Allie Bourgeois shares with DeliveryRank her past struggles with food, dieting and body image. Allie is a non-diet Dietitian and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and comes from a place of knowing, understanding and compassion. We find out more.
My life goal as a Registered Dietitian is to help others feel confident around food and in their body. I believe food should be fun and add to your life, instead of a source of stress or anxiety. Therefore, I want to show others (and for them to show others) how to live a full and healthy life, without food rules or body image worries holding them back. This is exactly why my slogan for my private practice, Make Life Peachy, is “Stop dieting, start living.”
A common message women are told is that our worth and value depends on our looks, and we are more worthy if we are more attractive, which often means thinner. This message is present in social media, movies, television, magazines, video games, and even the dolls little girls play with. Women are taught the most important thing they can do in life is to be small and pretty.
The pressure to be thin leads to pressure to diet in efforts to control their body size to feel good enough and worthy. In my opinion, this is why women often struggle with intense food guilt. While many men do struggle with body image and food guilt, I think it can be a more common theme for women because of the societal pressures put on women around their looks. Men do have pressure around looks as well but are overall less objectified and targeted compared to women. For example, women are targeted with ads focused on preventing aging while men are celebrated for being wiser and reaching “silver fox” status.
Therefore, to challenge food guilt, it is important to unlearn negative beliefs we’ve been taught around food and our bodies and learn beliefs that align with your values and truth. An example of these new beliefs may be “I am not bad for eating food” or “I was not put on this Earth to be as small as possible. I am meant to take up space.”
My 4-step method describes the common steps I walk my clients through to move away from chronic dieting and towards a healthful relationship with food and their bodies. The steps are:
1. Ditching diets: The first thing we work on is challenging the dieting mindset. In this step, you learn why restriction doesn’t work long term and how to stop restricting so you can start to listen to your body instead of food rules and fears.
2. Food freedom: The next step is making peace with food. In this step you will start to reconnect with your body, practice permission to eat unconditionally, and start to experience food freedom. This means less urgency, cravings, and food guilt, and more permission, control, and freedom.
3. Gentle nutrition: Once you let go of food rules and are feeling in control around food, we can focus on nutrition with a gentle approach. Instead of making decisions based on all or nothing food rules, you learn to make decisions based on your body’s needs. You will learn how to balance your plate with flexibility to feel good and energized.
4. Body love: Lastly, we work on creating sustainable habits and a positive mindset that is rooted in body love and respect. This can include fun movement and improving your body image to help you feel confident, empowered, and good in your skin.
There are so many rewarding experiences I get to share with clients, from finding out a client with PCOS was able to get pregnant to seeing improved labs with a client who had pre-diabetes. Seeing clients overcome food fears and build confidence around food and trust in their bodies is incredibly rewarding.
However, I think the most rewarding experience I share with clients is seeing the impact that improving their relationship with food has on their relationship with themselves and others. As clients improve their relationship with food, they experience less stress and anxiety and more confidence and belief in themselves. They experience more energy and have more time, thanks to no longer being consumed with food and body thoughts. This means more life and less time spent holding themselves back.
As my clients improve their relationship with themselves, they can show up for life and their best self, and this impacts every relationship they have. They are also able to positively impact everyone around them by passing on their new beliefs and knowledge to friends, family, and even their children!
I think consumers are moving away from fad diets and looking for sustainable ways to eat healthfully. More and more people are realizing that fad diet trends are not sustainable and do not work long term. They are looking for ways to feel their best and prioritize their health that do not include a diet. As a Registered Dietitian, I am very excited about this shift!
If you would like to learn more about Make Life Peachy, visit https://makelifepeachy.com/ or follow on https://www.instagram.com/make_life_peachy/