24 - Responsive Eating with Dr. Ashley White, MD

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I know you will love this conversation with Dr. Ashley White, MD, creator of the Responsive Eating™ methodology.

Ashley White is a leader in challenging diet dogma. Her work with Responsive Eating ™ encourages a critical shift in how we eat and understand our appetites.

As a trusted coach, doctor, educator, and parent, Dr. Ashley White’s mission is to use her signature methodology of Responsive Eating™ to facilitate appetite literacy so that people in larger bodies can unlearn, push back against, and liberate themselves from diet culture.

She is a certified life and wellness coach, and has specialties in family, emergency and obesity medicine. Her Appetite Coaching practice enables clients to leverage Appetite Literacy to transform their lives.

In this episode we discuss how Dr. Ashley came up with this methodology, and her deepened understanding of how our brains respond to food and wanting to help us make decisions aligned with our values.

We discuss "eating into wanting" and how we make decisions about what we want to eat and how we start and stop these cycles, and the discomfort of stopping. Using curiosity about these cycles, and not attaching meaning to our wanting, or labeling ourselves as bad for wanting. Understanding the brain science helps us let go of our judgment around wanting.

Food brings us a lot of pleasure because of our brain chemistry. And we can invite our discerning brain into the decisions that we make, using a "zoom out" of our life to help us see where we may be eating into wanting.

The POP methodology is Pause, Observe, Proceed. It involves a brief pause using the breath, activating the decision-making part of our brain. Our appetite can then receive feedback from our noticing brain. We can bring our attention to the eating experience, notice what we are eating, and our feelings about it. Then we can decide how we want to proceed.

We cover how the environment can influence our eating, and we have permission to do what we want to do, once we allow a space to decide.

Dr. Ashley described her process of creating an avatar for her hunger by giving it a character name, Olaf. This allows her to have a conversation with her hunger rather than identifying with it. Our appetites are just getting their needs met, and often our habitual behaviors are just below our awareness.

We discuss the adaptation of the brain that makes our body more sensitive to weight loss than to weight gain. This helps us understand why weight tends to be progressive, as we get stuck in pattern loops. All of our hormones play a role here.

Dr. Ashley discusses the concept of life weight, best weight, and ideal weight. Being heavier does not mean we are unhealthy, and throughtout our lives, we often have different weights throughout our life span. Appetite is dynamic, and at times, there is some variation to what we can easily maintain depending on our hormonal balance in various life stages.

Weight gain doesn't necessarily mean our life is falling apart. For people in larger bodies, getting to an "ideal weight" as defined by BMI may not be sustainable.

Environmental and lifestyle design is one of the concepts she helps her clients understand, so we are invited to plan ahead so we can eat nourishing food that keeps us focused and awake. We are balancing priorities and making sure we develop habits that support eating responsively without tons of effort or willpower.

Using a somatic wisdom lens, we are encouraged not to track meals but to get feedback on the somatic cues of energy, mobility and comfort after the meals to help us decide what we want to eat. She uses a "body experience log" to help identify what foods support our health and values.

Sleep can influence our appetite, and since Dr. Ashley has a 1-month old at home, she also notices her change in appetite.

Use the link here to access her free course.

To follow Dr. Ashley on Instagram, where she also provides "byte sized" wisdom: click here.

Book your complimentary appetite assessment call with Dr. Ashley here


For questions or comments on this episode, please submit messages here.


Many thanks to Jenny Blake and her BFF community for introducing us.

Music credit: https://www.melodyloops.com/composers/ihsandincer/

Cover art credit: https://www.natalyakolosowsky.com/

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