Body Trust Insights with Aaron Flores, RD
We are delighted to introduce you to our new friend, the wonderful Aaron Flores! We connected with Aaron at the Body Love Conference where we were all inspired by the passion of radical change that continues to build in our community. Thank you, Aaron, for sharing your wisdom and your story of how you came to this work. May the Body Trust Force be with you 🙂
Aaron Flores is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a private practice in Calabasas, California. He believes in size diversity and Intuitive Eating. In his practice he helps clients change their “diet mentality” and finally make peace with food. In addition to his private practice, he also writes a blog at Balance Variety and Moderation RD and is also a co-founder of the Dietitians for Professional Integrity. Aaron’s work has been featured on BuzzFeed and his blog was named one of the top 35 Healthy Weight Blogs by Green Mountain at Fox Run, and one of the Top 40 Nutrition Blogs by the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. Away from work, Aaron is a runner, cook, husband and father to 7 year-old twins (who are also Intuitive Eaters).
“Accepting both the positive and the negatives in each of our lives allows us to be honest about our lives and that acceptance and honesty helps us live our lives from a place of compassion and nurturing rather than from a place of hate and self-loathing.”
- What led you to Health at Every Size® and Intuitive Eating?
I first heard of the book Intuitive Eating after I finished my undergrad work at California State University Northridge but I finally read it about 5 years ago. Before reading that book I believed diets were the pathway to improved health. I read the book and obviously everything changed for me. As a life-long dieter and someone who basically promoted dieting, it fundamentally changed both my professional and personal life. It was my “Aha Moment.” I learned about HAES® at a FNCE convention. I saw Linda Bacon on a panel that debated weight loss research. As I learned more about what HAES® is, I found that it was a perfect compliment to what I already knew and believed about Intuitive Eating. Ever since then, I been an advocate of both professionally and personally
- What has surprised you the most as you have learned to accept yourself?
What a great question. I think that what continues to surprise me about accepting myself is it is an ongoing process. There are not that many male dietitians, there are even less that are heavy, fat, large or whatever you want to call it. So I guess sometimes I feel isolated in the body positivity movement. Most messages that I see are geared towards women so some obviously don’t resonate with me as much. What continues to surprise me is is how much I/we must work to stay body positive.
- What are three aspects you feel are the most important to remember when moving toward radical self-acceptance?
1) There is no perfection, only progress. 2) Love the body you have now, not the one you wish you had and 3) You don’t have to do this alone. Sometimes there is nothing more courageous than asking for help.
- What is your favorite part of your body? How do you celebrate it?
I would have to say my legs. They have carried/transported me through many different challenges like biking 100 miles or completing a marathon. But they also help me each day by allowing me to stand and teach classes, go for walks with family, friends and co-workers. Symbolically, they are also my foundation. They allow me to stand up for the causes I believe in and advocate for change in my community.
- What is your favorite food and how do you like to enjoy it?
I love eggs. I love cooking them, I love eating them and I love how many different ways they can be used in a meal. I think my favorite way is to have a great egg with a runny yolk. Whether it’s on toast, on pizza or in pasta, having a perfectly cooked egg with a wet yolk is like a little piece of heaven. I think if I could have a second career, I’d open a restaurant and just serve different egg dishes.
- What inspires and renews your dedication to your process when you need it the most?
Meeting and interacting with others who have similar beliefs. Believing in Intuitive Eating and HAES® is not the mainstream (yet) so it can be difficult to be surrounded by so many people who don’t agree with these ideas. So what inspires me is to feel a part of a community of other advocates who understand the impact that breaking free from dieting, losing weight and giving up restrictive eating habits can have on someone’s life.
- Radical self-acceptance means…
Finally learning to accept yourself as you are. Accepting both the positive and the negatives in each of our lives allows us to be honest about our lives and that acceptance and honesty helps us live our lives from a place of compassion and nurturing rather than from a place of hate and self-loathing.
- What books, music or websites inspire you right now?
I have to be honest, I’m not that much of a reader (but I accept that). Music though, that is something that I just can’t live without. I find myself drawn to songs that have very emotional lyrics. My current music jag includes the following songs: “My Girl” by Nirvana, “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen, “Pure Morning” by Placebo and “Creep” by Radiohead.
- Favorite quote or poem?
There are two. The first is from the greatest TV show ever, “The West Wing.” The quote is:
“This guy’s walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out. A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, ‘Hey you. Can you help me out?’ The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, ‘Father, I’m down in this hole can you help me out?’ The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a friend walks by, ‘Hey, Joe, it’s me can you help me out?’ And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, ‘Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.’ The friend says, ‘Yeah, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.’”
As a provider, I feel like this is what I want my clients to know. I’ve been where you are and if you trust me, I know a way out!
The second quote is from The Empire Strikes Back. The quote is:
“Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship.“
I’ve begun using Yoda and The Force as a tool to illustrate what adopting Intuitive Eating and HAES® feels like. This quote is a perfect example of how judging health by size limits our perspective of overall health. Adopting Intuitive Eating and HAES® is sort of like becoming a Jedi and learning to use The Force.