We were talking about separating fitness from food and weight, and how not many fitness people online actually do that. So many thoughts!
Early in my non-dieting adventure, anybody watching me would have thought, "She's still dieting." And I was. Non-dieting was my newest scheme to control my weight and solve all my problems. Even though I was being somewhat more flexible, that mountain of nutrition and fitness dogma dies hard. So, I'd be doing "happy" vegan, or "happy" paleo, or "happy" intermittent fasting. I wasn't as nuts as I had been. It was a huge improvement to be doing any of those less rigidly, to be putting my own spin on them, to be eating french fries once in awhile. But it is another giant leap to let go of everything experts tell you about the right way to eat, to trust your own body to tell you.
A lot of the fitness women online seem to be in a somewhat similar place. They grasp that rigid, low-calorie dieting is no longer an option because it's never healthy or sustainable, but they still believe that carb timing (or portion control, or specific macros) are super relevant and necessary if you want to have a fit and healthy body. They believe it because they've seen it repeated thousands of times by very qualified people, just like we all had. Until you experience otherwise firsthand, you tend to stick to the safe and familiar.
Not many people can dive headfirst into totally intuitive eating. I sure couldn't! It's more like you put one toe in, then you wade, then you need a floatation device, then maybe you swim a little and really experience the freedom that's available. If you're able to do that safely and rack up positive experiences, there's no going back. That's not how it usually goes though. Most of us jump or are pushed into non-dieting, wildly overeat everything that had been forbidden, panic, think we can't be trusted, and go running back to what we know. I did that a bunch of times before I realized I was always in control. I always get to choose, not only what, when, and how much I eat, but how I feel about it. If it seemed otherwise, it was only because I was freaking out so hard at the time, believing my scary stories.
Now, I think I finally understand the intuitive eating principle of gentle nutrition. I want to feel good, and be healthy, and have plenty of energy. I want to enjoy my food. These things are not tied to weight. In fact, tying them to weight tends to screw them up. Put weight first, and you won't necessarily feel good, have energy, OR enjoy your food. You may even trash your health.
Gentle nutrition is just that, gentle. It's not something fear-driven, not punishment, not part of your identity or self-worth, and definitely not weight-dependent. A big tripping point I had was that I could be all free and positive if my weight was low enough, but if it crossed a certain threshold, time to clamp down and diet! Well, that causes MASS chaos, because then you're going to indulge a little more before you clamp down. You'd better go eat all your favorites, finish up all that chocolate, eat all the ice cream so you won't be tempted. Then you feel terrible about those goings-on and decide to soothe yourself with, you guessed it, more food!
Any suggestion that it might become necessary to crack down again in the future will make your eating infinitely more stupid now. I killed that cycle with the idea of always eating to feel good - today, tomorrow, next week, five years from now, that's the only plan. I want to feel good before, during, and after I eat. Nothing about weight limits or different behaviors at different weights. If I don't feel good, if I make choices or think thoughts I don't like, I can choose differently starting now, and it's always now. Crazy how that works!