I Struggled With Body Image Until I Tried Intuitive Eating

For so long, I battled with my relationship with food and my body… until something shifted my perspective: intuitive eating. It’s been an epic journey towards self-love and acceptance.

Intuitive eating changed my world.

This is a non-diet approach to well-being. It includes 10 principles like challenging the food police and respecting your body. These various principles have absolutely revolutionalized my relationship with food and my body. Intuitive eating was founded by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. It was created to help people change their relationship with food for the better and it definitely accomplished that for me.

I’ve (mostly) stopped fighting with food.

I say that I mostly stopped fighting with food because I’m totally a human. Sometimes I still do it, like when I panic about eating “too many” sweets. I’m still a work in progress. For the most part, though, food and I are friends. Carbs no longer scare the crap out of me and I’m not concerned with how much fat is in anything. I’ve waved the white flag—I’m done battling it out with food.

I pay more attention to when I’m hungry or full.

Although there’s nothing inherently wrong with eating past fullness (we all do it), it’s nice sometimes to pay closer attention to what’s going on inside of me. I still eat quickly even though I should probably take my time, but nonetheless, I’m more connected to my hunger/fullness cues. I can actually leave some french fries on a plate when I’m done whereas in the past, I’d always have to eat everything on my plate.

I absolutely reject dieting.

I don’t think there will ever be another day that you’ll find me counting calories. I certainly won’t be restricting my food or cutting out entire food groups in order to lose weight. Sugar is no longer my enemy, it’s my friend. Diet culture is a lie. It’s a ruse to make money off of people’s hatred of themselves. I refuse to participate.

I enjoy food more.

Since I’m not always flooded with concern about the calories or macros, I’m actually able to savor my food. I enjoy going out to dinner with friends and family and am not freaking out about eating too much cheese or bread. I can just live my life.

I’m not as concerned about my weight.

Again, I’m not perfect. I have moments and days where I’m super concerned about my weight but these periods are usually brief. Instead, I often don’t care how much I weigh. I know that weight is not an appropriate determinant of health or well-being. There are many other ways to measure these things.

I exercise for self-care rather than punishment. 

This has been one of the most profound revelations: that I can exercise for self-care and fun rather than to punish myself. Who knew? I certainly didn’t. Now I can play hockey without how many calories I’m burning even crossing my mind. My body thanks me every day that I walk without the intention of burning off a meal. I can just be.

I’ve stopped thinking there’s something fundamentally wrong with me.

For the longest time, I thought that I was fundamentally unworthy and unlovable. There was something wrong with me, or so I thought. Nowadays, I mostly believe that I’m basically good. I believe that I’m worthy of love, respect, and dignity. This shines through in my interactions and how I live my life. It also means I treat my body nicely and believe that someone will love me for who I am.

I now practice body positivity.

By some miracle, I’ve started to think my body is OK no matter what shape it’s in. Granted, I know that I have thin privilege so it’s a little easier to be body positive when society isn’t hating on me. Nonetheless, I have to work to be body positive about my body as well as all bodies. I now genuinely believe that all bodies are good bodies.

I introduce gentle nutrition into my life.

This is last on the list intentionally. Gentle nutrition is important but not as much as the other things I’ve listed. It’s important because nutrition is valuable and necessary to both survive and thrive. It’s about more than just what the food is composed of. It’s also how the food makes me feel during and after eating it. How does it settle? Does it make me happy, give me energy, etc?

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