After discovering Intuitive Eating, and it completely rocking my world, I was like “Why have I never heard of this before!?!”
With 2 decades of diet and food dysfunction under my belt, I’d heard of all sorts of crazy diets and schemes to drop weight quickly. Like eating a crap-ton of just fruit, only eating cabbage soup, or drinking gallons of cayenne pepper lemon to “cleanse” the system (never mind that your liver and kidneys already do that…).
But a mentally and physically healthy approach to health? An approach that calls out diet culture for the garbage that it is? One that rejects shame, and helps people actually have a healthy relationship with food and their bodies?
That one never came up in the literally thousands of conversations I’ve had with friends about dieting and weight over the past couple decades.
But here we are. I’m finally on the Intuitive Eating ship and sailing it to health and self-acceptance! And I wanted to share the most important things I’m doing that are helping me change my mindset and become and intuitive eater.
Unlike diets and meal plans that carefully prescribe exactly what you should do to lose weight (and you know, to become an acceptable human) the path to becoming an intuitive eater is less clear.
Because Intuitive Eating is all about tuning into and trusting your own body, each person’s path will be different. There’s not an exact path to implement intuitive eating. But I believe we can learn from each other’s experiences.
As I work through my Intuitive Eating journey, I wanted to share the 6 things I’m doing that are helping me reject diet culture, make peace with food, and become and intuitive eater.
Here are the Steps I’ve Taken to Become an Intuitive Eater:
(The first three literally take a few minutes and they’re super therapeutic.)
1. I Put the Scale Away
This is was surprisingly emotional for me. Because after years of religiously weighing myself nearly every morning—and having my emotions hinge on the numbers that appeared—stuffing the scale in the closet was like flipping off diet culture.
The very act was liberating.
But it didn’t mean I didn’t want to weigh myself. Old habits die hard. In fact, about a week into Intuitive Eating, I decided to weigh myself.
Because I was feeling so good and not binging I got it into my head that I would have lost a significant amount of weight. After a week.
(I know crazy, right?)
So I weighed myself and was disappointed and put into a funk for the ENTIRE day. But it was a learning experience because I learned that:
- the scale doesn’t register how good or bad I feel and
- I realized how silly it was to put so much emotional stock in what a scale said
Instead of an arbitrary number on a scale, I focus on how I feel. And the more attuned I am to my body, the better I feel!
2. I unfollowed Instagram accounts that promote diet culture
Diet culture is all about how we look. Our value comes from how well out bodies conform to the thin ideal. Which is why we do insane things to shrink our bodies and we actively try to ignore how our body feels (e.g. hungry).
So I wanted to start erasing the visual messages of diet culture by surrounding myself with positive messages about not just my body, but all bodies. Normalizing all bodies—not just tanned and toned bodies with very little fat—has been important in my journey of feeling neutral about how my body looks and instead focusing on how it feels.
Because intuitive eating is all about attunement with one’s body.
Note: A lot of fitness Instagram has co-opted the language on intuitive eating, but totally just promote diet culture. Like posting #bodypositive #selflove #intuitiveeating while talking about macros and glorifying images of bodies that the vast majority of people can only obtain through disordered eating. Beware.
3. I started following body positive & intuitive eating accounts.
I’ve been following accounts that showcase all kinds of bodies, promote loving and accepting ourselves (an act which reseacrn shows leads to better heath outcomes! BOOM!)
When I used to look at “aspirational” images on fitness insta accounts, it didn’t leave me feeling uplifted. I may have felt motivated, but I certainly didn’t feel uplifted.
On the other hand, scrolling through my feed and seeing body positive images and messages literally gives me warm fuzzies AND a whole lot more love for my body and journey.
Here’s a few that I’ve really enjoyed:
- Christy Harrison
- Alissa Rumsey
- Megan Jayne Crabbe
- Beauty Redefined
- Caroline Dooner
- Rachel Hartley
- Kylie Mitchell
- Kara Lydon
- Tiffany Roe
4. I listen to podcasts and read blogs on intuitive eating
To combat diet culture and surround myself continually with healthy messages, I listen to intuitive eating podcasts daily. I’ve also been diving into some of the many fantastic Intuitive Eating blogs out there. They help me to tune into myself, make peace with food and my body, and expose and reject diet culture.
Here are my favorite IE podcasts:
- Food Psych (I’m working my way through the nearly 200 episodes)
- Body Love Project
- Love Food Podcast
- The Embodied and Well Podcast
- The “F” It Diet Radio
Here are my favorite IE blogs:
5. I’m reading books about intuitive eating, the anti-diet movement, and tuning into my true needs.
I’ve pretty much thrown myself into learning everything I can about this whole movement and the research behind it.
Here are my favorite books so far:
- Body Respect by Linda Bacon, Phd and Lucy Aphramor, Phd, RD (if you only read 1 book, this is it)
- Intuitive Eating, 3rd ed. by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, the OGs of Intuitive Eating.
- The F*ck It Diet by Caroline Dooner.
- The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf
I’m also working my way through the The Intuitive Eating Workbook, which is also fantastic. Because I wanted a structured place to do the thought-work involved in this process.
6. I’m using affirmations to work on changing my mindset around food and bodies.
Chucking the scale and curating my Instagram was easy. Mindset change gets into the real work. But luckily, all the things I’ve mentioned above (like chucking the scale and curating Instagram) have been powerful tools in shifting my mindset into one that rejects diet culture, tunes into my body, and is more in-line with Intuitive Eating.
I’ve found that repeating affirmations throughout the day have been helpful in changing my mindset. Here are some that I repeat to myself:
- All bodies are good bodies. (as I walk around all day!)
- I can eat whatever I want, so I don’t need to feel anxious or restricted. (when I start to feel like I can’t eat something)
- I follow my hunger and focus on what will be satisfying (as I pick my foods)
- I listen to my body, both physically and emotionally (usually around when I’m eating)
- No need to judge myself, I’m like a scientist gathering information about my body and its’ needs. (If I overeat or do something that makes my body feel bad)
How to Implement Intuitive Eating
These are the 6 things I’m doing to become an intuitive eater and implement the 10 principles of Intuitive Eating. They’re helping me to finally be free from diet culture and have a healthy, normal relationship with food.
What would you add to the list?