Who knew that intuitive eating is a journey back to yourself? Of letting go of perfection and judgement? Of freedom? Ardelle is joining us to talk about her journey into this and how she is transforming live with her work as an Intuitive Eating Coach. Self-worth issues better watch out - we're coming to rewire them!
Ardelle is an Intuitive Eating Coach and Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant dedicated to guiding ambitious women through the process of breaking free from perfectionism and dieting so they can intuitively embrace healthy & abundant lives.
After spending years obsessing over her body size and health doing fad diet after fad diet, then health protocol after health protocol, she never felt like what she was doing was enough. It wasn't until she studied intuitive eating and combined it with her holistic nutrition education that she was able to fully accept her body.
Intuitive eating has allowed her to embrace wellness without obsession. It has allowed her to love, nourish, express, and empower herself. And now she is here to help you do the same! With over a decade of experience coaching clients, she is on a mission to dismantle diet culture and redefine wellness.
Ardelle’s approach is highly individualized and rooted in intuitive eating, mindfulness, self-compassion, and the principles of Health at Every Size (HAES).
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You're on this earth for a purpose. You want to live a life that matters. So let's get through the fear and the overwhelm and all the crap that gets in the way of you living the life. This is the becoming ourselves podcast where we are fired up about you getting clear on who you are, what you're called to, and how to get there. Because the world is waiting for you to show up and own your power. And your host, Juli Wenger, a coach, a speaker of Jesus lover in Enneagram, two, and a tree shaker, let's dive into what's keeping you stuck. Because on the other side, is a life that's fired up, fulfill. This week on the podcast, I am joined by my dear friend, our Dell and our Dell, I'm excited to have you because we've had some really fun conversations offline about body image and how we see ourselves and the whole growth journey. And so I think that this is going to be a really fun conversation. So first off, welcome to the podcast. ThankArdelle Viau:
you, Julie. I'm so excited to be here.Juli Wenger:
It's gonna be a fun little like, hangout afternoon chat. Okay, so let's start here. Let's just jump right in to telling the audience a little bit about you and what you do now. And then a little bit about what the journey to you doing, what you do now is look like,Ardelle Viau:
okay, it's a long journey, but I'm excited to share about it. So I right now work with helping women break free from perfectionism and dieting, so that they can intuitively embrace healthy and abundant lives. So really, a lot of my work is within the line of intuitive eating, as well as body image. But I also am educated in holistic nutrition, which I'll share more about that my journey started many years ago, I think for many of us, we may not realize where our connection to food and our connection to our body started. But part of the work that I did, becoming an intuitive eater was to explore that. And it actually one of my first memories of where I started to look at my body differently was I was around the age of 13, or 14, and a family friends, they used to travel all summer, and they would come back at the end of the year or at the end of the season. And their daughter looked at me and blatantly said to me, Wow, you got fat. That was like such a vivid memory that I tuned it up for a while. But when I started doing this work, I was like, wow, that's where I really started to look at my body different. And it wasn't until I was maybe in my teens that I started to actually act on it. But I started to do fad diet after a fad diet, forcing myself through exercise and really trying to control what my body looked like. And then this led to early 20s. And I saw a post a posting in the the town that I was living in. And it was for a weight loss coach. And I thought wow, that would actually be really interesting. Not only do I get to live on my passion of helping people, but it's like the ultimate way to control my weight. And so I applied, I got the job. I worked there for many years, despite the fact that I wasn't always actually a lot of it. I wasn't in agreement necessarily with the way things were done. Luckily, the lady that I worked for allowed me to really branch off and do my own thing. But unfortunately, people were still seeking out weight loss. And I saw so many of my clients at that time really struggle with potentially getting to their goal weight, but then never feeling like it was enough or that they were at their goal weight. And they were doing all of like the the health promoting habits and all of that and their weight wasn't staying they started to creep up back to their original weight. And I was like, Oh, well maybe the issue is that I just need to learn more about the body I need to learn more about food. So I enrolled in the holistic nutrition program. And I graduated in 2013 where ultimately what I did is I just replaced my obsession with wait for an obsession for health. And I when I look back at it now, I honestly did it from the intentions of I just want people to be healthy. And I really thought that everybody could control their health and the message behind this industry is often everything is preventative, meaning everything is your responsibility. So I started working with clients around holistic nutrition, seeing the same patterns. And then I was like no Enough is enough. I have to find something else. I personally hit diet rock bottom, which is a term often used With an intuitive eating industry where you've tried everything, you know that dieting doesn't work, but you also are just feeling really stuck, like, where do I go from here. And so, I come across the book, intuitive eating, I don't know, it's probably while I was in school or just after I had graduated. But it didn't land for me at that time, because basically, everything I had learned was being challenged. So I put that book away quickly. But then when I hit this rock bottom, I was like, No, I'm gonna come back to that. And I started healing my relationship to food. And it became so much more than that in relationship to my body. And really, when I dug even deeper, it was the perfectionism in me that was leading the way for so many years. And since healing that part of me and not, not perfectly right, like, I'm not 100%, free of perfectionism, I just, I see it more clearly now. And I work with myself in that. So that's when I was like, Yeah, this is where I need to be. And now I work with clients for intuitive eating.Juli Wenger:
Amazing. So let's talk about this perfectionism piece a little bit, because that really resonates for me, as you're talking about this, trying every diet. And it's looking for essentially enoughness. Right? How do I be skinny enough? Okay, if I hit this goal, but it's still not enough, I've tried this thing, and it didn't work. And how does perfectionism show up in all of that? And how did you go about overcoming some of that perfectionism,Ardelle Viau:
the understanding of why I felt this need to be perfect, which I think for so many of us can relate is acceptance. And that's where we often see how diet culture can creep into our lives is because it's all to us from this perspective, that if you look a specific way, you will be accepted from others. And now it's done very cynically through the lens of health, where you just have to be healthy enough, right. And so for me, what I realized is that, going back to my childhood, I didn't have a lot of, I am so grateful for my childhood, but there was, wasn't always the stability around me and the safety and the security around me. And so the areas that I could control and could try to create that safety, I put all in, in those areas, my grades, my looks, my body, my health. And so perfection was really, for me the ultimate way to control my life, and to control those parts that would hopefully make up for the areas that I couldn't control.Juli Wenger:
That's a really important piece, and all of this because that drive for acceptance. I mean, I get that. And these conversations are always interesting for me, because I watch in my own story, where this is all shown up. And where some of this continues to show up, because it's really pervasive. Even you know, after having the kids and going like, okay, you know, my tummy is not as tight as it used to be my bro, my boobs aren't as perky as they used to be things like that, right. And we can go down that judgment track of I'm supposed to look like where I'm supposed to be, I'm supposed to show up as this version of me. Versus I can accept how things have changed, I can find the, you know, the gratitude for things. And I think what makes this conversation really important for me is that the learning to love ourselves, is the most foundational thing in all of our growth, work, the learning to accept ourselves, but this culture that we live in, and the society we live in, is so pervasive, and so full of all of this messaging, look this way, look this way, look this way, eat this way, drink this way, walk this way, by this, you know, it's just everywhere. So when you started to learn more and more about this, and you started to accept who you were, can you talk a little bit about that transformation.Ardelle Viau:
So I talk a lot about acceptance with my clients. Because when we hear the word acceptance, we can often relate that to complacency, that we're so afraid to accept ourselves because that means we are going to stay where we are. We're not going to make any changes. But acceptance is really getting rid of that fix it mentality and being able to meet yourself where you are and knowing that you're innately worthy of everything, like happiness, you deserve this. But acceptance also for many people, it doesn't mean that they're going to look in the mirror and love every single thing about themselves. but that they can look in the mirror and say, You know what, these are the parts that I may not love myself, but that doesn't change my worse. And so that's really, I think for myself when I understood that, and when I learned that, I was like, oh, okay, and that really helped me lean into breaking free from perfectionism. because prior to this, this work, I, like I had a pretty big health issue in 2015, when I had a broken pelvis from a motorbike accident, and I went down this path of needing to fix myself, I had to, you know, get to like exactly where I was before. And it led to a lot of resentment, because I wasn't able to really meet myself, right. And so this is where you can just be realistic with the situation and say, Yeah, I may not love everything about me. But it doesn't mean anything different of who I am as a person. And another thing we talk about within my clients and my own personal journey, and I think this really helped because if we are in a place where we just are really struggling with body image, or really struggling with our relationship to food, getting to the point of being able to fully accept ourselves, or radical self love, may feel so far down the journey, that it's hard to even take the first step. So we create a roadmap for them. And the bridge from there to acceptance is often body neutrality, where and some people stay there, they and I don't know if your audience may not know exactly what body neutrality is, but it's being able to understand that your body has nothing to do with who you are as a person, and your looks don't really matter. And so some people, that's where they stay, and then others like to evolve into full radical self love.Juli Wenger:
And that's a big move for a lot of people even just to get to neutral. And to step out of that space of being so committed to beating ourselves down and judging ourselves and measuring all of this measuring contest all the time, and all the comparison that happens, right. So let's talk a little bit about Intuitive Eating itself. Because I know there's going to be some people who are listening and are like, oh, yeah, I get you, I know what you're talking about. And there's gonna be some people who are like, a billion hands up. So. So take us through the like, the basics of, you know, what is it that we're talking about, and the lifestyle that exists there, right.Ardelle Viau:
So Intuitive Eating is this process of coming back home to yourself. So you were using your internal cues, you're strengthening your interoceptive awareness so you can understand what your hunger and your fullness cues are, what actually satisfies you not just nutritionally but also, you know, you gotta you got to fulfill your soul to your tastebuds your preferences. So it's respecting those areas. But it's not to be confused with the hunger fullness, diet, Intuitive Eating is understanding that, yeah, there might be times where you do over eat, but there's no moral value attached to that, that doesn't make you a bad person. It's also while you are healing your relationship to food, you're making peace with foods, you're actually becoming neutral to all food, all food is, is worthy. And it's not that again, your moral value, there's no moral value attached to your choices. So a lot of people will think that intuitive eating means that you have the ability and a choice to eat all food, which means you will eat all food all the time like that, oh, that's pizza and doughnuts from here on out. But it's actually not. Because when we explained the process of making peace with food, and you are removing the restriction from your diet, and it's actually been researched over and over again, there's over 140 studies that prove that intuitive eating leads to a healthier relationship with both your body and food, that when you remove the restriction, you actually don't binge the same way that you did before binging happens a lot less. In fact, for many, it doesn't happen anymore. So because you're expecting that, you know what, I don't have to control myself so much around that food, it loses its appeal. And so you will still have it but you're listening to your body at the same time. And then doing all of this simultaneously with ditching diet culture. So really standing up to the thought that you have to lose weight to be healthy, and that you have to look a certain way to be healthy, and that there's so many nuances to health. It comes in all shapes and sizes. And it's so individualized.Juli Wenger:
I could tell that's a passion point for you because you said ditch diet, culture and your face just lit up, and I could see this like, fire, just so tell me why this is so important to you.Ardelle Viau:
It's so insidious how diet culture appears in our life. And for me, when I was able to see it objectively and say, wow, like, this has been a part of my life for so long, that has kept me oppressed and kept so many people oppressed that, you know, being able to see that and saying, like, I don't have to subscribe to this anymore, I don't have to feel that pressure. And when I started to learn about diet, culture, and all the ways that it showed up, I was like, there is so many parts of myself that I started to meet again, and feeling like, I don't know how to explain it, but it's almost like childlike when it comes to food and, you know, finding the joy and food again. And when that part of my life controlled me for so long, and it no longer dead, it opened the doors to so much so many opportunities in my life. And that's where I really see this, that's probably one of my favorite things within my clients is seeing how much that their intuitive eating process ripples into other areas of their life. So yeah, diet culture, I mean, I don't judge. Now, I think I do want to be clear about this, because I don't judge those that are feeling like it's just really scary to step away from it. And I'm even speaking to those who feel the need to have to eat a specific way for health. And they may not feel like it's not about their weight. And many times it's not, but it's you know, an get an example of this is that they have to cut out sugar, they have to reduce sugar, they have to reduce gluten, they have to reduce dairy, and all of these things that are told within the wellness industry, and that they have to in order to be healthy, I get that I was there too. But I stopped listening to what my body actually wanted. And I just started following all these arbitrary food rules. So diet culture can come in many different ways. It's not just always related to weight.Juli Wenger:
This letting go of judgment and perfection, and the freedom that comes with that you talked about this rippling, and I was thinking about that before you got there of how has this rippled into your relationships and your business and how you show up on the day to day.Ardelle Viau:
I think, for me, it's when I redirected all of that energy that I put towards needing to look a certain way. Because for me, and I think this for a lot of people that we feel that we have to lose weight in order to do the thing. And I hear this all the time. And sometimes it's in the most passive way, like, Oh, I'm going to book that foot photoshoot, or I'm going to try to get on stage to talk or I'm going to take that vacation or whatever the case is. And we kind of keep putting it off. We don't always know why until we're like, wait, maybe it's because I'm putting these really high expectations that I have to lose weight to do that. And so for myself, when I started to redirect this energy into other areas of my life, and I no longer felt that my body had to be a specific way. It was like I just had more energy, I was more me. And I'm not saying that I don't have bad body image days, because I do. And I just I am able to catch it faster, I'm able to see that. It's like, hey, these aren't my thoughts. These aren't my beliefs. They once were, but they aren't anymore. And so I'm able to work with that. But yeah, I think for my relationship, my personal relationship, I know that with my partner, I just feel like I'm a lot more present. And same with my work, I put my focus on what really matters, my relationship with my clients, and the relationship I'm building outside of with other entrepreneurs with other people in the same field. So yeah, it just, it's just so exciting. And seeing this in my clients too. Like, I never thought that I would get to a point in my one to one sessions where my clients would be talking to me about vacations that they're booking, they're finally getting the opportunity. And you know this, they're not waiting to lose weight to do it. They're just like, Yeah, I'm booking it or finding hobbies that they put off for so long. Like one client, I love her to death. And she's like, I'm going to take a trip across Canada, because she wants to be able to travel across the seas, but she she is unable to at this moment. So she's like, Yeah, I'm going to take a trip across Canada, something I would never do before. And the reason for this is because she just wants a fulfilling life. And anytime she had attempted a diet in the past, she thought that that's what was going to create that fulfillment. And when she looked at her dieting history, she said I've never been happy when I've been at my smallest weight. I thought it was but I was actually never happyJuli Wenger:
So here's two things that are coming to me as you're sharing all of that is, I mean, number one Brene. Brown, we only shame others in areas where we're susceptible to shame. And I'm thinking about the shame narrative that's tied to our body and our looks, and especially as women, because that's the biggest shame trigger for women is how do we look. And I have experienced that most days in my life, I get it, it's, there's a lot of a lot of pressure. And it's a very active choosing to let go of it. And I'm choosing to step out of it. And I loved what you said about you know, I can catch it now. Which is essentially you catching that ego attachment to someone else's story for your life. Because it latches on right? Or good old ego, it's like, Hey, this is how we operate. Right now, this is how we stay safe, let's not change, let's figure out how we get our needs met within the context we're living in at the moment. So for us to be able to zoom out a little bit and have that awareness. And that's what I'm hoping for, for a lot of you listening is to take that half a second pause to be able to breathe and say, okay, hold on, Pattern Interrupt what's showing up for me right now? Is it my story? Whose story am I living, and often will find that it's not ours? When I think back to Shisa, would have been probably six or seven years ago when I first started seeing a coach actively and we worked on no values, and what are the things that you are living according to what are your rules in life, and one of them for me was, I have to look a certain way. And there would be no way that I will be showing up to record this podcast with you with just mascara in sweatpants, because that's what I feel like wearing today, right? Like I wasn't leaving the house not put together. I was not showing up in any kind of space, any way that I thought didn't meet the prescribed narrative of the situation. Because that had so much power. And I given it that power. I didn't realize that. But I had given it that power to determine my value, and my enoughness and my worthiness. And seeing that and really being able to lay out what exactly are my requirements? What's the checklist for how I'm supposed to look and what I'm supposed to be and it was impossible ARDL It was literally impossible for me to ever tick all of the boxes. And I think what's interesting about it, too, is that I started to learn that the way I saw me, I mean, this is maybe dysmorphia, but the way that I saw me was not the way that other people do. And that showed up everywhere in a lot of different respects. In my life, I didn't see me the way that my friends did the way that my husband did the way that like any of that. And in reality, I was my most socially acceptable, visually version of myself at that point, when I was going through all of this, like I was my skinniest it was like all of the tick boxes that I could tick. They were there. And you're right, it still wasn't enough. And we had to actively go about rewiring that and saying, Okay, well what is enough? And who are you going to let determine your value? Exactly.Ardelle Viau:
And I mean that that story comes up so frequently it did for myself. And it came up in two ways when I was at my lowest weight and like you said, socially accepted, it never felt like it was enough. It was you know, now I feel like I mean, when we look at what the ideal body type has been over the last few decades, it's constantly changing, like how are we ever going to feel like it's enough when our bone structure isn't where it's supposed to be right? So it's that that constant striving for I need to do more I need to do more because when we're looking for external validation, it will always feel like that because that external validation is constantly changing. And I see this within the wellness space as I shared a bit before that. I kind of started doing that with my health where I was living very toxic free I had to have everything organic I had to have everything you know as local as possible and if you have the means to do so yes like if that's what makes you happy go for it. But I also felt that with these health fads coming out every so couple years that was constantly changing, and again, never feeling like what I was Doing was enough and seeing this pattern in my clients, I was like, Yeah, we have to come back home to ourself.Juli Wenger:
Yeah. That ever changing bar is the hallmark of enoughness. There's no definite measure of when I get here, then I'll be enough. And I'll be done. And that's it. It just moves. And it moves and it moves and it moves. And the challenge to with external validations, we talk about this a lot, is that it fades. So it's kind of like getting a hit, getting our needs met. But then the effect of that fades, because it's not grounded in who we are. It's not from an internal space of actually knowing that we're valuable and that we're enough and that that's settled. But it's from this place of looking to everyone else constantly for can you tell me, I'm enough? Can you tell me I'm enough? Can you tell me I'm enough. And as soon as it's over, you have that little moment of QA, I did it and then it's gone. And you got to go do it again. And that when you talk about the energy, when you're letting go of the perfectionism and the judgment, and you're shifting that into building the life you want and to building your business into showing up? That makes so much sense, because there's so much energy we give to the searching, instead of doing our own work fundamentally to say, but who am I? And how am I already worthy? And can we just settle this argument and find it internally, so that we can cut out this, everybody else gets to decide, and I'm just going to give them my power all the time?Ardelle Viau:
Yeah, looking for that evidence that you are enough. And I think that that was a big piece. For me, it's this simultaneous and this is what I do with my clients is we work on cognitive behavioral techniques. So looking at, you know, your thought patterns, your emotions, and really embodying and understanding what your emotions feel like. And then the the action piece of it, the embodiment piece of it. So you know, finding those areas in your life that you are worthy, and that you have proven to yourself that you're worthy. So finding that evidence and being able to cultivate more of that, versus looking at all of the things you're not doing well, and having to fix it.Juli Wenger:
I'm so glad that you're doing this work. And it's been really fun to watch your shift because even the last couple of years, there's been this change in your confidence, and how you show up. And in case there's moments where you don't see it. I see it was so know that. And for anyone who's curious about this or wants to know more about what our dolls are up to and the kind of work that she's doing, we'll make sure to drop some links in the show notes so that you can follow her or drop her a DM r del any last thoughts that you want to share before we wrap up today?Ardelle Viau:
I think for those of you who feel like any of what I just shared resonated but the dieting doesn't work. Maybe you're hitting that diet rock bottom, and you're going to attempt to the process of intuitive eating to just know that it's going to be a very imperfect process that's perfect for you and to surround yourself with people that are really ready to ditch diet culture and that it's such a beautiful place waiting for you but you don't have to subscribe to diet cultures messages perfect.Juli Wenger:
I hope this episode triggered something in you and got you thinking about your next growth curve. Make sure to check out the show notes for more details and links to resources or people that we've mentioned today. And make sure you hit follow or subscribe and if you have a hot minute will leave an awesome review. I would be so beyond grateful. Until next time, be to much DARE YOU