everything discussed in this blog series is derived from Intuitive Eating and the intuitive eating workbook. As you read these posts, I strongly encourage you to purchase and read both as this series will not be as thorough and informative as the books. Each month we will focus on one principle at a time. Allow yourself the space to simply look at that one principle. My desire for you, dear reader, is that these posts will 1) allow you to dig deep into understanding your relationship with food, 2) that kindness and compassion for yourself will grow, and 3) that you will experience real flourishing as you develop trust with your body.
Close your eyes. Let you let brain and your body wander back to the moment when you first woke up today. What were your very first thoughts of the day? Were you anxious? Tired? Excited? Content? Frustrated? What were your first thoughts about yourself this morning? Were they positive or negative? Take a minute to notice those thoughts. As you invite them into your awareness right now, how do you feel in your body? Is it a good experience? Does it feel icky in any way? Just notice whatever comes up.
The fourth principle in Intuitive Eating, Challenge the Food Police, encourages us to recognize all of our thoughts about food, eating, and weight. Some of these thoughts are nurturing and kind while others are downright destructive.
Grab a sheet of paper and a pen and draw a vertical line down the middle of the paper. Label the left column “nurturing” and the right column “destructive.” Now think back throughout the day and write down any thought or belief you have had about your body, eating, or food itself. If it was a kind thought, record it in the left column. If it was something you would never say to a dear friend or anyone you love deeply, record it in the right column. Which column was easier for you to fill up?
The Food Police is an incredibly critical voice that tells us we are “bad” for eating any certain food or “good” for meeting our goals. It keeps us bound to food rules and enslaved to diet culture. It proclaims we can never trust our bodies’ own instincts.
Look back at your paper and circle any through or belief that came from your internal food police. As you look at each item individually, ask yourself where this thought or belief originated from. Maybe you followed a diet once that told you carbs will make you gain weight so you’ve restricted carbs ever since. Or maybe your third grade teacher lightheartedly told you once that she didn’t like her ankles and that make you VERY aware of your own ankles since that moment. Just notice these things. Ask your brain and your body to take you back to your earliest memories of these food rules.
If you feel stuck— you are disgusted by your body or are holding onto hope that if you could just eat a certain way or be a certain weight—you may be ready to unravel your food rules. Rigidity and rules about eating aren’t serving you. You are in charge of your body. And, dear reader, your body is worth trusting. Not only is your body worth trusting, but it is also worth nourishing.
Dismantling your inner critic, or Food Police, may seem like an impossible task. Again, I strongly encourage you to purchase and read Intuitive Eating as you press on in this journey. I also would encourage you to simply notice this critical voice you have. A voice that may have been running your show for years. Continue to invite that voice into your awareness and question its helpfulness. As you consistently become aware of your Food Police and challenge these thoughts, you will begin to see a change in your relationship to food, your body, and weight. How we direct our attention changes the structure of our brain. Thus, if we direct our attention towards understanding ourselves better and offering support and nourishment to our broken bodies, true healing will take place.
Remember though that healing does not happen overnight. You are ok as you are RIGHT NOW…and you don’t have to do this alone.