When I started this blog six years ago, I was newly postpartum. I aspired to lose the pregnancy pounds and be in the best shape of my life. But why? Because; society (diet culture) brainwashed me that as a new mom I needed to “get my body back” (similar to brides-to-be “shedding for the wedding”).
For nearly my entire adult life apart from pregnancy, I’ve been on some sort of diet. I’ve counted calories, macros, used portion control containers, did timed-nutrition, and even a combination of all of the aforementioned. Talk about exhausting! Surely eating shouldn’t be this complex.
Exploring Intuitive Eating
This past November I decided to purchase the Intuitive Eating book by registered dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch.
The main purpose of intuitive eating is to cultivate a healthy relationship with food, mind, and body.
Intuitive eating (IE) states using external methods to eat (counting calories, macros, or points) does not help you connect with yourself, ultimately creating confusion between mind and body. Because IE is an internally-based process, and a focus on body weight is an external process, IE is not promoted for weight loss as it would undermine and interfere with the process of healing your relationship with food.
Cleansing from diet culture
Despite still wanting to lose weight, which is basically taboo in the IE world, I embarked on this new adventure with hopes of losing weight naturally while simultaneously healing my relationship with food.
The first week into reading Intuitive Eating encouraged me to…
- stop counting calories;
- stop counting macros;
- delete the Lose It app off my phone;
- unfollow triggering podcasts and social media accounts;
- and stop weighing myself (which was a daily practice!)
In retrospect, I basically went on a cleanse from diet culture, and it felt great!
It was perfect timing too as it was Thanksgiving. Everyone in the Portion Fix (Beachbody) community was fixating on how to stay within the restrictions of the container system for their Thanksgiving meal. Meanwhile I was all tra la la la carefree that I was not going to stress about one day, and I didn’t!
Then a week after Thanksgiving was our family vacation, an 8-night Caribbean cruise. This trip was another great exercise in practicing IE. I of course indulged, but there were many moments I tuned into my body’s satiety cues and ate practically. I’d have dessert some meals and other times skip it because I knew it’d always be there if I truly wanted it. IE teaches you that when you learn you can have these “play foods” whenever, it doesn’t take much to satisfy you. You learn to make peace with food and eat what pleases your palate.
Dieting under a new mindset
Fast forward to present day, after roughly four months of exclusively intuitively eating and therefore not dieting, I went back to tracking macros, but with a new mindset. Truth be told, IE caused me to gain weight (not surprised), and I was beginning to feel uncomfortable.
The difference between dieting now versus before is I honestly feel my mindset is in a healthier place. Intuitive eating gave me the freedom to eat unconditionally. This permission to myself provides choices, and making choices based on what I want to eat and not what somebody else is telling to me eat or not eat is empowering.
Intuitive Eating Resources
If you or someone you know is interested in exploring intuitive eating, here are some resources that helped encourage me on my journey:
- Of course the Intuitive Eating book by registered dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch
- The Don’t Salt My Game podcast – it’s no longer producing new episodes, but it has a great backlog regarding IE and non-diet nutrition hosted by registered dietitian Laura Thomas, PhD
- The Reasonably Fit podcast by husband and wife personal trainers Jason and Lauren Pak. Not IE specific, but a great resource in taking a more reasonable approach with fitness and nutrition
If you have any additional resources worth mentioning or if you’ve tried or are doing intuitive eating, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. 👇