I spent the month of March focusing on Intuitive Eating. I participated in the Studio Eats 21 Day Intuitive Eating Challenge, had 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 reflect.
How did the month go? In a word (ok two)… life changing. I really don’t want to turn into the “anti-diet” crusader or anything… but this approach to eating and living works for me. I am a chronic, life-long devotee to dieting and I needed something serious to make a change in my life. Deep down, I’ve always felt that there was something wrong with my body and the way I look. I was heavy as a kid… it’s not completely shocking that I felt this way. I used dieting and restricting to feel control. The best part about my IE journey is that I feel more in control now than I ever have, and I’m not dieting for pretty much the first time ever.
Right now I am eating and drinking what I want, when I want. I have found that by giving myself complete free reign over my eating and exercising, I am eating less, feeling more satisfied, not binge eating, and finding much more pleasure in my workouts. The ultimate moment of truth came last week though. I decided to not weigh myself for the entire month of March, which terrified me. I have this irrational fear that if I’m not dieting and monitoring myself, I’m going to balloon up and gain a ton of weight. I was feeling nervous, I mean I had been eating EVERYTHING I wanted for a whole month. I took a deep breath and stepped on the scale. And it hadn’t changed even an ounce. I weighed exactly the same, and I had enjoyed my life so much more in that month. That’s when I knew this was for me.
What was the hardest part? Learning to trust myself again. I have accepted responsibility for being overweight throughout my life. So I thought I was flawed. There was something about me that wasn’t programmed correctly. When left to my own devices, I would get fat again. The hardest part about this journey was to stop fighting myself. I told Jamie during one of our calls that I had a really hard time realizing what “hungry” felt like, because I only ever allowed myself to eat when I was “ravenous”. She pointed on that this is common in chronic dieters. I had this perception that I only deserved to eat a certain amount, at certain times, and only when I was absolutely starving. Throughout this month, I have worked really hard to trust my body to tell me when it needs fuel and what it is craving. Totally wild.
What am I focusing on now? I want to continue to honor my hungry, feel my fullness, and throw out my food rules. I am also working on challenging the external food police. The past weekend I was at a restaurant and ordered a salad and an entree. Our waiter made a completely harmless comment like “Are you sure you want all of that?” (apparently my entree was comically large… half of it is currently sitting in my refrigerator). In the past, such a comment would have sent me into a tailspin. But now that I’m challenging the “food police,” I simply laughed and told him I was sure I could handle it.
I am also working on the issue of body acceptance. That’s going to be a big one for me, because deep down I wish I looked fundamentally different than I do. But I never will. I will always have the same basic shape / frame and it’s due time I got “good” with that. Every day, I stand in front of the mirror and make myself say something positive about my body. When I’m exercising in front of a mirror, I do the same thing. I force myself to say positive things like “You look so strong”. It might seem very narcissistic, but don’t worry I only say it in my head 🙂 Jamie and I discussed this issue on our last call and I know I have the power to change how I view myself. It’s all mental!
Questions for you guys:
- How do you express “body acceptance”?
- What lifestyle works for you? We’re all different after all!
I haven’t written a post in several weeks now with updates about my “quest for resolving my issues with food” but the other day I received a really nice Facebook message from an old friend from high school that inspired me to put together a new post.
Confession time blog friends: I have been hardcore reverting to old habits in the last month. I actually felt pretty good about my vacation. I tried to stay mostly healthy while indulging in some treats here and there… but our schedule most days was so crazy that I barely had any time to work out for the last seven days of the cruise! Granted we walked everywhere and did a lot of active things, but I found myself reverting back to those old feelings of obsessing over the need to exercise for hours and hours. This started a slow but steady backslide into what I refer to as “my crazy zone”.
It’s kind of hard to admit but I can’t help it… I just start to obsess. I obsess over everything from what food I’m eating to scrutinizing myself in the mirror (There were these large mirrors in our staterooms on the cruise ships that weren’t laying completely flat so that had a mini-fun house effect to them. I literally couldn’t even look at myself in them. Even though I knew they were distorted, I couldn’t look. Haha you thought you had problems. Just kidding!)
I got back from the cruise and I was convinced I had gained weight. I literally felt bigger. I was suddenly disgusted with myself and my appearance. Of course, this cued my unreasonable fear of my scale so I didn’t weigh myself (so much for that whole “i’m taking back control of the scale by weighing myself every day” hahahaha yeah right). I just stared at myself in the mirror and told myself I had put on a ton of weight and I was getting fat again. Cue the intense self-loathing that I am so particularly good at!
Well this morning… I finally got up the nerve, stopped making excuses, and got on the scale. And guess what? I’m exactly the same. Sometimes, you just have to acknowledge your crazy. Pretending that these issues aren’t a part of me isn’t going to get me anywhere. They are a part of me, and I have a long road ahead of me before I overcome them forever. But today, I’m recommitting to working on that.
So my goals for the next week or so (until my next post) are to get back to the basics:
- Pay close attention to hunger / satiety cues.
- Eat to nurture my body and to enjoy it!
- Think about the motivations for my food choices and decide if they are healthy
- Practice self-love