Ask an Expert | Healthy Eating Edition


Our recent Ask an Expert: Live Webinar generated a lot of questions about nutrition and health, and here are our staff members’ expert answers to your unanswered questions.

Q: How can someone use intuitive eating while still trying to solve problems with eating and weight?

Dana’s Answer: One key components of intuitive eating is learning to tune in and trust our internal hunger and fullness cues – which are essentially our built-in mechanisms for self-regulating food intake. They let us know when we need to eat and how much we need to have to meet our bodies individual and unique fuel needs.

So, intuitive eating is the perfect way to promote and maintain a natural healthy body weight.

However, we may need to change our perception of what a “healthy” weight is and what it is not. In short, a healthy weight is not a number on the scale or a category on the BMI chart, but rather the weight at which our body naturally settles as a result of adequate self-care.

It’s important to emphasize that intuitive eating is not a diet, nor should we try to turn it into one.

The purpose of eating intuitively is not to produce a weight loss, it is to honor our bodies.

That doesn’t mean that our bodies won’t change as a result of eating more intuitively, but it doesn’t promise they will either – it all depends on where are bodies are and where they want to be.

We can help you to find freedom from struggles with overeating and weight.

Contact us to learn more about our 45-year old philosophy to sustainable health and wellness – without counting calories, boot camp work-outs, or restrictive dieting. 

We’re here to guide you, but unlike other approaches, we give you tools to continue your practice at home.

Q: What programs or resources do you have for those with prediabetes?

Dana’s Answer: Because we know that many of the women who stay with us at Green Mountain are managing different health conditions, we have created a program and an environment that is conducive to supporting participants with a variety of health and nutrition needs.

Our meals are appropriate for women with type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, PCOS, elevated blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol levels – all without sacrificing flavor.

Our nutrition curriculum is designed to help participants learn how to eat in a way that supports their health needs while also being enjoyable.

Additionally, individual nutrition coaching services with a registered dietitian are available to answer your questions and help you translate everything you learn at the retreat into practice back at home.  

Interestingly, more often than not, women who use insulin to manage blood sugar levels need to adjust down their dosage during their stay as their blood sugar levels begin to normalize.

Q: Explain the role of elimination diets for clients with osteoarthritis.

Dana’s Answer: In general, elimination diets are used to help us to identify if certain foods or ingredients may be triggering unpleasant side effects. In the case of osteoarthritis, they may be used to determine if there are certain foods or ingredients that are triggering inflammation or joint pain.

 While there are certainly medical professionals and patients who swear by this approach to managing many health conditions, and they very well may confer benefits to some individuals – the scientific research to support any particular elimination diet for management of osteoarthritis is still lacking.

Moreover, elimination diets are often very restrictive, especially in the early phases. The restriction can lead to feelings of deprivation and can ultimately trigger episodes of overeating or bingeing on the very foods being restricted. In which case, they are not going to be helpful and are ill advised for individuals with an unresolved history of chronic dieting or disordered eating behavior.

It’s also important to have a consistent, balanced diet in place before exploring with elimination diets. Sometimes, balance and consistency is enough to resolve the symptoms aimed to be relieved by the elimination diet.

So, it’s not to say that elimination diets aren’t ever useful or helpful, but they aren’t right for everyone.

Q. How do I deal with my nutritional needs as a competitive athlete in recovery from an injury? How do I differentiate between bingeing and refueling the body?

Shiri’s Answer: In differentiating between binge eating and refueling the body, it’s important to look at whether your body is getting enough of the nutrients it needs. In other words, are you well-fueled, especially as an athlete.

The primary differentiating factor between ‘normal’ eating and binge eating is the level of physical and psychological distress that the eating creates.

When binge eating, not only is it large quantities of food, but there’s also a sense of lack of control over eating, usually feelings of guilt and embarrassment or shame over the eating behavior, eating rapidly, eating until uncomfortably full, as well as other differentiating criteria. 

If you find yourself eating large quantities of food because of a high level of hunger and there aren’t usually these physical and emotional consequences, then it’s unlikely a binge eating behavior.

If you’re uncertain, it can be helpful to speak with a professional who understands this issue well.

Feel free to contact us at Green Mountain if you’d like help with this.

Are you ready to practice healthy eating in a safe, encouraging environment?

Kickstart a mindful eating practice with a visit to Green Mountain. We encourage you to experiment with food and give you a safe environment to do so. Our summer weather is unparalleled here in the Okemo Valley, where the beautiful vistas of rural Vermont enhance the safe, healing environment of our retreat center.

Contact us to learn more about our healthy lifestyle program at Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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About the Author

Lindsay Smith

Lindsay is the Marketing Director at Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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