How to Intuitively eat after an Eating Disorder
Intuitive eating saved me. It saved me from the diets that gave me false promises, it saved me from the yoyo weight fluctuations, but most of all it saved me from the restrictive and disordered eating habits I had adopted through the years. I struggled with Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge eating that were all catalyzed by the first diet I ever went on where I counted every calorie that went into my mouth.
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Disclaimer: This is not medical advice and should not be taken as such. I am not a doctor and do not claim to be as these are solely based on my experiences. Please consult your family doctor before considering any recommendations listed in this post. Thanks!
How Diets lead to eating disorders
In short, restriction leads to disordered eating, which leads to full blown eating disorders where you’re terrified of food and attach so much worth to how you look. Any diet that has ever existed has some kind of restriction, whether that’s low carb, low calorie, low fat, or any other one you can think of. The common denominator is always restriction. On top of that, most diets label foods as “good” or “bad” leading one to an “all or nothing” mindset when it come to eating or treating yourself. I remember I used to be so scared of myself when I was around cake or left over treats because I would just eat it until there was none left to obsess over. Such a sad way to view food.
Diets, in my opinion, are eating disorders in disguise. However, there is nothing wrong with wanting to lose a healthy amount of weight I just feel like diets put you on a path to self destruction and yo-yo cycling. Did you know that about 95% of diets fail after 1 year? Meaning people gain the weight back (or more) within one year of losing it. I believe its because diets don’t set you up for long term success or tools to use to “have your cake and eat it to” which is the secret no one tells you. Intuitive eating is the way of eating that allows all foods in whatever amount you want, puts less pressure on your weight and how you look and focuses on how the food you eat makes you FEEL. That’s what anyone ever wants anyways, right? To feel good and happy.
What does it mean to “Intuitively eat”?
Intuitive eating means honouring your hunger, fullness, and your cravings. It means eating when you want, how much you want, and what you want. Having food freedom. Eating like you did when you had no idea what a diet was. After doing this for some time, your body will settle at a comfortable weight for your body, that might not be the weight you have in mind but you might want to get that number out of your head if you ever want to break the yoyo weight cycle. Everyone has a set point, intuitive eating will help you find yours.
Intuitive eating #1: Honour your hunger
Honouring your hunger does not mean waiting until your stomach is grumbling and empty to eat. In fact, you might find you over eat until you are uncomfortable when you get to that stage. Sometimes it happens, when you can’t eat at a long shift at work and that is ok, that is life. I also get busy and forget to eat, which is something I don’t like to do but I’m working on.
Below is a hunger fullness scale I like to use for myself when determining if I need to eat or not. I usually hover between a 5-6 this is where I feel energetic, satisfied, and amazing.
Intuitive eating #2: Honour your fullness
Just like listening to your hunger cues, one must also respect their fullness level. If you are a boredom eater or emotional eater this will help tune you into your body’s fullness cue and help you realize eating is not the answer to your issues. I like the 80% full rule. It takes a lot of time to recognize when you are 80% full but be patient and forgiving to yourself, you will get there☺
Intuitive eating#3: Honour your cravings
Have you ever tired to fight off a craving or eat something healthier just to go eat what you crave anyway? Yeah, me too. The mental restriction you put on yourself is also dieting even if you don’t think you are. This leads to the “all or nothing” mindset again, even if you eat enough food you can still end up binging on foods you restrict because its “bad”. Ill let you in on a secret, food doesn’t have morals. There is no good or bad its just food. Some are more nutritionally dense than others but at the end of the day, food is food. You eat it for fuel and sometimes for pleasure which is 100% ok to do.
There was this voice inside my head, I call it the food police, and it was always there when I went to a party or a night out. It told me I had a limit to stay in. it told me I shouldn’t have pie at Christmas dinner because I would go over my calorie goal. Do you have on too? Don’t listen to it.
How I transitioned from disordered eating to Intuitive eating
It was not easy. Going from majorly food focused to not knowing how many calories I eat or the macro breakdown of my food. It is Probably the hardest thing Ive ever had to change about myself.
I deleted my fitness pal, downloaded it countless times again when I felt like giving up. Then, eventually I deleted it for the last time. I had to ride my binge waves and then binge anyways because it was so damn hard to fight, but eventually that also got easier and I had my last binge. Messing up is expected, you might mess up a lot, you might have to forgive yourself a lot but that is also a beautiful tool intuitive eating taught me. Forgiving myself for my flaws and my mess ups. No one is perfect so stop expecting yourself to be.
a really good resource I used is a book called “intuitive eating” and outlines the 10 principles one would follow to achieve the goal of being an intuitive eater. I used the audio version but the hard copy is linked HERE
thank you for reading! I hope this post helped you in some way <3
until next time xx
“honor your fullness’ and ‘honor your cravings’ – this is perfectly stated! Great advice in this article. Thank you for sharing.
I really appreciate the great advice in the post. Intuitive eating is something I’ve been striving to do for a couple months. It feels so much better than dieting or restricting. Great tips!