I’m sitting on my back deck watching my husband concoct a lever for opening and closing the back door of our chicken coop. Things like this only seem to happen at our house. I mean when I ask friends and family about what they’re up to, they say things like cleaning the house or mowing the lawn or reading a book. They never say they’re in the middle of building an irrigater panel stand out of 10 inch I-beams they brought home from a job site. They never say they’re gluing PVC piping together to raise their sprinkler off the ground 3 feet so it reaches the entire garden and can be easily rolled around the yard. And I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard any of them say they’re in the middle of designing or building a chicken coop back door lever. 

It’s usually (always) my husband at the heart of these things…

And I honestly have to give him all the credit in the world. He’s creative as the day is long and his skills seem to be endless. Honestly if he doesn’t know how to do something he will either figure it out or learn it or find a different way.

And he doesn’t wait around for anyone to tell him something needs to be done. Actually this “need” was born from him struggling to stick his rather large hands through a relatively smaller chain link fence to push said chicken door closed (or to open it gently because if the door gets away from you when it’s opening, it will slam and scare the already  on edge chickens.  It’s almost like he’s always on alert or on the lookout for these things. Like he wants to find ways to make life easier or better or more comfortable for all of us before it becomes a problem.

I also think he enjoys doing this…

He doesn’t ever treat these projects like they’re a chore. He’s usually smiling and proud while he’s working on it. In fact, he just walked past me and told me I would be, and I quote, “seriously impressed.”

He doesn’t care what anyone thinks…

And he doesn’t leave room for judgement or criticism. He KNOWS at his core that what he is creating is going to be good.

What’s my point?

So I’m sure you’re a little curious what all this has to do with food or intuitive eating. I myself was a little baffled when I had the urge to get my laptop out and start writing. But it dawned on me that his creativity and ability to see a need and meet it is EXACTLY what we are doing when we eat intuitively. He sees a need and he meets it.

I think that’s the simplicity of what I wanted to explain here.

It’s all about you…

In intuitive eating you are doing the same thing. You are learning to find the needs your body has, interpret them appropriately, and then meet those needs accordingly. And if you don’t have the skill set to do that, you learn it.

You are not relying on some external signal or waiting for someone to tell you it’s time to eat. You’re not following a timed eating schedule or menu plan of specific foods. 

Listen up…

You listen to your body and your taste buds, and yes, your emotions too, and you’re making a choice of what will be best for YOU in the moment. If you’re hungry, you eat. If you’re not, but you can’t stop thinking about food, you look deeper to see what’s driving that. Maybe you still eat, maybe you go for a walk or journal, or play some music and take a bath. You don’t wait for your body to be overly hungry because that leads to out of control choices and overeating.

Everything you do should make you feel good…

The foods you choose to eat are foods you enjoy, they make you smile. 

You take care of your body through eating foods and movements that help you feel your best. And that makes you smile too because none of it feels like a chore.

No room for critics…

And finally, in intuitive eating you don’t leave the door open for judgement from others. You lock arms with yourself and others who believe in YOU and are there to support you and want to see you smiling. This may mean having some difficult conversations and making some challenging choices.

Notice I didn’t say that any of this came easy or readily. In fact, I believe it all takes work. I think that our culture has done such a thorough job of distorting our views and ideas of who and what we are or need to be that it takes a lot of work to un-do all of that. But I also know that when you make this a priority for yourself and you do that work, it ends up making you smile. It ends up feeling like someone made you a lever for a door that was previously hard to open and close.

Key necessary concepts in Intuitive Eating…

Maybe someday I’ll write a separate blog about the adventures of my husband, but not today. Today I want to introduce you to nine different concepts I think you need to master (or at least have a solid handle on) to more effectively build your intuitive eating skills. (I would like to take a brief moment to officially reserve the right to add to this list at any point in the future.) In the coming weeks I’ll dive deeper into each of them. They are:

  • Roots (understand your history)
  • Trust (for yourself and others)
  • Patience (closely tied to trust)
  • Learning (especially about your cognitive distortions)
  • Emotions (confronting them head on)
  • Permission and choice
  • Self care and satisfaction (this is a focal point of intuitive eating)
  • Respect (closely tied to self care)
  • Opinion (also known as judgement) versus fact

I hope you’ll stick around to learn more about each of these. In the meantime, I’m going to go help assemble this latest chicken-coop-back-door-opener creation and get ready for our next adventure.

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