It has been just over 4 years since I first learned of Intuitive Eating. As I began reading it I immediately sensed that finally, somebody understands me! This book was my answer; my way out. I had reached diet bottom. The thought of going on another diet was something I did not want to do, yet I was fearful of not being ‘guided’ by one. I was spent and I was tired. Tired of feeling as though I was not good enough, strong enough, thin enough or that I lacked willpower. I wanted a sense of peace.
It has been quite a journey since I first opened that book. The emotions were raw. Fear, anxiousness, self-doubt. Can I do this? How can I possibly eat anything? Can I really accept my ‘here and now’ body? Doesn’t this mean I am giving up on the dream? Little by little, the self-doubt became trust. The misguided judgments and criticism turned into words of self protection, forgiveness and patience. I began, for the first time, to really experience my life.
One of my students, a cancer survivor of 4 years, told me “I am four years old”. His diagnosis spawned a change in lifestyle that enabled him to lose more than 200 lbs. and to overcome 15 operations. As he so aptly put it, “I am living on borrowed time. My life began 4 years ago.” The words of this inspirational man resonated with me. While not a personal life or death situation, I feel what I learned from Intuitive Eating has given me a new birthday as well.
When contemplating a change in lifestyle, I often encourage my clients to reflect on what they will gain. Answering the question “What’s in it for me?” can be a powerful motivator to sustain change. A firm believer in the theory of practice what you preach, I began to think about what Intuitive Eating has given me over these last four years. When the self-doubt creeps back in, as it inevitably does, I read my list. This helps me appreciate how much I have learned. I choose not to focus not on how far I still want to go, but just how far I have already come and I am inspired move on.
Here is just a sampling of my Intuitive Eating gifts. With your help, I want to add to this list. Together we can inspire and motive each other.
- Feeling comfortable around food. Knowing that I can choose what is best for me.
- Silencing the food police
- Practicing patience, not perfection
- Being able to truly enjoy my food
- Knowing I am my best advocate… and really believing it.
- Trusting that I can stop eating when I am full
- Knowing I can eat when I am hungry
- Being able to wear clothes that fit (not trying to squeeze into my ‘skinny’ jeans)
- I have the power of choice
- Being able to experience my feelings and not stuff them down with food
- Exercising because it’s fun
- Enjoying an ice cream with my kids on a hot day
- Realizing that food is not the answer to my problems
- Being able to look in the mirror and not criticize everything I see
- Throwing away the scale
- Giving away my skinny jeans
- Exercising because of how it makes me feel
- Trusting my and honoring body’s needs
- Realizing there is more to me than the number on the scale
- Viewing ‘failures’ as an opportunities to learn
- Knowing I don’t have to be perfect
- Seeing the value of ‘play food’
- Experiencing a good piece of chocolate
- Appreciating my body for what it does each and every day
- Melted cheese on a slice of pizza (ok, sensing a theme?)
- ‘Quiet’ brownies… Knowing I can have them in the house, but don’t have to ‘eat them all’
- Being able to enjoy a dessert if I choose to
- The satisfaction that comes with eating something I really want
- Learning I can say no
- Asking for help if I need it
- Appreciating quiet, stillness
- Trusting my body’s wisdom, in all things
- Believing in myself
- Freedom from diet rules
- Not having to ‘diet down’ for special occasions
- Learning to respect and appreciate who I am
- Seeing how my confidence has translated to other areas of my life
- A sense of inner peace
What about you? I would love to add your thoughts and ideas. What has the practice of Intuitive Eating given you?
Authors note: Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole, M.S., R.D. and Elyse Resch, M.S., R.D., F.A.D.A. teaches you how to make peace with food, stop chronic dieting and rediscover the pleasures of eating. For more information, please visit their website: http://www.intuitiveeating.org. I wish to sincerely thank the authors for their continued work. They are inspirational professionals who have changed many lives!