I thought that I had it all figured out. I thought that diet culture was behind me. I had lost over 40 pounds naturally and I was feeling the best that I had felt in a very long time. My clothes were fitting great. I was looking into the mirror every day and starting to really like what I saw. Compliments were coming in left and right about how much weight I had lost. All of that felt great, only something started to feel a little off… like something just wasn’t right anymore.
I started to feel like something was missing… like I had missed the boat somewhere. I felt like I was supposed to be doing something different, but I just didn’t know what. For a while, I didn’t understand the feeling. What I was doing was working. After all, I had lost weight, kept it off, and felt like I was walking to the beat of my own drum…FINALLY…or so I thought!
Things Became Clear…
About a month ago I started reading the book Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch and within about an hour of reading I figured out why I was starting to feel off and what that tug that I had been feeling was all about.
For about the last year and a half, the majority of my food decisions were made through the lens of trying to lose weight, even though I was not following a diet. Almost everything I did surrounding food was based on weight loss. I started to really pay attention to the number on the scale and sometimes even based food decisions on whether or not I was weighing myself in the next day or two. Because of that, I wasn’t able to listen to my body fully, because I was so focused on weight loss. I realized that I had not been freed from diet culture, as I had been thinking. Diet culture was still whispering things ever so slightly in my ear:
“Don’t eat too many carbs.”
“Don’t eat out too much.”
“You’re going to gain weight if you…”
“Don’t eat too late.”
I had been dieting ever since I was about 10 years old and for me to think that those thoughts would go away easily was quite silly. Through years of dieting, I had lost true food freedom and that did not change when I learned how to live a “healthier lifestyle.” My healthy living/weight loss journey was camouflaged as food freedom, but at its core, it was not. I learned to make “healthy” decisions for the sake of weight loss and I wasn’t always happy or fulfilled as a result. What I thought I had, which was food freedom, couldn’t be attained the way that I was handling things. The route I was taking was never going to give me what I was looking for. I could never truly learn to listen to my body if I continued to base my food decisions on weight loss.
Diet Culture Still Had Its Hand On Me…
I’ve realized that I wasn’t walking to the beat of my own drum after all. Diet culture still had me by the hand and the only way I would be able to truly free myself was to do something radically different. I no longer want to base my food decisions on weight loss, because I know now that as long as I do, the further I’m moving away from what I want. As a result, I have decided to put weight loss on the back burner and put all of my focus on eating intuitively. I wholeheartedly believe that the only way to get food freedom is to start eating intuitively and accept my body as it is right now.
I want to have a healthy relationship with food and focusing on weight loss will never get me there. I’ve accepted my body as it is. I’m choosing to start fully listening to my body, without regard to weight loss or weight gain. In return, I believe that I will get something that I’ve never had before… true food freedom.
I even wrote an emotional goodbye letter to diet culture.
What is Intuitive Eating?
In a nutshell, intuitive eating is trusting your body when it comes to food. Intuitive eating is a way that uncomplicates food and helps people to overcome the dieting mindset, by learning to truly listen to their bodies.
Here’s a link to the book on Intuitive Eating, just in case you want to check it out. Just so you know, if you purchase the book through this link I may receive a small commission from Amazon.
What I Believe That I Will Get From Eating Intuitively:
1. The ability to listen to my body fully, without worrying about weight
For so long I was either out of control with my eating, in anticipation of the next diet that I would be trying, or I was hyperfocused on what I would be eating in an attempt to lose weight. I never realized that my body was capable of communicating to me what it needed and that I did not have to use external sources like diets to determine it for me. For so long I chose to put my trust in dieting and focused a lot on what I could and could not eat.
Over the years, with diet culture’s help, I learned not to trust my body. Intuitive eating will help me to get in tune with my body. I will begin to listen to it. I will eat, without regard as to whether specific foods will make me gain weight or not. I now believe that my body is smart and that it knows what it wants and needs. I also believe that it will tell me IF I’m willing to listen.
2. The ability to silence the voice of diet culture completely
I do not want the voice of diet culture to affect me in any way. Diet culture says things like:
“Carbs are bad.”
“Desserts are bad.”
“Portions should be small.”
“If you eat bad foods or too big of a portion of a good food then you are unhealthy and don’t have enough willpower.”
For someone like me, who has dieted for two-thirds of my life, even when I’ve tried to get the voice of diet culture out of my head it was still there because I was focusing on weight loss. As I take the focus off of weight loss, I am confident that I will be able to retrain my brain to accept the truth and reject the lies that diet culture tells.
3. The ability to take the complexity out of food and eating
Eating is not supposed to be complicated, but when we are used to striving for weight loss it can become that way. As much as diet culture tries to convince us that food should just be used as fuel, the truth is, food is supposed to be enjoyed too. Eating should be simple. Diet culture tells us which foods we should eat and which foods we should avoid. I want to live my life free of this food drama and I’m sure learning to eating intuitively will allow me to do that.
4. True food freedom
Food is not good and bad. Diet culture teaches us that we cannot trust our bodies. It repeatedly tries to convince us that we need a plan and a specific layout if we are trying to not only lose weight, but live a healthy lifestyle in general.
We are told when we should eat, what we should eat, how long we should go between meals, when to snack, what time to stop eating… the list goes on. The truth is everyone’s body is different. We all have different needs and rules like this don’t serve us AT ALL. They only help to further blur the truth and cause us not to trust our bodies even more. Intuitive eating will give me true food freedom. I will be able to just live my life, eating what my body wants, without any drama or guilt surrounding my food decisions.
The Life I Imagine…
I imagine a life where food is just food. A life where the number on the scale does not determine how I feel about myself. Where life is blissful, and food is enjoyed without regard to weight loss or weight gain. That’s the life I want… That’s the life I’m striving for!
It’s a scary thing to put weight loss on the back burner and start eating intuitively, especially after years of dieting and then about a year and a half of hyper-focusing on losing weight naturally. I know this transition will not be easy. There will be a lot of trials along the way, but I know that in the end, it will be worth it!
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