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Intuitive Eating is the new window into self-care for busy leaders

If you’re a woman in leadership struggling to prioritize yourself, try Intuitive Eating as a first step to honoring yourself.

You can't be the woman in leadership your people need you to be without prioritizing self-care.

One of the things that women leaders mention is the difficulty they have prioritizing taking time for themselves, especially when that is not being encouraged in their work environment. Leaders (especially women) feel time pressured as they balance the many needs of everybody else: their organization, employees, and family. In this busy context, self-care can feel unimportant.

Victoria Yates and I discussed how the difficulty prioritizing self-care applies to women's relationships with food and their bodies.

You can learn to nourish yourself and your body as you care for yourself, both as, just as humans, as women, as women in leadership, or just as women in healthcare.

Prioritizing yourself can feel selfish, so you may sometimes feel guilty for making yourself a priority. But as Victoria points out, this all-or-nothing mindset of self-denial and service to others is exhausting and problematic. The sweet spot is somewhere in the middle.

Bio: Victoria Yates is a registered nurse, and an intuitive eating coach focused on helping women with issues surrounding food and their bodies. Victoria cares about helping women to care for and nourish themselves and develop more calm confidence with who they are and their approach to caring for themselves and their bodies. You can find her at

As an intuitive eating specialist, Victoria focuses on helping women leaders prioritize self-care through their relationships with food and their bodies.

Intuitive eating is a framework that Victoria uses to work with clients to help them stop struggling with food, whether it's overeating, emotional eating, mindless eating, or binging. Intuitive eating helps you avoid skipping meals, dieting, obsessing over food, and overeating when you’re emotionally depleted. It helps you to build trust in your body.

Like the principles of mindfulness, intuitive eating is grounded in listening to your body.

It is easy to become disconnected from our bodies working in healthcare. As a healthcare professional, you may have been trained to put off your needs while meeting patient care needs.

Learning to practice intuitive eating habits, such as recognizing when you are hungry or not, is a strategy that helps us reconnect with the body mindfully.

When you do this inner work, it can teach us to have a more intuitive approach to self-care and monitoring for signs of burnout. You might ask yourself: “How does my body feel physically? How does my, how does my brain feel? How am I doing mentally or emotionally right now?”

And then answer the question and pause. Give yourself what you need at that moment. The body cues us to what we need, like “I'm hungry, I need to eat a snack, or I'm full. I should stop eating now and not continue eating and end up overeating.” Or, “I need a little self-care.”

Maybe the body is telling you that you need a self-care week where you just unplug, have some alone time, or have a quiet cup of coffee and take time away from responsibilities. The body helps you recognize what you need to be refreshed and fully engaged at work.

Consider taking time to honor your body’s needs this week.

Instead of pushing through, take a moment to pause. Stop in the middle of the task you’re completing and take care of your needs.

While it is tempting to push through, taking a two-minute break won’t keep you from finishing a to-do list a mile long. If you’re anything like me, you may think, “Oh, I’m just five minutes away from finishing this task.” But that’s never the reality. When you pause and attend to your needs, you can return to the task with greater focus and attention while honoring yourself.

I want something more for you if you’re on this journey of becoming a transformational leader. That is precisely why I got into working with healthcare leaders and leadership teams in the first place.

Join me for a complimentary Leadership Strategy Session. You’ll have a chance to consider your current challenges and your values. And we'll work together to develop a strategy that will help you respond to organizational culture or leadership challenges to engage your people, promote organizational culture change, and keep you sustainable.

Contact me if you have questions or want additional details about this Strategy Session. And keep in mind…because of the very special nature of this work, just a few seats are available each month!

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