Q+A On Intuitive Eating

Our first ever CHAARG x Intuitive Eating Course has started… but, *hopefully* this is the first of many courses! In this post, Julie Ohlemacher [our intuitive eating + body image coach for the course!] are answering all of your questions on the course + intuitive eating.

PSA: Bummed that you didn’t join? Add your name to the Waitlist to be notified on future intuitive eating courses!

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How will the courses work?

The program is 6 weeks long — each week, Julie will walk you through her intuitive eating program, step-by-step via video content, to empower you to make peace with food, exercise + your body. Along with the weekly videos, you’ll get a weekly newsletter, meditations + action steps to help you embody the teachings you learn. You’ll also get access to our private Slack channel, where Julie will be to support you, answer questions + coach you through challenges. AAAND, you’ll have 4 opportunities to join Julie live for group coaching calls, where we’ll come together as a community to connect, learn + grow. You can check out the weekly content themes here!

How do you balance not restricting yourself with taking care of health conditions?

Great question! We’ll dive deep into the nuances of this within the course. With intuitive eating, we dial into having full-permission to eat any + all foods. This ultimately gives us the power to choose what we want to eat based on how we know it will make us feel. If you know that certain foods will harm your body due to a medical condition, you likely wouldn’t want to choose those foods from a place of love + care, rather than restriction. Truly, it’s a game-changing mindset swap that empowers everyone to have a healthy, peaceful relationship with food + their bodies! Intuitive eating is about honoring your own unique body, you are the expert on you!

It feels like body image issues are so common… I’m worried nothing will really fix it?

I totally get that. Body image issues are so common, because diet culture and the beauty industry [among others, woof] have a vested [billion dollar!] interest in us believing that our bodies are never good enough so that we keep buying their products. But there absolutely is a way for us to heal. The work here is about being empowered to choose our thoughts, beliefs + values. It’s about returning to our inherent worth. It’s about seeing ourselves as human beings, rather than objects. It’s about building resilience when body image triggers come our way. Yes: you can do it!

Have you worked with girls in eating disorder recovery?

Yes! Many! Typically they’re well into recovery, when they’ve gotten to a point where they know this is the next right step for them. Some will be working with an eating disorder dietician or therapist in conjunction with this work, too.

How can intuitive eating help with my tendency of overeating + mindless snacking?

Most of us overeat because our inner rebel is turned on. We think we’re being bad, + thus rebel + keep eating. We think we shouldn’t eat X, + thus rebel + keep eating. Or, we aren’t eating enough, + then when we DO eat, we feel out of control + can’t stop. Whatever the case, having food rules + a restrictive mindset is what causes us to eat past the point of fullness. When we make peace with food, we become empowered to eat in a way that feels good in our bodies. Eating past the point of fullness largely subsides! [*But remember, we’re human! Sometimes we may eat past the point of fullness as intuitive eaters, + that’s okay! This is never about being *perfect*]. As for mindless snacking — you’ll become more intentional with your eating, so that when you do want to snack, you’ll be present + enjoy it!

What should the takeaways of this course be?

While everyone will have their own unique experience with this course, we will be working towards:
+ Ditching the harmful all-or-nothing diet mentality
+ Reconnecting to your body’s wisdom, including being able to listen to + honor our body’s hunger+ fullness cues + cravings
+ Build deep + meaningful trust with our bodies
+ Develop respect for our bodies
+ Routinely nourish ourselves in an easy way that feels good
+ Build lifelong self-care practices from eating to exercise to mindfulness + rest
+ Shift into a place of body love + appreciation
+ Build an exercise routine that is based in love + gratitude rather than shame + fixing
+ Build resilience to combat hard body image days
+ Become more rooted in your inherent worth + value as a human being
+ Make peace with food + feel empowered to eat in a way that feels best to you
+ Overcome binge tendencies
+ Overcome food rules + restriction mindset to build a healthy relationship with food
+ Improve overall health + wellbeing: mentally, physically and emotionally
… +  many more!

I’m a little scared that if I commit to intuitive eating that I’ll eventually just overindulge… 

Totally get that! I was scared of that, too. Truly most people are! But the truth is: we *overindulge* because we have food rules. When we work through the evidence-based process of intuitive eating, we learn how to make peace with food + then feel empowered in our food choices. Would it be intuitive [aka feel good] to eat past the point of fullness all the time? Nope, that wouldn’t feel good! Intuitively, we don’t want to feel physically unwell. + thus, as intuitive eaters, we don’t often choose that. Just like it wouldn’t feel good to only eat pizza, it also doesn’t feel good to only eat kale. Intuitive eating is about helping ourselves feel as good as possible, as often as possible. It’s never about being perfect, but about living a life attuned to our bodies needs, to the best of our abilities. Making peace with food gives us the empowerment to do that with ease.

What are you looking forward to teaching the most in this course?

I love getting to empower women to free themselves from the trap of diet culture, from the constant stress of food rules. I love seeing women reconnect to their bodies, their intuition + their worth. They start living lives aligned with their core values, they start speaking up for themselves + living life on purpose. It may sound crazy, but these are all things we access as we break up with diet culture + do intuitive eating work. That’s what I’m most excited about. If I can help more college-aged women heal their relationship with food, body, exercise, + self, AND help them jumpstart their lives from this empowered place? Well, that lights my whole being on fire!

How did your journey start?

My journey started by hitting my own rock bottom [learn more about my story here!]. I was obsessed with exercise + had very strict [read: completely disordered] rules with food. Things had gotten too far… my pursuit of health was anything but. I had my wakeup call as a sophomore in college + began my journey of recovery. I thought having a normal, easy relationship with food + exercise would be impossible for me. How happy I am to say I was wrong. My life is so much bigger, healthier + joyful now that I’ve come out on the other side. It was a long road, but I did it, + I love empowering other women to do the same.

How is intuitive eating different from dieting?

Intuitive eating is literally the opposite of dieting. When we are on a diet, we are following someone else’s rules whether it’s how much we can eat, what we can eat, or when we can eat. With intuitive eating, we throw out the rule book [because we know it ALWAYS backfires] + reconnect with our body’s wisdom. We were all born intuitive eaters, this process simply returns us to that. Unlike a diet, you can’t fail intuitive eating. It’s not all or nothing. We see every time we eat as an opportunity to learn + grow. Intuitive eating allows us to be human [read: imperfect + messy!]. In intuitive eating, you no longer follow someone else’s rules, you become the expert of your own body + life. Only YOU know what feels good in your body + you become empowered to live from that place of empowerment. Keep in mind that intuitive eating is an evidence-based process. It includes 10 principles that all work together to support you in reconnecting to your body. There are also 100s of studies showing the positive health impacts of intuitive eating!

Any tips for intuitive eating while on meds with side effects that suppress hunger cues?

While it may be harder to eat fully intuitively while on meds that suppress hunger cues, we can absolutely support you in doing so. Even if you don’t have obvious hunger cues — we can work together to figure out what feels good in your body, as, even without the cues: your body still needs food! Every person’s journey is different, but we can meet you exactly where you’re at + help you find your own, unique way!

I have a family member who is constantly concerned with calories! Advice?

Always have compassion: we all live in diet culture, + it’s hard space to navigate! I fall back on this: every act is an act OF love, or a cry FOR love. So often, when we’re dieting [counting calories] it’s a cry for love. What I know to be true about intuitive eating, is that you have to be ready for it [at least a little!]. We can’t force others to ditch dieting + begin an intuitive eating journey. But we can plant little seeds during conversations… things like, “I’ve been learning about intuitive eating… did you know that counting calories often backfires + ends up hurting us? I thought that was so interesting when I learned it” — or something like that. You can also recommended podcasts, books, articles to gently introduce them to intuitive eating. OR — if their counting calories is harming you, then it’s time to set some loving boundaries, asking them to please not mention calories around you. We’ll get into this more in the program!

What are your tips on how to eat healthy while on a budget/with a busy schedule?

Yes! Intuitive eating will help you learn what foods [in all budgets] feel best in your body AND how to honor your body even when you’re busy! Sometimes it just takes extra planning + intention, so, for instance, readily having your favorite, easy, satisfying snacks available so that you can grab them on the go, +/or, being sure to have super satisfying meals that will hold you over if you know it’s going to be a crazy day! Sometimes it’s even about asking ourselves what are our top priorities in this current season of life + intentionally giving our time to those priorities [sometimes that may be things like exercise or mealtimes, + other seasons maybe not, that’s okay!].
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Want more? Listen to Julie on The CHAARG Podcast — Episode #110… one of our most downloaded episodes ever! : )

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