What does that even mean … to be an Intuitive Eater? And why would I want to be one?
Before I tell you what Intuitive Eating is let me tell you what it’s not: it’s not a diet or exercise program, it’s not a prescribed way of eating, and it’s not for you if you want to lose a quick 10 pounds. I share this up front because most people are looking for an answer to losing weight and Intuitive Eating is about so much more than what you weigh.
Which brings me to the 2nd question first: why would you want to become an intuitive eater? Here are some of the reasons you might want to explore Intuitive Eating:
- You’ve tried a gazillion diets and you’re still dealing with weight and body issues
- You think if your body was different your life would be too
- The idea of not worrying about your weight everyday sounds too good to be true
- You’d love to eat for the pleasure of it, without the afterglow of guilt
- Not obsessing about what you eat would allow you to think about something else for a change
- Your sense of self-worth is directly tied to the scale
- You don’t want to spend the rest of your life cycling up and down 20, or 30, or 50 pounds
- You’ve actually figured out that diets don’t work (maybe you’ve even learned that cycling up and down is worse for your health than being overweight)
- You’re ready to deal with why you eat when you’re not hungry
So what is Intuitive Eating…
IE is a process for reconnecting with your body, learning the difference between physical and emotional hunger, and understanding your relationship with food. It’s a mind-body approach that gets to the underlying thoughts and beliefs you hold on to that make you believe you can’t change.
I never, ever, thought I would be a person who didn’t diet, obsess about my weight, compare myself to everyone else in the room, or that didn’t dream of being thinner. I truly believed my destiny was to battle my weight my whole life. Ironically, it was giving in to that idea of being overweight that changed everything. Accepting myself as I was was the beginning of my transformation.
Imagine you’ve been swept downstream on a river and you grab a branch along the side of the banks, you’re holding on for dear life, petrified to let go. That branch is every diet and exercise program you’ve ever tried. It’s the only way you know to survive, the only way you know to deal with your weight. But it’s a struggle to hold on and when you let go the only thing you know how to do is find another branch.
Imagine you let go and drift, allowing the river to take you with it’s flow, it’s not dangerous but because you have no idea where you’ll end up it feels scary.
As you drift along it starts to feel more natural, you learn to float, anticipate currents and drops, you find that not resisting makes it so much easier, it’s actually fun as you connect with your body again and you’re amazed to be doing something you never thought you could.
That’s IE. You let go of dieting and learn to trust your body to tell you what, when, and how much to eat. It’s scary at first and you’ll want to resist but once you learn to ride the waves and currents of your emotional life you’ll be having SO much more fun!
Food and eating is tangled up with our emotions, our social life, our relationships, our careers. We turn to food a a salve for all the bumps along our path. And it becomes it’s own source of pain, the one thing we want and the thing that makes us feel terrible after.
Becoming an intuitive eater is a way of ending that cycle. Whether you lose weight or not if you lose the stress around weight, eating, and your body, you will be a whole lot healthier emotionally and that will affect your overall health. There are tons of studies out there to back this up.
Here’s an article that will tell you a lot more about it if you’re interested.
Imagine your life without the weight of your weight weighing you down (clever use of weight, huh?).