OPEN UP #3: Transitioning from the “Healthy One” to the “Intuitive Eater”

For this next post in the Open Up series, I wanted to start a conversation around family and friends supporting your intuitive eating lifestyle when you’re transitioning from “the healthy one” in your friends group, or your family; when people notice that your eating has changed.

Thank you to the reader who requested this topic, I so relate to what you’re experiencing here, and what it feels like to go through this. It’s kind of uncomfortable, isn’t it?

But, you’re committed to learning to be intuitive, so let’s talk about it. This is a great conversation to have.

Open Up Series

My experience:

Years before I got more in touch with my intuitive side, I absolutely felt like “the healthy one.” As in, I was the one people expected to skip dessert (or, let’s be honest, who would eat WAY too much dessert and would say “I’m sooooo full” and then reassure everyone in my family that “it’s okay! We’ll be good tomorrow!” – ever been there?).

When I transitioned from dieting to intuitive eating, I personally noticed a lot of support from my family, and a lot more confusion from my friends. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still have family members who are totally skeptical of intuitive eating for themselves, but, they trust it for me, because it’s now been YEARS since anyone has seen me diet – and they see that I’m HAPPY.

Your experience:

I don’t know exactly what your experience is like as you’re transitioning from the healthy one into intuitive eating, but I’ll guess that it feels a little bit uncomfortable. I’ll guess that whether it’s your family members or your friends, people are making comments to you…

“Wait, but that has THIS many calories! Really, you’re okay with eating it?”

“Really? You’re not going to get frozen yogurt with me? But, why? Common! Just once!” 

“Common, you should eat more!”

“Really, you’re not hungry? Common, just have a little bit.”

These comments can feel awkward, sometimes humiliating, and really, like we’d just rather people say anything at all. Common guys! Just let me be! Pleaaaaase stop with the food comments.

I totally understand this. I KNOW how awkward the food comments from ANY angle can be, and we can totally talk about this. But, I also want to talk about how it is true that we get to choose what we let bother us. AGH, I know… this bit of wisdom can feel like the broken record of life. 

Here’s what I want to ask you…

Is your experience with intuitive eating going to feel better or worse if you let all of the awkward comments really get to you? If you let everything dictate how you feel, are you going to enjoy this transition more or less? Are you going to be more or less uncomfortable?

Does it REALLY matter what they’re saying? What if they’re simply curious? What if deep down, they kind of wish they could do this whole intuitive thing too, and they’re just digging around to learn more about what your experience is, so they can learn themselves? 

People are CURIOUS. Especially when it comes to food, what we eat, and how we do things.

Get real with yourself:

Here’s what I’ve found to really help my clients transition: Instead of crossing your fingers and hoping that no one will say anything to you about your new transition, expect it. Expect that people will say things, and that it will be uncomfortable.

This way, when someone does say something, you can simply remind yourself: “Oh, there’s that comment I knew would make me feel uncomfortable. Man, that DOES feels uncomfortable. But hey, it’s okay. I knew this would be a part of the process. It’ll be okay. I’ll be okay. I’m safe to keep going. Ah! This is really awkward… Oh, but again, it’s okay. I’ll be find. This takes some time for people to adjust to. Eventually, the way I eat will just be normal. Ah, I feel a little better…”

Watch and walk your talk:

Now, one thing I learned, is that I had to be (and wanted to be) more careful with my words when I began eating intuitively. The reason, I believe, that my family was so supportive of me was because they saw a change in how I treated myself for the BETTER.

I consciously made the choice to STOP criticizing myself out-loud. I knew that saying “Ah, I feel fat! Do you think I look fat? Be honest!never made me feel better. Instead, it always made me feel worse once I said it out-loud. To replace these negative comments, I made the choice to start saying more things out-loud like, “I like myself” or, “I trust myself.” I focused on what I DID like about myself (which by the way, is actually BETTER for your metabolism – it’s less stressful!).

Also, I had to STOP with the out-loud food insecurities. Now, I want to be clear here: It IS important to talk about your food stuff, but in my opinion, its NOT important to talk about it with EVERYONE you know. Find one or two people who you can truly confide in.

Choose a support system:

Your support system CAN absolutely be your spouse/BF/GF, but, also find someone who you are not emotionally connected to. Hire a coach, work with a counselor at your Church or in your local community, or join a group of likeminded women.

Great, light, and healthy relationships will be so key in your journey. You want to be able to come home from your coaching session, feeling lighter than ever, ready to enjoy your spouse/BF/GF/family vs. coming home needing to talk about intense food-work, to people who MIGHT NOT understand it. Make sense?

Find someone you can confide in. Someone who you TRUST* (most important thing!).

Be consistent:

Last but not least, be as consistent as you can. NOT perfect. Simply, as consistent as you can be. This will mean slowing down, finding ways to get distance from emotional triggers, finding ways to step back, reflect, and learn to respond to emotional feelings vs. reacting to them.

This will be learning to take your time vs. being super impulsive (my nature is to be mega-impulsive – if I can work through this, I have total faith that you can too). This means learning to see the grey area in every situation, and being okay with letting go of the black and white. It’ll be okay! 

This has felt like such a good thing to talk about… I love having these conversations! Let’s keep it going…

Your turn:

To continue the conversation, leave a comment below and let me know: Can you relate? What has felt helpful here? What will you take away from this post? How do you find that you get the most support from others? Or, are you really struggling to get support? Share with us below! 


P.S. Simi and I are hosting Finally Free Mastery Girl Talk NEXT Tuesday night and would love for you to join us via the phone! We’ll be sharing how intuitve eating helped us to reach our healthiest and happiest weights, and and how it can help you too. It’s free, and will be recorded, so there’s no reason NOT to sign-up if you’d like to be in on this conversation.

P.P.S. If you’re looking for group coaching, MASTERY is open now. When you enroll today, you’ll get a LIFETIME membership. This means that you sign-up for this year, and every other year you’ll get to join our group coaching calls for free! If you want in, there is no better time for you to join! XO.

Love, Paige
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