What is Intuitive Eating?
First, let me explain a little bit about what intuitive eating is. It sounds simple enough, but basically, it's just having 100% trust in your body. Intuitive eating teaches you to trust that your body knows when it's time to eat and when its time to stop. It's a skill that everyone is born with and practiced at one time in their life. But unfortunately, eating intuitively is a skill many of us lose due to crazy diets and restricting food. Intuitive eating also means taking your focus off of weight loss and looking a certain way. Instead, your goal is to have a better, healthier relationship with food and your body. It's about giving yourself permission to eat what you want when you want and trust that your body will make the best decisions for you.
For more information and guidance on how to become an intuitive eater, I suggest buying the Intuitive Eating book by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch or visiting intuitivgeating.org. Both of these resources really changed my life and my relationship with food.
My Journey With Intuitive Eating
Intuitive eating has been something that I've known about for a few years now. However, I never thought it was for me. This is mostly because I had so many misconceptions about what intuitive eating meant. I thought that letting myself eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted would basically mean I was living a life on Oreo cookies and chips. I thought that I would overeat everythingWhe; like I usually acted around bad foods. I thought intuitive eating would just give me an excuse to say that it was okay.
I was terrified to trust my body, but who wouldn't after years of controlling everything that when into their mouth? I didn't think it was possible for me to not obsess about food every minute of every day. For me, it took a year after I heard about intuitive eating, and started reading to book to decide that it was something I needed in my life. It wasn't until I was really struggling with my obsessive eating that I realized I could not live like that anymore.
I was so tired of putting in so much energy worrying about what I was going to eat. I was tired of feeling bad about myself and stressing out for days over one wrong meal. I was tired of feeling guilty about going out to dinner with my friends. I was tired of following all my food rules, counting and weighing every gram of food I ate. And I was just sick and tired of trying to look like some fitness model and reach goals that my body was never meant to achieve.
So when I finally had enough, I went back and picked up intuitive eating again. I started from the beginning and never looked back. I started reading the book about 3 weeks before my trip to Asia, and I started off slowly. Slowly allowing myself more foods that I wouldn't have touched months or even weeks before. When I got to Asia I really felt like this was something I could do. I am SO thankful that I allowed myself to 100% enjoy my trip and listen to my body. For me, this trip was exactly what I needed when I needed it. I ate what I wanted when I wanted and when food didn't agree with my stomach (which was more often than not) I listened to it and stopped eating. I didn't feel guilty and that felt amazing.
Where I'm at Now with Intuitive Eating
Although I am still very new to intuitive eating I already feel it making amazing changes in my life. The old me spent so much time obsessing about food and planning meals. I now have all that time and energy to direct in other places. I learned that I really do like healthy foods, I enjoy eating vegetables because they make me feel good.
Intuitive eating does not mean you stop eating healthy foods. It means you choose to eat healthy foods because of the way they make you feel. It means you choose them because you have respect for your body and you want to treat it well and nourish it properly. When I realized that I enjoyed vegetables and how they make me feel was a huge turning point. I no longer feared that I would spend the rest of my life eating cookies and chips and justify it by saying I was an intuitive eater. I love and respect my body, and I want to be able to do the things I love to do and to do that, I need to nourish it and treat it with respect.
There has been so many things that have helped me along this journey. First was reading the Intuitive Eating book. Second is listening to body positive and intuitive eating podcasts, such as Food Psych by Christy Harrison. Without these resources available, I wouldn't be in the place that I am today.
Intuitive eating is a process and a journey, and there are still days where I struggle with body image and want to start controling the way I eat again. But when I look back on how I feel, I know I made the best decision for my mind and my body, and I couldnt be happier.