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Guiding Questions for Gentle Nutrition — Registered Dietitian Columbia SC

If you haven’t read Gentle Nutrition yet, it’s a book I wrote that explores the role of nutrition in Intuitive Eating. If you’re someone who feels overwhelmed by all the conflicting and confusing nutrition information, or are interested in eating healthier, but not at the expense of your relationship to food, I wrote Gentle Nutrition with you in mind. I hope it’s a book that helps you chill out about food and nutrition a bit so you can feel more confident in how you feed yourself!

Guiding Questions for Gentle Nutrition

Chapter 1 Questions: Why Diets Don’t Work

This chapter explores the science and psychology behind why diets don’t work, and introduces the concepts of the dieting cycle and weight cycling.

  1. How did you define dieting before reading this chapter? How about after? Did your concept of what dieting looks like change after reading this chapter?

  2. Consider your personal dieting history. What was the outcome of the diets you have been on? When you zoom out to consider the results not only while you were on the diet, but months and years after, did your perspective of the diets change?

  3. Review the Dieting Cycle graphic on page 26. What are some of the ways life has interfered with your ability to “stick to” a dieting plan? Think of people with different life circumstances than your own. What are other ways you can imagine life interfering with ones ability to stick to a diet plan?

Chapter 2 Questions: Intuitive Eating

This chapter reviews the principles of intuitive eating, breaking them down into four themes: ditching diets, tuning in to internal cues, unconditional permission to eat all foods, and treating your body kindly.

  1. After reviewing the 10 principles of intuitive eating, is there a principle(s) you feel is/are especially well integrated into your life, or that you feel skilled in navigating? Are there specific principles you tend to struggle with?

  2. Are there specific foods you have a hard time giving yourself permission with? What do you think or believe about these foods that influences your ability to give yourself full permission?

  3. What are some outside sources of information about food, nutrition and weight that have influenced your relationship with food?

  4. Imagine you were 100% comfortable with your here-and-now body. How would that impact your ability to practice intuitive eating? What principles would you feel more comfortable with? Are they they same principles you listed as challenging in question 1? Or perhaps not!

Chapter 3 Questions: Redefining Health

This chapter discusses how health is conceptualized, and how diet culture has impacted our definition of health. It guides you towards viewing health in a more nuanced way, and in helping you figure out what health means for you.

  1. Did your concept of health change while reading this chapter? If so, how did it evolve?

  2. If pursuing/improving health is a value or goal of yours, consider why. How do you imagine greater physical and mental health would change your life? Or would it?

  3. Review the determinants of health starting on page 54. Imagine you were given a magic wand where you could make one change that would have the greatest impact on the worlds (or your communities) overall health. What would that change be?

  4. Consider a popular diet, or a diet you have done in the past. How did/could it impact other aspects of health, like social or financial health?

Chapter 4 Questions: Gentle Nutrition

This chapter discusses a new way of conceptualizing nutrition, introducing the Hierarchy of Nutrition Needs, and provides basic guidelines for integrating nutrition in a gentle and flexible way.

  1. Look back on what you’ve eaten over the past week. Can think of 2-3 meals you ate that were tasty, satisfying, and you felt good after eating. Are there any things these meals had in common?

  2. What are some of the loudest messages you’ve gotten about healthy eating throughout your life. How do these messages fit within the context of the Nutrition Hierarchy of Needs? Do these messages interfere with any aspects of it?

Chapter 5 Questions: Making Changes That Last

This chapter provides advice on how to make changes to your eating patterns in a sustainable way.

  1. Review the list of values on page 98. What values does diet culture align with? What about intuitive eating? Feel free to include any values that are not listed.

  2. Think of a current popular diet, or a diet you have followed in the past. How did the diet rules fit into or compare to the small change model discussed in this chapter?

Chapter 6 Questions: Meal Planning for Satisfaction

Diets often teach rigid meal planning, focused on eating as little as possible or sticking to their plan. This chapter shares tools for flexible meal planning, with a focus on satisfaction.

  1. Discuss the difference between fullness and satisfaction. What was a recent meal in which you felt full, but not satisfied? What could have been added/changed with the meal to increase satisfaction?

  2. How did you plan for meals before reading this chapter? Did you feel like there was too much structure, or not enough structure in meal planning. What changes to meal planning have you made, or considered making, since reading this chapter?

I hope these questions are helpful for you in making the most out of your reading! If you enjoyed Gentle Nutrition (or hey, maybe you didn’t!), I would greatly appreciate your leaving an honest review on Amazon or Goodreads, as it helps other people find my work.

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