How Dietitians Can Become a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor

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If you have a general sense for the intuitive eating model but want to learn more, consider becoming a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, the robust credential that is offered by the co-founders of the Intuitive Eating movement. 

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, you’ll have studied with the most knowledgeable and experienced Intuitive Eating dietitians, Evelyn Tribole, MS, RDN, CEDRD-S and Elyse Resch, MS, RDN, CEDRD-S, Fiaedp, FADA, FAND. 

In this blog post, you’ll learn what the two options are for becoming a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, what the steps are for becoming certified as well as reasons that this course might be right for you. Let’s dive in!

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What is Intuitive Eating?

Real quick: what is Intuitive Eating? 

Intuitive Eating is a self-care framework that allows your clients to connect with their body, their eating and to build trust and confidence around eating choices. Intuitive Eating is the opposite of a diet, the idea of using outside constructs to manage eating choices such as calorie counting or portion control. 

One of the main tenets of Intuitive Eating is gentle nutrition. The idea is that health is absolutely one factor in making eating choices, it just isn’t the only one. The other tenets include rejecting diet culture and learning to accept your body. 

For more on incorporating gentle nutrition in your practice, we have a full blog post right here: How to Embrace Gentle Nutrition in Your Practice.

For our comprehensive blog post on the work of an Intuitive Eating dietitian, be sure to check out: What Does an Intuitive Eating Dietitian Actually Do? (and Is It Right for You?)

Now that we know a bit about what Intuitive Eating is, you’ve decided that you want to pursue the certification. Let’s cover what the two options are and how to pursue them.

Types of Certifications

There are two different types of Intuitive Eating certification offered; one is for healthcare professionals, including registered dietitians, and the other is geared towards the general public. 

Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor

The Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor certification is the original certification program offered by the founders of Intuitive Eating. This certification is offered for Registered Dietitians and other allied healthcare professionals, including nurses, midwives, dentists, and acupuncturists. For a full list of eligible professions, please click here.

The Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor certification is the intended credential for a Registered Dietitian. Let’s talk about the other certification option, now, which might be a good fit for health coaches.  

Certified Intuitive Lay Facilitator

This certification was created for community members who are not allied healthcare professionals. Examples of people who might be a good fit for this certification include members of the clergy, addiction counselors, leaders of women’s groups, and birthing coaches. 

While the requirements for becoming certified in either path are the same, the scope of practice varies based on what other credentials you do or don’t have. For example, as a registered dietitian, it is within your scope of practice to provide Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) to your clients in addition to facilitating Intuitive Eating. If you’re a lay facilitator, it is not within your scope to offer MNT. 

Excited to pursue this credential? Let’s cover how to become a certified intuitive eating counselor next!

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How to Become a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor

There are three criteria to complete in order to become a certified Intuitive Eating Counselor or Certified Intuitive Lay Facilitator. The path to certification is the same for both types of certification. 

Self-study course

Helm Publishing offers a self-study course based on the 4th edition of Intuitive Eating. This self-paced course provides you with a grand total of 45 hours of CPE and is your foundational work in the Intuitive Eating space.

In addition to the Intuitive Eating book, the self-study course includes audio CDs, recorded webinars, and a workbook. Once you’ve completed the course materials you’re eligible to sit for the exam. 70% and above is a passing score. If you do not pass the exam on the first try, you’re able to purchase a new exam and try again. 

The self-study course costs $445. 

Tribole’s Intuitive Eating PRO Webinar Training

The next step on your journey towards becoming an Intuitive Eating Counselor is to complete the live webinar training. 

This 6-week live training program is hosted by Intuitive Eating co-founder Evelyn Tribole. Participants of this small group training have the option to join Zoom calls live or to listen to the recordings on their own schedule. This workshop time is used to go through case studies. 

Registration for these training sessions is available here

This webinar training costs $475 (early bird pricing is available). 

Supervision and coaching

The next requirement as your hone your Intuitive Eating skills is to participate in supervision with either of the Intuitive Eating co-founders, Evelyn Tribole, MS, RDN, CEDRD-S or Elyse Resch, MS, RDN, CEDRD-S, Fiaedp, FADA, FAND. You have the option to complete this requirement in person or virtually. 

For certification, you are required to complete three coaching sessions. Coaching costs $170 per individual virtual session or $90 per in-person group session. Coaching can be scheduled here

FAQs about the Intuitive Eating certification

Let’s see if we can answer a few common questions about becoming Certified as an Intuitive Eating Counselor so that you can feel confident this is the right fit for your desired career path. 

What baby steps can I take?

If you’re interested in learning more about Intuitive Eating but aren’t quite sure that you’re ready for the certification, that’s okay! Here are three baby steps that you can take to explore further:

1. Join the free online community about Intuitive Eating, a free group hosted by the founders of Intuitive Eating.

2. Read the Intuitive Eating book. This is the same book that is part of the self-study course but without the expense of the approved exam for CPE. Read the book, get a feel for how Intuitive Eating might resonate with you and your goals, and go from there.

3. Follow Intuitive Eating dietitians on social media.

What if I don’t pass the exam the first time?

If you do not pass the exam on the first attempt, you’re able to purchase a new exam and try again. 

Is Intuitive Eating evidence-based?

Yes, Intuitive Eating is supported by robust research. You can find many studies listed here. While the main purpose of this article is to guide you through the process of obtaining the Intuitive Eating certification, you have several links to further reading and research as you dive into the Intuitive Eating realm. 

How long does it take to complete the requirements?

Learning is self-paced, so this is up to you! Completion of this credential is flexible so that you can work on the components at the pace that fits your life the best. 

What makes the Intuitive Eating certification robust?

One of the aspects of this credential is the application of the concepts as you go through the program. It is one thing to learn the concepts from your readings, it is another to feel confident in practice. As you move through the training program, you’ll have the opportunity to apply the knowledge, with supervision, and get constructive feedback. 

You’re invited to watch our RD2RD Live Show with guest expert Jen Draper, RD and Intuitive Eating practitioner

picture of jen draper for show on teaching gentle nutrition
Play Video

Is Intuitive Eating only for disordered eating recovery?

While Intuitive Eating is a great path for disordered eating recovery, Intuitive Eating offers benefits in any niche, from sports nutrition to maternal and pediatric nutrition. 

With the My Fuel Mix™ Client Workbook, you’ll feel confident with Intuitive Eating concepts as well as helping your clients of all kinds to see the value in implementing Intuitive Eating principles in their own lives. 

What is diet culture?

Diet culture is a belief system that equates thinness with health, happiness, and higher social status. Diet culture fuels the multi-billion dollar diet industry, which has people buying diet books, shakes, and meal replacements in the pursuit of thinness.

Benefits of Becoming an Intuitive Eating Dietitian

There are many benefits to becoming an Intuitive Eating Dietitian; here are a few of our favorites. 

Targeted Niche

The more specific you’re able to be with regard to what kinds of clients you serve and how you help, the more targeted you can be in your marketing materials, website copy, and social media posts. And not trying to serve so many different kinds of clients protects your energy and time as a dietitian. 

Community Membership

Once you’ve completed the certification, you’re invited to join the private Facebook group community of Certified Intuitive Eating counselors.

Directory Listing

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, you’ll be added to the online directory of counselors, allowing your future clients to find you more easily. 

Use of Logo

Also available once you complete your certification is the ability to use the official Intuitive Eating logo on your website and in your marketing materials.

Real-life feedback

Wondering what it is like to have this credential? Here is some feedback from a fellow dietitian who has completed the Intuitive Eating Certification, Kelly Abramson MS, RD, CHWC. 

The credential was one of the most incredible professional development experiences of my life.  It completely changed my practice by increasing my skill set, improving my counseling skills and giving me a way to practice that is aligned with my values, which are not supporting a diet industry that fails most people, takes their money and puts the blame on them.

I work with individuals with many chronic conditions, PCOS and diabetes being the most common.  IBS is also common.  The beauty of IE is interoceptive awareness (our ability to sense what’s going on in our body), combined with attunement.  We can sense how certain foods affect our energy, hunger and other symptoms and we can become empowered to choose food that satisfies both our taste buds and our health.”

Kelly Abramson, MS, RD, CHWC – Founder of N Power You Nutrition Counseling 

Have we got you convinced that Intuitive Eating might be just the thing to work into your practice? Excellent! Let’s go over some resources available for you from RD2RD.

Practice Resources

As you start to practice with an intuitive eating framework, here are some helpful resources that may be useful in working with clients. These materials are created by dietitians just like you and save you time and precious energy in your practice. Their incredible breadth of experience and best practices are distilled into products that will boost your confidence as you continue to hone your skills with Intuitive Eating. 

For the complete round-up of more than 200 Intuitive Eating practice resources, please click here. 

But in the meantime, here are a few of our favorites:

Gentle Nutrition: Handouts For Eating Disorder Recovery: a comprehensive collection of 22 handouts to provide education to your clients on a range of topics. 

Hunger Fullness Scale + Food-Mood Journal: This two-page PDF is an unbranded guide for your clients to use again and again as they better understand how their eating patterns influence their mood. 

Beginner’s Mindful Eating Bundle: this four-piece bundle is intended for adults looking to build skills and confidence with mindful eating. This bundle includes the creative addition of phone wallpaper for your clients to add to their phone lock screen. 

Intuitive Eating Initial Assessment Guide: this guide offers you guidance on how to structure client visits. Feel confident right from the start with this guide!

If you’re looking for a specific resource on RD2RD and not seeing it, why not make it yourself? It is easy to open your own store, add new products and begin making passive income.

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Key takeaways: Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor Training

Completing the Intuitive eating certification is the pathway for you if you’re ready to become an Intuitive Eating Dietitian and empower clients of all kinds – not just disordered eating – to heal and improve their relationship with food. 

If you’re ready to take the plunge and become a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, use this link to apply today.

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