“Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” Psalm 90:14
It has been about four and a half years since I began my journey to better health. I have been transparent about this journey, sharing details about pounds I have lost, setbacks I have endured, and lessons I have learned. In “Let Them Eat Pie”, I shared my new journey into intuitive eating by focusing on strength, fitness, activity, and health. Today, I am going to share what part of a day of intuitive eating looks like for me.
This morning, I woke up a little later, giving my body the rest that it desperately needed. I have been having some problems sleeping, chalking it up to menopausal insomnia. When I have a rough night, I set my alarm a little later, showing my body some grace.
Knowing my day was going to be full, I wanted to get my morning off to a good start with something warm and cozy. I fixed some oatmeal, dotting it with maple syrup and Craisins. I no longer measure the Craisins, but sprinkle them generously into my oatmeal, letting the pops of color brighten the warm bowl.
After breakfast, I decided to take my daily walk. This year, I am shooting to walk every day. I already missed three days in January due to rheumatoid arthritis flares. But this is a minor setback, and I wake each day with the intention of walking, even if it’s only ten minutes. I struggled getting dressed, thinking about the day’s long to-do list. I reminded myself, this short walk would revive me and boost my energy. Once I stepped outside, the struggle ended, when I breathed deeply and exhaled slowly. The fresh air, bird songs, and scampering squirrels both invigorated and grounded me. Instantly, my day was more manageable. I walked briskly enjoying the pace, helping my arthritic body acclimate to movement, slowly loosening my morning stiffness.
After my walk, I went to work, prepping a pot of soup for a friend and working on a talk I am doing at a ladies meeting in Rhode Island. I was a bit hungry and decided to eat a few nuts and blueberries. Again, I poured the nuts into my bowl, eyeing what seemed like a satisfying amount, without measuring or weighing. I nibbled as I worked, feeling like everything was running smoothly, checking off my daily tasks.
Soon, it was lunch time, and I decided to use the overripe bananas in a smoothie, along with some peanut butter toast. After making my smoothie, I stopped what I was doing and sat down, listening to a book while I was eating. I soon felt full, with one third of my smoothie and a quarter of my toast uneaten. This sense of “full” is new to me, and I am becoming more aware of it when I create an environment where I am enjoying myself. If I make it a working lunch, I often find myself overeating. But when I stop to eat and focus on the conversation or book or podcast I am listening to, I find myself better able to pay closer attention to my body. The old Sherry would have either finished the food or immediately went to her food diary to erase points or calories. Today, I didn’t think anything of it. I was full, so I moved on.
The last thing I want to share is my decision on a Kit Kat bar. This had been my go-to candy bar for years prior to my weight loss journey. Previously, as I lost weight, I had judged the candy as not calorie-worthy, instead preferring dark chocolate. With intuitive eating, I am no longer taking any food off the table. Instead, I am choosing to make food decisions based on taste and satisfaction, rather than on guilt, macronutrients, or what gives me the biggest “fill” for my calories. I unwrapped the candy and took a bit of one of the four long pieces. The chocolate-coated crispy bar tasted overly sweet and no longer appealed to me. I rewrapped the rest and decided to share it with others.
Evaluating satisfaction, hunger, and food in terms of taste is a new concept for me. For years, my food choices were determined by food pyramid category, nutritional value, or calorie content. Intuitive eating is learning to eat differently, really paying attention to what my body needs and wants. Even moving every day should not be measured by how many calories I am burning or how many steps I am taking. I still struggle with this one, still looking to my phone to see if I am taking enough steps. But every day I move, I am becoming more in tune with how my body feels afterwards, along with my fluidity and energy level.
Diet culture has such a stronghold on my life, it might take years to root out some of these behaviors. I still look in my mirror and say I feel fat, when I know fat is not a feeling. When I express disparaging comments about my appearance, I stop and try to assess what I am feeling. Sometimes, I don’t feel like I measure up, or I feel defeated, or I feel uncomfortable. I am working on pausing and bringing those feelings to God and reminding myself who I am in Him. Then I remind myself my goal is not a size or a number, but to be strong, active, energetic, flexible, and capable!
Two women in my circle have recently lost a significant amount of weight. I found myself still complimenting them on their weight loss. In my reading on intuitive eating, I am learning these compliments are adding to the stigmas of body image that diet culture creates. Later, I went back to both women individually and asked how they were feeling. “Do you feel stronger? Do you have more energy?” It opened a dialogue with both sharing the changes they feel in their bodies. It is not my intention to police everyone about the importance of intuitive eating, but I can be a part of changing the focus of the conversation.
I am a work in progress. I wanted to share in real time the struggles I am having. I haven’t yet departed from my trusty scale, but I am using it less. I want to get to a place where I am comfortable with my body, not always looking at it in the mirror wishing it was different. I want to be the confident woman that God created!
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