If you have tried eating intuitively in the past, and it wasn’t working the way you expects, I would recommend exploring with yourself the following aspects:
1. Have you been doing intuitive eating with a weight loss goal in mind? While your desire to lose weight is completely understandable, giving in how fatphobic our society is, focusing on weight presents a barrier to healing your relationship with food. When your food choices are guided by a purpose of becoming smaller, it’s hard, if not impossible to re-learning trusting your body cues and respecting its wisdom.
While weight loss may happen as a result of becoming more attuned to your needs and meeting them consistently, it’s not an ultimate goal of the intuitive eating work, which also helps you with learning to accept your body regardless of weight changes.
If the idea of accepting your body as it is seems out of reach for you at the moment, you may consider switching gears and placing it in the back of your mind, at least for a few months, and prioritizing your mental health and wellbeing, while re-learning to eat intuitively.
2. If you have been aiming to eat less with intuitive eating, instead of eating enough to meet your body needs, it can be another form of dieting and food restrictions, which, as you probably know, doesn’t help to resolve disordered eating, and is toxic to your wellbeing.
Intuitive eating is about learning to look inwards for answers, instead of relying on external guidance. You are the expert in your body and no one can recognize it’s needs better than you. While it might not be easy to turn off a calculator in your head, along with the internal voice that yells at you for eating more than a certain amount of calories a day, practicing to eat intuitively will help you to shift your focus from numbers to your sensations and feelings, which will guide your relationship with food recovery.
3. If you feel like you started bingeing more often when legalizing your forbidden foods, it may have to do with the fact that you are still mentally restricting. Introducing triggering foods without granting yourself an unconditional permission to eat would inevitably lead to feeling guilty and regretful.
It is also important to work on bringing the forbidden foods back to your life in a systematic approach, while also assessing your readiness to experiment and your ability to take care of yourself after this experience. Practitioner guidance and support might also be required.
4. Expecting instant transformation and immediate results is another barrier you may encounter on your way to eat intuitively. Think how long you have been dieting or following food rules and restrictions and whether it’s realistic to expect unlearning it and changing your relationship with food in a matter of days.
It’s important to be patient and compassionate with yourself while you are doing this work, providing yourself with sufficient time to heal experiment, process and reflect. There is no right timeline and your journey is unique. Give yourself the credit for what you have been doing to move towards your goals and celebrate your achievements!