Intuitive Eating Updates
In August, I hit diet rock bottom. I don't like calling it diet rock bottom because that immediately makes me think of Skinny Tea or something. A more apropos thing to say is I hit “clean eating” rock bottom. That could be a blog post for another time, but it’s one of those “when you know, you know” kinds of feelings. Something had to give.
I immediately bought Intuitive Eating, became immersed in Health At Every Size resources, and listened to the Food Psych podcast, which made me feel like hey, those thoughts you’re friends and family have a hard time understanding are actually experienced by a lot of other people.
Breaking free from the diet mentality of obsessing, restricting, and binging on food, I felt a rush of freedom flood my body. I’d be lying though if I said it was all rainbows and butterflies from then on.
I found it easy to find resources about people’s bad relationship with food and body, as well as anecdotal break-free-from-diet culture stories, but there aren’t many talking about the mundane experiences.
What about those times when your friends are talking about the diets they're starting, or when you're suddenly not the skinniest/fittest girl in the room, or when you feel awesome, but you're clothes are getting tight?
1. You Might feel more
Eating disorders and disordered eating habits are coping mechanisms. Similarly to drug and alcohol addictions, it’s a way to numb yourself form uncomfortable feelings. I did an experiment and wrote down times in my life when I started some kind of diet. Interestingly enough, they were all during times of confusion and uncertainty (when my parents got divorced, starting high school or college, going into the real world, Sunday nights before a busy week, etc.). It was never really about my body, it was a way to consume my thoughts so I didn’t have to feel the painful ones.
Most days I eat what I want, and I’m thankful for that. Last week after my first week of grad school (speaking of uncertainty and overwhelm) it was not so much. The old me wanted to slip back into diet culture with restriction, weighing myself, and feeling crappy in the clothes that don’t fit.
I noticed that it was just my old eating disorder creeping back to say hey what's up hello and try to bring me back to the dark side, so I did everything to make sure I was addressing these feelings. I spoke with family, talked to friends, read media that was health at every size friendly, and cried. A lot. Without the numbing feeling, you are forced to feel your feelings. And it feels so damn good.
2. I don’t have adrenal fatigue after all
I was convinced I had adrenal fatigue in late July. I was constantly tired regardless of getting adequate sleep. It got to the point where it was taxing to walk up the steps, to just lift my arms, and I needed to take naps every day mid-day. I explained it to my family as feeling like there was no oxygen getting to my limbs. I was total blahh (but fit into the shorts I thought I needed to tho!).
Since I was so interested in holistic wellness, I was convinced it was adrenal fatigue. I was blaming my coffee intake for not being able to fricken’ move around. Well what happened ever since intuitive eating? Not that naps are bad by any means, but I haven’t once felt the need to take one. I constantly have energy, and don’t need coffee twice a day to make me a functioning human (but I love coffee so something twice a day is a must).
I was a nanny over the summer, and the kids I babysat even noticed. When I was without energy, I couldn’t do much with them. Once I regained my energy, I would go to the trampoline, play soccer, and play in the pool with them. One day the little boy I babysat said, “Yay you’re coming in?! You’re not too tired today?” That was my proof that me being society's ideal body size was actually impeding on me being my best self for me and for others.
Leaving diet mentality where you can attempt to control your body dimensions with numbers, scales, calorie counting, food, and over exercising, your body might change with intuitive eating. For me, I am out growing my clothes (lol I sound like a child). At first I was so discouraged, then I realized how much energy have now, that I can compete in sports with more vigor, and that I feel goddamn amazing. I wasn’t going to let the size of my jeans take that away from me. I wasn’t going to go back to fitting in my old ones just to feel shitty and jaded. Once I realized that it was only until I put those shorts on that made me feel uncomfortable, I bought new clothes. The clothes should fit you, not vice versa.
4. Small talk with some women is lackluster at best
You could say I’m hyperaware of diet culture talk now, which has made me notice how often diet culture-y topics gets brought up. Especially with groups of women. We're constantly talking about how we're ~so bad~ for having a slice of pizza, complaining about our love handles and stomachs, talking about the diet that starts Monday, or about how so-and-so has gained weight. Not only can it be triggering, but it’s literally a horse shit of a conversation. Not saying we have to be philosophical and talk about the meaning of life ladies, but can we get a little substance here?!
The least interesting thing about us is our body. That might make you feel uncomfortable to hear. We've been told since we were little girls that appearance is everything. When we realize it's not, we may feel confused, and regret all the time and money spent on trying to change ourselves.
But that's okay. I challenge you to notice the conversations you have with people. Notice how often calories, bodies, and diets get brought up. As much as you can, subtly change the subject to talk about more about topics that will leave you feeling empowered.
5. Intuitive Eating Inspired Intuitive Exercise
Relying on my intuition in regards to food actually spilled over to my exercise habits. For example, this week I might have worked out once. I've been so busy with school and valued my sleep more than getting a workout in (hi self-care). Instead of trudging through a terrible workout, I move my body when I want. It's ironic because now I find myself wanting to exercise more because I'm letting myself have the option to do so. Since I'm not forcing myself to do X amount of strength training and X amount of runs, I really enjoy the ones my body wants to do.
So those are the topics that are sticking out to me right now. All in all, intuitive eating has been freeing. There are also bad days, struggles, and new things to deal with. It may be hard, but it's been so worth it.
Also I'd like to thank @meandmyed.art for creating the most amazingly relevant pictures. Go follow her for awesome recovery content!!