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    Nutrition Advice for People Who Don't Want to Go on a Diet | Rachael Hartley

    Eating a predominantly plant-centered diet is generally healthy, but including animal-based proteins can also have benefits. Choose a balanced diet that aligns with your values and preferences.

    enJune 28, 2023

    About this Episode

    If you want to opt out of diet culture, then what should you actually eat? 


    Today’s guest is endeavoring to answer this question. Rachel Hartley is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and the author of a book called Gentle Nutrition: A Non-Diet Approach to Healthy Eating. 


    In this episode we talk about:

    • The basics of intuitive eating
    • Her thoughts on whether or not we should weigh ourselves
    • Whether or not adopting intuitive eating means living with your face in a cookie jar forever
    • How her work has influenced her own body image
    • The eight guidelines of gentle nutrition
    • Her provocative contention that “the healthiest choice isn’t always the most nutritious choice”
    • Her take on some of the critiques of intuitive eating
    • Her thoughts on trendy new weight loss drugs like Ozempic


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    🔑 Key Takeaways

    • Gentle Nutrition in Intuitive Eating prioritizes choices that are nourishing and enjoyable instead of solely focusing on strict nutrition guidelines. Individual perspectives and criticisms of Intuitive Eating should also be considered.
    • The non-diet approach emphasizes building a healthier relationship with food, focusing on wellbeing rather than weight loss, and learning to relate with food in a way that feels good.
    • Intuitive Eating embraces individuality and fosters a deeper understanding of the mind-body connection, leading to improved overall well-being and a more fulfilling and conscious relationship with food.
    • Gentle nutrition is about self-care, flexibility, and focusing on overall wellbeing. Instead of strict control, it emphasizes positive choices and individualized needs for a healthy and sustainable relationship with food.
    • Our weight does not define our health; weight stigma and weight cycling have a greater impact on our well-being. Diets are not effective, but practicing intuitive eating can help establish a healthy relationship with food.
    • Loosening food restrictions in intuitive eating can be daunting but practicing eating previously off-limits foods helps build a more comfortable and balanced relationship with food.
    • Intuitive eating encourages curiosity, learning, and self-compassion. It means accepting mistakes without shame, allowing growth, and rejecting societal pressures on body image.
    • Practicing body respect and kindness, along with intuitive eating, can help individuals develop a healthier relationship with their bodies, even if they don't fully accept their appearance.
    • Incorporating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fiber-rich carbs is important for a healthy diet. Moderation and a mix of refined and whole grains can promote good health without significant impact on blood sugar levels. Sensible reasoning should guide our food choices rather than vilifying specific foods.
    • Fats play vital roles in our body, and incorporating them into meals can promote satiety and aid digestion. Instead of demonizing specific foods, making conscious and moderate dietary choices is crucial.
    • Health and nutrition are multifaceted, with factors like psychological well-being and individual needs playing a crucial role. Avoid restrictive eating and approach food in a healthy, balanced manner without fear or guilt.
    • Eating a predominantly plant-centered diet is generally healthy, but including animal-based proteins can also have benefits. Choose a balanced diet that aligns with your values and preferences.
    • Enjoy sweets in moderation and listen to how they make you feel. Sugar intake can be part of a healthy diet, and convenience foods can play a role in busy lifestyles.
    • There is no one-size-fits-all approach to eating, and incorporating fresh foods into our diet while not demonizing processed foods is important. It's crucial to consider individual needs and reactions to food, and to avoid fear-mongering and rigid dietary rules.
    • Intuitive eating allows individuals to improve their health without giving up their taste preferences, while also dispelling notions of perfectionism and deprivation in eating habits.
    • Intuitive eating promotes a healthy relationship with food and body, irrespective of body weight. Prioritizing psychological health and well-being is crucial for long-term success, rather than focusing solely on weight loss.
    • The concept of Health at Every Size encourages individuals to prioritize their well-being through enjoyable physical activity, access to healthcare, and personal decisions, rather than solely focusing on weight loss.
    • While Ozempic may initially cause weight loss, it comes with severe side effects and weight regain over time. It is important to approach weight loss cautiously and consider alternative approaches for sustainable weight management.

    📝 Podcast Summary

    Exploring Gentle Nutrition in Intuitive Eating: A Non-Diet Approach to Healthy Eating

    The concept of Intuitive eating promotes listening to your body's cues for hunger and fullness, while also having a basic understanding of what is healthy. Following diets can be counterproductive and lead to future weight gain. Adopting Intuitive eating can help improve your relationship with food and your body. However, the Gentle Nutrition aspect of Intuitive eating can be challenging to navigate. Rachel Hartley, a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, provides insights and guidelines in her book 'Gentle Nutrition: A Non-Diet Approach to Healthy Eating.' This approach focuses on making choices that are both nourishing and enjoyable. Ultimately, the healthiest choice may not always be the most nutritious one. It is important to consider individualized perspectives and critiques of Intuitive eating, as well as the impact of weight loss drugs like Ozempic.

    The Non-Diet Approach: Focusing on Wellbeing Instead of Weight Loss

    The non-diet or anti-diet approach, such as intuitive eating, focuses on wellbeing rather than weight loss. It emphasizes building a healthier relationship with food and learning to relate with food in a way that feels good. This approach is different from the traditional dietetics model that solely focuses on calories, portion control, and rigid control. The interest in this approach stems from the speaker's upbringing around food, where they learned that food is more than just fuel. As a dietician, they felt conflicted between the traditional model and their personal experiences. The transition to intuitive eating was a slow and messy process, influenced by learning about mindful eating and reading books on intuitive eating.

    Empowering Yourself through Intuitive Eating and Mindful Nutrition

    Intuitive Eating is about listening to your body, eating what you want, and having a sense of embodiment and awareness of how food makes you feel. It is about having autonomy over your food decisions and defining health on your own terms. While it may sound simple, practicing Intuitive Eating can be challenging due to societal pressures and ingrained conditioning. However, it is liberating and allows for a more present and connected life. Nutrition is not just about the physical, but also about being connected with others and our environment. It is about supporting our overall wellbeing and examining how our relationship with food affects us.

    Honoring Your Health through Gentle Nutrition

    Gentle Nutrition is about honoring your health by focusing on self-care rather than self-control. It is flexible and adapts to individualized needs, considering factors like age, activity level, and health conditions. Instead of hyper-focusing on every single meal, it looks at the big picture and patterns of eating over time. It emphasizes positive nutrition, adding foods in rather than restricting or subtracting. Weighing oneself is not recommended as it often leads to negative feelings and can influence food choices. The number on the scale does not necessarily provide helpful information on how to nourish oneself. It's important to choose a way of eating that feels good and supports overall wellbeing.

    Challenging the Connection Between Weight and Health: The Impact of Weight Stigma and Weight Cycling

    Weighing ourselves can disconnect us from our bodies and their wisdom. The number on the scale has less of a connection to our health than we've been taught. Weight stigma and weight cycling have a greater impact on health than static weight. Weight cycling, such as yo-yo dieting, puts metabolic stress on the body. Weight stigma, constant societal messages that a larger body is not okay, can be stressful to navigate. Eliminating weight stigma and weight cycling doesn't mean there is no relationship between weight and health. Diets generally do not work for long-term weight loss. Intuitive eating allows us to eat what we want whenever we want without living with our face in a cookie jar forever.

    The Honeymoon Phase and the Journey to Balanced Eating

    The honeymoon phase is a common experience when loosening up restrictions in intuitive eating. It can feel scary and involve indulging in previously restricted foods. The fear of deprivation and future unavailability of certain foods often fuels behaviors that feel out of control. However, over time, as one practices eating previously off-limits foods and chips away at emotional restrictions, these behaviors tend to subside. It is important to work with someone or join a support group to normalize and navigate this phase. As one gives themselves permission to enjoy food without restrictions, the relationship with food becomes more comfortable and balanced. Although occasional overindulgence may still occur, it becomes less frequent and viewed as a learning experience rather than a failure.

    Understanding Intuitive Eating: Embracing Curiosity, Learning from Mistakes, and Rejecting Unrealistic Standards.

    Intuitive eating is a practice, not a black-and-white concept. It's normal to have days where we are not very connected and intuitive with our eating. Instead of feeling shame, we can approach our mistakes with food from a place of curiosity and learn from them. The difference between shame and guilt is important. Shame tells us that we are inherently flawed when we make a mistake, while guilt acknowledges the mistake but allows us to move forward and learn from it. Wise remorse enables us to recognize our mistakes without getting stuck in a shame story. Intuitive eating also involves having different expectations about body image in a culture that promotes unrealistic standards.

    Building a Healthy Relationship with Food and Body through Intuitive Eating and Body Respect

    Intuitive eating is a tool that can help build a healthier relationship with food and body. It is normal to feel uncomfortable in your skin at times. Body respect is about acknowledging that your body deserves adequate food and basic needs, regardless of how you feel about your appearance. It is about being grateful for the functioning of your body and having a supple relationship with self-criticism. Body kindness goes beyond respect and involves treating your body with care and compassion. Practicing body respect and kindness can help individuals notice and sit with discomfort without resorting to harmful behaviors. It is not necessary to feel 100% accepting of your body to practice intuitive eating.

    Finding a Balance in Nutrition for Optimal Health

    Gentle Nutrition emphasizes the importance of incorporating fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fiber-rich carbohydrates into our diets without crowding out other sources of energy. Carbs, including refined grains, should not be vilified as they are an essential part of cultural diets and can promote good health when consumed in moderation. It's about finding a balance and incorporating foods that we enjoy. Too much fiber can lead to digestive issues, so a mix of refined and whole grains is beneficial. When eaten as part of a meal with a mix of fat, protein, and carbohydrates, the impact on blood sugar levels is not significant. Vilifying certain foods, like french fries, is not based on sensible reasoning.

    Embracing Fats: Understanding the Importance and Benefits in Moderation

    Fats are an essential food group that should not be feared or vilified. While there are slight differences in fat content between fried foods and roasted potatoes, the process of frying creates a seal that reduces the amount of oil absorbed. Dietary fats have important functions in our body, such as being integrated into our brain and aiding digestion. Incorporating fats into meals can help promote satiety and prevent overeating. Butter, in particular, has a unique flavor and can be enjoyed in moderation, as not everyone is sensitive to its saturated fat content. Rather than demonizing specific foods, it is important to have consciousness and moderation in our dietary choices.

    The Complexity of Health and Nutrition

    Health and nutrition are not synonymous. Health encompasses not just physical well-being, but also psychological, social, and financial aspects. Labeling foods as 'healthy' or 'unhealthy' oversimplifies the concept. While nutrition plays a role in determining the healthiness of a food, it is not the sole criterion. Context matters, and sometimes, choices that may not be nutritionally rich can still be the healthier option. Restrictive eating can lead to negative psychological impacts, stress, and decreased quality of life. It is important to approach food in a healthy and balanced way, considering individual needs and avoiding unnecessary stress. Eating more plants and fewer animals is a general guideline, but it should not be a source of fear or guilt.

    The balance between plant-based and animal-based proteins in a diet varies for individuals, and ethical values and personal preferences should be considered when making dietary choices.

    Eating in a more plant-centered way, integrating more plants and less animals, is beneficial for overall health for most people and the environment. However, including animal-based protein has its own benefits and can be a personal choice. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition. Some individuals may thrive on a totally plant-centered diet, while others may feel best with more animal proteins. It is important to consider our ethical values and individual preferences when making dietary choices. Dairy, despite being demonized, can be a valuable source of protein, calcium, and bone-building minerals. Enjoying sweets mindfully, without the feeling of deprivation, can prevent overconsumption.

    Developing a Balanced Relationship with Sweets

    Depriving oneself of food can lead to addictive behaviors towards sugar. It is important to have a healthier relationship with sweets by allowing oneself to enjoy them in moderation. Pay attention to how sweets make you feel and if they are a regular part of your diet, there is no need to feel guilty. Correlational studies show a connection between sugar intake and health outcomes, but even those with the best health still consume sweets daily. Our bodies know how to process sugar just like any other food. Emphasizing fresh foods is beneficial, but convenience foods can also be a useful tool for busy individuals.

    The Importance of Flexibility and Balance in Food Choices

    Flexibility in food choices and eating patterns is important, as there is no one right way to eat. Incorporating fresh foods into our overall eating pattern can have benefits without demonizing processed foods. It's a privileged mindset to expect everyone to have the time and money for cooking meals from fresh ingredients. Concerns about chemicals in food should be balanced, as many additives and ingredients are harmless or even beneficial. Paying attention to how food makes us feel is crucial, as individual needs and reactions vary. Fear-mongering and rigid dietary rules are not helpful, as there is a wide variety of eating patterns that humans have thrived on throughout history.

    Embracing intuitive eating and its benefits for physical and mental well-being, regardless of cultural influences or previous eating habits.

    Intuitive eating is about finding a way of eating that feels good for the individual, regardless of cultural influences. Our bodies are resilient and can tolerate different eating habits. We don't need to approach intuitive eating with the expectation of feeling amazing after every meal. Like taking care of a house, we should engage in general maintenance of our bodies but perfection is not necessary. Intuitive eating can support individuals who have grown up on fast food in improving their physical and mental health without disregarding their taste preferences. The idea of being addicted to sweets or struggling with binge eating disorder can be fueled by feelings of deprivation, even if the person is not objectively lacking in nutrition.

    Overcoming Emotional Restrictions: The Power of Intuitive Eating

    The emotional restriction around food, such as feeling shame and labeling oneself as bad for eating certain foods, can have a negative impact and keep individuals trapped in unhealthy behaviors. Deprivation and rigid ways of eating may not be effective alternatives for intuitive eating. Critics argue that restrictive diets may be necessary for extremely overweight individuals, but intuitive eating can still be an option regardless of body weight. Intuitive eating should not be limited to smaller bodies and can be beneficial for those with higher BMIs. It's important to prioritize psychological health and overall well-being over weight loss when considering someone's health. Rethinking the relationship with food and the body is essential, as strict restriction is unlikely to lead to long-term success.

    Embracing Health at Every Size: Prioritizing Well-being over Body Size

    The concept of 'health at every size' is about giving individuals the opportunity to pursue their own definition of health, without focusing solely on changing their body size. People in objectively fat bodies can still be healthy, while those struggling with health concerns shouldn't have weight loss forced upon them as the solution. Diets don't work long term, with a very low probability of attaining a 'normal weight' for those in obese bodies. The focus should be on supporting a person's health without depriving them of food and nutrients. Health at every size aims to create a world where individuals can prioritize their well-being through pleasurable movement, access to healthcare, and individual decisions about their bodies, rather than solely focusing on weight loss.

    The Misleading Perception of Ozempic as a Miracle Drug for Weight Loss

    The use of Ozempic as a miracle drug for permanent weight loss is misleading. While it may initially lead to weight loss, there are severe side effects and weight regain over time. People often start regaining weight while still taking the medication, and once they stop, they regain the lost weight. The way doctors treat patients who choose not to take this medication is concerning, as they may dismiss their valid concerns. Overall, there are significant concerns and discomfort surrounding the use of Ozempic. It is important to approach weight loss and medication with caution and consider alternative approaches to achieve healthy eating and sustainable weight management.

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    How To Handle Literally Anything | Sebene Selassie and Jeff Warren

    How To Handle Literally Anything | Sebene Selassie and Jeff Warren

    Debating the cliche: Does everything happen for a reason? Plus, the Meditation Party crew tackles equanimity, work/life balance, and meditation vs napping.


    Sebene Selassie describes herself as a “writer, teacher, and immigrant-weirdo.” She teaches meditation on the ten percent happier app and is the author of a great book called You Belong. She’s based in Brooklyn. 


    Jeff Warren is also a writer and a meditation teacher. He and Dan co-wrote the book, Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics. He also hosts the Consciousness Explorers podcast. He’s based in Toronto. 


    If you want to be part of the show, please call in with a question or comment. The number is 508-656-0540. Or you can email us with a voice memo at podcast@tenpercent.com with a voice memo. 



    Tickets for the two more Meditation Party retreats this year at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York are available now. The last one was a blast. Come join us for both. One is in May, the other October. 



    Related Episodes:

    How to Stay Calm No Matter What’s Happening | Sebene Selassie and Jeff Warren

    Meditation Party: The “Sh*t Is Fertilizer” Edition | Sebene Selassie & Jeff Warren

    Meditation Party with Sebene Selassie and Jeff Warren: Psychedelics, ADHD, Waking Up From Distraction, and Singing Without Being Self-Conscious

    Meditation Party: Magic, Mystery, Intuition, Tattoos, and Non-Efforting | Sebene Selassie and Jeff Warren

    Science-Based Tools for When You're Stressed, Obsessed, or Overthinking | Dr. Jenny Taitz



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    Full Shownotes: https://www.tenpercent.com/tph/podcast-episode/med-party-howtohandle


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