Book Review – The Intuitive Eating Workbook for Teens
I wish I’d had The Intuitive Eating Workbook for Teens by Elyse Resch, MS, RDN when I was growing up. My dieting and binge-eating started in adolescence and back then I never gave a thought to these behaviors damaging my mental or physical health. I was ignorant and would have benefitted from knowing about intuitive eating in order to start focusing on appetite cues and valuing my body and stop focusing on weight.
The workbook is geared for teens, without talking down to or above them. It covers a wide range of issues beyond what and how to eat. It begins with an explanation of why diets don’t work long-term and the dangerous pattern they set up for young minds and bodies. I love that it links the dynamic of deprivation to rebound eating, of denying ourselves food to rebelling against rules which can generate the desire to overeat. This is an essential concept to get across to adolescents who are trying to sort out “right” and “wrong,” who they are, and how to make decisions. Again, I can’t express strongly enough how much I wish I’d understood this in my teens—or even in my Twenties!
The workbook spends a good deal of time asking—rather than telling—teens about how to feed their bodies well. Resch offers a menu of approaches to assess food through taste, aroma, texture, appearance, temperature and how it feels in our bodies. As a dietician, she shares her knowledge of nutrition without making the issue one of a right versus a wrong way to eat. She avoids lecturing and judgment, modeling a way for teens to speak to themselves and she avoids using words like “should” and “shouldn’t.”
Because adolescence is so full of peer pressure and struggles to respond to the parental, school, social, societal and personal needs and values, Resch’s sensitive questions and exercises are invaluable. They encourage teens to dive deeply into themselves to distinguish their authentic needs from those which spring from the desire to conform or please others. After all, intuitive eating is all about identifying and connecting to our desires during a time when others are telling us (rightly and wrongly) how to feed our bodies—and live our lives. Having written a Food and Feelings Workbook for adults, it warms my heart that a part of the Resch’s workbook is devoted to emotions because adolescence is a perfect time to learn about them and raise our emotional intelligence.
I recommend that parents read this book with their teens. For some parents, what they read will be new and even surprising information. For others, it will be a reminder of how we all would benefit from nourishing ourselves. At the least, it may open up a dialogue about the potential benefits of intuitive eating for everyone. Learn more at https://smile.amazon.com/Intuitive-Eating-Workbook-Teens-Relationship/dp/1684031443/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1542136212&sr=8-1&keywords=intuitive+eating+workbook+for+teens.
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