What is intuitive eating?

Do you want to be the ideal body type or do you want to be ideally healthy?

There is a difference, you know.

To be the ideal body type there are about 564,000 different diets, pills, exercise plans, and lifestyle changes to choose from. All come complete with rules, regulations, and restrictions that will guarantee the culturally ideal body type. However, they cannot guarantee that you will be ideally healthy.

To be ideally healthy requires only two things. Listening to your body and trusting what it’s telling you. This comes complete with the guarantee that your body type will be exactly as it was created to be; you will have no guilt or self-loathing of yourself as a person; and your quality of life will rest on the side of peace, contentment, and enjoyment.

I had chosen option A–ideal body type. I actually just skipped the diets and pills and found straight starvation combined with over-exercising to be more efficient in getting the body I wanted. It totally worked.

And also, I nearly died.

Note: Diets are a form of starvation. Diets dictate depriving, withholding, and/or restricting a nutrient (or several) from your body, thus starving your body of what it needs. Our bodies need all the nutrients. Whether you simply aren’t eating (as I was in anorexia) and/or you are strictly forbidding or restricting certain nutrients such as carbs, fats, sugar etc., through dieting or a lifestyle-diet, you are starving your body–>unless you have a special medical condition, such as diabetes or food allergies, that require an omission of certain nutrients. 

Here is what I am learning first-hand about option B:  Ideal health comes from eating intuitively. Eating intuitively shapes your body into the ideal body type meant for you. Your body already knows how to get to ideal health without external control.

Mind. Blown.

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Think of a dried-out sponge that’s all shriveled up and misshapen. When you give the sponge water, spongea steady flow of what it needs, the sponge soaks in the water and comes to life, returning to the size it was made to be and rendering itself usable to its potential as a sponge.  You turn off the water when the sponge is full. As the sponge dries out, you turn on the water, thus repeating the cycle. If you give the sponge more water than it needs, it takes a little longer for the sponge to dry out, but the sponge remains its natural size.

A sponge does exactly what it’s supposed to do when you give it what it needs.

Now, think of your body… all shriveled up and/or misshapen (from starvation). When you feed your body a steady flow of what it needs and wants, your body soaks in the nutrients (energy) and comes back to life, returning to the size it was made to be and rendering itself usable to its potential.  You stop eating when your body is full. You turn on the nutrients again when your body is hungry. If you give your body more food than it needs, it takes a little longer for your body to become hungry again, but it remains its natural size

With your body, you simply notice what it needs, respond accordingly, and your body bounces back to life, as the same size every time, and ready to be used in your life as you. Your body does exactly what it’s supposed to do when you give it what it needs. This is intuitive eating. 

Thankfully, the body is way cooler than a sponge.

The point is there are no rules and regulations necessary because your body knows what to do. Intuitive eating requires being in tune with and connected to your body so you can hear/feel what it needs and wants. You can feed your body what it wants because it reads both play foods and serious foods as energy. And when it’s had enough of any food (including your favorite), it will tell you, “I’m done.”

Your body will not betray you. If something doesn’t feel good or your body isn’t responding well, then its trying to tell you something.  For example, I have celiac disease, so if I eat something with gluten and I get sick, it isn’t that my body is rebelling or that gluten is evil, rather it’s my body saying “Mayday, Mayday, I cannot process what you have given me! Abort mission. Let’s recover… chicken broth and water, stat!” Once my body heals, it will give me a signal by shooting me a hunger pang and a craving… typically sushi. 🙂  This idea goes for any medical condition that needs special dietary consideration.

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Intuitive eating

Ignore the word “program” in the title. This isn’t a program. If I was their editor, I would’ve recommended a different title. 🙂

Intuitive eating is a sense we are born with; it is wrapped into how God created our bodies. So there is a process involved in recovering this intuition and reconditioning your brain to trust your intuition and ignore cultural ideals, noisy headlines and the diet mentality.  It takes time to build trust.

I don’t believe for a second God intended for us to count the grams of anything in our food; to track calories in and calories out (btw: if you have a metabolism, your math is going to be off); to spend hours focused on sculpting our bodies; to agonize over the numbers rising and falling on the scale; to utilize energy and emotion in self-shaming for not having the ideal body and loving the “evil” foods.

If you trust God with your life, you can trust the body He gave you. (If you don’t trust God with your life, you can still trust your body anyway because this part is biological.) Listening to and trusting your body will lead you to ideally healthy life and the ideal body type for you.

You can hear more about intuitive eating this Friday, June 12 on Rose City Forum; 12-1 pm (PST). My kids and I along with my dietitian will be talking all about intuitive eating, what it looks like for my family, and how it has played a crucial role in my eating disorder recovery. Log on to KKPZ.com to listen live. You’ll also have the opportunity to call in and ask questions. If you miss it, there will be a replay of the interview at 6 pm (PST).

4 thoughts on “What is intuitive eating?

  1. anniehp

    Absolutely love the sponge analogy here. It’s such an incredibly difficult part of recovery and such a huge leap of faith. I can’t say I’m quite there yet but this was a really inspiring blog

    Reply
  2. Emily Couture

    This was really a wonderful read! I struggle with accepting what my body looks like when I don’t diet, but the analogy of the sponge was really well done and I am going to try “listening” to my body more!

    Reply
    1. Leanne Post author

      Thank you, Emily! I am glad you found this helpful, and I hope you’ll find freedom in listening to your body rather than feeling disappointed with it. Your body loves you and wants to keep you thriving. 🙂

      Reply

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