Hopefully you enjoyed getting a sneak peak into my life last week, and learning how I intuitively eat and live. That episode might have also gotten you wondering what success looks like when you quit dieting.
Your Own Version of Success
Today, I want to go a little deeper into what it’s like to eat and live intuitively. I also want to address what “success” could look like in YOUR life. Keep in mind that success looks so different for so many people. As you saw last week when we took a look into what my daily life is like, every day is unique. In your own practice there will be some similarities, but success might be totally different for you. Embrace it!
In dieting, “success” tends to be very quantifiable because numbers are attached to it. For example, you can determine success using categories like body measurements, how much you weigh, and your body fat percentage. Those tangible success markers can be motivating – but they can also be really detrimental to your health. Since you are so focused on a number, you often aren’t realizing how great you DO feel in your body. You’re also blind to some healthy habits you may have created, especially if the number aren’t what you hoped for. It’s easy to get down on yourself, start to feel like a failure, and eventually just get into a nasty spiral.
Rather than getting hung up on these external numbers, I love to focus on listening to my body, actively care for myself, and learn to love who I am.
So this conversation about success, or a look at results that will start happening when you eat intuitively and take care of yourself, has to come from a place of love. Agreed? Remember that not every single one of these things will happen to you, because you are an individual. However, I will list some common occurrences that have happened to me and my clients, each of which we would call a personal success.
Also, as you guys know, my Quit Dieting for Good group program is currently open for enrollment until January 22nd. This is most likely the only time I will run this program this year. Since I’ve turned it into a 6-month course, I want you to be supported for 6 whole months and feel so confident when you go out into the world on your own, and use all the tools that we’ve been practicing. If you want to know more about my Quit Dieting for Good program, I encourage you to check it out now before it closes at caitlinball.com/quitdieting.
The Powerful Six Module Program
My program, Quit Dieting for Good, has six modules. I thought I would break down the successes by module (keeping in mind that your own experience will be unique to you!).
Letting Go of Restrictions
The first module is learning how to let go of restrictions. (Just so you know, each of my modules has audio to listen to, videos to watch, journal prompts, worksheets, special guests, and a meditation. Plus, you get a new module weekly for the first 6 weeks, along with a group coaching call where you get to ask all your personal questions).
One of the very first things that happens to my clients when they start learning about intuitive eating is one of two things: they throw away a food they don’t really like OR they stop eating something (even though it’s really good) because they are full.
I’ve had a couple clients tell me about throwing away “just OK” cookies. While dieting they wouldn’t have thrown them away because they didn’t know when they would allow themselves cookies again. Because of this, they had to eat whatever it was they were “allowing” themselves in each moment. (And then often binging on anything in arm’s reach!)
Food Availability is Freeing!
With intuitive eating, all food is always available. That means that if a cookie is not that good, it’s not worth wasting time on. I had a giant bag of Hershey’s kisses in my house recently, and I didn’t touch them because I like other chocolate so much better. Therefore, the kisses simply aren’t worth it. (Except when they are on a pretzel with an M&M or a peanut butter blossom cookie. Then I love them!) The point is, my clients and I can leave food that is just OK, since we know that what we really want is available to us.
The other part is stopping when you are full, even when something tastes really good. I did this just yesterday. I bought a brownie because I really had a hankering for one, and I noticed one when we walked past a bakery. It was so good, but it was huge!
Back when dieting, I would have eaten the whole thing! With the mindset of “I’ll start dieting on Monday”, I would know that soon, a brownie like this wouldn’t be allowed. If that’s the case, I better have my fill (and even eat more than is comfortable) right now!
As an intuitive eater, now I don’t diet ever, Mondays or otherwise. Since that’s the case, I stopped halfway through my delicious brownie once I felt full. I was thinking that the rest of this would taste so good tomorrow, and I knew I would savor it then. If I had had the whole thing right in that moment, I knew I was probably going to get a headache (because that’s too much sugar at once for my body to handle).
What Success Looks Like
Those are two huge successes! As you start to eat more foods that you truly love, and that you know will satisfy you, you aren’t overeating because of the “last-supper” effect of a diet. (AKA: Eat it all now before it’s all gone tomorrow). No more “OK cookies” in the place of decadent brownies!
Another big success is just eating and enjoying food without guilt.
Once food loses it’s labels and stigmas…it just becomes food again. And once you can enjoy food without guilt, it’s easier to be fully satisfied. You’ll often find that you can then stop obsessing about (and feeling crazy around) food. When we intuitively eat, we feel free!
I personally felt so free once I realized I didn’t have to diet for the rest of my life (and my clients often feel the same). Even after just a few weeks of letting go of restrictions around food, there is an impact! This podcast would be 2 hours long if I talked about every potential success, but I hope these give you a really good idea of Module 1 successes!
The next module is Body Love.
Usually the first thing that happens in Module 2 is that clients start feeling so grateful for the things that their bodies do for them on a regular basis. Often these things occur without much effort on our part. For instance, sleeping, eating, digesting, walking – all those things are a gift!
Spending so much time and energy hating our bodies, which are actually really awesome, is wasted energy. Clients also get to the root of their body confidence issues in this module. They tend to realize that they can do everything they’ve held back doing – at any size or weight.
I have multiple clients that had started a business or side business, and through this process finally became proud to be the face of it. Others finally went swimming, or wore their swimsuit with confidence. Some purchase beautiful clothes for themselves that fit well and feel good (no more squeezing into too-small sizes or painful clothing!). Many find they can start dressing up for themselves rather than only for other people.
The third module is all about hunger and fullness.
I find that once my clients start practicing eating when they are truly hungry (but not too hungry), they get more satisfaction out of their meals. In addition, they are able to make choices that make their body and tastebuds feel satisfied. When they let themselves get too hungry, they choose foods for quick energy. Those choices don’t always allow them to feel their best. Plus, if eating when too hungry, you feel like a bottomless pit! This means you’ll likely end up eating more than you actually need.
Clients in this module also learn to listen to their body instead of the clock.
One of my clients hated breakfast…but she always was told she was supposed to eat it, so she did! When she finally listened, she realized her body didn’t want to eat until late morning or lunchtime.
Other clients have figured out they like having snacks throughout the day, and other clients like to eat bigger meals without snacks. Regardless of preference, they all figure out how to listen to their bodies and learn when they need to eat based on their body!
Why would we eat the same when we are all different? My husband eats two big meals, and a snack at 12, 6, and 9pm. I eat at 7, 10, 12, 3, and 7, and that works much better for me.
My clients also share that they begin to eat more mindfully. They practice taking some time with their food instead of stuffing it down. In addition, they stop hiding while eating, which can be an unconscious habit. They truly get enjoyment and pleasure from the eating experience!
The fourth module covers emotional eating.
My clients learn about the common emotions that cause them to overeat.
They also start to associate different self-care activities with emotions rather than food. They can decipher when eating emotionally will be productive, and when it will make things worse (which is so important to recognize!). Knowing when it’s a physical craving and when it’s emotional is essential!
The fifth module addresses self-care.
I love this module! We cover movement that each individual can actually enjoy!
Dance, swimming, walking, or enjoyable hobbies are awesome. I’ve had clients start (or re-start) things like sewing, craft projects, reading, cooking, and even just attending more social events. We also step up our regular self-care routines, which might include journaling, meditation, and other kinds of movement.
Success in this module varies widely, but always involves more self-care, self-love, and movement that feels good for each individual. It’s hard to go wrong with that!
The sixth module covers gentle nutrition & finding the right foods for your individual body.
My clients find out that eating too much of “this” food group or “that” food group doesn’t work for their bodies. They are able to make changes because of respect for their body, not because anyone is telling them to do so.
My clients CHOOSE to eat a certain way. There choices are not based on “I can’t eat that”, or “I shouldn’t eat this”. All food becomes a choice that they are making for themselves. This is super empowering, and allows them to be more confident!
Intuitive eating is AMAZING. I see the impact it has each and every day, and I can tell you that it’s about far more than food. Really, it’s about respecting and honoring your needs. Success results in feeling empowered in your body and your choices, and being FREE to love yourself and your life.