The answer to this one is tricky. It’s yes…but with a caveat.
Here’s how it’s yes: there is literally no food off limits in intuitive eating and your non-diet way of life. Pizza? Yes. Chocolate cake? Hell yes. Kale? Yes! (If you want it)
You get to eat ALL the different types of foods you want, when you want them and yes, as much as you want of them.
And here’s the caveat: It’s not just eating anything and everything willy nilly without a thought to how it goes down or how you feel after.
Intuitive eating is…nuanced. It’s not just an end-point — it’s also the process that takes you from that stressed-out, restrictive, over-eating dieting-type eater you were to a completely no guilt, drama-free, normal eater (before the new normal meant “diet”) that knows when to eat and when to stop. The process, however, can sometime feel anything but intuitive.
If kicking diet mindset and behavior was easy, we wouldn’t need a process called Intuitive Eating. But it isn’t, and we do.
While you’ll be liberating all the foods from Food Jail and eating to satisfy your appetite, you’re going to learn to stay present and non-judgmental instead of fearful and guilty. You’re going to learn to tune into your body to hear the subtle messages it sends you about when to eat, and how much. If you’ve been a dieter or binge-eater for a while, this hyper-awareness is going to feel really strange and uncomfortable for you at first.
Let me reassure you, this will not always be the case. The point of intuitive eating is not to remain on strict mealtime vigil, putting all your concentration into every bite. The point is to eventually know intuitively when to stop eating.
Ever try to get a baby to eat more food than she’s hungry for? She’ll slam her mouth shut, shake her head, and get downright cranky at you for trying to fly that damn airplane into her mouth again. She knows, without thinking about it at all, when she’s done eating, because we are ALL born with the intuition to know how much food we want and need to eat. That baby is in charge of her appetite. And then somewhere along the way, diet culture robs us of that intuition and convinces us we need to be told how to eat.
So yes, you’re going to eat whatever it is you want. And also, for now, you’re going to pay attention to what you’re eating. A lot of attention at first, and much less later on, until it’s all instinct. And it will become instinct.
And even later, when you’re ready, you can even give some thought toward nutrition. If you want. But that’s a story for another day.
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I help women get free from diets and guide them through the intuitive eating process, in person in my West LA office, or virtually by phone or Skype. Find out more here.
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