I’m not talking about setting your intention for your day, for your yoga practice, for your meditation, as helpful and important as these things are. No, I’m talking about your intention behind your food decisions.
A common belief around intuitive eating is that you’re just going to eat whatever you want all day everyday which means you’re just going to live off of ice cream and cookies and pizza and never eat another vegetable again. I mean, that might happen for a while, but it definitely won’t continue for very long.
Provided you’ve fully immersed yourself in ANTI-diet culture, as in, eating without restriction/mental anguish/rules, your body will tell you what it wants. It really will.
For a while I rejected the very notion of eating a salad. I had grown so accustomed to eating a salad as a way to either compensate for something I had earlier, will have later or just to keep my caloric consumption down in general, that I thought if I was choosing a salad, it must still be coming from a disordered place. I viewed salads from a place of lack, not desire.
It’s quite common for people to think that if they’re eating conventionally ‘healthy’ foods that they’re doing intuitive eating wrong (You can’t. Unless of course you’re turning it in to a diet, which is also common). It’s understandable since when you’re in diet culture, you have to choose those foods in order to follow your regimented set of rules.
But the reality is, your body will crave those foods and it will crave other foods. While I don’t believe in good or bad, there is a general group of foods that are given those traits by diet culture. When it comes your food choices, it has absolutely nothing to do with the food itself and everything to do with the intention behind it.
I crave salads as often as I crave burgers, chocolate, ice cream and baked goods. I crave pizza as often as I crave lean proteins + vegetables. Sometimes I eat just pizza and no vegetables. Sometimes I eat just a salad. Sometimes I eat meat and cheese and chips, and other times I eat salmon and potatoes. My eating doesn’t necessarily look all that different from when I incessantly tracked and agonized over my food choices, but it doesn’t have the stress or manipulative intentions behind it.
My intention behind every food decision is to support my body. To satisfy biological hunger so that I can function properly. To listen to what it’s telling me. Often to be social. To satisfy mental hunger. To take care of myself. To never restrict or feel deprived. Often, so that I can focus on whatever else I’m doing and not be distracted by hunger. It is never to control my body size/shape.
That’s the difference. That’s the crux of it all. But you can’t get there without changing your behaviors (and addressing why you were trying to change your body in the first place). You can’t get there until you let go of the control and trust your body.
Need some help with doing that? The Fuck It Diet is a great place to start.
Disclaimer: I am not a therapist or medical professional. This is not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any illnesses and should not be seen as a substitute for professional help or delay you in seeking treatment. I share my experiences here in hopes of helping others, but I absolutely encourage you to seek professional help for your struggles.