Confused About Intuitive EatingMay 19, 2019
Cor, you’d think by the time I got to my age I’d be sorted!
But I still get myself confused & tied in knots about things – going into a circular thought train just wanting to jump off.
I moved away from dieting and towards intuitive eating which was fine for a while – but then I started to think I wasn’t doing that right either! I ended up getting confused about intuitive eating too. Seeing how other people interpreted it just made me start trying to adopt another set of rules. Rather than focusing on what had been working for me I ended up confusing myself totally. Feeling guilty for having any guidelines for myself as this could not be true intuitive eating, whereas in fact the guidelines/daily nutritional practices that I had adopted were what kept me satisfied & feeling good & took care of the majority of my food intake in a day and enabled me to follow my principles of nourishment, self, consistency & simplicity. (read more here)
Why the confusion has arisen now
Working towards self-acceptance has been a process that has taken time – time I don’t regret, as a by-product has been increased confidence & self-esteem. The fact that I still desire some aesthetic change does not diminish that acceptance.
I read somewhere “I accept where I am and have a goal for where I want to be” (apologies didn’t make a note of where!) I truly do but there is nothing wrong with wanting to be better or improve. The goal is to get stronger, fitter & if the result is some weight loss, so be it, but also if it doesn’t then that’s OK too. We don’t take up any hobby or activity & just want to settle at a level – we want to improve and be the best we can.
This has reared its head significantly at the moment, having earlier in the year gone through a phase of emotional/mindless eating resulting in some weight/fat gain. I recognise there are far worse things we can do than emotionally eat but if, as in my case, the process leaves you feeling physically & mentally lower then it’s not a positive coping mechanism to use!
I have now managed to break out of the emotional eating cycle – again – but am feeling uncomfortable in my skin, in my clothes. In the past this would have either been the time I would have gone “on” a diet or started hating on my body – blaming it for putting on weight whilst not acknowledging the patterns of behaviour I’d been in.
Leaving the confusion behind
What is different now, is that I honestly have been so much kinder than I would have previously been – I’m observing how I am feeling in a more detached fashion than prior, and it has not affected my view of me. The gain is a fact – not a reflection on me. This is such a refreshing change.
I am not going “on” a diet. What I am doing is prioritising my health and movement. I was introduced to the “wheel of life” coaching tool last year where you score different elements of your life e.g. health, family, environment, adventure etc to help you decide areas you want to prioritise for a time. Towards the end of 2018 I prioritised adventure which was how I ended up in Bali in December! – click here to read more. The wheel is a great tool of thinking about which areas of your life your happy with and which areas you want to see some change or modification in.
So, for now I will be prioritising my health & fitness – that doesn’t mean I forget about everything else, just that I pay more attention here than I have been. The intention behind this focus is the important thing – it is not from a place of feeling less than, or from a negative head space. It is actually from a place of accepting where I am & wanting to focus on me. It’s revisiting what works for me & not comparing that with what others are doing.
What does that look like?
Increasing my intentional movement – not through introducing some extreme exercise programme but through committing to 20-30 minutes a day with some longer sessions that I have been doing anyway with PT. This is to improve regularity & consistency & also because I know that moving – whether it be yoga, lifting, walking – improves my emotional & mental well-being & therefore helps deal with emotional times.
Paying attention to my food – not through restriction but through gentle nutrition. Focussing on what leaves me feeling good – physically & emotionally – feeling satisfied & happy with my conscious choices.
Establishing these habits now – I’m focussing on getting these adjustments entrenched again now with the aim that next time I have a low/emotional patch (let’s be real – this will happen at some time) I’ll have more positive habitual coping mechanisms in place.
I’ve spent some time pre-framing & discovering what helps me halt the mindless emotional eating cycle.
In the same way that we have rejected the rules of dieting, intuitive eating is intended to be freeing. Not another set of rules to follow. I’ve had to learn to trust myself – I’d experimented and found what worked for me and then succumbed to self-doubt. Not surprising really when for so many years I’d not been trusting myself around food! As Molly from mollykatewellness.com says it’s moving from a judgement mindset to a curiosity mindset.