Real Talk About Intuitive Eating, with Christine Byrne

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Giving up dieting is a scary process for people. Regardless of all of its numerous problems, dieting very often feels safe. You’ve done it before, you know what to expect. And when you’re dieting, someone else is telling you what to do. They're telling you what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat. They're taking on all of the responsibility so you don't have to.

And that feels fantastic! We all have too much responsibility as it is--it's feels amazing to hand some of it over.

So when we think of no longer dieting, we get really nervous. Which makes a lot of sense. Thanks to diet culture, we've come to believe that we have no idea how to feed ourselves without following a "plan." If left to our own devices, we'll just wander aimlessly around our kitchens having no idea what to do.

But none of that is true.

We absolutely can learn how to eat in nourishing ways that don't involve dieting. And we can do that with a principle of Intuitive Eating called Gentle Nutrition.

Gentle Nutrition is the Tenth Principle of Intuitive Eating (IE). Within that principle, the creators of IE talk about basic nutrition on which all of us can focus, if we choose. It's NOT a diet, it's NOT restrictive, and it's NOT rigid (hence the word "gentle"). It's just an overall approach to nutrition. And it's based on sound science.

Now sure, Gentle Nutrition isn't going to just flat-out tell you what to eat. It's more of a guideline than anything. And sure, it takes some practice and some getting used to. But it's doable. And it's what we're talking about on this week's podcast.

In this week's episode, I had the pleasure of interviewing Christine Byrne, MPH, RD, LDN. Christine is an anti-diet dietitian and longtime journalist. She owns an eating disorder-focused private practice in Raleigh, North Carolina, and has written over a thousand articles for various media outlets, including Self Magazine, Food Network, Outside Magazine, and Bon Appetit. In both her writing and her nutrition counseling, she takes a weight-inclusive approach to health and encourages people to define wellness for themselves.

Christine and I had a wonderful conversation that covered multiple topics related to Intuitive Eating, but we really focused on the concept of Gentle Nutrition. And Christine made the point that ok, it's not easy, but it is doable.

Christine emphasized maintaining realistic expectations about gentle nutrition, which I really appreciate. We both agree that IE can be presented as an easy-peasy process (it's not) that leaves people feeling like failures when it doesn't work. She says:

“The truth is that Intuitive Eating does get easier. It can really change your life in pretty profound ways but it takes time. It’s not magic."

In addition to Gentle Nutrition, Christine and I also talked about:

  • Her career change from journalism to dietetics

  • Her experience with her own eating disorder

  • Staying in the grey area between diet and anti-diet culture

  • The positive and negative impact of social media on our relationship with food

I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. Christine's energy is really infectious, and she obviously loves what she does. Take a listen!

Where to find Christine:

Instagram

TikTok

Website

Blogger Christine mentioned: The Lazy Genius

Where to find me:

Website

Instagram

Facebook page

TikTok

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