Intuitive Eater’s Holiday Bill of Rights

Intuitive Eater’s Holiday Bill of Rights

by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD

What if peace on earth could begin at the dinner table?

Imagine experiencing an inner peace, free from incessant worry about what to eat. It’s hard to enjoy the holidays when you are preoccupied with eating
or worried about what to say to relatives who have an annual tradition of telling you what and how to eat.



Consider your Intuitive Eating Bill of Rights, as we enter the holiday season, to help you foster inner peace with food, mind and body.

1. You have the right to savor your meal, without cajoling or judgment, and without discussion of calories eaten or the amount of exercise needed to burn off said calories.

2. You have the right to enjoy second servings without apology.

3. You have the right to honor your fullness, even if that means saying “no thank you” to dessert or a second helping of food.

4. It is not your responsibility to make someone happy by overeating, even if it took hours to prepare a specialty holiday dish.

5. You have the right to say, “No thank you,” without explanation, when offered more food.

6. You have the right to stick to your original answer of “no”, even if you are asked multiple times. Just calmly and politely repeat “No, thank you, really.”

7. You have the right to eat pumpkin pie for breakfast.

Remember, no one, except for you, knows how you feel, both emotionally and physically. Only you can be the expert of your body, which requires inner attunement, rather than the external, well-meaning, suggestions from family.

Copyright © 2010 by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD Published at

DISCLAIMER: The information is intended to inform readers and is not intended to replace specific advice from a health care professional.

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My Friend Food

Most recently, I’ve been working on sitting with the uncomfortable feelings of loss, the loss of a very dear friend. You may have met her. Her name is Food.

The first time there was a rift in our relationship is when I stopped binge eating. I had to sit with very extreme feelings, in order not to binge. I had to learn to take care of my self in a new way. That way was creating new neural pathways, or habits, so that I didn’t always turn to my food friend. I found other healthy friends such as Yoga, Journaling, & Sleep.

Balance is important in friendships. You don’t want to be dependent upon just one person. You can become too entwined. It’s good to let others in as well, to give you perspective.

When I overeat, I almost always start with some physical hunger in my body. That is a big change. A year or so ago, I would almost never have hunger before I began eating. But, now it seems to be a prerequisite.

What I’m working on now, however, is learning to stop at the point of satisfaction.

I want to take care of my body. But filling it up with food it no longer needs, isn’t working for me from a self-care standpoint, as well as it making me feel physically uncomfortable.

More importantly, it isn’t balanced.

Food and I can be friends, but we just can’t be codependent.

30_nNow I need to learn to sit with the feelings of being sad that it is time to stop eating. Unlike different friends, such alcohol & drugs, I can’t live without food. It will always be part of my life. We may not be best friends, but we can still be acquaintances. We may see each other in the kitchen, at book club, or even at the grocery store. But our relationship with each other needs to evolve to a healthier place.

When I grieve the loss of my friend, I can still have hope that I will see her again.

Food isn’t like the grandma you see once a year. You can see her as many times in a day that you choose to.

You are in charge of what your relationship will be. Some days you may see her more often than others.

Friendship is like that.

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Let Love In

I don’t choose to sit with my feelings each & every time. However, when I do sit with them, it is in an imperfect manner. I’ve stuffed down my feelings for decades. But through my practice of yoga & exploring my exiled feeling parts with helping professionals, I’ve definitely come a long way. I really try to infuse my Wise Woman Self (inner wisdom) into these situations. She reminds me how strong I am. Strengthening our emotional muscle, as well as our Self is so key.

Often times, we who struggle with anxiety, depression, or eating disorders choose to stay in hibernation. We hide from love for a variety of reasons. I believe we were created to be known -in authentic community.


So- reach out.

Find safe people you can be your True Self with. At first that might mean with a therapist or in group therapy. When you are feeling stronger, maybe you will reach out to your place or worship, a 12-step group, a good friend, or even a partner.

We desperately need to let love in.

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A New Holiday Tradition: Making Peace with Food and Weight

A New Holiday Tradition: Making Peace with Food and Weight
By Jenni Schaefer

It starts with Halloween—the candy. Next comes the smorgasbord at Thanksgiving. Then, more holiday food enters the picture throughout December with a grand finale on New Year’s Eve. And, with the roll of the calendar to January 1st, resolutions to diet and lose weight begin across America.

People of all ages join in this crazy cycle. At the young age of four, even though I was a normal sized child, I already believed that I was fat and was afraid to eat certain types of foods for the fear of getting bigger.

Society tells us that to be thinner is to be happier. But when I reached my lowest weight at 22-years-old, I was far from happy. In fact, I was miserable and struggling with a life-threatening eating disorder. I sought help, and after many years, I am fully recovered. Strangely, my eating disorder forced me to develop a healthier relationship with food and weight than I ever would have without it. In recovery, I was able to talk with trained clinicians about my obsession with fat grams and even express how I felt about the size of my thighs in body image therapy group. Because most people never have the opportunity to utilize these kinds of resources, I like to share my lessons learned.

Wisdom about how to eat in a balanced way can actually be found by observing babies. They eat when hungry and stop when full—an approach known as intuitive eating. Unfortunately, as infants grow older, they stop responding to internal hunger and fullness cues and instead pay attention to external ones. Even young school-aged children will eat simply because the bell rings for lunchtime or as a result of watching a fast food commercial.

Society trains us to stop listening to our bodies.

Yet our body is masterful. It will tell us when and even what to eat.

If we have been ignoring our internal signals for a long time, patience and practice will be necessary in order to re-connect. We might even need to consult with a dietitian, who specializes in intuitive eating, for assistance. Children can often make improvements rather quickly as long as they are given proper instruction and have an example to follow

What if we all made our New Year’s resolution to be that example?

The 60 billion dollar dieting industry will be sure to push back. But make no mistake: this monetarily successful industry has a 95-percent failure rate.

It is no secret that diets do not work.

Dieting is based on the misconception that food has a moral value. At holiday parties, you have probably heard someone say something like, “I’ve been good all day. Now, I’m going to be bad and eat a slice of pumpkin pie.” Eating pumpkin pie is not a “bad” thing to do. Throwing pie into someone’s face would be bad!

Food does not have a moral value.

Food is just food.

Eating intuitively means we stop using categories like good or bad. The minute we label a food negatively is the same moment that we obsess about that forbidden item and possibly binge on it. I will not argue with the fact that some foods are more nutritionally dense than others. But, if we listen to our bodies, we will crave the appropriate amounts of a wide variety of foods—to fuel our specific needs.

All food has its place on the dinner table.

Intuitive eating is flexible like this without rigid rules. Even if we end up consuming more during the holiday season just because the food tastes so good and it is only around one time of the year, that’s okay. Unlike what the dieting industry wants us to believe, our bodies can actually handle changes in our daily intake without us having to “make up for it” by restricting later or spending hours on the treadmill. If we listen closely, we will know what to eat and even how to exercise all year round. And we will, in return, reach the size we are genetically supposed to be.

This ideal weight is the size at which we have plenty of energy, can think clearly, & experience joy.

It has nothing to do with the number on the scale.

This holiday, let’s view our body as a vehicle for life

rather than something to be controlled.

Let’s cherish each warm embrace

& feel gratitude in the ability to laugh with family & friends.

What a wonderful holiday tradition to pass along

— loving & respecting our body in a world that doesn’t.

A gift for generations.

 Jenni Schaefer is a singer/songwriter, speaker, and author of Life Without Ed and Goodbye Ed, Hello Me (McGraw-Hill).

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Trusting My Inner Wisdom or My Inner Rebel

What is the difference between Inner Wisdom and unhealthy Rebel Energy?

Inner Wisdom = Wise Woman = Self

Inner Rebellion = unhealthy Rebel Energy

Inner Wisdom comes from an inner-knowing… a calm place

Unhealthy Rebel Energy comes from a place of not accepting the present moment.

My Wise Woman tells me that checking in to weigh myself within balance is okay, perhaps every 3-6 weeks.

My unhealthy Rebel Energy says I can weigh myself anytime I feel like it.

220px-Uprising_fistBoth tell me there are no rules. The Wise Woman knows there are no rules. The Rebel tells me we will ignore the rules and just do everything opposite of what the rules say.

How do YOU define Inner Wisdom and unhealthy Rebel Energy and how do YOU distinguish between the two of them?

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Mindful Eating Marathon 2013!

You may remember the May Mindful Marathon we did, which was 26.2 days of Mindfulness. Go to that category to find my posts.

Dr. Susan Albers will sending daily emails to encourage us to stay mindful in the New Year with our food, bodies, & lives!

It will be great!

Who’s in?

How will you incorporate more mindfulness in 2013?

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November Foodie Penpals

Foodie Penpals is a great opportunity to interact with different bloggers and blog readers. Every month you are matched with someone, and then instructed to spend $15 on foodie items on your assigned person!

This month my foodie penpal was Kristina who lives just north of Boston, MA. (I LOVE BOSTON!!)

She sent me some amazing goodies!

Homemade milk/white choc/cranberry cookies!

Lake Champlain Coffee Truffle (Dark Chocolate)

Local Salsa!

Shaw Farm Honey from a farm up the road from her!

Kristina sent a FANTASTIC salad dressing recipe that I can use with the honey. She said that I’ll be surprised how well the recipe emulsifies without tons of oil!


1 part honey
2 parts champagne vinegar
olive oil (use very little)
salt & pepper

She suggested I pair the dressing with citrus (satsumas, blood oranges, etc.) & pomegranate. Another idea is to throw it on some chicken or salmon!


The Lean Green Bean
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