Written by The Feisty Fox, a Fattitude Intern
Before running out to a meeting yesterday, our new babysitter asked me if there were any food limits I have for my daughter. I was surprised at the question. It was so the opposite of how I do things. I responded, “No, I trust her to know what she wants and when she’s had enough.” It made me realize how much Intuitive Eating has become a part of my life and how I raise my kids.
The other night my son and I went out for dinner. We both got huge, hard to bite into, delicious burgers with perfectly cooked sweet potato fries. I ate about a quarter of the burger and was full. Sick. Done. I wanted more! I really did! But I just couldn’t. I had my burger wrapped to go (which I immediately gave to a man outside the restaurant asking for help) and we decided to take home a big slice of chocolate cake smothered with fudge frosting, whipped cream and chocolate chips to share with my daughter.
Later, once our stomachs were ready, we excitedly broke out the cake. Each of us had a couple bites and were done. The fact that it is still sitting in my refrigerator (pictured to the right) is a testament to how much my emotional health has improved. There is no question I would have finished it off any dessert in the past, no matter how sick it made me, because my brain and stomach were not on the same page. I wasn’t aware of any messages that weren’t just saying, “I’ve had enough,” but also, “Don’t eat another bite because if you do, you won’t feel good.” After a few years of practice, I now can process the idea of eating a certain food or taking another bite and will get a nauseated feeling that warns me it isn’t a good idea.
After so many years of dieting I had lost the seemingly simple ability to know when, what, and how much I want to eat – an ability that probably is taken for granted by so many. To restore it has taken a few years of practice. I’m not perfect at it. I can get someone or something in my head that makes me revert to the days when I would open the pantry or fridge and start with the old chaotic and paralyzing ticker tape: “If I eat this it will do this to my blood, but I can’t eat that because it doesn’t mix well with this, and that looks good but it is a supposed no-no, I should just eat greens, but I want more than greens, of course I do because you eat too much.” When this happens, I just don’t eat. And, as it turns out, that’s the most unhealthy choice of all. Thankfully, those times are now few and far between and I’m so grateful that is the case.
One of the best parts about restoring my ability to be aware of what my body is telling me with regards to food has transformed “splurging” into “simply enjoying tasty food,” which to me is a really fun part about life. Especially after eating such sparse amounts of flavorless food for so long. Eating without self-punishment – now that’s a treat!
Best of all, I am so glad I am nurturing Intuitive Eating in my kids. I love observing their choices around food and movement. They’ve got this . . . unless movie theater popcorn is involved.
*This blog post is the opinion of a particular Fattitude intern – and does not necessarily reflect the position of Fattitude, Inc.