Intuitive Eating – 21 Day Challenge

I wasn’t 100% certain I was going to write about this on the blog because it’s kind of personal. But I’m starting to think that my “secrecy” about dieting / food and my embarrassment to discuss with others really only further perpetuates some of my issues. This month, I am participating in the Studio Eat’s 21 day Intuitive Eating Challenge.


Intuitive Eating resonates with me because I have lived in dieting hell for so long, I don’t even know what eating normally would be like. In an honest conversation with Mike not too long ago, I was so exasperated I was just like, “I just hate everyone who doesn’t have to deal with this. Like… how can they just EAT like it’s NO BIG DEAL???” Andddd then I was like, woah… that is one super crazy sentence. So I enrolled in this challenge. I also downloaded the book and am currently working my way through it.

Jamie (who is running the challenge) wrote this great post after conducting all her introductory phone calls with challenge participants. It is so worth a read because it is so freaking true. I am TIRED. So, this is an experiment. Three weeks of not counting calories, restricting, or judging. Eating what I want, when I want. Listening and observing with the intention of learning, not judging. What foods make me satisfied / feel good? What foods don’t? When am I hungry? When am I full? Trying to relearn to enjoy food and find eating pleasurable.

Here are some observations / lessons / thoughts from the first 5 days:

  • The first two – three days of the challenge, I completely resisted it. I was hanging on to this idea that I needed to lose weight, and, once I did that, then I could focus on “improving my relationship with food.” If I could just get to the weight I think I want to be, some of this would go away on its own. However, deep down, I know this isn’t true. Because I’ve never been happy with my body. Never. Not when I was fat, not when I was the thinnest I’ve ever been… never. Then a member of the challenge posted this quote in the Facebook group from Breaking Free from Emotional Eating by Geneen Roth: “When you live a life based on the externally imposed and inflexible need to be thin, it is impossible to develop trust in your ability to eat what satisfies you because what you are believing is that being thin will satisfy you.” Mind. Blown.
  • I didn’t realize how many “food rules” I had created for myself. I thought I had a pretty balanced approach to eating, but, once we were told to throw out all the rules and eat whatever the hell we wanted, I realized that wasn’t true. Some of the foods I was eliminating or majorly restricting included pasta, rice, sandwiches, nut butters, whole eggs, red meat, cheese and olive oil in addition to the obvious sweets, candy, cookies, and fried foods. Literally the only foods I allowed myself to eat without guilt were plain vegetables, fruit, and chicken. I don’t even really like chicken that much… bleh. God, no wonder I felt so much pressure about food… look at all these guidelines I had set!
  • I don’t enjoy 75% of the meals I eat in a given day. I eat breakfast and lunch mindlessly at my desk out of Tupperware with a plastic fork. I don’t savor it or take my time because I just want to get it over with. Same for my meals outside of work. Eating anything ultimately comes with such guilt and shame, it sabotages any potential enjoyment. In addition to focusing on exactly WHAT I want to eat, I’m also trying to focus on how / where I’m eating.

I have a lot of work to do. The last couple days have been really great but I’m worried about the long-term sustainability. Sometimes all it takes is one unflattering picture to knock me well off course. I know a key piece for me, in addition to the actual food/eating, is going to be figuring out how to love my body the way it is. I’m working on it. Will check back soon with an update but for now… feeling good… wary of the future?

[Note – Jamie is actually re-doing the challenge in April, so if you’re interested in the concept of IE I HIGHLY recommend it. The price is really reasonable and you get two 15 minute one-on-one calls with Jamie, continuous access to Jamie via email, access to a secret facebook group of all participants (where Jamie comments / responds regularly), and a daily email exploring one aspect of IE. ]

13 responses

  1. AWESOME post. Looks like we are all having such great learning experiences!!

    1. It’s been really eye opening! So nice to feel like we’re not alone in it 🙂 And thanks again for that awesome quote!

  2. Thank you for sharing this post, I know it must have been challenging to write it. It always is when we bare the things that bother us for others to see, but you went for it and did a really great job which I know will help a lot of people in the same situation. I am a champion of intuitive eating because it focuses on getting your mind, sense of self love and motivation in shape, rather than your body and it encourages you to really listen to your body with love rather than ignoring it with loathe. I actually wrote an article about how your headspace affects your relationship with food. I think it could support you with your intuitive eating so I hope you don’t mind me sharing it here. Good luck, love yourself, and enjoy reconnecting with your body. Keep us updated on your progress, I look forward to reading how you’re coming along. Lauren xx

    7 Ways to Think Yourself Slim-

  3. BABY!!!!!!!!! I cannot express my pride for you! I know how tough it is to write posts like this but, GOSH AM I EVER PROUD OF YOU! I think I read this three times already! I relate so much! It’s funny! You should read the post I wrote last night! SO ALIKE GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m very very proud of you and here to support you ALL OF THE WAYYYYY!

    I love you and don’t even know ya, but would love to strengthen our friendship through this challenge 🙂 ❤

    1. Thank you Meg 🙂 It’s so weird to feel like we’re all getting to know each other so personally and yet we’ve never met!!! Definitely wouldn’t be doing this without the group!!

  4. I agree about the long term sustainability. It’s going to take a lot of work, but we can do it!

    1. Trying to find the balance between “working the program” and “waiting for the other shoe to drop”! Going to continue to be a very interesting couple weeks 🙂

  5. health advocation | Reply

    lovedthis post

  6. […] of the things I am loving the most about working through the 21 Intuitive Eating Challenge is rediscovering foods that I had made “off limits” for so long. One of those things? […]

  7. […] I’m not forcing myself to restrict it anymore! (I’m planning a summation post on my Intuitive Eating challenge later this week with many more details) I used to think pasta was “bad” so when I did […]

  8. […] Pennies On The Run – Reflections on the challenge. […]

  9. […] three one-on-one calls with Jamie, attended one group conference call, and read most of the book. (My initial thoughts on the challenge can be found here). It’s April and it’s time to […]

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