Intuitive Eating Therapy: Let Go of the Diet & Come Back To Your True Nature

Your body longs for health. Its true nature is to be strong, balanced, and fully capable of nourishing, healing, and restoring itself.

You want that too don’t you? To feel good and relax, secure in the knowledge that fueling your body involves food and food habits that are natural, safe, and nutritious?

Enough of the weight loss worries, enough of spotlighting your body parts, enough time spent mail ordering food, weighing in, and beating yourself up for failing. Guilt, shame, self-disgust and anxiety-making meals and snacks are not your true nature.

It’s time to put things right when it comes to your relationship with food and how u eat it. You’re inherently worthy of that. You are not what you eat. At least your worth is not predicated upon what you eat. Dieting is not natural.

It’s time to get back to eating for health and peace of mind.

But therapy for the way you eat? Is that really necessary?

In short, yes. Yes, it is.

Why?

Intuitive Eating Therapy is necessary because there’s little to nothing intuitive or natural going on for many of us when it comes to the way we think about food. Yet, we continue on mindlessly eating and thinking about eating in ways that produce little benefit long term.

Intuitive Eating pioneers Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD and Elyse Resch, MS, RD, FADA suggest that work with a therapist can help identify food issues and their impact on mental and emotional health. It can do a world of good to recognize how strange and unhelpful our thoughts and behavior have become and make healthy changes.

Food, diet and body image have long been a source of mental stress and physical strain.

Consider for a moment your thoughts on dieting. Were the last few internal comments anything like this?

  • “Wow, I’m awesome at making food choices!”
  • “I love the full feeling I get after a plate of pasta with white sauce.”
  • “I think I’ll just eat what I want. No big deal!”

No? How about this?

  • I can’t believe I ate that! What’s wrong with me?
  • He’s probably staring at my plate. Why didn’t I order a salad?
  • Two weeks left on the cabbage and coconut diet. So hungry… but I can’t fail again!

Does that sound more like you?

You’re not alone. Unfortunately, too many of us say things like that to ourselves daily. It’s exhausting! Why is eating, something necessary, basic, and natural such a trial?

Do we budget for mail order diet food or buy organic?. Do we dump everything in the freezer, just cut back on the stuff in the pantry, or plant gardens, and drink lemon juice and vinegar while it grows?

No, it’s easier than that. Let’s put down the diet magazines and click away from ads for the latest fat-burning pills. First things first:

Take charge. Let go of the diet.

You might feel a little nervous about relinquishing your role in the diet culture. That’s alright, we’ve been inundated socially by the seeming need to manipulate and contemplate food for ages.  It feels like something we should do.

Resist.

Here are a few tips for letting all of that go and taking back your own body:

1. Ditch Diet Think.

Get feisty and push back against the diet culture.Snuff out any desire to put any more time into the skinny=success, fat= failure cycle you’ve endured. Decide to be done with it. Otherwise, Intuitive Eating will not work.

2. Accept your Appetite.

Pay attention to your biological need to eat. That need is real and deserves the appropriate food. Don’t wait too long and end up overeating or bingeing on unhealthy food.If you honor the hunger and feed it well, the relationship you have with food will become more and more trustworthy.

3. Sign a Meal Treaty.

Do exactly what the diets advise you not to do. Allow yourself to eat. Kill the food shoulds and shouldn’ts. Deprivation just fosters craving and ultimate failure. Spare yourself the guilt.

4. Challenge Mental Meal Monitors

Your thoughts are likely to trip you up as much as anything when you decide to give up dieting. You’ve been telling yourself celery is “good” and ice cream is “bad” for a long time. No more. Call off the food police, you’re in charge.

Your True Nature Calls. Allow your Body to Listen and Respond.

Once you dispose of as many diet culture influences as possible, you’ll be able to open yourself up to a much more natural, edifying, and satisfying way of eating. Three key areas will benefit:

Your Respect for Food and its Purpose will Improve

As you learn to listen to your body’s natural hunger, fullness, and satisfaction signals, eating will become much more purposeful and pleasurable. You’ll be able to control when you start and stop eating, and more correctly assess how much to eat. Even better, you’ll simply enjoy it more when you eat what you really like in amounts that you feel good about.

Your Respect for Your Feelings Will Improve

As you embrace Intuitive Eating therapy and learn to put food in its rightful place, so will it become necessary to do the same with your emotions. It’s likely that the two have been intertwined to some degree. That’s okay. It’s time now to show your emotional hunger some respect too. Food doesn’t fix feelings.

Seek out healthy ways of identifying and coping with emotions. Therapy is a good idea for emotions too.

Your Respect for Your Body Will Improve

Intuitive eating supports acceptance and feeling naturally in tune with who you are. You’ve got one body and it’s all yours to engage and enjoy. Fueling it appropriately will help you learn to accept your genetics and remove the need to be overly critical of your body.

In fact, you may even enjoy the thought of activity and exercise more without the pressure to craft a perfect physique. Enjoy movement fueled by a healthy diet. Focus on feeling good and energized not burning off calories or pounds.

Most of all, choosing Intuitive Eating is an investment in something basic and fundamental: food and the right to feel good about it. You deserve to take charge of your body and the satisfaction of being the only one whose opinion matters most.

If you would like extra support and are are seeking intuitive eating therapy, please contact me here for a free 30-minute consultation to learn about how I can be of service.

To find out more about my services click here: Eating Disorder Treatment

About The Author

April Lyons, MA, LPC is a somatic psychotherapist and currently owns a private practice in Boulder, CO. She specializes in PTSD, eating disorders and child counseling. April is trained in EMDR Therapy, Trauma Informed Care, and is certified as a Eating Disorder Intuitive Therapist. To find out more about April click herePsychotherapy Boulder.

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