Happy Labor Day weekend! I am excited for this weekend, because my whole immediate family will be all together for the first time in years, and because my little niece is here! Wether you are laying low this weekend, or off on a grand adventure, I wish you well!
I finally started reading a book that’s been on my list for ages, Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole, and it is life-changing! I am only a couple chapters into it, but I can tell it will change my relationship with food. If you struggle with eating or body image, I highly recommend it.
I am not an expert and am still learning how to implement intuitive eating into my life (hence reading the book), but I absolutely love the concept! Essentially, intuitive eating is listening to your body around food – eating when you’re hungry, stopping when you’re full, eating what sounds good, etc. Intuitive eating isn’t a perfect science or diet, it differs for every person and situation. I plan to write another post specifically about intuitive eating because there is so much to share.
My relationship with food has been all over the place for over 14 years. In my eating disorder, food was my enemy. I thought about every morsel I put in my mouth, planned all my meals, and compensated for “richer” foods. My life revolved around food, especially what I could and couldn’t eat. Consequently, I lost touch with my hunger and fullness cues and developed distrust with my body.
When I entered treatment 8 years ago, my dietician developed a structured meal plan including meals and snacks and a wide variety of food. Looking back, I remember how terribly afraid I was to eat “all that food” and to reintroduce certain foods into my diet. It seems silly that something so basic as food could be fear-inducing, but the reality is that food has that power over so many people’s lives in our society.
It took years, but slowly I began recognizing hunger and fullness cues, and I became comfortable with eating a variety of foods. It was not an overnight process, by any means. I used to have a very long list of “fear foods” which I tackled one-by-one. Now, many of those foods are regularly a part of my normal eating. I remember when my dietician suggested I have dessert every day. At the time, it sounded impossible, but now I have it every day and love it!
In today’s world, we are bombarded with messages about what to eat and what not to eat. Certain foods are deemed bad, while others are glorified. How have we given food so much power? Yes, food is a necessity and a wonderful thing, but it will not make you a better or worse person. I believe there are no good or bad foods – all foods are good.
Over the years, I have slowly started trusting my body to the point I know that if I listen to it, I will eat a balanced diet. Since tuning into my body, I’ve been amazed to find what it craves. My body craves fresh foods and carbohydrates and protein, but it also feels great with a little something sweet at the end of the day. For me, when all foods are allowed, I think about food less, I don’t feel guilty for eating certain foods, and I am much more flexible in social situations.
I want to shout out to the world that we can trust our bodies and that food has no power over us! It breaks my heart to hear people degrade themselves for eating certain foods. When I hear a woman scold herself over the scone she had with her morning coffee, and how she “should” skip lunch, I want to say, “No, you can eat a scone and lunch, and actually you should eat lunch because your body needs the nourishment.”
Don’t let food control your worth or happiness. Food is an amazing thing (I love eating good food), but it has no power over you. I know the terrible bondage food can have over people, and a life of food freedom is infinitely better.
Especially as you go into this weekend, give yourself grace and permission to trust your body’s cravings. Eat that cupcake and savor every bite!
Intuitive Eating Resources