By Anna Guest-Jelley for Blisstree.com
I first started experimenting with intuitive eating about five years ago. When I heard “eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full,” I thought “Genius!” What could be better than finally giving myself permission to eat whatever I want?!” I also thought “How stupid do you think I am? If I could do that, I wouldn’t need intuitive eating!” (Clearly, I still had some internal work to do.)
Not one to be easily dissuaded, though, I decided to give this trusting-yourself-to-eat-right thing a try. And eat I did. I just never got to the intuitive part, or the satiety part, or the listening to my body part, or the — well, you get the point. After 65 diets and about 20 years, any kind of intuition about food just wasn’t in my toolbox. That was so much the case, in fact, that I didn’t even realize that I didn’t get it. I just did my best and fumbled along. I considered the idea of “listening to my body” to be either a) a bunch of new-age mumbo jumbo, b) a diet in disguise, c) something completely beyond the scope of possibility for me or d) workable once I put some rules in place (aka, made it a diet).
I like to keep my options open, so I played with some variation of all four of those for a while. But I’d say my favorite was option d. After all, planning a new diet is something I’m quite familiar with. It’s comfy, and it always seemed to have that new-car smell: “On Monday, things are gonna change — seriously this time!”
After a bit, I pretty much forgot about the tiny intuitive part of this that I was still hanging onto and slipped back into dieting full-time. (I this sounds like a full-time profession, it sort of was — at least if you consider how much time and energy I put into it.) Somewhat by accident, though, (or maybe not), I ran back into these ideas. I was reading fabulous blogs about loving your body, intuitive eating and Health at Every Size, and I was starting to consider writing my own blog. I gathering information about my body like a mad curvy scientist.
Then, recently, it hit me: Intuitive eating means eating what works for my body! (Yes, I realize this is perhaps the most obvious sentence ever written.) It’s not boundary-less and it’s also not riddled with “rules.” It’s a middle way, which as someone who has lived most of her life in the black/white zone of dieting, comes as quite a relief.
What I realized is that the information my body is giving me — via energy levels, illness, or sheer pleasure — is what I’m supposed to be listening to. I’ve always known this on a surface level, but it took me much longer to feel it deep in my bones and belly and skin. For example, I’m allergic to garlic (it gives me a crazy migraine within 15 minutes), so I just don’t eat it. I rarely have a desire to, either, because my body gives me immediate feedback that it’s a very unwelcome house guest. Now I realize that eating the intuitive way (or for me, the “Anna way”) involves looking for and listening to more feedback like this (although usually less dramatic).
Eating the [your name here] way is an ongoing process of tuning in and learning what works for you. Sometimes this changes, and that’s okay. In fact, it’s expected and welcome.
Who knew that intuitive eating would bring me right back to me? (Well, besides everyone.)
Anna Guest-Jelley is the Founder of Curvy Yoga, which is all about lovin’ the body you have today. Through Curvy Yoga, she offers yoga designed to fit the bodies of people of all shapes, sizes and abilities as well as messages of body positivity and meeting yourself where you are-both on and off the mat. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
More from Blisstree.com:
The Body Positive: How Author Dayna Macy Got Out Of A Size 18 And Into A Healthy Relationship With Food
The Body Positive: Less-Than-Perfect Is Good Enough For Me
The Body Positive: When A Fat-Loss Expert Gets Called Fat