Thank you for stepping out of your comfort zone and taking the quiz! What did you learn about yourself? Awareness is the first critical step toward meaningful and positive change!
You Are Not Alone
I have been exactly where you are right now. I’ve spent the better part of two decades at war with my body.
I thought I was an emotional eater. I believed I was addicted to food. I thought I couldn’t control myself around pizza, bread, and donuts. I absolutely believed that I NEEDED a restrictive diet to control my insatiable appetite. I thought my hunger was endless and could never be filled. I believed I was a spineless waste of a human being with no willpower. I truly believed there was something wrong with me…that I was damaged goods.
Turns out none of that was true. There was nothing wrong with me…except that I started dieting twenty years ago.
It was the dieting that made me a neurotic mess around food. It was the dieting that made me so distrustful of myself that I thought I needed a padlock on the fridge. It was the dieting that made me binge uncontrollably on pizza, bread, and donuts. It was the dieting that changed my metabolism so that I eventually couldn’t lose weight.
So I did the hardest thing I’ve ever done: I dropped the rope. I stopped playing tug-of-war with my body and with food. I stopped trying to lose weight. I stopped dieting.
I had reached a point where I no longer cared if I never lost weight, and since my body didn’t seem to be cooperating anyway, what did I have to lose?
I no longer cared if I even gained weight. I just wanted to stop hating my body, fearing food, and fearing myself.
Becoming an Intuitive Eater
Quitting diets and deciding to stop trying to lose weight was the scariest thing I’ve ever done...but the reward was worth it.
If someone would have told me two years ago that I could be one of those people who are “normal” around food, I would have laughed in your face. Leave food on my plate? Share a dessert with my husband? Eat donuts without remorse? Not constantly think about food and my body? Are you nuts?!?
I was a self-described sugar addict with an intense fear of being hungry. I never felt satisfied, nothing was ever enough, and thoughts of food were constant. And let’s not forget about the heaping side dish of self-loathing when I inevitably failed at yet another diet attempt, or ate a stupid cookie.
I got tired of it, and horrifyingly, despite repeated attempts to restrict and lose weight, the diets had stopped working entirely. My metabolism had shut down, and with each new diet attempt, my brain and body rebelled a little faster than the previous attempt. Pretty soon the mere thought of dieting or restricting my food intake would cause a binge.
But what really spurred my decision to quit dieting and try a new path was the constant fear. Fear about food. Fear about gaining weight. Fear about who would see me or say something about my weight or what I was eating. Fear that there wouldn’t be enough. Fear that my husband wouldn’t love me. Fear that my friends would reject me. Fear that if I gained weight I’d be laughed at as a fitness professional. Fear about what, when, and how much I should eat. Fear about the next binge.
I was so stressed out about food and my body that I would literally wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of night. I’d pinch the fat roll on my belly every morning to see if it felt bigger than the previous day. I would cancel outings with friends if I felt too fat. I would spend hours researching diets, exercise programs, and supplements in the name of “work research”. My entire worth and value as a human being was tied to the thinness of my body, and whether or not I was “being good” on my diet that day.
I decided that I’d rather be fat than live my life in a constant state of fear and self-hatred. If you shouldn’t try to fix what isn’t broken, perhaps it’s also true that you can’t break what’s already broken.
I already felt broken, both inside and out. What did I have to lose? If I stopped dieting what was the worst that could happen? I would find out that I truly can’t control myself around food and have 20 lbs. to lose for the 20th time in my life?
So I plunged into the unknown, still scared to death…and I broke free of my self-imposed “diet cage”. The risk was worth the reward.
I’m happier today than I have been in a long time. I feel grounded and centered around food. My confidence and trust in myself and my body has grown tremendously. And, more often than not, I am able to focus on what I love about my body. My journey to becoming an intuitive eater has been nothing short of a life-changing miracle.
I can now:
Eat two bites of a dessert and push the plate away, completely satisfied.
Go hours without thinking about food.
Can split a meal with someone else and not worry about there “being enough”.
Leave food on my plate.
Enjoy food without remorse.
Forget about the brownies and Cheetos in the cupboard.
Eat a cookie without fearing the wrath of God descending on me.
Look in the mirror and actually accept my reflection.
Make healthy choices because I want to, not because I feel like I should.
I proved to myself that I could trust my body. I re-learned a wisdom I was born with, a wisdom suppressed by diets: my body’s innate knowledge about when, what, and how much to eat. I taught myself how to be an “intuitive eater”. If I can do it, so can you!
But What about Health? What about weight loss?
I know what you might be thinking right now: I’m unhealthy, I need to lose weight, I want to lose weight…if I don’t diet, track, weigh, and watch what I eat I’ll never lose this weight. I just need to get this weight off first and then I’ll quit dieting and become an intuitive eater.
If you landed on this page, chances are good that you are dieting and exercising under the false guise of “health”. But how healthy do you think it is to eat almost nothing all day and then stuff yourself like a sausage at 8 PM? How healthy do you think it is for your body to lose ten pounds in 30 days and then gain it all back in half that time? How healthy is it for your body to do that over and over and over again? How healthy is your relationship with exercise if you’re only doing it so you can eat? How healthy is your relationship with food if you can’t trust yourself around donuts or pizza? Up until now, has hating your body helped to motivate you to eat well and exercise? Has going on strict diets or doing punishing workouts helped you to lose weight permanently?
I’m all about healthy eating and exercise (I’m a freakin’ fitness trainer and holistic nutrition consultant for goodness sake!). But I’m NOT on board when it causes unhealthy thoughts and patterns of behavior. Yes, diet and exercise are important. I will not refute that! But if you’re eating kale and going to Crossfit for the wrong reasons, it simply becomes punishment.
If your diet causes more problems than it solves in the way of intense hunger, binges, and constant feelings of failure, it’s time to realize that you don’t need another diet! You don’t have a willpower problem! Your body does not want to destroy itself! You need a new way to approach food, eating, and exercise! You were born with a God-given gift: the inborn wisdom to know when you’re hungry and full and to nourish your body with what it needs. You were born an intuitive eater and now it’s time to become one again.