How Doing It Wrong Helped Me Get It Right

When I was started working towards becoming a more intuitive eater it was hard not to feel guilty when I felt I was doing any of it “wrong”. Things like eating when I wasn’t hungry or eating past full didn’t seem intuitive at all. It was all of these “mistakes” though that taught me to become an intuitive eater.

I had to eat when I wasn’t actually hungry before I realized how much better food tastes when I wait for hunger & how much more satisfied I feel after a meal that I am actually hungry for. It took a long time for me to learn the difference between real hunger & the hungry feeling I get when I am tired, bored, lonely, wanting a break, or nervous & why it’s worth it to wait for real hunger. Eating because I am on on vacation, because it’s the holidays, because it’s the weekend, because I am at a restaurant, or because I am out with friends, were all reasons I used to eat when I was restricting but I found with intuitive eating that waiting for hunger makes everything taste better & that eating for all these other reasons isn’t all that enjoyable. There were times when it was worth it like my brother-in-laws amazing sweet potatoes at Christmas or cookie dough & warm cookies whenever me & my daughter bake them, but most of the time what I eat is better when I’m hungry. It took quite a few times of eating when I wasn’t hungry to really figure that out though.

I had to eat past satisfied in order to realize that even a little too full makes me feel lethargic and makes it hard to feel like getting much done. I had to get it wrong many times in order to see how food just doesn’t taste that good anymore when I have eaten enough & that when I keep eating it takes that much longer to get to the point where I am hungry again. I had to learn that sitting with the small amount of sadness that a meal I loved was over & stopping when I was satisfied was worth how much more energy I had & how much happier that made me when I stopped eating before getting even a little too full.

It was only by getting it wrong & learning from it that I could figure out how to do it right. Not because I SHOULD wait for hunger & stop when satisfied but because I WANT to.

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Learning to Love the Body I Don’t Have To Try For

I absolutly love my life since giving up trying to control my body size with food rules & exercise goals but that doesnt mean that there aren’t still days where I worry about weight gain. When I compare myself to people who try & use will power to achieve the perfect body, it can be easy to second guess what I’m doing.  An alternative is to quit comparing myself to airbrushed models or those who use food rules & exercise goals to manipulate their body & instead focus on all the beauty I see in people of all shapes & sizes.  When I start looking for beauty in others it becomes a lot easier to also see it in myself.

Pseudo Dieting Or Gentle Nutrition

When I gave up dieting & started learning to become an intuitive eater I was really excited to start baking again & made cookies, brownies, and other desserts almost every weekend.  The more I included these foods, the less out of control I felt around them & eventually it became easy to feel satisfied with enough.  I enjoyed ordering what I most wanted at restaurants, having the appetizers,  & eating desserts.  I no longer wanted to do anything with the goal of controlling my weight.  I was a little anti-diet & out to prove that I no longer followed any food rules, see me eating these chips….. see me eating these brownies…… see me eating these donuts…… see me eating this burger & fries.

After a while all these things lost a little of the excitment where I wasn’t necessarily choosing them because I was craving them, but more because I felt pressure to prove to myself that I wasn’t dieting……..

“If I weren’t dieting I’d enjoy all the good food at this breakfast buffet” (even though I’m not that hungry).

“If I weren’t dieting I’d order dessert since everyone else is” (even though I’m not craving dessert).

“If I weren’t dieting I’d eat all these appetizers that were ordered” (even though I’m not overly hungry & don’t want to ruin my appetite for dinner).

“If I weren’t dieting I would make brownies & have them with ice cream this weekend (even though I really haven’t been craving brownies). 

I worried that the only reason that I would choose to eat less at breakfast, not order dessert, avoid the appetizers, or choose to skip making brownies would be to control my weight (i.e. diet mentality).  The thing about true intuitive eaters though is that they don’t make choices to prove to themselves or others that they aren’t dieting.  They make choices based on hunger, satisfaction, & cravings with a little gentle nutrition thrown in.

Once I realized that choosing to skip less nutritious foods didn’t mean that I was pseudo-dieting I knew I could eat what I most want & skip anything I didn’t whether that is appetizers, dessert, a salad, or a burger.  I could quit asking myself “why wouldn’t you have cake if you weren’t dieting” and instead ask “why would you have cake if you’re not really craving cake”.

If I find myself NEVER having dessert, ALWAYS skipping the appetizers, or ONLY ordering the salad then I need to look at what diet rules are creeping back in to my world, but short of that it’s okay to make those choices sometimes.  At first it was hard to know what I wanted or didn’t want & when I was just following leftover diet rules but now that I KNOW I can eat anything I want whenever I want to, I also know that it’s okay to choose not to eat those things too.

How An Intuitive Eater Eats

For me an Intuitive Eater is a person who most of the time waits to eats when they are hungry and stops when they have had enough.  They eat the foods they really want, pay attention to how those foods make them feel, and use that knowledge to make CHOICES based on what they usually want or don’t want to do, not RULES about what they should or should not do.  Continue reading “How An Intuitive Eater Eats”

Super Bowl Weekend

Last week we went to Vegas & than had friends come stay in Winter Park with us for Super Bowl weekend.  It was a great week with lots of good food & drinks. The friends who stayed with us put a lot of focus on staying thin, they are careful eaters who eat lite during the day if they think they will be having extra food or drinks at night.  As happy as I am to no longer be stuck in that world, being around it always takes a toll on my confidence.   Continue reading “Super Bowl Weekend”

My Happiest Life Wasn’t In Smaller Clothes

I decided if I was going to let go of food rules & exercise goals & accept my body for the size it was without me interfering, I was going to need to buy some clothes that made me feel good in that body.  Anything I put on that made me think “oh my gosh, I must have put on weight” had to go into the good will pile or a bin in storage.   Continue reading “My Happiest Life Wasn’t In Smaller Clothes”