Focus on Eating Intuitively


At Ease With Eating® Spurns Diets; Focuses on Eating Intuitively

Newborns know intuitively how to nourish themselves. They latch onto their mother’s breast or bottle, take their mother’s milk until they are full and stop feeding. As we grow and mature, our relationship to food can become complex, says Karen Giles-Smith, MS, RDN, owner/nutrition counselor with At Ease With Eating®.

Karen has worked through and healed her own issues with food, eating and weight (in recovery for 30 years). “Diets just don’t work. Sure, you might lose weight in the short-term for a specific goal, only to gain back the weight after the goal is met. It can become an endless yo-yo cycle that never results in an individual’s understanding of their relationship with food,” Karen explains.dieting-vs-mindfuleatingb10453307ab8ce49b546063b0e243cc2

“I work in tandem with a person’s physician, and often a therapist, as the client comes to understand that eating mindfully and intuitively are the real keys to a healthy relationship with food and one’s body. Client discussions center on discerning when you are hungry, and cues that you are full,” she adds.

Steps Karen suggests to clients for intuitive eating include:

? Eating at regular, reliable times to get in touch with physical hunger. This means not waiting until one is overly hungry. Have well-balanced snacks available.

? Before eating, pause and ask yourself: Am I hungry? If you are not physically hungry, you have a choice to eat, or to consider what is causing the urge to eat and dealing directly with that issue. It could be anxiety, loneliness, stress, anger, or dealing with a family member or situation where eating is expected.

? Avoid eating on the run. Relax before you eat. Eat with attention so you fully taste your food, and slowly enough that you periodically check your hunger and fullness cues.

? Pay attention to what foods would be satisfying in the moment. Refrain from self-judgment.

? It’s fine to not eat everything on your plate, or to go back for seconds if you are still hungry.

? Be physically active on a regular basis with activities you enjoy and feel good to your body.

? Identify ways to comfort and nurture yourself without food when you are not hungry.

“I also help clients understand basic nutrition. We work on putting together well-balanced meals and snacks that fits an individual or family budget. Fluids – water in particular – are needed for health. Clients often mistake thirst for hunger,” states Karen.

“Society elevates having a thin, well-toned body as ideal,” cautions Karen. “This is often one of the risk factors for developing eating disorders. Yo-yo dieting (weight loss and regain) can lead to elevated blood pressure and cholesterol, chronic inflammation and decreased immune function. Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia are very serious conditions that need immediate medical and mental health attention. If eating disorders go unchecked, health implications may include diminished bone density, organ failure, heart attack, and in some cases, death.

“People come in all shapes and sizes. One’s bone structure is genetic. It’s possible to be overweight, but metabolically healthy. As with any life change, it’s important for individuals to build up self-trust around food, and when questioned to say: ‘I’m working on being in touch with my body’s needs.’ Body shaming needs to stop. At any stage of life, it’s possible to re-nourish one’s body and restore health by paying attention to the body’s natural cues for hunger and fullness.

At Ease With Eating®, LLC
Karen Giles-Smith, MS, RDN
Campus Village Center
1151 Michigan Ave., Ste. 106
East Lansing, MI 48823