**Please know as you read this article that I am a true believer in anything intuitive. I will go down with the boat knowing that the self-empowerment of learning to listen to your body to guide you is WAY better than the alternative of self- hatred and starvation that is so espoused these days. However, now that I’ve said this, I’d like to share what one of my “bad” days looks like.
This intuitive eating journey can be HARD.
I am sick of being in the moment – what if I don’t like the moment. What if when I am sitting and trying to enjoy my breakfast and just eat I notice the windows need to be cleaned and I forgot to pay the bill that was due – yesterday?
What if I miss the simplicity of a start and a finish and a winner? What if I want a trophy or a gold star? Some days this journey is starting to feel like I have been stuck in a car ride with small kids for way to long.
What if I am really sick and tired of waiting for my hunger? The bugger doesn’t show up as quickly as I’d like – kind of like a downtown bus.
And what if I never find this “middle: the space between starvation and overindulgence where I can be present and happy and accepting of all things. What if my “middle” is in fact an incredibly boring all grey room that needs to be dusted.
What if I want to look like those 22 year old girls with flat pierced stomachs and no cares in the world. Is there an airbrush for real life? Should I look up the new fad diet?
Wait! – I have gone too far – I DO NOT ever want to be 22 again or be obsessed with what I am on the outside like I was when I was 22: when I actually thought that the problems in my world will be solved by me being just the “right” size. When I get back to diet mentality I know I am having a REALLY bad day. These happen on occasion: to anyone who is human.
Intuitive Eating authors Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch describe the experience of a journey as a spiral of healing; an upward, onward movement that circles around and allows for reflection and growth. I like to think of it as picturing yourself hiking up a mountain in a circular fashion. You may feel as though you have “started over” at some points when you circle around to the beginning but in fact you are ever so slightly higher on this mountain. As you make progress around the mountain you know more about what to expect and can start to see how far you have come from where you began. But there are also times when you are tired, weary, upset from a bad day, and trip over a pebble on the path. And fall.
So, if you find yourself lying on the ground in the dust, thinking drastic thoughts, give yourself a moment to recover, take a nap, scream, call a friend, whatever works for you. Then GET BACK UP. Every time you fall and pick yourself back up you are getting stronger and can get back up more quickly.
Once up. I happily remember that before I noticed the dirty windows at breakfast I had actually accomplished giving myself two minutes of peace and quiet. I remember that the intense pressure to be the best isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. And, in fact, a middle with shades of grey may not be all that bad (wink, wink) I also remember about the self-empowerment, self-guidance, self-love, and self-respect so inherent in intuitive eating.
Yes, this journey can be hard. Change (of any kind) is HARD. Bad days are to be expected. Getting back up can be difficult. But my advice is keep going. Because every step you make is forward and most days the journey is truly beautiful and inspiring and breathtakingly awesome.
And a little humor can help.
Written by Sarah Gold, MS, RD, LDN, and intuitive eating counselor
Intuitive Eating is a book by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD and Elyse Resch, MS, RD, FADA, CEDRD. Learn more at intuitiveeating.com. They also have a new Intuitive Eating Workbook.
Sarah Gold is an intuitive eater, dietitian, chocolate lover, and dog lover,