[brief mention of weight number]
One of the principles of intuitive eating is to try and get as much satisfaction and pleasure from your food as possible. It not only makes you feel better and improves the quality of your life but helps regulate your eating to the quantities that your body needs.
That last part will sound totally ridiculous to a dieter. Surely, if you eat what you really want and what gives you the most pleasure then you will just continuously binge on high calorie, high fat, high sugar, bad bad bad, etc, food? That’s just common sense: we got fat because we couldn’t stop eating and now you are telling us to eat the foods that we can’t stop eating.
Turns out that’s all bullshit when you actually get down to it. When you give yourself true unconditional permission to eat anything then food loses its power over you and furthermore, when you eat what you really want, and eat it mindfully, your brain gives you fullness signals/cues to stop and then a profound sense of satisfaction afterwards. And a beautiful, quiet, calm moment of peace if you are really lucky. So you just stop eating the food after a moderate or even small amount, whatever satisfies you. That’s the dream anyway. Intuitive eaters have that experience consistently though not all the time of course as practicalities sometimes get in the way.
When I was dieting/restricing, I wouldn’t have believed a word of that description of eating as it was so alien to my lifetime of experience. There are several skills you need to be able to get there: identifying when you are hungry, identifying what you would really like to eat and recognising when you are full. From what I’ve read, most naturally and lifelong straight sized people do all of the above almost effortlessly and intuitively. I have had to learn.
I am getting better at identifying what I really want to eat. It’s usually a notion that jumps into my head and suddenly sounds or looks very appealing in my mind. My relentless thoughts stop and go “oh!” and focus on that food like a flood light. “I want carrots. Something very carroty. Orange carrots.” Yes, those were my very sophisticated, adult thoughts when I was trying to work out what I wanted for lunch at the weekend. I’ve been having cold soups for lunch as it has been warm and I prefer cold soup to hot soup. So I searched for cold carrot soup recipes and found this one. As is my way, I did not really follow the recipe but instead used 1kg of carrots, 2 pints of vegetable stock (from a stock cube) and no ginger (I forgot; it’s still sitting in my fridge).
My version of the carrot and honey soup was just delicious to my taste buds. You’d think that carrots were sweet enough but pushing it a little further with the honey was perfect. It was what my body wanted and it rewarded me with intense feelings of satisfaction for providing it for myself. Not like a high rush but a solid, calm, quiet peace. I also felt a sturdy confidence that I was full and properly fed. I can imagine that this is very routine and everyday to lifelong normal eaters but it’s been astonishing to me. I rarely felt satisfied and rarely felt full (other than binges) and never felt peace.
I want to say that all these positive feelings are worth some weight gain (I am almost a stone up from my lowest weight six months ago though that was when I was manic; I still have a normal BMI, not that that counts for anything) and I mostly believe that, most of the time. But the overwhelming, out of proportion value I have placed on weight loss means that my thoughts are still skewed and I still have thoughts that it is absolutely unacceptable to be my current weight. That I am not safe.
So I need to remember this soup and the satisfaction and peace that I felt from eating it. I don’t have to condemn myself to the pain I felt when I was dieting/restricing with the inevitable binging. I actually have a choice here.