Intuitive Eating: Making Peace With Your Body

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

Couple eating pizza and watching TVAll of us are born with the innate ability to regulate what we want to eat and how much we eat according to our own hunger and fullness signals. Think of a toddler who pushes away food when he or she has had enough to eat or a child whose intake may be variable dependent on their growth pattern.

Unfortunately, natural intuitive eating cues are own distorted or lost as an individual develops, particular with the pressure and messages from external sources. Being that we live within a society whose common message supports dieting and denounces body acceptance, our innate wisdom to regulate food intake is often destroyed.

When we begin giving more thought and credence to external forces to guide us in how to eat (i.e. dieting, calorie counting, etc.), and ignore our body, this intuitive eating signals become dimmer and less obvious.

Fearing Uncontrolled Cravings

Many individuals who are chronic dieters may fear what may happen to their body if they truly did listen to what their body wanted. People may fear that they will experience uncontrolled cravings and that unwanted weight gain will subsequently result. Because there is a lack of trust in the body’s natural regulating systems, people will frequently look to dieting as a means of knowing what to eat and how much to eat.

When on a diet, there are rules that give an artificial sense of control: “Eat these foods!” “Don’t eat these foods!” “Eat at these times” “Don’t eat at these times!” Diets are essentially counterintuitive, as they teach a person to override what their body may be naturally inclined to do.

The Dieting Mentality May Be the Problem

attractive woman breathing and relaxingThe problem with dieting is that it is not something that can be realistically maintained without resulting in damaging consequences – both mentally and physically. If diets truly worked, the dieting business would not be a multi-billion dollar industry that profits from selling people the message that they need to change their body and the way they eat.

Perhaps it is the dieting mentality that promotes body shaming and poor body image. With each failed diet attempt, people are more likely to feel bad about themselves and their bodies or think that something is wrong with them because they are not able to follow and diet and achieve the desirable results.

The reality is that diets cannot help an individual feel successful or good in their bodies when the “rules” and “regulations” are a constant battle to achieve.

Honoring the Wisdom of Your Body

Perhaps making peace with your body begins with accepting and honoring the innate wisdom that was always there to begin with. Perhaps in tuning into these natural intuitive eating cues, you can find that everything you always needed to know about what to eat and how much to eat was always within yourself and no external interventions are actually necessary.

If you have found yourself in an endless battle against yourself and your body, there is hope to truly find peace and let go of the vicious cycle of dieting.

Body Size Doesn’t Relate to Happiness

action-71647_640Dieting messages promoted in our society falsely portray the idea that if you achieve a certain body size, you will indeed find happiness. However, this could not be farther from the truth and is an inherent lie formulated as a marketing scheme by the dieting industry. What you need to find happiness is found within yourself, and you need not look elsewhere to achieve peace in your life.

It is also helpful to know that there are countless resources, people and community that support this message of hope and peace. Because chronic dieting does wreck damage, it may require the guidance of a professional to get back to a place where you can become an intuitive eater again. Working with a professional, such as a registered dietitian or therapist/counselor can help guide you through this process as you learn to truly make peace with your body.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What do you think about the connection between food and body? How can making peace with food help improve your own body image and how you feel about yourself?

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on November 29, 2016
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