Entitlement Eating

There’s intuitive eating, which can be defined as rejecting the diet mentality, listening to your body and honoring hunger cues to eat as intuitively as possible. Infants and toddlers are excellent intuitive eaters … and somewhere along the way, people like me have lost our ability to eat intuitively. (I blogged about this at Babble.com a couple months ago). 

We need a reset button in order to re-learn how to eat in this manner.

There’s emotional eating, defined by WebMD as “feeding your feelings, not your stomach.” Lord knows I’ve been an emotional eater. Got a raise? Let’s celebrate with cake! Mad at my mom/sister/husband/friend … EAT! Bored?? What’s in the fridge? Emotional eaters eat when they’re happy, sad, anxious … they aren’t hungry for actual food but are often filling a void for something else they might not even realize is “missing.”

We need to face what we’re really grappling with.

And then there’s something I’m calling entitlement eating, which I am not even sure is a real phenomenon and so I am defining it as “me, right here and now.” To me, entitlement eating is a very childish attitude toward food: All me, all mine, all the time. Because I’ve been “good.” Because I “deserve it.”

Entitlement eating is precisely why — although I’m a couple pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight — I am not back at my old WW goal weight … and might never be.

Some days I’m OK with my physical and emotional state, even with these extra pounds. I generally feel good: I exercise 3-5 times a week, I journal what I eat, I’m in OK shape. Those days, I don’t give much thought to entitlement eating; I know what I’m doing and just choose to not make a big deal of it. I like sharing decadent treats with my girlfriends, going to a nice dinner with my husband and having wine AND sharing dessert, going to a party and not “defensive eating” beforehand “just in case,” sharing an ice cream cone with my ice-cream-loving daughter … I budget these things into my days now. I like not being restrictive. I like finding pleasure in smells, textures, flavors. And I know in the next year or so, we’d like to add to our little family so I think deep down it’s like, “Why bother trying to lose now?!”

But then other days, I feel I’m my own worst enemy, sabotaging myself at every turn by my lack of care. No, I’m not all of a sudden eating fast food and gallons of ice cream or something … but I still feel I’ve perhaps gone too far over to the other side … and this isn’t the first time I’ve felt this way.  I know I need to get a grip now — before my two years of maintaining my weight turns into weight gain.

There’s a balance somewhere … and I’ve just not yet struck it. That balance is what I’m dubbing “enlightened eating,” which is when you realize what you’re eating and why … and feel good about it. Enlightened. Empowered. It’s intuitive eating, and then some.

This weekend, I have my first personal training session in four years. (I won a free session with my Zumba instructor–woot!).  I think she will sufficiently kick my ass, which is exactly what I need … and if all goes well, I can use my $300 wellness benefit in January towards personal training sessions with her.

Of course, I also know weight loss is 80% diet (literal sense of the word: what you eat) …  and I need to clean that up STAT. The push from a trainer could help, but ultimately that’s not something anyone can do for me, but me. I have my work cut out for me.

My hope is that within a couple months, I’ll move from being an entitled eater to an enlightened eater. It’s a long road ahead, but I believe it’ll be worth it. For my overall emotional, physical and mental health.

How about you? Where do you fall on the spectrum? Are you an emotional eater? An intuitive eater? An entitled eater?




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