Dear Intuitive Eating, Thank you for finding me BEFORE I got married.
April 8th is a day I’ll never forget. Two years ago, on this day, my husband proposed to me. I had just moved with him to a small town in Tennessee for his job in January, and three short months later, he accepted another offer at a college in Pennsylvania. On April 8th, 2017, I packed up my car once again and headed to a new home that would mark the beginning of our forever.
The day he proposed was move-in day. I had my sweatpants on, hair in a messy bun - lookin’ real good. We had been unpacking all afternoon and he called me upstairs to help him with “one last box.” When I walked in, he was kind of hiding in the closet – I, of course, though he was about to play some kind of prank on me. He turned around and immediately got down on one knee.
I was completely surprised.
Not that he was asking me (I had an inkling it would happen that year, and of course we had talked about it), but I was not expecting it to happen that day at all.
I heard him say, “Kathleen, I’ve loved you for a long time…”
and then I blacked out.
Seriously. No idea what the rest of his speech was, and I don’t think he does either (at least he claims he doesn’t).
Apparently, in my state of shock, he had asked me to marry him and since I wasn’t fully with it, I didn’t answer right away. I remember being mesmerized and staring off into La La Land. And while all of this was happening, Braden’s sweating bullets like um, I swear we were on the same page with this…
Once I came to I (obviously) said, “YES.”
We hugged, we kissed, all was well in the world!
And then, we went and walked our dog, Wiley around the block. Just like we would on any other day. And I remember looking at Braden and saying, “we’re engaged.” Like… holy shit man. And he just looked at me, smiled, and calmly said, “I know.”
My parents were in town for the dual purpose of helping us unpack and celebrate (biggest and longest secret my mother has ever kept), and to my (again) surprise, when we went out for a cocktail, Braden’s family, and my brother and future sister-in-law were there to make it that much more special.
We had so much fun. Potentially too much fun. April 9th hangover kind of fun. You only get engaged once!
Do you know what’s amazing though? What I am so beyond thankful for? A nod from the universe that I will forever be grateful for. That merely days before our engagement, I discovered Intuitive Eating.
DAYS YOU GUYS.
And Here’s Where Intuitive Eating Comes In.
Three months earlier I was doing my second January Whole30. Months before that I was weighing and measuring every single bite of food that when into my body through counting my “macros.” Before that, I was the cleanest and purest of all eaters through and through. And before that I had tried and “failed” Paleo, The Zone Diet, Wheat Belly Diet, The Abs Diet (yes, you read that right), Special K Diet (I’m still confused about how they got me to believe flavorless cereal and snack bars the size of my pinky would bring me so much joy), and Weight Watchers, excuse me, “WW.”
I didn’t realize how many diets I had tried and recycled until I dove into my history. I never considered myself a “dieter” but clearly, I was a bit out of touch...
Needless to say, after experimenting with all of those diets & “lifestyle changes,” I was ready to call it quits – or at least find someone to tell me there was some other way to be happy, healthy, thin, loved, and successful doing things that didn’t require feeling shitty about yourself and not getting to eat bread. And there I was, early April 2017, scrolling through Instagram in my parents dining room when I stumbled upon a post from a blogger I followed about Intuitive Eating. I need to find this post, because honestly, I don’t think it was super profound (no offense, Kylie), I think it just mentioned how she was learning about Intuitive Eating and how the content on her blog would be changing to reflect that. I was just SO READY for something different, something that wasn’t all-consuming that I was instantly intrigued.
Side note: I tracked every bite of food that went into my body the previous summer. I remember one time getting Chipotle for dinner because it was easy to look up the macros in MyFitnessPal (hate you, BTW), but I didn’t believe that the portions matched up right (mostly the rice because #carbsarethedevil/#justkidding). So, I got home, took out my burrito bowl, and started scooping out rice into a measuring cup and weighing it on my scale.
Typing this out right now makes me cringe.
I remember needing more protein to meet my daily intake and all I had in the fridge was a box of egg whites (also hate these and will never consume again) so I cooked those up and added them to my bowl. THEN I realized I had made a miscalculation in the process and so I’m trying to scrape out egg whites and rice pieces from my bowl all while having a mild panic attack that I just totally effed up my macros for the day and would thus die and HOLY SHIT BALLS. How awful does this sound?
And that wasn’t even the day I proudly threw my middle finger up to diet culture.
Clearly the eating behavior is discorded but also, I ruined a perfectly delicious burrito bowl. And to pay me back, the Universe has taken me to live in three different towns since, none of which have Chipotle. I see what you did there.
My point being, I was SO ready for Intuitive Eating when I found it. She talked about Christy Harrison and her podcast Food Psych (my favorite) and I immediately started listening. I also want to find this Instagram post so I can figure out what the first episode I listened to was – it truly changed my life.
And so here I am, this girl who has been dieting and not even realizing it for 10 years, instantly resonates with every piece and part Intuitive Eating has to offer.
How Did I Get Started?
I started with Christy Harrison and even listened to her podcast on the way to what would be my move-in-day-proposal-soiree. Her podcast led me to another (Jessi Haggerty), and hers to another (Summer Innanen), and I found myself absorbing this content up bit by bit and finding more and more dietitians, doctors, psychologist, scholars, advocates, etc. backing this researched base way of eating and living that is, Intuitive Eating.
So, why am I so grateful for the timing of all of this?
Well, pre-intuitive eating Kathleen would have gotten proposed to and instantly started worrying about her workout routine and her eating plan. She would have been so focused on eating clean and not missing her workouts that she wouldn’t have enjoyed all of the wonderful celebrations, showers, cocktail parties, dinners, etc. leading up to her big day. And gosh, I can’t even imagine how I would have felt on my wedding day. Would I have even liked my dress? Would I have loved my photos and video as much as I do? Would I have enjoyed my honeymoon? Would I have had fun?
Imma go out on a limb and say a hard no to all of the above.
And I’ll be 100% honest with you guys here, I dove in hard to intuitive eating, but I wasn’t fully committed right off the bat. I spent the summer learning as much as I could and after reading the book, I felt such a strong connection to this way of living.
Summer came to an end and diet culture snuck back into my mind. I decided I’d keep with the intuitive eating, but since I was getting married, I’d kick up my workout routine just in case (and only until post-wedding). For the most part I enjoy working out, so I thought this would be fine.
Searching through my files, I actually found this workout plan. I’d share it, but it’s stupid and I’d recommend to no one. Essentially, I was still wrapped up in diet culture. Thinking, sure, I’ll buy into this new way of eating, but I can still “make up for it” by working out a lot more.
I think this workout regime lasted about two weeks (thank goodness). And after that was done, I was done with diet culture. Sure, thoughts popped into my head about my body not being “wedding ready,” to be honest, thoughts still pop in my head from time to time. And I think thoughts will continue to linger for the rest of my life if our body and beauty standards continue with what they are now. The thing is, now when those thoughts pop in my head, I acknowledge them for what they are. Just thoughts. Thoughts are not fact. Thoughts are not reality. Thoughts are just thoughts. “Hmm, my jeans are fitting tighter than normal…” why is this a big deal? Because that means I must have gained weight and diet culture says that’s bad/unhealthy/lazy/dangerous/letting myself go/etc., etc.
But what do I know to be true now?
I know that my body weight fluctuates and that’s 100% normal. I know that I’m more active at different times of year, that I eat different kinds of foods at different times of year, that my hormones, my period, stress, lack of sleep, etc., all contribute to this fluctuation. I know that gaining weight can sometimes be the healthiest thing for me. And that my body is fucking badass. And that I have so much to be thankful for to my body. She is warm and soft and curvy. She has bumps and bruises and dimples and cellulite. She has soft spots and hard spots and dry spots and smooth spots. She walks, and runs, and lifts, and bends, and dances. She hugs and kisses and cuddles. She laughs and cries and feels fear and pain. She also feels love and happiness. Her heart beats and pumps blood to her veins and she breathes out of her lungs and she heals when she’s hurt and her organs function as they should and she’s healthy and able and GRATEFUL.
My Advice to Brides & Brides-to-Be
This weekend I’m going to a bachelorette party and I have a few weddings lined up for the summer. If there is one piece of advice I can give any bride or bride-to-be, it’s to not stress about perfection.
Do not stress about what your body looks like.
Do not feel that being “wedding ready” means you have to shrink your body.
Do not succumb to the constant messages from diet culture and societal beauty standards telling you that you are not good enough as you are right now. Telling you that in order for your day to be “perfect” you have to be thin.
BULL EFFING SHIT people. You know why your partner proposed to you? Because he or she loves you. With all of their heart. They love every inch of you – inside and out. They love your imperfections the most. They love your brain and your body and your soul. You have the option to step into yourself. To be confident with the person you are. To give diet culture the middle finger and say you’re gonna do YOU. Because I promise you, all of the celebrations, all of the love, every part of this amazing time in your life isn’t here to be a catalyst for your next weight-loss program, it’s here to show you how much love is in your life. It’s here to remind you of all the goodness around you.
There is nothing about you that needs fixed. There is nothing about you that is “wrong” or “not good enough.” You are perfectly, imperfectly, uniquely, you.
Enjoy every moment.
P.S. If this is resonating with you and you need more support, I’d love to chat. Schedule a Free Breakthrough Session with me today!