Intuitive Eating: Steps 1 and 3

Okay eaters,

I already know that this post is going to be a bit of a beast, so let’s skip the pleasantries and just get down to real talk. Can you handle some real talk today?

We’re about to find out. Ready…set…go!

I recently read Intuitive Eating, the book by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch that attempts to teach you how to rid yourself of the diet mentality and to trust in your body to know what’s best for itself.

Sounds pretty great, right?

It could be. That’s what I’m trying to find out now. So, here’s the first in a series-ish type thing of my experience working the Intuitive Eating program (which is conveniently broken up into 10 steps).

Step 1: Reject the Diet Mentality

In this step you’re supposed to come to the realization that diets and being restrictive doesn’t work.

This was an easy step for me. I realized this when I recently said that I was going on a bit of a diet (in an attempt to look extra good in an extra tight pink dress for the manly friend’s brother’s wedding) and then promptly deep fried oatmeal crème pies. And ate way too much of a pie. And demonstrated other very not diet-friendly eating habits.

I can’t diet anymore. I can’t restrict myself anymore. So Step 1 was easily achieved. But I am still in that bad place where I both know that eating some chips won’t immediately make me sprout a double chin but also that I don’t trust myself around them so I don’t have any real control. So onto…

Step 3: Make Peace with Food

(“The Es” say that you don’t have to go in order and for me it made more sense to deal with my dichotomous brain before anything else.)

In this step you’re supposed to give yourself unconditional permission to eat whatever it is you’re really craving. Because when you restrict food you end up binging without enjoyment.

So I bought yogurt and cookies and chips.

Annie's chocolate chip bunnies.

The cookies were good, but nowhere near as sensuous creamy delicious as I remember them being.

I ate chips and neon orange cheese dip-type substance at 4am.

Probably not real food.

I enjoyed them, didn’t gorge myself, and resisted the feeling that I the need to skip or restrict my breakfast to make up for it.

I made some progress, had a few stumbles, but ultimately felt pretty comfortable in this step. But…I’m not looking for pretty comfortable. I’m looking for wonderfully happy and satisfied and in control. I’m looking to know what I want -> eat what I want -> and be so happy ‘Baby satisfied in eating the amount that I really need (rather than the amount that I think I need to satisfy myself when I’m eating something I don’t really want).

So I sat myself down and took a long look at what I eat and how I make my food choices and how my food choices make me feel. Then I did something more than a little crazy.

I ate a burger.

Not a veggie burger, though. I went to an awesome diner downtown and ordered the Piedmont Burger:

Locally raised grass fed Angus beef from Ruthschild Farm topped with meunster cheese, herb roasted tomato, lettuce and a fried Massey Creek Farm egg on Anna Mae’s sourdough roll. With a side of sweet potato fries.

The burger was huge. And hearty. And juicy.

Leaning tower of "Oh yes please."

It was everything I’ve been craving for so long. It was everything I’ve been fruitlessly searching for in veggie burger after veggie burger.

In a word, it was perfect.

And it was the first step in realizing and admitting something that I think I’ve known for a long time now — I’m not made to be a vegetarian. Or a vegan.

I’m not saying that eating my weight in tofu and kale doesn’t agree with my body. On the contrary, I feel ah-maze-ing when I’m really sticking to a vegan-who-eats-eggs diet. But I am saying that I’m not as happy. Lately I’ve found myself jealous almost to the point of sadness or even anger when I go out with my friends and see them eating meat.

It’s the kind of feeling you get when your mom said “no” and then responded to your “why” with “because I said so.” It feels like an arbitrary denial. Sure, your mom may have her reasons, but that doesn’t make you any less unhappy.

Well, eaters, lately I’ve been feeling like both the kid and the mom.

Intuitive Eating kept talking about foods or eating habits that make you feel ashamed or like you need to eat in secret. Well, that’s how I’ve been feeling about eating meat. (They also talk about being on a “diet/healthy pedestal,” which I’ll touch on in another post.) So I gave myself unconditional permission to eat the burger that I’ve wanted for so long. And in the future I’m going to give myself permission to eat the meat that I really enjoy eating.

How much, how often, and what kind of meat I’ll eat is still to be determined. I’m going to try to resist labeling or defining it, at least until I’m done with this process. So until then, I greatly appreciate your continued support of me and this bloggy thing, even if our dietary choices no longer align. And if you feel like you can’t support me anymore — it’s highly regrettable, but it’s your decision.

I’ll be back tomorrow with something a lot more light and fruits (like a yogurt review). Thanks for hanging on this long.

G’night eaters.


Good Old American Time

Hi eaters!

Another weekend is over. But luckily, by the time you’re reading this (because I’m writing it in the morning) Botany will also be over.

Hell-effing-yes! If you haven’t picked up on it from my near constant complaining, I hate this class. This is the only class in college that I’ve hated. It’s also the only class in college that I’m not positive I’m going to pass. (Sorry, Papa.) I mean, I’ve had other friends magically pass the class, and I know if they can pass so can I. BUT, it all still sucks.

The only thing that’s keeping me going right now I knowing that by no later than 7:30pm I will be forever done with Botany (and science, in general). And I will then be drinking a bottle of wine to celebrate. Or to forget, incase the final went horribly.

So, I’m going to think happy thoughts and instead of talking dollars and groceries (that’ll be tomorrow), I’m going to look back on a lovely little cookout from this weekend.

Saturday afternoon a handful of friends gathered at my place for some good old American grilling.


Incase you’re wondering…Ball Park Bun-Sized Franks score a D+ on Fooducate, while Original Vegan Boca Burgers score an A-. The burgers weren’t in the database.

While Peach cooked…

I drank sangria.

1.5 L red wine. 1 L club soda. 3 peaches. 1 c black berries.

The ‘dogs were the first off the grill and they smelled ah-maze-ing!

But the thought of mechanically separated meat wasn’t so appealing.

Eventually, my Bocca burger was ready and it was time to assemble.

On the left: Nature’s Own whole wheat bun (score B+, I think), lettuce, patty, grilled onion.

On the right: Nature’s Own bun, ketchup, mustard, hamburger pickles.

(Odd note — the pickles spears that someone brought had HFCS in them. No bueno, store brand pickle spears.)

This was a thick and hearty burger.

Big bite 'Baby

And I absolutely loved it!

And we all loved watching the squirrels go ape shit for the rest of the afternoon. They were fighting. They were trying to steal leftover hamburgers out of the trash. And there was even some squirrel sex.

Oh yes, eaters, this was a good old American afternoon.

And with that, I’ve got more studying to do.

Wish me luck, eaters!