Deciding to begin to eat in a more intuitive way can be quite a learning experience. Some of the things we learn may feel fairly obvious, but others tend to really take us by surprise. We learn how to listen to and honor our bodies and what they need. We become more in tune with our hunger, fullness, and cravings. These are probably the things most of us think of and desire initially when we think about eating intuitively. They also tend to be the more obvious changes that come from eating in a more mindful way.
One of the most surprising but common things that often happens, is that as we develop our intuition around food, this newly developed sense of intuition starts expanding to other areas of our lives. For example, the way we look at moving our bodies often changes. Maybe we wake up feeling achy, and instead of our normal pushing through it and doing some intense workout, we decide to do some yoga, take a walk or *gasp* just rest completely! We begin to think about the idea of exercise in a less punishing, more intuitive way. We move when our body wants to move, and rest when our body wants to rest.
Another area we often see this happening is in our relationship with stress and willingness to over extend ourselves. We may suddenly find ourselves having an easier time politely declining that party invite when what we truly want is to stay home and cuddle our loved ones/pets, unwind and watch a movie, stay home and read, take a bath, etc. after a difficult week. This practice of listening to ourselves can slowly extend to recognizing when we are feeling run down/overworked and need time to unwind or conversely, when we need to get out and do something fun!
This awareness also can lead to an increased ability to recognize when we need to set boundaries with the people in our lives more generally speaking, and often an increased ability to uphold these boundaries once we set them. This is because we now recognize what the impact of not doing so has been for us in the past. Maybe Aunt Sue wants to take you out to lunch, and you now realize that instead of being enjoyable, it’s going to be a draining gossip fest about other family members? Wow so that’s what leaves you feeling so drained/sad when you spend time with her! Sounds like it might be time to set some boundaries with her before you consider that lunch date.
All this is not to say that learning to eat more mindfully solves all our problems. However, often in learning to listen and trust our intuition around food, we slowly find we start listening and trusting our intuition in other areas as well. We live in a culture that teaches us in so many ways to downplay and ignore our intuition, but so often listening to our intuition more, not less, really is key in living a happier, healthier, life. Having trust in our ability to nourish ourselves and listen to our bodies really does extend to having trust in how we navigate so many other aspects of our life
Questions about intuitive eating or anything else eating disorder or food/body image related? Feel free to get in touch!