I stumbled across Intuitive Eating from a friends blog. She was a health coach who specializes in Intuive Eating. After following her and reading her blog for a couple years I finally decided to work with her one-on-one to learn more about eating intuitively and how I could start my own intuitive eating journey to finding peace with food and my body.
Today on the blog, I thought I would share a little insight into what I’ve learned so far through my intuitive eating journey, why I continue to practice Intuitive Eating, and what eating Intuitvely has taught me and maybe can teach you too.
If you aren’t familiar with Intuitive Eating or are interested in learning a little bit more about Intuitive Eating, I wrote an introduction blog post to Intuitive Eating, What Is Intuitive Eating and Why I Eat Intuitively, that can help get you started on learning more about what Intuitive Eating is and how you can begin your own journey.
Once you know a little more about Intuitive Eating, in this post you will learn some of the lessons I’ve learned along my journey and the pieces that I discovered helped me the most. So here are 10 Reasons Why I eat Intuitively and how Eating Intuitively improved my relationship with food and my body.
1. You’re always winning the game.
Whenever you are on a diet or have the mindset of a dieter you are constantly following someone else’s rules. You eat according to the rules of the diet. When you don’t stick to the rules or you go off your diet, the blame is placed upon you because you just couldn’t “handle it.” When in reality that lifestyle doesn’t work for you because all diets are a lose-lose situation. The reason so many diets fail is because other people’s lifestyles and rules aren’t meant for you. You are trying to fit into a mold someone else created, but the truth is that mold will never fit. It’s like the saying “square peg, round hole.” Intuitive Eating is not one mold or a set of rules. Intuitive Eating helps you find what does work for you and what doesn’t. You can’t make “mistakes” or “break rules.” There isn’t just one mold for everyone to fit into. Everyone has their own mold that they themselves fit which makes it so that no one is left behind; no one can become a failure. You are always winning in Intuitive Eating.
2. You can always try again.
If you have ever been on a diet you might find yourself in this scenario: You have a cheat meal or you accidentally have a “slip-up” and tell yourself since you’ve already blown your diet that day, you may as well eat whatever and start over tomorrow or maybe even the next Monday. This leaves you in a constant roller coaster mindset. You are constantly trying to do better and waiting until the time is right to BE better. Intuitive Eating teaches you that there are no “slip-ups” and if you don’t feel great about a choice you made you can take what you’ve learned and apply it to your next meal. I love that there’s no “do better tomorrow”, but you can do better right now. Your very next meal, every meal you eat, is an opportunity to work on becoming your best self.
3. It’s forgiving.
When you live with a diet mentality, every time you eat what is considered an “unhealthy” food, you find yourself thinking you are bad. You tell yourself you are bad because you don’t eat only healthy foods, you don’t eat the way you are supposed to eat. You get stuck in this thought process where you are blaming, punishing, and putting yourself down because you don’t eat the way you “should” be eating. Intuitive Eating transforms your thought process to remind you that you are NOT a bad person and your eating habits don’t contribute to your morals. Every time you eat a meal and you don’t feel your best after, you can stop this punishing act and start understanding why you DESERVE forgiveness. Intuitive Eating understands your needs and why you do what you do and it will teach you to understand as well. Learning to forgive yourself can change the whole experience you have around food. In this journey, without forgiveness, you won’t be able to move closer towards having peace around food.
4. You can’t measure progress with a scale.
In Intuitive Eating, the number on the scale is irrelevant. The only way to track your progress is by asking yourself how you feel. The main purpose of Intuitive Eating is to find peace around food and for you to have joyful experiences with food. To see if you’ve made progress is to simply check in with yourself and ask yourself how do I feel? If you are feeling joyful and happy then that’s how you know you are heading in the right direction. Intuitive Eating’s progress is measured by happiness. The happier you are, the closer you are to your goal.
5. It builds a connection.
Intuitive Eating is a journey. During this journey, you will find yourself having to dig deep within yourself to guide you in the right direction. You not only use your intuitive feelings, but you also have to tap deep into your thought process and even learn to listen and be aware of your body signals. Through this journey, you really learn how to connect with your body and your mind. Intuitive Eating helps you build trust and compassion. Using all these different components on a daily basis really allows you to build a deeper connection with yourself.
6. Your sanity & your happiness come first.
As I previously mentioned, the main purpose of Intuitive Eating is for you to find joy around food. The main goal you are striving for is your happiness. Intuitive Eating reminds you to put YOU first because you MATTER. Your happiness and your sanity MATTER. It is easy to find yourself in a constant state of stress and frustration around food. Sometimes it can control your whole life. In Intuitive Eating, you learn how to put your needs first. Intuitive Eating can help you nourish your mind and body so you can become your best self. Intuitive Eating is here to help you remember that nothing is worth the cost of your happiness.
7. You don’t have to force yourself to eat anything you don’t like.
In the “dieting world” foods are labeled as good foods and bad foods (healthy and unhealthy). When we want to lose weight and become healthy we feel forced to eat only “good” foods. We force ourselves to eat these foods because we know we should, we don’t even stop to consider whether or not we even like these foods. What we enjoy eating is irrelevant. Isn’t life hard enough as it is let alone forcing ourselves to eat foods we don’t even like? This ends now. Intuitive Eating is here to pave the way for you to start eating all the foods you love to eat and ditch all the ones you don’t. Everyone is so afraid to eat foods they enjoy for fear that they will get fat. Intuitive Eating creates a safe environment for you to be able to eat the foods you love and still feel good at the end of the meal. No guilt, no punishment, no self-loathing. The time for distasteful food is over and the time for enjoyment can begin.
8. It can heal relationships.
Whether you are on a diet or have the mentality of a dieter you are eating the way you feel you “should” be eating. Sometimes this can even mean that your body is missing key nutrients she needs to thrive. Whether you do this intentionally or unintentionally, when our bodies aren’t at their best they can leave you feeling cranky and irritable. Ever heard of the term ‘Hangry?’ Don’t be ashamed, I am definitely someone who suffers from a case of Hangry if I don’t take care of myself properly. This is your body’s natural process. It is perfectly normal to get a little crazy when your body isn’t getting the right nutrients. The part that is a horrible side effect of all the stress you can go through around food is that you can push those feelings outwards towards loved ones around you. No one intends to lash out or put their inner frustrations out on others, however, it can happen.
*When it comes to your relationship with food there are many factors that can cause irritability. Not just hunger. Sometimes after you overeat or eat foods that you consider bad foods, you can be left with feelings of guilt and self-loathing. Sometimes those feelings can lead to meltdowns and leave surrounding loved ones with confusion and they may not be able to understand your pain. Other situations that lead to negative relationships can be your frustration of trying to eat healthily and others keep choosing fast-food restaurants for dinner or you are at a family picnic and there aren’t any “good” food options served. Instead of being present and enjoying the time being surrounded by your loved ones, your mind is fixated on the food and the stress you feel to handle the situation. Intuitive Eating provides you with the tools you need to handle all these situations so you can be present and enjoy the company you have during these events and leave each experience feeling good about yourself.
Intuitive Eating helps you restore your balance around food and learn how to nourish your body properly. This process can help you find joy within yourself and let that joy radiate outward. So instead of confused loved ones not understanding why you are upset, you are left with stronger and better relationships with the ones around you.
9. It teaches awareness.
I fully believe that you can’t have growth in your life without awareness. If you aren’t aware of the negative and positive impacts of your surroundings, you can be left with blindness and ignorance. Without awareness, you will find yourself stuck in a constant state of unhappiness. Intuitive Eating opens the door to awareness, provides you with ways to increase awareness, and finally how it can help you learn and reach your goals. Awareness allows you to discover what isn’t working for you and why. Also, awareness can help you to understand what you need to change and discover what isn’t working for you and move closer to what does. With awareness, you can overcome challenges that are preventing you from finding peace with food.
10. It restores your love of food.
One of my favorite things about Intuitive Eating is that it allowed me to fall in love with food all over again. Having a diet mentality can strip you of all the joy and fun food can bring and replace it with fear, stress, and even resentment. Intuitive Eating takes away the fear and helps you overcome the stress. Intuitive Eating brings back the purpose of food and all the fun that can come along with it. Food is meant to be shared with loved ones and become a part of your memories such as family traditions and gatherings. Food is meant to be fun and delicious. Sometimes when we are caught up in trying to lose weight we lose the real purpose of food and instead it becomes a chore, something we avoid and associate our misery with. Intuitive Eating breaks down those walls of hatred and opens the way for you to fall in love with food again.
A bonus reason why I love Intuitive Eating is:
It gives you back your control.
After dieting for so many years, being around food creates so much additional stress in your life. There are multiple reasons we feel the need to be in control around food. One, the reason we diet is that there are so many things in our lives that are out of our control we just need that one thing we can keep within our grasp, food. We use dieting as our only method to feel some type of control in our lives. Two, we feel without a diet we eat completely out of control. Dieting is our way to keep ourselves in check. Third, when we are in situations around food with others we can lose our sense of control with food. Some examples are when other people make us eat the food they serve, people tell us we are too fat and to not eat certain foods or we are too skinny and to eat more food, and finally peer pressure where everyone is ordering drinks or dessert and we don’t want to miss out on the fun. There are a number of scenarios around food where we feel we don’t have control. Wrong. Intuitive Eating reminds you that you are always in control. Intuitive Eating provides you with ways to handle every situation and shows you how you are in control and how to take back your control. You will be left in a way that there is no situation you can’t handle. Intuitive Eating allows you to take back your control and continue to make the best decisions for you.
Eating intuitively provides you with a way to find peace around food. I believe there are so many benefits to Intuitive Eating and with this post, I hope it gives you a better glimpse as to what some of those benefits are. I am living every day with the tools I’ve learned from eating intuitively and working every day to feel my best and find my peace with food. In upcoming posts, I will share more about the tools that I’ve learned to use and what steps I’ve taken towards finding peace with food.
For more information on Intuitve Eating I recommend checking out these resources:
Paige Schmidt- Intuitive Eating Coach & Blogger: https://www.paigeschmidt.com/
Chels of Chels Emily- Nutrition Coach: https://chelsem.com/
Intuitive Eating Book: https://read.macmillan.com/lp/intuitive-eating-4th-edition/
Nutrition Stripped: https://nutritionstripped.com/articles/
Nutrition Stripped Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/nutritionstripped/videos