Friday, July 18, 2008

Condition Your Intuition

Many of us have heard of intuitive eating. It sounds good. It sounds difficult. It sounds…interesting. So how is it accomplished?

Well, to be able to practice intuitive eating properly, you have to have good intuition. Working intuition.

I was not always good at this. But I am now. It is how I eat.

In order to do this, you first have to really want what is best for your body and do what it tells you at all costs.

As I'm sure you may well know, this can be extremely difficult. If you can't do this or your body doesn't accurately tell you what it wants when it wants it, you are not ready to do intuitive eating that way it needs to be done to keep you healthy.

I've found that a strict meal plan can keep a person in a restrictive mindset--it was always the case for me. You can, however, follow a meal plan that incorporates intuitive eating. That is, one that leaves room for your own desires and inclinations. It's designed to give you what you need, has lots of guidelines, but is loose enough to make you feel comfortable. For example, if a strict meal plan keeps you in a restrictive mindset, a looser meal plan that provides basics to go by (types of things you should always eat) plus some room for playing around with intuitive eating might be the way to go.

The bonus to this approach is that you slowly learn your body, its responses, and are able to listen to yourself without worrying you will go crazy and have major setbacks.

I'm no nutritionist, but I would suggest integrating intuitive eating into a regular food plan so you can get the hang of it and be ready to try it in the future if you're ready and able. There are some who rave about intuitive eating and say it's always the way to go, and there's nothing wrong with it, but it's not for everyone right away. It takes practice. Relying solely on intuitive eating right from the start might not be a good thing. If you eat based on intuition for two days and then review what you ate and your intake wasn't enough to be considered healthy and nutritional, then you need to work on some more things first before using intuitive eating on a daily basis.

But it can be a goal.

As I said earlier, intuitive eating requires working intuition. :)

Advice? Talk to your therapist/nutritionist/parents/spouse and tell them that you are having trouble recognizing the signs of being full/hungry and the other things that go along with that, like poor perception of proper intake, etc. See if a looser meal plan might work for you—a plan where there is space for you to play around with what you eat as you become more in tune with yourself and your body, and as you make your way farther along on the path of recovery. It takes time to learn yourself again. Be patient. Be kind.


Emily Jolie said...

Dear Arielle,

It is always a treat to find another wonderful post from you!

Ahh, the intuitive eating. I go through phases of being more or less in touch with my intuition. The times I am really in touch with it are the most satisfying of all! Those are the times when I feel centered, connected, grounded, and strong.

My challenge, in the past (and, to some degree, still now), has been not so much getting in touch with my intuition, but not overriding it. Even in the darkest of times, I could hear the little voice of my intuition that told me what was good for me and what wasn't, or when I'd had enough or I needed more, and what it was I needed more of. Too often, sadly, I drowned out that little voice that was there to help. In engaging on a binge, for instance, the voice would try its best to speak louder, so I would listen. I, on the other hand, would just eat faster, as if trying to talk over it, so that it wouldn't have time to have me come to reason before I'd had the chance to go on that greatly-desired binge.

I am much better these days at listening to the little voice and taking my time before acting. To tell you the truth, just the other day I was thinking that what made me feel the worst about my eating disorder was not so much what I ate or didn't eat, but the fact that I ate despite knowing better. The fact that I felt there was another entity taking over when I went on binges, and that I no longer had control. That I gave up the control.

My resolution yesterday was that I could eat anything I wanted - as long as it was a conscious choice! If I eat something that's not going to make me feel so good... it's ok... as long as I know that and consciously decide that it's worth it, rather than berating myself the entire time I'm eating it, asking myself why oh why I'm doing it if I know it's going to do me no good.

Thinking of you, Arielle! I hope you're doing great!

with love,


Arielle said...

Thank you, ej. :) It certainly does take a while to master intuition. Listening to that voice inside us is quite a challenge. I'm glad it's working well for you. As always, thanks so much for reading. Hope you're doing well too!

Much love,