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This past Thursday was my first phone coaching session in Intuitive Eating principles.  This is another one of those moments where I feel like I’ve jumped off the platform and am flying through the air, knowing and trusting the trapeze bar or the strong, trusted hands of a partner will be there to catch me at just the right time.  Scary and exhilarating. 

Lots of you who tune in here regularly know that I made a vow to myself awhile back after I finished college.  As an adult I would never let myself get close-minded.  I would always be open to considering trying new things.  From hockey to starting a jewelry business, training to run 5Ks, making a shift to contract/consulting work, joining online discussion groups and taking workshops for personal growth. Oh, and starting this blog back in late 2009.  Those are just a few things the past decade has brought – what’s shaped me.  Not too shabby a progress report I’d say!

What a segue…shape.  Have I made peace with my own body shape?  Yes, somewhat.  But I’m packing around much more weight than is healthy for me (see my rude awakening post last week which brought me to sobs).  I scratch my head and wonder.  Beauty really IS in the eye of the beholder.  I think about men I’ve had relationships with over the years.  When I was at my thinnest the guy I was dating at the time had pretty much zero interest in having sex with me.  Huh?  Strange.  And since I’ve packed on some poundage in the last couple of years it didn’t seem to bother the guy I briefly dated a couple of years ago who never knew me when I was a lot slimmer, or the guy I’ve been on a handful of dates with just this month.  Can Intuitive Eating really help me get my weight normalized?  That’s my ultimate goal, but, as I’m learning, Intuitive Eating is NOT a quick fix.  And it’s NOT a diet.  There are no recipes or suggested meal plans in this book at all.  This philosophy is part of the anti-diet movement (go online and you’ll find tons of material about this topic).

Diets don’t work!  Maybe for the short-term, but not necessarily for the long-term.  And I can only speak from personal experience here.  I tried the online version of Weight Watchers a few years ago and gave up after about a month.  I felt constrained by the points system they use.  I don’t mind structure and boundaries, but it was too much for me to handle and I immediately rebelled.  Perhaps if I’d done the in-person method rather than online I would have had better success and support, but I don’t have any interest in trying it again.  I’ve done the Carbohydrate Addicts diet.  Twice, actually.  This was the only diet I ever really stuck with, as it didn’t make you cut out carbs.  With that diet, you only eat carbs during one meal, usually dinner.  And finish within an hour.  I liked this method because I could still enjoy pasta, bread or chips if I wanted…if I waited until dinner.  I’m very much against plans that cut out certain types of foods.  I think our bodies were designed to be fueled by a variety.  Now, I’m not against cutting out things like meat, dairy or gluten for ethical reasons or because of allergies say to gluten or dairy.  I do have a variety of cookbooks specializing in Raw Food, the Paleo/Primal lifestyle and Vegan cooking.  All endlessly fascinating! 

But, in the end, none of what I’ve tried has worked for the long haul.  The IE book covers so many fascinating topics…such as how we were all born intuitive eaters, but often times something changes in our childhood.  Body image issues, peer pressure…so many things start to get in the way of how we were naturally programmed to eat.  I’m just through the first few chapters of this book and I love it.  But the material IS a paradigm shift.  It requires concentration, focus…and being open-minded to its principles.

I’m practicing listening to my body and what it needs.  Honoring my hunger…and stopping when I feel full.  This is like learning a new dance step.  In reading this book so far, I’ve learned I’m an unconscious eater.  I likely eat more than I need to because I don’t pay attention to the signals my body is full or getting full.  I’m usually doing something else when I’m eating, like watching TV or at my desk at work on my laptop.  I’ve rarely ever sat down at my dining room table, by myself, no TV on and no computer/phone nearby and eaten a meal.  It just seems silly, strange and inefficient…and too quiet…I could just as easily be watching a great TV show or catching up on my emails and texts!

So there’s much more excitement and learning ahead.  I already know this is going to be an emotional journey.  I’ve never talked about my true, deep relationship with food out loud in depth with anyone before so it’s going to be weird, but I trust my friend implicitly.  And I feel I’ve failed my body in letting it get to this size, which ties into the woe-is-me-I’m-still-single-this-must-be-why downward spiral.  Not pretty but it’s my truth right now.  It’s very painful going down that slippery slope of thoughts. 

They’re all tied together, so when any one of them turns sad, they all get pulled into an emotional riptide.