When I first became a dietitian in 2013, I knew I wanted to start a private practice, but I wasn’t sure how to approach my work with clients. I wanted to teach people to eat whole, real food that made them feel good. And I wanted to help people to enjoy – not dread exercise. I also knew I didn’t want to use a calorie based approach, because that wasn’t sustainable, and I was not going to teach something I didn’t believe in just because that’s what most everyone else was doing. Plus – in addition to sucking the joy out of food, research was showing that diets don’t work, anyway – and in fact are indicators of long term weight gain. I was also finding that they seemed to set people up for a lot of binging and all or nothing mentality.
So I started helping my clients to make small, gradual changes in their daily lives. We set actionable goals at the end of each session, let those goals become habits, and then any eventual weight loss was the side effect of that behavior change. But I wanted to do more – while those goals and small habit changes made a difference, and I still use them in my client sessions, something was missing – the emotional component. How could I help people move away from the diet approach and embrace a kinder, more natural form of eating that didn’t involve guilt and restriction (and subsequent binging as a result of that restriction)? How could I help people to approach food in a way that was joyful, not fearful – but still help them to eat in a way that made them feel healthier and happier?
The answer was intuitive eating. When I found out about intuitive eating, I had this “ah-ha” moment like “Wow! This is how I eat – I didn’t realize there was a term for it!” I started by reading the Intuitive Eating book written by dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, and shortly after moved on to taking a virtual Intuitive Eating training course led by Evelyn Tribole that taught fellow dietitians how to counsel clients using the Intuitive Eating framework. Everything clicked into place, and I really felt like I had found my calling. Helping clients to find the joy in food and exercise and seeing them get healthier and happier without stress or deprivation was amazing and so rewarding.
I love working with clients one-on-one through my AnneTheRD private practice and will continue to do so, but about a year ago I started thinking that I would love to create a group program for intuitive eating – something that would allow me to reach more people at once, and that would allow the participants to engage with and continue to support each other, too.
Around the same time as I was considering trying to launch a group program (but completely overwhelmed at the thought of doing it alone), I started finding other dietitians who had the same philosophy. Two of those dietitians are Rachael Hartley and Alex Caspero, who I first met at Blog Brulee.
I connected with Rachael and Alex again at FNCE (the big annual dietitian conference) last year, and at one point Rachael mentioned offhand that she and Alex were in the beginning phases of creating a group intuitive and mindful eating program. I said that sounded amazing and was something I’d thought about doing too, and then we arrived at whatever event we were walking to and moved on to other conversations, but I kept thinking about it. Finally, a few weeks later, I went out on a ledge and emailed Rachael. The gist of the email was: “I know you said you and Alex were creating this program, and if you are already too far along in the process or for any other reason not into the idea, that’s totally cool, but: can I join to help you create and launch it?”
The rest is history. Lucky for me (and lucky that I didn’t wait any longer to email about it), they were just about to have their first call regarding the project and more than happy to have me on board. We got to work quickly, having twice a month video calls which then turned into once a week video calls to talk about the program and our progress. In between those calls, we assigned each other tasks to tackle and communicated constantly via email. It has been a phenomenal amount of work but having two smart and like-minded dietitians writing and working on it with me made all the difference. And now, many months later, our program is just about ready and we could not be more thrilled to share it with you.
Introducing: Joyful Eating, Nourished Life.
If you are:
- Overwhelmed by conflicting diet advice
- Feeling extreme guilt when eating certain foods
- Struggling with lack of energy despite trying to eat healthy and exercise
- Experiencing periods of uncontrolled or binge eating
- Feeling uncomfortable in your own body
- Turning to food in times of stress or sadness
- Out of touch with your body’s hunger and fullness cues
- Sick and tired of calorie counting and following rigid diets that leave you feeling exhausted, depleted and like a failure because they just don’t work!
This is the program for you.
More information to come – but if you are at all interested in the program, please take a look at our Joyful Eating, Nourished Life website and sign up for the email list you’ll find there. Our first 6 week session will tentatively start on June 20, and if you’re on our email list, you’ll be the first to know when you can sign up.
Here’s to joyful eating and nourished lives, my friends! Please share this around if you know anyone you think would benefit from this program – and thank you in advance for your support!
What food makes you happiest? For me, it totally depends on the day! Sometimes it’s a burger and fries and sometimes it’s a huge salad. But a drippy ice cream cone on a hot summer day while out having an adventure – that pretty much always takes the prize. <3