Intuitive eating is returning to your natural eating instincts. When you’re hungry, you eat. When you’re full, you stop. It’s as simple as that.
Children eat intuitively naturally. But life gets messy. We begin using food to cope with the hurts and fears of life. We use food to break ourselves if we’re afraid of being whole. We use food to make ourselves feel whole if we’re afraid of being broken. Food becomes our drug. We use it to medicate depression, fear, joy, and stress. We use dieting and weight loss in the same way. We punish ourselves with starving or create an impossible goal of Perfect Thinness that we have to reach before we face our lives. Bleary and lost, we become separated from our lives by our weight and eating.
Intuitive eating is a tool to cut through this food abuse and reach our lives. Through intuitive eating, we can feel our feelings instead of eating them. We can nourish our bodies, then release the excess. We’re free to eat chocolate mousse for breakfast or to eat salad for lunch. We can learn to eat just one – or to allow ourselves to eat seconds. It’s flexible, personal, and begins to sound a whole lot like normal eating.
People with eating disorders can’t eat normally. You can’t pick up intuitive eating and expect to slide easily into recognizing your body’s signals. If you embrace intuitive eating, at first you may not distinguish thirst from hunger or tiredness from thirst. You may find that you don’t get hungry. You may find that you get nothing but hungry. Be patient with yourself. If you are diligent in nourishing your body, it will begin to heal, and you will become familiar with its needs.
Trust your body to make up for lapses in eating, whether you eat too much today or too little tomorrow. Your body is an incredible instrument. Cherish it, and you will begin to understand it more. It will take time, but you can eat normally. And intuitive eating can help you get there.
Visit Intuitive Eating.com, a wonderful resource on this philosophy.
Read Women Food and God by Geneen Roth. I don’t agree with her spirituality, but she has a beautiful perspective and discusses how our relationship to our world can be discovered through our relationship to food.
Watch Josie Lenore‘s youtube vlog. She’s incredible! She explores topics like wantpower over willpower, problem-solving over self-comforting, and – of course – intuitive eating.