Where are you in your journey to quit dieting and become an attuned/intuitive eater? As you read the following vignette, imagine that you are in the same situation as Leigh and Deborah. How would you respond? Are you satisfied with your response, or is there something you would like to change? If so, what are the steps you need to take to truly feel in charge of your relationship with food?
Leigh and Deborah, two sisters, were recently invited to an open house to celebrate the college graduation of their friend’s son. Since the event took place from 1:00 – 4:00, Leigh and Deborah assumed there would only be snacks available so they decided to eat lunch before they left for the party. When they arrived, Leigh and Deborah were surprised to discover a lavish buffet, complete with grilled chicken and steak, a variety of pasta salads, fruit, roasted veggies, and luscious desserts.
Leigh and Deborah handled the situation in very different ways. After 20 years of being caught in the diet/binge cycle, Leigh had been practicing attuned eating over the past year. Although she felt disappointed that, because she had just eaten lunch, she wasn’t hungry for this feast, during the hour and a half that they spent at the open house Leigh became somewhat hungry and sampled several of the items that especially appealed to her; she spent the rest of the time catching up with old friends. She felt too full to eat dessert when it was time to go, but felt comfortable asking the hostess if she could take home a piece of the raspberry cheesecake for later. Her friend was pleased to meet this request, and Leigh left the party feeling satisfied physically and emotionally as she had connected with both her stomach and the other guests.
Deborah, on the other hand, had a completely different experience. She had also been dieting for much of her adult life, and was currently in a program that required counting points. As soon as she saw the buffet, Deborah couldn’t stop thinking about all of the delicious food available. She initially tried to stay away, but found herself drawn to the food and finally decided to “go for it.” Once Deborah began eating, she knew she had already exceeded her points for the day and figured she would keep going, knowing that she could “start over” the next day. In addition to eating the main courses offered, she had several of the chocolate chip brownies.
On the way out the door, Deborah told Leigh that she felt uncomfortably stuffed, and asked if she had the same experience. Leigh was pleased to be able to say that she wasn’t uncomfortably full, and to realize just how far she had come in breaking the diet mentality through attuned eating.