Advocating for our healthcare needs in a medical system that is rooted in patriarchy, capitalism and white supremacy is challenging and harmful for many of us, and it’s especially challenging for folks living in the margins.
We are thrilled to invite eating psychology coach and Be Nourished friend, Jenna Abernathy, to share her experiences with Intuitive Eating and the journey toward radical self-love. Jenna will be teaching a 5-week Sensual ShapeShift class in our beautiful studio this Fall. Learn more the class here. But first, read on to get to know a little more about Jenna!
Jenna Abernathy is passionate about inspiring women to love their bodies, trust their hunger, and honor their real desires. The combination of being an Eating Psychology & Nutrition Coach, Massage Therapist, and Yoga Teacher, gives Jenna a unique ability to help her clients truly embody a transformational relationship with food and body. To learn more about Jenna, go to www.divinehunger.com.
- What led you to Intuitive Eating or Health At Every Size®?
What led me to Intuitive Eating is that every other way that I tried to control my eating always backfired and resulted in me eating more and becoming obsessed with food and my body. Spiritually speaking as well, controlling my food the way I used to always seemed incongruent with my practice of learning to trust my body and my life.
- What has been the biggest struggle as you have learned to accept yourself?
My biggest struggle has been to learn to let myself relax in this body as it is. Also living into the fact that this is counter to what culture has been telling us about how to deal with weight. No matter what lip service and great ideas I have or teach about loving your body, my internalized critic can be pretty loud, so learning to use this power for my own benefit and rewrite the stories has been a challenge. It’s a process of understanding that the critic has been linked to fear and underlying beliefs about my very survival and happiness.
- What are three aspects you feel are the most important to remember when moving toward radical self-love?
1) Slow down and Breathe into my “beingness”.
2) Lean into sensation and feel what is really going on with curiosity. (Judgement kills curiosity)
3) Death bed check… Would this be important when I am on my deathbed?
- What is your favorite part of your body? How do you celebrate it?
My back where my waist goes out into my hips. I celebrate it by moving my body in ways that make it feel strong and graceful like yoga and dance.
- What is your favorite food and how do you like to enjoy it?
Currently my favorite food is a little treat I mix in my mini food processor, including sesame seeds, coconut flakes, raw coconut oil, raw honey, sea salt, and vanilla sometimes I add carob or raw cacao powder.
- What inspires and renews your dedication to your process when you need it the most?
When I am most in need I am usually in some kind of mental pain, so I try to use that like a guardrail to wake me up that I have gone into old thinking. Since this body is what I am living in, I am always having some experience with it, so the body itself is my constant wake up call to presence, to my being, to the fact that I will only be alive for a limited amount of time. And then the question always follows- how do I want to live? And the answer is always something that has to do with love, truth and beauty. From there I go inside and quietly ask myself…”What’s next? What do you need?” and then learning to trust the answers that come. It is a process of learning to trust myself, my body and my deeper desires. It is deepened by daily meditation, though I believe it is available to all of us all the time. It is a process I also teach my clients, and have never found it to fail.
- Radical self-love means…
For me radical self love means to let myself detox from the addiction of seeking approval and love from the outside. I create enough space around myself to hear my own desires and intuition, to know my mind, to find my authentic path , again and again and again. It doesn’t matter how slow or fast I go, or how many times I slip up, it means acknowledging where I screw up without judging, or even judging the judge. It means interpreting absolutely everything that gets thrown in my way as a blessing for me to let go of some ignorance in the way I am seeing, so I can see even more clearly, even more objectively that I am here to learn about unconditional love which must start with myself and my body. What else could the lesson be?
- What books, music or websites inspire you right now?
So many… Eating in the Light of the Moon by Anita Johnston was wonderful. I have also just been reading The Way to Love, the last meditations of Anthony De Mello and I am finding it is a beautiful book. I just finished Radical Honesty, which though I don’t 100% agree with all of his approach, I found it inspiring. Nourishing Wisdom by Marc David is also an amazing read, as is The Yoga of Eating by Charles Eisentstein. For websites, Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts is really fun and all about a woman’s pleasure which I believe is key to this whole intuitive eating experience, otherwise it feels way too serious and “mindful”.
- Favorite quote or poem?
“And remember, you were sent to give the Love that you never got – that’s why you’re here!”