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Nutrition Clients

Written by: Deanna Goodson, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


My Approach to Nutritional Counseling

As a graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN), I learned a great deal about nutrition and emotional eating psychology. As a woman who used to weigh over 400 pounds and struggled with bulimia for more than thirty years, I can tell you I understand nutrition and emotional eating on a very visceral level.

I have lost over 200 lbs. since 2017. I only offer up my experience to demonstrate that I live what I teach. I believe in the concepts of primary and secondary food. Primary food is the wheel of life. It impacts our spirituality, relationships, career, finances, and health/wellness. If something is amiss in primary food, it shows up in a disordered relationship with secondary food, which is what we eat.

I also believe in the concept of bio individuality. Bio individuality, simply put, means that everyone is different and needs a different eating plan. What works for me, for example, may or may not work for you or my clients. As a result, I work a lot with people in helping them figure out foods that they enjoy that are also health-promoting. I have them make a list of those foods in the areas of protein, which includes dairy, fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates (foods like quinoa, brown rice, barley, amaranth, and buckwheat) and healthy fats (aka avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds).

Once we determine what types of foods people like, we begin to craft an eating plan based on foods that they enjoy. I am not an advocate of eating plans that cut out food groups like keto or that are one-size-fits-all. I help customize eating plans for my clients based on foods they actually like. I know that many people tout superfoods like kale and quinoa. They are absolutely nutritious, but if someone doesn’t enjoy them, they will not stick to an eating plan. There are so many health-promoting foods that you don’t have to limit yourself.

Some health-promoting foods include:

  • Salmon,

  • Chicken,

  • Cheese,

  • Yogurt,

  • Strawberries,

  • Blueberries,

  • Citrus fruits,

  • Kale,

  • Spinach,

  • Cucumbers,

  • Beets,

  • Brown Rice,

  • And more.

After we agree on an eating plan, I encourage my clients to follow an 80/20 approach. Some nutritionists refer to this as the ‘weekend diet’. (Note: because of my own personal background with an eating disorder, I do not like the word ‘diet’ and do not refer to food as either good or bad.) Basically, the 80/20 approach is that you eat clean for 80% of the time and you can do as you like the other 20%. I believe that this helps take the taboo nature out of certain foods and decreases the likelihood of overeating or bingeing. So far, my clients have reported success with this approach.

I also strongly encourage an intuitive eating approach. The concept, which was pioneered by Geneen Roth, is poorly misunderstood. Some people think that intuitive eating means that you eat as much as you want whenever you want. That’s categorically untrue. Rather, intuitive eating maintains that you eat when hungry and stop when full. You are using your body’s natural hunger cues to figure out how much and how often you should eat.

Physiologically speaking, we should try to eat within an hour of waking up or working out. After that, the body gets ‘hungry’ between 2.5 – 3.5 hours. It’s not like our normal, Pavlovian eating schedule of 8 am, 12 pm and 5 pm with a snack around 7 pm. I also strongly encourage my clients to stop eating two hours before bedtime so that their stomach has time to fully digest during sleep.

Teaching people to tell the difference between physiological and psychological hunger is not easy. We use the hunger/satiety scale. Ranging from 0 to 10, the hunger/satiety scale is a great tool to help people figure out their physiological hunger. “0” on the hunger/satiety scale means you’ve waited too long to eat and are probably hangry and prone to overeating. “10” is akin to Thanksgiving afternoon when you’ve eaten a lot of food and probably need to put on yoga pants or leggings to feel comfortable. Sluggishness is also a common side effect of overeating as are feelings of guilt and/or shame.

Current wisdom holds that you should consider living between 3 and 7 on the hunger/satiety scale. “3” is like “I could eat. I’m a little peckish.” “7” means I’ve eaten well and don’t need anything else. I’m comfortable. Of course, this skill is hard to master. It honestly took me about six months of dedicated work with my nutritionist – yes, I saw one regularly for four years – to figure it out for myself.

It’s important to note that my approach is often different than other nutritional counselors’. I know that my method is not for everyone, and I try to be flexible when a client is adamant that they would like to follow a specific plan such as intermittent fasting.

Personally, I don’t do it because it goes against the theory behind physiological hunger, but I’ve seen it work for some of my clients. I can’t completely discount it although it’s something that doesn’t appeal to me.

If you’d like to work with me, I’d be more than happy to offer you a free, 60-minute consult. Reach out to me at for more information.

Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info! Read more from Deanna!


Deanna Goodson, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Deanna Goodson is a professional life and mental health coach, nutritional counselor, and writer. She received her coach training at Rhodes Wellness College in Canada and received an ACC credential from the International Coaching Federation in May of 2019, which was recently renewed. As a mental health coach, Deanna is well-versed in Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and Emotional Freedom Technique, aka Tapping. Deanna is also a graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN) and has a certificate in Emotional Eating Psychology (EEP). She follows an intuitive eating approach for her clients and helps them repair their relationship with food.



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