As last weekend, I’ve moved away from Bright Line Eating in favor of Intuitive Eating. I suppose I was successful in BLE, but the biggest issue for me is the focus on weight loss as a primary goal. I was trying it out to see if it fit, but I just can’t put all my energy into trying to reach a goal that may not be right for me and that overrules my body’s own wisdom. Every body is different. I’m not comfortable celebrating every pound lost, or decrying every pound gained. My body may be happy at the weight I am right now, it may be happy 100 pound lighter. It’s impossible for me to say with any certainty what number on the scale is perfect for me. I am not willing to struggle every day and base my sense of worth on a number that’s not right for me.
I am glad I did the BLE thing. There were some things that worked well for me, or that helped me, like:
- I remembered I like vegetables, fruit and whole foods. I really liked what I was eating on BLE. I was never hungry and felt like the combination of foods was good for me. The problem I was having was that I had to sometimes had to force myself to eat all my vegetables and wanted more fat. There were times I tried to forget about what I was eating just to finish a meal.
- I’m not bingeing. I’m not eating certain foods that trigger me, like pasta, bread, nuts, sugar, etc. Right now, even trying to lift restrictions, I’m not really drawn to those foods. It’s almost like the time I was on BLE helped me cleanse my palate.
- Weighing my meals helped me understand what portions were good for me, although I don’t think eating exactly the same amount at every meal would work long term. It made me feel good, though that I knew I could eat X amount, but it also allowed me to check out of my body.
What I didn’t like was the focus on weight loss above all else. I see so many women who put off their life until they can reach their “goal weight.” How do we really know what our goal weight should be? Science has only speculation about how much each individual should weigh, or what size they should be. There’s a lot of problems with the BMI, that using it as a goal seems misguided. People were designed to be different shapes and sizes and telling every they’re not successful until they are thin is setting them up for failure and a miserable life.
I understand that for some, their eating is so disordered, they feel they need the structure of a plan like OA or BLE to help them feel sane around food. Any plan can give someone an anchor in life. It’s tempting to give over your will in the area of food to someone else. Alan Lebinovitz says what I’ve always said, that diets are like religion in a lot of ways. “There’s something comforting about picking a plan out of the chaos and sticking with it. ”
Something I find interesting is that as I move away from a structured eating plan, I’m attracted to meditation and even ritual. Maybe I was looking for the spiritual in places where it shouldn’t be (diets) and now am looking for it where it actually belongs (spirituality).
My question going forward is, if intuitive eating is my goal, can I also avoid sugar and flour because of the way it makes me feel? I think the answer is yes, as long as I take care to watch myself and any cravings that might come up. I also will guard against being too stringent about what I eat. If I really want something, I will allow myself to have it and be happy about it. Perhaps I will embark on the challenge Lebinovitz suggests:
Don’t read anything about nutrition or health for 30 days…Don’t visit the blogs, don’t click the headlines, don’t even read food labels. Instead, focus on preparing foods for yourself that make you feel good and that you enjoy.
Maybe I also turn off the support groups for a while and just live my life for a while and see what happens.