I’ve been engaging with intuitive eating for a while now. Ditching the diet was the best thing that I could have done for my mind and my body. I honestly wish I had done it sooner. What no one told me was that there was an extreme side to intuitive eating, which wasn’t really intuitive eating at all. I want to talk to you about it, today.
Intuitive eating is the process of making food choices by listening to your body, your mind and your soul. Diet culture holds so much control over how we eat, drink and exercise. Intuitive eating and intuitive living aims to give you back control over your life and your decisions.
When I first started intuitive eating, I knew it was normal to eat more than ‘usual’. Diet culture teaches us to restrict, whether it be food groups or calories. Our body’s natural response to releasing restriction is to eat. It doesn’t trust when we will allow it to eat again. Eventually, I began to find a rhythm with my eating. I would eat anything I wanted and I felt like I was finally happy with an ‘everything in moderation’ attitude.
After my surgery in September, I was immobile for several weeks and I often ate out of boredom and self-pity. When I struggled to find a job in the months following my surgery, I consoled my boredom again with biscuits and chocolate, all day, everyday. I told myself I was just eating intuitively. I was allowed to eat this much sugar.
The extreme side of intuitive eating
It’s true. I was allowed to eat this much sugar. I managed to avoid shame for the most part. But after a while, I started to feel ill from the sheer amount of biscuits and chocolate. Feeling unwell would make me feel sad, which led me to eat more. So, my response to feeling unwell from too much sugar was to eat more sugar. I had to take a step back.
I realised that I had taken intuitive eating to the extreme. When I listened to what my body was saying, I wasn’t really hearing it. I was ignoring what it actually wanted. When my body told me it didn’t want to eat any more sugar, my mind went into overdrive and panicked. I was scared that restriction would rear it’s ugly head but what I wasn’t considering was that my body was telling me it was done with sugar (for a little while.)
As much as I try to ignore diet culture ‘research’, I do believe that there may be an element of addictiveness to sugar. Whether that’s a chemical component or underlying psychological attachment, my mind feels compelled to eat as much sugar as possible. It’s probably years of restriction that can’t be undone and I accept that.
I accept that I will probably always need to check in on myself when it comes to sugar. However, since I started engaging in intuitive eating, my cravings for other things have gone. Intuitive eating is worth engaging with. It truly connects your mind, body and soul and allows you to reflect on more than just food. It eventually becomes your way of life.
I’m going to talk more about intuitive living in a future post so make sure you sign up to the Take a Paws Newsletter to get the notification! I hope you’ve found this post on the extreme side of intuitive eating useful. By all means, I’m not advocating against intuitive eating. I’m merely being transparent about my journey and my recovery from diet culture in the hope that it might validate how you’re feeling too.
Always remember to take a ‘paws’!
If you’re seriously struggling with your relationship with food, contact BEAT Eating Disorders service for support.