If you've been following my work online, you've probably read about why dieting doesn't work for most people in the long-term, how the size of our bodies does not equal health, and the benefits associated with health-promoting behaviors that feel right to us. You've also probably come across my blog posts about Intuitive Eating, including my FREE PDF, "5 Things Everyone Should Know About Intuitive Eating." Maybe you've noticed that I refer to myself as a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor in some of them.
A Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor is a health professional who partners with clients to develop a healthier relationship with food and their bodies - working within his or her scope of practice. Meaning that as a Registered Dietitian, I can provide medical nutrition therapy to address different wellness concerns, in addition to providing Intuitive Eating counseling. A Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor who is a Psychotherapist will offer psychotherapy and Intuitive Eating counseling. And so on.
TRAINING TO BECOME A CERTIFIED INTUITIVE EATING COUNSELOR
Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD and Elyse Resch, MS, RD, CEDRD, FADA created Intuitive Eating - and wrote the life-changing book, Intuitive Eating. They have also created a specific training and certification program for health professionals who want to help others with Intuitive Eating - to assure that Intuitive Eating is shared with individuals in a consistent and accurate way. The current requirements for a health professional to become a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor include:
Taking and passing a Helm's Self-Study Intuitive Eating Course.
Completing Evelyn Tribole's Intuitive Eating PRO Teleseminar training course. Evelyn, who is the co-author of the book, Intuitive Eating, teaches this course live - for a period of six weeks. This course focuses on the process of working with clients on Intuitive Eating, in addition to covering some of the many scientific studies revolving around the benefits associated with Intuitive Eating.
Finishing the Intuitive Eating Workbook exercises and passing the online exam.
Completing three supervision/coaching sessions with Elyse Resch or Evelyn Tribole. The idea behind these sessions is to enhance the health practitioner's skill level in working with clients on Intuitive Eating.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN WORKING WITH A CERTIFIED INTUITIVE EATING COUNSELOR
When you're working with a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor to improve your relationship with food and your body, you will learn that this journey is a process. There is no pass or fail. Each experience is a learning opportunity. The amount of time that's required to make peace with food and your body will vary with each person. No one body or individual is exactly alike. If you have been a chronic dieter for many years, it might take you longer to let go of dieting and food rules.
When you're working with a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, it will be recognized throughout your time together that YOU are the expert of your body. You are the only one who lives in your body. While we are experts in our own fields and will provide our knowledge pertaining to our scope of practice, we will be partnering with you throughout your Intuitive Eating journey.
A good amount of time in the initial sessions is dedicated to learning about YOU - to help you as much as possible in future sessions. There's a true partnership as you and the Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor utilize the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating as a framework for making peace with food, your mind, and body.
Since I am a Registered Dietitian, I will share what to expect from a Registered Dietitian who is also a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. Here are some examples of what you might anticipate experiencing in your Initial Consultation:
Learning more about one another.
The dietitian asking you a variety of questions in a compassionate and non-judgmental way to develop a better understanding of your health history, your dieting history, and your relationship with food.
Discussing what you hope to achieve in working with the dietitian, including short-term and long-term goals.
Partnering with one another to create some small action-steps - which feel right to you - to work towards accomplishing your short-term and long-term goals.
Exploring if you have any other questions about the information that you've discussed with one another.
In the follow-up appointments more information will be gathered about the topics listed above, and other pertinent information that could be helpful. As you get to know one another, the conversations may feel like you're having coffee time with someone who is a compassionate, really good listener. Someone who will dig deeper into what's on your mind, and will partner with you to navigate the Intuitive Eating journey - with you in the driver's seat. Each person is different. You will work together to prioritize which needs are beneficial to address first in YOUR life.
Here are examples of some of the many different things that you could begin to work on with your Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor who is a Registered Dietitian:
Normalizing your eating patterns.
Eating a wide variety of foods that you enjoy.
Exploring how different food combinations make you feel.
Letting go of food rules and labels - such as "good," and "bad."
Tuning into your hunger/fullness cues and honoring them.
Exploring which forms of movement bring you joy and feel good to your body.
Learning about different forms of self-care that resonate with you.
Improving your relationship with your body.
Measuring your progress through setting and implementing realistic behavioral goals - versus focusing on a number on a scale.
Assisting you with medical nutrition therapy for addressing different wellness concerns.
Receiving evidence-based information throughout the journey for nutrition myth busting.
Exploring nutrition together when the time is right.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INTUITIVE EATING AND DIETING
Unlike dieting, Intuitive Eating is a flexible approach to eating that encourages tuning into your body's internal cues - such as hunger and fullness - in addition to unlearning food rules, letting go of dieting, and experiencing true pleasure from eating. This evidence-based model was NOT created for the purpose of weight loss. Its purpose is to make peace with food, the mind, and body.
If you're interested in learning more about the scientific research pertaining to Intuitive Eating, click here to review some of the research. Over 80 studies have been conducted to explore the benefits associated with Intuitive Eating.
WHERE YOU CAN FIND A CERTIFIED INTUITIVE EATING COUNSELOR
Now that you have a better idea of what to expect from working with a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, if you would like to work with one, check out the official Intuitive Eating website and click on the tab, "Counselor Directory," for a list of Certified Intuitive Eating Counselors throughout the world.
As a Registered Dietitian, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, and Certified Wellcoaches® Heatlh Coach, I would be honored to work with you on addressing general wellness concerns, ending the food fight, and improving your body image. Click here to learn more about my virtual one-on-one sessions.