably hungry and know it’s “time to eat”.

4: Hunger awakens. You are slightly uncomfortable and just beginning to feel signs of hunger.

5: Neutral. Comfortable. You’re more or less satisfied, but could eat a little more.

6: Just satisfied. Perfectly comfortable but might be able to get in a few more bites.

7: Completely satisfied. A little bit uncomfortable.

8: Full. Uncomfortable. You feel bloated and may need to loosen your clothes.

9: Stuffed. Very uncomfortably full.

10: Sick. You are so full you feel nauseous and don’t want to look at food.

 

So now what do you do??

1.  Try to start eating when you’re at a 3 or 4 on the hunger scale- what does that feel like to you?.  If this does not come easy to you try to figure out why you’re eating if you’re not hungry.  Are you bored? Stressed? Tired? Overwhelmed?  You need to figure out how to regulate these emotions. Not all emotional eating is bad, but that’s another topic!

2.  Stop eating at 5 or 6- what does that feel like for you? It’s also helpful to sometimes wait to see if your body feels any different after digesting your meal (ex. 20 minutes later). 

3.  Instead of relying on external signals (like an empty plate) to stop eating, try to listen to your satiety cues.  This may mean putting your fork down between bites and trying to sit still with food still on your plate.

4.  If it helps, put your hand on your stomach a few times while eating to check for fullness.

5.  In the beginning, it’s helpful to serve yourself less, knowing you can always go back for more if you’re still hungry.  People find it very hard to “waste food”.  Ask yourself why? Practice and know that people make mistakes. Just like a toddler learns to walk (and gosh, we would never blame a toddler for falling down!), people that have dieted need to re-learn their bodies signals. 

Welcome to Eat With Knowledge!

We live in a world where nutrition information is everywhere, especially around “dieting”. It seems like there are “diet” messages everywhere we turn, potentially hidden in disguise! “Diets” can be addressed as such, like “Whole 30”, “Paleo”, “Weight Watchers”, or can be “clean eating” or “healthy eating”.  The problem is that diets can lead people into a cycle of restrictive eating and overeating, leading to a lot of guilt and shame.

diet

Diets emphasize too much thinking with our “head” rather than trusting our bodies when it comes to food.  95% of diets fail but leave people thinking that it’s their fault. It’s not you, it’s the diet!

This blog will allow you to come to a reliable resource for nutrition information when you might not be sure where else to go.  As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist specializing in eating disorders, I will not put you on a diet!!! I have exceptional training and education in food and nutrition and know what works for eating disorder treatment, as well as chronic dieting.  The answer is intuitive eating but what that means is different for every client.  I want to pass along my passion for nutrition and share nutrition knowledge with you!  I will provide my readers with:

  • Tips on disordered eating, eating disorders, chronic dieting, and intuitive eating
  • Topic posts about weight concerns, emotional eating, women’s health, and having a healthy relationship with food.
  • Nutritious recipes that are fast, easy, and flavorful
  • The latest research on nutrition topics

At Eat With Knowledge, my vision is simple: “Feel Fabulous About Food!”  At Eat With Knowledge, my mission is to:

-To respect all bodies and be weight-inclusive

-Enhance your physical and mental health

-Be your guide when it comes to meal planning and behavior modification

-Show you how flexibility works with food and activity

-Support you with your goals to help you feel fabulous about food