Ep. #81: Intuitive Eating Shaming with Paige Schmidt

On this week’s show, I met with Paige Schmidt. She’s a fellow health coach and an intuitive eating counselor. Our conversation dug into the intuitive eating shaming we’ve both noticed lately. There’s been a bit of pressure in the online world recently to do intuitive eating “right”….even though that’s not what intuitive eating is about!

Follow along to listen into Paige’s thoughts on intuitive eating shaming, as well as lean more about her story! (And if you don’t want to miss anything, please subscribe to the show! You’ll never miss another episode!)

Meet Paige Schmidt

Paige works with women on intuitive eating. She focuses a lot on helping women listen to their bodies AND feel good in their bodies. A huge part of her focus is “free and better”, not “free and worse”.

That means feeling safe enough to know that you are empowered to make the choices that will enable you to feel your best. Leaving dieting behind and eating intuitively is a huge part of this empowerment!

Paige shares that before her intuitive eating work, she had an intense relationship with calorie counting. She used (and deleted…and re-downloaded) the apps again and again. One moment she would get sick of it and swear she was done! BUT…then she would get sucked back in to needing to diet and calorie count. It was such a hard cycle to break!

Eventually she got a glimpse of what it might look like to be free around food. Witnessing the food relationship of another woman who was really empowered in her choices (and who was NOT dieting), was so eye opening for Paige. Seeing someone make their coffee with real sugar, cook with real butter, and not be tied to calorie counts or food measurements inspired her to believe that food relationships could potentially be different.

In a similar way, my experience living in Europe opened my own eyes to a really different way of thinking about foods! Rather than low-fat, fake food, diet-based approaches to health….I discovered a world where people were eating real food that they fully enjoyed!

Finding people who eat and live differently than you can be a powerful catalyst for change.

Getting Honest

In her late teens, Paige eventually sat down with her parents and confessed that she was getting overwhelmed. She was partying and drinking. She was restricting food. And honestly, she didn’t want that anymore. AT this point, she realized that she needed to create some sort of change in her life.

Sometime after, she started to feel free from her previous dieting lifestyle. She was tracking less, and feeling much more permission to eat in a way that felt good in her body.

But then she reached a comfort threshold. She started to feel stressed about her lack of food related control. It seemed like she probably should be tracking calories or restricting food….right?

Rather than getting sucked back into a cycle of dieting and control, Paige sought help! She started working with a counselor and naturopath, both of whom she found extremely helpful. A huge part of her transition while working with these professionals was a focus on real food.

Rather than sugar free, “fake” foods, she realized she could consume the real deal (whole milk, butter, and so on) and feel really great! As her eating changed, she started blogging about eating real, whole foods. Years later when Paige learned about intuitive eating, she was thrilled to realize she was already on that track and really aligned with its principles.

Intuitive Eating Shaming

A few weeks ago, Paige came across a post online showing various food quantities. The graphic showed single/small portions of foods like ice cream and pizza, and then images of larger portions of those same foods. The image was labeled with “fake food freedom” and “true food freedom”.

The post irked her! She realized that, depending where someone was in their journey, people were dealing with all sorts of food issues. Seeing a graphic like that and being made to feel that they “have” to allow themselves to eat larger portions in order to be “real” intuitive eaters isn’t helpful for healing.

When Paige first started, she was really stressed out about consumption with foods like ice cream. Her solution? Focusing on creating a safe experience with that food!

She bought fun colored bowls, and decided that when she wanted to enjoy ice cream, she was going to really sit down and enjoy ice cream. It could be a small portion, and that didn’t make it any less of a “true” intuitive experience.

So many people who are just starting intuitive eating can easily start to question if they are doing it “right”. Self-doubt and questioning and shame don’t need to be a part of your intuitive eating journey! It is completely okay for you to create your own safe environment and food situation, and it is completely okay for your to tailor that situation to yourself.

Feeling Safe

Ultimately, intuitive eating doesn’t need to be attached to shame.

Paige shares that although she isn’t dieting and doesn’t personally support dieting, she would never want anyone to feel ashamed of their eating choices when they are around her. We all have different bodies and needs. We’re all coming from different places in life. Our situations differ.

Intuitive eating shaming is so unnecessary!

At the end of the day, everyone has the choice to eat how they want to eat. The goal is that you feel empowered in the choices you are making for your own life. And one day, if you have questions about intuitive eating, you can absolutely ask her about it! Ultimately, you should be eating what you want in a way that feels really good for your own body.

Give yourself the space you need to process your own body’s needs and desires.

Whatever stage you are in is 100% fine!

I shared that I often look up and make Paleo recipes. Why? Well, I eat meat, but tend to avoid dairy. I know my body really well, and I know dairy isn’t ideal for me. I’m not dieting; I’m serving my body’s needs in a way that feels really good for me.

Feeling Powerless

Paige shared a recent encounter in which a client was feeling really powerless in her intuitive eating journey. A lot of that feeling came from the pressure to do it “right”. It can feel like making changes or really strategizing about food choices can go against intuitive eating.

We’ve both had that experience!

There might be foods we don’t include in our diets….or foods that we eat even when we know they don’t make us physically feel great.


Because eating intuitively can look ALL sorts of different ways!

Paige shared that often eats “Miracle Noodles” because they don’t have any lectin. A lot of people would perceive those noodles as a diet food….and might even be quick to try and shame her for eating something advertising itself as a 0 calorie pasta replacement. Personally, she LOVES their taste AND feels better when she eats them.

She’s comfortable with the choice she’s making about noodles that feel right for her body. And that IS what intuitive eating is all about! Don’t let anyone judge you for your own intuitive eating choices!

No shame necessary!

Choosing to Eat

Eating certain foods because a diet plan like Keto or Paleo tells you that you must isn’t the same as choosing to sample options from those types of plans because you WANT to.

And remember…

Everyone is in a different stage of their intuitive eating journey, and ALL intuitive eating is meant to be shame free.

Paige shares that she’s at a point in her journey where she feels really natural about food choices. She can get ice cream and Miracle Noodles and feel great about both choices! She has no intuitive eating shame, and she feels really confident in whatever she puts into her cart.

No matter where you are in YOUR journey….you’re not doing it “wrong”. Check your beliefs, listen to your body, and trust what she tells you.

Tune in to the full episode to hear Paige’s great self-care tips! She has some fun quarantine related thoughts on caring for yourself in a really positive way!

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