If it smells good/ looks good/ peaks your interest, try a bite. If you like it, enjoy the whole dish. If you don’t, throw it away or save it for a friend.
Nobody bases their opinion of your character on the things you do or don’t eat. Taking that second handful of popcorn at the movies won’t make your date rethink his attraction.
Take a moment to consider how eating ___ feels in the moment. This is especially important in the first stages of eating disorder recovery. That key lime pie that always taunted you from the bakery window? You may find you don’t actually like the tartness and that it was only appealing because it was off limits to you before. This has happened to me multiple times with several foods I used to “crave”.
Understand that changing your thought process takes time. If you’ve been counting calories for years, then intuitive eating probably won’t feel natural for at least four months of constant effort to ignore nutrition facts and focus on things like your energy level and taste buds.
Ignore nutrition labels. Just don’t look. Carry a sharpie and black them out before you can dig it out of the trash. I wish I had done this sooner. I never fully experienced Intuitive Eating until I found myself living in a foreign country and was literally not able to read the nutrition facts.
Talk about it. Call up that one person whether it’s mom, grandma, your best friend, your track coach, or your therapist when you’re feeling uneasy or anxious about the amount of calories you ate. Just acknowledging our stressors makes them 10x less powerful when they try to make us feel lesser.
Inspire others. I’m human and some days I just don’t feel so hot in my own skin and sometimes that leads to thoughts reminiscent of my eating disorder days. What helps me is to log onto my instagram account or blog and remind myself that there are tons of young women that look to me for guidance on self-love. I know there’s a whole community out there that needs me to be my best and is there to support me.
Vary up your meals and snacks! The cool thing about intuitive eating is that it’s not a rigid meal plan. If you were planning on having leftover meatloaf for dinner and decide a bowl of mac n cheese from your favorite cafe sounds better on your way home from school/work – go for it! Since many eating disorders are derived from control, it makes sense that they thrive in strict routines. Fully embrace intuitive eating by branching out from foods that feel “safe” and challenge yourself to try new things.
Embrace what’s beyond the plate. Be part of the conversations around the table instead of meticulously counting numbers in your head. Stand up to dance along to the live music mid-meal. Experience all that your meal has to offer.
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