Today is the third and final episode about my intuitive eating journey! This one features my last three years of intuitive eating, and I’ll pick up from where I left off last week: right after I hired my own life coach!
Parenting Comparison-itis & My Intuitive Eating Journey
My coach helped me realize how much mom guilt I had been feeling as I entered into my journey as mom. The same sort of shame and guilt I had used to feel about eating….I was now feeling about parenting. From sleep schedules to nursing struggles, to what kind of stroller we had and whether I was finding a rhythm: there were so many things to compare. I found myself often noticing what everyone else was doing, and experiencing guilt and shame over what I felt I wasn’t doing “right” myself.
I realized that, rather than comparing my body to other women’s bodies, I was comparing the way I was as a mom. As glad as I was that I had worked through a lot of food and body things as an intuitive eater, it quickly became apparent that there were other areas I was still struggling.
The principles and tools I learned from intuitive eating helped me worked through a lot of the challenges I faced as a new mom. That’s what I love about intuitive eating! It’s a journey that starts with food….but it carries over into all parts of your life. Self-knowledge is so powerful, and responding to yourself from a place of love and compassion is such a good feeling.
Between working with my coach and practicing my intuitive eating principles, I was able to increase my confidence and decrease the shame and guilt that parenting seemed to be stirring up. I’m so glad I had those tools at the ready. That experience really proved to me that intuitive eating principles weren’t just a luxury better enjoyed by my child-free (less sleep-deprived) self! They truly worked in every area of my life, even as I was evolving and changing.
Intuitive Eating Principles & Business Building
Speaking of evolving…
I was also still starting my business during this time!
There were so many insecurities and fears I found myself having to work through as an entrepreneur in the online world. For instance, going live on video was so awkward for me. (One of my clients even mentioned I had looked really uncomfortable during my first ever live. Aghh….the struggle was real!) But I also knew that the only way to get better and build my business was to stick with it and keep trying.
Being willing to practice (even when I knew it was less than perfect) improved my confidence and ability. Now, so many things that used to be major stressors are easy and natural. Did I have to push myself? Yes! But I also know that getting comfortable with the uncomfortable is an important part of life (and growth).
The confidence I gained through intuitive eating enabled me to have a strong foundation for getting out of my comfort zone! I already had so many tools for building my confidence, overcoming shame and guilt, and offering myself self-care and compassion (while also growing through uncomfortable changes). All I had to was apply them to my business.
New Vision For My Family
We were able to visit the US shortly after Cooper was born, and it was HARD! There is a 12 hour flight and a 9 hour time change from Zurich….and the effort it took to get an infant back into some semblance of regular sleep was extremely challenging. Our time back home with friends and family, however, was more than just a long flight and sleepless nights. It also ignited a new desire in my heart: to raise our kids close to family.
Seeing Cooper held by his grandparents and enjoyed by his cousins, and having a chance to be surrounded by family in a place we had both grown up in….it made me realize that I wanted this for our future. If I could have gotten my whole family to move to Europe with me, I would have brought them all to Zurich! But that wasn’t an option.
Choosing to come back to the US permanently was a huge (and really hard) decision. However, my intuitive eating journey had instilled so much confidence in myself, and in my ability to know my own desires and tap into my own intuition, that I was able to have peace in our decision.
Tapping Into My Passion
Around this time, the yoga studio I taught for went through some changes. As a result, I had to make some decisions about what my priorities were. Ultimately, I chose not to continue teaching. I knew that my true passion was intuitive eating and coaching. Parenting was also bringing about new time constraints….and it ended up making sense to transition away from the studio.
A few months later, I could feel the difference in my body. When I was teaching I was spending an hour or two doing yoga every day. And as much as I had loved that….it was no longer necessary to invest that amount of time doing yoga when I wasn’t teaching (and preparing for teaching).
As I noticed the changes in my body, I evaluated how they made me feel. I could have chosen to go back to practicing more regularly, but at the time, I realized that working on my business and having more family time was what I desired. That came with changes to my physical body, but I was okay with that. Once again, intuitive eating gave me the tools to process who I was, what I desired, and what I wanted to have happening in my life.
Being empowered to prioritize what I most wanted and needed was important to me, and I’m so glad I had those tools at the ready! I’m also glad I didn’t have to feel guilty about my body changing.
Intuitive Eating Tools & Major International Moves
Moving internationally is stressful! Jon’s job was in flux, and we had a lot of uncertainty. In addition, we were trying to get in lots of last minute travel and nights out with friends we would be leaving behind.
During this time, I relied heavily on the ability to ask myself:
What do I need today?
Rather than getting into a binge/restrict cycle where I ate heavily for 6 weeks of chaos and then went on some kind of wild cleanse, I was able to tend to my body and her needs throughout the entire transition. Sometimes that meant eating out, and other times that meant enjoying something light at home. It never meant having to restrict myself, though, and I credit my intuitive eating tools with that!
Even so, I still had to go through the process of having compassion for myself as I got into new rhythms after the move.
From finding new workout and meditation classes to looking for a co-working space and finding new friends and connections — moving definitely takes a lot out of you! I truly needed to practice self-care, be gentle with myself, and stay in tune with what I needed on a day-to-day basis.
(I also had to learn all about letting go of restrictions again as we transitioned to US culture!)
Pregnancy #2 & Intuitive Eating
I found out we were expecting on the first day of our Covid quarantine. I’ve already done a few episodes on the pregnancy, so we won’t go too deep on that here! (Pregnancy and intuitive eating actually have lots of similarities, which I talked about HERE.)
Some of my biggest takeaways, as an intuitive eater:
+ Don’t stress about changing dietary needs. If you can only eat bread and pasta (that happened to me for a bit), then enjoy them! Eventually your taste for other foods will return. Listen to your body, and give her what she needs. (Read about my first trimester eating experience HERE.)
+ Get clothes that fit your body for whatever stage she is in. If you’re not feeling ready for maternity clothes quite yet, you can still size up in your favorite jeans. Wearing clothes that feel really good on your body is important, and there’s no need to force yourself into items that are too small, too tight, or too constricting!
+ The best thing you can do for yourself is to honor your needs and your body. If she tells you she needs something, do your best to provide it. You might have new hunger and thirst needs, new sleep-related needs, or all manner of other new changes. Check in with yourself often, and do what you can to take care of yourself!
+ You might still have difficult body image days. Intuitive eating doesn’t mean everything is easy and perfect all the time. It does, however, give you the tools to process what’s happening.
My Intuitive Eating Journey Wrap-Up
Intuitive eating about so much more than *just* food. It’s a progression of confidence, in both your body and your life. It’s a way of getting to know yourself, your desires, and your patterns. There is so much to learn about who you are, and intuitive eating is a way of honoring that process.
You CAN feel good, find food freedom, and gain total confidence. I promise you that you can take care of yourself in a way that feels right for you; no shame or guilt attached! Intuitive eating is a process and a practice. It can push you out of your comfort zone, but in my experience….it never takes you anywhere that doesn’t ultimately serve your highest good. No diet could ever give you that!
If you want to learn more, quit dieting, or get some support for your own journey — reach out! I’ve been there, and now I’m here for you.
My clients get amazing results, and they report truly finding food freedom by the end our time together. They’re able to enjoy food, be more confident in themselves and their bodies, and consistency use tools that honor their ongoing needs. Intuitive eating works (whatever is happening in your life), and I’d love to see you grow your practice!
Ready? Let’s go!