How I came to Intuitive eating?
I grew up in culture, where skinny and slim is associated with wealth, health, gracefulness, femininity, successful personality. So I was affected by that since teenage period. Being skinny was a must if I wanted to be accepted. Since I was living apart from my parents, I had room mates that always were dieting, telling bad remarks about chubbiness, being proud of eating just one plate of cereal in morning and other at night. Drinking gallon of water per day….. I had to stay in level. But at age 20 my body started to change, I realized I was becoming more feminine, started to appear curves. Was very hard to keep the appearance of stick that other girls envied so much. That was unacceptable. So dieting started.
Now – after 15 years of dieting, overexercising and obsessing over weight, going yo-yo constantly, my body just stopped to respond to everything. I started to gain weight no matter nothing.
And I felt so done with all that.
Even thought about next diet made me feel sick and sad. And exercises were giving me soreness, stiffness, sleepiness, not anymore energy or strength at all. I started to think – if I will stop dieting and exercising excessively, I will become very overweight.. but I cannot continue like that either… So what to do? Then next thought was – hey – but am I not the one who put myself into this position in what I am now? One thing leads to another, years of abusing body leads to body’s mutiny, rebellion. So I had to accept that I am in the point where I inevitably had to be according to my lifestyle. I decided to accept my body, stop war against it and against food. Such quotes like: ” Food is fuel not enemy”, “There is no diet that will do that mindful eating does..”, “The best way to eat is that makes you fell healthy and happy” were really motivating and made sense.
I thought that there should be a way of listening to your body’s signals. That life shouldn’t be all about calories, obsessive calculations of what I’ve ate today and how much I should eat for dinner. Maybe better nothing for dinner? Or just a bit I can? Ah…
So I googled “Intuitive eating”. And there it was. a lot information on the topic. Blogs with personal experiences, advices, forums.
So my journey started. I knew that in beginning will be a lot of eating once you give signal to your body that there are no restrictions anymore. And I knew that the hunger hormones are in state of alert even a year after dieting and weight loss.
So I prepared.
I started to eat mayonnaise here, there and everywhere. I do love mayonnaise! I put it to all fried foods. And I do like fried foods! I do like pastas in all ways possible! I like carbohydrates and meet. I like tomatoes with cream and fried potatoes. Oh yes!!! And I am not even mentioning cheeses and pica, and grilled chicken and cakes and potato salad and all wonderful foods, that I was restricting to myself. So now I was eating every single time I was hungry, even if it was just 1 hour after I already had my previous meal. And I ate literally everything I wanted. I decided to go intuitive literally to everything – including liquids and exercising too. I was drinking 2 liters of water daily and even more diligently counting glasses, to not miss any. Often I felt that not everything is OK with that idea. So I decided to put that to the test too. Do I really need 2 liters of water every single day? I decided to doubt everything that I have ever read about “right” eating. EVERYTHING. Even the standards of how many glasses of water I should drink. And see what happens. Happened that I wanted coffee several times a day. Strong, super hot coffee with sugar. Juices and tea. Water I took significantly less than before. And I didn’t bother about it.
I had few episodes, that in the middle of the night I felt super hungry ( that never happened before in my life ). So I woke up and went to eat what ever was in my mind in that moment. What ever my, tortured by diets, body was calming for.
This binge eating continued 3 months. And I let it be. I needed my body to realize that there will always be available whatever food for it. To let those hunger alert hormones in my brain calm down. I knew strongly – I will not restrict myself as long as necessary. Even if my body will ask excessive food a year. There was now way back.
I gained weight, but, surprisingly, not so much as I was expecting.
After 3 months I started to feel change. Binge eating decreased, I started to feel more choosey about what I would like to eat. I started to eat less frequently and feel full much sooner during each meal. And instead of all fried foods I felt more inclined to fruits, grains, lean meats. More water. Yes, the need for water returned. I’m drinking water whenever I feel need. Some days I drink water a lot without counting glasses, some days I drink only a bit. Just as requires my body. Some days are still coffee days.
At the moment – 5 months after my journey started, I’m still checking and getting acquainted with my body’s needs. Some days I don’t feel need to eat a lot. Some days I eat normally, and other ones I eat a lot.
My exercising habits have changed drastically. First two months I didn’t exercised at all. I mean – AT ALL. Not even stretching. Not even yoga. Nothing. Then slowly I started to feel need for some training. I took it slowly. Still I’m checking what workouts give me energy and toning, and what make me stiff, sore, very dense instead of flexibility and lightness.
What I have understood by now – there are now rules. All those scales, measurement standards, BMI scales – they are not for me anymore. I weight myself once in month. ( before was every day. Sometimes 2x a day. ) I do consider now that we all are individuals. And we all should treat ourselves as such. In everything.
For example: in exercising – some like to do a lot of lunges and burpees and pushups and all that kind of stuff. In my case – I hate lunges, burpees, pushups. No matter how strongly I was trained in the past – I could never do those exercises without feeling that I am gonna faint. So I understood finally that it is not for me. The same like I will never be as flexible as i would like. It’s just my body. Live with that.
So – now I’m sure – its all about individuality.
We all have different bodies, That is truth.
Our bodies do change during life time and that is truth too.
And – our body remembers everything and is not forgiving anything – that is truth again. And at the moment I’m dealing with that until it will heal it’s metabolism, overexercised joints, interrupted by diets hormonal system.
So in general I am still on my journey. It has just started. How I feel? Much better that I don’t have to struggle about my old jeans that doesn’t fit me anymore. I just buy new ones, that fits. When going out for dinner I’m not worried about how much I can eat, how I will explain to others that I’m not eating. I just enjoy. And that’s grate. Fiscally I feel good. The inflammation of stomach has significantly decreased, because I don’t eat that salad that make me bloat. I don’t have anymore feeling of fainting or dizziness, because my daily activities are requiring more energy than I was giving to my body. My stomach doesn’t hurt anymore because of being empty and there is still not the right time to eat – three hours more please! Pain in the back is rare now. Exercising is now a fun time rather than hard daily obligation.
I haven’t lost any weight by intuitive eating and I don’t wait for that. It wasn’t what I was expecting when I started this journey anyway. Intuitive eating and intuitive exercising in my case was more about freedom from body image stereotypes so common in society, peace with food and with my own body, and it has given me all that. And if, for me, feeling good and energized means to stay chubby, so be it. And if in one moment my body will let go off some more weight and that will be healthy for me at that point – so be it.
What I’m trying to say – it’s all about health no matter size.