I've heard from client's who start to work with me that they've read the book, they spent hours reading blogs and listening to podcasts but they still just don't "get it." Intuitive eating still feels challenging, frustrating and stressful. If you're feeling this way, know that you are not alone in this struggle.
Intuitive eating seems as though it should be simple, right? The concepts of connecting to your body, honoring your hunger, feeling your fullness and mindfully moving your body can all doable with time, right? Well.... they can appear simple but they can be especially challenging to implement in the face of our diet obsessed culture!
Here are 4 reasons why intuitive eating may not be working for you:
1. You're trying to do it all in isolation and feeling alone in your beliefs and values.
In our world it's the cultural norm to praise and celebrate dieting (starvation). This as a consequence also celebrates ignoring our bodies cues and pushing past hunger. If you are trying to connect and celebrate to your natural body state and tap into your bodies cues this can feel strange and may get questioned by people who are in full "diet mentality" in your life. If you build a community of individuals who share your same Health At Every Size(TM) values this can normalize your values, celebrate your actions towards embracing intuitive eating and help to empower you to accept your body. If you need a community connect to my Facebook Group here.
2. You've got the book smarts but have not been able to get the hang of the embodiment piece (connecting to your body and trusting it).
There is a difference between reading information in a book and actually putting it into practice in your body. Things that can get in the way of connecting to your body include past trauma, stress, previous dieting (dieting tells us we can't trust our body) and not having a mindfulness practice. Sometimes we need guidance to get back to the basics all over again which can start as simple as reconnecting with your breath.
"Sometimes we need guidance to get back to the basics all over again which can start as simple as reconnecting with your breath."
Does it sounds silly when you are learning so much and digging into the intuitive eating research (as presented in the book) to be recommended to take a step back and just focus on breathing for a while? You may think you are miles ahead of this but essentially all embodiment of intuitive eating starts with creating a mindfulness practice and an easy way to start that is to focus on your breath. You can use my breath meditation to get back to the basics.
3. It all makes sense in your life in isolation but you are missing the skills to apply it to everyday life situations involving other people in your life.
The research and science behind intuitive eating is AMAZING but....research doesn't show you how to put all of this into different parts of your life. When real life happens it can be helpful to discuss with a certified intuitive eating counselor how these skills and principles apply in all areas of your life. The reason why this can be so helpful is because you may not have any other individual in your life whom you can reach out to and discuss intuitive eating. You can take the opportunity to release thoughts from your mind into real verbal conversations to work through road blocks and challenges.
4. You still feel your body is a problem or isn't the "right size" it should be so you are still pursuing weight loss throughout all of the intuitive eating principles.
If you have went through all of the principles but just cannot move into the next steps of putting it into practice, you may still be acting on to dieting thoughts and beliefs. Diet culture creates an environment where you are blamed for an "imperfect" body. It can be hard to move through this and start to create thoughts and beliefs around self acceptance. If you understand all the principles in theory but are not accepting of them in your life, it may be because you still believe you need to lose weight to gain healthy, worth and happiness in your life. An intuitive eating counselor can help you to move through these beliefs and any fears around weight that might be holding you back.
You can do this!
One thing to remember is that diet culture puts an urgency on things....a "lose xlbs in 30 days" type of a mentality. Intuitive eating is the unlearning of years of dieting and does need time. It is also not a failure to seek out help so that you can understand how to get back to eating intuitively in your life. In an ideal world we would never have deviated from our true nature of intuitive eating, but you didn't grow up and live your life up to this point in an ideal world.
If you are looking for support book a free call with Renee Little, Dietitian and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor.