I know several people are reading the book Intuitive Eating right now. I guess I consider myself an intuitive eater, much to my amazement, after years of tirades against it. So, I thought I'd post the principles. Looking at them, I can't figure out what I was so riled up about.
1. Reject the diet mentality.
2. Honor your hunger.
3. Make peace with food.
4. Challenge the food police.
5. Respect your fullness.
6. Discover the satisfaction factor.
7. Honor your feelings.
8. Respect your body.
9. Exercise (to feel good).
10. Honor your health (with gentle nutrition).
Really threatening, right? LOL Back when I thought intuitive eating was fattening and stupid, it was because I couldn't even get past the first principle of rejecting dieting. I thought dieting was awesome. I was only struggling because I hadn't found the right diet yet. And if dieting is the way to go, the key to success, not-dieting must be wrong and for failures.
Of course, I didn't like any of the other principles either. Hunger and fullness were not to be trusted. That's why we have clocks, Tupperware and food scales. Duh!
And you can't make peace with food, as in all food, because clearly some food is dangerous and bad. I also completely rejected the idea of exercising to feel good and enjoy myself. What's the point in that?
Exercise was about pain, sacrifice, and calorie burn. Again, duh! LOL There was nothing gentle about nutrition in my mind. It was right or wrong, something to be enforced. Oh, and how was I going to challenge the food police when I was the food police? Sheesh! Talk about an effed up concept! :-)
Yet, if I look at where I am now, I pretty much embody the principles. I see the diet mentality for what it is, destructive and fattening, promoted by an industry that profits from people's fears and insecurities. I love when Jill Coleman says, "restriction is not benign." It's a setup for an equal and opposite overindulgence, maybe not right away but eventually.
I honor my hunger by eating when I'm hungry. Such a crazy notion! So controversial. Not! I also eat enough overall that I have plenty of energy, perform well, and don't think about food all the time.
Making peace with food. Yep. Finally, no off-limits foods. No food moralizing. No weird rules about what I can eat when. It feels amazing.
Challenge the food police. Three words. "Is that true?" I think Byron Katie did more to shut down the police station in my head than any research study or meditation or mantra.
Respecting fullness. I don't enjoy eating until I'm uncomfortable or in pain. I do enjoy being pleasantly full, and then hungry for my next meal. So this one is naturally self-regulating. It doesn't require all the fuss I once directed at it, trying to rate my fullness on a scale, or asking now am I full? Now? Now? Now? Like there is one perfect bite and it's critical to identify it while chewing. Nope. That will just ruin your lunch. Eat until you're satisfied. Don't hurt yourself. That about covers it.
Satisfaction. Wow. This one was missing for a long time. Satisfaction is both physical AND emotional. It's ok to eat for pleasure! Without pleasure and enjoyment, good luck feeling satisfied no matter how much you eat. Good food and a relaxing environment (or at least a relaxed mind) are important.
Feelings, it was so weird to finally feel them and not numb out with binges, restriction, nutrition software, or using epic diet-planning sessions as a diversion. The most important thing I learned is that feelings pass. A thought or a mood is not you and can't hurt you. If you don't latch onto it, it's guaranteed to change.
Respect your body. This one took some work, but basically it involved ending the comparisons - to fitness pros, celebrities, athletes, social media, and even to myself when I was younger and/or more disordered. If I don't compare, I'm always fine. There's just me, now, happy.
Exercising to feel good and have fun was revolutionary. I had to disconnect exercise from weight to truly get it. Exercise has nothing to do with weight, and everything to do with happiness, stress relief, strength, speed, agility, flexibility, endurance, things of that nature.
Gentle nutrition. It was eye-opening to realize that you don't have to eat "perfectly" to be healthy. In fact, attempting to eat perfectly is NOT healthy; it's paralyzing. You can't make nutrition decisions based on good/bad, right/wrong, all/nothing and either enjoy your food or stay sane. There is only what makes YOU healthy, what gives YOU energy, what makes YOU nauseous, or breaks you out in hives. Eat to feel good mentally and physically and you can't go wrong. It's empowering to freely choose instead of following fear-based diet rules.
I guess that's my rundown of intuitive eating principles. Has anyone had success with intuitive eating? Or been scared to death of it like I was? Or find yourself baby-stepping toward it?