So, you're ready to stop dieting and want to attempt intuitive eating, right? First, CONGRATS! I'm so happy for you and so proud of you! Secondly, you're probably wondering what to expect when you stop dieting, huh? What will happen? Well, in this post I am going to give you 3. tidbits of wisdom I wish someone would have told me when I was learning how to stop dieting, too.
What Happens When You Stop Dieting?
We have this idea in our heads that intuitive eating is easy. Listen to your body, allow it all foods, and it'll be fabulous! But, If I am being honest with you (and I always will) it's not always an easy road to get there.
One of the biggest comments I get is "Colleen, I've been trying to listen to my body for the last [insert day/ week/month] and it just wants to eat ALL of the things! The cookies, the ice cream, the cake! HELP! I'm doing it wrong!" Girlfriend, let me give you. the breakdown on a few things.
You Will Probably Want ALL Of The Foods
The ice cream that you haven't been letting yourself eat because you think it's "bad"? Yeah, you'll probably want it.. And you'll probably want a lot of it. The cookies? Same thing. Pizza? You guessed it, you'll want it. Craving mostly these "off limits foods" is so normal when you first break your food rules. I actually wrote an entire post on this because everyone kept asking me how to stop craving "junk" food!
Why does this happen? It's because your body thinks "MAN! I NEVER get to eat this stuff! I better stock up while I can because this chick ain't giving it to me again for goodness knows how long!" and it will keep thinking this way until you show it differently. That these foods are not off limits. And I'm not talking once, I'm not talking twice. This can take weeks and months. But these cravings DO die down. But only if you allow yourself to eat the food.
You aren't doing anything 'wrong' if you are craving these foods at first and don't want to eat a carrot. I'd actually say you're probably doing something 'right'. Over time your body WILL realize what feels good and what doesn't. Eating ice cream all day? Yea,h might not feel the best. But your body doesn't know that just because you tell it that. It has to experience it. I'm not telling you to go eat ice cream all day, but I am telling you to honor those cravings. Everything in this process is a learning experience and eating more of a food than your body needs to be satisfied or may feel food is one of them a lot of us have. And it's so valuable in the long run.
It's Going To Take A While
This probably isn't what you want to hear, but it's the truth and I told you you'd always get that from me, so here it is: this is a long process. We can't just snap our fingers and expect our bodies to have continuous conversations with us about our hunger, fullness and satisfaction after YEARS of giving them the cold shoulder. It just doesn't work that way. It would be fab if it did! But it doesn't.
Whenever someone tells me they've been trying intuitive eating for a day/week/month my answer is usually just "keep going". You're not doing anything wrong. This SHOULD be hard. It takes months and sometimes even years.
Now, it IS important to see your progress during this process. I can feel like a journey that takes a long time isn't getting us anywhere and it can be hard to feel like you're making ANY progress. I suggest writing down any "wins" in a journal. Did you honor a craving mindfully? Did you recognize your fullness at dinner time? Celebrate that!
I put a lot of emphasis on this celebration piece in my membership, The SociEATy. Every singly day we're cheering each other on and celebrating wins- big and small. Having that motivation and support is what can help you keep taking this path towards food freedom!
It's Okay To Work At Your Own Pace
A lot of us with a history of food rules and dieting have what we call "all or nothing thinking". Where we go all in with something full force, or don't do it at all. Can you relate?
When we bring this all or nothing thinking into our journey to stop dieting it can hold us back. Rather than trying to be "good" and dive in head first to stop dieting (props to you if you can do that!) take one step that you feel confident in and let it be just that- a first step. There will be more to come!
I always say I'd so much rather the girlfriends in the SociEATy to take 2 solid, baby steps forward than 80 giant leaps to impress me, only to take 81 steps back. (and here are some great tips on how to expand all or nothing thinking!)
Personally, I didn't just dive in head first. Well, I tried to, but then got scared and went back to my old ways. Then tried again, and went back. Then I said "Okay, today, rather than eating all of my fear foods like ice cream, cookies, pizza, etc. Let me just focus on eating a nice sandwich on thick bread." (I was scared of bread at the time- #carbs) Then, I'd add chips. Then I'd work on cookies, etc. I let myself work at a pace that was right for me.
Some WILL feel great with the "pull it off like a bandaid" approach, and some won't. In my opinion, there isn't a right or wrong. I DO think that you need to honor your hunger, regardless, but it is okay to challenge those "fear" foods as you go. You do you. Everyone is different. This is YOUR journey and I am here to support you.
I could go on and on with this, but my wrists are getting tired from typing! I have loads more info on this topic of what to expect, stories about my own journey and also about what life looks like after you stop dieting over at my YouTube channel, so be sure to pop on over there and subscribe! You can also download a copy of my free e-book, The Ultimate 5 Step Guide To Food Freedom, which gives you a step-by-step guide to learn how to stop dieting and how to start intuitive eating!
If you liked this post be sure to leave a comment letting me know! Also let me know what other topics you want me to write about- your wish is my command, gorgeous!
Happy food rule breaking,
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