I want you to think back to 2011. What were you doing a decade ago? I was unhappy with different aspects of my life, feeling restless, and starting to think I should do something else. It took me two years, but in 2013 I changed my career and haven’t looked back since. If you have an inkling that something isn’t quite right in your life but are getting stuck on the road to making that change, this is the episode for you.
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- Do your research but don’t stay stuck in gathering info
- Be honest with yourself about where you are at in the stages of change
- Meet yourself with grace and compassion
- Challenge yourself to take action
Finding Your Intuitive Eating Sweet Spot
When making a change in your life, big or small, there is a tendency to get caught up in the learning phase. Often we don’t want to jump into something until we feel 100% ready, but the truth is that if you wait to feel completely ready, you will be waiting forever.
Diet culture tells us to outsource our health decisions which creates a ‘one size fits all’ approach to our bodies. This is simply not the case, and intuitive eating encourages you to find the sweet spot between those external values and your own body’s attunement. While information can help you prepare for this next phase of your life, it is important to remember that you need to find the middle ground between preparing and actually taking action.
The 6 Stages of Change
Consuming information makes us feel like we are doing something when it is really aiding us in procrastinating on making the change we are contemplating. There are six stages of change, and it is important, to be honest with yourself about what stage you are at and remember that after every speed bump comes a new cycle.
Doing your research is great. But when you are able to take the information you have gathered and challenge yourself to take action, that is where the real magic happens. Intuitive eating is a combination of active learning and experiential learning, and it’s up to you to get out there and do the thing.
What stage of change do you feel that you are at with your relationship with food? Let me know in the comments below.
In This Episode
- How to move from gathering information to practicing and taking action (5:40)
- Discover the sweet spot of authentic health and how to achieve it (10:30)
- The stages of change and how to gain insight on where you are in your journey and what next steps you should take (14:00)
- What to do if you are ready to take action but are getting stuck in the preparation phase (21:55)
- Why you shouldn’t wait until you are 100% ready to start your intuitive eating journey (30:12)
“There are so many places that you can get stuck, and one of them is information overload.” (2:02)
“How can we find that middle ground? How can we find the overlap? That is really why putting intuitive eating principles into practice is so important, because it helps to combat only loading yourself with information.” (13:22)
“Where are you at with your own relationship with food and coming to a kinder place that isn’t so ‘all or nothing’? I want you to think about that.” (21:48)
“At the end of the day, you can read the book, you can read the workbook, you can listen to all of the podcasts, you can read all the anti-diet books, you can do all of that. And some things may change…but intuitive eating by its very nature is an active experiential process.” (24:42)
“Give yourself grace, it is a process. If you feel like you are going to wait until you are 100% ready, you are going to be waiting forever.” (30:28)
Featured on the Show
Hungry For Change: When Too Much Info Is Too Much FULL TRANSCRIPT
I want to start today’s podcast off with a story, which is a bit different than what we normally do here. If you want to cast your mind back to 2011, what were you doing? A decade ago, I was teaching high school science in Chula Vista, California, at Castle Park High School, go Trojans, and feeling like I was so far into my career, but so unhappy with different aspects, just feeling really restless. And I started to get the inkling that maybe I could do something else. Two years went by. And I finally turned in my letter for a leave of absence in 2013. That June, I headed off to work full time on what then became stupid, easy paleo. And then I quit my teaching job for real a year later. How did I get from that inkling that something was not quite right, to literally leaving my career behind a job that I then had 12 years invested in?
How did I make that change? Well, there was a lot that went into it. And on today’s podcast, I’m not going to tell you everything that I did, but I do want to talk about something I see so often in the intuitive eating space when people are trying to break up with diets. And as I said, on Instagram, the other day kick diet culture in the dick. There are so many places that you can get stuck. And one of them is information overload. So on today’s podcast, I want to talk about how to move from gathering information to really practicing something like intuitive eating or moving away from dieting, or just eating without all the rules. And what are the necessary ingredients to keep you moving forward in that process?
So let’s go Listen To Your Body podcast has one bold mission, to help change-making women like you give themselves radical permission to listen to their bodies get free with food and fitness, and channel their energy, and be a force for good in the world. I’m a certified intuitive eating counselor, nutritional therapy practitioner, and strength coach Steph Gaudreau. This weekly show brings you discussions around dropping diet and exercise extremes, letting your inner wisdom lead and taking up space from inclusive body neutrality, health at every size, non-diet nutrition perspective, we’ll examine how diet culture and the patriarchy keep women busy and distracted by the quest for body perfection, and how we can break free to live life on our own terms. It’s bound to be fiery, and ultimately, to make you think hit subscribe on your favorite podcast app. And let’s dive in.
Okay, you just got a bit of the story of how I changed careers after a dozen years in secondary education, teaching high school chemistry and biology. And I’ll tell you this, between 2011 when I first had the idea pop into my head, that maybe I could do something else. And actually realizing that I wasn’t quite happy in my career. The period of time between then and actually walking out of the classroom in June of 2013. I think back to what would have happened if I just kept learning about what it was that I wanted to do, which at that time was I think I can take my blog that I do on the side and turn it into something that I do full time. I had no complete roadmap. I just knew where I was starting. And if I had only committed to continuing learning I would not be sitting where I am today. And I tell you this story because I want to get into what happens so often when I interact with you on you meeting my listener, but also my community. So you collective, when I talk to you all on social media, or you reply to my emails, or we’re in the DMS on the gram, and you’re chatting back and forth with me about the things that you’re struggling with, the thing I keep noticing that I want to really dig into today is, how can you tip from the information gathering and really, what we have is an information overload into taking action when it comes to things like eating more intuitively, or eating more mindfully, leaving behind dieting, not going on a diet again, but still taking care of your health and caring about those things. Improving your relationship with food, being less strict with food, finding the middle ground between all and nothing. And what I notice is that there is a lot of stuckness in this pocket in this area where we’re getting really loaded down with consuming more and more and more and more information, and not actually trying it and moving forward. And the reason why this is so important is I’ve heard from so many people who say, I bought the intuitive eating book, or the workbook or somebody else’s book, that’s an anti Diet book. And then I put it on the shelf. And I didn’t read it. So I want to do this. But I haven’t taken that step yet. And I can’t figure out why I’m so resistant to it. Or maybe you listen to this podcast. Or maybe you have maybe you’re a podcast junkie, and you are listening to several, maybe a dozen different podcasts or more every week. And hey, I am a learner, I get it. Not only was I a teacher, but I’m a learner, my Clifton strengths. If you’ve ever taken that assessment, I am a very high learner is in the top five for me. So I’m very high in the desire to learn. But there is a tendency to get stuck in that. So if you’ve listened to all the podcasts about intuitive eating, and you’ve bought the book, or the workbook, or you enrolled in somebody’s program, or whatever it is, and you still haven’t taken the next step, I want to tease apart today a couple of things. The first one is this plays into the very reason why something like eating more intuitively is important, and also tricky. So to go over the gist of it, and I’ve talked about this in some previous podcasts, but when we’re talking about, for example, principles of intuitive eating, which honor your health was gentle nutrition. One of the things that folks get really stuck on is they think, oh well.
intuitive eating says that there’s no nutrition at all that we need to care about, which is not the case whatsoever, in fact, says that, yes, gentle nutrition and in all of that world is important and it has an effect on our health right it’s one of the things that affects our health is what we eat. Probably not as important as a lot of us make it but it is a factor. And when most people come to me having eaten paleo or done the 30 days reset or whatever detox or whatever eating program, Weight Watchers, etc counting macros, whatever you want to say there when they come to work with me and I think about my own story. My version of health was only what everybody else told me I should do. Right so listening to plugging in your body stats into an app on the computer, and gives you how many calories you should eat, or how many macros you should eat, or whatever fill in the blank, right? We, we outsource our health decisions, all of our nutrition choices to external factors. It becomes very one size fits all for that reason, but we know that health is not one size fits all and it’s very personal. So one day that gentle nutrition and intuitive eating talks about is reclaiming that sense of also, internal attunement, that’s what it’s called internal attunement, which basically means that you’re more aware of things like your body signals and your emotional state, and even your own likes and dislikes when it comes to food, and how that feels so incredibly foreign to people because, with nutrition or diets, we’re just told you should only eat these things and never eat those things. And these are the good things. And these are the bad things, and how really what we’re looking for, is the sweet spot between if you can picture a Venn diagram here, two slightly overlapping circles, we want to find the sweet spot between where all of the external values and guidelines, and yes, nutrition science overlaps with our own bodies attunement. And that sweet spot overlap is called in, at least in the intuitive eating framework, authentic health. Right. So what we’re really suffering from, in this world where there is so much information at our fingertips, I mean, hello, you’ve got the internet in your pocket. It’s, it’s in a limited amount of information that really plays into the seeking of all of the external rules and guidance, and I just want to be told what to do. And there is definitely merit in having experts and practitioners that you work with, and so on, and so forth. These few people who you’re working closely with or who are doing, they’re at the cutting edge of research, or whatever it is, there is value in what’s going on in the external. But when it’s unchecked, its own, we’re only living off external rules and guidelines and it’s unchecked. That is where a lot of people end up feeling, like their relationship with food, or their body or exercise starts to go super sideways. So what we’re really trying to do here is to balance the two out. And I hate to use the word balance because that implies it’s equal on both sides. But what I’m really trying to say is, we really want to develop that inner sense, the inner attunement to our body’s signals. And if you want to get nerdy that’s called interoceptive. awareness, and our emotions and our food likes and dislikes, and our hunger and our fullness, and so on. So how can we find that middle ground? How can we find the overlap? That’s really why pudding, intuitive eating principles, or mindful eating whatever it is into practice is so important because it helps to combat only loading yourself with information.
And here’s the thing consuming information feels like you’re doing something because you are, and it’s valid, Absolutely, but at some point, you have to be honest with yourself about whether or not you are using the consumption of information and the continued learning phase, to procrastinate, making change, and getting your hands dirty and experimenting and seeing what happens when you try something different. So I wanted to go over the stages of change with you because it may give you some insight as to where you are in your journey and what some helpful next steps might be. Now you can google the stages of change. I didn’t make this up. But I learned it along the way. I’ve learned it a few times in my own self-education. Recently, I had Rachel dash Daugherty, who was on my podcast come into Tune In, which is my membership. And she talked about stages of change specifically again, and I think it’s worth sharing with you.
Because you’ll kind of get to see where you’re at and are the things that you’re doing matching up with the rough stages of change that you’re in. Alright, so the first stage of change is called pre-contemplation. Contemplate means to think about right? So this is pre-thinking about in colloquial terms, I’ve given these all codes, this would be a problem, What problem? Generally, it’s where you’re not even aware of the problem. Or if you are, you have no intention of making a change. Okay? So this is the very, very first step in the stages of change. And most of the time you see this, it’s presented in a circular graph, okay? So keep that in mind pre-contemplation. Step one. No problem, what problem I don’t know, no intention of actually making a change. Okay? So think about where you’re at with your journey to not be on a diet to honor your health and take care of yourself. But without the all or nothing attached to it. Think about this, and think about that specific thing as I go through these stages. Okay, stage one of change is called pre-contemplation. If you think about the word contemplate, it means to think my way of describing this is a simple problem, what problem usually, in pre-contemplation, you have no awareness that there’s a problem, or you really have no intention of making a change. And I see this a lot with folks who get frustrated at their friends and family, who are still really into diets and food resets. And their friends and family are like, um, I’m loving this over here, having a good time. This is what I want to do. And they’re like, but no, it’s, it’s not good for you. And the other party is just like, I’m happy over here. I don’t know what the problem is, right? And so they’re, they’re just not aware they are, they have no intention of changing their mind. So that’s pre-contemplation. contemplation is like, maybe, maybe they’re like, okay, like, yeah, there’s a problem. And I’m aware of that, but I’m not going to do anything about it quite yet. So this could be, for example, if you’re sort of getting to the point in your life, where you realize that the on the wagon off the wagon over and over and over again, is draining the crap out of you, it makes you feel shitty about yourself, it’s taking up so much brain space for you. And yet, you’re not ready to really make a change yet. And again, there’s no judgment for any of that. But it’s just to say, you’re sort of aware, but you don’t want to do anything about it quite yet.
Bring it in for a minute. If you are ready to get free with food and fitness, and I mean, true freedom, not just going back on another reset. If you fall off the wagon, if you’re ready to explore radical permission to listen to your body, and to live life on your terms, the Tune In membership is ready for you. inside of this monthly membership, we learn how to drop extremes when it comes to diet and exercise. You’ll learn how to let your inner wisdom lead, how to take up more space, and ultimately to take the energy that you were spending on the endless quest for body perfection, thanks to the patriarchy, and channel that into being a force for good. All of that happens in a supportive judgment-free community via mobile app, not on Facebook, and the doors are open for you. So if this sounds like you, please head over to StephGaudreau.com/Insider, we would love to welcome you to the Tune In membership.
The third stage is called preparation. I call this okay? It’s typically where Okay, now you know, there’s a problem and you’re getting ready. You are approaching the point of making the change. You’re getting ready. And this is oftentimes where the information gathering comes into place, especially. So this is completely valid and great. It’s important to gather information to a certain degree. Stage four is called action. It’s the I’m doing it right I’m making a change I trying a new habit. I signed up for the program. I’m you know, drinking more water. I’m going to bed earlier I’m eating more veggies like whatever it is like I’m making the change I want to make I’m doing it. Stage five is called maintenance. I call this look at me go It’s where you’ve made the Change consistently and you’re sustaining it. So, for example, I’m a huge proponent of an additive approach to food, which means, what can I add to my routine, instead of only focusing on what we’re going to take away? Because that’s a super diet mindset.
So if we’re easing back into loosening up on diet rules, like what can I add to my routine, maybe this is now consistently, you’re eating a vegetable with every meal. Great. That would be maintenance. And then the last step is called relapse. I call this oh shit speed bump, which is something that happens, it just is unexpected. And you revert back to your old habits or your old patterns. Now, the important thing about the stages of change is a circle. So after this speed bump, we go back to pre-contemplation. So I want you to think about your relationship with food. And were in this stages of change, you’re at pre-contemplation where you’re not, you’re, I don’t know what I mean, maybe you’re listening to this podcast, if you’re, if you’re like, I don’t even know what diet culture is. And that’s wonderful. But maybe you’re not there. And maybe you’re thinking, like, I’m really happy with what I’m doing. Could be, maybe you’re in contemplation, which is, you’re aware, there’s a problem, but you’re still not ready to do anything about it. preparation, you’re gathering information, action, you’re in the process of making change, you’re doing the thing, maintenance, you’re sort of past the initial newness of it all, and you’re maintaining those habits, and then maybe you hit a speed bump again. So where are you at with your own relationship with food and coming to a kinder place that isn’t so all or nothing more in the middle ground? So I want you to think about that. And I really would love for you to DM me on Instagram, and tell me what stage of change Do you feel like you’re in with food? Now? Is there information gathering in these stages, of course, but what I tend to see happening is, folks who are ready to take action will oftentimes get stuck in the preparation phase. And they will just keep consuming more and more podcasts. And more and more blogs. Do people read blogs anymore? I maybe websites, who knows. They’ll just keep consuming more and more and more and more information, reading more books doing this doing that. And they end up getting so overwhelmed with the analysis, like analysis paralysis, and it feels like they’re doing something about it. But they’re not getting their hands dirty and actually making the change. So I want you to be a bit honest with yourself right now. Are you defaulting back into more research more reading more? And look, read? Reading is awesome. But do you know what I mean? You’re kind of going back to like, I need to do more research, I need to gather more information instead of actually doing the thing. And likewise, or I should say, on the flip side, maybe you’re somebody who just kind of jumps into action without being aware. Not without doing any research. And that’s not necessarily the best situation either. And where I see this happening a lot, a lot, a lot is work, folks are like, okay, cool, I’m gonna do intuitive eating. I’m ready to get on another weight loss diet. So intuitive eating is going to be it and it’s going to be easy. And where’s the yes or no food list that goes with this? And how many calories a day should I be eating with intuitive eating? Right. So there’s sometimes is jumping in too quickly without doing any due diligence or gathering any information. And that makes folks frustrated too because they think oh, it’s not what it was. It’s not what they said it was going to be. Or they get frustrated that they’re not seeing changes in a week. And they quit and they go back to restriction. So we have to kind of know what the appropriate amount of information gathering to sort of doing the thing is, and here’s the thing, intuitive eating and finding your version of true food freedom is experiential.
Ultimately, at the end of the day, look, you can read the book, you can read the workbook, you can listen to all the podcasts, you can read all the anti-diet books, you can do all of that. And some things may change. You may start to think about food differently, for example, but intuitive eating by its very nature is an active experiential process. Or I should say an experiential process. Because we have active learning which is gathering information, reading, writing, talking about things. And then we actually have experiential learning which is doing things and seeing what happens and I know that it can feel scary. scary to start doing it, because we think Okay, number one, if we fuck it up, then we’re a failure again. And what is wrong with me. And that is just not the case, you are not a failure, even if the thing you tried didn’t work. That’s a huge distinction, right? You are not a failure, the thing you tried, did it work, but yet we make failure have meaning about us and who we are. intuitive eating can also feel scary, and somebody who just messaged me about this on Instagram, and I reminded me to bring this up, it can feel scary, because if you’re really used to things like dieting, or you have a significant amount of friendships, or connections, or a community that’s sprung up around your dieting behavior, that thinking about changing what you’re doing, and how you’re eating, can feel like a loss, it can feel like you’re setting yourself up to lose people, or lose comfort, lose connection, lose a feeling of safety, or a feeling of being seen. And the best example I can think of is Weight Watchers, right? There is there’s this kind of community, it’s you meet tick, well, it’s pandemic, okay, but like you would get together and go to meetings and see the same people and do your weigh-ins and all of that stuff. So there is this feeling of if I do something like intuitive eating, what’s going to happen to all of the things that I knew, right, this sort of culture that I have in my life, and that is really one of its one of the unfortunate outcomes of diet culture is that it has created communities and connections that are solely based around the act of dieting, which is so harmful in so many ways, and yet can bring us things like connections with people that feel really good.
So it can be confusing, or scary when you’re thinking about starting intuitive eating. The other thing is that intuitive eating doesn’t have clear-cut black and white rules. And in a world where Yes, there’s pandemic stress. And we’re, we’re, we’re feeling the effects, right? Everybody has got zoom fatigue. And sometimes we just don’t want to think anymore because we’re tired, we’re exhausted. And so many of my clients tell me, well, I feel like I’m lazy. And I, I repeat back to them all the things that they do every day and all the responsibilities they have. And I’m like, you’re the exact antithesis of a lazy person. Right. So there’s just a lot happening. And to think sometimes that a diet is just going to be really easy because it tells us exactly what to do can be a relief. And so stepping away from that can feel a little bit scary, because we’re gonna have to make some decisions. And I talked about this in a recent Instagram real things that people don’t tell you about intuitive eating, for example, at the beginning, you’re probably going to be thinking about food a lot more. And you’re going to think what the fuck I was supposed to not thinking about food very much. But I’m doing this in time. Right in time, you’ll think about food less. But there’s that period of discomfort at the beginning where you’re like, Okay, I gotta do this. And I’m thinking about food all the time and my own thoughts about food. And it’s, oh, you can feel really challenging for those reasons. So yes, intuitive eating is experiential. And this comes back to my recap. It’s not bad to gather information. When I was going through the process of leaving my teaching job. I did so much research. I read so many websites, and blogs. podcasts weren’t as big a thing back then. In 2011, but hey, I worked with a coach, the wonderful Don Fletcher. I eventually hired another coach, the wonderful Allegra Stein, whom you’ve heard me talk about on this podcast, and she’s been on this podcast. So there definitely was research and finding these people and reading and finding a business program that I could learn how to run an online business. I didn’t know fuck all about that at the time, and making plans and preparing and so on and so forth. And then I actually had to do it. Right, I got in there. I applied to leave. I talked to my principal, all of the things I had to do. And then I walked out that last day with a new possibility in front of me And there’s been a lot of action taking, there’s also been a lot of things in my business that I’ve had to go back and, and change right and not be ready to change. And so it keeps the cycle keeps going. But the point and telling you that story at the beginning is to give yourself grace, it is a process. If you feel like you’re going to wait until you’re 100%, ready, you’re going to be waiting forever. When I left my job, I didn’t feel 100% ready, I got prepared to the level I felt comfortable with. But I also had people pushing me out of the nest. I had my family who was very supportive. I had my then fiance now husband, I had my coach Allegra, I had friends who were really supportive of me and they were nudging me out of the nest. So please, don’t wait to go in on leaving the fuckery of diets behind until you feel you’re 100%. Ready? Yes. Do your research. Be honest about where you’re at in your stages of change? Meet yourself with grace and compassion. But also challenge yourself to take action? You have to do you have to do it. You can’t just read about it. You can’t just think about it, you have to try. So ask yourself, What am I aware of? What stage of change? Am I in right now with this? Do I need to gather some information and make some preparations? Or have I been getting stuck there and idling and going around and around in a circle? What are my fears? Get them out? What is the worst-case scenario for that fear? And who can I turn to for support? This is the key piece.
And I’ve saved this till the last because I really want you to hear me on this. You’re going to need some kind of support. It can be supportive family members, supportive friends and online community, a group of people who you get together on WhatsApp and you chat to each other and accountability buddy, it could be a coach, it could be an online program. It could be whoever, but you need support. Do not try to do this all by yourself and think I don’t want to burden anybody. I don’t want to bug anybody with my problems, or I don’t want anybody to see that I’m a wreck, we’re all a mess. I promise. We’re all a hot mess. And that’s amazing. Because we’re all in this together. We’re all in it together. And the great thing is, is that there are so many people even more by the day who are embracing things like intuitive eating, finding their own version of food freedom, mindful eating, just being less hard on themselves when it comes to food. There is support out there for you. But you have to be willing to ask, and you have to be willing to be seen and be vulnerable. And I promise you, with support, you’re going to go so much farther, so much faster. Yes, you can make an amazing change on your own. But when you have people around you, adults learn better and the presence of other people and the community. And there’s going to be somebody there to pick you up to support you to cheer you on when you have a win. And to be there when you need to express your frustration or what didn’t go right to remind you Hey, relapse isn’t the last step in a line. The speed bump isn’t going to stop you permanently. Look after the speed bump comes a new cycle and you begin again. Alright, my friend, I would love for you to again, reach out to me on Instagram. Get in my DMS. Get in my DMS sounded really funny. Get in my DMS Tell me what stage of change you’re at with intuitive eating or leaving dieting behind. I would love to hear it. I would love to see you share this episode out. I’m so very grateful. We got to spend this time together today. And I’ll be back next week with another thought-provoking episode. Until then, be well. I decided I’m going to end the podcast differently just now. I just recorded the end. And I decided to be well, I like it. But what I want you to do at the end of every show is to remember your fucking amazing Let’s end it there.