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Rachel Goodman- another Intuitive Eating Registered Dietitian on a mission to heal your relationship with food.
Rachel Goodman is a Brooklyn-based Intuitive Eating Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and mom of three.
Rachel understands the challenges of juggling life, work, and taking care of yourself and is passionate about helping women cultivate a healthy relationship with food and foster a positive body image through the lens of self-care and compassion so they can show up fully for their life and live at their highest potential.
Growing up, I did not always want to be a dietitian or have a career in general. My mother was a stay-at-home mom, so I always wanted to be one. I didn’t specifically not want a job but growing up the focus always was to get married and have kids so that was going to be my thing.
My earliest negative body image thought was when I was 9. I consciously remember not liking my size and myself because it’s related.
It started at the doctor’s office where I was weighed, and the doctor said it out loud. It wasn’t necessarily a big number but to me, as a 9-year-old it was a big number.
Another thing when I was also 9 years old was that girls in my class were saying their weight out loud. Everyone commented wow that’s so much, or so little. It’s crazy that girls this age were discussing this. Subconsciously the girls who said lower numbers were looked upon as better. When I said my number a girl said,” what you weigh that much?!”, she looked me up and down and then said, “yeah, that makes sense.” This was the first time I remember feeling some sort of shame about my size.
Around a year later, I saw a picture of myself at a certain angle and again I felt that shameful moment. When I was 11, I remember saying I am sick of this, and I decided I’m not going to eat snacks at recess.
I don’t know how but I understood at that age that eating less equals weight loss. I didn’t even notice the weight loss, but other people did and kept complimenting me. In retrospect, I think it was because I really grew a lot taller than.
Throughout high school, I tried many different diets. There were diet queens who either were big and lost a lot of weight or those who dieted for a long time and didn’t lose weight. Looking back now, it was because of body diversity, that is her body. I also remember a girl who ate soup all day and talked about it. A lot of girls in high school were dieting.
When I went to seminary in Israel, I had an incredible year. But it would have been much better if I didn’t have that cloud of food over me all of the time.
In seminary you are really in a diet culture bubble, everyone is trying different diets and having their “last supper” before they try the next diet. I love food so much but at the same time I was at war with my body and food, and it hijacked so many things in my life that I couldn’t enjoy fully.
After seminary, I was a dorm counselor, and I did the curriculum for a girl’s school. Then I started working at a doctor’s office as the receptionist. At that point my brain needed stimulation, so I was going to go to culinary school but I missed the deadline to apply so I decided to go to college.
At home, I am the oldest. Food and dieting were never discussed or spoken about in an extreme way. I remember my mother being on weight watchers and my father also being into a certain weight. When I was in 11th grade my mother gave me an “inspiring” weight loss book. So, it was definitely some sort of narrative in my home.
I think for me it came more from media and peers. I remember watching the little mermaid when I was 5 and wanting to be like her. I also wanted to be like the Disney princess. But they are so rail-thin that it’s not even achievable.
We have all seen the movies where a big girl with glasses and messy hair, loses weight, gets lenses and a nice haircut, and all of the sudden is well-liked. As kids are watching this, they get the message that people will like and value you if you are small. Even though it’s not outright, they still get understand that subtle message.
This is what I thought in high school. I thought people would like me more and I would be more confident if I was thinner. Looking back at what my figure was, I wasn’t big at all. The body image aspect we have of ourselves is usually something most of us have to deal with throughout our lives.
Once I decided to go to college, I wanted to go for nutrition because I had been thinking about it for a while and I was fascinated by more than just the body size.
I genuinely thought it was cool how nutrition affects our health, the food part of it and I love food and eating, so it was a combination of many things that pushed me to do a career in nutrition.
After I became a Registered Dietitian, I was still not aware of the Intuitive Eating model. I understood some of the concepts but not within the model. I started a private practice right away which grew by word of mouth. I was focusing on weight loss, but something wasn’t lining up. If a client lost a pound or two it was just like great job and continue. There was no discussion of how is your body feeling? If they gained weight, they were so guilty and would try to figure out what was wrong with them.
When they would overeat or binge, I would coach them through that. Sometimes I would look at what their eating and see that their eating well but are not losing weight. So, I started feeling like a failure because I am not giving them what they came for-weight loss.
A few months later I read the Intuitive eating book. At first, it was boring but once you get into it it makes so much sense. I started doing it for myself. At that point, I realized that focusing on weight loss is not for me. But people were still coming to me for weight loss. So, I would tell them the scale is optional…
It took me around 4 months to fully transition to Intuitive Eating. I was nervous about who would come to me because people want weight loss.
But I couldn’t do it anymore, so I switched to Intuitive Eating. I still remember my first client; I was like yay she agreed to come to see me. It felt so much better and aligned for me. You have to do what’s right for you.
With Intuitive Eating, you have to spend time explaining to people the value of making peace with food. Because it’s so much more than making peace with food when you think about all of the brain space it takes up. When you go out for ice cream with your kids, so you tell yourself you won’t eat anything but sugar-free. Then you end up eating from your kids and coming home and binging because you didn’t satisfy yourself. Think of how much energy and space that takes up.
When your at peace with food, you trust yourself. I will go to the ice cream store and if I want ice cream I’ll get it, if not I won’t. Sometimes you will and sometimes you won’t and either way you will move on with your life and have wonderful memories.
So, it’s very important for me to explain to my clients the value of food freedom. It’s ultimately so that you are in tune with your values, living life fully, and loving and caring for yourself even if you don’t love your body.
When I switched over to Intuitive Eating, I did get some pushback from people close to me. They would tell me, “But weight loss sells.” It was very painful when I tried to explain to a close family member what I do, and they said than your not a dietitian. I was so hurt.
I think it’s so sad that the world views dietitians as losing weight. It’s much more than that, it’s your life, health, and happiness.
(Gila) It can be very hard for a client who is making great strides and gaining headspace because of Intuitive Eating. But at the same time, they are having a very hard time accepting that they are fat. Evelyn Tribole told me that I can’t internalize that. It’s hard to accept, let them be uncomfortable in their body and recognize that. Tell them to bring that to their therapist if they need to.
It’s not your responsibility what your body size is. It’s your responsibility to care for yourself and treat your body in a way that will help it function best- adequate sleep, movement, nourishing nutrient-dense foods, and enjoying cake in a way that doesn’t make you feel guilty about it.
That’s your responsibility. What happens to your weight is not your responsibility. Some people as a result will lose weight, some will gain weight, and some will stay the same. Recognize that you need to stop blaming yourself for what happens to your body because you can’t determine your genetics, or someone has a medical condition.
How can we go from I hate my body and therefore don’t like myself to one level up of being ok with your body and knowing that I can like myself regardless of how I feel about myself.
The goal is liberation, you’re just freeing yourself from constantly taking responsibility for what your body size wants you to do. Your responsibility is to take care of yourself and know that you are worthy because if you don’t like something we don’t take care of it. If you’re constantly hating and shaming yourself, how will you live a healthy life? Guilt is stressful, stress is not healthy. You have to look at health holistically, food and nutrients count, but that’s not all that counts.
Body image is the one thing I think we talk about the most. The goal is not to get to a place where you never have a negative body image. The goal is not to get distressed by it and how to move on from it.
If it’s something that’s much more deeply rooted, a child who was repeatedly shamed for their size, therapy can be helpful. Especially a therapist experienced with body image and eating disorders. Finding someone who aligns with you is important.
Rachel has a very successful business and a thriving Instagram account that we spoke about next.
I can talk about food, but most people know the difference nutritionally between an apple and a donut. If it was just about knowledge, people wouldn’t be struggling. When you eat four donuts it’s not because you don’t have willpower, it’s something deeper than that. That’s why I focus on really understanding and aligning yourself with your body. There is a place for gentle nutrition but if you make it the be-all end all you won’t be living your life.
My Instagram account was never about a certain number on it. Originally it was just private practice and once I was in it, I wanted to do more and more and inspiration just comes to you. I didn’t have a vision. I knew I wanted to grow my following, but it was more the people I was working with and how can I communicate this value to people and to help them that dieting is not the way.
It blows my mind when someone sends me a message that I changed their life, and I don’t even notice that they are liking my pictures or following.
I think when you continuously show up for people you don’t know whose life you are impacting. On Instagram we see numbers, but there are people behind those numbers. So, if you have 100 or 100,000 followers in a room, imagine if you are only changing that one person’s life, it’s so impactful and special.
I can never get enough messages like these. Honestly, as a dietitian surrounded by diet culture, it does get to my head every once in a while. Will this ever change? Will we ever change this diet culture? I think it will always be around, but we can start to make it louder. I don’t take any message for granted. This is why I am doing this. It’s changing people’s lives. Diet culture is loud, that’s why I have so much compassion for my clients.
I understand them. I will never come from a place of you should lose weight and just accept your body. There’s so much compassion and understanding that your desiring weight loss doesn’t mean that you can’t have food freedom.
It’s really about what you desire most. Do you want to continue chasing that thinner ideal at what cost? Has it made you healthier or happier until now? Or can you acknowledge the fact that you wish you were smaller, but you know what’s more important is being at peace with your body? Being able to go out to eat without having your day revolve around it or baking freely.
I remember when I was dieting, I remembered every bite I ate and how much exercise I did. Now it’s funny, it will be late afternoon and I won’t remember what I had for breakfast because I just had it. I didn’t think about it too much.
This is what Intuitive Eating does for you!
Rachel Goodman is a Brooklyn, NY based Intuitive Eating Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Mom of 3. Rachel understands the challenges of juggling life, work, and taking care of yourself and is passionate about helping women cultivate a healthy relationship with food and foster a positive body image through the lens of self care and compassion, so they can show up fully for their life and live at their highest potential.
Rachel does 1 on 1 coaching and has 2 online courses available for women seeking to make peace with food, health, and body image for improved overall quality of life.
She is also the host of the More Than What You Eat Podcast available on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Play.
Rachel holds a degree in Health & Nutrition Sciences. She uses her knowledge, experience, and skills, together with her whole-person approach, to help clients live a healthy life from a place of peace, joy, and trust. You can find her and follow her on instagram, her favorite social platform: instagram.com/dietitian.rachelgoodman
You can download her free guide: 3 Steps to Stop Feeling Out of Control with Food here: https://rachelgoodmanrd.kartra.com/pa…
Rachel Goodman, RD CDN
Podcast: More Than What You Eat
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Check out the rest of this website www.gilaglassberg.com to read more blog posts like this one.
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-Gila Glassberg, MS, RDN, CDN, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor
If you are ready to make peace with food and never say diet again, check out my website https://gilaglassberg.com and apply for a free 20 minute clarity call. I look forward to hearing from you!
Or listen on podcast here: https://open.spotify.com/episode/2JlvmuzuBHjlltRYEUImVr?si=7a58f0bd88cb4f23
Gila Glassberg is a Master's level registered dietitian and a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. As a teenager, she was faced with constant diet talk, body shaming and obsessive guilt around food. She struggled with disordered eating. This is what propelled her into the field of nutrition. She uses a non-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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