5 Tips to Start Intuitive Eating Today!
Let me preface this blog post by saying that 8 years ago, Intuitive eating changed my life. But the truth is, I never would have found out about it if I wasn’t at my wits end with trying to lose weight, be healthy, feel good in/about my body, and also stop binge eating every week.
You see, when I was 19 I gained a little bit of weight. Looking back at it now, I think it was normal for slight body changes to happen at that time, but I didn’t know this because every single thing I saw in the media made me think that I had to have a tiny body if I wanted to matter in this world. You know what I’m talking about right? Thin=everything amazing. Or so I thought…
One day, I had this work event and someone took a picture of me. When they showed it to me, I started crying! Forget about the fact that I was smiling and looked like I was having a good time, I thought I looked so__________. I don’t even want to say the words out loud because they are too mean. Anyways, that night I went home and decided with a very strong will that I was going to fix ‘this problem’ (gaining weight) that I had, and this my friends, is where weight loss diets comes in.
I try my first diet.
I LOSE weight fast!
Everyone tells me I look amazing!
I think, yes this is it, I figured it out!
And no more than two weeks on this diet, I get the craziest sugar and carbs cravings you can ever imagine.
I’ll share the details some other time but in short, I on and off binge eat for the next six years.
I always feel a lot of shame about this.
I am dying to be a normal eater but can never seem to get this habit under control.
I go through periods of being on diets and losing quite a bit of weight, but I always end back up at square one.
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And that is…..I get crazy carb and sugar cravings, where it’s almost like someone has taken over my body and the next thing I know I feel sick from overeating, or binge eating. Binge eating is not exclusive to those that have serious eating disorders. It can also be the result of being on a diet for weight loss for an extended period of time.
In a flash, six years of having the worst body image issues go by, and I have gotten to a point in my life journey where I simply cannot go on. I’m just sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. You feel me? It’s that feeling of being so freaking done with habits that hurt you.
Being in this place, although painful, is most of the time, a blessing in disguise because it can be the catapult for true change.
Drumroll loves!!! A week later, I’m told that there is another way to take charge of my body, my health and my relationship with food where I am not on a diet.
And it is:
Intuitive Eating Definition
* my definition *
Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you are full (most of the time). Eat food that feels good in your body, while also eating food that you love and, STOP feeling guilt associated with certain foods ( AKA sugar and carbs).
This sounds appealing no?!!
Here are my tips for beginners so wherever you are in the world you can start your journey NOW!
I want you to take out a pen and paper and write about your relationship with food. Write down your hopes, dreams, visions (it’s good to set intentions) but also write down whats not working for you. Ex: I want to be _____________ with food. Right now I am ___________ with food and I wish to be ___________ because it would make me feel _____________. I wish to change_______________ with food. I am willing to let go of ___________ so I can have freedom with food. Doing this, is setting the foundation to be clear about what’s currently happening with food and what you wish to change. This way if you get off track, which we often do with food, you can go back to this step.
I want you to write this statement down in your journal. In order to be normal with food you have to stop dieting. Then write down the pros and cons of dieting. Be honest. How has it worked for you? How has it worked against you? This is very hard to do when you’ve been dieting for so long and at different points in your journey it has helped you lose weight even if it was only short term. But the truth is you would NEVER be where you are now if you were not dieting. You would just be a regular eater! I’m sure you have seen one of those before. They are the kind of people that don’t think twice about food. They just eat. Decide from here on out, that you will not be dieting any more. No new weight loss plans and no more attempts at trying to lose weight by restricting calories or food groups.
Make a list of all of the foods that make you feel out of control. Meaning, when you eat them you can’t stop until you feel sick or, when you eat them you feel immediate guilt right after you’ve swallowed it and it’s in your body. You may also have regrets about eating these foods.
You’re going to start off small. Day #1 Pick one meal where you think in advance, what do I really want? As a rule of thumb you want to make sure that you are including carbs in this meal. It will take some planning depending on your life circumstances. Write down, I want to have ____________ for lunch today. Think about foods that are outside of your comfort zone. On day #2 do this for two meals and day #3 do this for all three meals. I want you to include one ‘pleasure food’ per day. A pleasure food is something you eat for the sole purpose of pleasure and nothing else. It is essential in the beginning to include this so you can start to normalize it as time goes on. When you do this you are less likely to binge on it.
When you sit down to eat I want you to sense your stomach. You can put your hand on it and just acknowledge how it feels. Loose, tight, full, excited. Pause every 5 bites and keep checking in. I want you to try and eat until you feel satisfied and then remove yourself from wherever you are eating. Please note, that if you don’t get this perfectly, it’s ok! Your body needs to learn that it’s going to start receiving all foods on a regular basis. In the beginning, this could be a bit messy and you may find that you overeat and still binge eat but if you keep coming back to step #2 (don’t diet, no matter what) and #4 (keep incorporating carbs in to your meals) your habits with food will eventually even out.
Stay strong on this path. It is totally worth it.