Walking the Path of Intuitive Eating (Guest blog post)

Okay guys! so I am super lucky to have an all-star RD2B interning with me this month. RD2B is what we use for dietetic interns working hard to complete their hours to eventually officially become dietitians. Zoe Halbert attends the University of Texas at Austin's Coordinated Program in Dietetics. She is one of a small group of fellow interns working hard to spread the HAES™ message - and she has got a lot to say about intuitive eating! Thanks Zoe for this weeks post! 

Zoe Halbert
Coordinated Program in Dietetics
The University of Texas at Austin

Once you learn the principles of Intuitive Eating, what comes next? What does the path to becoming an intuitive eater actually look like? Is it linear and straight forward? Or is it full of twists and turns?

My journey to becoming an intuitive eater was definitely not easy or straight forward. My first thought was that it would be a piece of cake (and at times it definitely did involve a piece of cake,) but I found that there were times it was very difficult as well. Listening to my body felt like trying to understand a language I no longer knew how to speak.

We are all born intuitive eaters. We know how to listen to our hunger and fullness cues and respect our food choices, but, like many, I lost this ability for a while. I had to start anew, learning to notice the sensations I had when I was hungry and when I was satisfied. There were many times I ate to the point of feeling uncomfortably full and even sick. Other times, I had a hard time knowing if I was even hungry at all. Sometimes I even got angry thinking that I was failing at intuitive eating! In reality, I was experimenting with my hunger signals, paying attention to what made me feel good and what made me feel not so good. Experimentation is how we learn. One of the most important concepts of intuitive Eating that we often overlook is that there is no such thing as getting it right all the time. Eventually, I realized that all of the ups and downs meant that I actually was becoming an intuitive eater.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you start to walk the path of Intuitive Eating:

Your Journey is Unique

No two journeys to intuitive eating will look the same, so there is no need to compare. The way you learn may be very different from someone else.

Intuitive Eating is about building trust

At first, I resisted intuitive eating. I didn’t trust that my body would take care of me. Once I finally put my guard down and listened to my body, I realized that it had been fighting for me all along. Just like any relationship, when we break trust, it takes some time to gain it back. Remember to be patient and gentle with yourself through the process.

Intuitive Eating is about YOU

The core of Intuitive Eating involves listening to your own intuition, and eating in a way that makes you feel best and supports all aspects of your life.

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There is no such thing as a “right” way to eat intuitively.

Intuitive Eating means saying goodbye to diet culture. It’s dropping the idea that there are good and bad foods and replacing it with the concept that all foods can have a place in your diet. It abandons the thought that you need a meal plan, restrictions, or strict guidelines to eat in a way that supports your health.

You may stumble on your path.

At first, walking the path of Intuitive Eating can seem like wandering through uncharted territory. It may include doubt, frustration, and fear. Sometimes you may overeat and other times you may not eat enough, but remember that eating intuitively doesn’t always feel intuitive at first. It can take time to learn how to listen to your body, and not eating “perfectly” all the time is a part of the process.  

For me, eating intuitively means enjoying all the foods that make me feel good, whether they make me feel energized, taste delicious, or connect me to the people I love (and sometimes all of the above). Keep in mind that your journey to intuitive eating is yours, and that your path doesn’t need to look like anyone else’s.  It can be a short path or a long path, a straight path or a winding path, but most importantly; it’s a path worth taking.

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