Intuitive eating and neurodiversity

Hello pals, i have been wanting to write this for a while! Intuitive eating is not flawless. Intuitive eating is a framework for eating and feeding that was created for privileged and neurotypical people in mind. That’s not to say that marginalised people or neurodivergent people can’t eat intuitively, it’s more that the way it’s commonly taught on social media is not always comprehensively adequate or inclusive. Let’s go through two reasons why.

Food neutrality is nuanced

In my private practice, i work with disabled and neurodivergent people for most of my day. Clients will commonly communicate to me that their sense of taste, smell, texture and sound are very sensitive, which makes some foods down right unappealing and inedible for them. I also have clients who have experienced food related-trauma, food insecurity and sensory processing differences and to them, food is definitely not a neutral experience. Food neutrality is not inherently a bad thing at all, but i do think that removing emotion and feelings from the eating experience can be invalidating and often not a trauma informed way of looking at the eating and feeding experience. If food is not neutral to you, thats valid. Food neutrality can be a wonderful way for us to reframe our morality around food but i think it’s a slippery slope and invalidating heightened responses around food can be easily done the way many people talk about food neutrality.

Interoception

Interoception refers to the ability to notice and recognize our internal sensory system and physical and emotional states like hunger and fullness. Not everyone has access to their internal cues of hunger and fullness and although the intuitive eating framework does discuss waaaaaay more than just listening to your body and that’s wonderful. It can leave some people feeling like intuitive eating is not accessible to them. But if intuitive eating is something that someone wants to pursue, it’s definitely an adaptable framework.

Don’t get me wrong, i’m in no way aware of all the intersects that food has with our lived experiences, i continue to grow everyday and am still learning to understand my own sensory “issues”. Not long ago i definitely wasn’t as aware of the many nuances. I continue to learn everyday, my work and my beliefs change daily. I hope we can normalise people changing their perceptive when they have more information and awareness on a topic. When it comes to being a health professional that was trained in out racist, fatphobic, and ableist society, i don’t think it’s helpful to place blame on ourselves for not always being aware of thing. But we can respectfully hold each other accountable and prioritise learning from people with lived experience.

If you would like to explore this topic more then check out Messy Health‘s online class all about neurodiversity and intuitive eating.

Maddie xx

Our other classes are:

Sex positivity 101

Binge eating 101

Emotional eating 101

Gut health/ Mental health link

Diet culture 101

If you want to dive deeper then check out our courses:

Food Freedom Fundamentals

Take up Space

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