The Trickster Diet

different-diets5I have been on every diet under the sun. I would tell myself that these “diets” were for either spiritual reasons or health benefits, never to lose weight. If I did lose weight, then that was just a bonus of being on a diet. Those were the lies I told myself time and time again. If I told myself these lies, I could continue to diet and “hope” to lose weight while appearing to like my body. I have never felt comfortable in my skin. Until recently, I have never liked my body, which is an unfortunate thing to admit.

I began dieting after my son was born. When I was pregnant with my child, I had low blood sugar regularly. Hypoglycemia was a physical manifestation of being an unwed single parent. My whole life was out of control. Low blood sugar showed up as anxiety,, fatigue, weakness, tunnel vision, and extreme hunger. I was constantly afraid I wouldn’t have enough food, and the symptoms would return. To this day, I carry food in my purse just “in case.”

After I gave birth to my child, I went to a nutritionist to learn how to “manage” hypoglycemia—thus started my journey of diet after diet after diet. I became obsessed with each diet I tried. In one year, I went from being a vegan to an all-meat carnivore diet.  It was insane.

I once heard that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. The name of the diet would change, but the results stayed the same.

As my diet changed, so did my reasons for being on a diet change. My body began to have “sensitivities”. I became sensitive to gluten, carbs, sugar, dairy; you name it. I could no longer eat it.  Underlying it all was this belief that my body was somehow flawed.

Rigidly adhering to strict eating rules caused me to binge eat. Binging would send me down the well of shame, which would start the cycle all over again.

I eventually surrendered. If you are familiar with the first step in any recovery program, you will recognize this one. We admitted we were powerless over _______—that our lives had become unmanageable.

My “diets” were no longer working for me. What began as a path to manage hypoglycemia evolved into something altogether different. If I could control my diet, then maybe, I could control my life. At least, that is what my ego led me to believe. That’s what I mean by the trickster diet. The ego, unconscious self, or inner child, whatever you want to call it is a trickster who will tell you any story to keep you on the insanity train.

Once I surrendered, the need to control my diet died with it. I was able to recognize the triggers that led to my emotional and binge eating habits. I gave myself permission to eat whatever I wanted. With that permission came food freedom. I also realized that I didn’t want to eat bonbons all day long. I became more aware of what my body needed versus what my mind or emotions wanted.

I am still new to intuitive eating. Every day is a day of discovery and recovery. I hope to inspire you with my story, and I want to learn from hearing yours. Please feel to share your journey in the comments below.

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The Joy of Eating

Raspberry adhara mudra (1 of 1)Have you ever eaten raspberries right off the bush?  Do you remember how it feels to risk life and limb (and scratches!) for each plump berry?  This was my experience today as I reveled in the joy of each delectable bite.  I even emitted little piggy sounds as I gleefully went from bush to bush picking the ripe berries and popping them into my mouth.  Each berry had its own unique taste depending on its level of ripeness.

As I listened to my body I found I had eventually had enough.  I kept on picking berries to savor for later.  It had been so long since I had actually savored my food.  It had been even longer since I had experienced joy around eating.

Eating has had, for the longest time, so much baggage attached to it for me.  As I continue on the path of intuitive eating joy and freedom are returning.  More importantly, the inner voice of my body wisdom is becoming more clear.

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My Journey To Intuitive Eating

Mind-body-wisdom-300x207I have had a life long battle with dieting and disordered body image.  My journey with intuitive eating began with surrender.  I had reached a point where “dieting” no longer worked.  If I am honest, any diet I have ever tried only worked for a little while.  I would momentarily feel better in the short term but it was never sustainable for long.

In the past 30 years, I have explored the extremes of every fad diet imaginable from a raw food vegan diet to the carnivore diet.  I told myself these diets were either for spiritual or health reasons, never to lose weight.  If weight loss occurred than that was a bonus of being on the diet.  That was a lie.

Where did my body criticism begin?  I was a healthy child at a healthy weight until I began to develop at age 16.  This was much later than my peers.  One day I was flat-chested and practically overnight I no longer was.  As I got older my breasts got even more generous and my self-degradation grew.  As my breasts became larger my perception of the size of my body increased.  The reality was much different than what I saw in the mirror.

WHAT IS INTUITIVE EATING?

Intuitive eating is a way to align the mind with the body’s natural hunger instincts.  We were all born with innate body wisdom.  As infants, we cried when we were hungry and we pulled away from the nipple when we were full.  As we got older the messages we received from our caregivers were often the exact opposite of intuitive.  We were told to, “Eat your vegetables!” Or, “Clean your plate!”  Food was often withheld as punishment or pushed on us as a form of love.  As a result, our natural body wisdom was suppressed.

Our fundamental hunger instinct is still inside of us.  How we awaken our body’s intuition is through trust.  When you hear that, you might begin to cringe and tell yourself,  “There is no way I can trust myself!  If I am left to my own devices I will eat whatever I want whenever I want to.”  I am here to tell you that is exactly where to begin.

When I first started with intuitive eating I gave myself permission to eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted to.  I ate a lot!  I ate chocolate.  I ate fat.  I ate evil carbs.  This craziness went on for a good week and a half.  Then the crazy began to taper off.  A dialog within myself began to unfold.  It looked like this.

“I want to eat chocolate.”
“You can eat as much chocolate as you want.”
“I really can?”
“Of course you can!”
“I guess I really don’t want any chocolate right now. If I want it later I can eat it?”
“You have permission to eat chocolate or anything whenever you want.”

That permission was all I needed to begin to trust the process of intuitive eating.  I still give in to emotional eating over the needs of my body.  When that happens I am gentle and forgiving with myself.  This is a journey and not a destination.  I hope you join me on the path.

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