- I had to accept that I couldn’t force my body to be the size I wanted to be, but had to accept the size I was meant to be. I could either spend a lifetime fighting against that in a tug of war with my body, where I engage in disordered eating behaviors & it fights back with intense cravings & binges, or I could learn how to become an intuitive eater again. This was hard for me to accept after years of exercise goals & food rules that gave me the illusion of controlling my weight when in reality those things were only controlling my life. My body was really good at fighting back where more exercise only lead to more hunger & food rules only lead to binges meaning I was spending my life spinning my wheels & making myself miserable in the process.
- I had to spend some time not eating very intuitively at all & eat as much as my body wanted. After years of restricting my food, I thought about food ALL THE TIME. The end of meals made me sad because I always wanted just a little more & would barely finish a meal before starting to think about the next one. I was tired of telling myself “no” all the time & sick of constantly trying to eat less than what my body wanted. I needed to allow myself to eat as much as I wanted without judgement until I got past the feelings of deprivation that years of restriction had made me feel. It helped to pay attention to hunger & fullness during this time and start to get back in touch with those signals, but putting too much emphasis on hunger & fullness before getting past the primal hunger stage would have made me feel restricted & turned Intuitive Eating into the hunger fullness diet.
- I had to include all foods I had restricted without judgement until the novelty wore off & they lost their power over me. At first it didn’t seem realistic & I worried that they were manufactured to make it impossible to control myself around them, but as time went on I noticed the excitement wore off & they no longer made me feel out of control. The taste of cookie dough or a warm brownie quit lighting up the part of my brain that told me to EAT IT ALL & it was easier to listen to the fullness cues that told me when I had eaten enough.
Once I had those things down I could look at my choices through a lens of creating my best life, instead of achieving my lowest weight. It was only when I got to that point that I could start working on things like waiting for hunger, stopping when I had eaten enough, and incorporating foods that made me feel my best along with the foods I craved.