Not Another Diet! The Diet/Binge/Self-Hate Cycle that Led Me to Intuitive Eating

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Today we’ve got a guest post about Intuitive Eating, something that I have embraced in the past couple of months (see my “I Give Up” post that started it all). Kathy talks about her journey that lead her to intuitive eating as well. Take it away, Kathy!

Hi Sensual Appeal Readers! My name is Kathy, I am a 20 something living in Northern Virginia and I blog over at www.thepandapost.com.

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How many times have you said to yourself “This is going to be the time insert diet name here is going work”? This time I will have willpower!” “This time I will make it to goal!” Yet, one month in, you find yourself binging on the nearest bag of cookies because you just can’t take it anymore. The cycle begins: diet >> binge >> anger. So you recommit AGAIN. You vow this little slip is just a lack of willpower and you do it again, and again and again. With each little slip up, each “falling off the wagon” scenario, the entire process becomes more frustrating, upsetting, and defeating. Weight loss seems an impossible feat, only achieved by people other than you.

Does this sound familiar?

It sure does for me! I began packing on the pounds as a tween and was at my highest weight ever by age 15. It was awful and I was depressed so I decided to change. This was my first, unknowing exposure to intuitive eating. Within 16 months I dropped probably (not sure on a number because I didn’t own a scale) 60 pounds with NO tracking, measuring, weigh-ins, or crazy diet pills. I was on cloud nine until I believed tracking, measuring, and weigh-ins would get me faster results. From age 16 to now, 9 years later, I have been through painstaking weight loss journeys that got me to nowhere besides still being overweight and unhappy.

In June 2013, yes, only a few months ago, it was recommended by a friend that I read Overcoming Overeating by Jane Hirschman and Carol Munter. Deep down I was a skeptic; I am not an overeater! I don’t sit on the couch with bags of chips and gallons of ice cream! However, being an overeater is pretty darn simple, it is eating when you are not physically hungry. I suddenly realized I eat all the time for no good reason, definitely not out of a physical need to nourish myself. Unfortunately, the moment I made this groundbreaking discovery my Dad passed away so all hopes of eating out of physical hunger went out the window from July-August despite my hardest attempts to get “it together”.

So what IS intuitive eating? According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, “Intuitive eating is a nutrition philosophy based on the premise that becoming more attuned to the body’s natural hunger signals is a more effective way to attain a healthy weight, rather than keeping track of the amounts of energy and fats in foods”. Do you know how HARD it is to trust your own body when for years you have been told a diet will do it for you? “Reprogramming” myself is the hardest thing.

I also had to break up with the scale. I realized the weekly weigh-ins just fueled that diet mentality so I wasn’t doing myself any favors by keeping it around. Not knowing my weight is liberating and terrifying all at the same time

So what is my advice for someone thinking of giving this a try? Patience. If you are anything like me this change isn’t going to happen overnight. There will be a lot of trial and error. You might even gain some weight initially (I did) but realize it is only temporary. Surf the web or pick up a book about this, there are plenty to choose from. Learn as much as you can. While this all may sound like “another diet plan”, trust me, you won’t feel like you are on a diet, you will feel like you are living.

Thanks for reading!

Sources

“Intuitive Eating.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 09 Apr. 2013. Web. 19 Sept. 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intuitive_eating>.

Hirschmann, Jane R., and Carol H. Munter. Overcoming Overeating. [S.l.]: OO, 2010. Kindle.

5 Comments

  1. I couldn’t agree more. You have to be patient with yourself and you need to not be hard on yourself if you don’t eat 100% PERFECT all the time. You only live once. That being said, you do only live once so you shouldn’t let EATING control you whole life! I practice IE all the time and let me tell you, it has certainly helped CLEAR UP MY BRAIN for more important things! 🙂

  2. This books sounds incredibly insightful! I definitely could use some help with intuitive eating. As someone with acid reflux, I have a constant burning that I often mistake for hunger and soothe with food. Thanks for the post!

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  4. Eating well and being healthy is about listening to your body which isn’t always easy. But intuitive eating is the way to go! Love this post!

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