February 3, 2015

Intuitive Eating is Great, But Don’t Make This Mistake.


*Warning: Adult language

Don’t turn intuitive eating into another diet.

If you have ever had issues with obsessive eating you may already have experienced this…but it is very easy to turn the noble “intuitive eating” method into another miserable diet.

I was an extremely obsessive dieter for 10 years. Well, you could have called me an obsessive dieter and “health enthusiast,” or looking back now, you could call it an eating disorder. They all applied.

There were times when I knew there had to be a better way to eat. I knew deep down that the answer probably lay in just letting go. But I didn’t know where to begin. How do you let go when all you know are food and diet facts and believe that you are broken and that weight is obsessed with you, and also that none of your dreams will come true if you can’t become skinny? If that sentence sounded run-on and manic, it is because it is. And that is exactly how food/body/perfectionism feels.

Cue “intuitive eating.” In between extreme diet spells, I would swing back to intuitive eating. Which really meant a manic: “I am going to listen to my body and eat exactly what I want, but I am going to eat so slowly that hopefully I don’t eat much at all and I become really skinny and happy and healthy and still get to eat what I want, but hopefully not too much. And if I crave something bad I’ll eat it, praying that if I allow myself to eat it, I won’t actually want it. Oh shit, I want it. Shit I am starving. I can’t eat this whole thing, but I did. And I ate fast. I fail!”

If you can tell…that wasn’t actual intuitive eating. It was a miserable, frightened, please-let-me-not-be-really-hungry carnival of half eaten brownies. And it was a diet. Because there was still shame attached to eating. There was still shame attached to weight. And I still was afraid of food and of myself.

Fast forward, I am now totally recovered. And it wasn’t through that eat-slowly and stop-exactly-when-you-are-full “guidelines” BS that I detailed above. It was through eating: amply and fully for the purpose of nourishing, and even {gasp} gaining fucking weight. Which I was so tired of running away from. It took me realizing that my fear of weight was a fear of life and humanity and failure, and all the beautiful messiness that real life brings. I was putting off everything, waiting until I was acceptable and thin in order to dare (which, in that mind-frame never happens, so you never dare).

If you are a serial dieter, and have tried but failed at intuitive eating, it is not because you are broken or a voracious food monster. It is because whatever version of intuitive eating you are trying is still food fear-mongering. And you deserve to be nourished amply by food and not be afraid of what your weight “means about you” (it means nothing about you, by the way). And until that truly happens, and until you are fed and loved by yourself unconditionally, food and weight will always seem incredibly powerful and important.

I like to call how I eat now, “The Spiritual Anti-Diet.” So many people who are obsessed with diets have the same experience with “intuitive eating.” They make it into another diet, another obsession, another thing to try and get perfect (and you just can’t). That isn’t how life works. That isn’t how food, craving or nourishment works. And that isn’t how happiness works either.



Ayurveda’s Perspective on Paleo.


Author: Sara Sophia Eisenman

Editor: Travis May

Photo: Provided by Author

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