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Because intuitive eating is not a diet or weight loss program — one of the primary concerns of intuitive eating newbies is invariably weight gain — people tend to postpone the work until after they’ve lost weight. Just one more diet, the whisper from the dark corner calls.
In the interest of telling it like it is, waiting to lose weight before starting intuitive eating is like walking across your kitchen in dirty shoes before washing the floor.
I understand and empathize with your desire for weight loss. In this thin-obsessed culture, how could you want anything else?
But delaying the work will actually not: Improve your health.
Help you to relax around the holiday buffet. Lead you hate your body any less.
Result in a different body size and shape then the one you’re mean to be at.
Here’s a story. I can’t sew a button to save my life. While I somehow picked up how to make hollandaise sauce, to set a mousetrap, and make the strongest cup of coffee you’ll ever have, I never learned how to sew. Meanwhile, I fantasize about making my own clothes and stitching bags. I’ve looked into courses. I’ve added it to my bucket lists. And yet…nothing.
Intuitive eating is a lot like my sewing dreams. The concept of making peace with food sounds nice; the freedom to enjoy a croissant on a Saturday morning (ideally with that lovely cup of strong coffee) sounds darling. But it’s also hard fucking work.
Among many things, it means…
Loosening the perfectionism.
Finding coping mechanisms outside of or in addition to food — dieting, restriction, bingeing, purging, etc — and over-exercise.
Accepting your natural size and shape.
Grieving the time lost to chasing after the thin ideal.
Possibly losing friends or becoming less close to them, especially if you’ve bonded over fat talk and diets.
Addressing your feelings and the problems present in your life.
I’m really selling it.
But it also means:
More mental real estate to focus on other things.
No longer waiting on the weight to pursue what you truly want — whether it’s a vacation, partner, or a new career.
Having a more relaxed approach to food and eating.
Being able to enjoy the presence of others…rather than obsessing over the calories in your meal.
Not going hungry (hopefully).
Creating space to like your body, or at least caring for it, unconditionally.
So, I’ve got to ask you: what do you hope to gain by delaying the work? What would you need to know or have before you started on your intuitive eating journey? What’s attractive about that one last diet?