(Est. 4 Min Read Time)
I used to have dieting and weight loss on the list, every year. I am so grateful that it’s been a few years for me since I last put weight loss or dieting on my New Year’s resolutions list, and I know I never will again.
A few years ago, I changed from Resolutions to Intentions. The idea being that it’s all a journey, not a destination. That year, I put making my health my number one priority as my first intention. While knowing that I deserved to make my health my number one priority was progress for me... I was still dieting. I didn’t realize that dieting was actually harming me and perpetuating the cycle of shame and binge eating.
I was dieting for health reasons but it still had the same effect as dieting for weight loss. When the diet was over, or I was not able to do it for one more day, I would have that familiar pendulum swing and eat in a way that felt out of control. Even if I didn’t go totally off the rails, I would feel shame for “failing”. This would in turn, lead to me feeling like I had no willpower, and could not trust myself with food. I would think I needed to control food using yet another diet. I was perpetually stuck in the loop. Turns out, it was the diets, not my lack of willpower that was keeping me stuck in that cycle.
Diets are broken, not me, and not you. You may have already heard me talk about it but in case you haven’t, check out one of my recent blogs where I talk about why diets don’t work HERE.
Then I discovered Intuitive Eating. This was a totally new way of relating to food. The Ten Principles of Intuitive Eating include rejecting diet culture, discovering satisfaction with food, honoring hunger and fullness signals and addressing emotions without food. I was totally amazed and immediately knew this was the way to finally heal my relationship with food.
You might be wondering, “If I let go of dieting, what do I do instead?” Intuitive Eating lays the foundation for healing your relationship with food. While challenging, it is so worth the effort. It can be overwhelming to completely change the way you relate to and think about food. Start slow and be gracious and kind to yourself. This is not another diet and cannot and need not be done perfectly.
5 Ways to Start with Intuitive Eating
1. Commit to trialing a period without dieting. - If you are constantly telling yourself you will be starting a diet again on Monday or you cant have certain foods, you will experience an increase desire for those foods. You may even experience last supper style eating (having a whole pizza because you won’t be “allowed” to have it on the diet). Your diet rebel will keep coming out and will make it difficult to know what is a true desire for a food and what is simply backlash from dieting.
2. Focus on making satisfaction and nourishment with food a priority. - I cannot emphasize this one enough- Feed yourself! When we are well nourished and fully satisfied we have less desire to overeat (aka eating beyond fullness or binge eating).
3. Get curious. - When you come home and inhale the closest bag, box, or container of food, notice what happened leading up to that moment. Also notice how your body feels after eating in that way.
4. Let go of judgement around food. - When we beat ourselves up about our food choices, we actually are more likely to binge eat (studies support this). Jugement and shame also prevent us from learning more about our body, the experience and our needs. It’s simply harmful, useless and gets in the way of healing our relationships with food.
5. Get support. - Intuitive Eating is simple, yet challenging to implement. After years of being exposed to diet culture, the food police and negative messages about food and often our bodies, it can be easy to slip right back into old patterns.
Intuitive Eating is the journey to finally healing your relationship with. Know that it will take time, persistence, and a bit of faith but the payoff is FREEDOM. You will never having to have a diet or weight loss Resolution again.
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The first step to healing your relationship with food is reconnecting with the signals your body gives you. One of the ways to do that is by checking in with your hunger before you eat. Here's my spin on the traditional hunger scale..