It’s been a while since I’ve written about intuitive eating, but I wanted to check in here with a disclaimer and an update. Though I’ve been working with the principles for a year and a half, I still don’t have this figured out. I certainly don’t eat intuitively 100% of the time, and I struggle to decipher what the heck my body needs. I do, however continue to come back to intuitive eating, which has made all the difference.
That last post got me thinking. It got my family and friends talking, and the wheels in my head spinning. It’s been about four years, almost to the day, since my eating got really bad. I can’t believe it’s been that long, to be honest. My life is so so different now. I am in a much better headspace and my lows are not nearly as low as they once were. But there are absolutely still times that I fall into old thought patterns. I stare in the mirror and don’t know what I’m seeing. I sit down to eat and can’t make myself do it. I get six different foods before I actually manage to eat one. I automatically make resolutions for what I will do tomorrow or next week when I don’t like what I’m doing today. The difference now is that I have the information to reason my way out of these thoughts.
This year, National Eating Disorder Awareness Week is hitting at a time when I need the reminder of all the support available. The perfect week for that nudge to take a look at what has helped me get to where I am, and to remind me of all the reasons I have to continue pursuing recovery. Sometimes, internal factors cause this kind of slump in my brain and make me reach for old coping mechanisms. But often, it’s external. It’s hard not to look around and see everyone employing the very tactics that lead me to an eating disorder. That’s what I want to share this week.
So this was a challenge.
Principle 9 contains a very helpful idea. This section proposes that emotional eating can actually serve a purpose. Once you’re eating intuitively the majority of the time, finding yourself overeating is a clear indicator to let you know that something in your life is off. You know that some part of yourself needs extra attention because it’’s leading to this coping mechanism. By decoupling the idea of emotional eating from feelings of guilt, it becomes instead an ally in taking care of yourself. Since going back to school for second semester, I have already seen how helpful this can be.
The next section I worked through is all about challenging beliefs about food, both internal and external. At first, I didn’t think much about this concept. I figured I knew all about thoughts warning against “unhealthy” foods. But this section really highlighted how easily an encounter with a well-meaning “food police” could throw me off.
(If you haven’t yet read my introductory post about beginning intuitive eating, start there!)
(If you haven’t yet read my introductory post about beginning intuitive eating, start there! Today I will address my experiences with the first few chapters of Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole.)
I’ve never explicitly talked about this on my blog, but most people who know me have some idea of my history with an eating disorder. I tend to feel like I’m being special snowflakey when I mention it, but I’ve learned that that mindset is incredibly common and incredibly problematic. It keeps so many people from seeking the help that they truly need, because they don’t see themselves as “sick enough.” I never want anyone else to feel like they can’t talk about it, so I know that I should.