What if I Lose Control When Intuitive Eating?
Diving into intuitive eating can evoke a series of concerns. A prevalent one is: "What if I lose control around food?" This apprehension, especially for those who have long adhered to restrictive diets or certain "food rules," is valid. Let's explore this.
The "Last Supper" Mentality
Many of us, including myself, have felt "out of control" around specific foods. For instance, I had this self-imposed rule about french fries. I'd limit myself to having them occasionally, and when I did, it felt like a frenzied feast. This overindulgence can be likened to the "Last Supper" mentality. It's that overwhelming urge to consume as much as you can because, in the back of your mind, you're unsure when you'll allow yourself such a treat again.
The Power of Unconditional Permission
But here's the transformative element of intuitive eating: when you grant yourself unconditional permission to eat without any food rules, your relationship with food evolves. When I started allowing fries or potato chips in my house regularly, the initial excitement led me to consume them daily. But over time, as I recognized I could have them whenever I wanted, their allure diminished. I'd sometimes settle for just a chip or two. By letting go of food rules and embracing freedom, the food lost its overpowering grip on me.
Rejecting the Diet Mentality
A fundamental step in intuitive eating is rejecting the diet mentality. Dieting often focuses on weight loss, which can be counterproductive. In fact, an excessive emphasis on weight loss can, paradoxically, lead to weight gain in the long run. By shifting the focus from restriction to understanding, you begin to reclaim your relationship with food.
Starting the Intuitive Eating Journey
Beginning with intuitive eating can be daunting. The key is meeting yourself where you are. If you feel out of control around certain foods, start by noticing the rules you've set. Maybe you've forbidden cookies in your home. Recognize that this restriction could be causing your deprivation and consequent overeating. Granting yourself unconditional permission to eat can be an enlightening experience. Coupled with psychoeducation about the binge-restrict cycle, it's a step toward healing and understanding.
The True Goal of Intuitive Eating
Remember, intuitive eating isn't about "letting yourself go." It's about humanity. It's about recognizing cravings, understanding them, and not judging yourself for them. The objective isn't weight loss; it's syncing with your body, trusting it, and feeding it in a way that feels right. An excellent place to begin is focusing on satisfaction while eating. In many cultures, food isn't just nourishment; it's a social experience meant to be savored.
Intuitive eating is a journey. It’s about embracing food as an integral part of our lives, not an adversary. By tuning into our body’s signals and granting ourselves the freedom to enjoy, we pave the way for a healthier, guilt-free relationship with what we eat.