The Fears that Come with Starting Intuitive Eating
It’s ok to feel scared about starting your Intuitive Eating journey. Depending on what you've read or heard about Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size (r), it may seem very "radical". Over-simplified definitions of Intuitive Eating include "just eat whatever you want, whenever you want", "Don't worry about 'good' or 'bad' foods", and "let go of worrying about your weight". These definitions don't take into account the actual nuance of Intuitive Eating and can be one source of the fears.
Many of my clients have expressed their fears to me and it is completely understandable why you might have these fears too. Here are just a few that might be lurking in your head:
When I start Intuitive Eating (IE) I won’t be able to control my eating. I’ll binge eat more and eat more “bad” foods
I’ll gain so much weight from IE
My family/friends/coworkers/doctor will judge me for not dieting
My health will get worse
I need to lose weight before I can try IE
Another source of these fears is weight stigma. Dieting and Weight Stigma are pervasive in our culture. Everywhere you look, it’s there. It’s a constant reminder for people in larger and marginalized bodies that this world we live in is not inclusive and it’s harmful in many ways. I can absolutely understand why you would be hesitant to start something as "radical" as Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size.
You’ve been taught to despise and distrust your body. You've learned to do anything and everything to protect your body from ridicule and harm. You are wise. You are careful and you’re not sure if you are ready to change what you have been doing for a long time.
Unfortunately, the culture has not caught up to the research.
BMI is a bogus and useless indicator of health status. Research shows that approximately 90% of people gain the weight back after any intentional weight loss attempt. Social determinants of health play a much bigger role in our health outcomes than what we eat and how much we move.
However you choose to support your body, health and wellbeing, is valid. You know yourself the best and only you know what you are ready for. There is no way for me to know if you are ready for this change. Here are just a few thoughts I can offer you to think about:
- Think about where dieting has gotten you in your life. You may remember some initial “success” or “willpower”, but what has the majority of the experience been like for you?
- What have you missed out on while dieting or trying to lose weight? Did you postpone certain events or skip them altogether? How did that make you feel?
- When you’re dieting do you really feel in control of your food choices or are you constantly worried, scared or stressed about having to make food choices every single day?
- When was the last time you felt good about yourself and your body?
Want to learn more about Intuitive Eating? Check out this blog post!
Photo above is by Drop the Label Movement on Unsplash