I have always been interested in health.
I remember being very young and asking my mom “is this healthy?” about every dinner. The concept of “being healthy” fascinated me. I can extend my lifespan by doing xyz? Okay!
As an adult I decided to pursue nutrition as a career. In 2018 I completed a Nutrition Program through the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. I learned all about how diffeerent foods reacted in the human body, how nutritional values had morphed over the years, and especially about the “Obesity Epidemic” and how that was affecting the health of the world.
But after Nutrition School, I didnt feel confident about what “healthy” really meant.
After graduating school, I actually felt less confident about what was “healthy” and what wasn’t. Many of the concepts I studied were contradictory (eg. keto vs vegan, high carb vs low sugar, high natural fat vs low saturated fat, etc) and there didnt seem to be one “best way ” like I always thought I would find.
Furthermore, nearly every conflicting opinion was based in research. If all of these conflicting lifestyles had been shown to be beneficial in diffeerent studies, what was really the best way?
Because of this, I shied away from pursuing clients as a Nutritional Consultant. I was too confused and I didnt feel qualified to help people be better if I wasn’t “perfect” myself.
I even ended up with a borderline Eating Disorder.
I was trying to do everything right, and this drive to “eat perfectly” was far from healthy.
I had learned in school about Eating Disorders, including the relatively new and less known disorder Orthorexia: being so obsessed with eating “clean” that you dont eat enough. I knew that orthorexia was common among people who studied nutrition, but I always justified my eating habits by saying “I eat until I’m full!” However, I was not eating frequently enough, which resulted in me not getting enough food for my needs.
Because I was so confused about the “rules” of nutrition, (and because I happened to be a thin person) my ED didn’t escalate to anything dangerous. My body naturally helped me to eat high calorie foods (“junk food”) often enough to keep me safe, and because I was confident in the world’s perception of my body I didnt feel as guilty about my evening mini-binges as I could have. I just felt guilty enough to pick up my low calorie “clean eating” habits the next day.
Learning about Intuitive Eating pointed me in the right direction.
During this time (for about a year after graduation) I continued to study nutrition casually as much as possible. I received notifications about new studies that were published, and followed “health-savy” social media pages. This reinforced my orthorexia as well as making me more confused, as the contradictory research kept rolling out.
Somehow, I stumbled upon the concept of Intuitive Eating (IE) and decided to buy a second hand copy of the book (Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch). As I read, I was amazed. This was the missing peice I was looking for.
The book cited study after study that proved that food has no moral value or superiority scale, food restriction caused binging and weight gain, and there was no “right” way to eat that would make you healthy.
As soon as I read it, I knew I was going in the right direction. I told my husband and my Instagram followers that I didnt know exactly how, but I wanted to make Intuitive Eating part of my career.
When I understood Health At Every Size (HAES), everything changed.
Intuitive Eating helped me change my own life and overcome my ED. But I was still not fully on board with the Health at Every Size movement. In my mind, healthy bodies could come in many shapes and sizes, but all of them were relatively thin. I didnt think it was possible for someone in the clinically obese category to be a healthy person.
I read the book Anti Diet by Christy Harrison in 2020. This book changed my life. Again, I was introduced to study after study that proved body size and health were not connected the way I had grown up believing. I learned about some of the events in history that lead to the fatphobic society that we live in, and most importantly I learned that people of any size can improve their health without trying to lose weight, and that weight loss is not necessary for improved health. (Check out my blog or book a presentation to learn more.)
I immediately decided that introducing people to these ideas was what I wanted to do professionally. I have always wanted to help people improve their health. It took me a full year of studying and having conversations with others about it to feel confident in teaching others about it. I had to ask a lot of questions and look hard to find some answers. At this point in time, I am confident giving presentations becase I know that any question that is asked of me is a question I have asked myself before.
HAES was truly the missing information that I was looking for. Shifting your mindset away from diet culture and towards Health at Every Size is the step every person should take if they want to truly improve their health.
Now I am passionate about introducing people to the HAES mindset.
I am now very passionate about introducing these ideas to people who aren’t as likely to stumble upon them as I was. HAES is life-changing. It’s health promoting. It’s important from a socioeconomic standpoint. It’s imperative for many people’s mental health.
Accepting a HAES mindset is TERRIFYING for many people. Our entire world has been shaped by personal and institutionalized fat bias. Hearing about HAES outside of context sounds a little like hearing someone say the grass is blue. I get it. And trying to change your mindset with no support can be diffiiicult, lonely and scary.
A Brave New Foodie is my way of helping people overcome the fears. Teaching these concepts in group settings allows you to have a support system. And by enlightening you to new ideas and giving you access to further resources, I am confident that you and your group can start taking steps towards a truly healthier life.
Learning these concepts changed my life, and the lives of my family. Let me help do the same for you.