Life As an Intuitive Eater
Here we'll discuss the next steps on your journey.
As always, I recommend completing this module over the course of a week, taking some time to review the material a couple of times, and to complete the journal exercises.
Start by listening to the audio content below, and then scroll down to review the key points and journal exercises. Finally, take the post-course survey to see how far you've come!
Audio: Life as an Intuitive Eater
Module 13 Notes
So here we are, at the end of what has hopefully been a fruitful journey. What does life look like from here on out?
I’m always tempted to say how easy life is as an intuitive eater, because it does feel easy compared to the torture of dieting and food fears.
But of course I don’t mean that life is all sunshine and roses, either. We intuitive eaters still have our ups and downs just like anyone else. It’s just that we’re so much more able to be present in our lives, and be there for the good moments as well as feel our feelings when things aren’t so good.
That’s why self-compassion is such a key part of continuing on the intuitive eating journey, because if you can actually feel your feelings and not hide behind thoughts of food and body shame, you’ll probably have bigger feelings overall—and continuing to practice self-compassion will help you to navigate them.
Something you can really look forward to with intuitive eating, however, is not being consumed by thoughts of calories and scales and what to eat (or not to eat). Because those thoughts take you away from the things that really matter. You can’t truly engage or be with the people around you when you’re busy criticizing yourself (or scrutinizing others and comparing how you measure up).
You also can’t really listen to yourself, honor your intuition, or trust that you’ll meet your own needs when you second-guess your choices constantly, like every time you have to make a decision about what to eat or how to move your body.
So intuitive eating makes things easy in that it creates a sense of ease, of peace, in these little moments throughout the day. And it creates a sense of ease in more meaningful moments, like birthday parties, weddings, and holidays—the experiences that you want to be able to fully enjoy in the moment and look back on fondly in the future, unclouded by thoughts of what you ate or how you looked.
But those big and little moments can sometimes come with different struggles now that you’re an intuitive eater—namely, the struggle to fight back against body shaming and diet culture when you encounter them, which you inevitably will.
As much as I fervently hope we’ll see an end to diet culture in our lifetime, the reality is that we probably won’t. You’ll likely encounter many manifestations of body negativity and pressure to diet throughout your life as an intuitive eater. These things get easier and easier to handle as time goes on, but they will probably still push your buttons for a while.
So how do you handle it? The best way is to continue to surround yourself with body-positive and pro-intuitive-eating messages, and to continue learning more about this world and movement.
I’ve included some great resources in the “further listening” and “further reading” sections in this module, and I’ve also created a special “further resources” page where you can find the resources I recommended in previous modules, all in one place.
However far you’ve come in the course, I know your journey is not over, and you may still have many things to work on. So I invite you to keep at it, and keep using this course as your guide—whether that’s to continue working through the principles or to bolster your resolve in the face of diet culture.
You have lifetime access to the course, so you can come back as often as you like, ask your questions, and listen to the monthly podcasts for as long as I’m producing them (which is hopefully many years to come!).
I also want to invite you to reach out to me if you’re interested in doing any one-on-one intuitive eating coaching, now that you’ve been through the course. I’m only able to take a very limited number of individual clients, but if you fill out a new client survey and let me know that you came from my online course, I’ll definitely do my best to make it happen!
Finally, please continue to share and comment in our course Facebook group, which is a great place to connect and receive support from your fellow participants!
I asked my wonderful administrative assistant, Ashley Seruya, if she had any thoughts to share for this module of the course, any way of expressing what life is like for her as an intuitive eater. She wrote a powerful, moving passage that I think is a perfect note to end on:
“Intuitive eating gave me the tools to change my perspective. But really, I fixed myself. Because at the end of the day, you can be equipped with every tool in the toolkit, but if you are not prepared to sit down and build the house, you'll never have a solid foundation. Intuitive eating was my toolkit, but I was the architect that mapped and planned and built a beautiful, loving, compassionate home. Intuitive eating can be your toolkit, but you have to be your own architect. So go be architects. Go build your houses. You have so many wonderful things to fill them with.”
- My monthly Refinery29 column, for answers to readers' intuitive eating questions
- Ragen Chastain's body-positive blog, Dances with Fat
- Jes Baker's great roundup of body-positive activists to follow
- Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch's Intuitive Eating Online Community and forum
Journal Exercise 1: How Life Is Already Different
In your journal, reflect on the ways in which your life has already changed since you started working through the principles of intuitive eating. For example:
- Do you allow yourself to do relaxing, restorative activities you never would’ve done before, like go for ice cream with a friend or relax for a few hours on the weekend instead of running around doing things?
- Do you feel more empathy and compassion for yourself in the moments when you’re “imperfect”?
- Do you feel more comfortable “trusting your gut” rather than trying to think and reason your way through things?
- Do you approach life with fewer “shoulds”?
- Are there any other ways in which your life has changed?
Now I invite you to revisit the self-assessment survey you took at the beginning of the course. This follow-up survey will help you gauge how far you've come with your intuitive eating skills since you started the course. (As with the pre-course survey, please be sure to write down your responses for future reference, as this screen will not save them after you click "submit.")
Survey directions: The following statements are meant to assess core characteristics of intuitive eaters. Answer "yes" or "no" for each statement. If you're unsure of how to respond, consider if the description usually applies to you—is it mostly "yes" or mostly "no”?
Survey adapted from Tracy Tylka's research on Tribole & Resch's model of Intuitive Eating, and from the Body Trust® Wellness program by Be Nourished, LLC.
Journal Exercise 2: What Still Needs Work?
In your journal, reflect on your results from the self-assessment survey above and set some goals:
- Which areas are still challenging for you?
- What are one or two short-term goals you can set for yourself in order to deepen and strengthen your intuitive eating practice?
- What are your long-term goals for your relationship with food and your body?
- How will you work on meeting these long-term goals in the weeks and months to come?
Please provide your feedback to help us improve this module and the course as a whole.