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Identifying Hunger

Identifying Hunger

 

Because I restricted food, one of the first intuitive eating principles I decided to tackle was honoring my hunger. Although apprehensive, I told myself that I would eat when I was hungry. It seemed easy enough. I’m hungry; therefore, I eat. It wasn’t that simple though. Because I denied myself food for so long and was used to being famished, the subtle feelings of hunger were completely foreign to me. Although I was born with the ability to identify hunger, I had to put some genuine effort into hearing those signals again.

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Food Flexibility and Practicality

Food Flexibility and Practicality

Diets are rigid. Each come with a set of rules to follow that include anything from a maximum number of calories per day to what/when to eat. Sure, it provides structure which can be a comfort to some, but life happens sometimes and structure goes by the wayside. For me, this is when the guilt and self-loathing would set in because I had failed my diet.1 The beauty of intuitive eating is that there are no rules. IE is a set of guidelines that allow for the flexibility and practicality around food that is required for the bumps in everyday life.

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Mindful Eating: The Satisfaction and the Shock

Mindful Eating: The Satisfaction and the Shock

When I read Intuitive Eating, I got really excited about enjoying food again. I was told that eating mindfully would allow me to have a richer and more satisfying eating experience. After years of depriving myself and the subsequent shoveling of food into my mouth, I was looking forward to eating in a peaceful and pleasurable way. Did that happen? Absolutely and it was downright amazing! But, oddly enough, mindful eating also caused the opposite to occur.

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Putting Weight Loss On The Back Burner

Putting Weight Loss On The Back Burner

As a member of the the Intuitive Eating Community Forum since July 2015, I have read a range of posts from people’s lowest, most dire times to those of success that then inspired others. Now that I’m the moderator, I am in charge of approving new forum members and reading all of their posts. Naturally, newcomers have many questions, but the most common question I hear is around weight loss while practicing IE.1 This is a valid question, but weight loss is far from the focus of intuitive eating.

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Releasing Food Guilt

Releasing Food Guilt

I was reading the newspaper1 the other day when a topic in an advice column caught my eye. A person posed a question about her diet and stated that she had eliminated dairy and bread because they’re unhealthy. My immediate reaction was to wonder why those would be considered unhealthy. Dairy has calcium and bread has a bunch of B vitamins. Then I remembered the fad diets that have been thrown at us, so the “unhealthy” label slapped on dairy and bread made sense. But are those foods really “bad”? If not, then are they “good”? Hell, should we even label them at all?

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Eating Past Fullness: It’s Not the End of the World!

Eating Past Fullness: It’s Not the End of the World!

When I quit dieting, there was a lot of leftover guilt about overeating because I was taught that eating the fewest amount of calories was “good” and overeating was “bad”. It was all very black-and-white. When I shifted from dieting to intuitive eating, I had to wrap my head around the idea that IE doesn’t have any rules. Overeating is not “bad”; it is just part of the eating experience. There is nothing inherently wrong with overeating, which meant that I could finally give up the idea that it was “bad” to eat beyond fullness.

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Almost In Denial

Almost In Denial

I had two major “Ah-ha!” moments in my recovery.1 The first one occurred as I was browsing the psychology section at my local Half-Price bookstore. I was looking for some books for my job as a school psychologist when Almost Anorexic caught my eye. I flipped through it and, although some parts intrigued me, I put it back on the shelf. Then I picked it up again. I thought to myself, “There is no way I’m anorexic. I’m just healthy and lean!” But when I had scanned through the book, I did see myself in some of the personal stories. I did obsesses about my body, food, and exercise. I decided to make the purchase. At the time, I told myself that I didn’t know why I was buying the book. I was not anorexic. Now that I look back, this book called to me for a reason. I think my subconscious knew something that my conscious mind didn’t.

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I Am an Emotional Eater. So Now What?

I Am an Emotional Eater. So Now What?

In the past, I always saw hunger as a physiological need. It was simple: hunger signals meant that I needed food.1 But there were times when my desire for food wasn’t accompanied by physical hunger. Determining that my hunger came from an emotional source rather than a physical source was not too difficult, but coming to terms with emotional eating and that it could somehow even apply to me was complicated. I have this desire to be strong and tough, so eating emotionally seemed too touchy-feely for me. Once I accepted the fact that I did eat emotionally, I thought to myself “Now what?” and began a quest of figuring out how to deal with this new challenge.

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Thank You For The Compliment…I Think

Thank You For The Compliment…I Think

As children we constantly observe the adults in our lives and learn from their modeled behavior. These observations provide us with information about a variety of life topics including how to act in social situations. When I was young, I learned the social rule of always mentioning someone’s weight loss, so every time I’d see someone looking a little slimmer, I’d smile and say, “You’ve lost weight!” This social rule wasn’t limited to compliments about weight. It extended to other areas of appearance as well. When I think about it though, these aren’t genuine compliments. Sure, people mean well, but is it really a good thing to offer such high praise for outward appearance?

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Reminder To Self: Dieting Is Awful!

Reminder To Self: Dieting Is Awful!

If you live in the modern world, dieting images are everywhere. Other than tribes that live deep in the rainforest, everyone is exposed to the diet industry’s marketing ploys. The promise of a radical life change if you only lose a few pounds is appealing. Want to feel more confident? Drop a dress size! Do you want the attention of that hottie you’ve had your eye on? Hurry to the gym to tone that tush! These ads are meant to draw you in so you fork over your hard earned money on empty promises. If you are someone who welcomes the newest diet, then the hardest part is just deciding which diet will be the flavor of the month. But if you have vowed to shun dieting, these ads can be particularly challenging.

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