Ep. #58: How Intuitive Eating Makes Me a Better Mom

Intuitive eating with my son Cooper
Photo: Andrea Monica Hug

It’s my birthday week! Since we probably can’t get together for cake, maybe you could send a few stars my way? I’d be honored to receive your review of the podcast, because I would love to know that more women are receiving the gift of intuitive eating! 

Thoughts on Missing My Mom

Usually November is a really hard month for me, but this year hasn’t been quite as difficult as usual. I think that has a lot to do with being so much closer to my family.

As some of you know, my mom passed away from breast cancer on my birthday, 13 years ago. As hard as that was, it was a miracle that she was able to be there for my 21st birthday. Instead of going to Vegas as we had planned, we celebrated with a party in the hospital. It’s a memory I’ll always cherish.

This year, my dad and brother will be taking me out on my actual birthday, I have a massage booked, we have fun dinner plans, and I’m feeling excited. (Pro Tip: When you want something to happen, ask for it! Don’t hope the people in your life will read your mind.)

Intuitive Eating as a Mother

I know that intuitive eating has truly made me a better mother. Now, I’m not saying women who diet are not good mothers, so don’t hear that! My mom dieted, and she was amazing. This episode is really just me talking about my personal journey. It’s a chance for me to share how the intuitive eating mindset has enhanced my own motherhood experience.

Here are the top five ways intuitive eating has impacted my parenting:

1. I’m better at going with the flow.

This isn’t the easiest for me, and I am definitely still a planner. However, intuitive eating has made it much easier for me to go with the “food flow”. I don’t need to measure my portions, “only” eat at certain places, or stress over exactly when I’ll get my meals. That is wonderful!

Recently my son woke up and wanted to make waffles. I was able to enjoy the process of cooking those and eating them together. It was fun, playful, and free. Back in my dieting days that would have never worked, because Tuesday would have been a “good day” and I wouldn’t have been wiling to “cheat”, even though my son wanted to spend time with me and enjoy a tasty waffle.

I recently had a client tell me her daughter baked her a cake. Not that long ago she would have been incredibly stressed, and maybe even turned the cake down! Now, however, she was able to appreciate her daughter’s efforts and eat the cake, savoring every moment.

2. I love eating with my son!

I know many women who won’t eat meals with their kids, or who only eat small portions of something different than the family is eating. My son and I eat breakfast and dinner together every day, and lunch together on the weekends. That is special time to me, and it’s so wonderful. (He is a toddler, so that does come with it’s own complications!) I love that our meals together are enjoyable and fun, and I’m not running calorie counts or “rules” through my mind the whole time.

3. Intuitive eating causes me to take care of myself first and foremost.

This is a hard one, and it took me a while to get into this rhythm. A huge part of intuitive eating is practicing self-care. And a huge part of being the best parent you can be? Self-care! Now, my routine as a mom doesn’t look like my routine as a childless woman (no more leisurely morning journal time!). But I find ways to implement journaling, gratitude, movement, and work in ways that work alongside and within my parenting journey.

4. I practice gratitude more frequently.

My intuitive eating journey has really instilled a sense of true gratitude and thankfulness in my life. And the more I find to be grateful for, the more thankful I feel. Even when things are hard and stressful, or the days feel long and my patience feels short, coming back to a place of gratitude and self-love can change my whole day.

5. No diet culture!

Intuitive eating has given me the clarity and courage to understand that I don’t want dieting in our home. We don’t restrict food, and we don’t purchase diet foods. I’m also very conscious about not talking about losing weight. I don’t criticize my body, or give others body-related compliments. 

More Fun, Less Stress

By bringing intuitive eating into my parenting journey, I’m able to stress less and enjoy more.

I’ve found that intuitive eating has really helped me intuitively determine my needs in all areas of my life. As I learn to notice my needs, I’ve also learned to communicate them. And guess what? When I started verbalizing my needs, I realized that the only one really judging those needs was…me. By recognizing my needs and sharing them with people who could help me meet them, I am able to parent with so much more peace and joy.

We are all born intuitive eaters. We can trust our bodies, and we can teach our children to trust their bodies as well. Intuitive eating has enabled me to share something really beautiful with my son, and that is priceless.

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