Has Intuitive Eating Become your New Diet?
"Reject the Diet Mentality" is the first of the 10 principals of intuitive eating, and it's a key step in the journey towards reaching a peaceful relationship with food. But you may find this is easier said than done! One of the common traps I see clients fall into is allowing diet mentality to sneak in to their intuitive eating work. Often they aren't even aware this is happening because their diet mindset is so ingrained. But the "intuitive eating diet" is doomed to fail, just like all diets. How do you know if that is happening to you?? Check out some common diet traps that can de-rail your IE journey:
The Black and White Thinking Trap: Oftentimes I hear clients express anxiety over doing intuitive eating "perfectly". They worry about stopping at the exact point of comfortable fullness and not one bite past. They beat themselves up if they get overhungry. They struggle with knowing for sure if they are engaging in emotional eating or simply giving themselves permission to eat a formerly forbidden food. Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? Black and white thinking is a byproduct of the diet mentally: it's the idea there is a right and wrong way to eat, and doing it wrong leads to feelings of failure. Intuitive eating on the other hand is all about the gray! Experimentation, trial and error, and mindful curiosity without judgement are the keys to learning about your individual needs. Making mistakes in eating is a great way to learn about what feels good vs what doesn't. The more freedom you feel to explore these experiences, the more you will learn about your body and what fits for you.
The "I'm only doing this right if I'm losing weight" Trap: One of the hardest parts of embarking on the intuitive eating journey is putting the goal of weight loss on the backburner. To truly connect with our bodies we must fully meet our needs; weight loss often represents meeting less than. You may notice that fear about being a certain weight or body size is keeping you from letting go of certain food or exercise rules. If this is the case, it may be helpful to identify those rules and intentionally set them aside to free up space to discover what will authentically nourish you.
The Fear of Uncertainty Trap: Intuitive eating is all about learning about your body and it's needs. For many of who have been dieting for years or decades, this may mean RE-learning things like what hunger and fullness feel like, or taste preference. On a diet, everything is spelled out - there is no uncertainty about what or how much to eat. You may find this very comforting! In intuitive eating, we need to get comfortable with the "not sures" and "I don't knows". The fact that you truly may not know how hungry you are, or what you are craving in the moment, is totally ok and part of the process. Each time you take a guess and get curious about the outcome, you learn just a little more about yourself and your needs.