Dare I say food freedom and weight loss?! This is honestly something I get asked about ALL the time. Questions like: “How can I achieve food freedom AND lose weight?,” “How do I eat intuitively while losing weight?” and “Should I improve my relationship with food AFTER I lose weight?” And ya know what? I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to lose weight. Society makes weight loss a mainstream thing, glorifies the thin ideal for women and associates success and worth to looks and body size. There are billboards I see daily driving around town with a male plastic surgeon in front of a woman’s clearly thin body that has undergone plastic surgery, and the sign reads “just beautiful.” Kids to parents to grandparents read this billboard. The thin ideal and equating women’s body size + looks to worth has been ingrained in us by media from childhood to now. But does that make it true?
A lot of times when women say they want to lose weight, they mean something else. Maybe they want to feel accepted or confident. Maybe they feel it’s the only way others will be proud of them. The list goes on and on. And I am a firm believer that intentional weight loss does not work and that women can start filling the void they believe will be filled with weight loss in their here and now body… today! And this can be done through intuitive eating and finding food freedom so women no longer have to stress over their body size and feeling guilt, stress or anxiety around their food choices.
So what does happen to your body when eating intuitively?! Below are the nitty-gritty, need to know details. There are three possible outcomes:
1.You lose weight. It’s totally possible to lose weight while eating intuitively. The majority of women who diet end up gaining back all the weight lost while dieting, if not more, which can get them to a weight above their body’s natural set-point weight (more on that below). In addition, a history of emotional eating and binge eating, where women are not in touch with or honoring their bodies needs can result in a body weight higher than their natural weight to name a few.
2. You maintain your weight. Maintaining weight is another completely possible outcome of intuitive eating and finding food freedom! The amazing part of maintaining your weight with food freedom is that it’s effortless. You don’t have to stress over what, when and how much food you eat. You don’t have to “save up” calories, or earn food. Eating is fun and enjoyable, how it should be!
3. You gain weight. Women who have a history of mostly restriction or eating below their energy needs might gain weight with intuitive eating. And if weight gain happens, it means they weren’t at a weight where their body felt comfortable and safe. I understand first-hand how uncomfortable weight gain is, but can promise you that it’s worth it and you will gain so much more like date nights with your husband, happy hours with your girlfriends, holiday dinner traditions with your family, etc. And these are all things that are SO important to your overall health and well-being.
All in all, intuitive eating and food freedom allows you to reach your body’s natural set point weight. This is the weight your body feels its best at and can maintain effortlessly! I have personally been above and below my set point weight when I struggled with extreme food restriction and later emotional and binge eating episodes. What helped me most with my changing body size, especially as I gained weight, was staying strong in my faith and allowing God to work through me so I could learn to love and be thankful for the body He gave me, and appreciate the way He uniquely created me. I recommend repeating and journaling Psalm 139:14 to help you feel at peace if your body changes too.
Psalm 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
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