Have I ever told you about how I gained the Freshman 15? Keep reading to hear more about it and to find out how I quit dieting and you can too with an intuitive eating program.

Katie Freshman 15

DISCLOSURE: As an affiliate of the Joyful Eating plan I will receive a small commission for every client that I refer to this program. This is at no extra cost to the client. I have chosen to become an affiliate because I believe in this program. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Yup. The Freshman Fifteen. It happened to me.

By the fall of my Sophomore year, feeling miserable, not liking what I saw in the mirror, I decided that I’d had enough, and I would go on a diet.

This was 1994, so back then, the way to diet was to cut out every scrap and gram of fat you could find. Snackwells, pickles, white bread with jam was okay, bacon- nope, fat free anything was great! I journaled every single portion of every sad bite. Do you remember fat free salad dressing? Sad is the right word for it. Trust me. And I lost the 15 pounds. It worked.

But it also became a habit. Dieting. One that was hard to break. Even though I got to my goal, I kept on counting. I was so afraid to gain the weight back. Every time I made a choice about what I was going to eat, I’d calculate out the calories, the grams of fat.

When I went to Italy my Junior year, I gained the weight all back again. And dove back into dieting when I returned to the states before my Senior year. I even gave up meat in hopes that would help me drop some weight. Again the weight came off, but I struggled to keep it down, always counting and being very careful. It was a lot of work.

By this point though, I had a hard time staying so strict with myself. And you can understand why probably. With no meat and no fat, I was missing so much yumminess. It was joyless. I’d fall off the wagon for a meal or at a party and then I’d feel so guilty afterwards. Then I would renew my vow to be “good.” That in itself became it’s own little boost of excitement. To have a plan! A diet!

As I got older, and into my twenties, the low-fat craze subsided, and in came low carb. I jumped on board and found it easy to loose those three to five pounds that would come and go.

Here I am in 1999. I think I was 113 pounds.

Katie Summer 1999

My hair got very thin. I stopped having a period.

I collected diet books. The South Beach Diet, the Zone Diet, the Sugar Busters Diet. I was addicted to dieting.

But like with many addicts, I wanted to stop. I knew there was a way to get out of the cycle. It consumed so much of my brain power. Constantly!

I think it was an article in Shape Magazine, when I first heard about Intuitive Eating. And maybe it was just that I was open to it right when I needed it. Looking back, I am not sure how I happened to be so lucky to come upon it right when I was ready for it.

I bought the book and it completely changed my life.

It did’t happen all at once. But it did work. I stopped counting calories, I started considering that no food should be off limits (this involved months of eating Pop Tarts for breakfast), and I started to pay attention to my real hunger. And (crazy enough) after all those years of not listening to my hunger, I realized that I had a hard time knowing when I was satisfied.

Why I quit Dieting, and how you can too. On Healthy Seasonal Recipes.Today, I rarely weigh myself, I don’t count calories, I add real half and half to my coffee every morning. Sometimes I’ll add in some sugar too, if that’s what appeals to me. I eat a handful (or two) of chocolate chips every afternoon. Sure, I am still careful about what I eat. Meaning I think about what I put in my body, and most of the time I make the choice to have tabbouleh over cake. But sometimes, I do want to have cake, and I enjoy every dang bite. It’s taken years to break the habit, but it worked. {Psst: it can work for you too.. Read on.}

If you’ve been reading here, then you know how much I believe in this principle. I have written countless posts about it. To name a few:

Finding Satisfaction

Being an Omnivore in Moderation

Why I avoid diets

Focusing on the positive

It worked for me and I want to share it with you all.

I’m writing all of this today because I know there are still many of you out there who are looking to loose weight, and dieting isn’t working. Not for long at least. Many of you have reached out about Intuitive Eating. And I have always recommended the book.

But over the years, talking and emailing with so many of you, I know that sometimes a book isn’t everything that you need. Some of you have read the book and it wasn’t the magic bullet that it was for me. Some of you need more support. Others around you. Someone to ask questions! You are unique after all. Someone who will hear your pain! A guide…

Today, I am so excited to tell you about THE THING you may have been waiting for.  My friends Anne, Alex and Rachael (all three registered dietitians) are launching a real live intuitive eating program and it starts on June 20th! It is called Joyful Eating Nourished Life. It is a six week intuitive eating program.

I am so thrilled to have another way to help make quitting dieting a possibility for everyone. If you’ve been wanting to try it, but are afraid it won’t work, or you just need a little bit more than the book, this is the moment for you!

Sign up today to be enrolled for the April 2nd, 2017 start date. Click here to visit Joyful Eating, Nourished Life Program .

Here’s a look at what’s included in the 6 week program:

  • A 50+ page starter guide, including 10 principles of joyful eating, 15 no-recipe formula meals and snacks, finding your happy weight and additional resources.
  • Bi-weekly emails with in-depth, written lesson plans packed with action steps, learning activities, strategies and support.
  • Access to a private Facebook group during the program for support, encouragement and sharing with other participants, and access to Q&A with the dietitians. (Transitioned to a private alumni Facebook group after the program concludes for continued support!)
  • Weekly challenges provided on a handy tracking worksheet to monitor your progress and success.
  • A guided weekly meditation series in audio format.
  • Weekly thought provoking journaling exercises.
  • Four audio lectures for listening and learning on the go.

In each week of the 6 week program we will highlight a specific topic, which you can read more about on the sign up form. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the weekly content:

  • The Joyful Eating Journal, a calorie counting free (yay!) food journal designed to help you discover the “whys” behind your unwanted eating habits.
  • A simple, flexible and fuss free template for planning meals with staying power. No more battling the hangry monster!
  • Tools for a pantry makeover plus ideas for simple, weeknight pantry meals you can throw together in minutes.
  • Strategies for navigating social eating situations, including parties, going out to eat and holidays, without overeating or feeling deprived.
  • An emotional eating worksheet that teaches you to nourish your soul and deal with negative emotions without food.
  • A step by step mindful eating guide.
  • Strategies to stop exercising for calorie burn and start to create a fitness routine that gets you excited to strap on your running shoes (or roll out your yoga mat!).
  • Tools for building body confidence so you can love the skin you’re in. After all, you can’t take good care of something you hate.
  • An exercise in self compassion, so you can learn from inevitable struggles and create a plan for next time.