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  • Linnette Johnson

What is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor (CIEC)?

If you've been following along, you've probably read about why dieting doesn't work long-term, how the size of our bodies does NOT equal health and the benefits associated with health-promoting behaviors that feel right to us. You've also probably come across my blog posts about Intuitive Eating and noticed the programs about Intuitive Eating. Maybe you've noticed that I now refer to myself as a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor in some of them, which is what this all means.

FYI there is a reason I picked the chocolate chip cookie for this post, but you have to keep reading to understand my reasons. Intuitive Eating isn't a diet or anything you would ever imagine, and it's explained in more detail below... So, keep reading. It will be worth it!!

A Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor is a health professional who partners with clients to develop healthier relationships with food and their bodies - working within their scope of practice. As a Board-Certified Nutritionist Specialist, I can provide medical nutrition therapy to address different wellness concerns and provide Intuitive Eating counseling to lessen stress and anxiety around food so that you can replenish nutrients vs. restrict as a means to regain health and wellness. TRAINING TO BECOME A CERTIFIED INTUITIVE EATING COUNSELOR Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD, and Elyse Resch, MS, RD, CEDRD, FADA created Intuitive Eating - and wrote the book Intuitive Eating. They have also created a specific training and certification program for health professionals who want to help others with Intuitive Eating - to ensure that Intuitive Eating is shared with individuals consistently and accurately. The current requirements for a health professional to become a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor include:

  • Part 1: Taking and passing Helm's Publishing Self-Study Intuitive Eating Course and online exam that entails reading the Intuitive Eating book, completing the workbook, and listening to a series of audios and webinars.

  • Part 2: Completing Evelyn Tribole's Intuitive Eating PRO training course. Evelyn, the co-author of the book, Intuitive Eating, teaches this course live - for six weeks. This course focuses on the process of working with clients and the many scientific studies showing the benefits of Intuitive Eating.

  • Part 3: Completing three supervision/coaching sessions with Elyse Resch or Evelyn Tribole individually or with Theresa Kinsella in a group. The idea behind these sessions is to enhance the health practitioner's skill level in working with clients on Intuitive Eating.

WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN WORKING WITH A CERTIFIED INTUITIVE EATING COUNSELOR When working with a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor to improve your relationship with food and your body, you will learn that this journey is a process of healing and regaining a healthier way of life in so many ways. There is no wrong or right way when making this journey either. Each experience is a learning opportunity. The amount of time required to make peace with food and your body will vary with each person. No one body or individual is precisely alike ever. If you have been a chronic dieter for many years, it might take longer to let go of dieting and food rules. Throughout our time together, YOU are the expert on your body. While I may be the expert in my field and provide the knowledge from my scope of practice, I will partner with you throughout your Intuitive Eating journey. Most of the initial session is dedicated to relearning YOU- to help you as we continue to future sessions. This is a true partnership as you and I utilize the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating while getting to the root causes of how you feel. During the journey, the goal is to heal your health concerns as you make peace with food, your mind, and your body. Since I am a Board-Certified Nutrition Specialist, I will share what to expect from a Board-Certified Nutrition Specialist who is also a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. Here are some examples of what you might anticipate experiencing in your Initial Consultation:

  • Asking you various questions in a compassionate and non-judgmental way to better understand your health history, dieting history, and relationship with food.

  • Discussing what you hope to achieve in working together, including short-term and long-term goals.

  • Partnering with one another to create a few SMART goals that feel right will allow you to accomplish your short-term and long-term goals.

  • Exploring any other questions we've discussed or may come up over time.

In the follow-up appointments, more information will be gathered, and other possible pertinent information and adjustments can be made as needed. As we get to know one another, the conversations may start to feel like a coffee or tea outing with someone that is compassionate and an excellent listener. This is when we will dig deeper into what's on your mind and partner to navigate the Intuitive Eating journey - all while you are in the driver's seat, making sure that what needs to be prioritized is addressed first and fits in YOUR life.

So, what are the topics we will explore:

  • Normalizing you're eating patterns.

  • Eating a wide variety of foods that you enjoy.

  • Exploring how different food combinations make you feel.

  • Letting go of food rules and labels - such as "good" and "bad."

  • Tuning into your hunger/fullness cues and honoring them.

  • Bringing back enjoyable eating experiences while nourishing and healing your body and mind.

  • Exploring which forms of movement bring joy and feel good to your body.

  • Learning about different forms of self-care that resonate with you.

  • Improving your relationship with your body and your mind.

  • Measuring progress through setting and implementing realistic goals instead of focusing on the number received from a scale or calculation.

  • Assisting you with medical nutrition therapy for addressing other health and wellness concerns.

  • Receiving evidence-based information throughout the journey for nutrition myth busting.

  • Exploring nutrition together when the time is right.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INTUITIVE EATING AND DIETING Yes, I can't end this post without getting on my "soap box" about the billion dollars a year, unscientific diet culture that most subscribe to daily. Let's start with Intuitive Eating, which is a flexible approach to eating that encourages you to tune into your body's internal cues - such as hunger and fullness - in addition to unlearning food rules, letting go of dieting, and experiencing true pleasure from eating so that your body and mind are fully nourished. Dieting is nowhere as nourishing or healthy as you are taught to restrict and to go without. Intuitive Eating is evidence-based. It was NOT created for weight loss, but when you make mentally and physically healthier changes, the side benefit could be weight loss. The primary purpose of Intuitive Eating is to make peace with food, the mind, and the body. which

For more on the studies mentioned above, the Intuitive Eating creators have provided them- here.

WHERE YOU CAN FIND A CERTIFIED INTUITIVE EATING COUNSELOR Now that you have a better idea of what to expect from working with a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, if you would like to work with one, check out the official Intuitive Eating website and click on the tab "Counselor Directory" for a list of Certified Intuitive Eating Counselors throughout the world which includes, dietitians, nutritionist, therapist and more. As a Board-Certified Nutrition Specialist, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, and National Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach, I would be honored to work with you on addressing general health & wellness concerns, ending the food fight, and improving your body image.

Click here to learn more about me and here about my services. #CertifiedIntuitiveEatingCounselor #IntuitiveEating #FoodFreedom #BCNS #Nutritionist #NBCHWC

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