Our culture is obsessed with food and dietary rules. In my 5 years of private practice, I haven’t found one person who hasn’t been affected in some way by current dietary dogma.
Every time we think we’ve figured it all out, another food we enjoy becomes vilified. Whether it’s vegan, raw, paleo, high fat, low fat, high starch, low carb, or anything in between, you can find “science” and data backing up each diet. If you wanted to, you could spend the rest of your life reading diet books and still walk away as confused as ever.
I spent several years blaming food for all of my problems. I was sick with Hashimoto’s disease, adrenal fatigue, food intolerances, and crazy anxiety. My alternative health journey got me into a cycle of blaming food for everything. Headache? It was something I ate. Feel a little off and tired today? Well, it must have been a speck of gluten I picked up somewhere. I would feel gross, pick out a new diet to try, binge in preparation for the new diet (on all the foods I craved that were now deemed “bad”), and then never actually start the new diet. Feel guilty and gross, blame food, pick out a new diet…and so the cycle continued.
There is a better (healthier) way to live.
What is Intuitive Eating?
Intuition is your personal truth, speaking to you. It is usually a feeling we have deep down inside that feels true, no matter what others around us say. I often don’t hear my intuition as a thought, but more of a peaceful feeling in my heart center.
Truth is different for everyone. Certain foods may be beneficial for someone, and harmful to another. Don’t ever assume that just because some guidelines are written in a book, it’s truth for everyone. It may be the best thing for the person who wrote the book, but it doesn’t always apply across the board.
Intuitive eating is listening to your body. Your body knows exactly what it needs. Those needs can change everyday. One day you might get the signal that you need dense, heavy foods. The next, your body may crave salads and smoothies. Trust it.
For years, I ignored my intuition when it came to food. I thought that the diet gurus must know something I didn’t, and I suppressed my cravings. You know what happened? I got sick. Really sick. For years.
It took that journey to realize that I couldn’t leave my health up to anyone else but me. Deep down, I knew what I needed, and my job was to honor it.
3 Signs It's Time to Drop Your Diet
1. Labeling foods “good” or “bad”
I try not to, but still catch myself doing this from time to time. I spent years knee deep in dietary research, and started to think of certain foods as “good/healthy” and other foods as “bad/not healthy”. This is a sign that we are deeply entrenched in dietary dogma. Take a step back and notice how you think about food. If you find yourself labeling foods, you may need to reconnect with your intuition.
2. Preoccupation with food
Are you constantly thinking about food? Are your bookshelves lined with diet books? Do you spend a lot of time writing and re-writing “perfect” meal plans? Scouring Amazon for another book that you may have missed – because, maybe that one will finally be your answer? When we are connected to our intuition, we don’t have to worry about our next meal. We simply know what we need, we honor it, and we can use that free time doing other things we enjoy.
3. Social isolation because of food choices
Have you ever canceled dinner plans, because the restaurant didn’t serve anything that you could eat? Do you stay home, rather than enjoy the company of family and friends, for fear of eating something you “shouldn’t”? Do you bring your own food to social events? I did this for a long time, and it’s not fun. Don’t underestimate the healing power of enjoying the company of loved ones. Joyful social interaction can be more healing than food.
If any of these points resonated with you, it’s time to start enjoying intuitive eating!
Intuitive eating is a skill, but one worth developing. Start by bringing mindfulness to your meals. Stop, breathe, and connect with your body before you prepare a meal. What do you really want to eat? Are you hungry? Reconnecting to your intuition is one of the greatest gifts you can ever give yourself. It will trickle down into every area of your life, and totally transform you!
Want to dig deeper?
Here are more resources for your journey, sweet friend!