Why I am recommitting to Intuitive Dieting

 Returning to Intuitive Dieting | The Reluctant Cook
When I am silent, I have thunder hidden inside.
— Rumi

As a blogger (since 2005!) I've had long periods of silence and I can definitely see a pattern here where I retreat whenever I fall into the black hole of binge eating and weight gain. On one hand I feel embarrassed and defeated, on the other hand I get so exasperated with myself that I just don't want to deal with any of it.

A couple of months ago I wrote a post about starting to build that bridge again and, well, I didn't get very far with it! That was just before my brother and two young nephews came for a 3-week visit and I tried to stick with my program for about a week and then I gave up. These boys LOVED all the American junk food and in the end it was easier to give in and go with the flow of burgers, hot dogs, tubs of ice cream, mini cinnamon buns and lots of candy. Costco became their best new friend, they just couldn't believe the vast amounts of all the normally forbidden foods. I have to say though, even I don't normally eat quite so much high fat, high carb and sugarloaded food and after two weeks of it I felt pretty awful in my body. Nonetheless, it was a great visit and I thoroughly enjoyed my family's company and was super sad when they left again. When I was younger it never bothered me much to live so far away from everyone but now that I am well into middle age I am noticing that I miss my family a lot more and wished we lived closer. Depending on how things go with my business I am even considering renting an apartment in Germany and splitting my time between here and there.


So now it's the middle of October and we are well into fall. Which is my favorite season and this year it's wooing me with particularly vibrant colors and gorgeous autumn days. I started Ali Shapiro's Truce with Food Tapas Style course and it's bringing up some amazing insights and providing me with much needed clarity. 

Unaligned eating or unaligned healthy choices like not getting to bed earlier aren’t bad habits. They are protective habits. They numb out emotions we perceive threaten our safety. These emotions make us feel vulnerable. As a result, we try to soothe the discomfort with what’s familiar – like food or Netflix.
— Ali Shapiro

My weight story is universal and individual all at once. I eat too much and move too little, that’s what I have in common with millions of people around the globe. Why I do this is a combination of my own personal demons, lifestyle choices and infrastructure challenges. I have always been a comfort eater who uses food to soothe the anxieties that have been my companions for most of my life. My equation is quite simple:

Food & Eating = Safety → Food Restriction = Threat

Ali's course begins with identifying our patterns, sources and conflict styles and after an initial period of resistance and confusion I am beginning to see things a lot more clearly and I am finding that my old mojo is slowly returning and my resolve to take charge and do something about my situation. I have a pretty good understanding as to the roots of my anxieties, I've just never quite managed to take that knowledge and connect it with tanglible actions that help me facilitate my anxieties in healthier ways. 

I decided to take a page from my own book and utilize a process that has been immensely helpful in growing my successful web design business:

Whenever I feel stuck I take a step back and get very clear on what is important and what I want to achieve:

  • I want to lose weight. I am almost 100 lbs above my normal weight and the physical issues caused by this (sleep apnea, strain on my joints, lack of stamina) are not something I want to live with for the rest of my life.
  • The internet is full of advice and opinions when it comes to overweight people and the obesity epidemic in our western culture. I have to work with what works for me and that is Intuitive Dieting.
  • A holistic approach is very important to me and I finally feel read to fully embrace that. Hence my signing up to Ali's course and doing the soul work.
  • Self-doubt and resistance are my biggest hurdles. I understand now (thanks to Ali and also Sas) that their job is to protect me but also that it is possible to overcome these challenges. I am ready to explore and embrace this possibility.
  • In 2015 I lost 50 lbs and for the first time in decades I got a glimpse of 'myself' emerging from the layers of protective fat. It's a little hard for me to explain but I remember driving in the car one day and looking down at my considerably slimmer legs and suddenly thinking oh, hello YOU! In that moment I felt completely rooted and at peace. I want to go back there and keep exploring what's on the other side.
  • I still want to fall in love with cooking! The other day I had an important realizing as I was preparing food for the grill: chopping and weighing my veggies brought me smack dab into the present moment! I was paying attention rather than rushing through the food prep which made the whole process a lot more relaxing and enjoyable for me. I want more of that!

One of the things Ali talks about a lot is agency. When we take agency we are in the present moment and taking control of the things we can affect, like our thoughts and emotions. Agency is very powerful but not to be confused with willpower or white knuckled action. Agency is an inside job with outside rewards.

Intuitive Dieting = Agency

At this point I usually give the familiar disclaimers: Given my track record I cannot guarantee that this time will be different and I am probably just an illusionist for thinking that it will be. But I have to keep on trying, right? Blah blah blah.

You know what? All of this is true and it's not. Today I have power. Today I have agency. That's where I'll begin.

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