Do you even like salads?

It’s not about eating the salad. It’s about the motivation and the why behind it.

Choosing to eat a salad out of self-care or self-compassion, when it’s something you genuinely want, feels good. And it will feel inherently different than eating a salad because you should or because you have to.

Negative willpower is shame based. Positive willpower, on the other hand, is based on honoring your feelings, needs, and values. 

Self-awareness is realizing that any kind of food choice isn’t black or white. It isn’t even positive willpower versus negative willpower. It’s simply how you are choosing to express your will

So, what do you want?

Sometimes you don’t know what you want and that’s ok.

Give yourself permission to make mistakes. Maybe you slip into negative willpower because that’s what you’re used to, it’s habitual. That’s ok, too.

So, how can we develop habits to practice more positive willpower (not because it’s better but because it’s a process toward more self-awareness)? Learn to be ok with the process, and be mindful of any perfectionistic tendencies where you assume food choices or eating habits have to look a certain way.

 

Our desire to eat “perfectly” is often motivated by judgments, what we’ve made it mean about our Self or other people.

 

Instead of beating yourself up, be gentle. Stop putting yourself into false dichotomies and realize we’re all here learning, experiencing, and “mistaking” — that’s kind of the point of being alive!

Remind yourself when you do slip into perfectionism that you can shift out of negative willpower into positive willpower by saying to yourself, “Oh, there’s that habit again! Well that’s ok, let’s try something different. How do I feel? What do I need/want?” And then move on.

Any food can be “guilt-free” when you’re truly self-aware.

Eat the salad, or don’t. Your body, your choice. Find ways to nourish all parts of your Self with compassion and curiosity. But above all, remember that your food choices and eating habits do NOT define you. You’re enough, just as you are. Always have been, always will be. So eat something because you deserve to and you’re worth feeding.

Food is more than fuel

When we choose to set aside our food fears and interact with food in new ways, our relationship with food starts to shift from disordered dieting to mindful eating. Because food is symbolic, which makes it sacred.

If you are already conscious of your feelings toward food, you may have noticed that at times you experience a gamete of emotions (fear, guilt, joy, pleasure, etc.).  But sometimes, you might be so detached from your food that you find yourself rather apathetic toward eating…  Hopefully some of these prompts will help you develop an awareness around your current relationship with food so you can then start creating your ideal relationship with it:

  • How do YOU experience food?
  • What judgments, and values, do you attach to your eating habits?
  • When was the last time you ate something you wanted, sans guilt?
  • If you’re a (grand)mother, watch your (grand)children eat their food — what do you notice about their preferences and behaviors?
  • Ask your inner child what/how she would like to eat.

Intuitive eating is more than just eating what sounds good… It includes honoring your spiritual health by giving yourself permission to enjoy food!  It also includes honoring your physical health through gentle nutrition, which can look like planning for when you’re hungry even if you aren’t.


Do you find yourself justifying under-eating out of fear of overeating? Or are you just completely apathetic about food in general? And what do you do when you’re not hungry?

If you need help understanding your body’s sacred cues (or the lack thereof), and you’re ready to feel less apathetic about food, then it’s time to (re)learn how to trust your body so it can trust you.

 

Intuitive Eating vs eating intuitively

You were born an intuitive eater. You don’t need to learn how, you need to unlearn diet culture so you can remember.

Often people turn Intuitive Eating into yet another diet, with rules that determine if you’re being good or bad. Intuitive Eating is a practice, not a destination. And it’s unfortunate that the Intuitive Eating framework is oversimplified as the “hunger/fullness diet” or the “what sounds good diet” when in reality it is all about nuanced body autonomy.

Because eaters confuse intuition with impulses or instincts, it can be hard to know how to listen and respond to YOUR body’s unique messages. It is my opinion that intuition involves not only the body but also the mind and spirit. Your intuition is a sacred relationship of ALL of You. This is not only something I personally practice but also something I coach my clients through and recently taught to our Body Peace Academy members… For you, dear reader, consider pondering and journaling about what intuition means to you and how it affects your food choices or eating habits. 

  • What do you do when you wake up hungry but can’t eat something because you just took some medication that needs to be taken on an empty stomach?
  • What do you do when you want a Snickers bar but you’re allergic to peanuts?
  • What do you do when it’s your birthday but you know if you eat cake you’ll feel sick?
  • What do you do when you have no appetite at all and nothing sounds good?

If you have lived a life full of rigidity or restriction, eating intuitively will actually feel counterintuitive.

 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “Intuitive Eating doesn’t work for me” and I can’t help but ask what does “work” even mean? Are you afraid of gaining weight or overeating? Do you feel ungrounded by the “all foods fit” mentality? Is gentle nutrition triggering, confusing, and overwhelming? Get curious! Identify how your fears are limiting your ability to trust your Self. Then, get compassionate — give yourself permission to grieve and give yourself some grace. You’re doing better than you think.