How do you create a peaceful relationship with food?

Chances are, you’ve tried to change your eating habits or diet at some point in your life. Some of us are virtually dieting professionals. 

Here’s how it normally goes:

  1. Feel dissatisfied with life/body/health

  2. Get nutritional/diet advice

  3. Use “willpower” to change habits according to advice

  4. Attempt unsustainable lifestyle modifications

  5. Fail

  6. Blame self; undermine self-esteem further 

Does that sound familiar?

This is the problem: accepting wisdom from an external source (whether or not it feels right, sounds good, or fits with your lifestyle) is usually directly at odds with your own needs and desires. For some of us, it’s almost like the more different the advice is from the way we do things, the more valid it seems on the surface. We’ve been taught to mistrust ourselves and put our faith in “experts.”

Can you imagine walking up to a wild animal in the forest -- say, a deer -- and telling her that her hips are too wide, she shouldn’t be eating so many acorns, and that you know a better way to nourish a deer? If you tried to convince her that oak leaves were the way to go, and she should eat only 75% of the nuts she’s currently eating, would that work? It’s ridiculous when you think of doing it to a wild animal, but it’s exactly what we do to ourselves.

We evolved from wild animals. We have instincts. We want to be healthy and exercise. We want to take excellent care of ourselves and feel good and survive. Diet culture has convinced us that we don’t know what to do for ourselves, we need help, and our natural bodies are unacceptable. 

Intuitive Eating is the return to our natural instincts and desires. It’s reconnecting with our basic core needs for autonomy, health, and freedom. 

Up until now, there’s been a conflict:

But in reality, there are many other complicating factors:

How do you figure this all out?

Pay attention to how you feel.

Do you feel good or do you feel bad? Does something feel right or wrong? Does what you’re doing make you feel relaxed and happy or stressed and anxious? Does your body feel strong and energetic? Can you continue living this way and be happy for the rest of your life?

In the beginning, reconnecting with your intuition will take some effort and a lot of attention, but it won’t be difficult. Eventually, you will remember. Your body will remember what it needs to feel good, and your brain will remember what it feels like to be in charge again. When everything clicks into place and you are calm and relaxed about food and you know how to take care of your body, you’ve come back to where you should have been all along.

There’s a deep sense of well-being and happiness that follows this transformation. Honoring your essential self, being authentically YOU, and being back in charge of your own body--those are the true rewards that make this whole thing worthwhile.

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Teddey Hicks1 Comment