Today I want to talk with you about the unseen intuitive eater. The intuitive eater who, perhaps, the outside person might not recognize as an “intuitive eater.”
When you think of spotting an intuitive eater, what are the first things that come to mind? Would she be eating chocolate? Drinking wine with friends with a huge smile on her face? Enjoying a walk, but nothing too excessive?
But also, maybe she is…
…the woman who listens to her body and chooses things that, to the outsider, just seem like “healthy choices.” But to this intuitive eater, she is simply making a choice that she has learned will allow her to feel her best.
Happy, present, comfortable in her own skin and, not to mention, in her own jeans – feeling un-bloated able to continue spending time with friends even after dinner (not needing to head home early because her pants can hardly contain the pain/bloat that is happening in her stomach from what she just ate).
This woman has taken the time, apart from dieting, to get to know what does and does not feel good for her body. She knows that no foods are off limits, and from this place, she mostly chooses foods that leave her feeling good. No because she has to, but because she wants to feel good. She wants to wake up each day with energy, ready to get after it! Ready to feel her best for herself and those around her.
As she’s spent much time learning about intuitive eating, and unlearning old diet behaviors and habits (think: strict rules that feel full of deprivation and restriction), she’s really gotten to know herself. What works for her. What doesn’t work so well.
At the start of the week, she makes a grocery list and plans out what meals she’ll cook that week. She likes knowing that she has her favorite, tasty, feel-good options on hand. She chooses cookbooks that are full of foods, recipes, and ideas that she knows allow her to feel her best. She feels abundant. Energetic. Optimistic.
When you go out to eat with her, she may or may not choose to have a drink with you, depending on how she wants to feel.
She always considers this: “How do I want to feel when I am finished eating (or drinking)?”
She isn’t obsessive. She’s full of grace and compassion for herself. She takes time to check-in with her body to find out what would feel good. Sometimes she eats something for dinner or chooses a side dish that she knows won’t leave her feeling her best, but she’s okay with that. She values permission and she knows she always has a choice. She knows that for the most part, she chooses what feels great, and that sometimes she just wants a little Mac n’ cheese.
For physical activity, she moves her body most days, even if she doesn’t necessarily “feel like it.” She knows that often, once she gets moving, she feels grateful that she chose to get in some activity. Sometimes, she challenges her body with exercise through running, or lifting weights and trying to get stronger. As she exercises, she is attuned to her body, listening to what feels right, paying attention to her form, and honoring her limits.
Overall, she (the unseen intuitive eater) feels great. She has confidence in the fact that she is able to take care of herself without submitting to a random list of strict rules. She generally knows what does and doesn’t feel good for her (she’s taken the time to learn this about herself through coaching, reading, and years of experimenting), and at the very same time, she knows she is always allowed to make whatever choice she wants at any time.
She is an intuitive eater.
Most often, we hear of intuitive eating as a general “eat whatever you want, when you want it.” So when we think of how to spot an intuitive eater, we automatically assume it will be the woman doing all of the things that we’d never let ourselves do as a dieter.
But I want you to know, this – what I’ve described in this post – is typically what I’ve found a long-term intuitive eater to look like. Never perfect (that would be too much pressure), but… generally attuned to what allows her to feel good, and making those choices most of the time.
I have received countless emails that express worry of intuitive eating seeming like a step down, health wise, for someone who focuses (somewhat obsessively) on health. And these are the very same women who are attracted to intuitive eating, but are also a bit afraid of it.
So what I want for that person to hear is that intuitive eating doesn’t equal unhealthy.
Intuitive eating is the gateway for body attunement, a calm mindset around food, and permission to make choices based on honoring your body and what would feel good for her (and sometimes that’ll be the homemade Mac n’ cheese your friend made, even though you know your stomach might not feel great after you eat it… and other times it’ll be choosing a dinner that you know works well for you). It all comes down to what works for you!
As you practice intuitive eating, you will remove restriction, yes. But that doesn’t mean that you’re now required to eat foods that don’t make you feel good. It’s absolutely okay to avoid foods that don’t make you feel well (just like an animal would). The empowerment is in the fact that you know you’re making that choice (one choice at a time – not as an all or nothing rule), and that it’s not just someone else just telling you “that’s bad, so don’t do it.”
Do you recognize this intuitive eater? Is she someone you know? Is she you? Or, is she what you hope to be in the future? I would love to help you discover her, within yourself, if you’re thinking “I want that.” You can book a call with me to open up our relationship and the possibility of coaching together, here (I have two coaching spaces opening up in the next couple of weeks).