MY JOURNEY TO INTUITIVE EATING/FOOD FREEDOM
My intuitive eating/ food freedom journey started at the beginning of 2019. While my partner began to explore intuitive eating as part of their eating disorder recovery, I was still so immersed in diet culture– weighing all my food, counting calories, and tracking macros. I did not understand intuitive eating at all, and like many I had the misconception that intuitive eating meant eating junk food all day for the rest of your life. As the year progressed I noticed how my partner, now wife, interacted with food and how the relationship evolved, still while I continued to count my calories and macros, weigh all my food, count all my fruits etc. Deep down though, I envied them.
Every couple of days my wife would pack my lunch, those were my favorite days of the week. My lunch would have a variety of foods and spices that I would never use because I could not account for them in my daily logs. How did I deal with this? The only way I knew, I would workout longer and the next day I ate less. This was when my wife confronted me with a truth I was not ready to hear. At that moment, they had asked me to reflect on my behavior, and asked if what I was doing wasn't an obsession. Did I see anything wrong with my complete dependency of constantly working out 3-4 hrs a day to make up for all the calories I consumed? So my journey to food freedom began with one challenge: Could I go a couple of days without weighing my food? (Yes I had a scale to weigh my food.)
The first couple days I could not do it. Even in my mind I would keep track of the calories or a rough estimate. I began to eat less because I would overestimate the caloric values of food, this then led to over exercising which in turn led to exhaustion, irritability and so many other things mentally and emotionally. This was when I realized how consumed I was with diet culture and the unrealistic standards that were demanded of me by society. I looked back at how this obsession controlled my life. I remember things like not eating all day and working out extra hours on Fridays because I was going to go out with my friends,I remember feeling exhausted and not going to the gym and feeling like my life was spinning out of control because I failed to maintain my calorie expenditure, and I remember every single morning stepping on the scale to be disappointed in the number it gave me.
I began by logging out of my calorie tracking app, I began to have rest days, I tried to eat when I was hungry, not every 2 or 3 hours in small quantities. As easy as I thought those small things would be they weren’t, but nevertheless I continued to try. With the support and help from my wife, and lots of research, reading, and unlearning I was able to leave those toxic behaviors behind me. It was not easy and even now I find myself having bad days, in which I do not like what I see in the mirror because I don't look like what “the ideal” person looks like, or at least this is how I feel. Days like those I just remember to be gentle with myself and to know that I am worthy of taking up space and just being me.
Christie Harrison describes diet culture as a live thief. I've never heard anything more true. What are your thoughts?