Have you ever taken inventory of your thoughts and asked yourself, “How much time do I spend thinking about food, what my body looks like and wanting to change my body in some way?” If you have never really thought about the time you dedicate to these topics, I would like to invite you to think about it. I would then ask you to consider the quality of those thoughts and if they are positive about food and your body, neutral, or negative. As a dietitian and a woman living in the 21st century in America, I have a pretty good idea of what most of you would say if you were with me right now to answer that question live.
Unfortunately, most people, male and female have poor body perception and want to change their bodies in some way, be it minor or major. Most people are also in some way at war with food because of this lack of body acceptance. If you are reading this and you are tired of being at war with food and having poor body image taking up way too much of your time, energy, and soul, I want to give you some good news! There is a better way. It is not an easy fix, but it will make all the difference. A very important start to the journey to freedom with food and peace with your body is adopting the principles of Intuitive Eating.
If you have read my previous blogs about Intuitive Eating and you are back, welcome back! If you are just tuning in, Intuitive Eating is a book written by two brilliant dietitians, Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD and Elyse Resch MS, RD. It can also be considered a guiding light out of inappropriate guilt and shame with food and our bodies and an introduction to freedom with food and peace with the body. There are 10 principles of intuitive eating. The first six principles, “Reject the Diet Mentality”, “Honor your Hunger”, “Make Peace with Food”, “Challenge the Food police”, “Feel Your Fullness”, and “Discover the Satisfaction Factor” were our previous topics of discussion. Today we will dive right into principles 7 and 8!
“Cope with Your Emotions Without Using Food”
is principle number 7 of intuitive eating. Many times when working with clients I will say to them, “Well, since food can only meet the need of hunger…” and then I sometimes hear “That’s not true. Food makes me happy. It keeps me company when I am lonely. It soothes my anxiety when I am worked up about something. It gives me distraction when I am bored. Food meets a lot of my needs.” This is a very insightful answer and usually leads to a lengthy discussion about how food, for a brief moment, seems to meet very important needs, but ultimately it is being used to fill a void that it can never fill.
Food won’t actually solve any of these issues. In order to be an intuitive eater, we have to think about what other jobs we are giving food other than to nourish our bodies and fire food from these positions. Recognition of when this is happening is a major step. The next step would be to make a list of all of the other ways you can think of getting these needs met without food and employing those options. Other options would be talking to a friend, journaling, watching a favorite show, reading, etc. It’s time to put food in its proper place and stop expecting it to meet needs that it can’t!
“Respect Your Body”
is principle number 8 of intuitive eating. Remember the part in the movie Cinderella when the land is being searched high and low for the one girl whose foot will fit into the glass slipper? Remember how many girls tried to squeeze their feet into that slipper? They were desperate to fit into it even though their feet were not capable of fitting into that shoe. Well, many of us treat our bodies the same way. We see a mold, shape, number on the scale, size, picture, or specific person that we think we should look like and we try everything we can to fit into a certain size even though we are not genetically capable of looking that way. We have to stop being critical of our genetics, accept how we were created, and begin enjoying these bodies we have been given!
If you have enjoyed this short synopsis of the principles of Intuitive Eating you can find more information at www.intuitiveeating.com and stay tuned for my next blog about the last two principles of Intuitive Eating, “Exercise-Feel the Burn” and “Honor Your Health – Gentle Nutrition.” Until then, may you begin or continue the journey to freedom with food and peace with your body!
If you have further questions or need direction about getting help for disordered eating or treatment for an eating disorder, please contact me at www.bodyandsoulnutritioncounseling.com.”>www.intuitiveeating.com and stay tuned for my next blog about the last two principles of Intuitive Eating, “Exercise-Feel the Burn” and “Honor Your Health – Gentle Nutrition.” Until then, may you begin or continue the journey to freedom with food and peace with your body! If you have further questions or need direction about getting help for disordered eating or treatment for an eating disorder, please contact me at www.bodyandsoulnutritioncounseling.com.