I received a comment on my last post from a reader who is a very excellent intuitive eating coach. She put into words what I have been not-so-eloquently trying to put into words myself. That for overeaters, like I was, eating with a loose structure is the only way of getting back in touch with what your body actually needs beyond all your diety-brain chatter. But there is more.
This is only part of the process. Once you begin to realise that food is just food, and you know when you are hungry and full, and have ease with foods that used to terrify you (another story entirely), then you can truly move towards eating for nourishment. In fact, when you have cleared out the baggage from your head, eating well comes naturally. Your body wants to thrive, you are just getting in the way of it.
It is counter-intuitive (ironically) to label intuitive eating anything at all. But it is crucial when you are in a place at the rock bottom, that you know there is another way. This way has to have a label, as it is re-teaching the body what it already knows, and calms your mind down that you are not a loony and you do know what you are doing.
Once you get to a place beyond the initial scary stages, you can then be free to make active choices about what feels good rationally and emotionally for your body. If you eat salads all week because you genuinely crave a lot of greens and have no more emotional attachment to them than “mmm cucumbers are so good right now!”, then you are not dieting. You will want some protein at some point, maybe, and a veggie burger when you go out with your friends (I’m vegetarian).
Eating intuitively is not eating cupcakes all the time (although this is perfectly fine if that’s what you want). It is making food choices with no moral attachment to them, on what is best for you at a given time. How you are feeling does come into it, but the crucial point is you don’t cover up your true emotional needs with unecessary moral judgement. This includes choosing what to eat.
So get rid of the labels around types of eating beyond the initial stages of finding peace with food. Everything is on an equal playing field. Just eat what you want! And trust me, it will not just be chocolate.