Intuitive Eating and Me

Letter to you, my reader:  

Chances are, you do not know me and yet what you are about to read are some of my innermost thoughts, feelings and experiences; some of which, until recently, even those closest to me were unaware of.  You may wonder why?  Why would I want to put myself out there for anyone to read about?  The reason is simple, Intuitive Eating changed my life and I want to help you learn about it too.

Prior to learning about Intuitive Eating, I was not in a good place emotionally or physically.  I felt like my relationships with food and my body were spiraling out of control.  Intuitive Eating changed all that.  It was my life preserver.  I am willing to share this with you because I want you to really understand how desperate I felt.  I honestly did not think there was a way out; I felt scared and alone.  

Intuitive Eating has made such a difference in my life that I feel it is my mission to offer support so that others may experience its benefits.  Removing the “diet clutter” from my mind has freed me from the diet obsessive thoughts that have plagued me for most of my life.   Thanks to Intuitive Eating, I feel comfortable and in control when eating.  I have developed a new relationship with my body. I feel truly peaceful and liberated.  My wish for you is the confidence to know that you can too… I want to support you as you learn how.

My Story

It began at a young age.  Although not grossly overweight, I was a chubby child.  I was teased, a lot.  My own Grandfather’s nickname for me was “fat ass”.  Although I didn’t realize it then, I learned to turn to turn to food for comfort.  I also began my love/hate relationship with food, diets and my body.  I was 12 years old.

For me, emotional escape took the form of bread and butter, ice cream and candy.  I would eat to the point of discomfort, feeling shame, guilt, emotional and physical pain.  Soon, I realized if I ate just a little more, the nausea would overtake me and I would vomit.  This made me feel a little more in control… I could still have the eating experience, but thought I could ‘undo’ the damage.  As a young teen, I toggled between days of not eating or excessive dieting, punitive exercise, and binge/purge behavior.  No one knew of my secret.

As I matured, I began to realize how destructive my eating habits were to my health and I made a conscious effort to change my behavior.  I was able to stop purging but was still prone to excessive exercise.  It didn’t matter if I was ill, injured or tired… I never missed my workouts.  I told myself it was good for me.  I started being diligent; almost militant about what I ate… after all it was in the name of health.

I educated myself on nutrition and exercise.  I married and had 3 beautiful children.  Pre-occupied with taking care of my family, I didn’t obsess over my weight.  Several years after my 3rd child, however, I decided it was time to rid myself of the excess ‘baby weight’ and joined Weight Watcher’s.  I reached an all time low of 118, and even I thought I looked ‘too skinny’.  I relaxed my dieting and exercise and seemed to stabilize around 125-128.  Through my continued education, I knew of the pitfalls of dieting, but I also felt that I was going to be the ‘exception’.

Slowly, the pounds began to creep back on.  Again I began to obsess.  I monitored everything I ate.  I was diligent during the week, but then weekends were another story.  I was feeling out of control.  The binging and purging began again.  Frustrated, I went back to Weight Watcher’s, but I couldn’t seem to bring myself to do it.  I was hungry all the time.  I was frustrated, embarrassed and ashamed.

At this time I was working as a personal trainer and a wellness coach.  I decided to do some self-coaching to try to help with my dieting and eating dilemma.  What kept coming up for me was the feeling that I wanted to be ‘free’.  Free from what, I wasn’t quite sure because I didn’t think I had any unrealistic expectations.

In the fall of 2008 I attended a nutrition conference.  The presenter, Nancy Clark is a local RD and sports nutritionist.  As a part of her practice, Nancy deals with disordered eating.  It was here that I received my first clue towards healing.  I obtained several books and started reading and learning.   I now had direction.  I realized my desire for ‘freedom’ wasn’t from the food rules I adhered to when I was being ‘good’.  The freedom I wanted was from the food, weight, and body obsessions that had overtaken my life.  They dictated my moods, were affecting my family and were making me feel like a failure with no sense of control.  There had to be another way.  I wanted peace.

My introduction to Intuitive Eating (IE) came from Jenni Schaefer, a best-selling author and motivational speaker.  Jenni spoke about how IE helped her recover from her long time struggles with eating and poor body image.  She told us if she feels like eating a cheeseburger and French fries, now she can… no guilt, no shame.  I wondered ‘how can that be?’  Jenni assured us that having a normal relationship with food is possible.  I was more motivated than ever.  I knew I needed to change my ways.  I was not happy with who I was and knew I needed to pull it together for myself and my family.

I am sharing my story with you because I want you to understand how insurmountable my situation seemed to me.  I had been riding the diet rollercoaster for over 30 years!  I was desperate.  I was tired of the scale dictating how my day was going to be.  I couldn’t face another Monday or the promise of how it was going to be ‘different this time’… how I would be stronger and have more willpower.  I was tired of wasting my days caught up with my obsessions of the mind, body, food and eating.  I was done feeling like a failure, over and over again.

Intuitive Eating made the difference for me.  It has been an amazing and transforming journey.  I have a new sense of self and in some ways, I feel like my life is just beginning.  I am here to tell you that this is all possible.  I can now sense the inner peace that I have been so longing for.  This is my purpose; this is why I am here.  Your story may be nothing like mine or sound very familiar; whatever your circumstance, please know that I am here to assure you, you can do this.  We will do it together, each of us, supporting one another, one challenge and one victory at a time.  Together, we can and we will.

Janine Quigley

I want to publicly thank Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch for their continued work with Intuitive Eating.  These ladies have given me the tools I needed to get my life back and then some!  To you both, I am deeply grateful.  You have made such a difference in not only my life but so many others.  From the bottom of my heart, I THANK YOU!!  

For more information on Intuitive Eating:

If you would like to contact me to learn how I can help you become an Intuitive Eater, please feel free to contact me!

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