I'm Devinia Noel, a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist and Intuitive Eating Counsellor based in London. I help people to trust and listen to their body, cut out baffling diet gibberish and develop harmony with food.
Where do I start? For as long as I remember, I have dieted. My earliest memories of diet culture were doing Jane Fonda exercise videos with my mum when I was around 4 years old. As a child, I was slightly bigger than my peers and felt shame that my body was different. I saw other women in my family trying to change their body. The seed was sown from early and I believed that once I lost weight, life would be perfect, and I will feel amazing. I did lose weight, but my mindset didn’t change, and I was never good enough. Not to mention, the weight never stayed off. For 13 years, I was a chronic yo-yo dieter. I blamed myself for not being able to keep the weight off. I felt terrible in my body, it felt as though my body had failed me. Every week it felt like a life sentence as I jumped on the scales at my weight loss group. I felt crazy around food, I truly believed I couldn’t control myself around food.
Life changed when I found body positivity and intuitive eating. I learnt that I could look after myself from a place of self-care. There was no longer a space for constant self-criticism. I kicked diet mentality to the curb and learnt how to truly trust and listen to my body. This stopped all the noisy confusing diet noise. I gave myself permission to eat all foods and it no longer has the same power over me. I developed the ability to listen to my body and respond to my hunger and fullness cues. If I want cake I’ll have it, likewise, if I fancy grapes I’ll have that too. Food isn’t good or bad- it’s just neutral.
Why Intuitive Eating?
As soon as we restrict foods, we want it more. If you tell yourself that cake is banned, cake will probably be all you think about. Diets make us feel out of control around food. Diet companies don’t tell you this but it possible to develop peace with food and live a life without worrying about food. I help people rely on their internal wisdom and to develop trust with their bodies. Diets often take this internal wisdom away and you end up using the scales and external tools to help you make decisions about how you nourish yourself. Food no longer becomes enjoyable and you end up fighting food. Once you develop peace with food, you have so much space to live your life to the very fullest.
As well as training as a certified intuitive eating coach I have more 10 years’ of experience working in a mental health setting. I also work within the health at every size paradigm and take a weight neutral approach to working with clients. I work in the community as a cognitive behavioural therapist and help people with a wide range of problems including depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, disordered eating and binge eating. Part of my work in the community also involves being part of the management team for a mental health service in London. I supervise and line manage a team of junior clinicians. I’ve also worked in an eating disorder unit for adolescents. My mission is to help people live the fullest life possible by teaching people the tools they need to achieve this.
I'm passionate about helping individuals cultivate a healthy body image and develop a peaceful relationship because I've experienced life without self-worth. I believe shame and guilt shouldn't be apart of our relationship with food or our body. You are good enough as you are right now. As a plus size black woman I've unpicked a lot beliefs about myself from society and want to hold space for others who are struggling with body image and disordered eating.
I believe that we need to raise awareness and support for people of colour who have disordered eating, body image difficulties and eating disorders. People of colour often fall between the gaps of healthcare and we are dismissed when we want to access help. Part of my work is holding space for people of colour and ensuring we get the help we need and deserve.
My sessions are calm, compassionate, humour-filled (when appropriate obviously!) and you are encouraged to be yourself. It's your time to talk open and honestly.
In my spare time you can find me hula hooping, reading, watching a good series, baking and catching up with friends and family.
If you have more questions, please check out my FAQ’s.