Intuitive Eating is Not So Intuitive

A woman sitting next to an open fridge

Photo by Collective Nouns

While I very much understand the principals of Intuitive Eating, the actual application is far from simple. In other words, for me, Intuitive Eating is not intuitive.”

I originally ordered the book “Intuitive Eating,” by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, as a diet book to add to my massive collection. I can boast that I have tried a vast majority of the most popular diets over the past 30 years.

Picture of diet books

Diet Book Collection

Yes, I realize I am only 41 years old, but I started dieting when the shame of my chubby exterior was no longer something I could bear, this was about 11 years old. This age in a girl’s young life is difficult, lots of changes, highly self-conscious, and I thought was fat. I was not fat and looking back at pictures, I can barely say I was chubby. But for me, I already had and ideal of perfection drilled into my psyche; instilled by a mother who constantly exercised and was always on the latest diet bandwagon and a  father who would freely express his discontent with his daughter’s chubby body.

With this type of motivation, I was very determined to live up to that ideal of physical perfection that was heavily instilled in me and start my career of never ending dieting.

Melissa at 11 years old.

My 30 years of dieting has not been consecutive. The time off from dieting were big binging parties. After a binge I would be so ashamed and disappointed with myself that I would run to the newest and latest diet that professed to be the answer to all my physical imperfections. As a result I developed a very strong all or nothing mentality. When I was dieting, I was very strict and deprived myself of whatever food was not allowed on that particular food plan. I would exercise, sometimes twice a day, to the point of muscle injury. I would reach a point of exhaustion, and then I would fall off the diet bandwagon and binge. Or, sometimes I would actually reach my “goal weight”. All would be well for a while, I would then resume “eating” and back came the weight and the process started all over again.

As you might imagine, reading “Intuitive Eating” rocked my world. I quickly discovered it was not a diet book, rather a book to end all diets. After reading the book I decided that this was “it”, I was going to stop my endless dieting. I realized how sick and tired I am of the endless loop of dieting and falling off the diet wagon.

What I quickly learned is that the actual integration of intuitive eating into my daily life is by no means intuitive. There is nothing intuitive about eating for me. I have a long history of destructive eating patterns lurking around the corner and waiting to derail all my new efforts. If I really want to adapt an intuitive eating lifestyle it wasn’t going to be easy, and I would need help.

I found a counselor that is skilled in Intuitive Eating and the principles of mindfulness. I am hopeful she can help teach an old dog new tricks. For me, unravelling my emotional past and laying rest to the reasons behind my all or nothing lifestyle is the first step on my path of Intutivie Eating. I realize my journey as an intuitive eater is going to take time, one day at a time.

If you are contemplating an Intuitive Eating lifestyle or are already on the path, I encourage you to reach out to me, email me, or leave your comments below. I would love to hear from you.


About Melissa Schaar

I am a scientist, teacher, student, friend, and mom. I am on a journey to my ultimate vitality. That journey includes living to the fullest, loving everyday, laughing whenever possible, and a constant state of learning.

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