What I learned from 30 days of Intuitive Eating

After reading several books and listening to dozens of podcasts about intuitive eating, I was ready to take the plunge: 30 days of intuitive eating.

I wanted to learn to tune into my body and recognize when I was truly hungry, thirsty, etc. I wanted to step away from diet culture, the scale, feeling like I needed to be back in a certain size jeans.

Because my body is AMAZING–it carried and birthed six children, six new beautiful little souls. How does it make sense that I should then punish it for doing such hard good work?

After having baby B, I have become determined to take a path of kindness this time. No enforced workout regiments, no whole30 or weight watchers or whatever fad is current, no diet. No Diet.

I’d consider myself to be below-average concerned with my appearance in general–I like to look clean and somewhat put together, but I’m not concerned with style trends or a lot of make up or whatever. It’s just not something I have time for.

Yet even in my indifference, it can be so hard post-partum, and I’ve done post-partum 6 times. There’s this feeling of wanting to get “back to normal” as quickly as possible–to feel settled and out of survival mode. With all the things that happened with Kit, we haven’t been out of “survival mode” since early January 2019!

What I learned…

  1. The first thing I needed to do was to be ok with how I look NOW and not feel like this is a biding-my-time-til-I-lose-weight body but a Good body as it is. One strategy I used over the 30 days was Gratitude. Thanking God for my strong arms that can lift up my babies and strong legs that can chase them around the yard. For my long thick hair that baby B loves to yank and my healthy lungs for hollering for my kids across the playground (let’s be honest, mamas need some lung power!).
  2. I also worked on listening to my body for when it was actually hungry. Often when I ate before, it was because it was “time” to eat or I was worried if I didn’t have a snack, I’d get grumpy with the kids. But that was relying on food for my emotional self-control and not the Holy Spirit–it was putting food in a place it should not be. Soon I’d like to learn more about and try out the spiritual practice of fasting–I think it would be good for me to do, now that I’ve discovered this crutch. Just to be clear–I ate whenever I was hungry. I didn’t do without, like I would have on a diet. I paid attention to when I was actually feeling hunger and ate food I enjoyed until I was full. That sounds really simple, but it is harder than it sounds!
  3. I worked on my fears of scarcity. I learned that often I would eat whatever was leftover from the kids plates because I didn’t want it to “go to waste” or I’d feel like I had to clear my plate for that reason. I started giving myself less to start off with and seeing if I really needed or wanted more, and then I started giving myself permission to “waste” a little food if I wasn’t hungry and there was some leftover.

This isn’t a diet, so it isn’t over after 30 days–but it was helpful for me to give myself a set period of time to “Try out” this way of eating to see how I felt.

And guess what? I feel great.

I feel more energetic and more awake, less dull and weighed down. I’m not perfect with it–when I’m having emotionally difficult days, those are the days I don’t want to listen to my body at all. But I’m making progress! I hope most of all that this sets a good example for my daughters as to how we are to care for our bodies.

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