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Intuitive Eating: I Don’t Know Where to Start

It’s Intuitive Eating Wednesday when I answer your questions and troubleshoot your challenges around intuitive eating and emotional eating.

 

This week’s Intuitive Eating Wednesday Question comes from Sandy, and it is:

“Bonnie, I have decided not to start a diet in the New Year! And while I’m excited about this, I just don’t know where to begin my intuitive eating journey. I have the original Intuitive Eating book, which I’ve read twice, but I just feel overwhelmed. Can you help me?”

 

Yes, of course, thank you Sandy for writing in to me.

 

As I started to put together some steps for Sandy, I thought about you.

 

Are you in the same place as Sandy?

 

Have you historically started a new diet or “healthy way of life” (a.k.a. diet) every January 1st?

 

Have you decided that this year it will be different….no more dieting, but you don’t know where to start your intuitive eating journey?

 

First, let me congratulate you for making the commitment to yourself to not diet in 2018! That is huge! I realize that it might have been a difficult decision with all the diet ads and marketing of the ‘right’ way to eat and exercise to shrink or sculpt your body (into something that is not sustainable anyway)!

 

Second, I feel your overwhelm. There is so much information on the internet about how “to do” intuitive eating, but often these suggestions contradict one another.

 

Most of my clients that finally reach out to me for help have already dabbled in intuitive eating. That dabbling can look like a few things:

  1. They’ve read the book Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elsye Resch.
  2. They’ve taken an online course in intuitive eating.
  3. They’ve been receiving support in the myriad of free private Facebook groups that offer intuitive eating support (by the way, if you’re not a member of my group yet, click here).

 

So the question is, with all this ‘dabbling’, why are you still feeling overwhelmed and questioning “where do I start”?

 

I believe the answer lies in the following reasons:

  1. You’ve read the intuitive eating book, but are having trouble implementing the principles because while reading the book helps you become familiar with intuitive eating, for most people (I’m not saying all people, but most people), they need more structure and coaching to help implement the principles into their daily life. Is this you too?

 

  1. You’ve taken an online course but admittedly didn’t show up for yourself by taking appropriate action. Or, the course lacked the private coaching that you really need to take this to the next level. Or, the course was marketed as an intuitive eating course, but in fact once you got into it, it was really dieting.

 

  1. You’re a member of a number of free Facebook groups but you aren’t receiving individualized coaching by certified intuitive eating counselors in these settings, nor should they be giving you coaching for free. This would be a disservice to you and to their clients who have invested in themselves. The free groups can only take you so far.

 

So what’s your next ‘first’ step?

 

Grab your freebie here: 5 Steps to a Body You Love Without Dieting. This will give you the step-by-step approach I take my clients through.

 

Then, if you want me to walk you through this step-by-step journey, contact me here.

 

Navigating Life’s Surprises as an Intuitive Eater

big whyLife happens. Twists and turns appear out of nowhere and even as an intuitive eater, you may lose focus and veer off track.

 

The truth is that no matter where you are on your intuitive eating journey, stressful life events are bound to occur. It is okay to feel stressed or anxious, but you don’t want to lose yourself to life’s surprises. I encourage you to stay focused on your health rather than slipping back into old ways.

 

When you feel life weighing you down, it may feel most comfortable to turn to food but the thing is, food is meant to nourish you, not be used as your crutch. So next time you find yourself in this situation, what can you do to keep going and to stay on track?

 

First, I want you to really focus on why you are on the intuitive eating journey. As you feel like you are falling apart, ask yourself the reason you embarked on your intuitive eating journey. Was it to feel better in your own body? Was it to stay healthy for your kids? Was it to get off medication?

 

Chances are your “why” still resonates somewhere within you, even on your darkest days. Let this motivate you. Some days are easier than others but if you keep your “why” in focus, you can navigate the bumps along the way. Instead of letting the bad times discourage you from working to better your health and yourself, use mindfulness to clear your head space and find peace within yourself.

 

Make every day the best it can be by prioritizing your own needs. That may mean making a list of goals, tasks to tackle, or fresh produce to pick up from the grocery store. Each step in the right direction is an important one.

 

You can make the most of each day by scheduling time for your own priorities into your daily routine. There is a time for work, a time for taking care of the needs of others, and a time to care for yourself. This includes time to sit down for meals and to be engaged, mindful and do nothing but focus on your food.

 

Take time to unwind each day. This can be exercise, taking a bath, catching the newest episode of your favorite TV show, or talking with a friend. Remember that you do not have to navigate alone. At times life is too much to balance on your own so reach out to friends, coworkers, family, and loved ones for support when you need it. By letting go of pent up emotions, you will be clearing your mind and allowing more room for mindfulness.

 

You may be thinking “but I don’t have TIME to relax.” Trust me, I know the feeling. With busy schedules, sometimes it may feel like there is just no time to unwind. Even just taking 15 minutes to vent to a friend or to decompress your thoughts onto paper will benefit your day and your overall goals.

 

Instead of taking time to make excuses as to why you cannot do this or that, put that energy towards focusing on the reasons you embarked on your intuitive eating journey. Write down your motivation and the messages your body is sending you. You will gain clarity and feel motivated to trek on this journey.

 

The truth is, life comes at you fast. You cannot go back in time but you can make the most of your present and future. Honing in on your intuitive eating and mindfulness will help you navigate through life’s obstacles and keep you on track to being the best version of yourself.

 

Always remember, when you are feeling low, there is nowhere to go but up! If you keep your focus and mindfulness, you will find inner peace on even your worst days.

 

The Gift of Support this Valentine’s Day

Flowers and chocolates are great, but most of the time material gifts do not make us feel nearly as good as a compliment from a loved one.  Even better than a compliment is support.  You are on your own individual journey into mindful eating, but while you work on loving yourself this Valentine’s Day, ask for the gift of support from your loved ones.

 

This journey into mindful eating that you are on is very personal.  It can sometimes be hard to let others in.  But when you involve the ones you love in matters going on in your life, you may be surprised how much it helps.  Chances are they have seen you go on and off the diet roller coaster so many times and they will be excited to see you embracing a diet-free approach.  They don’t want to see you trapped by a “meal plan” and they certainly don’t want to see you disappointed and not able to reach your goals.

 

So this Valentine’s Day let your loved ones in on the new, diet-free you.  Ask them for support while you travel the road to mindful eating.  Ask them what is it they love about you and let this remind you of the wonderful person that you are.  Love and emotion is a powerful thing, and the support that comes with loving relationships will certainly help you succeed!

 
Let me know what your loved ones had to say about your new diet-free mindset!