Is it possible to take charge of your health without wanting to CONTROL it? Margaret Pauly KNOWS it is. Her vision of vibrant health and food freedom includes plenty of Parisian indulgences, yummy food, and flexibility when LIFE gets in the way of her best intentions. You’ll really enjoy Margaret’s take on intuitive eating…read on:
Margaret Pauly is the CEO/CFO (Chief Eating Officer /Chief Food Officer) of Foodtritionist. Her mission is to teach people that food doesn’t have to taste bad to be healthy. It is her belief that food should be embraced and not feared. She also believes in the old adage that “Knowledge is Power.” The more you know about food, the better choices you can make and that is a powerful tool in disease management, eating disorders, weight loss and general good health. As a registered dietitian with a certificate of training in adult weight management and as a researcher, she has the science to back up her beliefs.
Kellie Adkins: What is your favorite way to connect to your inner wisdom/intuition?
Margaret Pauly: I am fortunate to be a registered dietitian so I know the nutritional makeup of most foods. Knowing and doing are two different things though. So, if I have an urge to binge or overeat something, I mentally weigh it out in my mind and ask myself if I really want it. If I do, I eat it and don’t feel guilty. If I don’t want it, I pass it up. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t but I prefer to call lapses “practice” rather than “failure”. Mindful eating comes with practice and you need to make some mistakes before you can learn the difference between that and mindless eating.
KA: Was there a turning point for you in cultivating a healthier relationship to your body and happier mealtimes?
MP: I was always striving for a healthier relationship with food and my body but just couldn’t get there. I say I was in practice mode for a long time! I didn’t hate my body but I was never happy with it and tended to lose the same 40 pounds over and over again. My turning point was probably when my cholesterol was over 300 and the doctor wanted to put me on meds. I’ve always been anti-meds if possible so we brokered a deal. I told the doctor that I was going to eat healthier and exercise to lose my weight and to lower my cholesterol. I asked for six months to do it. He said he’d give me three. In three months I lowered my cholesterol by 100 points and impressed the hell out of him! I have never looked back.
KA: What prompted you to do the work you do?
MP: Becoming a registered dietitian was a work in progress. It was a complete change of direction for me after being in the footwear industry for a long time. I fell in love with food as a student in France and continued the romance throughout the years. I was able to explore a lot of cuisines during my travels all over the country and the world in my former job. I tended to overeat though – like it was my last supper! I worked on being healthier though and overcame my poor nutrition habits. After 25 years I was at a turning point. Do I pursue a profession where I know everyone and am comfortable with my skills or do I pursue my love of food, wellness and good nutrition and teach that? So, I made the decision (with the support of a wonderful husband!) to go back to school and become a dietitian.
My favorite position in the footwear industry was as director of product development – working with clients to understand their needs and then translating it into something they can use and that works for them. As a registered dietitian, I do the same thing. I work with individuals and groups to understand their needs and then tailor a program for them. Every day is different and I love that! I also love helping people make breakthroughs in their journey to be healthier. Now I can’t imagine doing anything else.
KA: How has connecting to your inner wisdom helped shape your relationship to food? To your body?
MP: I just have let go of guilt and remorse in terms of my food choices. It is so liberating because food doesn’t control me! That’s tough to do because I’m a big foodie and I love to eat and cook. Also I talk a lot about food. But I don’t talk about it because I’m feeling deprived. I talk about it with love, not craving. I have learned to appreciate my body for what it does – it lets my soul live there and in return my soul lets my body be. I don’t worry about wrinkles or cellulite any longer. I feel comfortable enough to let my hair go grey. I appreciate that my body lets me move around and do what I love – teach, write, be active, cook, etc. In return, I nourish my body with healthy food, give it exercise and try to reduce my stress. At 50 I’m healthier than I was at 25. And much happier.
KA: What’s your best advice for someone trying to be healthier and more vibrant –in body, mind, and spirit?
MP: Take charge of your health. Many times people try to be in control or rely on willpower and it doesn’t work. Control is a fleeting concept. Being a horseback rider for a long time, I like to use the following analogy. You will never control a 1,000+ lb. horse – he lets you ride it. But, if you learn how to be a good rider, you can be in charge of the horse by knowing the cues to give him to go forward, turn, etc. It’s the same with food – learn all you can from reliable sources and by nourishing your mind, you can also nourish your body and take charge of your eating habits and your health. I would say to not expect perfection. We are imperfect people and we don’t live in a vacuum. Life has a tendency to get in the way of our best intentions – we get sick, we have to work, the weather doesn’t cooperate with our exercise plans, etc. That’s life and it is imperfect. If we are flexible though and have contingency plans, we can get what we need, if not exactly what we want.
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