How I Sometimes Fail at Intuitive Eating

“I would be interested to hear if you ever fail to listen to your body when it comes to intuitive eating? If so, then how do you get back on track?”

This was a question from a blog reader…

How Paige Schmidt Sometimes Fails at Intuitive Eating and How She Can Support You

The answer: Sometimes I win and feel great about how I’m listening to my body (like, YES! This feels so good!) and other times I learn.

Never though, do I FAIL. And neither do you. 

There is no such thing as failure, only feedback.

Let’s read this together from the book Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch:

Forget about failure. All of our chronic dieter’s walk into our offices feeling as if they are failures. Whether they are highly placed executives, prominent celebrities, or straight-A students, they all talk about their food experiences shamefully, and they doubt they’ll ever be able to feel successful in the area of eating. The diet mentality reinforces feelings of success or failure. You can’t fail at Intuitive Eating–it’s a learning process at every point along the way. What used to be thought of as a set-back will instead be seen as a growth experience. You’ll get right back on track when you see this as progress, not failure.

Ahh, a breathe of fresh air.

What we learn here is that there is no such thing as ‘failing’ at Intuitive Eating. Instead, we are constantly growing and making progress (even if we feel like we’ve hit a set-back or “messed up”).

Back to the readers question: “…do you ever fail to listen to your body when it comes to intuitive eating? If so, then how do you get back on track?”

Yes, there are times I do not listen to my body. Sometimes, accidentally (I just entirely forget to check-in with myself) and other times it’s on purpose (I really just want to eat for the purpose of eating/tasting/pleasure). Both of these give me no guilt (and if they do initially, I remind myself that “guilt never helps” and toss it out the window).

My little mantra on guilt – “guilt never helps” – really helps me. It gives me permission to let go of guilt. How is feeling guilty over something that I cannot control (already happened) going to help? It won’t – guilt only makes situations worse.

The other part of the question: “…If so, then how do you get back on track?”

We just learned that we can get back on track easily when we see this ALL of our ups & downs as progress, not failure.

If ‘failing’ at listening to my body is PROGRESS, then there must be something we can learn, right?

In order to learn anything from my eating habits, I have to communicate with myself (I tell my clients that they’re going to become their own best friends because they’ll talk to themselves a lot). Here are some of the questions I might ask myself with corresponding scenarios:

  • Scenario – accidentally not listening to my body. Loving response: “Woah, I didn’t even realize I was doing that. I wonder what’s up? Am I feeling stressed? Am I nervous? Anxious? What would help me to feel calm right now?”
  • Scenario – purposefully not listening to my body. Loving response: “It’s okay that sometimes you just want to ‘eat whatever you want.’ Now that you have, how do you feel? Does this feel good? Would you want to create this same feeling again?”
  • Scenario – trying to listen to my body, but feeling like I ‘just can’t stop eating.’ Loving response: “Are you fully believing that you can have this food anytime you want it? Is there any part of you that feels limited, restricted, or guilty for eating this food? Is there anything else (experiences, thoughts, feelings) going on in this moment that are causing you to feel tense, stressed, or just ‘bad’ in general?” And if so… “What is this food doing for you in the moment?” The food could be: numbing your stress, giving you comfort, company, a distraction, silencing your mind… etc…

Compassionate talking to yourself in this way, where you’re leading with care and curiosity, creates forward momentum and keeps  you from feeling stuck.

Love, Paige

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