Episode ten

00:00:06 Fiona Spence 

Hello and welcome to our podcast series focusing on food well-being and mental health run by NHS Fife Nutrition and clinical dietetics, mental health and learning disability team. 

00:00:16 Fiona Spence 

My name is Fiona Spence. I'm a registered nutritionist and today I'm joined by Claire Reid. In this episode, we're going to be talking about intuitive eating, but first of all, let's meet Claire. 

00:00:26 Fiona Spence 

Claire do you want to tell us a bit about yourself.  

00:00:29 Clare Reid 

Hi Fiona. So I'm Claire I'm a registered dietitian working in NHS Fife. I currently work with the specialist eating disorder service as a dietician, but my background has been in mental health and learning disabilities for around about 

00:00:49 Clare Reid 

Eight years now working in the NHS and I also do a little bit of private work as well, which is a lot of the focus of intuitive eating. 

00:00:58 Fiona Spence 

And I'm looking forward to this. 

00:00:59 Fiona Spence 

Claire, thanks for joining us today.  

00:01:00 Clare Reid 

Thank you for having me. 

00:01:03 Fiona Spence 

So I'm really intrigued because I'm not familiar with intuitive eating at all. So first step is, tell us a bit about intuitive eating, what it is. 

00:01:11 Clare Reid 

Yeah, so intuitive eating has actually been around for a long time, but I think it is becoming a little bit more popular now. I think people have heard about it or they're reading about. 

00:01:23 Clare Reid 

Intuitive eating is, and essentially it's a framework. It's an evidence based approach that was developed by two dieticians in America in in the 1990s, actually. 

00:01:35 Clare Reid 

And it's based on 10 principles and what it essentially is to try and focus in on our bodies and what they're communicating to us and listening to any internal cues about eating rather than focusing on external cues and rules that we maybe have around our eating patterns. 

00:02:00 Fiona Spence 

Would you say that this is related to mindful eating at all?  

00:02:04 Clare Reid 

Yeah, so there's definitely a connection between mindful eating and intuitive eating. 

00:02:07 Clare Reid 

But they're not the same, so intuitive eating is very much a framework. Like I said that we would use and it's a learning process, and it's often focusing more about the relationship with food. 

00:02:19 Clare Reid 

And how we relate to food. So quite often a lot of people that we work with there's maybe an emotional attachment to food and they maybe use food as a way to cope with difficult emotions. 

00:02:31 Clare Reid 

And mindfulness and mindful eating can be used, you know, alongside intuitive eating. But mindful eating is more about a tool that we can use in that moment. 

00:02:44 Clare Reid 

So when we're eating a meal or a snack or a piece of food using mindfulness and mindful eating is more about being in that moment and working through, you know what does this food smell like? What does it taste like? 

00:03:00 Clare Reid 

And trying to slow down that process and recognise you know our hunger and fullness signals but the intuitive eating as a whole is more a kind of learning process and like I say more about our relationship with food. 

00:03:15 Fiona Spence 

So when would somebody or for what reason would somebody introduce intuitive eating into their life? 

00:03:21 Clare Reid 

So probably for lots of different reasons for different people. 

00:03:24 Clare Reid 

But the main one that we see is a lot of people that have, maybe you know, kind of come under this term of sort of chronic dieters so people that have been on and off diets for you know most of their lives, which I think all of us can relate to at some point. But like I said, it's trying to introduce a way of. 

00:03:44 Clare Reid 

Stepping away from following diets because we know that diets do not work long term for the majority of people and we know that you know from studies that have been done within two to five years like 95% of people will have regained any weight that they lost on a diet 

00:04:01 Clare Reid 

Alongside the whole multitude of kind of poor health outcomes related to mental health and physical health, so really intuitive eating is a way to try and build, you know, additional tools and skills and to help you move away from kind of rigid thinking about food and very black and white thinking around food. 

00:04:23 Clare Reid 

And also any external food rules that maybe you have in place and instead trying to eat according to. 

00:04:32 Clare Reid 

Internal signals and your body's natural cues around hunger and fullness. 

00:04:38 Fiona Spence 

That must be so hard to do when our whole lives I mean, if you think about the influences of media and TV and social media now as well, we're led down this path of what's the right way to eat. 

00:04:53 Fiona Spence 

What's the wrong way to eat? Do you know? 

00:04:55 Fiona Spence 

It's almost then from a really young age you're basically trying to retrain your entire way of thinking about food and your relationship with it. 

00:05:03 Clare Reid 

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And that's why we very much say it's a it's  

00:05:07 Fiona Spence 

A journey. 

00:05:07 Clare Reid 

Huge learning, yeah, it's a huge learning process, a journey and you really are kinda, you know, fighting against all. Like you say these messages. 

00:05:16 Clare Reid 

That we're constantly surrounded by in the media and social media and yeah, it can be really, really difficult. But if you think about it, we are all born intuitive eaters. 

00:05:28 Clare Reid 

So when you are a baby and you are hungry, you cry out and you know the caregiver will provide you with milk or foods. 

00:05:37 Clare Reid 

You know, depends on the age of the child and you will stop when you are full and we see that within children as well. 

00:05:43 Clare Reid 

Young children, you know they will eat until a point where they are comfortably full and they will stop and it doesn't matter what that food is on offer. 

00:05:51 Clare Reid 

Because they are intuitive eaters and they don't know any different. But as we grow up like you say we are then flooded with these messages around we should be doing this we shouldn't be eating this. You know all these external influences that affect our eating and ultimately mess up I would say our relationship with food. 

00:06:12 Fiona Spence 


00:06:13 Clare Reid 

But I think the main one that comes back to is that we lose trust with our body and we are, you know. Unfortunately, hunger is demonised and we're told that we shouldn't feel hungry at certain times. 

00:06:27 Clare Reid 

And therefore we don't trust hunger, even though hunger is just like any other biological cue that our body will give us. 

00:06:36 Clare Reid 

So you know when you are feeling thirsty, you will go and honour that by having something to drink when your bladder is full, your body communicates that to you. 

00:06:47 Clare Reid 

And you go to the toilet. Hunger is no different. 

00:06:50 Clare Reid 

And but unfortunately, as we grew up and like you say, all the messages that we are surrounded by within this sort of diet culture that we live in and society idolising a certain body weight and shape and look, you know we we lose trust with with those signals. 

00:07:07 Fiona Spence 

So I take it intuitive eating is irrelevant of your weight. 

00:07:10 Fiona Spence 

I'm trying to achieve any kind of weight. It's not about that at all. 

00:07:14 Clare Reid 

Absolutely so. Intuitive eating is a weight, inclusive weight neutral approach, so we are not striving to lose weight some people do lose weight on intuitive eating. Some people gain. 

00:07:29 Clare Reid 

But it's all, some people stay the same. Basically, we don't want to be living you know, if we think about it as a pendulum, we don't want to be living at one extreme of the pendulum of that restriction and denying ourselves food. 

00:07:42 Clare Reid 

But then also we don't want the pendulum to be swung to the other side where we may be overeating or bingeing on food 

00:07:49 Clare Reid 

So again, intuitive eating can help reduce that binge restrict cycle that quite a lot of people maybe can relate to or find themselves in. 

00:07:58 Fiona Spence 

And would intuitive eating be something that you could practise without guidance or is. 

00:08:03 Fiona Spence 

It really a sort of path where you need assistance on. 

00:08:07 Clare Reid 

I mean, I definitely think you could practise it without guidance. There's there's a lot of information out there, but as we know the Internet can be very hit or miss. And like I say it is an evidence based framework. So I would really encourage to look for reputable sources, which I'm sure we can provide some information on. 

00:08:27 Fiona Spence 

We’ll provide, yeah 

00:08:31 Clare Reid 

Ultimately a Dietitian that has been trained in intuitive eating or you can undergo intuitive eating counsellor training as well. 

00:08:42 Clare Reid 

They would be the people that certainly I would encourage you to reach out for. In particular, if you feel that you have quite a negative association with food and with your emotions. 

00:08:53 Fiona Spence 

You mentioned before that there are 10 principles. Do you want to start taking us through these principles? 

00:08:57 Clare Reid 

Yeah, sure. So like I said, this intuitive eating was developed by two dieticians in America and they're based on 10 principles. 

00:09:07 Clare Reid 

So the first principle is about rejecting the diet mentality, so this is thinking that we know, as I said, that diets do not work long term for the majority of people. 

00:09:23 Clare Reid 

And really, the only way intuitive eating will work is if you are ready to let go of that diet mentality. 

00:09:30 Clare Reid 

So stepping away from, you know, thinking I need to go on the next diet I need to cut this food out. 

00:09:38 Clare Reid 

I'm going to follow, you know, whatever the fad diet is of the time. It's really cutting all ties with any kind of diet and stepping away from that, which obviously can be very scary and very vulnerable for a lot of people. 

00:09:52 Fiona Spence 

Yeah, because you'd feel like you had free choices again, which is the way it should be. But actually you're not trained like that. Your brain won't work like that 

00:10:00 Clare Reid 

Yeah, absolutely, and I think that this can be really challenging for people to get to a place of acceptance with, but I do think generally folk are coming round to the understanding that you know, after 30 plus years of dieting, we recognise that it's not working for them and actually their mental health is suffering as a result of that. 

00:10:22 Fiona Spence 

So we previously did a podcast with Amsu on diet culture. It would be a really good podcast for people listening in to get a bit of a background on diet culture and how to shift away from this aswell. 

00:10:35 Clare Reid 

Yeah. So it's also just to mention as well intuitive eating and rejecting the diet mentality is about trying to change that inner dialogue we have with ourselves so that inner voice that can often be quite self critical. That maybe you think that you have failed or not been strong willed enough at completing your diet. 

00:10:55 Clare Reid 

When actually we know that diets do not work, and actually it's the diet that's failed you. It's not that you have failed the diet so it's also about trying to build that self compassion with yourself. 

00:11:13 Fiona Spence 

I know cause sometimes you have this feeling of it that reward kind of feeling I don't deserve that because I haven't done that yet. 

00:11:20 Fiona Spence 

You know, I went for that run, so I totally deserve to eat like that amount of calories now 

00:11:24 Fiona Spence 

That it's just clear all of that, yes. 

00:11:27 Fiona Spence 

Move forward with a completely different perception. 

00:11:32 Clare Reid 

Yeah, absolutely, which again we know can be so challenging. But that's really what we're striving for is to build that self compassion and know that diets do not work and there is a better way. 

00:11:45 Fiona Spence 

And that all food is OK. 

00:11:45 Clare Reid 

And all food is absolutely OK. 

00:11:48 Clare Reid 

So that's principle one and then principle two is honour your hunger. So this is a really, really important one. And basically we are talking about making sure that you are eating regularly, that you are keeping your body fed. 

00:12:04 Clare Reid 

That you have adequate, you know sources of carbohydrate or protein that you're getting a good variety of foods because we know that when we restrict our food intake or you know, don't eat enough, it can cause our body to go into a sense of deprivation. And this is where we see the 

00:12:25 Clare Reid 

Cycle of restriction and often bingeing or overeating to compensate for that. And people can get really stuck in that cycle. 

00:12:34 Fiona Spence 

Sometimes that can be accidental as well, though can't it, you know, like you run out of time or you have an appointment? 

00:12:39 Fiona Spence 

Or you're in work and you get caught up with something. 

00:12:40 Fiona Spence 

And all of a sudden you realise I am absolutely starving, yeah, and you wanna eat everything in sight and I suppose is it OK to have that sometimes that's not. You know that's not your typical thing, but when that happens, you're so aware of it. 

00:12:56 Clare Reid 

Yes, yeah that and I think that that's the whole thing with intuitive eating is its about bringing an awareness so there is no perfect way to eat. Like you say, we all have times where. 

00:13:08 Clare Reid 

You get caught up with something or you wait too long. You know, for whatever reason and you are feeling starving hungry and that may result in you eating something you know very quickly. 

00:13:20 Clare Reid 

Maybe eating past the point of comfortable fullness, but that's OK. Again, you know it's a learning process, and as long as you come from a place of compassion with yourself and understanding as to maybe why that happened. 

00:13:34 Clare Reid 

That is OK. And also eating food for enjoyment and eating past the point of maybe comfortable fullness because you really are enjoying something is also OK. 

00:13:47 Clare Reid 

Like we say, with intuitive eating, there is no rules. There's no perfect way to eat, it's just about that understanding. 

00:13:54 Clare Reid 

So when we talk about honouring our hunger, like we say, it's helpful to get into a pattern of regular eating so that we're not having these extremes of restriction or, you know, overeating to kind of compensate for how we're feeling and it's about learning, and that can take a little bit of time. 

00:14:13 Clare Reid  

And there's specific tools that we would support somebody to use to honour their hunger, linking back to the beginning about the main thing is, is that we're honouring this signal that our body is giving us so if it's telling us that we are hungry. It's getting to know what 

00:14:30 Fiona Spence 


00:14:30 Clare Reid 

Those signals are and honouring them by having something to eat and building that trust with your body. 

00:14:36 Fiona Spence 

Hunger is a tricky one though, isn't it because it's something that you think, well, your stomach is grumbling or it’s not. 

00:14:42 Fiona Spence 

And it's nowhere near as straightforward as that. 

00:14:45 Fiona Spence 

You know when we were talking about it earlier that when I did the podcast previously with Sara on mindful eating and she asked me when are you hungry? 

00:14:51 Fiona Spence 

And I said, well, my stomach grumbles, and she's like, no, you're you know you're hungry way before that but if you're distracted or there's other things going on. 

00:14:58 Fiona Spence 

Or these external cues have taught you to feel differently? You don't act on it. 

00:15:02 Clare Reid 

Yeah, absolutely. Like you said, it's about trying to you know, quiet down those external influences and instead focus on what our bodies are telling us and communicating with us and it 

00:15:16 Clare Reid 

Like I said, it can take quite a bit of time to build that trust up with your body and recognise what your hunger cues are. It can take a little bit of time, and one thing that can really help with this. 

00:15:27 Clare Reid 

If you're struggling to sort of know your hunger cues or honour, your hunger is to eat at regular intervals throughout the day. 

00:15:34 Clare Reid 

So we would recommend not going any more than you know three to four hours without having something to eat. 

00:15:41 Clare Reid 

And again, that just builds up that regularity you know, builds up that trust, doesn't allow you to get to the point where you are absolutely starving hungry. Now all of this is in, you know a dream world where there's maybe not 

00:15:58 Fiona Spence 

A great starting point though. If you can remember that one thing, do you know? 

00:16:01 Fiona Spence 

It's been, you know, it's been a good three hours since. I mean, I really need to top up here. 

00:16:05 Fiona Spence 

Yeah, it's like you know we've referred to it being like a car with fuel before you've got to top up. 

00:16:10 Clare Reid 

Otherwise, you're just running on empty. Yeah, absolutely. And you know one point I just want to make here. Is that intuitive eating sometimes can be sold as the hunger, fullness, diet and it's not that at all. 

00:16:22 Clare Reid 

You know there will be times where you know you'll be feeling comfortably full and someone will maybe come into the office with a bit of cake and you'll think actually, you know I feel like I want that slice of cake. 

00:16:32 Clare Reid 

I'm going to eat it even though you recognise that you're feeling comfortably full. That's OK, you know. Like we said. Similarly, there's going to be times where you're maybe absolutely starving. 

00:16:45 Clare Reid 

Hungry but you know you may be driving in a car and you can't honour that hunger right now and and again, you know that's just life so. 

00:16:54 Clare Reid 

Again, it's not to put rules into place and just try listening to your body as much as possible. 

00:17:01 Clare Reid 

OK, so #3. 

00:17:03 Clare Reid 

The principle is make peace with food, so this is really about trying to stop fighting with food. Give yourself that unconditional permission to eat. 

00:17:16 Clare Reid 

Again when we place these rules on foods about you know what you should or shouldn't be eating or what you can't or can't have. It can lead to intense feelings of deprivation. 

00:17:28 Clare Reid 

And these then ultimately come out, as you know, cravings, or you know very intrusive thoughts that you ruminate on and can't get rid of. 

00:17:38 Clare Reid 

And sometimes for some people may result in, you know, a binge eating episode. Or like we say, eating to you know a point where you're really uncomfortably full. 

00:17:48 Clare Reid 

So we may think of foods as this forbidden fruit that we are not allowed to have, or we can only have if there's conditions attached to it. 

00:17:58 Clare Reid 

No wonder we have these thoughts of you know that intense craving or that want for that food. And really when we talk about making peace with food, it's trying to allow yourself. 

00:18:11 Clare Reid 

To not think of foods in terms of good and bad and very black and white, which again diet culture has told us. You know that's how we learn about healthy and unhealthy foods. 

00:18:22 Clare Reid 

But actually all foods are on an equal playing field and every food will give us something different, whether that be from a nutrition point of view or an emotional point of view. It really is about trying to give yourself unconditional permission to eat whatever you want. 

00:18:39 Fiona Spence 

Do you find that tricky though when we are absolutely surrounded. We're just laden with choice, aren't we? And when there's so much choice around you, it's very difficult to know what would be maybe a more beneficial choice for you know for your whatever it is that you're trying to achieve, you know there's there'll be people who 

00:18:58 Fiona Spence 

Listen into this and everybody comes from all different walks of lives, different backgrounds, different circumstances. From a Dietetic and nutrition point of view. 

00:19:08 Fiona Spence 

You want people to always eat well and eat for good health. To, you know, avoid things like cancers and actually you know, protect our bones. 

00:19:18 Fiona Spence 

So there's all these. So how do you get that message across without it being? It’s a really hard one isn't it? 

00:19:26 Clare Reid 

Really hard one and I think this is where we put too much emphasis on food. To be completely honest with you. 

00:19:32 Clare Reid 

Yes, you're right, there is a you know a part of you know if we're looking at cancer, for example, there is research there to show that you know following a kind of healthy balanced diet does improve our health. We know that, but that's only one tiny little part of the puzzle. 

00:19:51 Clare Reid 

And actually, when we look at the bigger picture, there's a lot of other influencing factors such as socioeconomic factor. 

00:19:57 Clare Reid 

There's genetics. There's a whole host of other factors that will determine you know whether somebody has cancer or not. 

00:20:07 Clare Reid 

And like I say, food is often blown way out of proportion. And when we talk about this unconditional permission to eat any foods, I think it puts a lot of fear in people. 

00:20:18 Clare Reid 

Because they ultimately jump to the thought of well, I'm only going to eat chocolate now, you know, you've given me permission to eat chocolate. I'm going to eat loads of chocolate. My weight's going to increase. 

00:20:29 Fiona Spence 

Do you get that kind of response? 

00:20:30 Clare Reid 

You get that kind of responds very often. 

00:20:32 Clare Reid 

So when we have lived in deprivation for so long, yes, there might be a period of time, a short period of time where you will overindulge or. 

00:20:41 Clare Reid 

Overeat on you know chocolate, for example, but our bodies are so clever and they crave variety and ultimately that you know kind of pendulum will swing back into the middle. 

00:20:53 Clare Reid 

And it will get to a place of, you know where it is craving a different variety of foods. 

00:20:58 Fiona Spence 

And you'll choose something else automatically. 

00:21:00 Clare Reid 

Absolutely, but it, but again, it's. It's coming from a place of not perpetuating the shame and guilt that's attached to certain foods, so we're not putting any sort of morality onto food. So a food is not bad. It's not good. It's not healthy. It's not unhealthy because putting those labels onto food perpetuates the thoughts of well I'm not a good person because I've ate a food that's not good for me. 

00:21:28 Clare Reid 

So what we're trying to do like you say is every food is equal, every food is on a level playing field. 

00:21:33 Clare Reid 

And we need to get a little bit of everything to give our bodies. You know what it what it needs. 

00:21:39 Fiona Spence 

I think the only guilt I ever have around chocolate is the fact that I don't share it.  

00:21:50 Clare Reid 

Love it. Love it. 

00:21:47 Fiona Spence 

Don't think there's any other guilt goes with it. 

00:21:49 Clare Reid 

OK, so principle number four is challenge the food police. 

00:21:53 Clare Reid 

So this kind of follows on from what we're saying about that we really have to change what our internal dialogue is saying so that you're not good or bad for eating a certain way? 

00:22:07 Clare Reid 

And really, when we talk about the food police, it's really that internal voice in our heads telling us we should or shouldn't be doing something. 

00:22:15 Clare Reid 

And all these rules, you know. 

00:22:18 Clare Reid 

Unreasonable rules that diet culture has created for us when it comes to our eating habits. 

00:22:24 Fiona Spence 

So we know what we mean by food police. 

00:22:27 Fiona Spence 

But what do you mean by challenge them, how would you do this? 

00:22:30 Clare Reid 

So there's a whole host of different varieties of tools that we would use with a patient. You know obviously individual to their circumstances, but overall the main thing is about recognising what you know. 

00:22:43 Clare Reid 

Thoughts or feelings are coming up. What behaviours are then you know coming as a result of those thoughts and feelings. 

00:22:50 Clare Reid 

Whether that be restriction or maybe overeating or not, allowing yourself to eat that certain food. And really, what we're asking you to do is to sit with that emotion or sit with that feeling. 

00:23:02 Clare Reid 

Try and identify you know where is that coming from? Why has it come up and again always coming from a place of compassion, non judgement towards yourself, but it's really about recognising any thoughts or feelings that have come up and what the resulting behaviour of that feeling is. And again, if there were quite strong thoughts or feelings? For example, if I thought resulted in maybe a binge? 

00:23:26 Clare Reid 

And you were feeling that that was that behaviour was, you know, bit out of control then would really encourage you to, you know get in touch with a health professional to kind of work through that. 

00:23:35 Clare Reid 

But quite often, just even the recognition of whatever thought or feeling can be a really good starting point and not necessarily doing anything with it, just sitting with whatever. 

00:23:46 Fiona Spence 

So not like you've heard the voice saying to you, you can't have that chocolate. You don't deserve it, and then doing the exact opposite, well I'm gonna go and buy that then. 

00:23:53 Fiona Spence 

Not quite as clear cut as that. 

00:23:56 Clare Reid 

I mean nothing about this is very clear cut, but no, it's it's not necessarily about doing anything about it. 

00:24:02 Clare Reid 

It's more just about sitting with whatever comes up and and the recognition of that, and even that in itself can be a really powerful tool for someone. 

00:24:05 Fiona Spence 

And recognising 

00:24:11 Clare Reid 

Because quite often we maybe use food as a way to push down or ignore, you know whatever feelings are coming up quite often associated with negative emotions like loneliness, sadness  

00:24:27 Clare Reid 

So instead of using food as a way to kind of cope with whatever you're feeling intuitive eating is that learning process of why am I feeling this way? 

00:24:35 Clare Reid 

And are there other tools and ways to cope rather than always turning to food? 

00:24:41 Fiona Spence 

I was going to say to you, what would you class as the food police and I was actually thinking, you know all of these external things, you know, the social media. All these people who you know a lot, there's no credentials and there's no evidence behind what they say, but yet they get into your head because we're so involved with social media these days now as well? 

00:25:02 Clare Reid 

And like we say, you know from day dot we're all surrounded by them and it filters down through generations as well, so quite often.  

00:25:10 Clare Reid 

And a lot of people will talk about their, you know, mums or dads relationship with food and how that affected them growing up and what their thoughts and beliefs were created around eating and foods. 

00:25:23 Fiona Spence 

What a nice thought though that actually, if you're able to break this cycle, it is this. You almost break it for the next generations. 

00:25:31 Clare Reid 

Absolutely yeah. 

00:25:32 Fiona Spence 

You know, if you challenge your way of how you feel about food and how you are around food and your relationship then that will influence your children, your children's children and then little by little we might actually get rid of this horrid diet culture that really shouldn't exist in the first place yeah, is that quite a strong statement. 

00:25:49 Clare Reid 

That is the dream. No, that I mean I'm there with you, that's the dream and I think that we are chipping away at it. 

00:25:55 Clare Reid 

I think that there is a lot more in terms of kind of body size and being inclusive of different body shapes and sizes. 

00:26:03 Clare Reid 

I think we are waking up to a lot of the diet culture and a lot of the lies and rules that have been sold you know to all of us. 

00:26:12 Clare Reid 

And again there’s no shame in believing in them and wanting to do them, because like we say, we're living in this society, that you know, we're told if we look a certain way, then we're valued more so deep, deep rooted, you know, belief system that unfortunately we're all entrenched in. 

00:26:32 Clare Reid 

So the 5th principle is discover the satisfaction factor and this, I think is my favourite principle. I love talking about this with people. 

00:26:39 Clare Reid 

Because I think a lot of the time we get really bogged down and thinking about food in terms of, you know how good it is for me? What nutrient does this give me and we? 

00:26:50 Clare Reid 

Really miss the point and the enjoyment of eating. 

00:26:53 Clare Reid 

And you know, from an evolutionary perspective, this is the only reason that we're here is because we enjoy eating. And as humans we are meant to enjoy eating. So this is something that I really like working with people on because again, I think it's a real fearful feeling and thoughts to have that they actually are enjoying food and they're allowing themselves to enjoy food. But discovering the satisfaction factor is basically about eating what you want. 

00:27:21 Clare Reid 

And finding the pleasure from it to a point where you feel you know satisfied and content and not have these very intrusive thoughts that you have done something wrong or that you are a bad person for eating in a certain way. 

00:27:39 Clare Reid 

OK, so principle #6 is feel your fullness, so this is very similar to honouring your hunger and again it's about building that trust with your body about learning your hunger and your fullness cues. 

00:27:52 Clare Reid 

So again, it's about trusting yourself that you will give your body the food that it desires, and listening for those signals that tell you when you are no longer hungry and you're at a place where you feel satisfied you feel comfortably full. And again. This is where the mindful eating exercises can come in. 

00:28:13 Clare Reid 

Because you can pause, you know that snack or that meal with what you're you know when eating it, you can take that breath, check in with your body. 

00:28:21 Fiona Spence 

Yeah because it can take us a bit of time to digest it can take us a bit of time for our brain to realise that your stomach is then full. So I suppose it is, you know, cause often we eat too fast and then within 10 minutes you sit back and I'm actually fit to burst, yeah? 

00:28:38 Clare Reid 

Absolutely so. And again that's you know the ideal scenario that we've got the time to be able to sit and enjoy. 

00:28:41 Fiona Spence 

Times always in there. 

00:28:45 Clare Reid 

It is, it is, so we you know. I always have that in the back of my head when I'm talking about intuitive eating that this is the ideal picture. We know that life can throw up other things for us. 

00:28:57 Clare Reid 

But if you're able to take in that pause again, it's building that trust and learning those signals so that we stop when we are comfortably full and that feeds back also into you know that unconditional permission to eat so that you know that you know if you have finished that meal, and you recognise that you're still hungry it's OK to then go on and have something else to eat. 

00:29:21 Clare Reid 

Similarly, you know quite often I hear people have grown up with the rule around you know you can't leave the table until you've finished everything on your plate. 

00:29:29 Fiona Spence 

Very old school yeah. 

00:29:30 Clare Reid 

Very old school. 

00:29:31 Clare Reid 

But again, so entrenched in a lot of people, so again, it's to give yourself that permission to know that you can stop that meal if you feel that you are comfortably. 

00:29:41 Clare Reid 

But, but know that you can go back to it. You know if half an hour, an hour or two hours, you know, whatever the time. 

00:29:48 Fiona Spence 

We’re always banging on about her handy leftovers are. 

00:29:49 Clare Reid 

Exactly yeah have it for your lunch. 

00:29:51 Fiona Spence 

Put it in a tub, stick it in the freezer. 

00:29:53 Clare Reid 

Absolutely so know that you can go back to it as well, and that is just again another external rule. 

00:29:59 Clare Reid 

OK, so principle #7 is cope with your emotions with kindness. Firstly, as we've as we've already sort of talked about, we know that food restriction, both physically and mentally can you know in an awe of itself be a trigger 

00:30:13 Clare Reid 

For that loss of control around food and also you know people will relate to themselves or class themselves as sort of emotional eaters. 

00:30:22 Clare Reid 

So when difficult emotions arise, people will turn to food as a way to try and manage those emotions, and that again is a very normal coping mechanism I think we can all relate to a time in our lives where we’ve been feeling a certain way and we try and eat a food to cheer us up. 

00:30:42 Fiona Spence 

Sometimes it does make us feel better. 

00:30:44 Clare Reid 

And it does, that's it, you know it does make us feel better. Now what can become problematic is if food is your only way to cope with that emotion. 

00:30:53 Clare Reid 

This is where it can develop into a bit of a deeper problem for a lot of people. 

00:30:58 Fiona Spence 

Because equally sometimes being in nature can make you feel just as good, and it’s finding another way, isn't it? 

00:31:03 Clare Reid 

Absolutely yeah, and that's again when we talk about this process of intuitive eating. It's building up that toolbox of other ways to cope with emotions rather than always turning to food. 

00:31:14 Clare Reid 

So we know that food long term won't fix these feelings that are coming up. Although like we said it can work in the short term and it can distract us. 

00:31:24 Clare Reid 

We know that long term those feelings will keep recurring, and I think if people really sat with that, they would. They would agree with that that they know that food doesn't help long term. 

00:31:36 Clare Reid 

But like we said, it's always coming from a place of that compassion and that kindness towards yourself, and that is key with the intuitive eating principles. OK, so principle #8 is respect your body. 

00:31:50 Clare Reid 

And I think that this can be a really challenging principle for a lot of people. Again, as we've talked about just with the society that we live in, and you know that thin ideal aspiration. 

00:32:01 Fiona Spence 

Always strive for perfection, but yeah, it just doesn't exist. 

00:32:04 Clare Reid 

Absolutely. So when we say about respect your body, we are not meaning that you have to love yourself and love your body. 

00:32:12 Clare Reid 

But we again through different tools. We try and teach people about respecting their body. So that's very much, you know, coming from a place of I'm grateful that I have legs that I can walk, you know? 

00:32:28 Clare Reid 

Very matter of fact statements, and it's about building upon these. So that we come to a place of respect rather than hatred because we know that you know when 

00:32:38 Clare Reid 

We hate ourselves. We're not going to change. We're not in a place that we're able to change, whereas again, it's trying to reframe those unhelpful, you know, thoughts that we maybe have about our body and get to a place of neutrality so you know, all our statements are neutral. They're neither good nor bad, just about trying to respect your body and come to a place of acceptance of this is what your your body size and your body shape is. 

00:33:06 Clare Reid 

OK, and the principle #9 is movement feel the difference. So I think movement and physical activity is really important to be included within the intuitive eating framework, because a lot of us maybe can relates to using exercise as a form of punishment, so whether that be we've eaten something we feel we've eaten too much, or we know we're going out for dinner, and therefore we feel that we have to be at the gym and burn a certain number of calories, I think everybody can relate to that. 

00:33:42 Clare Reid 

But what we know is that if we are coming from a place again of punishment and of something that we don't enjoy, then it's not going to last long term and we're not going to get you know, the benefits of it. So when we talk about movement and feeling the difference, we're really coming from a place of finding joyful movement so something that we actually like to do and enjoy doing. 

00:34:06 Fiona Spence 

Enjoy doing. 

00:34:08 Clare Reid 

And again it's trying to step away which I know can be very difficult, but it's trying to step away from the goal of weight loss and trying to think of what other benefits is this movement giving me and so whether like you say, a walk in the fresh. 

00:34:22 Clare Reid 

You know what, what, what would that bring me or you know? 

00:34:28 Clare Reid 

A 10 minute yoga session, what would that bring me? So again, it's about tuning into your body and listening so that if you're feeling absolutely exhausted, actually is movement the best thing for you, right? 

00:34:41 Clare Reid 

Now or you know, do you know that actually, that does help your mental health getting out and walking around the block. 

00:34:48 Clare Reid 

And again, it's trying to listen to what your body is communicating, rather than any external messages. 

00:34:53 Fiona Spence 

Yeah, because there will be people that will push themselves regardless. You know, I usually always go out for a run or I usually always do this and then you feel guilty if you don't, whereas actually you can kinda go, I've got a sore knee or I've got you know, my back's a bit achy. I've been sitting down too much today or whatever, and actually. 

00:35:11 Fiona Spence 

Say go home and get some tunes on and dance about your living room like nobody's watching. And who cares? 

00:35:17 Clare Reid 


00:35:18 Fiona Spence 

And it makes you feel so good. 

00:35:20 Clare Reid 

Yeah so again, it's going back to that satisfaction factor. You know what is going to bring me joy right now. 

00:35:26 Clare Reid 

What is best for my body rather than? 

00:35:29 Clare Reid 

What you know? 

00:35:30 Clare Reid 

Should I be doing what are those external rules that internal dialogue in my head? 

00:35:36 Clare Reid 

Telling me to do when actually I don't want. 

00:35:39 Fiona Spence 

To yeah, and that's it's quite hard as well, because although even if you are ignoring the cues, some people just thrive on structure and routine and they have their certain you know they eat at a certain time. They like to exercise or do certain activities at a certain time. 

00:35:56 Fiona Spence 

So I suppose it's just giving yourself different options. 

00:35:58 Clare Reid 

Absolutely, and I think this is where again the you know. 

00:36:02 Clare Reid 

Real life comes back in because some of us are only, you know, due to childcare. Whatever you may only have like a Tuesday night that you're able to go out and do something with everything you know. 

00:36:14 Clare Reid 

When we're talking about the principles of intuitive eating, we have to recognise that this is the absolute ideal scenario. 

00:36:21 Clare Reid 

In the real life will maybe throw up and you know, different curveballs for us at different times. 

00:36:27 Clare Reid 

But again, as long as we're going back to that, checking in with our body and finding, you know actually what would be most beneficial for me in this moment. 

00:36:35 Clare Reid 

And if I know I've only got Tuesday of this week, to, you know, go out for a walk. Actually, I'm going to prioritise that because I know that for my mental health that is better. 

00:36:46 Clare Reid 

But like you say, equally, if you're absolutely exhausted after you know a really busy day at work, things have come up that you hadn't prepared for you, you end up staying late, you're really hungry, Yep? 

00:36:56 Fiona Spence 

Your baby’s unwell and you've been up all night. 

00:36:58 Clare Reid 

Babies unwell, absolutely. 

00:37:01 Clare Reid 

Then again, it's just about checking in and honouring. You know if rest is best for you at that time, and then lastly principle #10 is honour your health with gentle nutrition. 

00:37:13 Clare Reid 

And I think that sometimes this can surprise people because as a dietician I actually don't really talk about food at all. 

00:37:21 Clare Reid 

You know when it comes to the Intuitive eating approach. 

00:37:23 Clare Reid 

Until towards you know, right at the end of our sessions, and that is because really everything else has to be put in place before we're then going to maybe make any changes with our food choices and our nutrition. So like I say we have to be comfortable with our hunger and fullness signals we have to allow that unconditional permission to eat and then the sort of last piece of the puzzle I say to people is about learning about nutrition. 

00:37:52 Clare Reid 

And what different nutrients can give our bodies? So it's just remembering that there is no one perfect way to eat. There is not such a thing as you know, a perfect diet. 

00:38:04 Clare Reid 

It and I always say to people to try and think of their food choices over the course of a week rather than just in that day, because sometimes we get too focused on that one day and making sure you know we're hitting our five a day of fruit and veg. You know you've got your carbohydrates, your proteins. 

00:38:24 Fiona Spence 

So all these messages to remember isn't there. You get bogged down with it all. 

00:38:27 Clare Reid 

Absolutely, and instead it's, you know. 

00:38:29 Clare Reid 

Thinking about the bigger picture so you will not suddenly become nutrient deficient or become unhealthy. You know, from eating you know one certain snack or one certain meal. 

00:38:40 Clare Reid 

It's really about kind of that consistency over time and like we say, zooming out a wee bit and looking at the bigger picture. 

00:38:48 Clare Reid 

So obviously we know that nutrition is very important, but we also know that it is not the first thing that we need to change in order to improve our relationship with food. 

00:39:02 Fiona Spence 

I think that's key Clare, you know it's, you know, we're surrounded by food all the time and our work that is our jobs. 

00:39:09 Fiona Spence 

But actually, there's so much more to somebody's relationship with food and how they eat and how food makes them feel than just the actual food product itself. 

00:39:21 Clare Reid 

Absolutely hit the nail on the head. 

00:39:23 Fiona Spence 

It’s so much more complicated and it's not clear cut. 

00:39:28 Fiona Spence 

And you know what you've introduced us to today with intuitive eating. It's fascinating, but it speaks so much truth and actually it does go way back to how we should behave around food in the first place. 

00:39:41 Fiona Spence 

You know, if we hadn't had all of these corporations pushing all these products at us, we may not have as many issues with you know the way that we feel around certain foods. 

00:39:52 Fiona Spence 

As it is, you know you kind of wonder, could we have removed like 50 years of all that negativity around food? 

00:40:00 Clare Reid 

Absolutely, and you know it. It speaks volumes at how huge you know the diet industry is you know it's a multi billion million pound. 

00:40:12 Fiona Spence 

I know how many times does it pop up on your feed. Whatever you're looking at and there is still this idea that there is a pill that can fix your issues with food or your issues with your weight 

00:40:33 Clare Reid 

Yes absolutely. And and that's you know we're we really stress that it's not you that has failed. 

00:40:33 Clare Reid 

You have not done anything wrong. It's unfortunately the society that we have all grown up in and you know continue to be surrounded with. 

00:40:43 Clare Reid 

And and that's one thing again, that we always stress is, you know, if you are on social media or you know if you are a user of the Internet. Again, it's to make sure you're following people and looking at things that are helpful for you. 

00:40:58 Clare Reid 

And there are no, you know perpetuating any shame or guilt associated with you know your food choices or your body shape or size. 

00:41:08 Clare Reid 

And if you feel that you know you do want further support, then you know dietitians. Like I said, there's intuitive eating counsellors. You know working with a trained reputable health professional. 

00:41:20 Clare Reid 

You know to work through any kind of difficult emotions that you've got in your relationship with food. I would really, really stress can be life changing. 

00:41:28 Fiona Spence 

We've got some really good links, actually that we're gonna put on in the description below, there's quite a few of them there, so please go ahead and check out these links if you feel that this is something that would benefit you. 

00:41:39 Fiona Spence 

Clare to round up. I mean, I think the principles are fascinating. 

00:41:44 Fiona Spence 

This is all a really insightful discussion that we've had today. We've actually had an awful lot of discussion off air, yes. 

00:41:51 Clare Reid 

So it's opened up. It's opened up Pandora's Box, hasn't it? 

00:41:55 Clare Reid 

It’s fascinating, yeah? 

00:41:56 Clare Reid 

You know it's honestly very hard to talk about it in the space of, you know, kind of half an hour. 

00:42:01 Clare Reid 

There's so much more. This is just a general overview of the 10 principles of intuitive eating. But yeah, I'd really encourage anybody that you know this has kind of sparked the interest to go and read further. 

00:42:14 Fiona Spence 

Yeah, I think that that you know even just recapping on the 10 principles, you know 

00:42:20 Fiona Spence 

Reject the diet mentality. Honour your hunger. Make peace with food. Challenge the food police. I can't stress that one enough. Discover the satisfaction factor. Feel your fullness. 

00:42:34 Fiona Spence 

Cope with your emotions with kindness. Respect your body. Movement, feel the difference and honour your Health. But yeah, take note of all these principles. 

00:42:45 Fiona Spence 

They're really important, yeah? 

00:42:47 Fiona Spence 

Thank you so much for joining us today Clare it's been lovely to have you. Been really lucky enough to have her for one podcast. 

00:42:55 Fiona Spence 

Our final one, but it's been really lovely to have you Clare thank you so much for joining us today and we look forward to bringing some new podcasts soon. 

00:43:02 Clare Reid 

Thank you very much.