The Nuances of Intuitive Eating in Black Communities with Ayana Habtemariam | #20

Nov 19, 2019

Image text reads "The Nuances of Intuitive Eating in Black Communities with Ayana Habtemariam | #20" superimposed over a black man and woman preparing a salad

After following Ayana Habtemariam for a little while on Instagram, I knew I had to invite her onto the podcast to be interviewed. I love how she’s paving her way as a black provider in an overwhelmingly white field, and the perspective of her posts has made me a better intuitive eating counselor.

I enjoyed chatting with Ayana about ways to make intuitive eating more accessible, the clash between “healthy” foods and foods that are important culturally, and why it’s a necessity to understand where your clients are coming from.

We discussed:

  • How Ayana went from thinking she’d never have a private nutrition practice to starting her own business, Truly Real Nutrition.
  • The value of both community-level interventions and individual-level interventions.
  • Some of Ayana’s takeaways from her time working in community nutrition education, including the importance of taking into consideration a person’s background before working with them.
  • The collision that occurs between diet culture and the food of non-white cultures, African American communities in particular.
  • The importance of focusing on adding nutritious foods to our diet instead of taking away less nutritious foods that have meaning to us.
  • How a valid and understandable mistrust of the healthcare system on the part of black people is unintentionally leading them to diet culture.
  • The importance of adjusting intuitive eating to fit the individual you’re working with so that it can be more accessible.
  • Ayana’s experience as a black woman in a field surrounded by white women.
  • Why diverse representation in intuitive eating and Health At Every Size matters.
  • How Ayana defines health and wellness for herself at this moment in her life, including her level of energy, the people she surrounds herself with, and the sleep she’s getting.

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Ayana smiles for the camera in a chambray shirt, sitting against a rainbow colored wall

Ayana Habtemariam is a nutrition therapist and a certified intuitive eating counselor in private practice. She is committed to increasing awareness of intuitive eating and weight-inclusive philosophies in black communities. She believes that weight-centric approaches to health and wellness only exacerbate body image issues, stress, and anxiety which contribute to increased rates of chronic diseases often seen in black and other communities of color. You can connect with Ayana on her website, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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