Are you ready for Intuitive Eating ?

Chances are, if Intuitive Eating has found you, you might be ready to learn a different way of relating to food and your body, a different way other than going on yet another diet.

You are beginning to think: “I’m tired of counting macros.” Or, “Bacon and eggs for breakfast again? When can I have a piece of toast and not stress about it ?”

You are growing weary of the constant worry. You are growing weary of having to monitor your eating and your weight. It’s starting to interfere with your life. It’s taking up WAY too much mental space.

Let’s be clear. Dieting doesn’t work.

Well, truth be told, it does “work” at least in the short term. You lose it BUT then, it (the weight) comes back. So much research supports that dieting causes weight gain. AND, dieting is a major risk factor in the development of disordered eating and eating disorders.

One of the main reasons diets don’t work is that they erode body trust. The message is that your body can’t be trusted, that you need to control your appetite and the size of your body by counting points or weighing your foods. Deep down, we all want to be trusted, and so we will eventually rebel and break all our own diet rules. These rules are not meant to be followed. It’s just a matter of time when the flood gates open and the body fights back.

Dieting disrupts your ability to hear and trust normal signals such as hunger and fullness cues. You learn that it’s not safe to feel hungry. Hunger must be suppressed, managed, controlled and denied. This is where the disconnect begins. Your learn to stop listening to your body. You learn to disengage from your internal cues. You are no longer in touch with your natural body cues. Instead you begin to rely on what your mind tells you, what rules you have about ‘how much to eat,’ and ‘what to eat,’ and so on.

How do you know if you’re out of touch with your body’s natural eating patterns? 

  • You feel guilty eating certain foods. Especially the forbidden ones- pizza, ice cream, croissants…
  • You count calories, macros or points.
  • You’ve cut out specific foods or food groups, like bread!
  • You categorize foods as “good” or “bad.”
  • You use exercise to ‘burn off’ what you eat.
  • You make food choices based on how you think it may affect your weight or body size.

How do you know if Intuitive Eating is right for you?

  • You want to stop obsessing or thinking about food all the time.
  • You want to feel calm and in control around food.
  • You want to be able to trust your body to tell you when it’s hungry and full.
  • You want to feel confident with your food choices, not in constant doubt and worry.
  • You want to be able to eat all foods without any guilt, shame or regret.
  • You want to trust yourself around ALL foods – even your “trigger foods.”
  • You want to learn other ways of coping with feelings other than just relying of food.
  • You want to move your body because it feels good, not just to compensate from the calories you ate. exercise
  • You want to live your life feeling empowered and free.

Letting go of dieting can be a challenge for some. Dieting is its own addiction because it is a great way to distract you from having to look and face other issues in your life. Other issues that might feel like there is no real immediate and tangible solution to. It’s easier to focus on shrinking your body size/shape because at least you feel as if you have some control over something (your food and your body). It’s a great spiritual bypass.

Get clear on how dieting or focusing on your body and trying to change the size of your body has impacted your life.

Ask your self these questions:

  1. How has dieting affected your social life?
  2. How has dieting affected your eating behavior?
  3. How has dieting affected your mind and moods?
  4. What physical consequences have you experienced from dieting?
  5. How much time and money have you spent in the pursuit of weight loss?
  6. What kind of thoughts do you hold that may be fueling a fantasy of going on one last diet?
  7. Consider your dieting history and the subsequent impact dieting has had on your weight, your eating behavior, social life, and mental health, what would be some reasons for you to let of dieting once and for all?

And, often … we need to have a come-to-Jesus-talk with ourselves and reevaluate our fantasy of trying to achieve a different body/size other than our own.

This is also not an easy task given that we live in a fat phobic society where weight stigma is a real issue (discrimination towards folks in larger bodies).

Holding onto the fantasy of weight loss can keep you wanting to go back to dieting again and again and reinforce the diet mentality. Even just the thought of dieting or restricting your foods can undermine this process of reclaiming your ability to eat intuitively.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What are your beliefs about weight loss in general?
  2. What are your beliefs about your own weight loss?
  3. Where did these beliefs come from? What is their origin?
  4. How do you fantasize life changing for you if you pursued weight loss?
  5. How have your beliefs about weight loss affected you?
    1. Have you put some aspects of your life on hold until you lose weight (such as pursuing a new job, relationship, activities)?
    2. Reflect upon your response: what would you need in order to explore your desired pursuits in your ‘here-and-now’ body?

Have you hit your diet bottom? Have you decided that you can no longer ever go on another diet again?

This is diet bottom and this is when you will be ready to embrace the principals of Intuitive Eating.

Share below what diet bottom is for you. When and how did you arrive at your diet bottom…?

Get your guide here!

Karen Louise Scheuner, MA, RDN

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