It was Friday night. I was making a quick stop at the grocery store to pick up some odds and ends for dinner. It was a run in and run out kind of trip.
I walked through the front door and was greeted by two Girl Scouts and their mothers who were selling Girl Scout cookies. You can imagine my delight as I had JUST been lamenting the fact that I had not bought any Girl Scout cookies this year. Usually we know someone who is selling them. But not this year. I proceeded to buy six boxes of my favorite cookies, three boxes of Thin Mints (best eaten after they’ve been frozen for a few hours; you’re welcome) and three boxes of Samoas (you know, those chocolate, carmel, coconut bites of deliciousness). I finished up grabbing my groceries and headed home.
Once home, we ate dinner. After dinner we got up to clear the table and put everything away. My son who is sixteen and just finished his first week of track popped open a box of Samoas (see earlier reference to chocolate, carmel, coconut bites of deliciousness). He proceeded to eat at least four of them in about 2 bites. I continued to put away the dishes, noticing that I was full from dinner and not at all interested in having a Girl Scout cookie.
This is the part where I say, “Never Have I Ever” been around an open box of Girl Scout cookies and not eaten at least three or probably more like six or eight of them. I mean really. For my entire life I have had dinner immediately followed by dessert. But on Friday night, even after the entire kitchen was clean and I sat down to watch a movie, I was full and satisfied. I knew that there were plenty of cookies and that I could eat one or two or six or eight later if and when I really wanted to.
What changed for me? I have been practicing Intuitive Eating for a little over a year now. I practice Intuitive Eating just like I practice yoga. Some days I am able to eat intuitively-honoring my hunger and feeling my fullness. Some days I eat past the point of fullness and I don’t do so well at listening to my own body cues. In my yoga practice, some days my breath and body movements are in alignment and some days it all feels like a struggle.
My experience both personally and professionally is that one of the most difficult pieces of Intuitive Eating is learning how to be patient with yourself. It is hard to learn how to listen to your own body cues and be compassionate rather than judgmental. You can intellectually understand the ten principles of Intuitive Eating – that part is pretty easy. Getting your body to believe that you actually can have the Girl Scout cookie whenever you want comes with days, weeks, months, even years of allowing yourself to eat according to your own body, palate and satisfaction.
My new normal? I eat a cookie or two or three if I want to. It still takes work to feel my fullness rather than eating until my plate is clean. I practice listening to my body and eating according to my own hunger, fullness and satisfaction. I no longer restrict what I eat. I exercise because I feel great and love it – not because I am working off calories. In fact I don’t even look at calories anymore. If this sounds impossible to you, I understand. You and I have been immersed in a diet culture that tells us that we can’t trust our own bodies. I have data and lived experience to say otherwise.
If you are tired of the same old cycle of restricting followed by overeating; of shaming yourself for eating too much or not exercising enough; if you feel like you are not enough and you are a failure – you’re wrong. You are enough. You haven’t failed. Diet culture has failed you. If you are ready to make the change, give me a call, send me an email, send me a text. Whatever works for you. I will help teach you the tools of Intuitive Eating. Together we’ll work through how to implement them in your life. You are worth it.