What I Want More Than Anything

by Meg on February 11, 2013

I lied. 

On Saturday I said that I would come back on Monday with a Marvelous Monday post, but I have something else to get off of my chest instead. So, Marvelous Monday will have to wait until next week. Sorry, Katie

I wrote today’s post on Thursday, February 7th, but since Friday was HFF, I didn’t have a chance to publish it until today. 

Even though the post was written a few days ago and a lot has changed over the weekend, I think it’s still important to share it with you. I share a flood of emotions and I really want you to know the frustrations I was feeling on Thursday. 

Over the weekend a lot happened, though. I made many changes and am feeling many different emotions now. I will update you on my weekend and changes tomorrow, but for now please enjoy this post!

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God has blessed us with so much.

A mind to think with

a heart to love with

ears to listen with

eyes to see with

and so so much more.

I try my best to show God how grateful I am for these gifts each and every day, but I’ve realized that maybe I’m not doing my best and that frustrates me to no end.

The area I would most like to improve in is listening. 

Personally, it’s very hard for me to listen to my body. More specifically, it’s very hard for me to listen to my hunger cues. 

For such a long time, I’ve been “following” some sort of plan in regards to how I eat. No, I don’t follow a “diet”, but I definitely follow a “plan.”

I make sure I eat every 2 – 3 hours (hungry or not) and I also make sure that the majority of these meals include protein, carbs, and fat. I try to have an equal amount of protein to carbs by the end of the day as well as an appropriate amount of fat. But, by doing this, I am definitely not listening to my body as I so badly want to be doing.

You see this here?

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This is my weigh scale. But, really, it’s not only my weigh scale. It’s my best friend in the kitchen. As embarrassing as that is to say, it’s true. And I hate that. 

I hate turning it on, hearing it beep, and weighing my chicken, fish, sweet potato, etc. just to make sure I am “getting what I need.”

But really, what do I need? Do I really need to be weighing my food to make sure I am getting enough ounces of chicken breast for each meal? Or do I need to start listening to my body?

feel like I want to start listening to my body, but I haven’t in such a long time so there is a lot of fear when I think about letting go of my scale and just “eating” by listening to my hunger cues.

It sounds silly, but I don’t know how to just eat. 

Yes, hearing myself say that out loud and seeing those words typed out on to the screen in front of me is absolutely bizarre, but I need to be honest with myself. I do not know how to go through a single day and eat without following a plan.

One of the biggest things holding me back from throwing away any sort of plan I follow and listen to my hunger cues instead is the fear of not eating enough. What if I don’t feel hungry at all throughout the day? I have those days every once and a while. You know, always feeling content and never experiencing that tickle in your tummy telling you “it’s time to eat!” In fact, I just had one of those days, but I ate anyways because I am following a plan. I’m trying to gain weight and I know my body needs the fuel, so I ate continuously throughout the day even though I wasn’t the slightest bit hungry for any of my meals.

If I would have just listened to my body on this particular day instead of following “my plan” would I have ate enough food by the end of the day? Personally, I fear that I wouldn’t have. I am trying very hard to put on weight and if I was to not eat enough throughout the day just because I didn’t “feel hungry” I know I would never reach my goals.

I’m an active person. I do four 1 hour long strength training sessions each week and I have to fuel my active lifestyle. So, I am mindful throughout the day and make sure I am getting more than what I burn throughout the day.

I have been successful at putting on over 7 lbs. over the past three weeks, but would I have been able to accomplish this by simply listening to my hunger cues? I haven’t listened to my hunger cues in such a long time that I truly do not know if I would have been able to or not.

To gain those 7 lbs. it took a lot of work on my part. I ate many meals feeling full to the brim before taking my first bite, which again leads me to thinking that if I listened to my hunger cues I wouldn’t have been able to achieve those gains.

During this past summer, I was dealing with this exact same issue so I gave “intuitive eating” a shot (as you can see, I’ve been frustrated with this particular eating style for quite some time and so badly want to be an intuitive eater). Unfortunately, I lost weight and now I am dealing with the consequences – still trying to gain weight to this day.

So, should I learn from past experiences and just accept the fact that I need to eat “x” amount of food each and every day whether I’m hungry or not? Or is there a way for me to become an intuitive eater and actually gain weight?

I’m very proud of myself for opening up today and sharing my thoughts with you. If you’ve been in the same situation as me, please offer your comments below. Have you become an intuitive eater? How did you become an intuitive eater? 

Remember, be kind to everyone you see today. You don’t know what issues they are dealing with <3

Love everyone!

Meg xo

{ 95 comments… read them below or add one }

Picky Nicky February 11, 2013 at 7:52 AM

I’m 100% an intuitive eater, and I learned that mainly from my boyfriend who sometimes dosent eat anything but a granola bar and juice until dinner time, but then of course since he’s starving and he eats delicious food, he still gets all his calories for the day :)
The thing about intuitive eating is that if you’re hungry you cant reach for a bowl of berries or an egg white or whatever… your body says you’re hungry because you need CALORIES
So therefore, as part of intuitive eating, you need to incorporate a lot more dense foods into your diet
Or at least that’s the way I see it
I mean, there are foods that are low-cal and I see them as food for when I’m bored and want to snack
But when it comes time to EAT, I make sure I’m eating nourishing, calorie dense food
It’s great that you’ve finally become honest with yourself and with the internet and I wish the best for you ;)

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 8:26 AM

Beautiful -> The thing about intuitive eating is that if you’re hungry you cant reach for a bowl of berries or an egg white or whatever… your body says you’re hungry because you need CALORIES
So therefore, as part of intuitive eating, you need to incorporate a lot more dense foods into your diet
Or at least that’s the way I see it

:) Love you

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Danielle @ Clean Food Creative Fitness February 11, 2013 at 7:59 AM

Meg my heart goes out to you on this post! I know it is not easy to learn how to just listen to what your body needs but it is something that I have no doubt you can learn to do. A while back I struggled with making the switch from obsessively counting my calories to just listening to my body and it took me years to get to a place where I could even start to do that but I know that you can! It takes a lot of frustration, listening, fighting, and means that you need to consider not only how much you’re hungry for but also what you are hungry for. I know that you can do it and I am pulling for you! If you’re ever in need of support feel free to reach out! I’m always here :)

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 8:27 AM

Wow sweetie! I think I might just email you :) The more support the better right!? :) Thank you so much

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Nelly February 11, 2013 at 8:11 AM

love this! I use to be that way but then after a baby that all went out the door and now I eat when im hungry and when I can! It all starts in the MIND and is a process…you can do it girl!

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 8:32 AM

Thanks for the support Nelly :)

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Letizia February 11, 2013 at 8:27 AM

I can relate 100% to everything you wrote in this post!! I follow a meal plan because I am trying to gain weight too. I often feel uncomfortable because I have to eat even though I am not hungry at all. But I think it’s the only way to successfully gain weight. Once I have reached my goal weight, I will try to eat more intuitively.

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Sarah @PickyRunner February 11, 2013 at 8:48 AM

Intuitive eating is something I think a lot of people struggle with. I certainly do. I follow a pretty general guideline, eating every few hours and even if I’m not hungry during a “meal time”, I still feel like I need to eat a meal. I so badly want to become an intuitive eater as well but I just feel like at this point my body doesn’t know how to because it doesn’t know how to feel comfortable. It can either feel starved or overindulged but that happy medium is like a lala land that it is totally lost in. I love that you opened up with this post. Gaining weight is mentally very difficult and sometimes a meal plan is exactly what you need to do to get to that place. Once you reach your goal, then you can slowly begin experimenting with what works for you!

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Julie and Brit @ twosaucysisters February 11, 2013 at 8:50 AM

We completely hear you Meg! While we do try to listen to our hunger cues, we also have to be mindful of the fact that, even on off days, or days where we’re not feeling that hungry, we have to make sure we’re still eating enough (especially carbs) to sustain the amount and intensity of running we’re doing so that come race day we’ll perform our best. It’s definitely a difficult situation sometimes! What we try and do is if we’re really not feeling hungry but know we should eat something, we try waiting for a bit to see if we’ll become hungry, or go for a short walk to work up an appetite. If we end up having to wait a while before eating, we just make sure that when we do it’s nutritionally dense and substantial. Of course, there are some days where we just have to suck it up and eat – and while I’m eating and wishing that I wasn’t, instead of thinking about that, I focus on my end goal – racing well!

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 1:35 PM

Thanks for commenting, girls! Hopefully we can get together soon <3

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Danielle February 11, 2013 at 9:01 AM

Great post. It’s so true for many of us, whether we’re trying to gain pounds, increase our lean mass, loose the babyweight, or just maintain our perfect selves ;)

I’ve been on and off “plans” over the past year trying to shave off body fat while maintaining my weight, so I know how you feel about loosing the ability and opportunity to listen to our bodies. And it’s true…some days we are less hungry than others. What I’ve found that works is to take one or two days a week “off plan” , and do intuitive eating. You’ve got all the ingredients at hand, you “know” what your plan should be, and you know you’ll go back to it tomorrow of the next day, but you take over the reins on that day/those two days and eat when you want. Next day, back on plan. This way you get the practice of listening to your body, without the scary feeling that you’ve strayed. Keep up the great work and all the motivation and good karma you share with us.

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 1:36 PM

It’s funny you suggested to do this! It’s what I did this weekend and will be writing about it tomorrow :) I had two days of intuitive eating! I really am excited to share it with you

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Amie February 11, 2013 at 9:15 AM

What an amazing post to wake up to & read this morning. I’m struggling to gain weight back & recover from anorexia/excercise addiction. Your post & opening up really helped me on a rough morning! Thank you :)

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 1:36 PM

So happy you enjoyed this Amie <3

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GOtheXtraMile February 11, 2013 at 9:25 AM

I think intuitive eating is hard for anyone to grasp. Sometimes listening to your body isn’t all that easy! But I agree with what Picky Nicky said. If you are trying to eat intuitively, you may just have to increase portion sizes and such because if you’re not eating 7 times a day but still eat the same portion sizes you are used to, you probably won’t eat enough. I know it may be hard at first, but eventually you will get the hang of it! If you get hungry an hour after eating, that’s a sign that you need to eat more and increase portion sizes at each meal. I think you could definitely do it, Meg! It will be a work in progress, but you got this :) <3

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 1:39 PM

Thanks for your support, love!

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Lauren February 11, 2013 at 9:41 AM

I can definitely relate to this post. I find myself measuring a lot of things I eat, like cereal/peanut butter/things in bulk because I’m scared of not eating ENOUGH. Whenever I find myself just throwing a little bit of this, a little bit of that into a bowl, it’s JUST that. “A little bit”. I have a problem with serving sizes so I make sure I get enough instead of too little. If I don’t measure, I’ll either end up way under or WAY over to the point I get stuffed after the meal. I could just stop eating when I’m satisfied but I completely lost what it means to be satisfied a long time ago. It’s really, REALLY upsetting, time consuming, and annoying to have to grab a measuring device whenever I want to eat something which is not pre-packaged. I wish I could just… Well, eat. Eat whatever and how much my body would like to eat. It’s frustrating and I can definitely relate to this; however, I think with time of eating regular meals (even if measured) will eventually lead to intuitive eating skills. Keep your head up! :-)

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 1:40 PM

Thanks Lauren!

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fortheloveofkale February 11, 2013 at 9:53 AM

Babe. This is an INCREDIBLE post. One of the best you’ve ever written – because it’s raw and honest…and I can literally hear you speaking these words to me. Intuitive eating is like weight lifting. You have mental muscles you haven’t worked in awhile and you have to practice using those muscles in order to strengthen them. We’re not going to become intuitive eaters overnight but we’re going to become intuitive eaters over TIME.

The fact that your inner guide has been gently urging you to do this is the exact reason why you should do this. When we stay in our comfort zone (i.e. weighing things), we high-five the fear. We give it another reason to keep us in its grasp. When we step out of our comfort zone, that’s when things open up. Just because you lost weight after doing a short botu of intuitive eating doesn’t mean that you should have given it up. If we stopped every time we failed, where would we be?

GET BACK on that horse, babe. If anyone can do it, you can. We have to Skype!!!

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 1:41 PM

Seriously, sweetie. I love this comment so much and cannot thank you enough. When we were supposed to Skype on Friday I wanted to tell you all about this, so yes, let’s Skype soon ok? <3

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Linz @ Itz Linz February 11, 2013 at 10:09 AM

I’m proud of you too! I think being an intuitive eater is SO hard! I struggle with eating too much at set meal times and not listening to my body when it tells me I’m full.

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 1:41 PM

Thanks, Linz! I love you so much

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Erin February 11, 2013 at 10:10 AM

maybe, just maybe, your struggle with gaining weight while attempting to eat intuitively is your exercise regime. MAYBE, just maybe, if your goal is really to gain, you need to focusing on eating ‘intuitively’ but without exercise, and put on hold your wish to gain MUSCLE (vs. just gaining because you need to). Working out with a trainer is safe – you can eat more and feel comfortable with it because of the muscle mass you are seeing – but really, what you need to do is put on weight, any weight, and then maybe think about beginning heavy lifting. i think it’s irresponsible to do such heavy work when you are not at a ‘healthy’ weight (i choose the word healthy becayse you are constantly talking about a need to gain).

this comment isn’t out of ‘hate’ – it’s about concern. it’s hope that maybe you just need to hear this yet another time before it sticks. maybe you need to just focus on eating, go to some light yoga classes, and really focus on what you NEED vs your desire to gain weight via muscle. i know you eat healthy, and that exercise is healthy, so in theory you aren’t doing anything wrong. but maybe right now you just need to take a break, work on your EATING first (if this truly is your main goal), and then get back into an exercise plan.

my two cents. all the best meg.

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Jess February 11, 2013 at 11:26 AM

I agree, and as Erin says, out of concern. I’ve been there – trying to recover by only putting on muscle weight. Doesn’t work. A female body needs at least a little fat to function properly (I mean everything from being able to concentrate on schoolwork to getting your period). You know this, so I won’t beat a dead horse. I’m just suggesting that you consider the possibility that, right now, your two goals of 1. gaining weight and 2. building muscle are mutually exclusive. It won’t be that way forever, and of course for many people the two go hand in hand. But for a person looking for weight restoration? It will only work if you’re willing to eat a huge surplus. If you can’t do that right now, it’s easier to cut the exercise part out.

Good luck – I’ve been there.

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Laura February 11, 2013 at 12:19 PM

I totally agree with this! It seems like the ONLY weight you want to gain is muscle weight and that’s why you feel the need to accompany your supposed increased amount of calories with heavy lifting, when in reality you need ANY kind of weight! To an outsider it seems that you have a fear of gaining body fat. And that is concerning and may be a sign that you are not completely freed from your eating disorder. Also, it’s very refreshing to see the honesty in this post and come clean about things that you are struggling with. Kudos to you for that! That is what helps people who may be dealing with the same things.

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 1:44 PM

This actually isn’t true, Laura. I WANT TO GAIN FAT. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. All of the people IN my life know actually know me know that fat gain is a goal of mine, too. But, thank you for the kudos…

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 1:42 PM

I definitely don’t feel any hatred from this comment. I appreciate it. Thank you for voicing your opinion, but still being kind. Thank you, Erin.

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Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots February 11, 2013 at 10:12 AM

I am really glad you shared this story. I think a lot of ppl who struggled with eating disorders myself included struggle with intuitive eating. It is very hard to figure out but I think you have been on such a good path by following a plan that you will be able to transition to intuitive eating. PLus you have a great support group of people to be there for you!

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Alex @ therunwithin February 11, 2013 at 10:17 AM

Intuitive eating is a tough one to learn, I think anyone that has struggled in the past has trouble trusting that they can reach that sort of eating. I know hunger cues were scary for me at first but I learned to embrace them. I think following a plan for a while is ideal but moving away from one is even more imperative when you are in good spot

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 1:45 PM

Thank you Alex and I am happy you found a good place and can eating by listening to your body.

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PB&Jenny February 11, 2013 at 11:09 AM

Oh Meg, I could have written this post myself. I’m struggling with the same.exact.fears. Not only do I want to stop eating according to a “plan”, I want to stop eating so damn healthy. i want to stop thinking about food. I want a burger. and cheesecake. and be okay with it because – hell – I need to gain weight! It’s so difficult and I wish I could offer you words of wisdom but I’m in your boat. That being said, I’m here to support you unconditionally whenever you need it! Feel free to e-mail / facebook / text me whenever you need, beautiful! (facebook –> Jenn Orcutt )

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 1:46 PM

Thanks Jenny! I don’t think you’ve ever commented before, but I truly appreciate your comment today <3 would you like to support each other? Email me adashofmeg@gmail.com

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Amie February 11, 2013 at 2:48 PM

Wow! So glad I saw all if this today, I keep coming back to read more comments even though I commented already. I just love knowing that there are other women out there going through what I’m going through. It’s nice to have “virtual” people to talk to vs friends & family sometimes. The support from everyone here is awesome, thank you :)

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Michelle @ Eat Move Balance February 11, 2013 at 11:10 AM

Meg, you just verbalized exactly what I’ve been through. Exactly. I am by no means perfect, but I have been successful at moving towards intuitively eating. The big thing is developing TRUST. Trust for your body and your mind . . . . and trust in gaining weight. Also, don’t be afraid to take “baby steps” through the process. I could never have just gone cold turkey with my habits. It just would have been too much. But, I implemented things one meal, one day at a time. I EASED myself into eating mindfully, and developing the trust for my body. The confidence in being able to do this then began to grow and take over. You can do this–I know you can!! :)

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 1:47 PM

Thank you so much Michelle! I would love to know more about your transition to intuitive eating! The more I know the more it will help I think! Baby steps is a perfect tactic to take! That’s exactly what I did this weekend :)

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kim February 11, 2013 at 11:13 AM

I have totally struggled with this too, and still do sometimes!! I used to avidly count calories or portion my self certain sized things at meal times instead of listening to my body. Just because it was “meal time” I would eat regardless. This past summer, and again now I have embarked on learning to eat intuitively, and yes I gained a little bit each time (MY biggest) and it was scary to trust myself at first, but it truly is worth it because you can actually feel when body needs to be fueled. I understand you are trying to gain and loss is against your wishes, but maybe if it continuously happens when you eat intuitively that is the weight your body is meant to be at. Personally, I believe that following intuitive eating to a T is not feasible, considering family meals and gatherings, etc when you are “forced” to eat at a certain time, and occasions when you just really want that extra slice of pizza, cake, etc. Best of luck though with listening to your body, I often struggle with it too so am obviously no expert- but to me it is a very rewarding feeling to know you are fueling your body when it needs to be fed :)

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 1:49 PM

Thank you so much for the comment Kim! I truly believe the eating intuitively will be the best thing in the end.

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Lisa February 11, 2013 at 11:13 AM

So proud of all your progress my love. This is a tough thing to admit, and I know it must have been hard to write, but you do what YOU need to do to make you healthy! Whatever that may be. Intuitive eating is TOUGH! I’m struggling with eating the proper amount right now, which is why I still measure things. I tried not to for a week, but let’s say I was WAY under my calorie goal, so it’s what works for me at this moment in time, I know I’ll get there eventually though!
Over time intuitive eating will come for both of us, I’m so happy you published this post. It shows the realness you are going through.
Let’s skype this week and chat!!? Love you!

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 1:50 PM

Yes, this week I am sure I can Skype :) Thanks for the sweet words, girl

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Lacey @ Life Hands You Limes February 11, 2013 at 11:23 AM

This post is amazing-hit the nail on the head. I know exactly what you mean about being afraid of not eating enough, of being afraid your body doesn’t really know what you need. Its scary. But, your body is really smart! When God made us he gave us every tool we needed to survive-physical (hunger cues) and mental (listening to those hunger cues). You have been on meal plans long enough, measuring long enough that you do know what your body needs and what it looks like. The only thing your missing now is trust and the confidence to trust yourself. I know what you mean about wanting sooo bad to eat intuitively -for me its just wanting to scoop the rice on my plate and not measuring -or worrying-about it. So I remember when I was little. And when I did just that -I just scooped the food and ate it. If I was hungry I ate more. I didn’t worry about how much or little, I just listened. Some days I was less hungry and that was okay, the next day I was probably more hungry and that was okay too! It balanced out. My body knew what it needed, and how much and when, to grow big and strong. I think the biggest part about intuitive eating is going back to that place of innocence, as a child, when food was food and eating was eating, because sometimes the more we know the harder it is to thrive.

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 1:51 PM

BEAUTIFUL COMMENT! Thank you, my love

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Cassie @RedLetterDaye February 11, 2013 at 11:53 AM

I have struggled with this, too! I am currently on a “plan,” but I admit, I’m not completely adherent and make it work for me. I needed this plan to help me get the nutrients my body needed when my “food intuition” was out of whack. But, I do think that if you’re goal is to gain weight, it probably won’t work with intuitive eating. Your body has a set point, a comfortable zone that it reaches when you are eating intuitively, and if you are trying to gain, it’s probably not completely natural. Your natural inclination will be to stay in homeostasis. :/ I’m sorry you are having a hard time, Meg, but thank you for your honesty. I think everyone has to find what works through them, through experimentation and TRUST. Maybe you don’t need to eat every 2-3 hours (as I found didn’t work for me, either) but you better believe I do get hungry. I think if you were to try intuitive eating, you would have to focus on caloric ally and nutrient dense foods- which seems like you are comfortable with. The thing is, you know how to gain on the method you use now, so even if you tried I.E. and it doesn’t work, you have another tool to use that you know works. Good luck hun!

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 1:54 PM

Thanks for all of the suggestions! I think nutrient dense foods is key when eating intuitively for sure!

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tam February 11, 2013 at 11:54 AM

Oh Meg, how I love you!
I can relate to this post immensely. As someone who suffered from an eating disorder and still recovering, I understand completely. I feel I am following a set eating plan because I want to make sure I don’t lose any weight. I too don’t know how to eat properly because I have been doing this for ages. I wish so badly I could eat something and not have to think about it and weigh it to know exactly whats it in. Obviously lots of people feel like this but I can become so frustrating. Its nice to read your blog entry and not feel like I am the only one!
I think listening to your body for hunger cues and intuitive eating is hard from recovering from an eating disorder. Your body suffered from not having enough calories in the past then having to eat more confused your body even more. Understanding if you are hungry or not takes time and i am learning to accept this. (But its so hard)
Love you lots for this Meg.
Tam x x

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 1:55 PM

Love you too, Tam! Thanks for the sweet comment!

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Sara @ Nourish and Flourish February 11, 2013 at 12:23 PM

This is a beautiful, raw, HEARTFELT post, sis! <3 I'm so proud of you for opening up and making yourself vulnerable…I KNOW you want this so so bad, and babe, you will get it. You WILL. It won't be easy–in fact, finding that happy place is the hardest thing you'll ever do because reversing mind-over-matter thinking, and returning to matter over mind thinking (which is the thinking we were born with–thinking that enabled us to listen to our own internal physical queues), requires a huge leap of faith. Everything we've learned and read and been told over the years has moved us farther and farther away from our intuition. We've replaced our internal knowledge with external knowledge.

Your words resonate in my core, as I've dabbled with the *exact* same questions and struggles for years (you already know this :) ). In my mind, intuitive eating is the "ideal," however as others have said, it's not really conducive to a "bodybuilding" lifestyle. There is nothing natural about building a fitness competition-ready physique, so it makes sense that eating to achieve that physique isn't natural either. I would bet that nearly everyone who lives and works in the bodybuilding industry does NOT eat intuitively. If they did, they'd never reach their "unnatural" goals. Does that mean those goals are bad? I don't think so! It's all about priorities, and deciding which life you want to live.

These are questions I've been asking myself lately, and I can't wait to chat with you more about them this afternoon!! I love you to pieces, dear sister! <3 xoxoxo

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 1:57 PM

Beautiful sis! Thank you so much! You always make me think! I love it!

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Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen February 11, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Thank you for being honest and opening up about this. I, too, have been ‘slave to the scale,’ but in different ways. I want to be an intuitive eater, and, for the most part, I think I have achieved a good ability to know when I’m actually hungry and when I’m not. Do I always satiate those cravings? Not always. Do I sometimes eat without being hungry? Sure. Generally, though, I hate feeling full, and I hate eating if I don’t have a little rumble in my stomach.

I’ve settled more into a routine of what I eat on most days. I don’t know that it is a plan, but I tend to just eat very similar foods over and over again. Obviously there might be some variation, but it works for me.

I am impressed by your focus, and willingness to express your frustration rather than let it fester. I hope/know/believe it will all get better with time. [What a cop out thing to say. I'm sorry about that...but it's true.]

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 11:44 PM

Thanks for the comment sweetie! I loved reading about your story too

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Luvena Cervantes February 11, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Meg,
First, let me commend you for opening yourself up and being completely honest with your readers! I totally feel you on this subject and I am SURE I am not the only one. I too, struggle with this and would probably travel with a food scale if it wouldn’t TOTALLY make me a weirdo. I have been weighing and tracking calories for SO long you would think I would know portion size and all that jazz but I just can’t let it go. I feel trapped many times and know that it is not healthy to be so obsessed. I have NO clue how to listen to my body or how to eat intuitively. My struggle is opposite of yours in the sense that I lost A LOT of weight so I am always in constant fear of gaining weight back. I have been at a scarey place with eating disorders but since finding JW’s program I have come along way and no longer battle with certain eating issues but for some reason I just can’t leg go of that DARN scale and listen to my body. I also still struggle with allowing myself to indulge every once in a while even on special occasions (haven’t done so is probably a year) which has caused me to miss many special events. Hopefully together we can help and encourage each other in this situation.

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 11:42 PM

Would love to support each other!

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Carley @OptimisticHealth February 11, 2013 at 1:33 PM

You have a beautiful heart my dear. To share this and be candid is a gift to many people.

I can relate again on so many levels. With intuitive eating, emotions are too big of a factor and clearly that doesn’t work for me. I get sidetracked as often as a three year. I pour myself into something and literally think I’ve ate way more throughout the day than not. It wasn’t until I started dating my now husband that I had a real indicator of what and how much I was eating. I would often make statements like “I’m not hungry” because I didn’t “feel” hungry but he would say it doesn’t matter if you’re hungry, you need to eat. It’s true.

I can’t say I’ve found a formula and that it’s not a struggle still to maintain that balance. It really is simple on paper but a lifelong pursuit in finding that balance. If I get too skinny, I need to eat more and workout less. There can never be that mentality of arriving because as I’ve found to be healthy requires diligence.

I usually eat normal serving sizes for all the main meals and try to have snacks every 3 hours but again that doesn’t always happen. If I need to cut back on the workouts some weeks than so be it.

You got this girl!

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 11:41 PM

Thank you so much!!!!!!!! I’m so happy you’ve found balance!!!!!

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Lauren February 11, 2013 at 2:17 PM

Being in recovery from anorexia, intuitive eating is still difficult. I know that I always veer towards undereating which is why it’s difficult to be 100% intuitive. I found that eating less satiating foods helped tremendously. Cereal, ‘veggie stick’ crackers ie. fear foods really helped cause if I just eat chicken/fish/eggs and veg, it’s really hard for me to feel that true, nagging hunger. Through this process, I have been able to get back to my salmon/veg/Greek yogurt, but still have breakfast usually to be cereal with honey or something else that I know will ‘spur’ my appetite for the day. Goes against what is recommended (ie. eggs/protein for breakfast instead of carbs), but it’s really helped me in recovery. Food needs to be fun and yummy and not just macronutrients ratios. It makes the whole ‘eating mystery’ that much easier. We will re-learn how to eat- one day at a time. Maybe try adding more fruit and simple carbs to bring your appetite back and make your meals more enjoyable <3

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 11:39 PM

Thanks for the suggestions! I REEEEALLY appreciate your comment, babe!!!!!

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tiggy February 11, 2013 at 2:45 PM

hey meg,
i totally understand what you mean! i think the thing about people who have struggled with ED’s is that we over-think everything.. i have tried to be intuitive in the past, but always lose weight!.. our hunger cues are out of whack and our eating disorder (no matter how well we might be doing), unfortunately can really influence our food choices as we pay such close attention to what we are eating!.. if you ask someone without an ED what they ate yesterday, they probably wouldn’t remember a lot of it.. but when it comes to a meal for me i know i would never just eat a bowl of spaghetti or something because “i need my protein”… and that’s my head getting in the way of what my body might want me to eat.. idk, i hope i made sense.. lol

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 11:38 PM

TOTALLY MAKES SENSE <3

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Ksenija @ Health Ninja February 11, 2013 at 4:09 PM

Hey Meg, I am currently transitioning from a calorie counting/dieting mentality to intuitive eating. All my current blog posts are dealing with this topic. I am doing a lot of research currently to educate myself properly and plan to share everything on my blog and also make a “how to” step by step guide soon. Sadly this topic seems mostly to be related with people who want to lose weight, but how I see it intuitive eating should also be the way to gain weight to a healthy point, since this should be what your body naturally aims for. So if your metabolism isn’t totally down – and I do not believe that yours is since you raised your calories and also do a lot of workouts – to listen to your body’s signals of hunger and what it wants to eat should help you a lot.

When you tried intuitive eating before, have you also tried to eat everything your body asks for and not only the healthy-fied version? I hope you don’t take offence – this is one aspect that I mostly struggle with – to really allow myself to have everything.

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 11:37 PM

I truly don’t think I was making proper choices when eating intuitively this summer, so I am giving it another shot BUT being SMART about it. I need the nutrient and calorie dense foods!

I didn’t take any offence! This was a beautiful comment and I thank you so much for it!!!!!!

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Ksenija @ Health Ninja February 12, 2013 at 5:00 AM

This sounds like a great decision to me – I wish you all the best! I will be following and commenting your journey.

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Lizzie Royer February 11, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Intuitive eating is way complicated in many aspects. Because many people (including myself) think that letting loose and freeing yourself from a rigid meal plan will help to become intuitive, but for me that usually results in me not eating enough and losing weight.

But, counting calories, weighing food, etc is not intutive and probably will never really be intuitive. So maybe for me I have been able to eat intuitively because of trial and error. I think that is what you are afraid of, or are staying away from because you said you want to make sure you are getting enough in. I can relate, I totally agree. But, since I am writing my meals down (without calorie counting) just that keeps me in check as to more of a balanced mind set.

I dont know if this helped at all, but I know you are a lot closer to being intuitive than when you were not eating enough. You have been a very strong person lately and I think just that will help you learn how to listen to your body more. Good luck, and remember, intutive is listening to what your body needs, BUT it also has to be BALANCED eating, excercising, etc. if you really want to achieve it all. Maybe focus more on a “balanced” lifestyle and not the word intuitive. That is a lot more realistic and tangible. Balance is key. Intuitive isn’t always realistic. But balance is.

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 11:36 PM

BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!! Very very very true!!!!!!! Thank you for this comment. Definitely helpful :)

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Emily February 11, 2013 at 5:20 PM

Ultimately, you have to do what’s best for you, whether that be intuitive eating, or eating on a schedule. Don’t let anyone, or anything, bring you down. You are beautiful inside and out and have further shown that by writing this post. I’ve recently realized that I haven’t been taking in enough calories for my activity levels and it has been difficult to bump those numbers up. I never force feed myself, but I have made it a point to weigh my food and track my calories to ensure I’m getting enough nutrients to nourish my body. Thats what it’s all ultimately about, being the best you. Keep up the hard work and don’t ever give up! Best of luck to you in figuring all this out :) xoxo

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 11:34 PM

What an uplifting comment! You’re right! We have to do what is right for US :) Thank you Emily!!!!!! Please comment more! You made me SO happy

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Ashley Whelan (@freckleandspice) February 11, 2013 at 5:25 PM

Meg! I can commiserate with you 100%. Maybe even more. I’ve never had a good sense of portion control/intuitive eating. I have been trying to gain weight for far too long – almost a year. And I was boarderline obese in a previous life. I would love to chat more with you on this!! Maybe hash it out/vent/share plans together and help motivate each other on those days when I just feel full – but gotta eat. I’m mixed up lately I do not even know what a normal meal should look like anymore. Thank you for sharing! And connect with me – for real!

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 11:33 PM

SERIOUSLY! Let’s chat!!!!!!!!! Email me! adashofmeg@gmail.com

Love you

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Meg @ The Compost Cook February 11, 2013 at 5:42 PM

Meg,
What a beautiful post…thank you for your honesty! I have never used a scale, but am the opposite of you and am trying to be MORE scheduled with my eating so I don’t slip into emotional eating, which has been a struggle. However, scales intimidate me!

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peaceloveandoats February 11, 2013 at 6:12 PM

great post, Meg! I’ve never been able to just eat intuitively and I think it’s because in the back of my mind I always try and tell myself that I should eat less. Then, when I do this, my body is craving the calories and I end up binge eating. So at the end I eat too much but I’m never once eating intuitively. I think we’re all just so different and have different goals, so for some of us following a plan is the best thing, at least for the time being!

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 11:32 PM

You follow a plan, love? I have NO idea. Yes, we are all different. When eating intuitively I will definitely have to keep things in mind because I have goals I want to achieve.

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Ali Wood (@creativali) February 11, 2013 at 6:15 PM

Thanks for being so honest and open Meg. Thats why I love your blog.
I hadn’t followed a meal/eating ‘plan’ in my whole life up until May last year when I wanted to try and ditch processed foods (I purchased a ‘clean eating plan’ online). Since then I’ve competed in a fitness model comp – and went through the rigours you’re talking about above. Constantly weighing food, eating 150g protein, 150g carb with each meal, chicken & broccoli for my morning snack and egg whites out my ears!!

What I see you have been doing above is strict meal planning. Weighing your food is a pain and personally I don’t do when I’m not prepping for a competition (which I’m doing again now). It’s such a laborous task. When I’m not prepping I stick to something carby/proteiny for breaky and a smidge of fat (not weighing or measuring anything), a salad & meat for lunch and something yummy for dinner. I snack on apples & nut butter, rice cakes & tomato etc. I eat lollies, chocolate and have a beer/wine if I feel like it!

Intuitively eating for me is eating when I am hungry (if I don’t feel like a snack I won’t eat one), if I feel like something sweet I’ll reach for it. Good luck girl! So proud of your achievements so far!

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 11:30 PM

Ali, I am so crazy happy you commented! YOU KNOW where I am coming from. You just said what my PT says to me – you don’t need to be strict when in the “off season” or trying to gain.

I guess what’s on my mind is that I was having 150 grams of carbs and 3 oz. protein at every single meal, so I just don’t have if I still HAVE to reach those goals every day or if I can just eat.

I guess you might have a suggestion since you gain and lift in the off season? Maybe we can chat xoxo

Seriously, Ali, thank you for the comment!

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Ali Wood (@creativali) February 12, 2013 at 6:34 PM

:)

Absolutely happy to chat via email, skype etc. May be hard because of the time difference but we can work something out. :)

At the moment i’m 12 weeks out from my comp and still following my weights program and lifting. I tend to not fluctuate my weight too much like some other competitors do. I have bulked up since my last competition.

anyway feel free to email me. :) x

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Meg February 12, 2013 at 11:55 PM

I’m going to take you up on the email, babe :) Thanks for reaching out to me <3 I’m off to bed now, but will email you!

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Brittany @ Delights and Delectables February 11, 2013 at 6:19 PM

I’m so glad you shared this sis. I wish so badly that I could be closer to you! It took me a long time to be an intuitive eater. To just eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m not. However, if your goal is to gain muscle, sometimes you have to eat when you aren’t necessarily hungry to get those extra calories. I’m not trying to do that b/c I want to learn my body and listen to it. You are a smart and healthy girl. You will figure it out in due time. xoxo

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 11:27 PM

Thanks sis! FaceTime soon right?? xo

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Ali Wood (@creativali) February 11, 2013 at 6:32 PM
Meg February 11, 2013 at 11:27 PM

Thank you! I’m definitely doing this challenge! What perfect timing!

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Ellie February 11, 2013 at 7:04 PM

I think being an intuitive eater is hard. Sometimes I’m really hungry when it’s not a time I normally eat, and other times I know I need to eat something even though I’m high energy, focused and not hungry in the least. Most of the time, I get severe anxiety when I think about “getting the exact everything in” so I try to do other things while I eat as to not over think things too much. I’d rather not think about anything other than liking what I am eating. I think that people eat when they aren’t hungry and that’s ok. That’s normal. I don’t think you should worry about being too full because you know what your goals are. I would just focus on enjoying what you’re eating. I think seeking enjoyment, rather than macro content is most intuitive anyone can really be.
<3<3<3

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 11:26 PM

Beautiful suggestions! Thank you!

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purelymichelle February 11, 2013 at 7:50 PM

I know we are different paths with different goals, but understand about learning to love the scale. Ever since doing my gut healing journey I have had to weigh food out again, as you mentioned to make sure I am getting enough food! Especially since I took so much out as I heal. But I am finally not weighing much anymore. For me after a few weeks I have a general idea what I need. But I think for you and your plan weighing out is not bad. It is helping you reach a goal. And just know once you reach your goal, then you can just eat without weighing.

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 11:25 PM

Thank you, sis <3 I have more updates tomorrow!

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Ali February 11, 2013 at 9:07 PM

Hey babe, this is a topic that really, really hits close to home for me. I am the opposite of you: I’d like to lose weight and tone up instead of gain weight, but I think the same idea applies. I have been on and off Weight Watchers (which is calorie counting) for so long that I had forgotten what it felt like to just LISTEN to my body. I knew I had a certain amount of calories I had to meet each day, so the idea of eating when I was legitimately hungry was foreign to me.

I’ve been doing the Tone It Up Love Your Body challenge and since then, have not been calorie counting, which at first? Felt really scary and bizarre, but mostly scary. As it turns out, I haven’t gained any weight! I’ve maintained my current weight and while I’d definitely like to lose a few pounds, I also think I might be gaining some muscle so I am trying not to freak out.

Needless to say, I totally get where you’re coming from with this post and want you to know how very brave you are for sharing it. xoxo

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 11:25 PM

Thank you for the sweet comment, Ali <3 I loved hearing about your story, too

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Kaila @healthyhelperblog! February 11, 2013 at 9:41 PM

I think its great that you’re finally admitting your struggles. It makes you so much more genuine in your writing and I can really see that you want to keep progressing. I am no expert but the best advice I can give would be to work with a professional on how to slowly move away from weighing and measuring your food. That is not a habit you want to be stuck in for the rest of your life. Being able to just eat without thinking is so freeing and I hope you can experience that someday. Other than that, have you ever considered cutting out exercise until you reach a healthy weight? It would make the gaining process so much quicker and easier for you! Just a thought! Good luck with everything!

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 9:48 PM

I am at a healthy weight, actually. Just looking to gain more, but thanks.

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Kaila @healthyhelperblog! February 11, 2013 at 10:02 PM

Oh I didn’t know! Well good luck with your continued gaining then! It seems like you’re heading on the right path :)

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Meg February 11, 2013 at 11:23 PM

Thanks sweetie! More updates tomorrow.

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Gina @ Health, Love, and Chocolate February 12, 2013 at 3:00 AM

I used to seriously rely on my food scale as well to measure out portions of proteins and such but have found that over time and has been easier to just measure out my portions my eye because i have done if for so long and now how much body needs. I am slowly beginning to be able to eat more intuitively and I think a lot of it is due to just slowly stepping away from numbers and focusing on my body’s cues, which I agree its really hard! I am also trying to put back on a bit of weight as I unintentionally dropped some once I realized I felt much better by cutting out wheat and most cow’s dairy. Trying to build muscle and but on weight while transitioning to less measuring, etc. is definitely hard so I completely feel you on this girl. I’m glad you were able to write this post about it, so proud of you!

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Meg February 12, 2013 at 6:39 AM

Thanks for the sweet comment, babe! We can do this!

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Hannah R. February 13, 2013 at 9:03 AM

Meg, my goodness, I love this post. Thank you for being so honest and open! It’s strange, I’ve been dealing with wanting to eat intuitively the past couple weeks so this is so helpful to me! Although I’ve been able to stop counting calories it seems that I’ve been keeping track of macros more to make sure I am eating enough!! It’s exhausting and not fun, as you know!! Anyway, it’s nice to know (from reading the comments) that we are not alone in this! I know you can do this girl!!
<3

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cheryl @happy is the new healthy February 13, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Meg,

I want to hug you. I also want to tell you: your body won’t fight you. No matter how long you’ve been ignoring the signal, you come into this world knowing that when you’re hungry, you need food (you cry as a baby). Eventually, being hungry (or not) will be like needing to pee (or not): a signal that’s either there or it’s not. The more we complicate it, the further we get from the reality: our bodies tell us what we need and when we need it. Similarly, your weight’s gonna do what it needs to do when you eat what you need to eat and train in a smart way. It’s a byproduct. Focus on your actions, not on the numbers.

…that’s my take. xo

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Meg February 18, 2013 at 9:42 PM

beautiful comment and I couldn’t agree more :) looking forward to hanging out <3 I love you

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Maureen @ Breaking Free & Finding Me February 15, 2013 at 8:42 AM

Hi! Great post! I too am on a journey towards intuitive eating, so I know how hard it is! I’m coming from it from the other side however, as I am a recovering binge/emotional eater ( I just recently started a blog documenting my recovery and journey to healthy and happy life). Over the last few years, I lost a lot of weight, got obsessed with losing weight, cutting calories and over-exercising (cardio) to the extreme. I was miserable and due to my disordered thinking thought I still wasn’t skinny enough even though I had gotten very thin. After a few very stressful months and the death of someone very close to me, I spiraled into a depression and binge eating cycle. It was only when I acknowledged my issues, and began taking small steps to become healthy again that I’ve felt like there’s hope. I’m still working on all the other issues so it’s inspiring and hopeful to know there are other people going through similar battles. Keep trying! You will find a balance!!

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Meg February 17, 2013 at 5:12 PM

You will find balance, too, sweetie and there is so much support out there!! xo

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Kloe @ Running Shoes & Chocolate Mousse February 18, 2013 at 4:25 AM

Hey Meg!

First up, let me say that your blog is incredible, I love finding other bloggers who are equally as passionate about healthy living and fitness (and food!) as I am. There’s such a fabulous fitness and health blogging community out there!

This post really resonated with me- as I can totally relate to the struggles of getting so used to eating what we think we “should” be eating, rather than what our body really needs, as well as wants, which is so important.
Intuitive eating is like an elusive unicorn for me! Being able to eat freely, what I want WHEN I want sounds like an absolute dream… and I’d love more than anything to be able to achieve that daily, but it is so much more difficult than just listening to your body. Sometimes you feel so out of touch with your body, that you don’t know what cues it’s even giving you!
Which makes this so tough and confusing.

I like to think of it as the way a child eats… they’re naturally intuitive eaters, as they are not yet influenced by any external factors, like media, information, etc, and listen purely to their body.
We were all able to eat mindfully like this, and I believe we can all get back to it, it just takes a bit of effort and hard work but will be so worth it when we have that liberation!

Keep blogging,

Kloe x :)

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