I finally bit the bullet this weekend when it became available through my library’s inter-library exchange program. (Beware: long blog entry ahead!)
Within the first few pages, I realized I am a restrictive eater, even when trying not to be.
I also realized that my “thesis” that dieting led to my disordered eating was proven, granting me a strange sense of validation. In fact, there’s even a whole chapter in this second edition book titled “Intuitive Eating: The Ultimate Path Toward Healing from Eating Disorders,” which I found compelling and timely.
Though “eating disorders” are mostly described, they do also use the expression “disordered eating” several times. And in nearly every case study they offer, it was dieting and the subsequent euphoria/confidence from it that compelled these subjects to, in time, engage in self-destructive behaviors.
I know in my heart of hearts that I didn’t have a problem with eating before dieting and finding success with Weight Watchers.
And though I can’t blame my disordered eating habits solely on food issues–I understand now that it’s a coping mechanism for anxiety–I know that I still do not have a healthy, “normal” relationship with food or exercise.
I still live in a very black-and-white world where, even if I am not obsessing, I am still exercising every day using a heart-rate-monitor that tells me how many calories I am burning, and I am still journaling every Point I eat.
This is progress, as before blogging and therapy, I didn’t feel comfortable taking rest days, and would push my body even when I was tired to see 500 vs 460 calories burned, for example. And back then, in addition to journaling on Weight Watchers, I was counting calories on Sparkpeople, too. Fortunately, I’ve stopped obsessing so much, but I am not there yet.
I read the book cover-to-cover: in bed, at the gym, and laying in our hammock outside. I read it voraciously and absorbed as much as I could.
Today, I’d like to share with you the basic tenets of Intuitive Eating, from www.intuitiveeating.com , the site maintained by the authors of Intuitive Eating, Evelyn Tribole, M.S., R.D. and Elyse Resch, M.S., R.D., F.D.A. who are, as you can see, both registered dieticians.
These are their descriptions, not mine, and if you follow Weight Watchers’ Core Program, which encourages eating only til satisfaction, you’ll notice that many of these principles are similar.
10 Principles of Intuitive Eating
1. Reject the Diet Mentality
2. Honor Your Hunger
3. Make Peace with Food
4. Challenge the Food Police.
5. Respect Your Fullness
6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor
7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food
8. Respect Your Body Accept your genetic blueprint.
9. Exercise–Feel the Difference
10 Honor Your Health–Gentle Nutrition
So now I have read the book and shared the basic principles. I believe I am in the right place now, mentally, physically and emotionally, to learn to eat intuitively, to trust myself and go back to my infant mentality toward food that we all shared.
This weekend I actually practiced several tenets which are combined in these examples. I had several meals out, and really listened to my body and stopped when I was full, still making healthy choices along the way.
For example, this meant eating half my salmon filet and all my broccoli at lunch (taking the rest to go), and enjoying three toasted pita points and tzatziki (my fave) plus a Greek salad with chicken for dinner and taking some of the chicken home with me for later. And while this is how I have always eaten for a long time now on WW, it was the first time I realized why I was eating this way; not because of Points in the bank, but because of reaching genuine satisfaction. I was actually in tune with my body.
On Saturday, I ate real ice cream with a friend (thanks, D!) for the very first time in adult recollection (even before WW, I always ordered fat-free frozen yogurt, Tasti-DLite, or some other kind of reduced-fat soft-serve). This time, I ate a normal, healthy scoop of butter pecan and savored every bite. No Food Police here!! I gave in to a real, rich food–enjoyed it–and moved on.
Sunday, I honored my hunger when I started to feel tummy rumbles in between brunch and dinner, and ate an apple with 1/2 T peanut butter. Totally did the trick. And at dinner, I stuck to healthy portions of BBQ chicken, homemade sweet potato “fries” and roasted asparagus. No guilt.
So now what?
I believe the next logical step would be for me to go a week without journaling, weighing and measuring and to revert back to Core–what I keep telling myself I will do.
Despite eating healthy on Flex, I just am not quite ready for that just yet. I mean, I still eat mostly Core foods, but the “not journaling” business truthfully scares me right now; food is the only thing I can control at the moment, and I don’t mean control in a negative way. Journaling helps keep my sanity during especially tough times; it’s reliable and keeps me feeling in control of “something” when all else around me isn’t mine to manage.
I am willing to try it for a day, but I just don’t think it’ll be today. Here’s why … I think the toughest tenet to get a grip on will be #7, Cope With Your Emotions Without Using Food, and right now is probably the best–and worst–time for me to try to work on this one, given the tenuous situation at home.
(In fact, Dr. G. basically said we’re not even talking about food issues right now; she wants me to get through these five weeks (now down to 3.75 weeks) and focus on coping with that anxiety before we tackle any food issues).
So… I will try to practice these tenets as much as I can each day and make a concerted effort–once my home is mine again (or if I feel confident/secure enough to bite the bullet) to go without journaling/weighing/measuring.
Because that is the one thing holding me back from truly being in touch with my body, its needs and wants, and is ultimately blocking my own path to healthy, 100% guilt-free living and enlightenment.
How about you? Have you ever read Intuitive Eating or applied any of these principles successfully? Which ones, if any, are you interested in applying?