Episode 15: Brianne Collette, RD- Embracing Intuitive Eating as an athlete.

Brianne Collette is a Registered Dietician (RD), who is currently working online with clients while she completes her Masters’ degree and her Intuitive Eating Counselor certification. “What is Intuitive Eating?”.  It is an alternative to dieting and focuses on listening to your body’s intuitive cues as to when one is hungry or full, while building a positive body image. 

In this podcast, Brianne shares her story of how she developed an unhealthy relationship to food and exercise.  Growing up, she enjoyed and played all sports but started focusing on volleyball after about grade 8. She played throughout high school on various club teams with high level coaching. She was often told she had good skills but that she wasn’t the best athlete because she wasn’t in good shape or wasn’t as strong as other players.  After high school, Brianne played for the University of Winnipeg but was released at the end of her first year and the coach indicated she needed to lose weight and get in better shape.  This didn’t sour her relationship to volleyball, and she chose to pursue volleyball at a collegiate level moving to Lloydminister to play for the Lakeland College Rustlers.  Although the groundwork had been laid for developing poor relationships with food and exercise, it wasn’t until her second year of collegiate ball that her exercise obsession began.  Her first year had been difficult with a coach that was later fired.  She and her teammates started their second year, very out of shape and the new coach focused on an exercise program.  Because she had not felt good in her body while out of shape and people were noticing her new slimmer physique, she became obsessed with working out and became scared to put on weight.  This attitude continued throughout a very successful collegiate career.

It was her transition away from collegiate sports, coping with the shift in her identity and loneliness that really started Brianne on an even unhealthier path.  She started using running as a coping strategy and she was losing muscle mass and getting thinner.  She because obsessed with counting calories and losing weight.  She moved back home to Winnipeg for support one year after completing her collegiate career and receiving her business certificate.  She was working in insurance and was very unhappy.  She chose to go back to university in Nutrition because she wanted to be healthy and wanted to keep losing weight.  Throughout her undergrad degree she had disordered eating and used exercise as a band aid to her relationship to food.  She exercised twice a day, 6 days a week, and counted calories using her MyFitnessPal app.  It wasn’t until her fourth year when she sustained a hip injury that she felt she hit rock bottom. She remembered a book she had read on Intuitive Eating while playing collegiate ball and revisited it.  She recognized the root cause of her obsessions were body image issues, that she had never felt she had the right body type to be a volleyball player. 

Brianne shares with listeners how switching to Intuitive Eating was not an overnight success.  It took her many months to recognize eating cues such as when her body was full and at least 6 months to delete her calorie counting app and more months following before she finally stopped counting calories in her head.  She focuses on thinking what she can do today to be healthy and what is the long-term picture of how she wants to feel and what her body can handle.   Not being obsessed with exercise has helped her feel better physically as she is giving her body time to recover. 

Brianne closes with two pieces of advice.  First, our bodies are telling us more than we are often listening to and learning how to trust ourselves and our own body cues is empowering.  Second, health is much more than physical and often we focus on the physical neglecting the bigger piece of the health pie which includes mental, emotional and spiritual health.  To contact Brianne, go to her Instagram page nutritionist.bri.  She also offers monthly memberships through her page regarding Intuitive Eating.

Connect with Brianne:

Instagram: @nutritionist.bri

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