Wanting to To Diet Or Lose Weight Before Beginning Intuitive Eating?
If I had a dollar for every time someone said to me that they wanted to lose weight or go on one last diet before they started working together, I might be rich (Maybe. This is questionable, but you get the point. I have heard it. A lot.)
I have heard it from folks on instagram, from clients that reach out, from clients after working together for some time, and from clients who have friends/family/loved ones who believe that intuitive eating is not for them before they lose X amount of pounds or go on another diet before they start exploring Intuitive eating.
Have you been there? Does this resonate with you? Have you heard this eccoched by others who surround you?
“You don’t have to fall into one “camp” when it comes to Intuitive Eating. You are allowed to still want to diet, be undecided, explore your resistance and not make a single decision as you do the work on your relationship with food. “
It leads me to believe a few things: One, that the dieting culture we exist in feels so hard to step out of that it’s unimaginable to picture a world or life in which you didn’t put yourself on a diet. And two, that there is a misunderstanding of intuitive eating that many people have.
So, let’s dive into those two points, shall we?
Your fear of letting go of dieting.
Let’s get something straight so that you and I can be on the same page: your feeling of fear and resistance in even thinking about letting go of dieting is normal, natural and to be expected considering the culture we live in.
I know that the notion of trusting your body may seem foreign, one that may even make you feel angry.
But consider for a moment the amount of time you have been dieting and restricting, feeling fraught with fear and rules. You have practiced dieting for a long time and have been told that this is the only way you can feel happy, healthy, content, attractive and confident in your body, so of course you would feel fearful of letting it go!
Maybe too you don’t see yourself in the non-diet space or you feel like giving yourself permission to not diet and have all foods just won’t work for you. Maybe other people can try that whole permission thing, but not you.
And that’s ok too!
You don’t have to fall into one “camp” when it comes to beginning to learn to become an intuitive eater. You are allowed to still want to diet, be undecided, explore your resistance and not make a single decision as you do the work on your relationship with food. Although I know sometimes it might feel like you have to pick a side. Nuance is very hard to communicate in tweets, instagram posts, short blips and snippets of a complex, multi-dimensional relationship.
“All of the false messaging leads you to think that there is a right way to do intuitive eating, that you need to look a certain way to PRACTICE it, that you need to be at a certain point in your relationship with food to begin implementing the principles of intuitive eating, and that it’s a weight loss plan.”
How you become an intuitive eater, and your journey toward food freedom, looks different for everyone.
Now, onto the second point.
The misunderstanding of Intuitive Eating.
Not surprisingly, as intuitive eating has gained in popularity, it quickly was swept up by the diet industry and by dieting culture.
You might have seen headlines that tell you to “cut out carbs and intuitively eat” or see pictures of sculpted bodies on instagram where the person is talking about how they are “eating intuitively and you can too to look that way”.
“There is no right time to begin. You are allowed to straddle the fence as you process your own body and food story.”
Or maybe you have seen the ads to “eat intuitively and lose weight” or “eat intuitively and stop emotional eating.” All of the false messaging leads you to think that there is a right way to do intuitive eating, that you need to look a certain way to practice it, that you need to be at a certain point in your relationship with food to begin implementing the principles of intuitive eating, and that it’s a weight loss plan.
No wonder why you don’t feel like it’s for you! What a tremendous amount of pressure, expectation and set-up for another diet.
But what I want you to know is this: there is space and room for you.
The imperfect you, the you that doesn’t know what she wants, the you that still wants to diet/restrict, the you that is ready to make significant changes, the you that feels like she can’t make up her mind, the you that feels like she is broken and there is no way out, the you that hates her body, the you that doesn’t feel ready to start, and the you that wants to do things differently but doesn’t know how.
And, the you that knows deep down inside that no amount of juice cleanses, exclusion of food groups, diets, sugar detoxes, diet plans, paleo/keto, weight watchers, etc. is going to make you feel ready to start your journey toward healing your relationship with food.
There is no right time to begin. You are allowed to straddle the fence as you process your own body and food story.
Remember that you may never feel truly ready and you may feel scared to start. But, you know that there is a part of you that knows that you cannot keep doing the same thing that you have done over and over for some time.