Intuitive Eating Review

I'm a little late on reviewing the Intuitive Eating Challenge but better late than never, no?

I came away from the 21 Day Intuitive Eating Challenge with so much more insight about myself and my eating habits. I knew that my relationship with food was in the gutter. While I eat healthy most of the time I knew that there were times my eating was 'out of control.' I was eating for emotional reasons. I was eating out of stress, anxiety, frustration and sadness. I wasn't taking care of my body as best as I could. I was tired of it but I didn't know how to handle changing my habits on my own.

At the beginning of the challenge I learned to give myself permission to 'eat what I want'. No more restrictions. No more "good food/bad food." I'd set so many food rules that it was hard letting go of the fear of eating something I had deemed "bad". I noticed that after allowing myself to enjoy whatever food that was that it lost its power. I no longer craved it or overindulged because I learned that I could enjoy it whenever I felt I really wanted it.

Once over that hump I learned how to really tune into what my body was telling me. What was it I really wanted? What did I crave? This is something I come back to frequently when deciding what to eat. Rather than choosing something simply because I'm hungry and it's there I try to tune into what my body is telling me it really wants and needs. Everyday is different and that's perfectly normal. There isn't a wrong or right way to eat throughout my days as long as I check in with myself. Beyond choosing foods that will satisfy my bodily needs, I also learned how to tune into the satisfaction feeling. I grew up in a home where we usually cleared our plates. My grandfather taught us from a young age that food was not to be wasted as there were plenty of starving people in the world. That mentality has stuck with me my entire life. But now I have accepted that it's ok to not overfill my body simply because there is more food to be had. What good will that do me if I feel sluggish and bloated? Or if I have food guilt over eating too much? It's ok to save leftovers and enjoy that tasty meal a second time around.

And more than just dealing with food this challenge touched on intuitive drinking, exercising, and living. I'm not a frequent drinker so that part didn't really hit home for me. I did know that beyond repairing my relationship with food I needed to focus on learning to listen to my body in an effort to not overexert it. I'm competitive with myself. I like challenging my body in ways I haven't tried before (most recently with Insanity). But at some point I stopped listening to what my body was telling me and allowed my mind to take over. I was in a mess of pain most days but kept pushing through it. Not smart! Then it struck me that while certain workouts were challenging both physically and mentally I wasn't having as much fun as I really wanted to have. And if it's not fun what is the point?? After a month of Insanity I decided to get back into the weight room more frequently instead (I hadn't given that up altogether but had slowed down). I enjoy being in the gym. I enjoy lifting weights and pushing my body there. That is fun for me. I also got back into running. I run because I love it. I run because I love being outside. I run because I can. I run because it is my personal time. It's my getaway. It ignites me. It's my friend when I need it. I want to fill my life with more activities that excite me, that make me feel and make me feel alive.

Which then brings me to intuitive living. I took off two days of work in the last two weeks. Normally I have most of my days off planned out. I'm crazy, I know. But these days were different. I checked in with myself, decided what it was I wanted to do in that present moment and then did it. I went with the flow and while it's so out of character for me it felt amazing. I didn't feel restricted. I didn't feel pressed for time. I placed no limitations on what I could do and it was wonderful. I'm incorporating that into my everyday life as well. It ties in with my post about slowing down. Digging down deep and doing things that make me happy and fulfilled and at peace are what I want and need more of in my life.

I know that this challenge was simply the a beginning. There isn't an end point to reach. It's about being more in touch with your body and your mind. It's about shedding the restrictions that society places on us regarding food, exercise, beauty, and an overall manner in which we "should" be living our lives. Who knows better what you need than you? Who knows what will bring you satisfaction and fulfillment more than you do?

I would highly recommend Jamie's 21 Day Intuitive Eating Challenge to anyone in need of change. If you have a poor relationship with food and body image then this is a great start. Not only do I feel better overall about my eating, exercising and the way in which I live my life, I have finally accepted myself for who I am. I've banished the word "fat" from my vocabulary. I no longer view my body as some sort of aesthetic fixture for people to gawk at. It is my vessel. It allows me to live, love, breathe, run, learn, drive, eat, and be happy. It's more than meets the eye. I finally feel free.

Thank you to Meg @ A Dash Of Meg for inspiring many of us to sign up for this challenge. I know it's changed a lot of lives.

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