When I first became a registered dietitian I had no idea what Intuitive Eating and Health At Every Size was – not a clue. I was really into “real food” and getting people to stop counting calories and instead nourish their bodies with “whole, real food” and I knew that stress played a huge role in someone’s health. Stress from lack of sleep, stress from too much exercise, stress from life, etc. But when it came to Intuitive Eating and and HAES, I was blind.
I was recently doing a podcast with my good RD friend, Heather, and she started out in similar shoes. She mentioned that back in 2011-2012 nobody was on social media sharing these IE/HAES messages (Instagram maybe wasn’t even around yet??) and so it wasn’t a message being widely spread, therefore “eat real food” vs calorie count and diet was the best alternative we had to diet culture. Of course, the best alternative is IE and HAES philosophies, but when I didn’t know where else to turn and I knew I didn’t want to promote diets, that’s what I landed on. I was still very much in my own personal and professional process with body acceptance, intuitive eating and HAES during this time so it took me a few years to get really clear on my practice philosophy and then about another year to get crystal clear. It’s been a long process of archiving the first few years of this blog and then going back through and deleting/rewriting content.
All that to say, if you’re a dietetics or nutrition student or a new registered dietitian or a dietitian who has been around the block…and you’re feeling new to IE and HAES – I feel you. If you’re a nursing or medical student or a health care provider or any mental health professional and are like what is Intuitive Eating and Health At Every Size….I also feel you. Like, 2% of my nursing education was nutrition and that was diet education. Nothing about sleep or stress or not focusing on diets and weight loss. I know medical training is very similar. And much of dietitian training is rooted in diet culture. It sucks. But I hope it changes in my lifetime.
At least 90% of my dietitian knowledge has be obtained after I took the RD exam. And a large majority (perhaps 50%?) of my nurse practitioner knowledge occurred outside of the classroom. Pharmacology, knowing pathophysiology and the foundations of my nursing knowledge happened in the classroom – but everything else, happened on my own. Do I think there’s a lot of good in our education systems? Yes. But do I think there is a lot – especially when it comes to weight and health and eating disorders – that needs to be improved? Absolutely. I received like 2 hours of eating disorder education in nursing school. As a dietitian education on EDs was also minimal and I know medical students receive very little. So my point is that it makes sense that we feel so undereducated around these topics. It makes sense that’s there is small handful of health care providers that are competent in providing sound medical care to eating disorder patients. And it makes sense that many dietitians, health care providers and other health care professionals know very little, if anything at all about Intuitive Eating, Health At Every Size and the damage done to people when we continually prescribe weight loss to fix all their problems.
At times I feel anger and frustration at this problem…which I think is normal and expected. And I feel really sad too. But I also feel insanely grateful that fortunately, I WAS eventually exposed to this information and I feel really thankful that I did allow myself to be open minded to the science and philosophies. I can be stubborn in some areas of my life, but I’m so grateful I was open to seeing things differently. I know that for many health care professionals, they simply haven’t been exposed to this – they have no ill intentions, sometimes we simply just don’t know an alternative when we’ve been trained a certain way.
So here is a place to get started if you’re just getting your feet wet into this world of Health At Every Size and Intuitive Eating – or if you want to share some resources with people you think could be receptive. Beyond reading countless research articles on PubMed, here are some resources that I found extremely helpful in my learning journey.
Some of these books are more clinically focused while others could be read by anyone. ** denotes ones that are clinically focused.
Start with the basics –> Health At Every Size by Linda Bacon and Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch
Body Respect by Linda Bacon
Body of Truth by Harriet Brown
Treatment of Eating Disorders: Bridging the Research-Practice Gap**
Body Kindness by Rebecca Scritchfield
The Non-Diet Approach Guidebook for Dietitians: A How-To Guide for Applying the Non-Diet Approach to Individual Dietetic Counselling by Fiona Willer**
8 Keys to Recovery From an Eating Disorder by Carolyn Costin and Gwen Schubert Grab
The Intuitive Eating Workbook
Gut by Giulia Enders** (this is great book to help you understand the gut/brain connect which informs IE/HAES work – anyone could probably read)
Beyond a Shadow of a Diet by Judith Matz and Ellen Frankel**
EDRDPro network –> if you’re an RD or dietetics student I highly recommend joining for $35/month. There is always a round table discussion every month, a webinar with CEU credits, a weekly newsletter with loads of helpful resources and access to an interactive and engaging Facebook group. All of these are very informative and I always walk away with practical steps to immediately integrate into my practice
IAEDP (International Association of ED Professionals) webinars –> There are loads of free webinars on eating disorder treatment, intuitive eating and integrating a weight neutral approach into your practice – there are also some that cost $15
ASDAH (Association of Size Diversity and Health) webinars –> again, handfuls of free webinars relevant to IE/HAES that I highly recommend
WellSeek seminars –> these do cost money, but you earn CEUs and they are currently on sale – again, lots of wonderful learning here
Nutrition Matters with Paige Smathers
Dietitians Unplugged with Aaron Flores and Glenys Oyston
Body Kindness with Rebecca Scritchfield
Food Psych with Christy Harrison
The Mindful Dietitian with Fiona Sutherland
Body Love Project with Jessi Haggerty
Love, Food with Julie Duffy-Dillon
Online Courses & Trainings
**I am in the process of my CEDRN and CEDRD certifications with IAEDP, but I have not personally done the other below trainings. I have heard very good things from several people about these thought, so I feel confident recommending them to you.
Become a certified Intuitive Eating Counselor
Intuitive Eating Fundamentals by Christy Harrison
Nutrition Counseling for EDs Online Training by Marci Evans
IAEDP certification as a CEDRD
And if you’re interested in learning how to help women heal from hormonal issues through an Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size lens, you might find my online courses really helpful. Many hormonal issues manifest from a history of dieting and/or excessive exercise so knowing how to connect the dots and help someone heal is incredibly important. If you want some training on how to help clients with body image and 10 handouts/tools to use in sessions, the body image course might be helpful for you too.
**There are some affiliate links in this post – if you decide to purchase using one of the above links, I get a small percentage of your purchase that helps keep this space up and going. Thank you!!
This post could not have come at a better time! I am beginning my MPH/RD program in August at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I just ordered Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size. I aspire to become a CEDRD so these resources are awesome! Side note: is it nerdy that all of my Summer before grad school reads are all nutrition related?! #SorryNotSorry 😊
Hi, Miley! I am currently a PhD student at Chapel Hill (in Spanish) if you are ever interested in connecting! I have worked with Antonia Hartley, an IE/HAES dietitian who did UNC’s program and she is fabulous if you are looking to make connections. I hope you enjoy the area, Chapel Hill is a great place to live!
Hi Kelly! Thank you so much for reaching out. I am moving to Chapel Hill in July and would love to connect with you and Ms. Hartley as well! 🙂
My UNC email is [email protected]
Please feel free to reach out. Take care!
Not nerdy at all – of it is I’m totally nerding out with you! 🙂
You’ll be great – good luck!!!
I have been wanting to learn more for a while and finally actually ordered the Inuitive Eating and Health at Every Size books this morning just before reading this. I am excited to gain a better understanding of this approach using these resources before my dietetic internship this fall! Thanks.
I’m so glad you are aware of these resources before your DI! You’re going to add such value to this field Danielle 🙂
I love all these resources! I will say that the intuitive eating books do seem a little diet-y which is frustrating and surprising. Some of the phrasing grates on me a little bit. I also want to add @laurathomasphd on instagram and her podcast Don’t Salt my Game. If you don’t mind colorful language she is awesome!
Agree that there is some language in there I don’t care for. Yes love Laura! She invited me on her podcast last fall and it was such a blast – she is a WEALTH of knowledge with such passion – hence the colorful language 🙂
Thanks for these great resources, Robyn! I hope I will not be too harshly judged for this question, but…IE has helped me to not freak out over eating some sugar or being at a party and eating (gasp!) velveeta cheese. There is a lot more flexibility in my eating and I’m finally getting to a point where I am not constantly thinking about food. If I’m at a coffee shop and I want a cookie, I buy and eat and enjoy the cookie and move on with my life.. However, I DO absolutely, 100% find that I feel best eating mostly “real, whole foods.” If I have a day when I’m just not feeling leafy greens with a meal, then I don’t force myself to eat them. But most of the time, I feel good including them on my plate. I guess my question is, can you be an Intuitive Eater who ALSO likes to eat mostly whole foods? I guess sometimes it almost seems to me like the pendulum is swinging hard from one end of the spectrum to the other. How do we negotiate, on the one hand, a love for Michael Pollan (lol) and slow food and environmental concerns with food freedom and Intuitive Eating? Intuitive Eating sometimes seems very privileged to me as well, like what about people in lower income, rural communities (this is where I grew up so this is where my mind goes to) who know little about nutrition and want to eat healthily–how do we educate without causing harm? These are big questions that have been on my mind and I’m sure they require long answers, so please don’t feel like you have to respond lol. Just food for thought!
Hi Kelly! I 100% HEAR YOU. I did an little Insta story on your question about eating “real food” and still being an intuitive eating so I hope you saw it and if not it’s still up! I’ll add that story to my highlights too. Your other questions I think are so so important to address and I’m going to add them to my list of blog post topics!
Thank you for bringing up some important and healthy discussion!
Thanks for your sweet reply, Robyn. I missed the real food insta story but I will look for it in your highlights. Thanks for all you do!
Thank you so. much. for. this! Needing guidance on where to start and so appreciate this.
you’re so welcome Ashlea!
Thank you for sharing these resources on Intuitive eating as I have wanted to learn more about intuitive eating and Health at every size.
Eme x | http://www.peoniesandpassionfruit.com
You’re so welcome Eme!
This is super helpful! Thank you so much, Robyn, for providing these resources for everyone! 🙂
Fab list, thank you. I’ve finished reading Health at Every Size and Intuitive Eating and needed some more recommendations! Love love love your blog
This is so helpful – thank you for sharing! I’ve been thinking quite a bit for a loon time about changing careers in order to work counseling women on how HAES and intuitive eating. I’m curious – do you think a health coach is a profession that is a realistic option as a career choice if a person wants to work in this space, or would you more highly recommend the RD or counselor/therapist type route? I ask because health coach is albeit the less expensive and faster route for someone like myself who’s coming at this later in life, but I’m not sure it’s considered anywhere near as reputable or capable of supporting behavior change due its lack of formal education or real certification (i.e., anyone can really call themselves a health coach – and i mean that with all due respect to anyone who is a health coach and doing amazing, positive work). Just curious what your opinion might be on the subject, from your perspective. Thank you!
Thanks so much! I’m an NP in primary care an do a lot of chronic disease management that has a food/movement component. I’m not satisfied with the way we are taught to counsel patients because I know traditional advice doesn’t work. I’ve lived it myself. I also teach NP students and have been pulling together resources for them so this is helpful!
Michelle Klenk says
Good morning! Do you know if the intuitive eating counselor certification is worth the roughly $1000 cost? Any insight you have would be awesome 🙂 I am currently a RDN, LD wanting to becoming an eating disorder/IE RDN. Thanks so much <3
Hi! I am a new RD and am just like you were when getting started out, all about whole foods guiding intake versus counting calories/diets. I am working in public health and am curious if you have any thoughts on intuitive eating for chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, or CKD where very specific recommendations are given for carbohydrates, sodium, potassium, etc. Maybe I just need to read more of the resources you’ve posted above. I’m reading Intuitive Eating and just trying to make the connection between the short term goals of fluid balance, altered biochemistries, or insulin dosing and intuitive eating, etc. I’m trying to find a balance between being anti-diet while at the same time doing triage for these specific patients. I really appreciate your blog and am looking forward to reading more from you!
Great question Marilyn! I am actually coming out with an ecourse on this very topic here by the end of the summer that has been approved for CEU credit!
RD here. Thank you so so much for this post, this information is much needed!
Thank you for sharing all of these resources! This is very helpfull!! I’ve been a dietitian for 6 years now but I’ve been diving into the IE and HAES world this last year or so and was looking for more resources!