Dieting Recovery Print

How to reestablish a healthier relationship with food

Have you ever watched someone that doesn’t seem to have any food hang ups, follow a weird diet and seems to feel comfortable in their own skin with their size and wondered to yourself, how do they do that?

If you have struggled to figure out the simple yet very complicated question “what should I eat?” you are not alone. With so much conflicting information and opinions about what you should or should not eat, it is now more exhausting and overwhelming for many of our clients to confidently understand how to fuel themselves.

For the many clients we see in our nutrition counselling practice that hate their body, have a disordered relationship with food or have spent a lifetime of yo-yo dieting, food is often perceived as the enemy. The good news is that you don’t have to struggle. We see people each and every day in our office begin the journey to reestablish a healthier relationship with food and move towards their personal best weight.

WATCH Andrea’s Facebook LIVE on this topic:

 

The common struggle with a poor relationship with food and your body

I brainstormed with our team of dietitians at Health Stand Nutrition Consulting the most common food and body relationship issues and negate beliefs we observe for our clients. Do any of these resonate for you?

  1. The number on the scale today will determine what and how much I am allowed to eat.
  2. I feel stressed about eating. I watch other people eat and wonder how they find joy and pleasure when I see food as the enemy.
  3. I feel shame and judgement if I eat ice cream or chips in front of others.
  4. I am only allowed to eat when and if I have exercised today.
  5. I am always second guessing my choices and have forgotten what it is to eat “normally.”
  6. I get anxious if I have to eat in front of other people or at places where I don’t know what is in the food.
  7. There must be something wrong with me that I barely eat and still struggle with my weight.
  8. I am a careful eater and avoid eating until I am full or satisfied.
  9. I have lost touch with knowing when I am hungry or full since I have been stuffing or starving myself for a long time.
  10. I have so much noise in my head about eating and my weight that I miss out on many social things and life opportunities.
  11. I see food as good or bad and eating as all or none with no middle ground.
  12. I hate my body and I know life will be better if I could only be smaller.

How to nurture a healthy relationship with food

Rekindling a healthier relationship with food and your body is no easy task, but the good news is if you don’t like how you feel right now you can change that. Here are some strategies from our dietitian team to begin learning to rekindle loving kindness for yourself:

  1. Learn to trust others until you can trust yourself

Feeling better about food and your body takes time and support from an experienced dietitian with the right philosophy and approach to not only healthy eating, but also experience in emotional eating, disordered eating and behavior change. Often times we have done our best work and moved our clients through change faster when we can also refer our clients to a trusted psychologist with experience in these areas as well.

Often our clients have so much anxiety, fear, guilt and shame about food, eat sporadically and approach things in an “all or nothing” way. Many of our eating disorder clients and chronic yo-yo dieters have acknowledged that recovery began to improve when they began to trust us blindly first to lead the way. Trusting your dietitian to initially drive the answers to the questions about which foods your body needs and the portion sizes required for good health is the best way to learn to trust yourself.

  1. You are worthy of eating no matter what

Before working with us many of our clients use the number on the scale to decide what and how much they are going to eat today. As we begin working with a client on repairing their relationship with food, our clients begin to see that external factors do not have to have power over addressing the internal basic need to eat. 

Regardless of what you weigh, how much exercise you did today or how badly yesterday went, you are worthy of nourishing your body for health and energy. Honor and respect your body with enough nourishment to live your best life. Eating is a basic need, not a reward.

  1. Start with mechanical eating before moving to intuitive eating

While many of our clients want to be intuitive eaters that allows them to make flexible choices and to listen to their hunger and fullness cues, it is often hard to trust these cues without first resetting what, when and how much to eat on a basic level. In our practice we first focus on mechanical or structured eating with three meals and likely snacks in between. We also help our clients understand portion sizes and achieving nutritional adequacy, stopping dieting behaviors, obsessive weighing and unnecessary food restrictions.

In time, we helps people begin to distinguish hunger and fullness cues to move towards true flexibility and intuitive eating.

One Final Note…

There are no good or bad foods. Food is just food. Learning to eat fully is about finding the balance between both healthful foods as well as soulful foods chosen for fun, taste and enjoyment.

Looking for more help? Contact us for personal nutrition counselling at our local Calgary dietitian office (or by phone or online). Check out our self-directed Online Nutrition Course opening for registration SOON and download our free resource: 

About Andrea Holwegner

CEO, Registered Dietitian, Counseling Practice Director & Professional Speaker

Andrea the «Chocoholic Nutritionist» is founder and CEO of Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc. since 2000. She is an online nutrition course creator, professional speaker and regular guest in the media. Andrea is the recipient of an award by the Dietitians of Canada: The Speaking of Food & Healthy Living Award for Excellence in Consumer Education....Read more

Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. Andrea and her team really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Andrea is an excellent teacher and motivator. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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