Stage 1 intuitive eating

Of the many things that just made sense when I found my way to fat acceptance and Health at Every Size, intuitive eating was at the top of the list. Of course my body knows better than a million nutritionists what it needs. Of course I should eat what my body calls me to eat. Looking back, it flabbergasts me that I had to be told to do it; I guess that’s why it’s called “intuitive.”

But as it turns out, intuitive eating is harder than it looks.

Getting to know my cravings has been an education: identifying the particular taste that’s making my mouth water, deconstructing a general desire for a Chipotle Burrito Bowl into a specific craving for the acids – tomatoes, lime juice – that give it its flavor. I don’t know whether I’ve ever had an eating disorder – I’ve never been disagnosed with one – but I’ve certainly been weird about food all my life, and although I do a lot of cooking I haven’t spent much time actually tasting it.

But understanding and following my cravings is only a part – the fun, decadent part – of what intuitive eating is about. It’s not an excuse to ignore the good meals I’ve cooked in favor of a “craving” for fast food. It’s not an open invitation to stop at Dairy Queen every day on the way home from work. With the freedom to eat what my body asks for comes the responsibility to be honest with myself, and that’s the hard part. On a superficial level? I want ice cream every damn day. Hell, I’ll eat it for every meal. (I mean, it’s practically yogurt, right?  And yogurt is totally a breakfast food.) But if I look closely at myself I have to admit that I’m still pretty muddled about what I want to eat. The signals I’m getting about Peanut Buster Parfaits are less an accurate reflection of what my body needs right now and more an emotional release after years of telling myself that I can’t have them.

So, having given myself a few months of what I’m calling “Stage 1 Intuitive Eating” – giving in to my cravings without examining them too closely – I’m ready to take it more seriously. I’m not going to start restricting the foods I eat, or forcing myself to eat things I’m not interested in eating. I am going to continue to eat what I crave – I’m just going to take more care to be sure that I’m really craving what I think I’m craving.

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6 responses to “Stage 1 intuitive eating

  1. Just make sure that you don’t *not* eat when you’re hungry because you don’t have the food you “crave.”

    Intuitive eating has its limitations – namely, our pocketbooks and time to grocery-shop!

  2. I first found intuitive eating about 10 years ago and I loved it. I felt great and more in touch with my body than I had ever felt before (and even lost 30 lbs…probably because of a significant decrease in bingeing). During that time I discovered that once I convinced myself that I really could eat whatever I wanted when I was hungry that the “urge” or “craving” for things like fast food or sweets that I had thought of as bad became much less and my body craved a very balanced variety of foods. Then :( I got caught up in the diet mindset again (fool!). In the past year I have returned to intuitive eating again and am back in the stage where what I am hungry for is perhaps not as “balanced”. I think it is ok though…it is a process that helps me put food in the proper perspective. This time I decided to try a pictorial food log of sorts to remove the “good and bad” tags from the food I select.

  3. When I first started dabbling in IE, I was a real bitch to live with, because I never allowed Dreamboat to eat more than a half of anything we had at home in case I got a craving for it in the near future… But hey, it sure was worth it ;o)

  4. Big Liberty: Not eating is SO not my problem. My problem is taking “you can eat what you want!” too far. I need to get better at identifying “full” and not going past it; not eating when I’m bored, etc.

    Donna: Thanks for commenting and welcome! I’m checked out your blog; I think it’s a good idea.

    Bee: How DO you deal with that, though? I mean, I live alone, but how do you deal with not having what you crave around? Or not being able to afford what you crave? How do you do “real life” IE?

  5. I shop till I drop :o) I don’t shy away from shopping twice or thrice (or more!) a day, even if it’s just a single item that I’m after. My disordered mindset often tells me that it’s embarassing, to be seen at the store so often, but I’m trying not to listen…

    Oh and if I don’t have what I crave around, I usually send Dreamboat to the store to get it for me ;o) Or I get it myself, really. Now that it’s summer, it’s a really nice bike ride. In the winter, I’m usually too lazy to venture out into the blizzard and hold negotiations with my body if it could settle for a chunk of havarti instead of edam. Cheese = cheese, right? ;o)

    Money-wise, it’s really tough, especially now that we live off Dreamboat’s meagre salary. We try to make rather generous monthly budgets but always go over because of ‘food money,’ and have to cut back on other expenditures. It’s really difficult, but ultimately worth it. I’m still struggling (every single day) but I think I’m moving forward…

  6. I also was wondering about the money vs craving side of things. I guess the idea would be to live like the Europeans where they get good quality food from the markets everyday. If I get food and store it up in my house I always want something different and it just goes off. I hate that.

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