I have been practicing Intuitive Eating for several years. Before that, I was your typical American dieter who thought that her biggest failure in life was not being a size XYZ. I thought dieting was simply what you were supposed to do and I thought everyone thought about food as much as I did.
Then I discovered Intuitive Eating. Like many people who start out on the road of IE, I had the secret hope that when I healed my obsession with food, my weight would settle at a place that not only felt good but "looked good" based on society's standards and cultural conditioning.
But doing IE "right" doesn't mean my body is going to necessarily look like I was taught (and internalized) that it should. (There is no wrong way to do IE, but many think if they follow the book like a set of rules - they will have both freedom and the exact body of their dreams.)
You might and you might not. It varies so much from person to person. I'd love to have 20/20 eyesight without glasses too but I don't. And I'd love to take back tanning with baby oil in the 80's if I could, now that I have had skin cancer twice, but I can't undo the past.
I practice Intuitive Eating and I still have fat on my body. Will my body stay this way forever? Who knows, I don't have a crystal ball.
I live in a human body, where weight and health are on a continuum. Weight and health shift up and down with the seasons, with aging, with levels of busyness, and with stress, to name a few.
In my practice, I have given myself unconditional permission to eat and made peace with food. I honor my hunger and fullness and I take the satisfaction of my meals into account. I don't restrict and I don't binge. I don't often feel ravenous or uncomfortably full. I listen to my hunger and match it with a wide variety of nourishing foods.
Those are 5 principles of IE right there that I follow and right now and for the record, I still have fat on my body.
I have rejected diet mentality and don't succumb to backlash binge eating from restriction or deprivation anymore. And if I do, I forgive myself and move on rather than turn it into a week-long event, and I still have fat on my body.
I don't consider foods good or bad and I don't judge myself for my choices (most of the time). I still have fat on my body.
I practice joyful movement. I move my body regularly doing things I enjoy. I walk, row, lift weights, do (some) yoga and Nia. I have a gym membership where I am comfortable going because I talk about Health at Every Size with them and I have gym equipment in my basement. I also rest when I am tired. And I still have fat on my body.
I have done some deep internal work. I explore my feelings. I get curious about my emotions. I am learning to release anger and shame and bring more love into my life. I eat emotionally on occasion, as everyone does, but now I recognize it and often realize I'm not hungry and need something else at the moment. And I still have fat on my body.
I respect my body by buying clothes that fit and are comfortable. I have a great schedule and time to myself. I meditate and listen to music and get massages. I take good care of myself, and I still have fat on my body.
Moving beyond IE, I am also privileged. I am white. I live in the US. I have access to medical care. I have access to Whole Foods and I can even afford to shop there on occasion. I still have fat on my body.
I have an amazing husband and kids, I value my family and I value my home. I have a supportive family of origin, I know I can count on them at any time for anything. I still have fat on my body.
I have a career that pays well and best friends. I cook many of our meals from scratch and I get plenty of sleep. I live in the woods and near a reservoir, nature is only footsteps away. I still have fat on my body.
I hear many people say that when they do Intuitive Eating "right", their body won't be at an unhealthy weight. I still have fat on my body, but did I say I'm unhealthy? They aren't the same thing.
The point of my story is to show that you can be attending to all the different facets of life that affect our health (also known as being a "good fattie") and you can still have fat on your body.
This is only my experience, but I share this in case you are feeling like you are doing something wrong if you are practicing IE and your body is not shaping up the way you wanted. Or if holding that as an expectation is keeping you stuck.
Oprah and Deepak also promise us, if you let go of your burdens, you will release your weight. Now, are you telling me that the self-help guru of the century (Oprah) still has burdens left to let go of? And if that worked then why does she also need Weight Watchers? And if that worked then why is 80% of it repeat business?
Instead of asking the question of why I have fat on my body, and making myself crazy trying to figure out what I must be doing "wrong", I have changed the question to why does it matter and who told me it does? How and what do they know? What would I be doing if I weren't worrying about this "problem"?
If you are still hiding behind the curtain, playing with all the levers and trying to maintain the illusion that life will be perfect when our bodies are perfect, what is at risk if you stop thinking this way? What have you got to lose and what have you got to gain?