Food Psych #97: The Life-Changing Magic of Intuitive Eating with Sumner Brooks

Sumner Brooks RD

Body-positive dietitian Sumner Brooks shares why she started bingeing at a young age, how she finally healed her relationship with food through intuitive eating, how diet culture convinces us we're "not good enough," why emotional eating is related to restriction, why it's so important (and difficult) to accept and honor your hunger, how conventional nutrition education leads us astray, and lots more!  

Sumner Brooks is a registered dietitian nutritionist specializing in eating disorders and a Certified Intuitive Eating counselor. She's the producer of the EDRDpro Symposium for professionals, She's also the co-author of the non-diet guidebook Savvy Girl: A Guide to Eating, a short 4 hour-read for women of all ages based on the Intuitive Eating philosophy. Sumner also works at a gastroenterology specialty clinic in Portland, Oregon where she utilizes a non-diet approach to treat patients struggling with digestive concerns and eating disorders. Out of the office she's found soaking up time with her 2 year old daughter and getting outdoors in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Sign up for her EDRDpro Symposium for webinars with 15 experts on intuitive eating and Health at Every Size (including Christy!), and find her online at

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We Discuss:

  • Sumner’s disordered relationship with food from a young age that included bingeing and overeating

  • How food insecurity can impact the way we relate to food

  • Sumner’s experience with emotional eating

  • Coping with the need for more variety and “fun” foods in a restrictive household

  • The '90s fat-free craze

  • Sumner’s struggle to satisfy her hunger as a young athlete

  • How social pressure from our peers can influence and increase disordered eating behavior

  • The ways in which magazines and advertising perpetuate the overwhelming feeling of never being “enough,” and push us to chase the beauty ideal

  • How self-hate and negative body image can act as precursors to eating disorders

  • The role of feminism and body positivity in eating disorder recovery

  • How intimate relationships are impacted by disordered eating behaviors

  • Sumner’s experience with various eating disorders, including the restrict-binge cycle and compulsive exercise

  • The role of depression, loneliness, and stress in eating behavior

  • Therapy for eating disorders

  • Sumner’s experience as a dietitian, and how it guided her own path to food peace and intuitive eating

  • How shame and guilt perpetuate binge eating and the restrict-binge cycle

  • The impact of struggling with biological hunger and emotional hunger simultaneously

  • Making peace with and honoring physical hunger

  • The problem with the calories-in-calories-out nutrition model

  • A dietitian’s role in eating disorder prevention and treatment

  • The Health at Every Size, non-diet approach to nutrition counseling

  • The connection between healthism and disordered eating

  • How to bring people into the intuitive eating, anti-diet, Health at Every Size world


Resources Mentioned

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