In my line of work, you tend to meet people from many different backgrounds within the world of health, wellness and nutrition and this lovely lady and friend, is someone I can call the duchess of intuitive eating, helping women break free from the vicious cycle of dieting.
I have had the pleasure of running workshops with Caitlin and wanted to share her expertise with the world as I am proud of what she has achieved and chuffed to have her as part of my mama-tribe! So, here’s us talking about all things intuitive eating and her Food Freedom Challenge starting October 16th!
As a health coach, I know you focus on teaching women Intuitive Eating. For those that aren’t familiar, can you explain what it’s all about?
Intuitive eating is all about re-learning how to trust your internal instincts around food. Unfortunately, our eating habits have been negatively shaped by society telling us what to eat and how to look, and we’ve forgotten that we innately know how to feed and nourish ourselves properly. You often hear that you get to “eat whatever you want” with intuitive eating, which is true. But, you have to take the time to learn what you actually want and need to eat. You quickly find out that most of the time, you want food that will give you the energy you need to do the things you love. And the rest of the time, you may want to bring some excitement to those tastebuds!
Intuitive eating is a non-restrictive approach to food. All food is neutral – food is food – and from there, you get to choose what will best suit your needs. To become an intuitive eater, you have to also love and trust your body, as well as know how to take care of your unique self. Because if those aren’t in place, you could very well be using food to distract yourself from the real problem.
Who do you tend to work with?
I mostly work with women that have been on and off the dieting roller coaster. Women that have tried to lose weight, but can never get results that last. I work with emotional eaters and women who have a negative body image. I work with them to repair their relationship with food by getting rid of the dieting mentality, teach them how to love and take care of their bodies, and guide them to design a life they love (because food is so intertwined into our lives!).
So what’s your story?
I started dieting at the age 12, when I first realised that I was a bit chubbier than the other girls. I learned about the Weight Watchers point system, and off I went! A calorie counting, fad dieting fool I was for the next fifteen years. There was always a “last supper” before the diet, then a few weeks of strict dieting, followed by the disappointment in myself when the cookies called my name and weight started to creep back on. My highest and lowest weight ranged 30 pounds. It was definitely not a physically healthy route and it was even more detrimental to my mental state. I was never happy with my body and I had this crazy relationship with food, leaving me feeling completely out of control around it.
Once I found intuitive eating and realised that you don’t have to diet to be healthy and love your body, I wanted to tell the whole world! I had so many friends still on the diet roller coaster, and so many acquaintances that talked negatively about their body, that I knew I had to share this way of eating. That’s when I went back to school and became a health coach.
It sounds like you are passionate about not dieting. Can you tell us, why don’t diets work?
There are too many reasons why diets don’t work to list them all! But I’ll give you a few. When you restrict the amount of food that goes into your body, you are telling your body that there isn’t enough food available at the moment, so your body goes into starvation mode and stores fat. Think of the olden days when there wasn’t much food in the winter; they would naturally eat more in the summer when food was a plenty in order to store up for winter.
Because your body is trained to eat more when food is available after restriction, you binge eat. Your body can’t help but feel the need to eat as much as possible when food is available again. It’s not your fault that you binge eat! It is your body’s natural reaction. The problem lies when you go on and off diets; your body is told that it could go into starvation mode at any minute, so it tries its best to store the fat. Which completely messes up your metabolism, slowing it down, and making it harder for you to lose weight and keep it off.
Besides the physical aspect, there is the mental aspect of dieting that doesn’t work. Tell me I can’t have a cookie for a month, and all I can think about is a cookie until I get one…and then I might indulge in five. But if a cookie is always available, maybe I only have a couple throughout the whole month because it’s not off-limits.
What’s your best piece of advice for someone that wants to start eating intuitively?
I think the first thing to start with to become an intuitive eater is to create awareness around how you eat.
- Are you eating for the right reasons, from hunger, or true desire? Or are you eating to comfort yourself from a certain emotion?
- Are you eating foods that you truly enjoy, or are you eating them because you think you “should”?
- Do food stories pop up in your head every time you eat, like “carbs are bad” or “I shouldn’t eat after 8pm”?
- Are you eating so fast that you barely notice you’ve eaten?
Once you start creating awareness around how you eat, you will be able to notice what areas you might need to change up a bit to create a healthier relationship with food.
If you realise you might need some help in this area, you can join me for a free Food Freedom Challenge where you will learn to stop stressing about food and start enjoying each and every bite!
Caitlin Ball is a holistic health coach and food blogger, helping women repair their relationship with food by getting rid of the diet mentality and adding in delicious whole foods and excitement to their life. She can’t imagine life without dark chocolate or red wine, and she doesn’t think anyone should have to! Visit her blog, teaspoon living, where she shares seasonal, healthy recipes and provides inspiration for a healthy life outside of the kitchen. Caitlin support clients personally on their health journey, as well as in groups. To learn more, visit her page and fill out the contact sheet to get the conversation about your health and happiness started today!