One of the hardest parts about learning to be an intuitive eater is letting go of control and trusting your body. Learning to trust your body and its hunger and satiety signals again is one of the biggest hurdles you will overcome in this journey.
I know; it seems hard, scary, daunting and probably totally terrifying to give up MyFitnessPal, give up calorie counting, give up weighing ingredients and let go of those strict food rules you have formed from the many diets and years of restrictive, disordered eating behaviours. I’ve been there, I get it. But you have to let go and trust yourself again if you want to live a life of true happiness and freedom.
Know that you are capable, you are strong and you are deserving of this wonderful, happy life! Acknowledge that deep down, you know exactly what you need and you don’t need diets or food rules to rule your life.
Research confirms that little babies can effectively regulate their intake to meet their needs over a 24 hour period. So if we can do it as babies, why can’t we do it know too? Its because we get lost in social media and the diet culture of today that we lost touch with our bodies, and begin to switch off to its signals or just chosen to ignore them in the name of weight loss.
Learning to trust my body was an incredibly hard thing to do, and it took a hell of a lot of time. It took time and perseverance. I think the hardest thing about it was feeling like I was losing that element of ‘control’ over my food that I found comfort in. But, I realised something along the way. But trusting my body to tell me when it was hungry, when it was full, what foods it was craving etc., I wasn’t all of a sudden ‘out of control’. Not at all. I was still in control of what I ate, how much I ate and when I ate but instead of this being dictated by an app or a diet book, it was dictated by my body! So it was a much healthier sense of control that Intuitive Eating bought me.
So how can you start to trust your body? Only you really know the answer and only you can develop that sense of trust within yourself again, but here are a few little tips that helped me:
- Delete all dieting apps and calorie/macro counters! Let your body be your guide. (I talk in the previous ‘My Intuitive Eating Diaries’ blog on how to go about this – hint: you don’t have to go cold turkey to begin with!)
- Know not every meal or every day is going to be perfect, especially at the beginning. When you first stop dieting and restricting, over eating is a natural response because the body feels it has been starved! It wants all the food and it wants it now! If you find yourself overeating, acknowledge that it has happened, look inside and ask yourself why this has happened, learn from this experience and move on. You can’t change the past, but you can create a better future.
- Honour your hunger. Tune into your body at meal time or just when you might be feeling hungry. Take a few deep breaths and ask yourself, am I really hungry or am I just bored? (Often people mindlessly snack out of pure boredom, not true hunger). And if your still not sure, EAT! The assess how you feel after the meal and learn from that experience.
- But leading on from the point above – don’t over think it, just eat. I know you’re so use to food being complicated with numbers and calorie break downs, but it doesn’t have to be this way! Just focus on natural, quality whole foods. That’s all your body needs. Your body is designed to digest and break down these foods, so trust it to do its job.
As I said previously, it is a process. It takes time, it takes perseverance and it takes strength. But I promise you, you can do it! And it will be so worth it when you come out on the other side happier and healthier!
Disclaimer: I’m sharing my perspective and strategies based on what worked for me in my recovery. However, this is very individual, every one of us is different and therefore what worked for me may not work for the next person. If you are recovering from an eating disorder or disordered eating behaviours, please see a professional. You don’t need to go through this alone and there are so many amazing professionals out there that can help you along your journey to a more balanced, healthy life.
Coming up next in My Intuitive Eating Diaries – ‘Why do we really eat anyway?’
Be sure to join me over on Instagram (@eb.fiitness) for daily motivation, recipes and fitness tips! xxx