Diet culture is sneaky and seductive. It lurks everywhere, including in the anti-diet philosophies. Nowhere is this more true than Intuitive Eating and/or Mindful Eating being used as a weight loss tactic.
I get it, you want your body to change. There’s NOTHING wrong with feeling that way, in fact I would validate any desire you have to lose weight or in some way change how your body feels, functions or looks.
But if you are struggling with disordered eating or body image issues, you gotta know that a diet, food manipulation or weight loss plan will not make this better, and will make it worse. You cannot use an acceptance strategy as a control strategy. You cannot use Intuitive Eating as a way manipulate your body.
What you can do is use the Intuitive Eating principles as a way to let go of food rules and start connecting with your body. You can practice listening to, honoring and respecting what it’s communicating to you as a way to build more confidence and trust. You can start to feel better – both physically and mentally – as you support your body processes rather than starving them.
The goal is just that – connection and respect. It’s NOT manipulation or weight loss.
It’s not like your desire to lose weight or otherwise change your body is going to go away and you don’t necessarily need it to in order to find peace. You just want to get really clear on what your priorities and values are – continue to fight your body while staying stuck in disordered eating OR embracing and working with your body to improve your health and wellbeing? In my experience, for most people, there really are just two choices.
Lastly, don’t see Intuitive Eating as some sort of destination. Everyday you get to decide what you’ll commit to – yourself or food rules. Perhaps that decision will get easier and you’ll gain more confidence, but it’s the process that changes you, not some date in the future where you finally arrive.
When everyone else is overthinking food and weight, Intuitive Eating can feel a little too good to be true. It can feel scary and overwhelming too. Just remember that you’re in charge and you’re choices are yours. It’s totally time to take back your own freedom, flexibility, trust and confidence.
Emily Fonnesbeck RD, CD