…always keep a notebook handy.

Hey Fitties! I’m finishing up my first week Intuitively Eating. I’m finding that when my mind is not always distracted by thoughts of food and calories and mental tallies and fearing the meals that are to come and wishing they’d hurry up and get here already, it comes up with some fairly significant observations. So it’s handy to write them down because these flashes of clarity fade and then I can’t remember what was so freaking revolutionary just a few hours ago.

Here are some things that I’m thinking…

As a society, we are more obese than any other generation. And yet… and yet…

We’ve gone from this as a standard of female hotness:

to variations of this:

That’s kinda weird right? The first pic is probably a physical ideal that many women can come pretty close to without too much stress and toil (my thighs pretty much look like hers). Even so, Marilyn’s figure was prized in her day, so that tells me not everyone achieved that toned but curvy figure.

Follow my logic: Society had fewer food temptations in the 1950s, as a whole we were smaller and even a fairly attainable figure like Marilyn’s was still not possible for many women.

Now, we are bombarded with food porn at every turn, we are fatter as a society, and the physical ideal that is currently popular is that of a muscular waif with grapefruit halves stuff into her sports bra. Good-bye Kate Moss, we need to be able to grate cheese on a model’s abs.

Is that WEIRD to anyone? It just seems like we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment there. We’ve failed to meet one impossible ideal, so we’re aiming for an even MORE impossible idea? Why? Stop this crazy ride, I want off.

I mentioned yesterday how my past tentative approach to intuitive eating didn’t go so well. And the trouble lay with the first maxim of IE: Giving oneself unconditional permission to eat. I only gave myself unconditional permission to eat so long as I didn’t gain weight. And by definition, that’s not unconditional. And so it didn’t work.

I asked the other day what you should do if you are giving yourself unconditional permission to eat and you are eating what you want instead of what you “should” want. Specifically, I wanted a turkey and swiss sandwich with onions, avocado and sprouts on squaw bread and a cup of split pea soup.

None of that was practical at the time and I’ll be darned if I thought about that specific food all day (and through a lot of unsatisfying snacks). I ate my sandwich and soup the next day and that was that. So I think, in the beginning of the IE process when you’re healing yourself from months or years of deprivation-based “should” eating, you should do what you can to eat what your body tells you it wants. You have told your body, “I am sorry for mistreating you, for jerking you by the arm like a parent who is impatient with their child… I will feed you now, it’s okay. You don’t have to gobble all you can stomach.” Your body replies back, “Oh yeah? Prove it.”

For those of us who have restricted carbs or fat or calories, we have taught our bodies not to trust us. If we think our bodies are our enemies, I think they think the same thing of us. “I will not eat dinner tonight,” we think, “because my thighs are disgusting.” And our body retaliates by sending cravings to plague our consciousness.

I’m noticing after almost a week of eating what I wanted, that I am a lot less specific about the food I want when I get hungry. I want very specific foods most times. Chocolate croissants with cafe au lait. Pesto and artisan bread. Carrot cake cupcakes (oooh… actually… I could totally go for one of those right now)My sister’s chocolate chip cookies. As I’ve been kinder and more abundant with my body this week, I find that sometimes… I don’t really care what I eat, I just know I need to satisfy my physical hunger.

Wow. Let that sink in. I don’t care what I eat. I know I need to eat, but I don’t have an urgent need to eat something specific. The obsessive grip on my mind is… less grip-y.

When you finally do it, when you let yourself eat what you want and stay with yourself while you are doing it, it takes awhile for you to realize that if you listen to your body, it will not lie. It will tell you exactly what to eat and when. It will tell you when to stop. You might have to eat chocolate chip cookies for two weeks, one cooked batch and one raw batch. Or go to the store and buy the Sara Lee brownies you have been wanting and not eating for ten years. You might have to eat at strange hours of the day; you might seem a little eccentric to your friends. You might have to gain some weight. But eventually you will lose weight. And you will maintain the weight that is best for your body without a struggle. ~Geneen Roth, Feeding the Hungry Heart