CHICAGO (WGN) – What is an antidote?
It is a practice based on self-care, not deprivation, designed to help practitioners adjust their diet culture and adjust to their body. Those who relate to recovery say they digest food, not mixed messages.
Debbie Haywood is an intuitive nutritionist. She said she has struggled with her weight and body image for the past 50 years.
“It captured my life – most of my life,” she said. “I think it took up too much of my time, energy and space and made me sad and unhappy for a very, very long time.”
And now at 63, Haywood has said she’s done.
“I didn’t want to live like that for the rest of my life,” she said.
Over the past three years, she has adopted what is known as intuitive nutrition. Registered nutritionist and social worker Kate Merkel is leading the Haywood process.
“For many people, it’s like a breath of fresh air,” Merkel said. “It’s really liberating.”
Merkel, who says she once battled an eating disorder, discovered the philosophy back in college.
“In fact, it’s about embracing and accepting your body the way it is, but also doing the work of tuning. What do you need for this? ” Said Merkel.
Merkel now shares the principles of what is also called the anti-diet approach in her Nutrition works practice in northern Chicago.
“I really live by that philosophy,” she said. “It saved my life. … In our world there are so many tsunamis of dietary culture, a huge wave of dietary culture ”.
And many are drowning, burdened by the constant crush of external and internal messages. Merkel said her clients often repeat the same patterns of thinking:
- “I need to starve to lose weight”
- “Certain products are harmful”
- “Subtlety equals health”
- “I can’t lose weight, so I’m a loser”
- “Being fat is bad”
- “I need a structured diet plan”
For some, intuitive nutrition can be a lifesaver.
“It really brings people back to their lives,” Merkel said.
The approach is not a license to abstain from food, nor is it about avoiding certain foods and limiting calories. Rather, it is a connection with hunger and satiety. Said Merkel view the process as a pressure gauge on the fuel side.
When we become cranky or irritable, Merkel said, diet culture “tells us that you can overcome it. Just take a diet soda.
Instead, Merkel said, “light hunger” is the best signal for food.
“I want to help people get permission to eat when they notice it early,” she said.
From there, she said, tune in across the spectrum.
“We want fullness and pleasure,” she said, but not too full, because then we beat ourselves up.
“A spiral of shame can happen around: ‘I shouldn’t have eaten so much.’ But in reality it was a biological reaction to such a famine, ”Merkel said.
Questions she asks herself during each meal:
- What do I want to eat?
- Want something warm?
- I want to bite something?
- Do I want a drink this morning?
“And I do it for every meal, so I’m connected to what I eat so that I know I value my body,” Haywood said.
Registered nutritionist Yolanda Cartwright has helped develop a nutrition program to combat hypertension in the communities she serves on the West Side of Chicago.
“If people don’t support this idea of ideal body weight, it is unlikely that an intervention developed in the traditional way will work,” she said. “What we do in our work, we try to move away from an approach where everything is so brutal.”
She added: “We don’t focus on the fats you eat and the calories you eat and the carbs you eat, but we think more globally about diet – things like limiting processed foods and eating more fruits and vegetables. And when you do these things, you feel like you have more energy. Do you feel happier? ”
A researcher at Rush University said the principle of intuitive nutrition – mindfulness – is a critical component of her model.
“Those of us who eat have long known that the brain has this wonderful ability to control appetite,” she said.
Linda Van Horn, Ph.D., is a professor of preventive medicine and head of the Department of Nutrition in Northwestern Medicine.
“I feel right about you and the rules don’t necessarily either / or how much I’m worried,” she said.
She said the practice of intuitive nutrition has its benefits when people consume foods rich in nutrients, especially those recommended by established dietary guidelines.
“I agree that it would be great if people stopped eating when they are no longer hungry,” she said. “This is a serious cause of our problem with overweight and obesity in this country. … But if those calories come from food in which these nutrients are missing in vitamins and minerals, and other things that we know are associated with a healthier outcome and less risk of disease, then it’s a shame. ”
Haywood said she’s not worried.
“I can trust myself, and I don’t need anyone to tell me what my body needs, they don’t know me,” Haywood said.
She said she no longer steps on the scales but knows her numbers.
“I’m healthy, my labs are good,” she said. “The freedom I feel and the joy I feel now are so different from getting up every morning feeling unhappy. Your body, my body is not leading me down the wrong path. If I listen, I’m fine. “
Food is not the only factor. Nutritionists say that sleep, stress, physical activity and hydration – all this should be considered when it comes to general well-being.