4 Things I Have Learned About Intuitive Eating

Intuitive eatingIntuitive eating finally clicked one day for me. Just like that, it all made sense. It can happen for you too. Ask yourself the following: 

  • How much time and mental energy do you put into a natural born process called “eating?”
  • How many times have you thought, “life can begin once I lose this weight?”
  • How many times have you felt the ecstasy of losing pounds, only to be disappointed when you gain them back again?

You are not alone and it is not your fault.

It is a well-known fact that 95 to 98 percent of all dieters who lose weight eventually regain the lost pounds. In fact, when all is said and done, they weigh more that they did before the diet! Yet, the diet industry makes approximately $50 billion a year from our struggle.

“Diets leave a trail of devastating physical and emotional consequences in their wake. Anyone who can stop this cycle is a diet survivor.” (The Diet Survivor’s Handbook)

Giving up dieting means giving up the cultural ideal of being “thin,” ” healthy” and “happy.”

If you’re reading this blog, you might be longing to stop this cycle. You might be interested in letting go and having your body figure out its natural weight. Is it possible that you are okay the way you are and can start living life now?

Doesn’t this sound so freeing, yet so frightening at the same time? This is extremely common in our society.

Please let me share with you how I became an intuitive eater:

“Wow, she’s really let herself go.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this judgment. It kept me dieting because I didn’t want people to think that about me. And I didn’t want to think that about myself.

Yet, that’s what I finally had to do. I had to give up the external control and turn inward for answers.

I had to “let myself go.”

Let go of the exercise routines, let go of the food plans, scales, numbers. I had no idea what that would bring, but I felt compelled. I had to let my body decide my weight, not society. I had to let my body decide my calorie intake and exercise routine.

As a psychotherapist, many of my clients want to have a normal relationship with food too, but don’t know how.

These are 4 important truths that I’ve learned from being a psychotherapist and from my own experience as an intuitive eater.

1. Intuitive eating is not a diet.

This is #1.

It’s important to separate weight and exercise from eating. While eating intuitively, weight has to be removed from the conversation.

Intuitive eating is not about controlling your weight. I know this seems repetitive, but without getting this point down, intuitive eating will turn into a diet. I see this happen all the time.

2. Intuitive eating is about trial and error, not about getting it right.

Experience has taught me that learning to eat intuitively is most frustrating because there are no set rules to follow. Dieting can relieve anxiety. “Here is my plan, now all I have to do is follow it and presto!”  Then, of course, the weight comes back and the emotional cycle continues.

Intuitive eating takes patience and self-love.

While learning, I spent a year overeating and feeling full all the time because of the deprivation I caused as a dieter. Finally, I figured out that I didn’t actually like feeling so stuffed. Slowly, I’m getting better at listening to what my body wants and when I have enough. Can you imagine trusting your internal cues to guide your decisions?

It takes time and patience to learn how to listen deeply. It’s a practice that I’m still figuring out. Each time I have a normal eating experience, I add to my bank of intuitive eating knowledge.

These experience build on each other. Therefore, there is no need to start over tomorrow. It’s about trying something, being curious, and watching what happens. Moreover, it’s about truly accepting there are no good or bad foods.

3. Intuitive eating is about standing up to the status-quo. 

The diet industry is exploiting our obsession with being thin and healthy. Keep these things in mind:

  1. Thinness does not equal health.
  2. Being strong does not equal health.
  3. You know nothing about someone’s health by the size of their body.
  4. You can be healthy at any size.

4. Intuitive eating brings freedom from food obsession. 

Maybe you’re asking, “if this can be such an unknown and somewhat painful process to live by, why is it worth it?”

It’s true, you may not lose weight, but, remember, that’s not the point. It’s about being free.

When you’re hungry you eat what you’re body wants and move on with life, not giving it a second thought. My clients are always surprised to learn how much self-acceptance and self-kindness come from this practice.

It took me years of dieting to finally have the courage to do this and “let myself go.” I hope the same for you.

Important: As you become an intuitive eater, it’s common to experience the feelings that food obsession formerly suppressed.

If you would like some extra support around managing these emotions and finding your intuitive eater, 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, LPCApril 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 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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