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Frequently asked questions about Intuitive Eating – Yael Trusch, of Jewish Latin Princess interviews ME!

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I had the honor and privilege of being interviewed on Yael Trusch’s famous podcast- Jewish Latin Princess. I thought this would be a very appropriate podcast to put out as a celebration of my 30th episode on the pod. Yael is a great interviewer and she asked poignant questions. This is a great interview to listen to or read through especially if you are new to Intuitive Eating and you want to learn to basics. So many questions come up when learning about this new approach and it is important to get those questions answered, clarified and crystallized.

Here it is!

Growing up, Gila’s mother made sure that Gila and her 8 siblings were fed, not necessarily with healthy food, so Gila was never aware of the concept of eating healthy. When Gila went away for high school, her friends were constantly dieting and talking about how fat they were, so Gila thought she must be doing this as well. After she lost no weight on any diet, she decided to eat as little as possible. When this resulted in weight loss, and she began to receive compliments, her negative habits were reinforced. Gila didn’t realize that she was experiencing disordered eating until she went on a trip with her friends who saw how she was eating and confronted her about it. Gila’s friends saw negative behaviors in her, that alerted them to the fact that she was experiencing disordered eating, such as skipping meals. Her friends pointed out to her that just because she was losing weight didn’t mean that she was healthy. After this, Gila was still weighing herself many times a day, checking nutrition facts, and not eating in places where she thought the food wasn’t healthy, but she wasn’t in a dangerous place anymore. She still engaged in disordered eating (but didn’t know it) for many years until she learned about Intuitive Eating.

In 11th grade, Gila decided she wanted to be a nutritionist, without knowing anything about the field. She didn’t know anyone in the field and she didn’t know that a nutritionist is different from a registered dietitian. To become a nutritionist, there is no actual credentialing. To become a registered dietitian, you have to go to school for many years, learn many sciences, and get into a one year unpaid internship to work in the field. Gila was nervous because there was so much science and she knew it would be hard to achieve her goal, but she really wanted to help Jewish women. After receiving her Master’s, she began to work in a nursing home, where medical nutrition therapy is practiced. Based on each patient’s condition, they are placed on specific diets and restricted to certain calories. The shame that we put on the way people make food choices, is where there is a problem. Gila didn’t want to have to tell sick residents not to eat another donut. She wanted to help people enjoy their food, not become the food police.

Gila went to see a therapist named Perel Abromowitz, who lectures on parenting and marriage. Gila explained to Perel how unfulfilled she felt from her job. While she was sure nutrition was a field she wanted to pursue, she felt like something was missing. She wanted to help frum women so badly but didn’t feel like she was accomplishing that. Perel introduced her to intuitive eating. The book “Intuitive Eating” is written by two registered dietitians. The book is well researched and is full of nutrition knowledge. Gila read the book and it resonated with her on a deep level. Gila related to the book because she had experienced the restrict-binge cycle, where you restrict yourself from certain foods, begin to binge on what you can’t have and then feel guilt and shame regarding your body. Social media promotes one or two of the intuitive eating principles, when in reality there are 10. Intuitive eating is not simply eating whatever you want and being happy with your body, but there are more factors at play in the process.

Gila has noticed among her clients that most people don’t picture their body in a positive light. It’s universal that people don’t feel good about their bodies. The dieting industry is feeding off of society’s large insecurity of not being good enough.Dieting doesn’t work for long term weight loss; there is often a genetic component that makes your body a certain size. Instead of beating yourself up, Gila tells her clients to ask themselves, what has your body done for you today? Did you make dinner? Did you work? Have a child? If somebody has been on a diet, they turn off their intuitive cues because a diet tells you what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat. Gila has learned to give the power to the client because each person knows how their body works. You can’t be the expert on someone else’s body because each person is different.

Gila has found an order in the 10 steps of intuitive eating that tend to work for her clients. Rejecting the diet mentality is number one. Next is to honor your hunger and feel your fullness. Gila gives her clients a hunger-fullness scale which is a scale from 0-10; 0 is primal hunger and 10 is overly stuffed. When you start eating at a 0 or 1, you tend to eat until a 9 or 10. Many people do this everyday without realizing. These people don’t eat all day so they end up overeating and feeling out of control later on. It’s important to talk about physical signs of hunger and fullness and eat every 2-3 hours. In addition, not using food to cope with your emotions is an important component of intuitive eating. This includes practicing self care such as therapy or going out with a friend.

With regard to our children, we want to teach them the proper way to eat without forcing them to feel self-conscious about the choices they make. In order to accomplish this, the parent decides what’s given to the child and the child decides how much and if any. Gila will put food on the table without saying a word and has seen amazing results. When Gila used to tell her daughter what to eat, her daughter didn’t want any healthy food. Now that Gila puts all different foods on the table without forcing anything, her daughter will take what she wants. Always make sure there’s a food that your child likes on the table. This gives your children autonomy to determine how hungry or full they are and what they can eat. The more you model choosing healthier food and not feeling shame or guilt surrounding your food choices and your body, your kids will come to that. The best thing we can do for our kids is to reassure them that we trust their choices. (This is called “The Division of Responsibility,” created by dietitian and social worker, Ellyn Satter.)

Gila has learned that when you practice interpersonal work, you need to connect to your client, otherwise you won’t do your best work and they won’t refer you. If you’re ready to change and have a more meaningful life because dieting has stolen so much from you, these are the people that Gila is ready to help. 90% of people really just want weight loss. Gila has to remember that she’s just planting seeds. As a dietitian, she has to remember that many people are simply looking for weight loss, not a change in lifestyle. It was hard for her in the beginning when people didn’t want to hear this but now she is seeing a growth in her business.

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Gila Glassberg is a Master's level registered dietitian and a certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. Asa teenager, she was faced with constant ha talk, body shaming and obsessive guilt around food, she smuggled with disordered eating.This is what propelled her into the field of nutrition. She uses a on-diet, weight-neutral approach called Intuitive Eating. She helps growth oriented women break out of chronic dieting, and regain clarity into what is really important to them.

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