I’m a slow-learned sometimes, especially with intuitive eating. I first discovered IE in October 2008 and I’ve just recently gotten the hang of actually obeying my body’s signals more than 2 1/2 years later.
I knew the principles, I ate when I was hungry, but I struggled with actually letting myself get hungry and most of all, emotional eating. For a long time, I chose to focus on the emotional eating while refusing to deal with the underlying issues. I believed eating was the problem either because I had a physical addiction or because I was just hard-wired to eat when I felt bad. I never actually thought about why I felt bad. (By the way if you’re stuck in this place, that’s perfectly fine. It was a few years before I was ready to deal with the real issues. Don’t pressure yourself to jump into anything you’re not ready for.)
Recently, I left a situation that wasn’t working for me. My creativity wasn’t flowing and my depression and anxiety got out of control. Now that I’m in a better place (physically and emotionally) I discovered that I was ready to deal with my issues.
The amazing thing is, once that barrier of emotional eating started to disappear, I couldn’t believe how much more myself I felt. I could finally connect to my emotions and work through them. Emotions and creativity flowed through me, unhampered by my former tendency to block them out with food.
I rarely feel compelled to overeat and I usually don’t want to eat if I’m not hungry, but if I do (like when I know my blood sugar is low but my tummy’s not hungry) I eat. No biggie. I actually feel hunger at least once a day, which is a miracle because I used to go weeks without ever letting myself get hungry.
This is the other half of the gift of intuitive eating. On one side, IE frees us from food obsession, but on the other side, it allows us to replace that obsession with something incredible: our potential. Without those unhealthy thoughts and feelings towards foods, we free up so much mental energy and clear so many channels. We gain full access to our true desires, interests, and goals.
Here’s some questions to ponder:
- What could you accomplish with the time you spend thinking about food in an unhealthy way?
- What underlying potential could you have access to if you overcame emotional eating?
- How free could you be if you accepted your body rather than striving for an unrealistic ideal?
- How much more energy would you have if you learned to feed your body the healthy food it craves?
Intuitive eating takes a lot of work, time and emotional digging, but the rewards are innumerable, and I’m only in the beginning. Whether you are still in the preparation stages or if you’re well into your intuitive eating journey, remember why you’re doing this and what it will do for you.