This is a guest blog post from Katcha, my friend and former Intuitive Eating Community Forum moderator. She has been practicing IE since March 2007 and has so much experience with it that I want to share some of her wisdom.
March 2017 marked the 10 year anniversary of the start of my intuitive eating journey. My first introduction to not dieting happened years before in the 1980s when I read all of Geneen Roth’s books and even attended one of her 3-day seminars. What I now know was missing from those initial efforts was the support I needed to understand and continue rejecting diet mentality and reconnecting with my own INner (body) wisdom.
I discovered intuitive eating when I found and joined a Yahoo online IE support group. It didn’t take me long to find that there was more to IE than stopping restriction and focusing on hunger and fullness. Reading the IE book provided a very enriched overview of the process that I would need to go through as well as serve as a reference for when I found myself fumbling and stumbling with my IE efforts.
The first support group that I participated in helped me to know that I was not alone nor a klutz in my attempts to make positive changes with IE. What was lacking in that first group was a consistent and knowledgeable guide. Members shared their bits and pieces of struggles and achievements as well as rants and whines, but no one seemed to have a good, functional “map” for how to proceed on their IE journey. Most wandered in, fumbled about, got frustrated, with many tossing up their hands and fading away. Probably because of my own need for support, I hung around encouraging, commiserating, and slowly developing my own understanding of what an IE journey looked like. Just hearing and repeating IE thoughts and actions helped move those more into the forefront of my practices, displacing old, less happy-making habits.
At the end of my first year I felt that I had been more immersed in what others were doing (or not) and gifted myself a year away from the group. I wanted to see if I could find my own IE way or release that if it was a fantasy for me. I happily returned to the group after my year away with renewed appreciation and energy to continue on with my IE journey.
When I found out that the IE authors had created and opened a forum for support of IE, I joined with hopes of finding additional insights and support for my IE efforts and journey. I was happy to volunteer and be of use to assist in developing this support by moderating forum applications and organizing discussions for future reference. It’s been a joy to witness those members who joined, participated, and took their own IE efforts seriously enough to get the support they needed. The reality is that IE is simple but not easy and many suffering from diet mentality remain in its clutches, seduced by the siren song of false dieting promises. A few of those members do come back, and some even managing to make IE work for them.
I have been “Queen Groupie” (aka moderator) at a few IE support groups and the official IE forum. What I have observed has led me to what I feel is a pretty good insight into what IE is. To me IE is all about reclaiming the way I was born to eat by reconnecting with the INner wisdom that my own dear body always has had and would not let go of. I have made peace with food, come to honor my inner rebel, and allowed myself to be in charge of me and my body regardless of what any EXternal “experts” have to offer me. I have been honored by Evelyn Tribole, author of the Intuitive Eating book, by her sponsoring me to become IE Certified.
In some ways it’s hard to believe that I have been IE-ing for 10 years! When I catch myself thinking that I don’t “do” IE perfectly, I immediately remind myself that that is diet mentality. I also chose to note “IEing since …” as my member name as a humbling reminder that the IE process is ongoing for my life.
My IE blessings are many. I have developed a truce with diet mentality, and I’m kinder and more understanding of my body as it continues to change. I no longer view food or my body as enemies. I don’t fear eating nor fret over it. I am content to live in my own body, imperfect as it is by EXternal standards. My attitude towards fat and other shaming comments and remarks have mellowed and been replaced with empathy and best wishes for all.
I’ve also developed an appreciation for the other side of the IE coin: anorexia and orthorexia. Disordered eating is disordered no matter if it’s from overeating, undereating, or other misguided choices. I have had the pleasure of meeting other brave and healing people who also want to reclaim their own lives and find peace with that.
For those still stuck in the “Does IE work?” mentality, I can share that my body has released excess “reserves” and I continue to wear clothes that I have had for years. I can tie my shoes without holding my breath and straining to reach the laces. I can walk up and down stairs comfortably. And I eat what I want as I want it, without fear or hesitancy about if it’s “right” or not.
Basically I am enjoying freedom to live, and a lot of the credit goes to my IE efforts. I am glad to say I am an intuitive eater and will continue to be. Best wishes to all those who IE.
Where are you in your IE journey and what have you learned? Please share in the comment section below.
Thank you so much for reading my blog! I am honored that you chose to read about my experience.
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