I have noticed that many people who are interested in mindful eating are very dissatisfied with their body and want to lose weight. They are plagued with this belief: “When I lose weight, then I will have the confidence, health, and well-being I wish for.”
Even if you are committed to learning to trust your body, it’s very understandable to feel conflicted about intuitive eating and weight. I see people struggle with this strong wish to lose weight quickly while at the same time knowing they can’t withstand yet another diet.
Mindfully consuming a balanced, nutrient-dense pattern of eating can improve health and well-being; however, eating a more nutritious diet won’t heal the self-attacking thoughts that cause us to struggle with self-worth and body image.
Rather than enforce a set of food rules (a diet) and a rigid exercise plan to obtain a predetermined (“goal”) weight, the Mindfulness-Based Intuitive Eating approach offers the life-giving opportunity to find a natural, sustainable body weight range.
In learning to trust the body and the feedback it provides by listening to and honoring hunger and satiety cues, and routinely moving the body for the sake of feeling good, weight will stabilize in a range where the body feels fed and satisfied.
When we care for and respect our body regardless of how we feel about its size and shape, less time is spent thinking about food and weight, and more energy is available for the many meaningful aspects of life.
By cultivating a kind and gentle relationship with the mind and the body, you can build confidence and live the life you desire, now.
Three Body Kindness Practices
Start cultivating that kind and gentle relationship today by trying any of these practices:
1. Unconditional Care
Let go of this belief: “To love myself, I must first change my body.”
We don’t put conditions on the love and care we extend to others. Can you imagine saying to a friend, “When you lose the weight, I will help you”? No, we wouldn’t do that; but so many of us do it to ourselves! Ouch.
Practice caring for yourself unconditionally. Consider doing something you have been putting off until your body is a smaller size. As long as it’s legal and safe, consider the Nike sentiment: “Just Do It.”
2. Body Appreciation
To create a caring attitude toward your here-and-now body, appreciate the miraculous nature of the body and the many things it does for you. Hold gratitude for eyes that see, ears that hear, hands that hold a loved one, and legs that get you where you want to go.
Appreciating the functional value that’s present, rather than overly focusing on appearance, nurtures this wish to make choices that will create a better life for yourself.
3. Get Connected
We build body confidence and body trust through curiosity toward, and connection with, the body. The more you get to know your body, the more you can make choices that honor your personal needs.
Practice embodiment by loving, caring for, and moving your body, and engage in activities that bring you pleasure. This will take a lot of practice.
Some little ways you can care for your here-and-now body:
- Take three deep breaths before beginning to eat.
- Take a break from reading or screens, and enjoy a meal undistracted.
- Explore moving the body in ways that bring you joy.
- A brief check in – Ask: “What sensations, thoughts, and feelings are present at this moment?” This might include: “Am I hungry?”, then “How hungry am I?”
- An inquiry – “What’s the best way I could care for myself in this moment?”
Adopt the mindset: “I am learning to love and care for myself.” Don’t wait for your body to change to live the life you wish for.
May you care for yourself with JOY!
Interested in Mindfulness-Based Intuitive Eating?
Join our interest list to be notified when registration opens for Mindful & Intuitive Eating: Honoring Your Body’s Wisdom. This 5-week class with Lori Schermers, RD is a non-diet approach that advocates non-judgment and self-compassion. Students re-learn to use intuitive cues to guide when and what to eat.