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.
I can’t be the only one who looks forward to summer as a season of free time and enjoying the outdoors, a time to better myself and take on exciting projects, but finds myself mid-July with nothing to show but an iPhone with depleted battery life.
Today I want to share a little thing that has been making me smile recently. I hope that you give it a shot, and that it brings some simple joy into your life as it has to mine.
Given the name and premise of this entire website, it’s probably clear that I’m all about adventure and trying new things and getting out there. But during the school year, opportunities to do so are, while not necessarily fewer, definitely different. I can’t exactly decide to go work on an organic farm in Maine mid-semester. I adjust to adventures that won’t take me out of school or require long-distance travel. Some of these are very simple, but they’re fun and they make me enjoy the everyday more.
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!)