When I started my intuitive eating journey in 2012 (almost 10 whole ass years ago!), I remember thinking to myself, “Well, my therapist said I might even lose weight with these principles, so, why not try it?”
This was during my early stages of eating disorder recovery, a stage where I was still obsessed with losing weight. I was in recovery from bulimia nervosa, so my body was on a path towards restoration. Battered and bruised by my behaviors (literally), I was still thinking about the possibility of losing weight.
Which brings me to you. Of course, you’re wondering if you can lose weight with intuitive eating! We are programmed to want to fit the current societal standard, a standard that prioritizes thinness and conventional attractiveness. This programming has been around for longer than you’ve been alive, so please don’t feel shame in wanting to lose weight. It’s normal.
But is it helpful as I start my intuitive eating journey?
Well, no. It’s not. And here’s why.
When we prioritize weight loss, we’re anchoring ourselves into a scarcity mindset. When we cater our behaviors and thought patterns to wanting weight loss, we force ourselves into a restrictive relationship with food. This is the exact opposite of what intuitive eating intends to do for us.
If you’re getting into intuitive eating to lose weight, this is not the vibe. But, you’re here for a reason. You may be exhausted from the millions of diets you’ve put your body through. Or maybe, you’re unsteady in your eating disorder recovery and looking for ways to get back on track. You may be devastated by the years you’ve lost to obsessing over food and weight.
Releasing you from all of that is the priority. That is the focus. Weight loss will only cloud this very important work.
How do I quiet my quest for weight loss?
The goal isn’t to forget about your weight, because truthfully, it’s likely impossible for you at the beginning of your intuitive eating journey. Instead, the goal is to do your best to de-prioritize weight loss, and instead, prioritize developing a healthier relationship with food.
That’s what intuitive eating is all about: removing the shame and guilt surrounding food, so you can quit abusing it (or fearing it). Releasing those shadow emotions can release you from focusing on weight at all.
But – I know, I know. That might be too scary of a concept for you to digest at this time. There’s certainly no shame in that. Let’s instead focus on putting weight loss on the backburner. You can come back to it a year from now.
So, what to do until then?
Tons of things! As you begin to silence the weight loss chaos that plagues your mind, you leave room to invite in the concepts of intuitive eating. You have time to actually read the book, to practice the steps, and to document your feelings throughout.
I recommend taking the time to focus on each of the principles. Start with the first, and focus on that for at least a month, and only move on when you feel well-versed in that principle. As you work through the book, start jotting down excerpts you like or thoughts that come up. This can take place in a journal, a digital notepad, or even the notes section of your phone. Make this process as easy on yourself as you can. I can’t tell you how many things I have in the notes section on my phone – it’s the Wild Wild West in there.
Take breaks. This is heady stuff, and you probably have a job, a few kids, a side hustle, or all of the above! Make time to watch trash TV, read a thriller, or spend time with your loved ones. Come up from the surface whenever you need a break from this work.
But like… can you actually lose weight with intuitive eating?
I’ll never sidestep a question. Technically, yes. You can lose weight with intuitive eating. If you are consistently consuming more than what your body intuitively wants and needs, then you may experience weight loss when adopting an intuitive eating lifestyle.
If you aren’t consistently consuming enough nutrients in a way your body intuitively wants and needs, then you may experience weight gain when adopting an intuitive eating lifestyle.
You also may not find any change in your body shape and size. We all have a set point our bodies like to maintain. You might be seeing a pattern here – it’s different for everyone.
Where can I go to learn more?
I am so glad you asked. I am a product marketing manager in the health and wellness industry by day, and a yoga instructor, certified personal trainer, and aspiring intuitive eating counselor by night! In my blog, I talk about all things health, wellness, intuitive eating, and eating disorder recovery. Feel free to check back often – I am always posting!
If you’re up for it, feel free to leave a comment and/or ask a question on this post. I’d love to chat with you!
All the Xs and Os I can energetically send your way,
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