Intuitive Eating Before and After

Family photo

Before Intuitive Eating:

To begin this story of intuitive eating before and after, it’s affirming to see that it was my intuition, ignored and silenced by the rules of countless diets I diligently followed, that led me back to myself. It was my intuition yelling out trying to tell me, this isn’t your way.  After spending my adult life cycling through patterns of restricting and binging, hating my body and waiting on the weight.  My diets (although I never called them that) were getting more restrictive and my binges were becoming more destructive.  It was clear this lifecycle of being on and off restrictive diets wasn’t working for me and never had. 

There was a lot of sadness, giving up on the hope that thinness would bring true happiness. There was anger that I was wasting so much time on something so trivial and superficial. And then there was fear.  I knew what I was doing wasn’t working but I didn’t know another direction to turn.  Deep down I knew that I was put on this earth to do bigger things than chase a number on the scale. With three babies watching me, I was intensely motivated to make a change so I would not pass down these body image issues.  

intuitive eating quote | Listen to your body quote | what is your body trying to tell you?

Once I decided that I had to be done with diets, I was also able to define that what I really wanted was to just have peace with food and accept my body.  A friend told me about an eating framework she had heard about called Intuitive Eating.  She said it was science-backed and more about balance and health than weight loss and strict rules.  I wanted to be able to eat like a normal person.

A lot of people that stand where I stood before healing my relationship with food and my body, think intuitive eating sounds great, but have a hard time evaluating any type of eating framework that can’t cite specific weight loss as its primary outcome.  We are programmed to analyze before and after photos to determine if people that had done intuitive eating gained weight.   I understand this, completely. 

Michelle Lelwica, Author of The Religion of Thinness and a professor in the religion department at Concordia college writes, “Your desire for well-being must be stronger than your attachment to thinness.  Your yearning to be peaceful and whole needs to be bigger than your ego’s craving to be “beautiful” and “admired” in the eyes of our culture.”   Coming to this realization for myself was not easy. In fact one of my first questions to the coaches I worked with was, “Can I still lose weight?”

I was scared.  But it was as if the door behind me to diet culture was locked and closed and I knew I had to move forward.  Intellectually I knew diets were not sustainable, and being brutally honest with myself reminded me, they would never bring me what I actually was looking for.   

This about face to all you have ever known is not for the faint of heart.  For me, working with a team of intuitive eating coaches that were trained to support women transitioning away from diet culture made all the difference. Most of us can intellectually understand intuitive eating, but it is the practical application that sends most people back to diets. How does one continue to practice food freedom when they’ve just had a bad body image moment? We’ve all been there, see a bad angle picture of yourself and decide in that moment the diet starts on Monday, and thus the cycle repeats. For me, working with a team of intuitive eating coaches, helped me stay on course.  They were able to reinforce the ten principles of Intuitive Eating and help me apply them to my everyday life, they supported me when difficult body image moments threatened to take me off my path. 

Looking back I know for certain there are many times I would have stopped all this if they weren’t there pushing me forward.  I’ll be forever grateful to them.  Those that know me see a difference in me, a lightness, a peace.  When I talk about this to those that don’t know me, I say things like “it was life changing,” and I fear they don’t really understand.

So, in this post I’m going to list specific examples of the transformations that have taken place in my life through Intuitive Eating: Before and After. 

Intuitive Eating Before and After:

  1. My Relationship with Food BEFORE Intuitive eating 
  • There is good food and bad food 
  • I can’t trust myself around certain foods, so I should keep certain foods out of the house 
  • I should eat three meals a day.  Each one should be a perfect proportion of healthy fats, good carbs and veggies  
  • I need to follow my food rules perfectly or it’s pointless   
  • I am either “on a plan” or I will allow myself planned cheat days  
  1.  My Relationship with Food AFTER Intuitive eating 
  • All foods are allowed, there are no “good” or “bad” foods or perfect plates
  • I will eat a variety of foods that for the most part make me feel good physically and make me happy mentally 
  • I will ask my body what I want to eat in that moment and I trust my own guidance
  • I will listen to my body and feed it when it’s hungry, and stop when I’m satisfied 
  1.  My Body Image BEFORE Intuitive Eating
  • My body was a constant work in progress and could always use improvement 
  • I am a healthy girl imposter, if I loosen my grip on my diet goals I will be fat again
  • I am not good enough if I am not working to be smaller
  1.  My Body Image AFTER Intuitive Eating
  • This is the body I have been given and I accept it
  • I am strong and healthy and I eat what I want
  • What I look like is the least interesting thing about me
  1. My Identity BEFORE Intuitive Eating
  • Second to being Mom to my kids, my main purpose is to maintain my weight and achieve my best body. 
  • Others will be impressed by my dedication and motivation to maintain my weight 
  • I am a excellent dieter and know a tremendous amount about fitness 
  1. My Identity AFTER Intuitive Eating
  • I am a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a coworker, and a friend to myself
  •  I trust myself and am proud of who I am right now 
  • I have many other more meaningful things to think about and work on than maintaining my appearance
  1. My Relationship with Exercise BEFORE Intuitive Eating
  • The harder the better, no pain no gain 
  • Many buckets to fill to feel “accomplished,” must do long cardio, must do short sprints, must lift, must stretch  
  • Exercise was punishment & correction for overeating 
  • I have to exercise or I will gain weight because I have no willpower to avoid “bad” foods 
  1. My Relationship with Exercise AFTER Intuitive Eating
  • My body feels good when I’m moving consistently 
  • Exercise is a consistent break from my day that I look forward to
  • I will move in ways that feel good to my body at the time
  • I will not obsessively track workouts or require a certain structure 

The transformation begins that minute we understand our efforts fixing external problems will never lead to internal transformation.  That working against our bodies will never prevail to find peace within them.  

Michelle Lelwica Quote |

This type of transformation was outside my perception of attainability.  For me, with my background it seemed too far of a reach. Yet another “program” I would try and eventually fail at. But today, one year into my transformation, I can proudly say, I am an Intuitive Eater.  I am someone who makes food choices without shame. I feeds myself regularly. I stop when I’m full and truly enjoys the pleasure of eating.

I went from being a stay at home Mom to now working with the same coaches that helped me retune my life. No one had ever told me, maybe it was the diets that were the problem, not my lack of willpower, my slow metabolism or my love of all foods. It is now my mission to ensure more women are able to experience the freedom I live within today.   

Are you ready to transform your relationship with food and your body?  Do you intuitively know that diets are not sustainable and are not going to give you the outcome you are seeking but don’t know what else to do?  We offer our time to you in a free breakthrough session to answer the questions you might have.  Please book some time on our calendar.  

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