I know it sounds crazy. It sounds like it’ll NEVER work. But you can’t do it halfway, or half the time, or half-heartedly. Intuitive eating demands a lot — but if you let yourself fall, it will change your life.
Think about how a trust fall works: Your partner is right there behind you, ready to catch you with arms outstretched. When you give your full trust, you fall back in a sort of backwards swan dive. It’s a thing of beauty.
But if you don’t trust all the way, instead of falling into their arms like the lovely swan you are, your knees will buckle in instinctive self-preservation, and you will crumple and fall on the floor. Your partner can’t catch you, because you fell down, not backward. No trust gained, and you’ll confirm your own worldview that people aren’t trustworthy.
Intuitive eating without full trust will land you in a similar spot. Let’s say you give yourself Saturday and Sunday to eat intuitively, eating whatever you want whenever you want it. Great! But then you spend the rest of the week in instinctive self-preservation, trying to “get back on track” and work off what you ate. NOPE. This will not get you far, my friend. This is no better than a cheat day. Your mind will still be in the mindset of restriction and scarcity, and it won’t be long until your next binge. No trust gained, and you’ll confirm your own worldview that food isn’t trustworthy. Your hunger isn’t trustworthy. Your body isn’t trustworthy.
Learning how to eat intuitively requires free falling into the unknown, with a 100% commitment to the long haul. It takes consistent practice to learn to trust your body’s innate hunger and fullness cues and overcome the scarcity mindset (i.e. “I’ll never be allowed to eat cookies again, so I will eat them all like they’re the last ones on earth”). It also takes time for your hunger hormones to rebalance to their pre-diet levels. I named my blog Six Months to Sanity because that’s how long it takes for all of this to fall into place.
If you’re struggling to let go of the notion of control, try visualizing a trust fall that goes well and one that doesn’t. When you doubt and second guess the intuitive eating process, you’ll end up falling down — that’s the binge, and it’s inevitable.
But if you give in to that beautiful backwards free fall, your partner will be there to catch you; your body is your partner, and it won’t let you fall. Nobody likes the idea of going backwards, but it’s right where you need to go to undo the damage that diets have done to your physiological and psychological relationships with food. Intuitive eating sets back the clock — and sets you free.