So when I threw away my scale and started just living, I felt a hundred percent better mentally. It took a little longer for me to feel better physically. I felt exhausted all the time, had trouble sleeping and was becoming pretty irritable. During this time I discovered the idea of intuitive eating. I had heard of it before pre-primal but had dismissed it as a part of the "accept your obese body movement" which freaked me out at the time because I did not like anything about my 250 pound unhealthy body back then.
So I read "How to have your Cake and Skinny Jeans, too" and "Overfed Head" (free pdf on the internet). They made sense to me since I was reading them with a paleo/ primal slant. I started a lot of self reflection and realized a few things:
1) I had turned paleo/ primal into primarily a weight loss diet. Sadly, this is when the weight loss stopped.
2) The stricter I became on the diet the more unhappy I felt with my body and the more out of control I felt with food. This led to a binge and then punish cycle.
3) The only times I had been happy with my body were the first 16 years of my life when I never thought of food or exercise - I ate only when hungry and played hard when I felt like it. The weight gain started when I was 15 and started trying to eat "healthfully" and lose a little bit of weight even though I wasn't overweight to begin with.
Forcing myself to eat low fat and according to the food pyramid resulted in me getting to 250 pounds (also having a child and being on the depo vera shot), not because I was eating the wrong foods but because I was no longer listening to my body's cues. I was now forcing myself to eat breakfast when I wasn't hungry (most important meal of the day), forcing myself to eat 5-6 small meals a day (got to keep that metabolism going) and forcing myself to eat foods I hated (I can't believe anyone likes whole wheat anything and brown rice always made me gag - but I ate it EVERYDAY). The key word here is forcing! I no longer listened to my body and became convinced that my body was broken. I thought that if I listened to my body then I would eat pizza and ice cream 24/7 - I forgot that I never binged as a child.
4) My first year of primal was my happiest, healthiest and most successful because I started listening to my body. I didn't track anything. I just followed the rules and that was it. I made almost everything I ate from scratch. Some days I would eat a 1lb grilled rib eye smothered in homemade aioli, other days I would make homemade fruit and nut bars (ala larabars) and snack on those. Some days I would eat non-stop and some days I would forget to eat.
So begins my primal success story part 2. I am going to eat intuitively within the primal blueprint laws. I went through a "donut and pizza" phase over these last few months because I realized that I had created a binge problem by being so strict and crazy over the last 4 years. So I purposefully and mindfully let myself eat whatever I wanted over the last 3 months. The only caveat was I only ate when hungry, I only ate what I truly liked and I tried to stop before I was full.
If I wanted to eat for non-hunger reasons I talked myself into waiting until I was hungry most of the time but if I did decide to eat I identified why I was eating and explicitly told myself, "you are eating because you are bored and have nothing else you want to do." Then I paid attention to what happened afterwards. Guess what? Eating because you are bored, sad, angry or whatever only works for a few minutes and then you are back to being bored, sad, angry or whatever, lol. I know "duh".
Anyways, I did discover over the last three months that some foods that I thought were my weaknesses - that I couldn't be around - etc etc aren't really that powerful when you let yourself have them. My two big ones were donuts and pizza. So one morning I felt like donuts. I went and bought myself a fresh hot dozen and ate one whenever I was hungry and wanted one. That only lasted two days. Next I did pizza. That lasted four days. I ate 5 pizzas to myself over a 4 day period but now I can take one piece and be happy. I learned that food has power when you tell yourself that you can't have it.
I also learned which foods I really don't like. I don't like bread, pasta, beans or ranch dressing anymore (blew my mind since I have been fighting with Hidden Valley Ranch since going primal). I do not like bell peppers, fresh tomatoes, yams, hot tea, Brussels sprouts and a bunch of other "healthy" things I was making myself eat. I used to force myself to eat a salad whenever I went out since I "needed" the extra veggies. I DO NOT LIKE SALAD! Ha ha, it has been an awesome 3 months of discovering my intuitive body signals.
One other thing I learned is that sugar can screw up my body signals. Not because it is inherently "evil", I try not to think of it as addictive or high carb or anything like that. I just tell myself to now look at what happens when I use it inappropriately. If I eat a lot of added sugar without being active right before or after, I get fake hunger signals. If i give into these fake hunger signals then I see a fake hunger cycle begin. I am still in control of the decisions I make but if I don't pay attention then I make decisions that do not honor my body's true signals. Whole food starches and most fruits do not effect me this way. If I eat more rice than what comes on a sushi roll I feel the same as if I had ate sugar, If I eat more then a couple cups of homemade popcorn I feel the same as if I ate sugar.
It took until November before I spontaneously started wanting to be active again. I now have enough energy to walk all over town, dance all night a few nights a week, occasionally lift heavy things (my body) and run unstructured sprints at the park with my mom's dog.
I am beginning 2014 with the only goal of continuing with my intuitive eating. I am starting with a Whole 30 because I do feel bloated and icky from the last month of over partying, I have been drinking alcohol and smoking cigs almost everyday, I have also been feeling a real need for coffee. I have ate a lot of added sugar.
So I am going to do a whole 30 intuitively. I am not worried because I know that I am finally back to listening to my bodies true needs. I am not counting macros or making decisions based on what I should be doing. I am going to listen to my body and help gently guide it towards the whole 30 choices. Then I will go back to primal since I am pretty sure I don't have a dairy intolerance.
I will use this journal to remind myself not to focus on the weight. I still want to be down to a healthy normal size eventually. I know I have gained weight since I went intuitive. I started at a size 12 and am now a 14-16. I haven't weighed myself since June when I was 188 but I know I have to be above 200 by now. I know this is normal rebound weight. by body doesn't trust me anymore. It has no idea if we are in a feast or a famine or what is going on. I have to let it heal itself and trust me again before it will release it's precious fat stories. I sound like a freakin' hippie but I know it is true.
I will start the whole 30 officially on Monday the 6th. I think I am going to weigh just to have a starting point but after this I will only weigh when I go to the doctor's. I will also take my body measurements but only retake them when I feel that I need to buy a smaller size of clothes. I also need to brace myself for the fact that I may be this size for the rest of my life. That is the body acceptance part of intuitive eating.