Principles of Intuitive Eating: Making Peace with Food

I’ve sat down 8 different times to write this post.

I’m having a hard time putting into words what my heart knows to be true about this topic.

Making peace with food.

When your relationship with food is plagued by anxiety, fear, distress, distrust, frustration, upset, and worry, it can be hard to imagine what it might be like to have a peaceful relationship with food.

So many of my clients can’t imagine a time in their lives where their relationship with food wasn’t one of chaos and confusion.

Yet for most, the idea is still intriguing.

Peace [pees]:

1. Freedom from disturbance
2. Tranquility
3. a state or period in which there is no war OR a war has ended.

pexels-photo-1408199

Can you imagine how amazing that would be? 

The time and mental energy that it takes to calculate, reason, and ruminate on food choices when you have a disordered relationship with food is exhausting at best and debilitating at worse.

It makes life so much more difficult than it has to be… 

And yet, the preoccupation with food and your body, the binge-restrict cycle, the yo-yo dieting, the going to bed hungry, the rigid rules around food…it all serves a purpose.

Disordered eating behaviors serve as a way to avoid difficult emotions paired with difficult life circumstances.

I’ve been thinking about all of the practical nutrition tips I could wrack my brain around to help whoever is reading this start making peace with food the moment they finished reading this.

But that’s just not going to happen.

Because here’s the reality:

You can’t make peace with food without making peace with your body, mind, soul, and spirit–your past, who you are today, and your life in the future.

pexels-photo-235990

Making peace with a medical diagnosis that has dramatically changed your life.

Working through the trauma so that you can feel more safe in your body.

Coming to terms with your body never looking the way the world says it’s supposed to look. 

Getting mad about bullying, invalidation, or any other hurt from your childhood.

Grieving the loss of a loved one.

Learning to love and care for that inner child of yours.

Acknowledging that other people have let you down, have hurt you, or rejected you.

Being okay with the idea of everyone not always liking you, believing the same things as you do, and agreeing with you.

Embracing humanity–knowing that there isn’t something wrong with you for being imperfect.

Whatever it is.

And all of those things take time, years to make peace with.

Making peace with food is really about making peace with the other things in your life that are causing turmoil. And once that work & healing is leaned into, the food stuff will get a whole lot easier.

So how do you make peace with “the other stuff” so that you can start making peace with food? I wish I had an easy answer to that.

Sometimes it’s talk therapy.

Sometimes it’s reading self-help books.

Sometimes it’s getting out into nature.

Sometimes it’s connecting w/God.

Sometimes it’s validating your feelings and lived experience.

Sometimes it’s forming genuine connections with people who just “get it”. 

Sometimes it’s support groups.

Sometimes it’s bible studies.

Sometimes it’s yoga. 

Sometimes it’s prayer.

Sometimes it’s spending less time on social media.

Sometimes it’s writing. 

Sometimes it’s time with family. 

Sometimes it’s distance from family.

Sometimes it’s volunteering. 

Sometimes it’s quitting your job. 

Sometimes it’s learning how to use your voice.

Sometimes it’s tapping into your creative side.

Sometimes it’s cultivating new friendships. 

Sometimes it’s letting old friendships fade.

Sometimes it’s asking for accountability.

Sometimes it’s pets.

Sometimes it’s trauma work.

Sometimes it’s self-compassion.

Sometimes it’s coping skills.

Sometimes it’s giving yourself permission to be imperfect. 

Sometimes it’s getting into a better routine. 

Sometimes it’s nourishing your body even when you don’t feel like it.

Sometimes it’s getting out of the house.

Sometimes it’s examining what you value and adjusting your life accordingly.

Sometimes it’s acknowledging the hurt that other people have caused you (and the ways you have hurt other people).

Sometimes it’s allowing yourself to grieve, get angry, or be sad (emotions that our culture as a whole is pretty darn uncomfortable with).

Sometimes it’s reconnecting with your body through gentle movement, breath work, or medication.

Sometimes it’s finding a mentor.

Sometimes it’s telling your story.

Sometimes it’s learning how to implement mindfulness into your daily routine.

Sometimes it’s doing things for no other reason than to have fun.

Sometimes it’s listening to music and allowing yourself to really connect w/the lyrics.

Sometimes it’s establishing better sleep hygiene. 

Sometimes it’s discovering your passions.

Sometimes it’s giving yourself permission to never fully arrive. 

Sometimes it’s time.

Sometimes it’s something else.

Sometimes it’s a lot of those things. 

For me, it was all of those things + more.

Everyone’s path to recovery is different, whether it’s recovering from an eating disorder, chronic dieting, or something else on the spectrum of disordered eating. But I can’t emphasize this enough: It’s going to be really difficult to make peace with food if you haven’t made peace with the other stuff yet… and that’s okay. That’s why it takes time. You have your whole life to heal… no need to rush the process.

I want to close with “A Letter About Healing” by Lisa Olivera (you can follow her on IG @lisaoliveratherapy. May these words inspire you and encourage you to hold space for a little more peace and a little more hope today.

“A Letter About Healing” By Lisa Olivera, emphasis added:

“Healing is scary.

It requires you to look at parts of yourself and your life that may have been kept quietly hidden for a lifetime until now.

It requires you to be honest with yourself, to practice trusting your inner nudges, and to show up for yourself differently than you might be used to.

Healing asks you to be tender with yourself— to hold yourself gracefully instead of mercilessly. This might feel unfamiliar and even impossible at times. 

Know it has for me.

Healing invites you to create new pathways in your brain, new patterns in your daily habits, and new ways of being with yourself. 

This, at times, can be filled with grief. Grief for not doing it sooner, grief for not having someone else to do it for you, grief for all you didn’t receive, and grief for the parts of you that didn’t feel you deserved healing until now.

Because of these things, healing needs your bravery, your forgiveness, your willingness, your desire. It needs your trust. It needs your patience. It needs your ability to choose it over and over again, even when it’s dark. Even when you feel lost. Even when you’re not sure. Even when you’re questioning and confused and uncertain. Healing needs you the most during those moments. 

Healing insists your worth.

It declares your capacity to live differently. It honors your innate ability to change. It recognizes your incredible, sweet, untouched goodness that life often buries as we move farther away from it. 

Healing knows it’s still there, though. Healing knows it’s for you. And will keep waiting for you when you lose sight of it.

I want to honor you for choosing to show up for yourself in this way. For choosing to do things differently. For choosing to try, For choosing to sift through what hurts in order to find what doesn’t. For allowing yourself to come back home to your own truth. For choosing to honor the part of you that knows healing is for you.

It takes a special person to choose healing, and that’s the beautiful thing– we’re all special. This is why I know healing is for all of us. As you continue your own journey and keep unfolding the layers of what it means to be fully and wholly you, don’t forget to breathe. To notice how far you’ve already come. To celebrate the tiny moments. To rejoice in the now. To anchor yourself in all that’s possible. To connect with those who see you. To practice seeing yourself

Don’t forget to stop in this moment and see all you already are in the midst of who you are becoming. You are so deeply good, right now, and in all moments to come. 

Your healing is for you. 

You deserve your healing.” 1,2

References: 

  1. Lisa’s orignial video: https://www.instagram.com/tv/B1MmjMZA3Ju/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
  2. Lisa’s original post: https://www.instagram.com/p/B34zxZnAjkV/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Photos:

  1. https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-photography-of-flowers-1408199/
  2. https://www.pexels.com/photo/balance-macro-ocean-pebbles-235990/?utm_content=attributionCopyText&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=pexels

 

 

 

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