Ever since I heard about “intuitive eating” and “hunger/fullness”, I have wanted to be one of those people. Oh I have wanted it so badly.
Yes, I learned some valuable things during that period of time (like that I can have any food in the house and resist the urge to scarf it all down). I also learned how to let go of “diet mentality” and to stop condemning myself when/if I overeat. I discovered that I’m a pickier eater than I thought I was. Apparently I do have some physical cues that are mostly reliable (like foods my body doesn’t react well to and I can now recognize true physical hunger). And, I learned to put the scale in its proper place.
Unfortunately, I also gained about 30 lbs or so when I removed all food boundaries and gave myself permission to eat whatever/whenever. Granted, I did eventually stop gaining weight, but then my weight just fluctuated about 5 lbs up and down.
Why? Because my hunger/fullness cues are still a mess from years of ignoring them or confusing them with emotional cues.
And yet, I kept trying to rely on my messed up hunger cues because I wanted hunger/fullness as my boundary. I begged (and I do mean BEGGED) God to fix me so I could know when I’ve had enough to eat. If I even considered other boundaries, I would feel like I was “giving up” on my dream of being an intuitive eater.
Failure felt like a daily occurrence as one meal I would undereat and the next I would overeat. Most of the time I wouldn’t realize I had under or over eaten until I was ravenously digging through the pantry or hurting from too much. It seemed like the boundary line of “fullness/satisfied” was illusive at best and subjective at worst. For me anyway. Add a little chaos to life and the lines were blurred beyond recognition.
And that’s when I decided to list out my “needs” in regard to boundaries. I came to the conclusion that I need a boundary line which:
- doesn’t move based on my feelings or emotions or whatever
- is clear enough to warn me when I’m approaching the perimeter so I can adequately recognize and address the temptation to cross the line
- breaking the boundary involves a conscious decision on my part to do so
- allows me to eat with the rest of my family
- has some room for real-life events involving food
- is less likely to trigger “diet mentality” or my old “starve/binge” behaviors
- still requires me to turn to God for help with keeping the boundary (renewing the mind, truth journaling, taking lies captive…etc)
- makes what I gain (health, weightloss, peace of mind) worth any sacrifice involved
- results in the opportunity to release excess weight when lived within
I needed clarity. I took this list before the Lord. He added the word, “accountability” and I pictured myself stepping on a scale at a meeting… yep, you know what meeting I’m talking about.
Fear gripped me and then pride reared it’s ugly head. No way would I step back into another Weight Watchers meeting. No. No. No.
“But God, I’ve renounced WW! I’ve sworn I will never go back! I have many blog posts here on that very declaration!” (didn’t our Mommas tell us to never say never?)
The truth was, as much as I hated tracking my food all those years ago, this boundary really did fit my list. Although I did not want to admit it, I needed more structure.
And then I rebuttled with, “what if I can’t lose weight on the new plan… or worse, what if they change the plan on me again?”
To which God reminded me, change is inevitable in life but if I keep my eyes on Him Who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, I will be just fine. He reminded me I am not transformed by choosing the perfect boundaries, but by the renewing of the mind.
He reminded me my personal history shows I can lose weight within any set of boundaries I actually keep, but it will be fleeting unless I replace the lies with His Truth.
He told me to humble myself and walk back into that old meeting room… the meeting where I had reached “goal” and made “lifetime”… and now would return with many (but thankfully not all) of those “lost pounds” having found their way back onto my body.
I arrived in the parking lot early the day of the next available meeting… nervous. I prayed for the Lord to renew my mind about it because I did not want to be there. I did not want to be vulnerable. I did not want to step on that scale. I did not want to track what I eat. I wanted to hide.
He told me to trust Him.
I hoped no one would remember me after all these years… but of course they did. And you know what? They embraced me.
Yes, I’m currently using the WW points system for my boundary. Yes, I’m attending the meetings. But this time is very different. This time, the points are just a boundary line. The meetings are just accountability. I’m not placing my hopes in a man-made system.
My hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ. Any transformation I experience comes about because He brings it to fruition. I need to keep this in the forefront of my mind lest I start to rely on my own strength or the boundaries themselves. So, I plan to renew my mind prior to and following every meeting/weigh in regarding this specifically.
I can still practice listening to my body’s cues and who knows, maybe eventually God will transform me into an intuitive eater. For now, I will trust that He has me where I need to be.
I have been hesitant to do a post on this topic because I didn’t want to inadvertently influence anyone to question their own boundaries. However, recently I was asked what my boundaries are. After explaining why I switched, I decided that perhaps a post on this might be warranted.
I still stand by my previous post where I state:
My food boundaries are my food boundaries. Your food boundaries are your food boundaries. The one thing we may share is the need for those boundaries.
If you are clinging to a set of boundaries simply because they are the boundaries you “want”, then perhaps you need to reevaluate things. If, however, God has clearly told you what boundaries you “need”, stop searching for the perfect set and start renewing your mind about the ones you already have.