Is Intuitive Eating Healthy Eating? Preparing for a Wedding without Dieting
Question: I was curious if you have anything further to comment on in relation to weddings. Obviously I want to look and feel my best, hence the struggle between “eating healthy” and intuitive eating.
Great question, friend. Let’s dive in.
First, congratulations! Marriage can be such a wonderful part of life and we’re very happy and excited for you!
Second, in our view, intuitive eating is “healthy eating.” Not only does the research show us this but, we believe our overall relationship with food and the role it plays in our lives needs to be factored into our definition of healthy.
Third, we dive in deeper on this week’s podcast lesson. Pop in your pod’s a give a listen here.
That being said, we want to respond to this question in three parts:
- Body autonomy and our belief that it’s your body and you can do whatever you want with it, as all women should.
- Define what “looking and feeling your best” means for you.
- Focus on what truly matters most to you on your wedding day.
We believe every woman should feel empowered to do exactly what they want with their body. It is your body after all. Dieting is 100% available to you. We think it’s really important to face those thoughts head on and unpack any lingering nostalgia about how easy it was to lose weight and “feel better” (we’ll unpack that part in a second) in the past.
It’s important, on this journey to ask ourselves “Why not just go back to dieting?” It helps us get honest with ourselves, without judgement, about whether or not we truly want that. Because if you’re on this intuitive eating journey, it’s likely that dieting has actually a.) never really worked for you anyway, and b.) caused so much distress in your life that you went seeking a solution to the pain. So it’s important to feel empowered in your decision to reject it.
Just like knowing all food is available helps us to discern what we actually want and like when it comes to eating, the same is true for our choice here. Dieting is an option. But do you really want to go back down that rabbit hole? Be honest.
It’s also helpful to remind yourself of the typical response to restriction in our lives that dieting causes. The food obsession. The stress. The crowding out of other important pursuits. The mental beatdowns. The binging. The intense cravings. Feeling out of control. This is what happens when we try to manipulate our bodies. We know all of this. So will doing so actually lead you to “looking and feeling your best” on your wedding day?
Define What Looking and Feeling Your Best Means to You
This is crucial. What does looking and feeling your best actually mean for you? Does it mean thin? Does it mean being the smallest physical version of yourself? Or does it mean radiant, joyful, well-nourished, relaxed, calm, present, healthy and beautiful? Because those things are not the same. And if you’re thinking the latter is more aligned for you, then let’s talk about actually taking care of yourself in a weight inclusive way.
When you ask the question “is intuitive eating healthy?” We have to include all areas of our health, including emotional and psychological.
How could you take the best possible care of yourself leading up to this event so that you truly are looking and feeling your best? Could you think in terms of adding more in, as opposed to restricting, limiting or avoiding? More rest. More proactive stress management. More sleep. More water. More fruits and vegetables and nourishing foods. More movement. More connection. More meditation. More fun and creativity. More fresh air. More of doing things you love with people you love?
Dieting is a stressor. It strips away our confidence, our joy and our life force. And most of the time it doesn’t even result in the smaller body we wanted anyway.
So think about what “looking and feeling your best” actually means for you and create a plan accordingly. You can take excellent care of yourself without focusing on weight loss. In fact, dieting and pursuing intentional weight loss are the opposite of taking care of yourself. They are active forms of self-harm.
Focus on What Truly Matters to You about Your Wedding Day
Take a second to think through the most important parts of your wedding day. What do you value most? How do you want to feel? What are you looking forward to? What are you most excited about? Usually the things that truly matter to us have little to do with our weight or how we look. If we get honest with ourselves, what we actually value goes deeper than that. It’s usually about our connections with others.
Do a quick visualization of how you want to feel throughout the day. The people you want to be surrounded with. The emotions you imagine you’ll feel. The special parts of the ceremony and celebration that you’re looking forward to. And focus on those parts of your wedding day.
The more we fixate on our appearance, the less satisfied we are with it. So shifting our focus to our values and how we want to feel can protect us from those shaky body image moments that trigger thoughts of restriction and dieting. When we practice body respect and appreciation in the face of that rising desire to shrink, we can keep what truly matters top of mind.
And of course, always, remember to keep self-compassion on top of your wedding to-do list. This is a big day. Planning a wedding can be highly stressful. And for a woman who’s struggled with food and body in the past, and is committed to recovery, this could of course feel like a challenging chapter of life. But, you could also reframe it as the ultimate opportunity to deepen your practice of choosing self-love and self-care over the self-harm of dieting.
We wish you all the best in this exciting season. And of course, we’re here to support you anyway we can – and we’re in your corner, always.
If you’ve got a big event coming up and are feeling this same struggle in your own life, or if you’ve just been wondering “is intuitive eating healthy,” check our free master class 5 Shifts to End Binge Eating – it’s life-changing.
And if you’re feeling called to get some support around this, click here to book a free Breakthrough Session with one of our coaches today. We’ll hop on the phone for 45 minutes and uncover exactly what’s not working for you in terms of food and your body right now, what you’re missing in order to fix it and a step-by-step plan to move forward. Book your Breakthrough Session today.