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.
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!!