Intuitive Eating Update: Life 6 Months Post-Dieting
I feel like every post I write is a repeat of the last with a few twists, but HEY here’s another post on why I’ve decided to say “eff off” to diets and start living my gah-dang life.
You probably have a good handle on my story by now but if not, here’s what you missed: about 5-6 months ago, I decided I was extremely fed up with picking apart my body, counting macros, and binging on cheese and cookies every time I came across them. I sought out another way to live my life, came across people promoting intuitive eating and living, and implemented the first premise for eating intuitively as explained by Tribole and Resch: reject the diet mentality.
I’m still new to all this and I’m certainly not perfect; I’ll sometimes catch myself eating way past fullness just to clear my plate, checking my stomach for abs whenever I pass a mirror (update: no abs), and, even worse, sometimes I’ll think to myself, “Well, I had a lot of carbs for breakfast so I shouldn’t be eating this piece of bread because that’s, like, 30 grams more at least.” Yikes!
Even still, I have found SO much freedom and happiness in my life since picking up intuitive eating. The other day I went to get a pumpkin spice latte just because my inner white girl was screaming for it and not once did I think, “Well, that’s about 10 grams of fat because I ordered whole milk so now I only have 10 grams of fat left for the day and I better choose wisely and stay the eff away from cheese, aw man I shouldn’t have ordered this latte, should I throw it away? Should I give it to someone?” JEEZ. I’m not even exaggerating, above is a prime example of my spiraling thought processes during my peak diet days; it was exhausting and WAY more unhealthy than those 10 grams of fat I consumed.
At this point in my journey, I’m still focusing on giving myself permission to eat all the foods and am learning to trust my body again. When I first picked up intuitive eating, I merely made it into another diet by only allowing myself to eat when I was sure I was hungry and stopping at the first sign of fullness. I would still restrict myself in quantity and felt guilty when I “messed up,” as if you could do intuitive eating wrong.
Now, I’ve gotten past that point but I’ve accepted that it will take a long time to heal my body and relationship with food after a solid seven years of dieting. SEVEN! It’s crazy. I wish I could tell my thirteen-year-old self to freaking stop, but I believe everything happens for a reason and I had to go through that to get to where I am today.
These days, food doesn’t rule me and it feels freaking amazing. I can go through my day without obsessing over my next meal or dreaming about cookies at all times. I’m able to focus on my tasks at hand and have more time for what I truly love.
Dieting took up a huge portion of my life, and health and nutrition were my “passions” that I put all of my energy into. Now that that’s diminished, I’m struggling a bit trying to find what my new passions are and what I truly love outside of dieting. I’ve been reading and writing more, but beyond that I’ve yet to begin exploring my hobbies outside of fitness and nutrition. It’s time for me to get a dang hobby.
This will happen, and it’s okay; when you lose something that had been so integral to your life for so long, there will be a sort of void. It’s your responsibility to fill this in the best way possible for you. While I haven’t been exploring all of my possibilities, I have made it a priority to spend more time with friends and put my energy into relationships and, for now, that’s good enough for me because it truly matters in my life right now.
I feel like I’ve gotten my life back since I’ve begun to eat intuitively and I really, truly wish that everyone can experience that someday. I’m able to be present in social situations and be there with my friends and family, I’m able to go out to eat with no fears or reservations, and I’m able to say yes to so many more things than before. I don’t skip out on things that matter to me to go workout, and I love myself regardless of how “fat” I feel that day. Actually, I never even feel “fat,” I just feel like myself. It’s no longer a discussion of whether I have a “good” body, it’s simply a matter of the fact that I have a body.
I haven’t mastered listening to my body and I still overeat (especially when we’re talking brownies, hello fear food!) but all I can say is that I’ve gained so much since I’ve lost the diet mentality. I don’t believe we can ever fully “recover” from disordered eating as this mentality is so ingrained in society it will take generations to change, but through living our own intuitive lives and leading by example, we can be the force of change for the future. If you’re just beginning this journey, stick through it because I promise it will get better and if you’re months or years along, I am so proud of and happy for you and support you wholeheartedly. Let’s make a vow to continually ditch the diets in pursuit of our happiest, most fulfilling lives.