We live in a microwave society. I’m sure you’ve heard that term before!
People want to know how to lose 10lbs in a week or how to start making 6 figures in a year. We dream bigger than ever, want more possessions than ever and are determined to be more successful than anyone we know.
What ends up happening though when we need true long term lifestyle changes in order to achieve our goals? But we always give up after a few months or a year?
I see so many people frustrated to the point of quitting when it comes to healing their relationship with food. My goal in this blog is to convince you that A. Intuitive Eating takes time! And B. that that’s ok!!
Why Healing Your Relationship with Food Takes Time
What was your relationship with food like prior to you ever desiring to heal it? Did you bounce around from one diet to the other? From one form of exercise to the other?
Most people desire to begin healing their relationship with food when everything else hasn’t worked…
- When weight loss hasn’t been permanent.
- When dieting hasn’t worked.
- When focusing on their health hasn’t worked.
Most of the time that also means that they have come out of a season or even years of jumping from one diet to the next or from one workout program to the next.
We are used to changing the game every time we determine something isn’t working. Which is NOT wrong! But it also means that we may want to quit a little faster than previous even when it comes to healing our relationship with food.
Healing your relationship with food means UNDOING all of those years of diet mentality & chronic exercising for caloric burn. It means undoing the subconscious messaging that society throws at you constantly telling you how you should look and when to eat.
It means undoing the belief that weight loss = health.
And guess what, in the same way that those beliefs took years or decades to build, it’s going to take time to tear them down.
And that’s ok! Mentally we just need to be ok with strapping ourselves in for the long haul.
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My Journey Towards Intuitive Eating
My journey towards Intuitive Eating began after being confronted about my Orthorexic tendencies.
For those who don’t know, Orthorexia is an eating disorder that involves an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating.
You can read more about Orthorexia from the National Eating Disorders Association here!
I was hospitalized at the time and my MD, Nutritionist & Psychologist together explained their concern over my obsession with healing myself via my diet. (My health issues ended up being genetic…) The Nutritionist was the one who introduced me to Intuitive Eating, and I am forever grateful!
Dieting for me in the past had almost always looked roughly the same when it came to a timeline.
Day 1: Research the Diet
Day 2: Throw out all foods that don’t align with the Diet
Day 3: Meal prep for the new Diet
Day 4: Dive into the Diet
Day 7+: Find the Diet too difficult and begin a binge/restrict cycle…
Intuitive Eating was so different from this right at the beginning. My mentor explained to me that there were no “good” or “bad” days of Intuitive Eating. Every day was part of the journey towards healing my relationship with food and there was no “now I’m doing Intuitive Eating” or “today I’m cheating on the Intuitive Eating principles.”
This was incredibly hard for me to grasp at the beginning as someone who had chronically dieted in the past. It took time for me to recognize and embrace the rest of my life as part of my intuitive eating journey!
Embracing Gentle Nutrition
It took me almost a year of “giving myself unconditional permission to eat” and practicing the first 9 principles of intuitive eating before I was ready to lean into gentle nutrition. Now, working with clients on these principles, I understand that this timeline greatly differs for everyone!
What is Gentle Nutrition?
Well, gentle nutrition is when we begin to focus on nutrients & your health goals by utilizing nutrition!
Many try to incorporate gentle nutrition towards the beginning of their intuitive eating journey but rarely does this work. Gentle nutrition is the 10th and final principle of intuitive eating for a reason! We need to first embrace and practice the other 9 principles likely before we will be ready to focus on gentle nutrition.
Some people begin to crave gentle nutrition within a few weeks or a month of practicing intuitive eating. For others like me, it took a year and for some, it can take 2 years!
The biggest thing I learnt in my Intuitive Eating journey was NOT TO RUSH my healing.
Trust me, you will know once you are ready for a focus on gentle nutrition!
Being Mentored to Nutrition Counsel Intuitive Eating
After working with my mentor for 6 months I knew it was time to learn how to incorporate what I was learning into my nutrition practice.
After some research I was delighted to learn that the ORIGINAL founders of Intuitive Eating (Evelyn Tribole, MS, RDN, CEDRD-S & Elyse Resch, MS, RDN, CEDRD-S, FAND) were still certifying people, like me, to learn how to counsel people on Intuitive Eating.
I applied that week and a month later dove into becoming Certified in Intuitive Eating by the Original Intuitive Eating Pros! It took me 4 months and I was officially certified.
One topic that continually came up during my training was how to reassure our clients that it’s ok that Intuitive Eating takes time, despite living in a microwave society!
Evelyn shared with us her famous, “Write Your Name” exercise, and I want to share it with you today! Please take the time to actually do the exercise. If your experience is anything like mine, it will stick with you for a long time!
Write Your Name Exercise
1.) Grab a pen & paper and first write your full name (first, middle & last) with your dominant hand. (If you are right-handed, your right hand is our dominant hand. And if you are left-handed, your left hand is your dominant hand.)
Looks pretty good, eh?
2.) Ok now take your pen and put it in your non dominant hand. (The opposite hand from step 1!) Write out your full name again.
How much longer did it take for you to write your name with your non dominant hand? How did it feel to write your name with your non dominant hand? Why do you think you can write your name better with your dominant hand compared to your non dominant hand? What else did you notice in your experience?
So, what is the big difference between writing your name with your dominant hand vs. your non dominant hand?
Practice! Practice is why you can write out your name so eligibly (unless of course you are a doctor 😉 and so quickly! You’ve been doing it since you were in Kindergarten if not earlier! Likely you have written your name out thousands and thousands of times.
How does this correlate with Intuitive Eating? Well, in the same way writing your name with your dominant hand seems easy now but decades ago likely didn’t, Intuitive Eating will also feel somewhat foreign now.
But after a lot of practice, I promise it will feel so much easier. You just have to be willing to stick around when practicing Intuitive Eating feels like quicksand in order for it one day to feel as easy as pie!
Intuitive Eating Takes Practice
Just like writing your name, intuitive eating takes practice.
Many of us have been dieting for years and if not dieting, we have been listening to food rules for most of our lives! It takes time, patience & practice to conquer intuitive eating.
For many of us, dieting has always had an end destination. Maybe a specific number of pounds lost or a specific health goal. With dieting we were either “on track” or “off track.” We were either doing “good” or “bad.”
Intuitive Eating is a journey. We never classify someone as either “on track” or “off track” and we never reach a final destination of being finished with intuitive eating.
It’s TRULY a lifestyle change! One where you cannot have a “good” day of intuitive eating or a “bad” day. All days are part of your journey, and we rejoice in that!
Intuitive Eating Takes Time (WITH a dose of Intentionality!)
I once hard the phrase, “time heals all wounds, if that time is spent intentionally healing.” And it has always stuck with me!
Such a huge part of embracing Intuitive Eating is simply time.
As I’ve already mentioned, Intuitive Eating is not like a diet. You won’t have days where you “do” practice Intuitive Eating and day’s that you “don’t.” It’s all part of your journey!
I’ve even heard women express that after they began their Intuitive Eating journey they ended up getting frustrated and doing one last diet. Participating in that final diet ended up being a huge part of their journey as it helped them recognize that they simply could never return to diet culture, ever again!
Doing that one last diet allowed them to truly embrace Intuitive Eating at a deeper level. It was all part of their journey!
As long as you set out to heal your relationship with food, and you don’t give up, you WILL conquer Intuitive Eating!
Just give it time.
Resources to Aid you on Your Intuitive Eating Journey
There are so many wonderful resources to aid you on your journey of Intuitive Eating! And so many of them are extremely low priced, or even free!
If you are a lover of podcasts I highly recommend checking out Christy Harrison’s Food Psych podcast. Christy is an Intuitive Eating Dietician who is passionate about the Health-at-Every-Size movement and the author of Anti-Diet! (Another resource I highly recommend!)
The second set of resources I must mention is the book Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Anti-Diet Approach which is written by the founders of Intuitive Eating, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch! And of course The Intuitive Eating Workbook which they authored together as well. These materials are truly the backbone of Intuitive Eating!
The final resource I want to recommend is simply Instagram. I know, I know, social media can be filled with so much negativity, misinformation on health and the exact opposite of body positivity.
But you know what else social media can be filled with?
When I didn’t have people around me who understood Orthorexia, Health-at-Every-Size, Intuitive Eating or being an Anti-Diet nutrition professional; I created that community for myself via social media.
I unfollowed everybody and anybody who did not stand for those things. (Or muted them if I didn’t have the guts to unfollow them!).
And I followed anybody I could find who stood strongly for what I wanted to stand for! That way social media became a refuge for me, not a place that would potentially contribute to a relapse!
I strongly encourage you to do the same thing!
Getting Professional Help on Your Intuitive Eating Journey
Despite all of the affordable or free resources I can send your way, sometimes it just doesn’t cut it.
Sometimes you need the help of a professional on your journey, and that’s ok! I myself had the help of several professionals on my journey of Intuitive Eating.
I do what I can to produce both free & affordable resources to help you heal your relationship with food. So please, if you do feel the need for additional help, click here!
I am both a Licensed Health & Nutrition Counsellor as well as someone who is Certified in Intuitive Eating. And most importantly – I’ve been where you are.
I’ve tried all the weight loss diets. I’ve dieted for my health. And I’ve felt completely and utterly helpless when it came to my relationship with food.
I’ve been food obsessed. Health obsessed. And completely unaware of how my relationship with food was affecting my mental & physical health.
I’ve been there.
And I’ve also experienced the sweet, sweet freedom of healing my relationship with food. I mean truly healing my relationship with food.
Food is not a stress to me anymore, at all! I used to not even believe that was even possible. I thought that I would always struggle with food guilt, that I would never feel morally neutral when it came to food.
And yet, here I am!
So please, if you are hungry for further help, click here and see if I can help you!
Until next time, happy healing!
Certified in Intuitive Eating
Licensed Health & Nutrition Counsellor