Clare recently started her journey with intuitive eating, which is all about creating a healthy relationship with food, mind, and body. Since I’ve personally struggled with this and know many people also have, I was excited that Clare agreed to share her experiences. Take it away Clare!
Five Things I Learned In One Week of Intuitive Eating
A couple of months go I realized I was struggling with emotional eating.
I have a history of Anorexia, but for about three years after my recovery I was eating normally and maintaining my weight. I was getting confident that eating issues were something of my past.
However, addiction and depression run in my family, so stressful events and big life changes can easily trigger a behavioral response in me. This time, instead of eating less food for control, I was eating more food for comfort.
I didn’t understand it at first. For months I was frustrated with how much I was snacking and always craving sugar. I would eat so much that I would get stomachaches and not be able to sleep. I thought I had just lost my willpower.
Eventually I took a closer look, and realized my eating was emotional. I recently quit my job and am making a total career change towards medicine. I was really unhappy in my previous work, but deciding to quit was really hard. I felt lots of guilt, fear, and failure. I ended up changing cities and moving back in with my parents while I prepared to go back to school.
That was enough to do it.
Once I came to terms with the fact that I was struggling with food again, it got a lot easier. It was a weight off my shoulders. And it turns out a lot of people related to what I was going through. I decided to try intuitive eating to relearn my hunger singles and start eating what and when my body craved.
I am part of the Studio Eats Intuitive Eating Challenge this March, and it is awesome. It’s only been a week, and the breakthroughs the group is making are inspiring. I can’t wait to keep working on this and hopefully make it a complete lifestyle!
- I had more food “rules” than I thought. Sure I eat all types of foods now, but I still had qualms about the amount of carbs I could eat at one meal and some foods being “better” or “worse” than others. Finally allowing myself to eat anything and everything I was craving made me realize these.
- I can have chocolate without going overboard. M&Ms and chocolate chips used to be my kryptonite, likely because I felt like I “shouldn’t” have them. Now that I am eating what I crave and putting nothing off limits, I am able to have a few Girl Scout Cookies after dinner without habitually going back for more.
- I don’t always need protein to keep me full. My food rule about carbohydrates came from reading a lot of fitness articles saying that protein is what you need to get lean and stay satiated. While I definitely believe protein is necessary, one of my favorite breakfasts of almond butter and banana toast holds me over for hours.
- I’m often happier with simple meals. Reading blogs can make you feel like you need to make crazy concoctions and real recipes for each meal, but that’s not my favorite way to eat. Lots of times I just want oatmeal with almond butter, an egg sandwich, or canned soup. And that’s ok.
- I don’t have to clear my plate…but I usually do. A big part of intuitive eating is eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full. I was raised as a plate-cleaner, and habitually eat all of my food even if I’m not hungry for it. I have learned that I am able stop when I’m full – I left part of an apple with lunch the other day – but I am pretty good at preparing the amount of food that my body wants.
Do you practice intuitive eating?