What is your relationship like with your body and food? Do you stress out over what to eat? Do the voices in your head warn you to not eat too many carbs, count those calories, stay away from sugar and ensure you are exercising 4-5 times per week?
If your answer is "yes" to any of the above, know that you are not the only one out there who experiences frustrations around making the right decisions about food and exercise. Diet culture is a big issue in our society and as women, we face all kinds of pressures to look a certain way. These perceptions around what an acceptable body figure is are not realistic or accurate representations of the diverse bodies of women. But when you see these messages everywhere you look, it's tough not to allow them to affect you.
This is why I invited Rachel Molenda on my show! In episode 18 of the You Relationship podcast, we spoke about intuitive eating and listening to the wisdom of our bodies when making life choices. Rachel is a Toronto-based Intuitive Eating & Body Image Coach and Host of the Fill Your Cup Podcast, on a mission to help women stop hating on their bodies and feeling out of control around food. Rachel’s non-restrictive, intuitive eating approach to food has helped thousands of women put an end to emotional eating, binge eating and disordered eating and find an effortless and enjoyable healthy way of eating and living.
We are surrounded by diet culture. It is telling us what we can eat, how we should look and that beauty looks a certain way. This has resulted in many women struggling to feel secure in their bodies, unsure of what to eat and not having healthy relationships with food. Rachel suffered for years with an eating disorder, became a holistic nutritionist and is now helping guide women to have their bodies intuitively guide them in their food selections.
From my understanding, her approach does not involve limiting yourself or following any rules. It's actually about throwing the rule book out and honouring what feels best to you.
I, myself, have gone through a journey of creating a positive relationship with food and my body. And the guidance that Rachel provides, I deeply resonate, as her approach is very similar to the one that I took.
This is Rachel Molenda, an Intuitive Eating & Body Image Coach:
According to Rachel, the 3 key steps to shifting your relationship with food and your body are:
1. Get rid of any external influences.
Eliminate any diet culture influences that may come from people in your life, your newsfeed, etc. and create boundaries around what type of information and influence you allow in. As Rachel states in the podcast, anything your body needs involves using your intuition and you can't hear your intuition when being influenced by diet culture.
2. Listen to the whispers.
What comes up for you regarding food and your body? Take notice of those thoughts and allow yourself to reflect on what their true sources may be.
3. Start honouring what you want.
Listen to what your body wants. What does it feel like to do what feels good? If you remove the guilt and shame, how does it feel? Do you like it? Apply this to eating, to exercise and ultimately anything you do in your life.
Listening to your body also funnels into honouring what you are attracted to from a romantic and physical standpoint.
In the episode, we also speak about sexuality and dating. Both Rachel and I opened ourselves up to dating women after our long-term relationship breakups. We both didn't know how to act when interacting with women, and trying to navigate this new way of connecting with them was intimidating for us both.
Rachel also shares about the growth she experienced by dating an addict and what it was like now dating someone 18 years her elder. What she learned through her dating experiences was that it was important she followed and honoured her heart (and body), no matter what anyone else would say. Although she was nervous about the opinions of others, she did not allow them to sway her partner choices.
In my opinion, intuitive eating and being open with who you date are very much alike. Both involve you listening to your body, doing what feels good and not allowing others opinions and perspectives to shape your choices.
If you want to go deeper into this topic and listen to the engaging conversation we had, then I invite you to listen to the episode.