Category: Disordered Eating

Dieting isn’t Self Control

It’s Tuesday and I feel inspired to talk about eating again! That means it’s time for another round of Intuitive Tuesday. Not sure what I am talking about? Check out this page for more information…

intuitive tuesday

Last week I shared about what my eating habits have been like over the past couple months. Today, I want to pick up where I left off. My post ended with the realization that the “F* It Diet” wasn’t working for me. It wasn’t all bad. I was eating whatever I wanted with only a small amount of guilt, I was loving my body more and more, and I still wasn’t binge eating. All some major positives, but I knew that I could do better in my relationship with food.

I am back to working on the Intuitive Eating principles, with a few changes. I haven’t changed the guidelines, I think they are all good things, rather I have changed my view of them.

My issue with the “F* It Diet” is that I believe self control, and discipline are a good thing. In Galatians 5:22-23 it says that “The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and SELF CONTROL”. This means that you can’t do whatever you want to, whenever you want, and still be operating in love.

I think both Christians, and non-Christians can agree with that one. I wasn’t loving myself by eating whatever junk food I could find while watching Netflix every afternoon. I felt depressed, tired, and lethargic. I also wasn’t doing a good job at loving those around me. When I am not feeling my best, I am not the greatest mom, wife, or friend.

I have been thinking about the whole self control thing for awhile. I am realizing that when it comes to food, self control doesn’t equal dieting. Dieting is letting a set of food rules control your personal choices. I don’t think that self control is eating to look a certain way either. This is letting a particular body image control your eating habits. Self control isn’t even eating according to the Intuitive Eating principles. This is letting Intuitive Eating control your choices.

I think that self control means taking responsibility for your own actions. It means not giving responsibility to a diet, or any restrictive form of eating, but eating, and living, to be your best self. This is a lot harder than it sounds. It is so much easier to give the control over to something else and hope that it can make you happy. Just for the record – it can’t!

I do think that when exercising self control, it is important to keep your heart and mind in the right place and constantly examine your motives. You may think that you are making decisions, but in reality you could be influenced by something you saw earlier that day, or someone you spoke with, or whatever.

I think that the Intuitive Eating principles are good “self check-in” points. For example, one of the principles is “Respect your Fullness”. If you realize that you are eating when you aren’t hungry, it is a good time to stop and think about why are eating. Is it because what you are eating just tastes so good that you want to eat it anyways? Is it because you are lonely, or sad, or bored? It may be possible that these types of emotions are controlling your decision to eat, and you need to reexamine them. It also may just be that you really want to eat what is in front of you because it is that good, and that is completely okay too.

I guess I am saying all of this to say that I am back on board with Intuitive Eating, but I feel like my mindset towards it has changed. I don’t believe it is the answer I was looking for to heal my relationship with food. Intuitive eating is simply a tool to help me make good decisions when it comes to eating.

My answer is to man up … or I guess “woman up”, and take control myself. I got this. I am going to use self control to make good decisions because I love myself, and my family, and I want the best life I can possibly have for all of us.

lochlyn mom beach

 

How I’ve Been Eating Lately

I can’t really believe that it has been seven or eight months since I was blogging regularly. I do miss it, but I have also enjoyed spending my time doing other things.

I’m back today, and I want to fill you in on something that I used to talk about on the blog all the time –  intuitive eating – and more particularly, where I am at with it. So, without further ado, let’s have Intuitive Tuesday on a Wednesday! (I’m such a rebel).

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Intuitive eating is hard. I have often heard that it is harder than dieting, and I think that I might agree. (Since I haven’t shared about Intuitive Eating for awhile, if you don’t know what I am talking about, I highly recommend you read this book).

One area that I have struggled with when it comes to eating is learning to eat without distractions. I love curling up with a good book, my phone, Netflix, or whatever, and snacking mindlessly. Even now, I am drinking a smoothie as I type this – do smoothies really count as eating though?

mango smoothie

The Intuitive Eating Guidelines suggest that you should practice eating mindfully and without distractions. This is so hard for me for some reason.

Another challenge I have with intuitive eating is not eating when I am not hungry. I think deep down I believed that if I only ate when I was hungry (but not TOO hungry) and stopped when I was full (but not TOO full) I would find my ideal weight, heal my relationship with food, and all would be right in the world.

The Intuitive Eating book cautions that the Intuitive Eating guidelines should just be guidelines, and not rules, yet I was finding myself trying adhere to them 100% and beating myself up with I didn’t.

As we know from diet land, giving our body a strict set of “food rules” which we must adhere to is a recipe for disaster (hello binging). I didn’t end up binging, but I soon found myself binge watching Netflix and eating everything that sounded delicious every afternoon while Lochlyn was napping. I told myself not to eat in front of the computer, but then gave in. “Starting tomorrow I would eat more mindfully”. Man, this sounds just like “starting tomorrow I will follow my diet” – all too familiar.

After observing this behaviour, and beating myself up a little too long, I realized my mistake. I decided to look in completely the opposite direction and gave the “F* it diet” a try. On this “diet” you can eat what you want to, however much you want, whenever you want it, with no guilt. Kind of like intuitive eating, but without the whole listening to your body, and eating mindfully aspect.

How did this go for me? Not so good. I found myself binge watching Netflix and eating whatever was convenient, even if it didn’t sound good. I always waited until my “break” when Lochlyn took her nap in the afternoon to do this. By dinner time, I was full and didn’t feel like having dinner with my family. I still wanted to sit down with them, so I would eat a bit, and end up not feeling too great the rest of the night.  I didn’t binge eat, I did stop when I was full because I wanted to, but I wasn’t happy with my relationship with food. I started to feel depressed and lethargic, and I wasn’t quite sure what was wrong.

I can’t believe it took me as long as it did to realize that my eating habits needed to change. Honestly I think it was only a couple weeks ago that I had this epiphany.

I have some new thoughts about Intuitive Eating, and eating in general that I want to chat about, but I think that will have to wait until another post as this is getting lengthy.

 

Have you ever tried the “F* It Diet”? What did you think?

How about Intuitive Eating? Do you struggle with seeing the guidelines as rules?

It Is Possible

Would you believe me if I told you that it is possible to stop being so obsessed with food?

it is possible

You may believe me when I say it is possible for other people, but the thing is, most of us don’t believe that it is possible for ourselves. You aren’t an exception. I promise you that if I can stop obsessing about food, anybody can. Even you. Especially you.

Since I started intuitive eating, I am learning that…

It is possible to not think about everything that you are going to eat during the day ahead of time and plan it all out.

It is possible to stop fantasizing about food when you aren’t even hungry.

It is possible to not spend hours a day looking at pictures or recipes of delicious food.

It is possible to love your family, friends, and even hobbies more than food.

It is possible to quit studying different weight loss tactics and eating regimes.

It is possible to watch food advertisements on TV without feeling guilty for wanting to taste all the amazing-looking food. It is also possible to watch them and have no desire to taste it at all.

It is possible to stop thinking of food as bad, or good, but to think of it as simply food.

It is possible to trust yourself around your most favourite “bad” foods. It is possible to buy them and keep them in your cupboard and not eat them all within two hours. You may not believe me, but it is.

It is possible to eat a serving of that favourite food and then put it away, and feel 100% satisfied. It is also possible to eat three servings of that same food and not feel mad at yourself afterwards.

It is possible to stop thinking about that favourite food after you satisfied your craving. It is even possible to forget about that food altogether.

It is possible to eat what you want, when you want it, without overdoing it.

It is possible to stop seeing food as an enemy.

It is possible to eat without guilt, or shame, or disgust, or self-hatred.

It is actually possible to eat with satisfaction, and enjoyment, and to love yourself while doing it.

It is entirely possible to stop being obsessed with food. And to be happy about it.

intuitive tuesday

Thanks for stopping by for Intuitive Tuesday!

New to this series? You can learn more about it here.

Been reading for awhile? I so appreciate your support with my intuitive eating journey. Thanks for following along!

 

Your turn! If you have tried intuitive eating what is something that it has made possible for you?

Or … what is one thing that you would like to stop obsessing about when it comes to food? 

The Tomorrow Promise

I am excited to say that it is time for another Intuitive Tuesday post. If you are new to the series, you can learn what it is all about here. Let’s jump right in to today’s post, shall we?

intuitive tuesday

“Tomorrow I will eat healthy”

“Starting Monday, I won’t eat any junk food”.

“Diet plan begins next week”.

“Food tracking begins after today. I will log everything I eat perfectly”.

“This weekend I can indulge, since starting Monday I will be good”.

“I better eat all the treats I can now, since I will be dieting again tomorrow”.

“I might as well eat these cookies. I won’t be able to eat them when my diet plan starts and I will have to throw them out”.

“After today, I am never eating junk food again”.

“Tomorrow I will be good”.

“Tomorrow I will be in control”.

“Tomorrow I will stop binge eating”.

“Tomorrow I will be beautiful, acceptable, loveable, fit, skinny …”

“Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow, you’re only a day away!”

How many of us have indulged in this kind of thinking? I thought I was the only one until I started opening up about my disordered eating habits. It turns out a good chunk of us have been there. We Promise that we will turn our life around by turning our diet choices around. We think that if we eat good, all will be right in life. We use a new diet as an excuse to eat a few extra cookies the day before it starts. Then, we get out of control and eat everything in sight until we are absolutely sick. We tell ourselves that it is okay because tomorrow we will start eating healthy. Starting tomorrow we will never do that again.

Let me tell you something from personal experience. There is always another tomorrow. You can make this promise to yourself every single day. This kind of thinking is an excuse, and a way to give ourselves permission to go “all out” one last time, and then do it over and over and over again. Let’s face it, there hasn’t been one last time up until this point. Why would there suddenly be “one last time” the next time you make “the tomorrow promise”?

I have told myself that “tomorrow I will start eating better” over and over and over again. I have used it as an excuse to eat whatever I wanted to on a certain day, and let me tell you how out of control that got. It led to eating as much as I could possibly fit into my stomach the second Josh left the house. I would scour our cupboards and force myself to eat bite after bite of “forbidden foods” even if those foods were dry cereal, or stale buns, or other equally unappetizing foods. I had to eat every last morsel that I possibly could, because tomorrow, I would never allow myself to eat those things again.

Eating like this left me curled up in a ball in bed, crying from shame, and feeling sick and in pain. I also hated later having to admit what I just did to my husband. This cycle would start over, and over and over, because let’s be honest, there is always another tomorrow. There is always the opportunity to start over. Give yourself a clean slate. Tomorrow is not only a day away, it is ALWAYS a day away.

tomorrow is always

The tomorrow promise seems ideal until your co-worker brings in the most delicious looking chocolate cupcakes, and you allow yourself to have just one bite. Then you feel guilty because it isn’t part of your diet plan. You decide that you will start your diet plan the next day instead, and eat one cupcake, and then another. After work, you stop at the store and buy all the chocolate. Then you go home and eat it in secret, and then frantically search the cupboards for everything else “bad” that you can find, and the cycle starts again.

Binge eating is hell. I would know. It becomes all consuming. It dictates your life. It leaves you feeling utterly lifeless. In an attempt to control every morsel that touches your lips, you give up all control to an inanimate and lifeless object. Food.

This cycle doesn’t end until you choose to break it. You can’t break it by eating absolutely flawlessly. That won’t happen, let’s be real. You need to break the cycle by giving yourself unconditional permission to eat whatever you want, whenever you want. When you know you can eat chocolate cake for lunch and dinner too, you won’t need to eat the entire thing for breakfast. You probably won’t even want chocolate cake come dinner time, but if you do, allow yourself to eat it, it is perfectly okay and beats binge eating any day.

Breaking up with dieting and food restrictions leads to binge eating extinction. Give yourself full permission to eat what you love and enjoy it. Life is too short to be controlled by something as lifeless as food.

The next time that voice in your head tells you “tomorrow will be the day” I dare you to silence it. Tomorrow isn’t good enough. Today, right in this very moment is the day. Not the day to eat “perfect” because you are already good enough, just as you are. Today is the day to allow yourself to be loved and loveable where you are at. Right now is the time to give yourself permission to enjoy any and all types of food without limits or restrictions. Get on with your life and enjoy it. Let go of the tomorrow promise for good and start living.

happy angela and lochlyn

Congratulations to Linda for winning last weeks giveaway of Beauty in Christ! You will be receiving an e-mail from me today!

 

Have you ever given yourself the “tomorrow promise”? Was it effective? Me: yes, all the time, and no, never!

On a completely different and less serious note, have you seen the new Annie movie? I haven’t but I want to!

 

 

Intuitive Tuesday: Book Review and Giveaway!

It’s time for another round of Intuitive Tuesday. If you are new to the blog, you can learn more about what I am talking about here. This Intuitive Tuesday post is going to look a little bit different. I have a book review and giveaway coming your way! Before we get into that though, I want to fill you in a little bit on how giving up distracted eating is going.

intuitive tuesday

If you read this post a couple weeks ago, you would know that I gave up distracted eating for Lent. I love eating while reading, looking at my phone, or doing something on the computer. This is a habit I have seriously had for well over 10 years. At least I have read and ate for over 10 years, my phone wasn’t too entertaining a decade ago. I have wanted to break this habit for quite some time, but have never put that much effort into it … before now anyway.

I don’t feel like I need to give up distracted eating completely, but I would like to get it under control, so that I can eat more mindfully, and set a good example for my daughter. I would say that for the most part, giving it up for Lent has been going great. I haven’t eaten in front of the computer, or while reading at all. I have glanced at my phone a couple times before remembering to turn it off, but it literally has only been a couple seconds. I do eat while I am feeding Lochlyn, but I want Lcohlyn to get used to eating meals with the family, and she isn’t very good at feeding herself yet. I am okay with this, and I try to eat slowly while I am feeding her and still pay attention to what I am eating. I think the hardest part is to stop eating when I am full and not when she is full. She sometimes takes an hour to eat a meal, so I need to listen to when my body is full, not stop eating when she does.

At first the no distracted eating thing was REALLY hard. All I wanted to do was sit down in front of Netflix with a slice of the cheesecake Josh bought me for Valentine’s Day, and forget about everything else that happened that day. Now eating without distractions is starting to become a habit, and I don’t think about grabbing something to eat while I am at the computer, or picking up my phone at meal time. I am hoping that after Lent, I can stick with this, and eating with distractions will become a once in a while thing instead of an everyday occurrence.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, we will resume Intuitive Tuesday, with a fun little book review…

Disclosure: Emily generously sent me a copy of this book for free. It was not in exchange for a review. As always all opinions are honest and my own.

beauty in christ book

 

Image Source

Emily sent me a copy of her book Beauty in Christ a few weeks ago, and asked me to read it. I have to admit I was hesitant at first. Honestly, I was worried this might be a condemning Christian book that would make me feel bad about my past eating disorders, or my present eating habits. I decided to get over myself, and give the book a chance, and I am glad I did. It is very far from condemning. I actually found it really encouraging!

As you can tell from the name, this is a Christian book. I hope that if you aren’t a Christian, you can still read this post with an open mind, and I will write this review with an understanding and respect for your beliefs, I promise.

One of my favourite things about this book, is simply its subject matter. Beauty in Christ is about Emily’s journey with disordered eating and exercising habits and how God is helping her overcome them. The book uses biblical scripture, along with personal experience, to share Emily’s story, and the stories of three other young women.

When I was dealing with an eating disorder, I felt very much alone. I felt like eating disorders were a taboo subject in church and I felt ashamed and embarrassed that I was even dealing with it. There was no way that I would go to my pastors or church friends to talk about my problems.  Emily’s book fills a gap that I think many Christians haven’t acknowledged. I have yet to read another book with the same subject matter as Beauty in Christ. I would have loved to read a book with a Christian perspective while I was at the height of my eating disorder. I believe this topic needs to be given more attention. Christians, and non-Christians alike should be comfortable talking about it. I love that Emily was brave enough to approach this issue, and share her experience with the world.

Beauty in Christ is a narrative of Emily’s personal experience. She shares how her disordered eating and exercising habits sneakily took over her life, and how she relied on God to help her find herself again. Emily doesn’t have an extreme experience with an eating disorder. She shows how they can sneak in and slowly take over your life, without you even realizing it. I believe that almost anyone will be able to relate to Emily’s story, regardless of whether they have suffered from a diagnosed eating disorder, or have just gone on a couple fad diets.

Emily approaches the subject of unhealthy relationships with food and exercise very humbly. As I was reading this book, I felt like I was getting to know her as a friend, and that I had an advocate in my personal fight against dieting and disordered eating. I was able to sympathize and relate to Emily, and be happy for her that she is overcoming her own battle. I love that Emily openly admits that she isn’t fully recovered. Recovery is a journey, and she is seeking to heal her past every single day.

My favourite chapters from the book are four and five. Chapter four is titled “Do Looks Matter?” and Chapter five is “What is Healthy?” I think that these are two questions that a lot of women (and men!) struggle with answering. A few of my favourite points that Emily makes from those two chapters are:

 “If a woman lives only for outward beauty, it is vain and empty. Even if you are the most gorgeous girl on the planet, when you die, that body will fade away into dust”. (p. 61). 

Our purpose in life isn’t to be attractive. If we attempt to use our looks to please people, we will always fail as we can’t please everyone. (p. 61)

“If we are thinking about how we can best edify and build each other up, our friendships will be more encouraging, joyful, and fulfilling”. (p. 64) AMEN!

Our definition of beauty should come from God’s word and what he says about us. God created each of us as an individual, with different genetics than any other person on the planet. He never intended us to look like anyone other than ourselves, and He made us the way he did for a reason. Each of us is absolutely perfect!

“So many people think that health is only shown in the way someone’s body looks, but these people have a healthy body and attitude that shows in the way they treat life and others”. (p. 73) This is one of my biggest pet peeves! I get so mad when people equate being thin with being healthy – so not true!

Beauty in Christ quote

I am sure you have figured out at this point, this is an overtly Christian book. If you aren’t comfortable with that, this book may not be for you. Also, a few numbers including waist size, etc. are mentioned in the book. If this is something that may be triggering for you, I suggest you think twice about reading it. I personally didn’t find the numbers to be used in a way that was triggering to me at all.

If you are interested in Beauty in Christ, or want to learn more about Emily and her journey, make sure to check out Emily’s blog; Beauty in Christ. Her book is also available on Amazon!

 

And now it’s time for a giveaway! Emily has generously offered to give away a copy of her book to one of you!

To enter, simply comment on this post and tell me …

What book you have read that helped you fight disordered eating habits, or something about Beauty in Christ that interests you!

 

You Don’t have to be a Size (X) to be Pretty

Another Intuitive Tuesday post already?! You betcha! I think these are my favourite posts to write. Most likely because this subject is personal, and close to my heart. Today’s post is no exception. I have a little story to share with you guys today, about body image.

I know that body image doesn’t seem to directly relate to intuitive living, but it actually is so important. I believe that it is very VERY difficult to eat intuitively, with a negative body image. If you are constantly beating yourself up, or aren’t satisfied with what you look like, it is very difficult to allow yourself to eat what you body wants and needs without feeling guilty. It is also difficult to exercise intuitively, and take rest time as needed, when you want to change the way you look. My story today is just a reminder about how our words and what we read, can impact our feelings towards our bodies.

intuitive tuesday

You know how you get those random memories that you know you will always remember? They may not even seem that significant, but they are ingrained in your mind so clearly, even down to some of the smallest details?

I have one of those memories. I think about it from time to time, but I didn’t really understand its significance in my life until recently.

I was in Junior High school. I am guessing I was probably thirteen years old, which would mean that this took place about 15 years ago. I was sitting on the floor in my walk-in closet, all alone, reading a magazine. My closet was my favourite spot to go when I just needed to get away from everyone (read: my family) and spend some time just me. I was reading one of the typical lifestyle magazines geared towards teenagers. I am guessing it was probably Seventeen, because that was my absolute favourite magazine at the time.

I remember turning to an article titled “You Don’t Have to be a Size (X) to be Pretty”. Except the (X) in the title was an actual women’s dress size, and one that I will never ever forget.

I believe the article was about girls who struggled with eating disorders, and were going through recovery. They shared their stories about their past eating habits, and how they were learning to love their new bodies and see them as beautiful. It sounds like it should be an inspiring article for a young and impressionable teenage girl to read, right? Wrong!

The title was fully explained in the article. The point was that you don’t have to be “skinny” to be pretty. What my young thirteen year-old mind got out of it was that you have to be a size (X) to be skinny, and I wanted to be skinny.

I understood the article’s point that beautiful looks different on everyone, and that was fine with me. I just knew I needed to remain below size (X) at all times, so I would remain skinny. After reading that article, I vowed to myself that I would never wear anything over size (X). I would do whatever it took.

I actually remained below the size mentioned in the article until I realized I needed to put on some weight for health reasons. Even after I gained some weight, I avoided buying anything over size (X). If I needed a bigger size, I just wouldn’t purchase the item. I much preferred sizes like small, medium, large, x-large (etc) to dress sizes so I wouldn’t have to face reality. I am sure this story sounds familiar to some of you.

The reason I am sharing this story with you today, is to talk about things that can trigger body image issues. That article that I mentioned was intended to encourage girls to feel beautiful in their own skin, but the size that they mentioned stuck with me throughout my teenage years, and will probably remain engrained somewhere in the back of my head forever.

Mentioning a size, a number on the scale, your measurements, or whatever, may not mean that much to you, but it could mean a ton to someone that overhears.  Comparison and standards are ugly things, that can really affect people, especially those that struggle with body image issues and eating disorders. Even talking calorie counts, calories allowances, or nutritional information can really hurt.

To my perfectionist self, that article said, “It is okay to be over size (X), but it is better to be under it”.

Please be careful what numbers you throw out while chatting with others, posting on social media, or while blogging. You never know what someone else is struggling with and how they will be affected by what you say. It is difficult enough to be bombarded with pictures of other women looking their absolute best, but to have a concrete number to compare yourself with can be really damaging.

To those that struggle with eating disorders, or even just body image issues, I recommend you take responsibility for what you subject your eyes and ears to. If someone consistently makes you feel bad about yourself, don’t spend time with them. If a certain website posts images or text that makes you feel like you need to start dieting, don’t visit it anymore. Even reading how many calories something has can trigger obsessive thoughts. If that is the case, don’t look!

In honour of National Eating Disorders Awareness week in the US, please take the time to consider what you type/say/or even think, and have extra compassion on others in your life that may be struggling. You have no idea what they are really going through.

Also, I just wanted to say that I just ordered a swimsuit online yesterday, that is five sizes bigger than size (X) and I am proud of it! Not because I am bigger, but because I no longer am willing to let a number control my life!

 

Do you consider how what you say/post could affect those struggling with disordered eating or body image issues? Do you think that this is necessary?

If you have struggled with disordered eating, what do you personally find “triggering”? I find restrictive diets (gluten-free, paleo, etc.) triggering. I also have a hard time with calorie counts and personal caloric requirements. I much prefer to listen to my body, and can get carried away when it comes to the number side of how much I should be eating.

When Perfect isn’t Best

Welcome back for another round of Intuitive Tuesday! Thanks for stopping by!

intuitive tuesday

As you may know, last weekend Josh and I attended a marriage course. I will share more on it later this week, but one of the things that the course touched on was learning what motivates yourself and your spouse. There were four different motivating factors, or “countries” that each “speak a different language”. I didn’t even have to take the online quiz to what my motivating factor is.

perfection

I am always striving to be perfect. I like everything done exactly right. If I know I can’t see a task through to the end, and have it turn out perfect, I probably won’t start. I set high standards for myself, and excellence is important to me. I am a major perfectionist.

Being motivated by perfection, isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it certainly can be. One area that I have learned that perfection doesn’t work, is when it comes to eating, and food.

dark chocolate almonds

In the past, I would strive to eat perfectly all the time. I would find a diet, whether it was counting calories, eating low carb, or whatever, and I would stick to it. I expected perfection from myself, and I told myself I had to eat perfectly according  to whatever diet plan I was on 100% of the time – no exceptions. If I messed up, even with the tiniest bite of something “forbidden” on the diet, that was it. I had failed. I wasn’t perfect. This failure resulted in guilt, which led me to binge eat like a crazy person. While binging I would tell myself that I would start again tomorrow on a new diet plan, and I would follow it absolutely perfectly. This went on for way to long. I wasted way too much of my life trying to eat perfectly, and it got me absolutely nowhere good.

I needed to make a change, so I decided to give up dieting, and find something that would work better for me. This is where intuitive eating came in.

If you have been following my past Intuitive Tuesday posts, you know that I have been following an intuitive eating lifestyle for around seven months now, and I am loving it. It still comes with its challenges though. Lately one of the biggest challenges I’ve had with Intuitive Eating is … perfection.

Intuitive Eating isn’t about being perfect. It is about the opposite. It emphasizes the fact that you can’t eat perfect 100% of the time. Intuitive eaters strive to listen to their body while they eat, making food choices that sound appealing to them, and eating as much as they need to feel satisfied without being overly full. Do I eat like this all of the time? Absolutely not!

soft broken gingerbread

Sometimes I feel like a failure, or a fraud. I am not even close to being perfect at intuitive eating. I still break almost every intuitive eaten guideline every day. The good news though, is that they aren’t rules, they are guidelines. Intuitive eating is a process. You can never be perfect at it, and that is the point.

I have to admit that I still have days where I tell myself that today I am going to eat perfectly intuitively. I am going to write down every thing I eat. I will always be mindful of exactly how my body is feeling, before and after. I won’t eat when I’m not hungry. I will stop before I get too full. I will make healthy choices and stay away from sugar. These statements all sound noble, and good, but in reality, if I ate like this all the time, I wouldn’t be eating intuitively, I would just be on another diet!

Sometimes I question whether or not I am really eating intuitively, but then I look at how far my eating habits have come in the past few months, and I realize that whatever I am doing is working for me. I haven’t binge ate since I started eating intuitively. I just don’t need to. I no longer obsess about food, or what I am going to eat. I have honoured my cravings. I have gained physical strength and endurance. I have enjoyed ice cream with my husband, and Christmas baking with my family. I have been able to use a lot more creativity in the kitchen, now that I don’t have to cook dishes that fit into my past diet restrictions.

I have not followed the process perfectly, or even remotely close to it, yet my results have been great!

If attempting perfection is something you struggle with when it comes to diet, I highly suggest you take a step back and think about why you place such high standards on yourself. It is impossible to have a perfect diet, because no one knows what that would actually look like. Your body has cravings and feels hungry and full for a reason. Learning to listen to it will help you fuel your body the best way possible. The best way possible isn’t always the perfect way!

 

Any other perfectionists out there? 

Have you ever struggled with trying to have the perfect diet?

 

Food Fears

It’s time for another round of Intuitive Tuesday. For those of you that are new around here, Intuitive Tuesday is where we chat about all things living intuitively, more specifically eating and exercising intuitively.

intuitive tuesday

For the past few months, we have been going through the intuitive eating principles outlined in the book Intuitive Eating by Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole. I am both happy and slightly regretful (it was fun!), to say that we are done.

I have decided to keep Intuitive Tuesday going on this little blog. I have enjoyed writing the posts, and it has encouraged me, and hopefully you, to keep up with intuitive eating.

Today I have a bit more controversial of a subject that I want to talk about.

food fears

I have been noticing lately that food packaging is inundated with promises like “fat-free”, “sugar-free”, or the increasingly popular “gluten-free”. What is up with that? I understand advertising that something is “low sodium” or even has “no salt added” for those with health concerns, and taste preferences. I can also understand “gluten-free” on particular foods for celiacs. Admittedly I do also pay attention to how much sugar is added to a product, especially when I know Lochlyn will be eating it, but I feel like this trend is getting out of hand.

caramel syrup

 

 

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The less a food has to it, the more “healthy” and desirable it is considered. If a food is able to fit into even the most restrictive diets, it gets the major bonus points. The ultimate food would be “sugar free”, “salt free”, “sodium free”, “fat free”, “carb free”, “dairy free”, “caffeine free” with “all natural ingredients”. Even better if it can claim to be “vegan”, and “paleo”. Now take a food with all of those restrictions, and make it “calorie free” and we would have a winner! (Splenda anyone?)

gif food fears

 

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I want you to know that I am not hating on dietary restrictions for particular reasons. If you want to eat vegan/paleo/whatever, and you can do so and maintain a healthy relationship with food, then by all means go for it. If you feel great doing it, and most of all, you ENJOY it, than that is awesome! I am glad that you have figured out something that works for your body, mind and tastebuds.

If you restrict certain types of food, or even entire food groups because you are scared of them, you might want to take some time to think about that. It isn’t healthy. Food is food, you don’t need to be afraid of it.

In my disordered eating days, I was “afraid” of a lot of different types of food. The scariest of all for me was white sugar, with white flour being a close second. I wouldn’t allow myself to eat anything with added sugar, and if I did, I would have a ton of anxiety and get pretty depressed. Eating processed foods, meant I was failing. I wasn’t healthy, I was going to gain a ton of weight. I was “undoing” all the work I had done at the gym.

 

The sad thing is that it would only take a bite of one of my “fear foods” and it would throw me over the edge. What happened next was usually a full-on binge of all of the restricted foods that I could find. I would eat so much I would feel sick, but I couldn’t stop myself. I had to keep raiding the cupboards and fridge, finding one last bite of food I wasn’t supposed to be eating. The next day I would wake up and “never eat any of my fear foods again”.

donuts

I didn’t realize I was afraid of certain foods exactly. I just saw them as “unhealthy” and I felt extremely “bad” for eating them. I guess the fear factor comes into play when I would be nervous about going out for dinner or to a friend’s house because I wasn’t sure what kind of foods would be offered there. I would have to eat one of my “fear foods”, feel rude not eating anything, or bring a giant salad to eat alone and drool over everyone else’s delicious looking meals and desserts!

I do think that sometimes it can be healthy to not eat certain foods. For example, I don’t eat very much red meat . I don’t like the taste or texture, and it isn’t appetizing for me. I don’t feel like I am missing out at all by not eating it. It is just a taste preference.

I also try to avoid lactose. I am lactose intolerant, and lactose does not do nice things to my stomach, or my skin. I occasionally eat some high quality cheeses (I love feta) and I find that I am typically okay with them. Also, if I really want something that has lactose and I think it will be worth it, I eat it and I make sure I enjoy it. Sometimes ice cream is worth a few days of extra make-up and some bloating, and sometimes it isn’t!

The point that I do want to make is that we don’t need to be afraid of food. It is just food after all, and it doesn’t have any power over us unless we allow it to. Eating some sugar, or white flour, or whatever else it is you have restricted yourself from eating isn’t going to make you gain 5 pounds overnight. Our “feared foods” in small amounts aren’t going to affect our health (unless you can’t eat them for health reasons of course).

birthday sushi

Be honest with yourself about sensitivities to food. I feel like often we say that we are “sensitive” to gluten, or sugar, or whatever else it is as a way to avoid eating it. It is easier to tell someone that it doesn’t make us feel great than to say, “I am on a diet” or “I am afraid to eat it!”. Most of us don’t feel awesome after binging on sugary foods, but not very many people will feel differently after eating one small cookie. The same goes for vegetables, or meat, or nuts, or anything for that matter if we eat a lot of it. Sugar isn’t the culprit. The problem is that sugar has become a “feared food”. The guilt that we experience when eating it puts us into a full-on food frenzy, and once we start eating it, we can’t stop. Trust me I know, I have been there WAY too many times.

Instead of studying food labels to make sure that what you are consuming is free of as many “food fears”‘ as possible, I think it would be beneficial to adopt different mindset. Instead of trying to find foods with as little as possible, look for foods with as much as possible. Look for as much protein, healthy fats, nutrients, and fibre that you can fit in! Also, try to find foods that are crazy delicious. If it has all the above traits, but you don’t love the taste, put it back. Also, don’t always limit yourself to having to eat healthy. Cake doesn’t have a lot of nutrition, but a good homemade slice can score high enough on the deliciousness scale that the rest of those factors don’t always matter!

food fears gif

 

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What are your biggest “food fears”/food restrictions? I challenge you to make a list and think about why you don’t allow yourself to eat them.

 How do you feel about the trend of labelling foods as “sugar-free, gluten-free, fat-free, etc.”? 

 

WIAW: Sick Food and Coping with Emotions

Good morning everyone! It’s Wednesday, and today I am linking up with Jenn over at Peas and Crayons for another round of What I Ate Wednesday.

what i ate wednesday

In yesterday’s Intuitive Tuesday post, I talked about the seventh Intuitive Eating principle as per this book. The seventh principle is to honour your feelings without using food and is intended to help limit emotional eating. This was probably one of the most difficult intuitive eating principles for me to put into action. I didn’t think I had a huge problem with emotional eating anymore, but paying extra attention to how I was feeling yesterday made for a pretty emotional day. I must still be using food to mask my feelings sometimes because when I was extra conscious not to, I sure felt a lot!

As some of you may know, I haven’t been feeling good lately. I have had flu-like symptoms on and off for over a week now. I am such a baby when I am sick, and being stuck at home taking care of a baby it makes it really hard. I couldn’t just go to bed and sleep when I wanted to, because I had little Lochlyn to worry about. I don’t know how mom’s with multiple kids do it!

If you’re thinking I may be one of those moms with multiple kids soon I won’t be. I may have been feeling like I am pregnant this past week, but I have a pregnancy test to prove that I’m not (and no we aren’t trying!).

Wow, that was a lot of rambling. What I was trying to say was that yesterday was a really tough day for me. There was a lot of sick food, a lot of feeling sorry myself, and a lot of feelings.

In order to journal how I was feeling before I ate, I utilized a series of questions that the book Intuitive Eating recommends asking yourself before you eat, in order to help you cope with emotional eating. I mentioned them yesterday, but for those of you that missed it, the questions were (pp. 158-159):

  1. Am I biologically hungry?
  2. What am I feeling?
  3. What do I need?
  4. Would you please … ? Is there something that you need other people (or yourself) to do to help?

I journaled my answers to these questions every time I was about to eat yesterday. The book recommends that if you can answer yes to the first question, you don’t need to ask yourself the rest. I decided I wanted to be aware of my feelings regardless of whether I was hungry or not, so I asked myself the list even if I was hungry, in order to be more aware of my feelings in general.

Now that I have got that explained, here is my day of eats from yesterday. It is not too exciting, and it is very much “sick” food. Also it is a lot less than I would normally eat, since my stomach has been pretty upset lately.

9:30 AM – Eggo waffles with applesauce (I ate more  applesauce on the side too)

My favourite “sick” food is fluffy, white, diner-style pancakes with apple-sauce. I didn’t want to make pancakes, and Josh isn’t much of a cook, so I opted for Eggo waffles instead. Josh went to the store to pick these up for me the night before :)

eggos

  1. Am I biologically hungry? Yes.
  2. What am I feeling? Sick, tired, stressed out about how messy our house is, lethargic and lazy
  3. What do I need? to clean the house, rest
  4. Would you please …? Ask Josh to help me clean on the weekend, give myself permission to take it easy today

So you can see quite the conundrum I was having yesterday morning. I felt sick and like I needed rest, but I wanted a clean house and the mess and clutter was stressing me out!

11:30 AM – Plain yogurt with half a banana

This was my lunch. I pretty much ate this because I wanted to go to the gym in a couple hours, and I knew that if I didn’t eat anything I couldn’t go. Yogurt and a banana was the only thing I could think of that my stomach would handle. Please excuse the dark and blurry photo. I took this picture in my basement, curled up on the couch under a blanket.

yogurt and banana

  1. Am I biologically hungry? A little.
  2. How am I feeling? Tired, sick, and guilty. I want to go to the gym, but I don’t have enough energy to clean my house. Also I know that I need to take it easy.
  3. What do I need? Sleep.
  4. Would you please … ? Ease my guilt. I had made the decision by this point to try to head to the gym and get a run in. Pretty stupid I know. Since i had already decided to do this, I needed to give myself permission to go, so that I stopped feeling guilty. What I really should have done was listen to my body and not go.

1:00 PM – The other half of the banana

banana model

  1. Am I biologically hungry? Yes.
  2. How am I feeling? Tired, nauseous, guilty about going to the gym.
  3. What do I need? Permission to rest and skip the gym, or permission to go without feeling guilty.
  4. Would you please … ? Same thing as above, give myself permission to either rest or go to the gym so I stop feeling so guilty!

So, I ended up going to the gym for a quick run at around 2. I had to cut it short because I didn’t have the energy to finish. I really should have just stayed home and stayed in bed. I have been frustrated because I rarely get sick, and it feels like now that I have decided to start training for a half marathon, I have been sick so much and it is interfering with my training. Thankfully I gave myself a few extra weeks to train so that if I miss a few days it won’t be such a big deal. I learned my lesson, I should have stayed home with my baby girl and relaxed. Next time I guess.

3:00 PM – Post workout green smoothie

This was because I realized that I hadn’t eaten any veggies all day and I needed some nutrients to help me get better. This smoothie included half a banana, frozen peaches, orange juice, and a handful of spinach. I found it very orange-y. I prefer almond milk in smoothies, but I wanted to added boost of some vitamin C. As you can see, I still haven’t fixed my nails.

green smoothie

  1. Am I biologically hungry? Somewhat.
  2. What am I feeling? Exhausted, frustrated about not being able to finish my run, sad that I am still sick, self-pity.
  3. What do I need? A nap, a break, Lochlyn to fall asleep for her nap, rest.
  4. Would you please …? Go to sleep Lochlyn!

When I got home from the gym I put Lochlyn down for a nap before I made my smoothie. By the time I was finished, she was wailing at the top of her lungs. I went in her room to try to soothe her a few times with no luck. She wasn’t going to nap. I could tell by her cries that there wasn’t anything really wrong, but I didn’t want to let her cry too long, since she usually falls asleep by herself right away.

I ended up letting Lochlyn fuss a little bit. Before I went to get her from her crib I did participate in a quick little stress eating session.

4:00 PM – Handful of Mini Wheats cereal (not pictured).

Yuck, I don’t even like Mini Wheats!

  1. Am I biologically hungry? No.
  2. What am I feeling? Tired, stressed, upset that Lochlyn isn’t sleeping.
  3. What do I need? Rest, time to chill out.
  4. Would you please …. ? Allow myself to relax without feeling guilty about it ( I was back to feeling bad that I went to the gym but didn’t have the energy to clean my house!). I was also upset that Lochlyn wasn’t sleeping so I couldn’t lie on the couch and veg.

After letting Lochlyn fuss for a while, I took her downstairs with me and we cuddled up on the couch. I let her breastfeed to sleep while I watched Netflix. It was actually nice having my baby in my arms to cuddle. Eventually the pop-up on Netflix that asks if you want to continue watching came up, and I couldn’t get up to click the button, so I held my baby in silence and was forced to enjoy the moment. I ended up crying at the realization of how good it was to hold her close, despite how awful I was feeling. Even though it is hard taking care of a little one while you are sick, it is still rewarding being a mama.

When Lochlyn woke up from her nap, I realized she had a dirty diaper. Bad mom move there. Lochlyn can’t fall asleep on her own with a dirty diaper. I really should have checked that out when she started crying in her crib. Oops!

After Lochlyn was all changed we played for a couple minutes, then I brought her downstairs to feed her dinner and make something for myself. Josh wasn’t home yet because he went out after work with a friend, so we were on our own for dinner. I didn’t feel like making much and my stomach was still pretty upset, so sick food it was!

6:15 PM – Salt box soup (Lipton chicken noodle) with egg whites and some frozen vegetables stirred in.

Lochlyn only eats egg yolks at this point and she was having scrambled eggs, so I used her whites in my soup. I love adding eggs to my soup.

lipton soup with eggs

  1. Am I biologically hungry? Yes!
  2. What am I feeling? Lonely, missing Josh, sad, tired, sorry for myself.
  3. What do I need? Food! Also company, companionship, help with Lochlyn and dinner so I can rest a little bit.
  4. Would you please … ? Ask Josh to make more time for us. He has been going out more lately and I miss having him around. Also I could really use the help with Lochlyn in the evenings since I haven’t been feeling good.

I ate that bowl of soup and was stuffed. My stomach just isn’t used to eating a lot lately.

When Josh got home, I did end up asking for help, and we stayed up talking for a bit after Lochlyn went to sleep. I know I should have gone to sleep early, but it was nice to spend some time with him when he got home.

As you can see from my day, it was very emotional, and most of my actual problems were pretty minimal. It is really hard taking care of another little life, when you are feeling under the weather. I learned my lesson to take it easy on the workouts and stay home and rest when I am not feeling so great. Deciding to not work out would have saved a lot of my conflicting feelings and guilt that I had earlier in the day, and it would have given my body the rest that it was craving to get better.

eeyore cuddles

 

I should take some lessons from Eeyore on resting – she is a pro!

Although this was one of the hardest Intuitive Eating principles for me to put into practice, I found it one of the most helpful. I don’t think that I normally check in with my feelings throughout the day, and yesterday was a good one to do it. I would recommend using these questions from time to time to check in and see if you are emotional eating. I don’t think you need to necessarily stop eating if you decide that you are eating emotionally. Journaling about your feelings can help you to feel them and figure out how to cope with them so that next time you won’t need to reach for something to snack on.

 

What is your favourite “sick” food?

Do you still try to work out when you are sick or am I the only crazy one? Please don’t work out when you are sick. I learned my lesson, it is a bad mistake. Listen to your body, it is craving rest for a reason! Okay, so I am mostly preaching to myself here…

 

 

Challenging the Food Police

I want to be honest about something. I am not sure if I have come across as being an expert at intuitive eating, but I want you guys to know that I am far from it. I have read a lot of blogs where the writers claim to eat intuitively. I just want to say that I am learning to eat intuitively. I don’t eat intuitively all the time, I am far from it. For me this is a process, and a learning curve, and that is one of the reasons why I am writing Intuitive Tuesday posts. I want to keep myself accountable to learning to eat intuitively.

That being said, I have come a very long way from where I was at. I have learned a lot, and the concept of intuitive eating has already helped me immensely. I still eat when I am not hungry sometimes, but I haven’t binged for a long time, and I don’t obsess about food anymore. I just wanted you guys to know where I was at with all of this. I sometimes forget that bloggers are human and aren’t perfect, even if their blog portrays them as such.

Now, on to ….

intuitive tuesday

 

For those of you that are new here, in this series I talk about all things intuitive living. Right now I am going through the principles of Intuitive Eating as described in this book:

intuitive eating book

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Feel free to check out principle 1, 2, and 3. Today we are talking about the fourth principle; Challenging the Food Police.

I love this one. Probably because I hate the food police. What are the food police you ask? They are the little voices inside your head that tell you what you should and shouldn’t eat. They are the voices that enforce all those rules that you have picked up from dieting (Tribole, Resch, p. 94)

For example, they can tell you that you shouldn’t eat a lot of carbs, or that eating late in the evenings is bad. They tell you not to have that bowl of ice cream, and that you should eat carrots instead if you are still hungry.

The more diets you have been on, the more of these type of thoughts you probably have. We pick them up without even realizing it. It isn’t just dieting that supplies them, things like food advertising and the media can be just as bad. I am sure you have seen advertisements describing foods as “sinful”, or “guilt-free”.

guilt free

 

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The food police turn eating into a morality issue (Tribole, Resch, p. 94). Food isn’t just food anymore but what we eat becomes either good or bad. Maybe you have had an eating day that you described as “good”. You followed your food rules. You probably felt extra good about yourself. If you have had a good eating day, I am sure you have had a bad one too.

I used to have a lot of “bad” eating days. I would be in the worst mood ever. I would get so down on myself, sometimes I would just go to bed and give up on the rest of the day altogether. I would get so depressed over my food choices and the fact that I didn’t have the willpower to follow my rules and restrictions.

The food police give food power over us that it shouldn’t have. Food isn’t good or bad, it is just food. The Intuitive Eating book actually explains that the food police turn food into a type of false religion. We get so obsessive about trying to be good and following all of the rules. It is messed up that eating foods that we think we shouldn’t can make us feel guilty, wrong and just plain bad.

raspberry cheesecake

 

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I used to live by my food police voices. I had so many of them and I was constantly adding to the chaos in my head. I would spend hours on the internet researching what I should and shouldn’t eat. I wanted to eat as healthy as possible. It was to lose weight, but it even went beyond that and became a kind of obsession. My identity was eating healthy, dieting was my hobby. Food restriction was how I accomplished this. Just for the record, food restriction is not healthy. It messes with your mind and denies your body things that it may need to function or things it may want to enjoy.

I was always trying new ways of eating, and restricting different foods. I developed so many food rules without even realizing it. Then I used all of these ideas to judge what i was eating, and what others were eating. I think that I judged other people because I really wanted to eat what they were eating and I had to tell myself why they shouldn’t be eating it so I could talk myself out of it.

cheesy pasta

 

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Right at the moment, I would say that I am doing fairly good with saying “no” to the food police. As I mentioned above, this is a learning process for me, and I am not perfect at any aspect of Intuitive Eating, but I am getting better. I do sometimes still have the thought that I shouldn’t be eating something because it is “unhealthy” or “bad”, but for the most part I don’t usually think of my food that way.

One thing that really helped me to get rid of my food police thoughts were to identify them. The voices can be so engrained in our way of thinking that we don’t even realize they are there.

What I did was make a list of all of the rules I had governing my food choices. I added to this list continuously for awhile as new thoughts came up. I came up with 25 food rules at the time, but I am sure that there was a ton more, and that there would still be new ones coming up almost daily if I continued this exercise.

My list looked like this:

  1. Eat within a half hour of waking up to kick start your metabolism
  2. Don’t start the day off eating sweets or “junk food”
  3. Make sure each meal includes a healthy balance of carbs, protein and fats
  4. limit fruit intake because it is high in sugar
  5. Don’t eat unless you are hungry
  6. Don’t eat standing up
  7. Don’t eat with distractions like reading
  8. Limit carbs in order to get leaner
  9. Taper off carbs at the end of the day
  10. Avoid sugary vegetables like corn
  11. Don’t drink your calories
  12. Avoid high-glycemic foods like white carbohydrates and glucose
  13. Don’t eat high fat foods because they are high in calories
  14. Don’t eat anything with added sugar
  15. etc. etc. …

Then I went through my list and thought where each of these voices came from. I also listed reasons for why these rules may not actually be accurate.

For example, the first rule I picked up while learning about body building diets. It may not be accurate because if I wake up full, I wouldn’t be listening to my body if I ate right away. Also there are schools of thought that say you should do the opposite and go for long periods of time without eating. I am not saying you shouldn’t eat right away, but there is so much contradicting information out there that is changing all of the time. Listening to your body is more important than the rules, your body knows what it needs and it’s needs change daily.

I want to do another rule for you so you get the idea. Rule #2 – don’t start the day off with sweets/junk food. This probably came from my parents, and reading nutrition advice online. The thing is, if I wake up wanting something like chocolate, or a cinnamon bun, but instead eat something like, say, an egg white omelet, I am still going to crave the chocolate or cinnamon bun, or whatever. I will probably want it more and more and more until I give in, eat it, and then feel so guilty afterwards that I eat all of the things I can find. I probably won’t enjoy eating it because I will be too busy thinking about how bad it is. I will end up eating way more calories with the guilt eating, then I would have if I just ate what I was craving and then moved on. My body may have been craving something sweet for a reason, whether it needed extra carbohydrates, something comforting, enjoyment, who knows? Why should I feel guilty for eating something that my body wants? Besides, the next day I may crave that egg white omelet.

egg white omelet

 

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Listing all of my food rules not only taught me to identify them, but it also taught me that they weren’t even true. Nutrition and diet advice changes all of the time, and so many people have different philosophies about what you should eat. For example, some people think that eating Paleo is the best, while others swear by Veganism. 15 years ago, low-fat foods were all the rage, now we are told that healthy fats are necessary and could even help you lose weight and have positive impacts on your health. There is no perfect way to eat because every body is different, and our lifestyle changes from day-to-day.

I can tell you one thing, freeing yourself from the voices in your head that dictate what you eat is amazing! It feels so good to not feel guilty over eating things that you love and crave. When vegetables are no longer good, and cake is no longer bad, cake can actually lose its allure, and salad can become absolutely delicious. It just depends on what your body needs and wants at the moment.

Intuitive Eating describes some other ways for how to rid yourself of the food police voices, including identifying the different types of voices and replacing them with more positive self-talk. I highly recommend reading the book if this is something you are struggling with, as I only briefly summarized it in this post.

Also, as always, I am not a nutritionist, certified dietician, or doctor. This post is just based on my personal experience with Intuitive Eating. If you are struggling with an eating disorder, please see the help of someone qualified.

Tribole, Resch. Intuitive Eating (2012). 3rd edition. St. Martin’s Press, NY NY.

 

Do you have any tips for challenging the food police thoughts? What are they?