Women always ask me, “Why should I ‘do’ Intuitive Eating if it won’t help me lose weight?”
I like to think of Intuitive Eating as the way we would all eat if we didn’t live in a culture telling us that thinner is better and that someone else knows what’s best for us. If we didn’t see countless advertisements every day showing thin, white women as the ideal, or showing women having fun and finding success after they lose weight. If we didn’t learn to just trust doctors instead of listening to our internal wisdom. If there weren’t huge, billion dollars industries profiting off of our self-loathing and uncertainty. If we didn’t believe, deep in our hearts, that we would be better and happier and more acceptable if we looked different.
Intuitive Eating is the way you would eat if you grew up loving and respecting your body, and there weren’t any messages about how you should look or what you should weigh. If you just lived your life and focused on feeling your best eating according to your body’s cues. It’s really not that complicated, but it takes some awareness to get back to that place after all we’ve been through.
If you asked me to sum up the benefits of Intuitive Eating in just one word, it is Freedom. The incredible freedom of knowing yourself, respecting yourself, and living your life without boundaries. Without the worry and drama of needing to carefully choose eat bite you eat, and criticize yourself if you don’t do it perfectly. The freedom of knowing and trusting yourself, and being able to focus on more important things than your appearance. The freedom of feeling worthy of respect regardless of your weight or size or how many cookies you ate last night.
There’s a concept bouncing around in the Intuitive Eating world that trips people up: Set Point Weight. Set point weight is the weight your body will naturally maintain when you are really eating according to your personal needs, exercising in a way that works for your body, and not trying to change or control yourself.
The reason I think this concept is problematic is that it keeps people focused on weight, which is in direct conflict with the premise of Intuitive Eating. People want to know how to figure out what their set-point is, when they will get to it, and how they will know.
The thing is, Set Point is a theory. It’s a concept. Your set point is where you will be when you’re a truly successful Intuitive Eater. The only way to know what it is and get to it is to stop thinking about weight altogether and listen to your body. The concept of set point weight keeps people thinking about weight when the whole goal of this process is to stop doing just that.
When you’re thinking about set point, Intuitive Eating just becomes another diet with the goal of getting to a certain weight.
The biggest hurdle to overcome becoming an Intuitive Eater is allowing your body to be a size that works for you. This is, of course, a huge stumbling block for so many people, and can make or break your Intuitive Eating journey.
It’s not a quick shift, but it CAN and WILL happen if you commit to the process and develop an abiding faith in yourself. And you will find that the freedom and joy of self-acceptance is well worth the challenge of giving up your weight-loss goals. It really is.
When I sought treatment for Binge-Eating Disorder, I held onto the hope of weight loss for a long time. I had a dramatic shift in my happiness when I finally let it go, and decided to live my best life in the body I have right now.
This process is about you...learning to respect yourself, feel worthy, find joy, discover your dreams, and experience true freedom and happiness. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. This is YOUR journey, and it’s up to you.
Even if you still want to lose weight, you probably have an inkling that there’s a better way to live your life. You probably know, deep down, that you deserve better than to go through life not really feeling worthy unless you can change your body. We’d love to help you start the journey to self-acceptance from wherever you are right now.