Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Intuitive Eating Roller Coaster

Originally posted December 28, 2011

It was back in August of 2010 that I was first introduced to Intuitive Eating. I borrowed the book Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch from a friend. My friend had changed her life using intuitive eating. She had given up on dieting. She had changed her attitude toward her body. She no longer saw her body as an enemy. She was content, happy, and beautiful. I wanted to be just like her.
When I go back and read the post I wrote about that time I realize now how little I understood intuitive eating. I had it in my mind that it was really simple. All you had to do was listen to your body. Eat when you were hungry. Stop when you were full. Only eat things that made your body feel amazing. Simple.
Except that I've been trying to do it for the past 17 months and am still not really there. I know that if I eat anything white and refined I will get a headache and feel terrible. I know this. I know that my body doesn't like it. And yet there are days where I look at those foods and say to myself, "Yes, it will make me feel sick. Oh well."
I have more of an understanding now though. You see, intuitive eating isn't easy when you've lived a life of denying yourself foods. It isn't easy when you've used food to cover up anything and everything you were feeling emotionally. It isn't easy when you've used food for comfort or rewards. For most of us, we have abused food. Learning to let go of that isn't easy.
It takes time to learn to trust yourself and your body again. I think this was a key understanding that I was missing. I thought that since I had made the decision to never diet again I would be off and running, but it hasn't been that simple. First I have had to really truly convince myself that there are no off limit foods. That process has been interesting. It sometimes takes a very scary turn when I start using it as an excuse to binge. It takes time to learn that balance and to learn trust.
But lately what I am discovering is much more profound. I didn't realize how much food was intwined with every aspect of my life. I have used food to mask emotion, cure boredom, and to bond with friends. I have used food for nearly everything except to nourish my body. I had assumed that when I started listening to my body I would automatically just use food for it's proper use. But it isn't that simple.
You may have noticed my lack of blogging lately. I've been taking the time to sort through things. I've been sorting through the clutter in my home. My poor basement and office were in desperate need of attention. I've taken time to process being a mother of two. That change will be here in just two short months. I've taken the time to enjoy being in the moment now. I've been trying to enjoy every moment of having an only child. I never would have thought the clutter in my home could effect my eating, but it certainly has.
Learning to eat intuitively is a wonderful goal, but what I now understand is that it comes hand in hand with learning to live intuitively. It is difficult to honor our body and mind in one area (like eating) when we are out of order in another area (like in our finances).
Looking back on what I thought about intuitive eating when I first learned the concept I'm glad I thought it would be easy, or I maybe wouldn't have tried it out. But 17 months into this journey I'm glad it hasn't been too easy. I've learned more about myself then I ever would have had it been the "magic bullet" I had imagined.
So if you've thought about trying intuitive eating, or if you are trying it and find yourself on a roller coaster know that this is normal. It's okay. It's all part of the journey. Even though it can be difficult I believe it is worth it. I haven't been this content in my own skin since I was a very young child. And though I think I have a long way to go it's nice to feel liberated.