VIP Q+A: 5 Questions You Might Have if Intuitive Eating is New to You
Your Questions, My Answers
Q #1: Is it important to master each lesson of intuitive eating before moving on to the next?
For those who don’t know, this person is referring to the lessons in Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch’s book, Intuitive Eating. We teach intuitive eating in “steps” like this in Finally Free Program (which is open for enrollment now!) and yes, we encourage you to go in order. It’s OKAY to hop around and mix topics like exercise and food, but especially in the beginning and with the food steps, I would encourage you start with step one, then step two, and so on. Each step builds on the next.
Q #2: How do you explain your struggle to achieve a healthy relationship with food to those who have never struggled with disordered eating?
Do the best you can and release expectations. People who have never struggled with disordered eating will not be able to understand the extent of what you’re going through as you have experienced it, and that’s okay. I would encourage you to ask yourself: What is my purpose in sharing my story with this person? Is it just to express my experience? To get their support in some way? If so, what support do I desire? How can I communicate this so they’re not left wondering?
When communicating your needs, be very clear and specific so that other people don’t have to guess how you would feel supported. For example, if you need a hug, say “I really would love a hug right now.” Be THAT specific.
I am really going to encourage anyone who doesn’t have someone else who has been through a similar story to reach out for coaching. I cannot stress enough how helpful it has been for me, in my own journey, to connect with other women who have a similar story. It’s so helpful to not feel alone. You can also find this relatable support in Finally Free Program if you’re looking for less one on one support and more of an online community/support. You’re not alone; it’s time that you really feel that you’re not alone.
Q #3: How do you continue a healthy lifestyle through major life changes like graduating, a move, etc?
GRACE. Have loads of grace for yourself and recognize that new life changes will bring adjustments and will require creating new routine that doesn’t look exactly the same as your old routine.
For example, if you move, maybe now it takes you 20 minutes to drive to your favorite coffee shop versus five minutes. That’s going to be a routine adjustment and it’s expected that it’ll take time to get used to. That’s okay. Create room to figure out new routines that feel good.
If you graduate, that’s going to be a really big change. You’re going to go from going to school most days to now having more free time or having a full time job. Again, you’ll be creating new routine. The more grace/compassion you can have for yourself, the better. You’re going to be on the hunt for the new things that bring you joy and it’s okay if that takes some time to figure out.
Q #4: How do you continue with the balance of intuitive eating, movement, and taking care of yourself while going through rough times?
Ah, yes. I experienced this a lot in 2016 when my sweet mama was diagnosed with cancer and in 2017 when she went to heaven. That was a HUGE and hard surprise that made life take a big turn.
I was still able to eat intuitively through it because through years of eating intuitively I have learned that food will not fix a non-food issue/hurt/pain/struggle/need/desire.
I believe the answer lies somewhere in leaning-in to the tough time and really staying in tune with your needs and boundaries through it. For example, when I was going through everything with my mom I had to have compassion for the fact that I felt like I should be doing everything, but knew that I would burn out if I did. So I did as much as I could to be there for her but I also knew and acknowledged my limits. I asked for and accepted help and support in the form of friends showing up for us, people cooking for us, other people staying with my mom while I went to the gym or a coffee shop to journal or on a date night with Marco. I said no to A LOT of things for a year straight. I had only a few most important things in my life that I was saying yes to.
It was an incredibly challenging time, but through it I grew. And looking back I’m able to say to myself “Of course food would never have been the answer to anything that you were going through.” But I also have been in the space where it feels like food is the answer because you’re not sure what other comforts to turn to. What I would encourage you to do is to lean in and ask yourself the tough questions of where you need to set boundaries, where you need to ask for help, where you need to say no, and what areas of your life are the TOP/MOST important to focus on during this tough season.
Q #5: When you have made progress with intuitive eating but start dieting again because of weight gain, how can you start over?
Remember that you’re not starting over. If you started eating intutively, gained weight, and started a diet, this is all part of your intuitive eating journey. You’re still on the journey. I started about 5 different diets after my first attempt at intuitive eating. It took me about two years to really trust that I could listen to my body. That said, I had about ZERO role models at the time of other women who were eating intuitively. So if you can, find other role models – there are so many today online – and fill your minds with their encouragements.
I hope I am a big source of encouragement for you! I hope I am someone who you can put your faith in and trust that intuitive eating will work for anyone who wants it to. You’ve just got to trust YOURSELF and your body. Your body is not flawed. Your body is not the one body that won’t work with intuitive eating. You’ve just got to give your body and your mind the time and space to correct itself after years of dieting. If you gain a little bit of weight, you may have needed it. Work on respecting and being kind to yourself through that.
That’s it for today! Are you enjoying these multiple question VIP Q+A posts? You can see more VIP Q+A posts here. If you have a question you’d like me to answer in a future post, please let me know and post it in the comments! I love answering your questions – all of them!