Want to hear me actually talk about this? You can listen to the podcast episode here:
How you feel when your body changes
I want to talk about how you feel when your body changes. I'm going to use myself as the example in this because I can only talk about myself and my feelings towards my own body. You may have the same feelings. You may have different feelings. But I can only talk about it from my own perspective.
I have through my Intuitive Eating journey put on some weight. I am bigger than I used to be. I am quite a different shape and size now to what I was when I was deep in diets, and even at my thinnest thought that I still wasn't thin enough.
Through my Intuitive Eating journey I've got rid of this desire to diet and to be skinny, but that doesn't stop me missing skinny me. It doesn't stop me wanting to be that size, because life in a bigger body is definitely more difficult than life in a smaller body.
When you're smaller you can sit comfortably on an aeroplane, for example. In a bigger body it's a tighter space. You might need a belt extender, that sort of thing.
Clothes shopping in a bigger body is very, very different. In a smaller body you can pretty much walk into any shop you like and there will be something to fit you. In a bigger body, not the case.
So it's natural to want to be smaller, given the choice. But we don't have that choice, not without dieting, and so I am learning to accept and love my body the way that it is now.
Intuitive Eating - I didn't get it!
When I started Intuitive Eating I didn't understand this. I was not ready to start Intuitive Eating because I just didn't get it. I'd read the book, I had joined some Facebook groups, and I tried really hard to get into it. I tried to understand what everybody was talking about when they were saying about ignoring the weight gain and making peace with that, because I couldn't.
I tried to talk to people online and I said it affects me in lots of different ways. I don't like the way my clothes look, or how my body feels in the heat. The way you sleep is different. I'm a pool player, and the way that I play pool has to change according to my body size in the way I stand and line up for a shot.
Alot has changed since I've gained this weight, so there are lots of practicalities that I just couldn't get my head around and I was trying to ask people how how do I come to terms with this? How do I figure this out? The responses I was getting were just put trust in your body, just accept. They were giving me the right words, they were giving me the right approaches, I just was not ready to listen and do the work.
I wasn't in the right space to start Intuitive Eating properly and so I went back to dieting, as you do. I was drawn back into it because I thought that was the only way that I could approach this. I didn't like my body bigger. I didn't like gaining weight. So I was going to diet and I was going to get rid of it!
But the reality was I just hadn't done the work, and so after these diets had gone on and failed for a bit longer, I came back round to Intuitive Eating again and suddenly I really resonated with it. I do want to be an intuitive eater. I don't want to diet anymore. As I reread the book, and I started following these groups again, I started following accounts on social media that were promoting it.
I saw it all come together, and the principles of Intuitive Eating all started to make more sense. As I learnt how damaging diet culture is and started to try to let it go, the principles all came together and started to make sense. I cleaned up my socials, I saw through all that nonsense that I was seeing about why I should diet and why I should be in a bigger body now and it became clearer. That doesn't mean I don't want to be smaller, because as I said, given the choice, I would be smaller, but actually I am so much happier now.
I'm not a binge eater any more
However, I am eating much better because I've let go of all of those rules and restrictions that diets put on you. I am not a binge eater anymore because I don't have those restrictions that are creating those binges. I have food freedom because Intuitive Eating teaches us that actually you can have whatever you want and you can have as much of it as you want, so now because I know I can just have it I don't feel the need to binge. Then I don't feel the need to restrict either because I'm not trying to make up for anything.
It's OK to still want to be skinny. This is my message today. It's OK to still want to be smaller, but you need compassion for the person you are trying to be in accepting the person you aren't anymore. It's about being kind to yourself while you are trying to let old you go and accept (and maybe even love) the person that you are going to be going forward as an intuitive eater.
It's a hell of a journey. You look at the principles of Intuitive Eating and you think, "oh, how hard can it be? How difficult can it be to let go of dieting and start listening to your body and how hungry and how full you are, and enjoy a bit of exercise and maybe eat in a nutritious way? How difficult can that be?".
But when you come to do the work, there's so much history in your life that affects all of the choices that you make around food, how you feel about your body, and it's hard work. You need some kindness and some compassion towards yourself while you do that work, because it's not easy, but it's so worth it.
I now have an appreciation for my body. I like my body way better now than I did when I was dieting. I was never satisfied when I was dieting. I was never happy with how my body was. When you lose weight and you hit a target you have in mind, you get to that target and then "I'll just have a bit more. I'll just lose a bit more. I'll just take another X pounds off". You're always striving for more. At least now in my body as it is, I'm not striving for anything other than to be happy and have a healthy relationship with food.
That's what I've got now and it's so refreshing. It makes life so much more pleasurable because I'm not constantly trying to change my body. I'm not constantly trying to make it different, trying to make it smaller, trying to make it leaner, trying to make it more muscly, trying to make it anything other than what it is now. OK, I'm not over the moon about my size, but my God am I over the moon about the fact that I recovered from an eating disorder.
I'm happier overall. My relationships with people in my life are better. My approach to life as a whole is better because I stopped giving a damn about what I look like, and about my weight. I am who I am and I'm more than my weight.
Make a list
I am a pole dancer. I am a pool player. I hold a personal licence and have run pubs. I am a qualified wedding planner, and that was what my business was for five years until I sold it and went back to doing the day job. There are so many more interesting things to know about me and my weight and my size have no bearing on any of those things.
There are so many more important things to know and appreciate about a person that is not body related. So if you are on this journey now, if this is something you are working towards, a really great exercise for you to do is to make this list of all the qualities that you have, and all the things that people would find interesting about you that's not body related.
Go ahead. Make that list.
It might be in your head. It might be on paper. On paper is good because then you can keep it and you can look at it. You can pin it up on the mirror so that you look at it each day. And so when you're doing that difficult thing of looking in the mirror and trying to love yourself, you can look at that list and you can say, "I am more than my shape and size". You can appreciate all the good things about you, not just your body.
Feel free to send me a little message and say, "Hey, Terri, here's something interesting about me you might not know yet". Send it to me and tell me how awesome you are. I can't wait to see what you say.
Each podcast episode talks more about the blog post topic. I chat to you about that, some day to day things, give you some motivation, and hopefully help you to feel like someone is by your side through this journey.
The Intuitive Eating & Body Positivity podcast is available on most streaming services, or you can listen using the player at the top of the page. The full list of episodes can also be found here on the Podcast page.
Please note: This post is intended to be general information that applies to people who don't have diagnosed medical conditions and are not pregnant. Any figures quoted are correct at the time of writing. As always, please seek the support of a registered professional before making changes to your diet or lifestyle, or if you feel that you are affected by any of the topics discussed.