What is Intuitive Eating? Here is a snippet from the Intuitive Eating website:
Intuitive eating is an approach that teaches you how to create a healthy relationship with your food, mind, and body–where you ultimately become the expert of your own body. You learn how to distinguish between physical and emotional feelings, and gain a sense of body wisdom. It’s also a process of making peace with food—so that you no longer have constant “food worry” thoughts. It’s knowing that your health and your worth as a person do not change, because you ate a food that you had labeled as “bad” or “fattening”.
The underlying premise of Intuitive Eating is that you will learn to respond to your inner body cues, because you were born with all the wisdom you need for eating intuitively. On the surface, this may sound simplistic, but it is rather complex. This inner wisdom is often clouded by years of dieting and food myths that abound in the culture. For example, “Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full” may sound like basic common sense, but when you have a history of chronic dieting or of following rigid “healthy” rules about eating, it can be quite difficult. To be able to ultimately return to your inborn Intuitive Eater, a number of things need to be in place—most importantly, the ability to trust yourself!
“Food worry” thoughts. I know them well. I can think of very few times in my life (even as a kid) when I didn’t have them. Always thinking about the next meal, worrying if a food was good for me or not, thinking I’d “start over tomorrow” if I messed up today, white-knuckling it through cravings, wondering what a particular food would do to my body, etc.
I found the detox lifestyle amidst trying many other things to “fix myself”, enjoy myself, and feel and look good in my skin. On the one hand it helped with my food obsession: cravings went away, my body changed, I felt better and freer…in some ways. In other ways I think it’s helped foster the obsession. I’ve “had” to run my day a certain way and eat very specifically or I’d be doing it all wrong and feel awful. I paid little attention to what I wanted to eat and almost exclusively ate what I “should” eat. Not that I haven’t enjoyed it, I always insist on enjoying my meals but I wasn’t listening to my body. I made “juicing ’til dinner” a way of life even when my body was adamant it wasn’t right. Though sometimes it was! Sometimes it felt easy and I couldn’t have done it any other way! There is a part of me that feels that it encouraged my binge tendencies though. I loved that I could eat huge amounts of food for dinner…but it made it difficult for me to eat a small amount of anything at any other time. Being able to overdose on veggies during that one time of day was fun…but it’s not helpful at this time in my life. And when things got stressful or even if I wanted to go out for breakfast with a group, the perfection would unravel and I’d have to get myself “back on track” the next day if I could manage it. I’m done with perfection. I’ve learned I can trust my body which is amazing. I tried “eating intuitively” in the past but it always led to bingeing when I had the diet mentality in the back of my head telling me what I was doing wasn’t right. I never thought I could let go of it. I thought I would fall to pieces and I haven’t. I committed to doing a month of only what feels good. Really, intensely listening to what my body wants. My past attempts have included eating whatever I wanted whenever I wanted (in reasonable quantities I suppose) which didn’t work out so well. I’m learning the difference between something sounding delicious and indulgent and my body agreeing.
I don’t know if I could have done this a few years ago. My body asks for different things now and even though I tell myself I can have whatever I want and not consume anything I don’t want…I’ve still juiced every day. Because, well, I’ve wanted to! It feels good! My days don’t look hugely different but I’m gentler with myself. I eat in the morning if I’m hungry and I don’t if I’m not. I have no cravings for “junk food” or anything too heavy. I don’t know if that would have been the case in my pre-detox lifestyle days. It is my opinion that there are a lot of addictive, non-human foods floating around out there that don’t serve us in any way. It has been helpful for me to simply be able to say that I “could” have them, that I wouldn’t be “wrong” for having them, If I wanted to…though my veggie-loving body hasn’t even come close to wanting a bag of Cheetos.
I think there are times in life when having a regimented plan serves us and times when it doesn’t. I’m glad I’ve done yeast cleanses and juice cleanses and a heap of colon cleansing to go along with it. I’m glad I’ve introduced my body to a ton of really clean food and gotten really excited about being creative in the kitchen. I’m glad I had someone to tell me “this is what’s best for your body” before I was strong and focused enough to make those decisions for myself.
To my darling, hard-core detox friends: don’t worry, I still know what living a clean-celled lifestyle is all about. I’m doing it in my own way. I’m relaxing and living and enjoying and studying and experimenting. I’m sinking into a flow where the food-obsession grip has lessened it’s hold and I’m free to fill my head and my time with other things. There will probably come a time again when I want to jump excitedly back on the juice-fasting, intense colon cleansing, peroxide-drinking, rebounding, sauna-ing, chat about all things life-force-enhancing-and-bowel- movement-encouraging bandwagon but for my sanity I’m chillaxing on all that for a bit.
I’ll post more of what I’m enjoying eating during the day in the weeks to come. Thanks for letting me share and for the thoughtful comments on my last non-recipe post!