Hungry Haley

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intuitive eating

Some Intuitive Eating Bloggers and Resources

Nutrition, HealthHaley Hansen1 Comment

The most wonderful time of the year is upon us and it most certainly is wonderful! But diet culture quickly sneaks in and tries to squash our enjoyment of it all by convincing us that the most important thing right now is managing weight, losing it, restricting our food intake, and/or “burning” off everything we’ve eaten. I’ve been hearing this chatter since Halloween and now that Christmas is around the corner, I figured it’s definitely time to provide some helpful resources for encouraging, self-love-promoting Intuitive Eating chatter, eh?

Some Intuitive Eating Bloggers and Resources

BLOGGERS:

Hummusapien -

I think I came across Alexis’s blog after seeing someone else post about her café, Alchemy, on Instagram and I was like, “THAT’S cool.” That was long before I built up the courage to search for any wisdom about healthy food relationships, but just something about her blog I found intriguing. And now, two years later, I’ve been reading her posts weekly and sometimes even going back to older posts and rereading (again and again and again). Her clever, witty writing combined with relatable stories captivate me and many others who read her blog regularly.

Some must-read posts:

Living In the In-Between

You Don’t Fail The Diet, The Diet Fails You

The Real Life RD -

Robyn. What a woman. My words will always underestimate how much your vulnerability, courage, and knowledge have impacted me. If there is anything that would make me want to become an RD, it’s how inspiring you are to me and probably a million other readers. Robyn takes time to dissect a lot of the food, diet, and wellness trends thrown around today and always reminds us to honor our bodies and believe that we are worth more than numbers (calories, pounds, etc.). She has been one of the single most influential factors in my understanding of Intuitive Eating.

Some must-read posts:

Intuitive Eating: Using Brain Knowledge Over Body Knowledge

The Steps To Intuitive Eating

Rachael Hartley Nutrition -

Rachael’s is a relatively new-to-me blog with pretty much everything related to food I explore on the internet all in one place: recipes and encouraging non-diet posts. I love how she incorporates both because doing so is such a great example of balance between the food we eat and how we feel about it. Like both Alexis and Robyn, Rachael is full of knowledge about nutrition, the human body, and how the two intersect.

Some must-read posts:

Satisfy Food Cravings, Don’t Kick Them

Are You Giving Yourself Full Permission Around Food?

Some Intuitive Eating Bloggers and Resources

RESOURCES (books & podcasts):

  1. Intuitive Eating - both the book to read and the workbook to fill out as you go along. Just do it. I highly recommend.

  2. Body Kindness - I haven’t read this book myself, but I’ve heard from so many others how helpful it is!

  3. Food Psych Podcast - Christy Harrison, MPH, RD, CDN interviews several individuals within the nutrition field who tell personal stories and share advice for anyone curious about Intuitive Eating, Health at Every Size, and squashing diet culture.

  4. Nutrition Matters Podcast - Paige Smathers, RDN, CD talks with experts on all things mental health, nutrition, and body positivity to provide personal stories and helpful pieces of advice. Also, Paige’s and Christy’s voices are just really soothing to listen to and I mean that in the least weird way possible.

What I Misunderstood About Intuitive Eating

Health, Food, Life, NutritionHaley Hansen8 Comments

A year has gone by since I began studying Intuitive Eating, and I now see that I've had the wrong idea about it for quite some time. To say that I am not an expert is an extreme understatement. I haven't even finished the book yet, so my misunderstanding is, well, understandable I think. 

What I Misunderstood About Intuitive Eating

As I sought more freedom with food and found IE, I couldn't help but share the encouragement. The number of eyes reading my blog was growing and growing, too, and the Instagram world needs some IE influence, so I wanted to do what I could to help. Dropping my vegan diet helped me take a few steps closer to food freedom, and so did eating out more frequently with friends without checking the menu beforehand, convincing my friends of a restaurant that served more salads and wraps than burgers and fries, etc. A shift in my blog's focus from recipes for all sorts of meals to specifically recipes for baked goods like cookies and cakes and whatnot pushed me a little closer still. 

Most mix-ups in my life - major or minor - are a direct result of busy-ness and this one is no different. School picked up it's pace and the blog demanded more of me, and I lost track of the Intuitive Eater I'd begun to develop. Don't get me wrong here - I've always loved burgers and burritos and donuts (to name a few things) and I bet I probably always will, but that doesn't mean that I always crave them. 

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Though my inner Intuitive Eater is highly motivated, she isn't perfectly educated on the art. Before I knew it, the highly motivated Intuitive Eater bumped into the also highly motivated Mover, and they didn't agree. My Intuitive Eater at the time wanted to prove to others that I can bake with sugar and flour and butter and it's fine, that I can eat nachos and love every bite and move on with my life. And that's wonderful. I think most of us who have struggled with food and body image need to reach that point when searching for peace with food. 

But the problem arose when I didn't understand that IE (and living) looks different for everyone. Some of the bloggers I follow don't find as much joy in intense movement and daily exercise as I do, and because they are the ones from whom I learn most of the information regarding IE, I found myself under the impression that the kind of movement I love is harmful, an obstacle to tackle in my IE journey and leave behind. 

What I Misunderstood About Intuitive Eating

Hopefully you can guess by now that I was wrong somewhere along the lines of this story. Well, I was wrong right there. IE is about restoring the body's instinctual physiological signals, cravings, etc. - rejecting the diet mentality and making peace with food and body image along the way. It's basically the definition of listening to one's own body. In no way am I claiming that these bloggers I look up to portrayed a false definition of IE - it was my misunderstanding and coming to terms with it required quieting down all the noise going on around me so that I could... well, just listen to my body. 

What I Misunderstood About Intuitive Eating

Nowhere in IE are there rules that one must eat chocolate chip cookies and nachos and donuts and blah blah blah. The ability to look beyond the nutrition facts of those foods and just enjoy them for what they are can be part of IE, most definitely. Nowhere in IE are there rules that one must only go on long walks and practice gentle yoga. On the other hand, nowhere in IE are there rules that don't allow green smoothies and kale salads and cookies made with almond flour and dates. Those, quite honestly, are some of my absolute favorite foods because my taste buds savor them and my body appreciates their metabolic function when I want to challenge myself in my preferred forms of exercise. Nowhere in IE are there rules that condemn HIIT and cycling and running. My body absolutely thrives off of these, and it knows when enough is enough and how to properly refuel. 

What I Misunderstood About Intuitive Eating

It's taken me some time (read: a whole year) to finally rest in this peaceful place of understanding because, at first, I thought all of it was a sign I hadn't grasped IE yet. I thought maybe my behaviors (enjoying the intense exercise) and desires (craving the greens and other whole foods) was a sign I was stepping back into some sort of an eating disorder. Very wrong. What's different about now vs. an eating disorder? Well, I can take rest days sometimes to sit on the couch like a potato and I feel perfectly fine. I can eat burgers and donuts when they make my mouth water and not feel the need to construct a burger that is free of carbs or extra low in fat to the point where it doesn't even taste good or look like a burger. Food doesn't stress me out. It doesn't control me. 

IE might look different for you than it does for me. Take these words for what I intend them to be - encouragement to learn more about IE, and in the process, your body + preferences + tastes + favorites + not-so-favorites, etc. Don't compare yourself, your workouts, your eating habits to someone else's. On that same note, please always remember that I am not a doctor or a registered dietitian, so take my advice with that in mind and refer to the sources I've linked below for further information. 

I hope you found this relevant, interesting, useful, or at least something positive and uplifting to your day. Thank you for taking the time to read it, and I'll see you back here next time I have something nutrition- or food-related to say! 

What I Misunderstood About Intuitive Eating

To Jeannette (@sweatysweetpotato), who has become one of my absolute best friends in the last year and a half during which we've known each other, thank you for helping me process all my thoughts, for listening, and for offering your own wisdom and advice, and for encouraging me to keep pursuing my intuition! 

RESOURCES:

The Real Life RD
Hummusapien
ImmaEatThat
Rachael Hartley

Beyond the Nutrition Facts

Nutrition, Health, FoodHaley Hansen4 Comments

Allow me to set aside Nutrition-Student Haley for a second. 

Beyond the Nutrition Facts
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
— Phillippians 4:6-7, NLT

I didn't know if I wanted to write this, and if I did, I didn't know how to. But those verses practically jumped off the page at me this morning as if to say " YO I got the words you need." So, read them one or two more times, let them sink into your mind, and we'll come back to them later on. 

Many of the questions coming into my email inbox have been asking how I came to Intuitive Eating/how I found a way to... well, set aside Nutrition-Student Haley when muffins and cupcakes and nachos and pizza are on the menu. Also let me point out that I'm not a Registered Dietitian, nor do I intend to become one, but I share this because I can relate to many of the questions regarding creating a healthy relationship with food. And I don't think I need to be an RD to be able to help others create their own healthy relationship with food, too. 

I used to see food as nothing more than just a lump of calories - protein, fat, and carbohydrates - blind to the idea that food can bring actual enjoyment. Now, I sometimes see the nutrition facts, but most of my view and thoughts surrounding food are based on what my body craves in that moment. This change didn't take place overnight, but rather over the course of about a year. Timing is different for everyone, as God has a different layout for your life and my life and the next person's life. So, be patient. Be faithful. Trust. Persevere. Challenge yourself. 

Beyond the Nutrition Facts

Here are the steps I took in implementing this change: 

1. DELETE THE APP: I'm talking about the calorie-counting app. Not everyone uses it, I know, but if you're reading this because you struggle with viewing food as more than calories, then chances are you've used or are still using a calorie-counting app. You are not alone, though! I used mine on and off for almost four years. Ugh. Somehow, knowing my calorie- and macronutrient-intake at the end of each day brought me a sense of comfort (but only if I didn't exceed my limits, of course). That small sense of comfort was nothing compared to the amount of stress that overwhelmed me as I frantically searched for menu items at restaurants that fit into my requirements, or when I saw that I ate "too much" fat or sugar one day, or if I didn't meet my protein requirements, etc. I couldn't take it anymore. I deleted it and had to consciously make an effort for a while to push numbers out of my mind before each meal, because using the app habitually for so many years made me a fantastic calorie-counting machine. So, step one: get rid of the damn app. 

2. EAT "RESTRICTED" FOODS: Mhm - that's right. This could also be called "facing your fears". You've heard that one before, huh? And I'll bet you've faced and conquered some of your biggest fears already - this one is no different. "Restricted" foods in my diet were fried foods, foods with refined grains and/or refined sugar, fatty meats (before I went vegan), and the list goes on. Last summer, I landed a job at this super cool donut shop - d o n u t shop - and was, for six months, constantly breathing in the luring aroma of fresh fried and glazed and hot and... tempting donuts. Sure, I was vegan at the time, but there were shelves with vegan donuts, too (still fried and made with refined flour and sugar). Our boss rewarded us hard-working employees with unlimited donuts each shift. The first few were certainly a challenge, but I wanted to prove to myself more than anything/anyone that I could eat a donut, enjoy it, and happily move on with my day. After just one donut, I didn't feel the need for anything more because I finally felt satisfied in not just the taste of the donut (which is amazing, by the way), but in allowing myself to freely enjoy something I once restricted. 

Beyond the Nutrition Facts

Now that I'm no longer vegan, I'm going through a similar process all over again. I'm craving cheesy pizza, juicy burgers, rich ice cream, and cakes and donuts and so many other foods I always wanted but never trusted myself enough to just eat. I forced myself to honestly admit that I feared these foods because I thought that eating them would make me gain weight. Overcoming this was a combination of accepting that my body needed to gain weight in order to truly be healthy (i.e. regain my period, strengthen my bones, etc.) + believing that these foods have no power over me. Food is not worth fearing - doing so pulls our minds away from trusting and fearing God.

3. HAVE F U N: This process can be scary - changing the mindset, accepting a potential physical change, eating foods that (used to) evoke fear and maybe even anxiety. It sure did freak me out when I asked God for courage to begin. So, I promised myself I'd have fun with it. I'd bake cookies (butter, sugar, flour, eggs - all the good ol' real ingredients Grandma uses) and reminisce on childhood memories of Mom pulling a hot baking sheet out of the oven with warm, gooey cookies ready to be dipped in milk and devoured. I'd go out with friends and drool over nachos and pizzas and sometimes split/sometimes eat a whole ice cream cookie sandwich. I'd laugh. I'd dance. I'd talk about how GOOD whatever I'm eating tastes. After some time doing this, I noticed my friends notice my smiles and they pointed that out to me. Some of you guys even did that, too! "You seem so much happier, so much more free and... fun!" - something along the lines of what I've commonly heard. My tummy and my mind are ecstatic eating these foods I forgot I loved so much, and my heart is relishing in the freedom and joy with which these moments explode. Food doesn't have to be scary or controlling. Food SHOULD be fun and connecting and joyful. 

Beyond the Nutrition Facts

Man oh man, does it feel good to write this - almost as good as nachos and buttery chocolate chip cookies feel... almost. Maybe I'm letting go of Nutrition-Student Haley more than I thought, and stepping into the most genuine, exciting version of Hungry Haley. 

I hope these tips have been helpful and I hope that, if you're feeling called, you find strength in God to take the steps necessary in accepting and embracing the body He's given you, looking beyond food's nutrition facts 24/7, and actually enjoying what you eat. 

:)

If you're looking for more information on Intuitive Eating and body acceptance, these are my favorite bloggers: 

The Real Life RD
Hummusapien
ImmaEatThat
Emilie Eats
Constancely Eating
Winnie's Balance

Beyond the Nutrition Facts