Intuitive Eating and Sick Days

Tis the season…. Flu season that is.

It seems like weekly I hear about the new virus, cold, bacteria that is going around.

While I take precautions to not get sick - like getting adequate sleep, staying hydrated, managing my stress, eating meals and snacks, asking my clients to call if they’re sick and reschedule… in spite of it all sometimes I still get sick. It’s human.

And something I often hear when people are sick is “I just didn’t feel like eating.”

*GASP*

I totally get it. You feel icky. You just want to sleep. Nothing sounds good. Nothing tastes good. Eating is the last thing on your mind. But when you’re ill your body is fighting it’s fight to get you well again. It’s doing everything it can to defeat the virus or bacteria or allergen to make you better… and you’re skipping meals? Depriving it of precious energy? BLASPHEMY.

Yet at the same time I’ve been there, done that, and GET IT. But I try to still eat when I’m sick.

So how do you eat intuitively when you feel so crummy?

  1. Ask yourself what would taste or feel good to eat right now? Is it steaming hot soup, frozen yet creamy ice cream, silky vanilla pudding, a giant ice cold smoothie, crackers on crackers on crackers, or something else all together?

  2. If nothing sounds good and you’re experiencing nausea and/or upset stomach, stick with BRAT… Think of bland foods like Banana’s, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast (BRAT).

  3. HYDRATE! Especially if you are vomiting, congested, experiencing constipation or diarrhea. But even if not, remember to hydrate because just like food, we need it but sometimes forget about it especially when sick. It doesn’t have to be water. It can be juice, popsicles, flavored water, tea, hot chocolate, etc.

    *Alcohol and caffeinated beverages are dehydrating so therefore counter-productive when sick. They also have the potential to mess with your sleep too which is crucial while getting well.

  4. Take the pressure off of food - buy food that is easy to pop in the microwave or oven, grab takeout on your way home from target after picking up Kleenex’s and cough drops, or ask the people who love you if they can make and/or bring you food. MAKE IT SIMPLE! Save your precious energy for getting well.

  5. Taking antibiotics? Consider getting some extra pre- and probiotics in as tolerated by having some whole grains, fibrous vegetables and fruits along with some yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and other fortified with probiotics. Antibiotics can be helpful as prescribed but are hard on your gut! (if taking supplemental probiotics make sure to check that they are third party tested and talk with your doctor and pharmacist about what’s a best fit for you!)

  6. When you're not eating, hydrating, and medicating as prescribed or recommended, can you get extra sleep or rest? Your body could use more downtime and less stress when it’s healing itself so when possible sleep more, take time off, delegate tasks to those you live, let go of things that don’t need to be done - I know that these things are a privilege and not afforded to all because sometimes you can’t miss work or are the sole care taker for others.

  7. If you’re sick consider scheduling a doctors visit if needed or talking with a local pharmacist about your symptoms and the best treatments available for you. Food and rest and hydration are great… but they’re not medicine! And that’s okay! They’re not supposed to be. Medicine is medicine and sometimes it’s necessary or can make being sick a little more tolerable.

  8. If eating is already complicated for you ( whether you currently have or have a history of an eating disorder, disordered eating, chronic dieting, or otherwise) these situations that further complicate it can be really tough! If that’s you I highly recommend working with someone who is specialized in disordered eating to improve your relationship with food, like Wholehearted Nutrition or one of my many wonderful colleagues! If you have questions about working with a dietitian, reach out!

So now you have a few ideas going into this flu season on eating intuitively! Are there special things you do to care for yourself when you feel unwell? I’d love to hear them below!

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**Amanda is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer, however, this blog is for informational and educational purposes only. What is shared here should not substitute the advice of your doctor, dietitian or mental health professional. If you have questions if something you see here may work for you, please reach out to your primary care providers.

How to: Build a Salad that Doesn't Suck

It’s officially summertime and sometimes all you want and crave is a nice, cool, crisp salad.

The salads promoted by diets and lifestyle gurus are dry, sad, boring salad bowls that are often flavorless and are filled with rules. But diet culture doesn’t own salads.

Salads should have all the fixings you desire and it can be a fun way to get creative in the kitchen.

Because SALADS DON’T HAVE TO SUCK.

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Literally anything goes… multiple bases, numerous toppings, a couple of crunches, proteins and grains that are seasoned or plain, a dressing and a salsa. The options and flavors are limitless. The only rule when making a salad is making sure it’s one you’ll enjoy. No sad salads here.

What are your favorite salad toppings? I’d love to hear them below!

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Making Your Workspace Inclusive of EveryBODY

You’re at work and someone walks in, it’s noticeable that they lost weight and someone says,

“Wow! You’ve lost weight, you look so great!”

What that co-worker didn’t know was what that person they were praising was going through:

Depression from losing a loved one.

HIV.

An eating disorder that has taken over their life.

Cancer.

Inflammatory bowel disease.

Over exercising.

The list of reasons weight loss happens could go on and on… Weight loss is assumed as desired-but that is not always the case. And it says so much beyond what is said. It is not a compliment because they hear:

Your body was wrong before

Smallness is valuable

What you’re going through doesn’t matter

The disordered thoughts are right

Our words encourage the thin ideal that 95% of women cannot achieve. It encourages weight cycling which is strongly correlated with increased risk of further disease. It continues women (and men) questioning their worth and value and tying it to a number on the scale or pant size which has nothing to do with either or even health.

So what can we do about it? How can we make a shift from a workplace that embraces and encourages wellness and diet culture to one that is inclusive of all bodies,. aware of the harmful effects of comments both on people in larger bodies or with disordered eating?

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Employees and Co-workers

  • Check your privilege

    • Those of us who have privilege (be it thin, white, cis, positional, hetero, male or other) must take steps to call out the negative and impactful culture.

    • People who identify as fat and have the energy to do so can too but if we’re being honest it’s going to be harder… not impossible. Not for nothing. Just harder. There’s a higher chance of getting pushback and ridicule-so when we can, we must use the privilege we have to help… and if someone in a larger body (or any other marginalized body) doesn’t want our help, even if well intentioned, we have to respect the hell out of that too. We don’t get to be the savior-we just get to be supportive if and when needed. Because it’s the right thing to do. Because we all deserve to take up space in this world.

  • Call in (or out as needed) diet talk

    • What you are eating and why does not matter. If you are on a diet for any reason, no one needs to know. It’s boring, uninteresting, and triggering to those who struggle with their relationship with food.

    • DO NOT POLICE OTHERS FOOD. You can think foods are good/bad, healthy/unhealthy (which they’re not but I’ll save changing your mind for later) - either way you don’t need to comment on what you

    • Set boundaries for yourself and others. Hear someone talking about their own or others food and/or diet? Shut it down. Change the conversation, simply ask that they don’t talk about it, or if you have the time and energy explain to them why it’s problematic

    • Instead you may be able to talk about how delicious the food is (be sensitive that some may not even want to hear this), you can share a recipe when asked, you can talk about how great it is to sit down to a meal together, or something that has nothing to do with food at all.

  • Like diet talk, body chat must be called in (or out)

    • Bodies are never okay to talk about. Period. No weight loss talk. No weight gain talk. Don’t talk about other peoples bodies, your own body, your daughter’s best friends mom’s body. Just don’t talk about bodies. Don’t talk negatively about bodies. Don’t praise bodies for aesthetics or thinness or anything that has to do with how it looks. Don’t talk about the health of a body (that you likely do not know-because by looking at a body you cannot know).

    • If you must talk about bodies (which you probably don’t-so first ask yourself if you really truly do) then if you decide you still must do so with caution, quietly, not in front of many people and if the other person shuts it down, acts uncomfortable, or any other sign that what you said was inappropriate hard stop.

  • Think about what you’re doing, saying, and partaking in.

    • The couch over the plastic chair, the rolling desk chair without arms when most have them, any language that moralizes bodies of different size. If you can sit comfortable in a chair with arms, a smaller seat, or have the ability to shut down negative body talk, do so.

  • Talk to co-workers (family, friends, etc) living in larger bodies

    • Their lived experience is invaluable. What they go through day to day will say much more about the environment you’re working in than I ever can. If the environment is toxic they’ll know. Ask how they are. Support their needs when you can. And be open to criticism. They may choose not to talk about it and that’s okay, too.

    • Don’t have relations with anyone, co-worker or otherwise, in a larger body? Question that. Then for now turn to amazing work already being done by individuals out there, such as Virgie Tovar, Lindy West, Jes Baker, and so many more.

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Those with Positional Power (Owners, CEOs/Managers, Team Leaders, Human Resources)

In addition to all of the above -

  • HIRE PEOPLE LIVING IN FAT BODIES

    • And pay them the same as you would anyone (preferably the thin, white male) of their position and credentials.

    • Then, give them the same opportunities, recognition, and trust you would of anyone else in that position for the work they do.

  • Make sure your space is accommodating and welcoming to all bodies.

    • We have laws in place to protect and accommodate some disabled bodies and we should take size of bodies into account as well.

      • Furniture without arms will fit most bodies-consider making half (or all) chairs this option.

      • Check weight limits on the furniture as well - if it is <250# make sure you have at least some furniture available for all sized bodies. No one should need to worry if a flimsy chair will support them at work.

      • Provide options that sit higher off the ground, too. Getting up and down should be simple and easy as possible for all bodies-larger, disabled, or otherwise.

  • Make initiatives to inform yourself and employees about appropriate behavior, about inclusitivioty of diverse body sizes, and about how they can prevent a toxic environment.

    • Reach out to local health at every size practitioners about talking to employees

    • Have a no tolerance policy on bullying or size discirmination

  • Do not approve ‘wellness initiatives’ that focus on weight or numbers

    • Weight loss contests, tracking calories or food, counting steps can be detrimental and encourage disordered behaviors in all bodies.

    • Focus on initiatives that truly encourage wellbeing: Basic self-care, sleep, hydration… and make sure whoever is leading it is knowledgeable on the subject and aware of disordered behavior.

  • Ask those living in diverse bodies how you can better support them.

    • Listen to what they have to say too. If they feel the environment is toxic take initiatives to change it.

    • Be open to criticism and suggestions of your own behavior.

    • Be open minded to experiences that they have are likely very different from yours if you have thin privilege

Know this list is not all inclusive and my secondhand experience through clients, talks with friends, and books by people who identify as fat will never replace the lived experience. If there is something I missed or was off on, I would be happy to know… and would love to hear what you can, would like to have (or have) done to make your workplace more inclusive and safe for people of all shapes, sizes, and beyond below.

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S'mores Hummus

This week I had the opportunity to attend a health fair with Wholehearted Nutrition and had a blast meeting so many new people.

When brainstorming ideas on what would get people to stop by the booth, I thought… OF COURSE! Food.

So I got to work on something that would be simple in the middle of the week, wouldn’t require me to take a lot of extra things and then it dawned on me… hummus. I got to looking at recipes and realize I had never tried my hand at dessert hummus. After I was unsatisfied with the recipes I was seeing, I decided to create my own. Enter: S’MORES HUMMUS.

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This recipe is husband approved (he’s been eating on the leftovers ever since) and convinced many skeptics that chickpeas and hummus can be amazing (especially if tastes like your favorite summertime sweet).

So without any further ado, here’s the recipe just for you! Super simple and whips together in less than 20 minutes.


S’more’s Hummus

Cook and Drain Chickpeas.

Blend together beans, cocoa powder, milk, olive oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt until smooth.

Fold in chocolate chips and marshmallows

Top or fold graham cracker crumbs into mix.

Serve chilled with graham crackers, fruit, on toast, cookies, eat by the spoonful, or any way you can imagine.

  • 1 can chickpeas

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder

  • 4 T milk

  • 1 T Olive Oil

  • 3-4 T Maple Syrup

  • 2 t Vanilla Extract

  • 1/4 T Salt

  • 1/2 C Mini Chocolate Chips

  • 1/2 C Marshmallows

  • 1/2 C Graham Cracker Crumbs

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If you get a chance to try it I’d love to hear below! If you have any burning nutrition topics or recipes you’d love to see let me know!

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Amanda is an anti-diet dietitian and nutrition therapist practicing in Bloomington, IN and virtually. If you are looking to work with a dietitian, she is currently accepting new clients. Check out her services or reach out to set up your FREE discovery call today. She would love the opportunity to work with you!

Chicken and Noodles

I don’t share food that often… there are a variety of reasons but mostly because I tend to not strictly follow recipes or use measuring tools, take the time to write things down, or remember to pause to take a picture before the first bite… also when I’m making food taste trumps looks and I don’t take time to prettify every food.

I’m not sure I can want to change. But as I was making my grocery I had a feeling it was gonna be good and I would want to recreate it, so I jotted down beforehand what I planned on putting in the pot.

I was inspired to make a comforting bowl of chicken and noodles because we were going to have our first snow storm and let me just say it was a hit (aka husband approved). There’s something magical in comfort food.

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CHICKEN & NOODLES

Yields ~6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 T Butter

  • 2 T garlic, minced

  • 1 small white onion, diced

  • 3 T all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine (optional: sub water)

  • 8 oz.Mushrooms

  • 4 stalks celery, chopped

  • 1/2 pound baby carrots

  • 4 C Chicken Broth

  • 2 C Heavy Cream

  • 12 oz egg noodles

  • 1 lb chicken, cooked and shredded (Could sub rotisserie chicken)

  • 1/2 t Salt

  • 1/2 t Pepper

  • 2 T Herbs de Provence

  • Parsley for garnishing

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Instructions

  1. Melt butter in large soup pot. Add garlic sauté until fragrant (about 30-60 seconds). Add diced onion and continue to sauté until translucent (5-8 minutes). Stir in flour and white wine, mix until well combined. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until reduced (about 10 minutes).

  2. Next add in vegetables, broth and cream, noodles, chicken, and spices to pot. bring to a low boil and allow to cook for 20-25 minutes, or until liquid is thickened to desired consistency and vegetables are soft.

  3. Serve warm and garnish with parsley.

What are your favorite cold weather foods? I’d love to hear about them below!

Technicalities: Food is Fuel

“Food is fuel.”

Technically, this is correct.

Food, at it’s bare minimum, is what allows us as human beings to function.

That doesn’t mean “food is fuel” is the be all end all.

Because food is fuel… but it is not only fuel.

Food functions beyond giving us energy for our daily activities and happenings.

It goes beyond the nutrients it provides for our bodies to do their magical and miraculous things.

It is more than carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

It goes further than providing for our basic needs.

Food is so much more.

Food gives way to experiencing the world, cultures, and lifestyles.

Food is a language we all speak, a common ground.

Food substitutes a time machine, allowing us to revisit the past in just a bite.

Food brings us together and creates community in the making, eating, and enjoying of it.

Food gives us something to look forward to. To reflect on. To bond over.

Food allows a creative outlet in the ability to experiment.

Food is healing because whether it is a cookie or a salad eating is self-care.

Food creates comfort in it’s familiarity, it’s warmth, it’s pleasantries.

Food is life-sustaining it, giving way to experience it, memories revolving around it, traditions upheld with it.

Food is a way to show our love, care, concern, and compassion whether homemade, store bought or takeout.

Food may be fuel… but it’s importance and abilities go far beyond that.

Food is fuel, but it is not only fuel.

How does food go beyond fuel for you? I’d love to hear what it means to you below!

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Planning a Self-Care Staycation

My husband and I decided earlier this year that this winter season we would have a staycation.

My travel loving heart was a little bit disappointed at first (because there’s so many places to go and things to see!) but in reality, a staycation is really what’s needed. Some down time to relax and unwind.

In spite of the relaxing and unwinding, the type-A planning and organizing side of me came out and I dove into possible details.

The dates were set, Saturday December 22nd through Monday December 31st.

When traveling my itinerary is fairly structured (mostly because reservations have to be made) however, in staycation spirit, I want to keep things nearby and low key with minimal true obligations. Here are some things that can be done for a holiday at home:

At home:

  • Watch as many cheesy Christmas movies as your heart can tolerate

  • Honor holiday traditions or start a new one

  • Watch new seasons of our favorite shows (Also lovingly known as ‘Netflix and Chill’)

  • Cooking or baking competition

  • Cuddle your pets extra

  • Board Game showdown

  • Work on a Bucket List for the next year

  • Catch up on some fun reads

  • Brunch

  • 52 Lists for Togetherness or games of this or that

Around Town:

  • Attend a local production or show

  • Take a driving tour of local lights

  • Eat at your favorite restaurants or get take out to have at home

  • Take a walk around town or hike if the weather permits

  • Shop Locally

  • Try restaurants you’ve been putting off

  • Visit a greenhouse

  • Go rock climbing, axe throwing, trampoline bouncing, ice skating, or bowling

  • Visit the movies for a matinee

  • Get (or give each other) a massage and/or have a spa day out or at home

  • Check out local museums

So with a list of things to do and the option to do absolutely none of them, I am ready for a staycation. Whether you have extended time off or have to work between or during, I hope you find some downtime to recharge for you during this season!

Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays and a fantastic New Year!

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Gift Guide: Self Care

Gifting (and getting) self-care items is among one of my favorites (next to experiences!) So in the holiday spirit I compiled a list of some of my favorite self-care items that make great gifts. While I’m all for a good massage or pedicure, most of these gift ideas are for self-care at home and are affordable for the gifting season on a budget.

  • A journal like Beautiful You by Rosie Molinary is a personal favorite. It has 365 prompts to guide you to self-acceptance and is so much fun to work through!


  • Face masks, epsom salts, bath bombs, or even just good ole bubble bath can make for a great spa day at home experience. Pair with a loofa or their favorite lotion.

  • Add slippers and/or a cozy robe to make a spa day at home feel more luxurious and provide comfort all winter long

  • Coloring, Word Search, Crossword or Sudoku Books are easy to lose yourself in when you want a pleasant distraction. I’m a Disney fan and could definitely see myself diving into this one

  • Candles or essential oils are always a good idea-a small experience that lasts for a while. It can easily create a warm aesthetic and brighten up the day (pun intended) of anyone around!

  • A soft or weighted blanket to cuddle up with during the cold months… or if you can knit a chunky homemade one would be great too!

  • Cards or a book with positive quotes and affirmations to create a pick-me-up that they can lean on when you’re not around.

  • Help them fight boredom with fun at home. Board games are a great rainy/too cold/too hot day activity and an enjoyable way to spend time with family members and friends.

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  • Chocolate, Cookies, or Pre-Made Meals: Gifting delicious baked goods, their favorite candy, or a crock pot meal lets them take care of theirselves in the most basic but essential of ways. (Of course-if cooking and baking isn’t your forte - a gift card to a restaurant does this job, too!)


If you were to gift self-care, what would it be? I’d love to hear your ideas below!

Holiday Chatter

‘Tis the season of gathering around the table.

Maybe it’s the table in your own home, your parents, your in-laws, your friends, a company holiday party, or even at a restaurant... Maybe holidays suck and you choose to celebrate alone at your coffee table. And that’s okay too. No matter where the table, it’s more likely than not that you will be around it for celebration sometime soon. And for many of us, there is going to be some stress that comes with that.

Stress and baggage has a tendency to travel with the holiday season. First and foremost, make sure you are practicing your best self care (more on that coming soon). Then take it one day at a time.

Here are some things to consider and maybe share with those you are spending time with this holiday season and feel could benefit from knowing:

Mind your own plate (And ask that others do as well)

Your plate is your business… and it’s acceptable to ask everyone around you to mind their own plate too. This is easily reversed-don’t compare your plate to that of anyone around you. Your plate is specifically crafted for you. Your wants, your taste, your needs. The what and why and how much is on a plate is the plate owners business alone.

Also, avoid being the food police and don’t accept others policing your food. It’s okay if someone doesn’t want to eat a salad… or dessert… or grandma’s famous yams. It’s also okay if you go back for seconds of absolutely anything and/or everything if that is what they want.

What someone decides to eat and drink any day of the year should should not be up for public debate (if at all)… let’s try to put an emphasis on that during the holiday season.

Things not to talk about around the table (or ever)

  1. Diets and Restriction: Whether you’re following the newest fad, were put on it by a medical provider, or just shooting for a “lifestyle change” don’t talk about your diet, food rules, or any restrictions that you may be implementing, considering or practicing in the future. With 1 in 4 dieters going on to develop an eating disorder the risk of harm is too high to ignore.

    What to talk about instead?: What tv, movies or music you’ve been into lately

  2. Weight and Body Talk: Even when said as a ‘compliment’, talking about others (or your own) weight and body changes or shape can be incredibly damaging. It reinforces that there are ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ bodies… and that is not true. Bodies are meant to be diverse and that is ok. Body image is hard enough in our society without the comments, even well intentioned, from family and friends.

    What to say instead?: “Hello! How have you been? It is so great to see you!”

  3. Post Meal Shaming: Guilt and shame are common following a meal. It’s not wrong to feel that way-but that probably means you personally need to do work with your relationship with body and food and that’s okay! Just choose to not talk about any poor feelings following a meal or shame anyone else for what/how much/when they choose to eat.

    What to say instead: ‘That meal was absolutely delicious. It was so great to share with you all.”

  4. Exercise Routines: No one needs to earn, burn, ‘prepare for’, or ‘work off’ any food, let alone a holiday dinner. Everyone needs to eat, multiple times a day, every day a year, regardless of movement. Period. If you moved today in a way that felt great to you, CONGRATULATIONS! I’m so happy you’ve found movement that works for you. If you moved today and your motivation was elsewhere, that’s okay too! Either way others don’t need to hear about or feel guilt or shame related to your exercise routine.

    What to talk about instead?: Your favorite thing to do during the holidays.

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Preparing yourself for the holiday celebration

Plan for as much as you can. Think through your holiday plans. Run through uncomfortable scenarios. Know your boundaries and your limits. Stick to them. It’s okay to say no to events you rather not go to that will only leave you feeling drained. Share any boundaries you need to with family and friends to help have the best time possible.

Do not skip breakfast or any meals or normal snacks before the event.

The day before and after make sure you have time set aside for self care (the day of too if you can manage!). If you know these events are hard for you, make sure that you are taking time for yourself. Maybe you plan for a nap between events, ten minutes of meditation, a walk by yourself after dinner, an hour in the middle of the day to just read… whatever you know works for you, if possible to incorporate it, do so!

Pack snacks if you think you may need them. If you are unsure that any food will be there for you to enjoy (whether it’s because of personal preference, allergy, or another medical necessity) it’s okay to pack your own food.

If you want to enjoy something or a family member is insisting on you trying it and you just can’t eat it in the moment, ask for some to go.

Not sure how things are going to go? Do what is best for you, have an escape plan, and if you need to leave early, then leave early. There is nothing wrong with that.

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As much as possible, enjoy the food. Embrace the company. Focus on the experience.

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The Problem with Gyms

Not all gyms, but too many, thrive on shame.

And I have a major problem with that. And you should too.

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I became a NASM certified personal trainer earlier this year and I’ve been dabbling (ever so slightly) in the idea of actually putting it to use. I mostly pursued it for my own information and benefit. Also, I like to tell people to move joyfully with a sense of authority.

In this dabbling, I began reflecting on my own experience in gyms and with fitness professionals and a varied relationship with movement. About a year and a half ago I felt a need to literally break up with the gym, because well, I had come to resent it so much. I’m just now returning to our local Y and trying to continue to find what fuels me instead of just hopping on the elliptical because it’s there, and discovering classes that feel uplifting instead of defeating… it’s a slow, but much more fun process, to say the least.

In spite of my own experiences, I decided I needed to do some research and find out what other people’s experiences have been as well… so I turned to Instagram. I first posed a poll-fairly vague-asking if anyone else had been uncomfortable in a gym or fitness class and at least 95% of those who responded said that yes, they had.

The reasons for discomfort varied.

Mostly, it was feeling different from those around them, a sense of being judged or “othered”, and that they just don’t belong.

Often, it was men physically (and inappropriately) entering a woman’s space in one form or another.

Occasionally, it was a trainer or fitness professional publicly calling a person out in a manner that was not necessary.

And of course, a big one was and is the pervasive diet culture, weight and calorie/restriction talk by members, trainers, and wellness professionals.

So what can we do to make these spaces more comfortable for EVERY BODY?

We can start by discouraging all inappropriate behavior in gym spaces.

  • The gym is not a place to pick up women. They’re there to move their body not to be evaluated and/or harassed because of their body. Let them do what they came to do. Can you be friendly and establish relationships at the gym? Absolutely. But read the situation. If what you are saying or doing may be making others uncomfortable it probably needs to change or stop all together.

  • Learn what words, phrases and talk comes from a privileged place… Then take measures to change it. And spread the message. This includes but is not limited to:

    • Diet talk and food rules

    • Weight chat

    • Body Bashing of any body

    • The latest “health” craze

    • Ableist commentary

    • Sexist remarks and actions

  • Beyond your words be aware of your actions. If you run the gym encourage inclusion and lead by example. Don’t make assumptions based on a person’s body about health, fitness, eating habits, or anything between.

Make your spaces and exercises accessible and accommodating to as many people as possible - yes we should all be ADA accessible by law BUT that goes beyond a ramp and larger bathroom stall:

  • Do we offer alternative versions of exercise for varying levels of fitness, mobility, and accessibility?

    • The fabulous Anna, of Urban Fitness Studio, recommends starting with offering what would be considered the “modified” version FIRST and advancing from there, instead of starting with the advanced

  • Is the furniture, equipment, shower facilities, and gym set up comfortably and accessible for a variety of bodies (shapes, sizes, ability) to use and navigate?

  • If someone was coming to your facility for the first time ever would you and/or a staff member have the knowledge, patience, and compassion to show clients how to do exercises and use equipment safely and appropriately? Repeatedly if necessary?

Gym go-ers also have a responsibility in creating a welcoming and comfortable space, and can do many of the things listed here, as well as:

  • Making staff aware if there is an immediate concern

  • If you have the capabilities and privilege, standing up for those that may be shamed or made to feel bad at the gym

  • Fill out the surveys and questionnaires for the facility to help it do better and improve

  • Giving yourself permission to leave spaces that don’t align with your values or create a welcoming and inclusive culture

Lastly, we must take shame and guilt out of the toolbox.

  • It doesn’t matter if it is shame for the sale.

  • Shame to get them in the door.

  • Shame to keep them coming in.

  • Or shame to “motivate them” (shame is actually a horrible motivator)

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Shame shows up in many ways. Sometimes obvious and other times more subtle. The sale that pounces on a perceived weakness. The comments before, during, or after a session to “burn/do/push/be”. The moralization of food and bodies. Any advertisement that suggests there are wrong/right ways to have a body. There are no wrong bodies.

This list is not all inclusive. If what you are saying or doing is to make people feel wrong for their behaviors or bodies, causes them distress, guilt, or is meant to cause an intense, unnecessary fear, it is shaming.

So we need to put a stop on the shame. We need to make gyms and fitness facilities more welcoming for larger bodies. Women’s bodies. Gender non-conforming bodies. Persons of color. Disabled bodies. Every dang body that wants to be there and move. We must uplift people instead of leaving them filled with guilt and shame and having little desire to return.

Anything less than is unacceptable.

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Amanda is an anti-diet dietitian and nutrition therapist practicing in Bloomington, IN and virtually. If you are looking to work with a dietitian, she is currently accepting new clients. Check out her services or reach out to set up your FREE discovery call today. She would love the opportunity to work with you!

When Mindful Eating Turns Into a Diet

Too much of anything can be a bad thing… Including mindful eating.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a big believer in Mindful Eating and I believe that it can work beautifully and compliment Intuitive Eating… But what happens when we take mindfulness and mindful eating to an extreme?

What happens when you have to be mindful about your food all of the time?

When we are so mindful that food and eating are the only focus of the meal?

When we know the exact amount of every food we’ve eaten from cups to tablespoons to the exact count of tortilla chips?

What happens when we take mindful eating and turn it into a form of restriction?

IT’S NO LONGER MINDFUL.

We go from saying we’re being mindful to actually being a slave to the rules and restrictions of yet another diet that we mask with mindfulness… and rules and restrictions are not mindful eating.


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Mindful eating is flexible.

You do not have to be mindful when eating 100% of the time.

You can take into consideration the situations when maybe it would be better for our sanity, our self care, our experience to allow for a bit of mindlessness.

Mindful eating takes into account not only what food you are eating or not eating and how it tastes, how our body responds, how it makes us feel (emotionally and physically), but also the experience and the people around you.

Like with all things there are shades of gray.

There is nuance.

I wholeheartedly believe that eating a meal at the table with good conversation and loved ones is one of the greatest regular occasions we can have… but I also know that is not everyone’s experience.

Maybe mindful eating is really hard.

Maybe mindless eating is truly difficult.

Either way I encourage you to lean into the discomfort as you can, because both are part of the human experience. And neither is wrong in it’s own right.

Yes, mindlessly eating at every meal can be problematic, but making mindful eating a rigid experience is too.

So if practicing mindful eating-figure out what works for you.

Maybe breakfast and dinner are distraction free but lunch we tend to work through. Or after a long day we like to watch our favorite show and have a bowl of popcorn.

Find your balance-whatever that means to you.


Amanda is an anti-diet dietitian and nutrition therapist practicing in Bloomington, IN and virtually. If you are looking to work with a dietitian, she is currently accepting new clients. Check out her services or reach out to set up your FREE discovery call today. She would love the opportunity to work with you!


Done Being Mr. Nice Guy

I debated sharing this for a while… This is a personal story that I find connects with food, nutrition, and body image (among many other things)… I’m hoping it will ring true with some So that we can find community and connection in the discomfort. Also, I hope to give others permission to do what I should have done in my situation… and have intention to do so going forward.

I know many of us have been there… When someone we know, maybe even love, makes those well meaning, but entirely inappropriate questions, comments or concerns.

Lately, it seems like they’ve been raining down around me.

Before I dive in, I want to acknowledge my privilege… the comments, questions or false concerns have likely not been as mean-hearted or vengeful as those made on larger bodies, persons of color, disabled bodies or gender non- conforming… I am a straight, white, thin, able-bodied female… and still it seems that my body, the way it looks, how I choose to use it and move it seems to be up for debate. It’s not. And it shouldn’t be for any person.

For me, as of late, I am absolutely unsettled when someone asks or comments or “hints” at babies, I literally want to scream out in fury. Because honestly, unless you are my husband, it’s none of your business and my body is made for so much more than just having children.

I usually try to be nice about it and it goes something like this:

As they coo over my nieces, they turn to me, “So when is it your turn?”

“We’re focusing on our careers and time together right now, also have you seen my corg-babe.” Hinting that there’s definitely other things we can talk about outside of my “need” to bare children.

“BUT WHEN?” not getting it, they cry.

“Ask me again in a few years.” I try to divert and end the conversation.

“ BUT WHAT IF A BUMP HAPPENS?” they pry.

“We’re taking measures to make sure that doesn’t happen.” I feel forced into oversharing.

“BUT WHAT IF THEY DON’T WORK?” they ask, as if they may mess with my birth control methods themselves.

“I guess we’ll have to evaluate that if it happens.” I say hoping I can now escape, because what kind of question was that really?

Fortunately, I have not struggled with infertility, but there are hundreds of thousands of women and couples who do and my heart goes out to them, because this kind of interrogation is not just unnecessary, unwelcome and uncomfortable as it is for anyone who doesn’t want to talk about it, but for them it likely becomes hurtful and harmful too. And here’s the thing: I am not and should not be obligated to be nice about these inappropriate comments and inquiries. Are they well intentioned? Probably. But while I believe they should not even be asked, they definitely shouldn’t continue after they are shut down, as it really is not anyones business unless my husband or I choose to share this information with you. This is not up for conversation. So I am done being “nice”.

And you should be too.

Maybe the unwelcome comments for you are not about having children. Maybe it’s your weight, your appearance, your relationship status, the food you eat, your religion or beliefs, the way you move your body, the way you choose to raise your kids… Most of the time they try to say it comes from a good, well meaning place and that may be true, but for me, in many of these situations, it comes from a very selfish place.

Sometimes it’s the good ole’ “I did it this way so you should too”

Others it’s a “Your body/choices/beliefs make me uncomfortable so you should change” insanity

And occasionally it’s just plain, rude nosiness.

In any of these cases, well meaning or not, you have a right to tell others that these topics are off limits. You have the right to protect yourself.

And you can say it any way you want. Tell them that it is not their business or is not up for discussion. Tell them you don’t want to talk about it or completely ignore the question. Maybe you choose to just walk away or you can totally lecture them on how hurtful/wrong/unnecessary it is to bring up such things. You can continue to be nice if you have the patience… But you are in no way obligated to be.

Shut the comments down in any way that works for you, but we don’t have to be nice about it if being nice isn’t working anymore.

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If you don’t take a picture of your food, would it taste just as good?

“Pictures or it Didn’t Happen”

I read this phrase recently and was both outraged and inspired all in the same moment.

I get it. We live in a privileged time where we can literally (and simultaneously feel compelled to) document every single thing that happens to us (or at least the good stuff).

As someone who enjoys documenting my life, but also strives to be present, it doesn’t sit well with me that if I don’t snap a photo to document my experiences that they may be considered irrelevant. Even when I’ve totally been the person to take a picture of everything.

So of course, I took on this phrase as a personal challenge. Now I didn’t stop taking photos cold turkey (I’m not a monster-of course, I’ll never stop taking or sharing photos of my dog with you) but I am trying my best to limit how much energy I put into getting the perfect picture - or pictures things that I just won’t care about in a month, a year, 10 years - and how easy it is to be become enveloped by my phone when I should be immersed in the good time to be had. And this past weekend was a good time. But according to the above, much of it may not have happened.

After the matter, I realized one moment when I faltered that really wouldn’t matter next week… I stopped to take a picture of our meatballs from Mimi’s Blue Meatballs in Indy. Don’t get me wrong, they were presented beautifully, they tasted great, and we’ll definitely go back again… but I had no intention to make a post with that photo. I certainly am not going to print that picture off and frame it or include it in a photo album to cherish for years to come. It will be uploaded to the cloud and never thought of again. And those meatballs didn’t taste any better because I documented them.

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Earlier that day, I was surrounded by family telling stories of yore with no pictures to aid. And I just sat there thinking how much better our stories would be, our experiences would be, our life would be if we weren’t so determined to document it all by photograph and video and posting on social media as soon as possible… and sometimes missing the moment entirely.

Our food will taste just as good

Our experiences will be just as (if not more) enriching

Our life will be just as fulfilling

Even if we choose not to snapshot every single moment

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-pictures. My living space is filled with photographs documenting beautiful memories. I love living vicariously through other’s photos. I have a blog and social media and enjoy sharing photos with others. But I also have hundreds of shots on my computer that are just taking up space.

So I’m working towards choosing to be in the moments worth keeping first… and take a photo after the memory’s made. I think it’s part of the journey to live more wholeheartedly. I think this is part of finding freedom, including food freedom.

Are you with me?

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Amanda is an anti-diet dietitian and nutrition therapist practicing in Bloomington, IN and virtually. If you are looking to work with a dietitian, she is currently accepting new clients. Check out her services or reach out to set your FREE discovery call today. She would love the opportunity to work with you!

You Can Eat. Period.

You have unconditional permission to eat.

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You can eat because you are hungry. Because you are sad. Because it sounds good. Because it is what is available.

You can eat because you want to. Because you need to. You can eat for emotional reasons. For primal reasons. For celebratory reasons.

You can eat from a place of joy. For comfort. For anxiety. For fuel. For stress. You can eat for the sake of eating. To cope. You can eat for fun. For making memories. For remembering.


You never have to consume food you dislike.

You do not have to earn your food in any way, shape, or form.

You are not obligated to restrict or make up for anything, ever.


So eat what you enjoy. Eat what sounds good. What feels good. What tastes so good.

Eat because it’s thanksgiving and your grandma still makes the best mashed potatoes.

Eat because it’s Tuesday and you’ll be damned if you miss a chance to eat tacos.

Eat because it’s the fair and when else do you get a chance to have funnel cake.

Eat because hot dogs taste so much better roasted over a bonfire.

Eat because that bakery you just passed had the most delicious looking cookie.

Consuming energy (typically in the form of food) is not only a required part of living, but a big way we experience our world.

So eat it up.

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Amanda is an anti-diet dietitian and nutrition therapist practicing in Bloomington, IN and virtually. If you are looking to work with a dietitian, she is currently accepting new clients. Check out her services or reach out to set your FREE discovery call today. She would love the opportunity to work with you!

This Dietitian’s 5 Rules for Grocery Shopping

How many of you have rules for grocery shopping?

I’m guessing most of you raised your hand. I’ve been there.

I could list a million rules I’ve heard, I’ve used, I’ve imagined… and they’re all bullsh!t.

But I’m here to tell you to throw your rules out the window in lieu of the following. I double dog dare you. (Now you have to, sorry, no excuses).

Rule #1 BUY FOOD YOU ENJOY

That’s right. Don’t like peas? DON’T BUY THEM. Hate olives? You don’t have to eat them. Despise kale? YA’ DON’T NEED IT. Squirm at the idea of eating another rice cake? Put a fork in ‘em they’re done for.

Seriously. Fill your grocery list and grocery cart with foods you like to eat. Eating should be pleasurable as much and as often as possible.

RULE #2 BUY FOODS YOU KNOW YOU’LL EAT

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I’m all for a good deal, but food waste is the literal worst (well, at least worse than nails screeching on a chalk board, but definitely not as bad as burning the roof of your mouth because you just can’t wait for your food to cool).

If something is canned or frozen and I have the storage and budget for it, while also knowing I can work it into future meals, sure, get it. If it’s something you can substitute out for another item on your list-that works too. But if your buying it for the sake of the sale and there’s a chance it will go bad, well that’s just throwing away money and perfectly good food (at least at the time of purchase). Nah, skip that.

RULE #3 ALLOW ROOM TO TRY NEW FOODS

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Taste is one of our FIVE senses. It’s a major way we perceive and experience the world and life. So you should absolutely, positively allow room for exploration with your taste buds. If you hate something you can spit it out. Just do so in a polite and discrete manner, pretty please.

This could be a vegetable you’ve only tried steamed and want to try roasted (seriously, roasted vegetables are the best type of vegetables #honestopinion). It could be a new cheese that sounds weird, smells a bit funny, but, ya’ know, in a good way. It may be a frozen dinner that looks easy but delicious-so why not give it a shot, because Thursday nights Bobby has football practice, Susie has Ballet, Mom has a board meeting, and Dad works until 7, you have been running around all week and want to feed everyone because it’s frowned upon not to, but honestly who has time!? (Drive thru and/or take out-at new or old restaurants-is also perfectly acceptable form of self care when cooking just isn’t happening-whether because of schedule or not)

RULE #4 INCLUDE VARIED SNACK ITEMS AND FUN FOODS

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Everyone should be eating 2-3 snacks a day in addition to 3 meals. EVERYONE. So why do we avoid snack foods? Snack time is one of my all time favorite times so the world may never know… (okay we know-diet culture has demonized typical snack items, BUT NO MORE!)

Maybe it’s pretzels and peanut butter. Maybe it's pears and peanut butter. Maybe it’s Oreos and peanut butter. Maybe it’s veggies and peanut butter. Maybe it’s a peanut butter chocolate chip larabar. (I really love peanut butter and have it at least daily) But there are non-peanut butter snacks for those who cannot have peanut butter (I assume the only reason you wouldn’t have peanut butter is because you couldn’t have peanut butter) Like Yogurt and granola and fruit (with or without peanut butter…) Other nuts and seeds. Ice cream. Sorbet. Chips and dip. Bars that don’t include peanuts or peanut butter. Smoothies. Half a sandwich. CHOCOLATE. A whole sandwich. Literally anything can be a snack if you believe in it enough (and it satiates your hunger during non-meal times).

RULE #5 THERE ARE NO RULES

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Yeah I know I just wrote a whole blog post laying out my rules but in reality, there are no rules. I strongly encourage you to incorporate the above four guidelines as much as possible but you can do whatever you so please with your personal grocery list, grocery shopping experience and what you cook for you and your family.

I do strongly discourage any rigid rules that puts limitations on what you can and cannot have because for the majority of individuals all foods fit*

Do you have food rules you still follow? Are you ready to start breaking them? I’d love to hear from you on your experience below!

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Amanda is an anti-diet dietitian and nutrition therapist practicing in Bloomington, IN and virtually. If you are looking to work with a dietitian, she is currently accepting new clients. Check out her services or reach out to set your FREE discovery call today. She would love the opportunity to work with you!

You Don't Have to Choose Joy

"Choose Happiness"

How many times have you read or seen something that suggested our negative emotions and feelings have no place in this life? 

That feeling your feelings, outside of the bright and sunny, is just a waste of time?

That not only are you down in the dumps, but those emotions make you a less than fabulous  person for not choosing better?

Now don't get me wrong. I want to be happy and joyful and positive as much as possible. I am also well aware I live a very privileged life and there are conditions far worse than the minute problems I have faced. And I really don't enjoy having a bad day. However, at the same time I am well aware that bottling up our bad feelings and "throwing them away" (only for them to explode all over ourselves at a later time) doesn't seem like a good idea.

So here is my conclusion:

Everyone has a right to a bad mood, bad day, bad week...

Everyone has problems-big or small-that are worthy of having a full range of emotions over and reaction that is authentic and true to that person.

Everyone can and should have a good cry every once in a while (whether there are physical tears or not.)

Allowing ourselves to feel all of our feelings is a very basic, boring (note: not necessarily easy) form of self-care.

I'm not saying we should allow ourselves to dwell on the negative forever and ever. I just think we should give these less desirable emotions the space and room they deserve instead of trying to stuff them down or my least favorite phrase, "suck it up" or my most hated words ever said "man up."

So yes, I will always believe that we should always choose to chase joy when we can...

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... but not at the expense of allowing ourselves to feel. Deeply. Widely. Thoroughly. All the things.

After all, what is the human experience without a wide range of emotions? 

When was the last time you truly allowed yourself to feel your less desirable feelings? Did you feel better bottling them up or allowing them be?

Amanda is an anti-diet dietitian and nutrition therapist practicing in Bloomington, IN and virtually. If you are looking to work with a dietitian, she is currently accepting new clients. Check out her services or reach out to set your FREE discovery call today. She would love the opportunity to work with you!

Self Compassion

The last two weeks I've been immersed in the Self-Compassion Challenge hosted by Jamie of Your Happy Healthy RD

For 10 days she came up different topics and steps that would help lead us to a more self-compassionate life and it was as fabulous as it sounds. Today is the last day of it so I wanted to re-cap all ten days, their topics, what my thoughts were and how you too can #chooseselfcompassion.

Day 1: Create awareness-Think about how you would treat your best friend.

We should all work towards a relationship with ourselves that resembles the relationship Leslie has with Ann. Love a little on your self, you priceless, expensive gem.

We should all work towards a relationship with ourselves that resembles the relationship Leslie has with Ann. Love a little on your self, you priceless, expensive gem.

Day 2: Notice how you speak to yourself. Then make changes accordingly. 

Check in on your self talk. Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it productive? Change accordingly.

Check in on your self talk. Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it productive? Change accordingly.

Day 3: Surround yourself with that of which encourages and supports self-compassion.

You are what you surround yourself with. Surround yourself with love, compassion and kindness.

You are what you surround yourself with. Surround yourself with love, compassion and kindness.

Day 4: Start a self-appreciation journal

What do you appreciate about you? A journal is a great way to reflect on the G O O D in you.

What do you appreciate about you? A journal is a great way to reflect on the G O O D in you.

Day 5: Take care of the care giver

Practice the necessary self care, the glamorous self care, the not so glamorous self care. Repeat at least daily.

Practice the necessary self care, the glamorous self care, the not so glamorous self care. Repeat at least daily.

Day 6: Challenge assumptions and judgements

How many times do we assume we're not good enough? How often do we pre-maturely judge ourselves?

How many times do we assume we're not good enough? How often do we pre-maturely judge ourselves?

Day 7: Show compassion to others, it comes back in return.

Compassion is contagious. Share a small, kind interaction with someone in need and the dominoes will fall.

Compassion is contagious. Share a small, kind interaction with someone in need and the dominoes will fall.

Day 8: Practice forgiving yourself.

We aren't our mistakes, not even our biggest ones. What can you do to forgive, begin healing and start to move on?

We aren't our mistakes, not even our biggest ones. What can you do to forgive, begin healing and start to move on?

Day 9: Foster your interests, hobbies, and values.

Create space to live in your values and interests.

Create space to live in your values and interests.

Day 10: Embrace your imperfections.

Perfection doesn't allow for human error and is a path of strict rules and regulations. How would your life change if you could let go of it and allow imperfection?

Perfection doesn't allow for human error and is a path of strict rules and regulations. How would your life change if you could let go of it and allow imperfection?

For my full posts check out my instagram feed! I would love to hear, how are you choosing self compassion?

Amanda is a anti-diet dietitian and nutrition therapist practicing in Bloomington, IN and virtually. If you are looking to work with a dietitian, she is currently accepting new clients. Check out her services or reach out to set your FREE discovery call today. She would love the opportunity to work with you!