Why The First Year of Your Intuitive Eating Journey Might Be Messy, Angry, Spiteful...But You Are Not Alone
As I reflect back on the past year, I feel a sense of relief that this is the first year that I can really say I have no ambitions of dieting, changing the size of my body, or giving into anything diet culture tries to claim as “healthy” or a “wellness” lifestyle change. This past year hasn’t been easy, but I have learned a lot that I would like to share. This journey is far from over, and whether you just started today or have been rejecting diet culture for years, you know that the hardest part truly is the first step.
I spent a lot of time learning to be curious about food rules and diet mentality BS that hung around much longer than I thought it would. I was surprised at all the thoughts that lingered in my head that were not a diet, but could definitely be traced back to the diet mentality. One was rules about how long I had to wait before I could be “hungry.” I have now come to a place where I stop, think about why I am counting the hours between meals, and realize that this was another part of my brain wired by being on a diet. I have come to a place where I can rewire my thinking about these rules that take away trust in my body.
I spent a lot of time being angry and spiteful around diet talk and food rules, whether mentioned by a patient, a coworker, a trusted friend, or a family member. I am now in a place where I can turn this anger and frustration into an opportunity to discuss the innate power we have to trust in our own ability to honor our hunger, fullness, and satisfaction around food and our bodies. I realized the anger I had was aimed at diets, diet culture, our fat-phobic society, and food rules rather than my own body and “willpower;” this meant I had taken an immense step forward. Now I am able to channel this spite into empowering others to know that it is possible to feel at peace around food too.
I spent a lot of time unpacking shame I have around food restriction, body hatred, and mistrust in my own decisions and actions. I sought the help of a therapist to discuss the reasons and feelings behind the ways I was acting, many of which had nothing to do with food. These tools helped me see how I was using food, my body, and other things in my life as a way to numb out from my true feelings. Now I am learning to sit with my feelings instead of hiding them away and using food as a coping tool; this is a work in progress that I am perfecting every day.
Overall, intuitive eating might seem like a simple concept, but it is not easy to put into practice. It’s a continuous journey that can seem effortless some days and downright difficult other days. In our society, especially around the New Year, we hear a lot of talk about diets and how our food and body need to change. I urge you to consider diving into your intuitive eating journey a day at a time, a meal at a time. Challenge the food rules you follow, challenge those who make comments about others’ bodies, and challenge yourself to follow and be friends with those who empower you, not make you feel inferior.
Finally, I am always here to help on this journey! If you are interested in working with me for one-on-one counseling around food and body issues, please email me at fullpermissionnutrition at gmail dot com. I would love to hear from you!