Five Days of Trying IE

Me & my hubby, the birthday boy! :)
Me & my hubby, the birthday boy! πŸ™‚

Part of figuring out intuitive eating will be trial and error, and figuring out what works for me.

I didn’t journal, per my promise to myself, last Wednesday or Thursday. It didn’t make me particularly anxious (it was almost a relief?), which surprised me, but it has always been something I enjoy doing.

And so I eventually felt a little deprived not journaling. I felt like something was missing. I like the sense of accountability, in my personal journal (my thoughts/descriptions of events) and in my food journal (food/exercise).

I was fine skipping the spread-sheet and Sparkpeople which I realize were excessive, but by Friday night (the day my WW Points reset anyway), I was feeling a bit antsy for my pretty floral journal, and found it a bit of a comfort — even though I was tracking after the fact (which of course wouldn’t be recommended by WW).

So I went about my weekend my way, listening to hunger queues as best I could, exercising moderately but not excessively.

And at my husband’s birthday party, which was a blast!!, I listened what I felt like, vs. what I necessarily “needed”. I was so active all day party-prepping anyway that food actually wasn’t one of the first things on my mind (eating it or avoiding it). It felt nice.

Basically, all weekend, I ate first and journaled later. I waited til the end of each day and then (having the photographic memory I do–no joke, not much gets by me!) I went back and journaled what I’d eaten.

I’m proud to say I deprived myself of nothing, and didn’t over-exercise at all. And no c/s incidents — I think I’m at four months now!?

Interestingly, when I looked at my journal (just my paper journal, didn’t log onto Sparkpeople–trying to just stick to paper journaling for now) I used up not too many more than the 35 WPAs I’m “given” for the week — which isn’t abnormal for a weekend of festivities … and I’m totally ok with it.

It’s as though my body knows it’s own limits, even without me journaling up-front or throughout the day. Kinda cool, actually. Maybe I have more of a sense of this than I thought?

In addition, I knew I’d over-done it Saturday because I didn’t get hungry until about 1 p.m. Sunday — very unlike me. (I prefer waking hungry for breakfast). I think it will be easier during the week, when I’m not in social situations and am on more of a schedule.

I am going into this week with no “extra” Points according to WW, but I’m going to keep trying IE. I ate a lot of not-clean foods this weekend and am looking forward to getting back to my roots.

If sticking to IE means I eat some activity points, so be it. I’m not going to sweat it. I will just try my best, like Tony Horton says: “Do your best, forget the rest.”

How about you? Do you find IE easier or more difficult on the weekends?


32 thoughts on “Five Days of Trying IE

  1. While I do think it is important to find out what works for, I think that counting points, at all, and IE do not go hand in hand. Getting over the diet mentality is one of the hardest things to do in IE and I do hope that you will come to a place that you can let WW go completely. You are worth it and trusting ONLY yourself is possible.

    With that said, I think that in the beginning, IE is harder than any diet ever could be. We are so used to listening to signals other than our own, it is hard to just listen to our bodies. And even harder still is listening to your body over your taste buds and mind. Sometimes, that is harder on the weekends but I actually find it easier, most weekends because i don’t get caught up in wanting to eat by the clock.

  2. If you get a chance, reading Appetite Awareness Training might give you another option for journaling.
    With AAT, most of the time you don’t journal WHAT you ate at all; rather, you journal patterns of eating to identify emotional triggers, deprivation , binges, C/S type episodes etc
    OR (the part I really like for myself) you can just journal how you feel after eating a particular food or at the end of the day, physically/emotionally to build awareness of your body’s responses, without judgement or tracking.
    Or, you could keep the daily journaling by just blogging more or filling your pretty notebook with your day’s activities, minus the food. Just keep writing!!! : )

  3. I know its hard to just quit journaling altogether but maybe you can just write down what you ate at the end of the day without jotting down the points info. I agree with Christie that letting go of the diet mentality, in your case “weight watchers lifestyle”, will be tough. You’ve been manipulated to believe that you can eat when you’re not hungry just because you have points to do so. Journal how you feel before you eat- anxious? Insecure? Sad? And journal how the food made you feel– energetic? Tired? Its normal to want to go back to “old, safe, COMFORTABLE” counting ways but get out of your comfort zone and do this! We’re all rooting for you. πŸ™‚

  4. I`m really proud of you. As someone who started learning IE several months ago and continues to learn to fit it into my life, I can completely understand that it`s tough to do it all at once. I am of the opinion that you do the aspects you are able to when it works for you. I would keep doing what you are doing if it makes you feel less anxious. I agree with others` suggestions (I actually have the appetite awareness workbook and it`s also very good) but I do think that you have to do what works for you. If IE is what you are striving for, keep working at it. I reread the book several times and still I will be rereading it again as I can only change so much at once. Every time I read it I get a little more information that I wasn`t able to process last time. Perhaps you might find some additional ideas if you look into it again once you are comfortable with listening to your hunger signals. You are doing great.

  5. I hope so, too, Christie, but I am still teetering on the edge and honestly I think that’s ok for my first few days. Going cold turkey isn’t easy. I will try not to journal the points of what I’m eating, but maybe just jot down the food/how I feel. I think I feel a little anxious because I know I over-ate this weekend (in that I felt too full all weekend) so that probably influences that feeling of anxiousness.

    Elizabeth, I’ll have to give that a shot. It sounds good to me!

    Lorrie, I will try that today. Thanks for the support!!

    Thanks, Susie. I think IE is particularly hard for those of us who have been on WW or something else, and coupled with past DE behaviors, it’s hard mentally to not want to restrict when we know we’ve over-eaten … but at the same time, I know that isn’t good, so I had my usual breakfast and feel great. I’m also taking today off from exercise.

  6. I agree that you are doing well, we each have to take the steps that work for us. I’m sorry if you misunderstood what I was saying. I just want you to know that you don’t *have* to depend on WW forever. It is possible.

    I know how hard this is, it has been a long, long road for me to finally get to a place where I know that dieting, of any kind, is not the way. It was IE that brought to a place where I was ready to heal my ED and move on to a happier healthier place. It was then that I learned that *my* thoughts about dieting are just as disordered at my binging behavior. Dieting and letting the diet mentality win is just another way for me to escape emotions.

    I do believe that *some* people can do weight watchers and live happily ever after. I live amongst 4 people in my life that went on weight watchers, lost what they needed to lose and now live happy, healthy lives and their relationship with food was not destroyed. For people with ED/DE, it just isn’t that easy. We have to work on the emotional reasons why we indulge in our behaviors, whether that is binging, purging, restricting, dieting, or chewing & spitting.

    I am cheering for you, Lissa. I want everyone to heal the way I have and be happy with who they are. IE is not about losing weight and if those are your motivations, it will not “work”. IE is about healing your relationship with food/exercise and getting to your bodies natural weight.

  7. It’s great that you ar eable to eat intuitively and it’s following a lot of how you should be eating. It’s great that you are able to eat and indulge a bit, not be anxiouis, and not be constantly thinking about food. I am very proud and inspired by your feat.

    Take care

  8. Sounds like you did great. I am mixed about the journaling and IE (somethign I struggle with myself) I see the point about letting go of the diet habits but at the same time the anxiety of doing everything at once can be hard to deal with. This is where I am now so can really relate. I also feel anxious when I feel too full, I think because I associate it with binge eating.

    I do like the idea of journaling how one feels after eating, about the moods you are feeling, the taste, how the food satisfied you etc.
    And remember with points–you can be “over points” but still within a good calorie range due to the way points discriminate against (or favor) certain foods based on the fat/fiber content.

  9. Thanks, Christie. I know I don’t have to rely on WW forever, and I just think I’m falling into the Libra trap of not wanting to give up journaling entirely, but also not wanting to just have no way of writing, either. So I’ll see what balance I can strike. Good points about dieting, too, and how it was obscuring your thoughts, too. Thanks for the support!! I want that natural rhythm, to find that natural happy balance. I hope to get there, slow and steadily.

    Thanks, Kahluaabba! πŸ™‚ You can do it, too!

  10. Hi Lara, I’m glad you understand what I mean. I know there’s a lot of anxiety in letting it all go. I will try to just write down what I eat, how I feel — not count points literally. True too about being “over.” I will see how this week goes. I have no big challenges and will just do my best at eating intuitively, not journaling Points. I think I do it as a safety net but really, I know what I should/shouldn’t be eating if I were listening strictly to the voice of reason. I just don’t want to live in black and white terms any more and want that “shade of gray.”

  11. I know its hard to just quit journaling altogether but maybe you can just write down what you ate at the end of the day without jotting down the points info. I agree with Christie that letting go of the diet mentality, in your case “weight watchers lifestyle”, will be tough. You’ve been manipulated to believe that you can eat when you’re not hungry just because you have points to do so. Journal how you feel before you eat- anxious? Insecure? Sad? And journal how the food made you feel– energetic? Tired? Its normal to want to go back to “old, safe, COMFORTABLE” ways but get out of your comfort zone and do this! We’re all rooting for you. πŸ™‚

  12. I think that is great news – especially in a situation where I’m sure there was a lot of “tempting” food around. And I love this: “I listened what I felt like, vs. what I necessarily β€œneeded”. I get caught in that trap of…oh, I probably should eat some veggies, or, I haven’t had much of ____ today.” I really am trying to work on going with what sounds good….sometimes, though, I have a hard time determining what that is. πŸ™‚

    I find that generally I eat more intuitely on the weekend, just because I’m not usually strapped into a schedule. I find myself all the time at work thinking, “it’s only 11 – I can’t eat lunch yet!” But when I’m at home, I definitely eat more when I’m hungry and pay less attention to the clock. That’s a really hard habit for me to get out of – part of why I’d love to learn more about IE.

    I love the picture of you and your hubby! You both look so happy. πŸ™‚ I’m glad the party was a success!

    1. Thanks, Holly!! I agree it’s hard!! I agree most weekends it’s easier to do IE than during the week because I’m up earlier on weekdays and have to eat at certain times. Thanks! Glad you liked the pic πŸ˜‰ The party was a blast.

  13. I agree that IE gets you to your natural weight and having a weight loss goal is counterproductive. However, I currently am trying to lose weight because I`m overweight. It`s not any more healthy than being underweight. I`m overweight because I`ve binged more times than I can count and so although I am practicing IE now, I am not perfect in my practice. I have been able to accept my body at the weight it is but that does not mean I want to stay at that weight. I still am proud of the work I`ve done to heal from my ED, but I do not think that means I have to be overweight for my entire life. I gained weight while learning to love myself and am still learning. Losing that gained weight does not mean I am failing – I don`t think. If I tie that weight loss to my value, then I have an issue. But if I`m eating what my body needs and not more, I think that`s ok.

    All this discussion reminds me how complicated this is! Is ANYONE eating intuitively in our society? Sometimes it`s laughable. Sometimes I think I`d be better off living in a bubble. You can`t go out in the world without being told how to eat or how to get a flat stomach. It`s absolutely ridiculous. I have worked really hard to stop being affected by all those messages – really hard.

    1. Susie, I agree with you. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying to lose weight while EI. I totally see what you mean and you should be commended for how far you’ve come!!!

      “But if I`m eating what my body needs and not more, I think that`s ok.” AMEN!! My problem is, I never “need” Chex mix or chocolate πŸ˜‰ but sometimes, I want it. It’s knowing when to say “ok, have a bit” and not restricting it entirely that counts.

      I agree 100%.

  14. Susie, I would agree that if you are losing weight while eating intuitively you are not failing. I think that it means you are getting to where your body feels comfortable. No one is perfect in their practice of intuitive eating. We all have times that we don’t want to listen to our bodies and slip into old behaviors whether that is dieting, restricting, binging, mindless eating, whatever.And even still, none of that is failing. It is all part of the process. I think people get caught up in the instant gratification and expect IE to be that way and it just isn’t. I think the important thing is to stay tuned in to our bodies and respond to it’s needs.

    I, too, could stand to lose about 50lbs to fit into the “health” mold but I am not letting that define my happiness. I also believe in health at every size, I think that some of us are meant to be bigger and some of us are meant to be smaller. I treat my body with kindness, respecting it’s needs for food and moderate exercise and that is enough for me.

  15. I agree Christie. That all makes sense. I think the key reminder for me is that nobody is perfect. I forget that, a lot! As I strive to be perfect .. It seems to be a natural desire for me that i`m working on curbing.

    I think the reason I was stirred up a little with this conversation is that if I were Melissa, I would be affected by the suggestions of others to not track or do this or that and I would start to lose my pride in how well I am doing with the changes I`d made already. And there is absolutely no reason for anyone taking this on to be anything but proud of the effort and success they are having. It`s a huge accomplishment to even take on the challenge of IE let alone actually practicing all the elements. And like you said, everyone does it in their own way. I agree with that completely.

    So perhaps it is a lesson for me to remind myself of my own accomplishments. I am easily brought down by suggestions of other people. I take it as criticism too often. I think that is because in my family, suggestions are often criticism. I forget that a lot of times, people just care and want to help. I think I was worried that Melissa would feel that same way like I would have. Melissa, I hope you are more open than I am to suggestions!

    1. Hi Susie! Thank you, I am very open to suggestions … I hope you all know that. It’s hard to be told what to do or not to do, but I know it’s said out of concern. I need to find what works for me, striking the right balance between living a little and trusting myself.

      Yes, please don’t be brought down by anyone else’s input. We’re all here as a community to share ideas — no one has the one solution–there is no one size fits all mentality here. Which is why I think I’m taking bits and pieces of what others are saying.

  16. Lissa is right, no one person has the perfect solution, if we did, we would be on Oprah and we would make millions with our all knowing powers πŸ˜€ For me, it is important to share what I have learned on my journey to eating intuitively. It is so easy to get caught up in the diet mentality or to be convinced that you need to lose weight for true happiness. I have been there, and heck, will probably even dabble down that path again. I feel strongly that intuitive eating is the way to go, especially for those that suffer from ED/DE. I also feel strongly that the healing and the peace in my heart is so much more important than the number of the scale or inside my blue jeans. I want everyone to feel that sense of peace.

  17. Oh, I forgot to say one more thing πŸ™‚

    When I first started my on my path to healing, all I wanted was to lose weight without counting something. I stumbled onto IE in a time where no one was trying it and there was no support for it what so ever. It felt like no one was on my side and I had no one to go to for advice. I think that is why I feel so strongly about sharing my opinions about IE because I learned the hard way and I want to make it easier on who ever I can. We each have to find our own way but it is sure nice knowing there is somewhere there to help along the way.

    1. I agree that it helps to know there are others sharing the same stuggles. That’s why I read blogs! I always appreciate the opinions and thoughts I get from you all.

  18. I am practicing non-dieting & also non-weighing (daily & numerous times per day). It’s completely new to me.
    I found the greatest resistence has come not from myself but from others who are afraid to let go of the “normal” way of losing weight …a way which made me very neurotic & ironically, FAT.

    I wish you much SUCCESS!!!
    It can be scary letting go of old habits & trying out new behaviours.
    My hat’s off to you for venturing out in to the unknown.

    1. Thanks, Katschi! Good luck to you, too. I think humans want to just believe if we do XYZ we will lose weight, but there are soooo many things that go into it. As Elena noted in comments awhile back — a cup of Cheerios is 110 calories, but not everyone’s body processes them the same. It’s not the exact science the industry wants us to believe.

  19. I am so glad you had a nice weekend. Can I ask you a question about IE? As I have told you it is something I found naturally. What does the book say about eating if you are NOT hungry? I am always torn about this. I have some days when I am not hungry for a long time. When I become hungry I eat though. I don’t ignore the hunger. It just isn’t there. Does the book touch on that? I don’t feel like I need to read the whole book. Like I said before I just eat when I am hungry and stop when I am not. I am merely curious as to what the book says if anything about not being hungry.

    1. I think you’re really only supposed to eat if you’re hungry. Obviously if someone is coming from a DE/ED frame of mind they might convince themselves they aren’t hungry … so that is dicey. I don’t remember a specific chapter about this, but it’s been a long time since I read it.

    2. Well, I believe that the body gives us hunger signals other than a growling stomach so I would be sure that you are in touch with all of those signals. I don’t know your dieting history but for me, it took me a while to get back in touch with hunger after years of denying myself food when I was hungry. But if you are in touch with all of those signals, I would say to only eat when you are hungry. I rarely have times that I don’t feel hungry. Sometimes, depending on what I have eaten, I can go up to 6 hours without feeling hungry but the hunger does eventually come. In the book, it says to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full.

  20. I used to practice “defensive eating” for fear of being hungry … not good according to IE. Better to be prepared for if hunger strikes than to pre-empt hunger altogether and eat unnecessarily.

    That said, if it’s 4 pm and you “haven’t been hungry” I’m sure for the sake of stoking one’s metabolism if nothing else, you;d want to eat. but I don’t know what IE says about that specifically.

  21. It took me a long time to get in touch with my hunger. For a while I had no idea what hungry was and I think the signal became really faint because I had been ignoring it for so long. Perhaps, it`s worth researching the signs of hunger. Just to see if there are any you are not associating with hunger that actually are a signal? I personally try not to graze because it makes figuring out if I`m actually hungry impossible. I obviously don`t know your eating patterns but it`s helpful for me to eat generally 3 meals and a few small snacks in between.

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