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Originally published on laurenbersaglio.com; republished here with permission. Get your blog featured!
Author’s Note: This piece was originally published on my personal blog in 2014. I am going through some of my old posts related to intuitive eating, body image, and eating disorder recovery and cross-publishing them here on Libero as part of our new Bloggers Network. In most cases, the pieces have only been edited for minor grammatical errors or formatting improvements. However, in cases where I’ve learned new information, had updated experiences, or developed new tools or practices, they will be highlighted as an update. You will always be able to view the original piece at the link at the top of each piece.
My first encounter with intuitive eating was in Anne Lamott’s book Travelling Mercies.
This book appears on my “must-read” list, by the way. Like many of us, Anne was coming out of a stage of disordered eating and body dissatisfaction. She was told about intuitive eating and she figured “what the heck” and gave it a try. For the first two weeks, she ate nothing but cheezies and frosting.
I know what you’re thinking: Cheezies and frosting?! Gross. That was pretty much my reaction, too.
I was also quite skeptical. But Anne said she didn’t eat like that forever, and so I trusted her and gave it a try.
For me, it was Nanaimo bars.
For those of you who are not blessed enough to know what Nanaimo bars are, you can look them up.
In short, they are heavenly bars made of coconut and cookie crumble base, a chocolate top, and a custard filling.
For the first two weeks (funny how it’s always 2 weeks for people) it was Nanaimo bars for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Now, this was not as easy as it sounds; I was in Zambia at the time, and the nearest Nanaimo bars are at least two plane flights away. So I had to make them from scratch. And I did because I was committed to recovery.
When people first hear me telling this story, they think I’m crazy, and, at the time, I was beginning to wonder if I was.
But I just kept trusting.
And sure enough, over time, just as cheezies and frosting had for Anne, Nanaimo bars turned into a balanced diet.
I can’t quite explain how it happened.
I simply woke up one morning, had my Nanaimo bar as usual, and then when lunch came around I simply didn’t want a Nanaimo bar anymore.
No, in fact, I wanted broccoli and ranch dressing. Up until that point, I hadn’t even liked broccoli and ranch dressing! Then came dinner: I wanted chicken strips with honey mustard.
And thus my cravings started coming back slowly.
Sure, I still went back to Nanaimo bars over the following weeks, but slowly by slowly my diet became more and more varied and eventually balanced out.
I was eating veggies and chicken and brownies and rice and chicken strips and nachos and fruit and everything in between. Most importantly, I was beginning to rekindle my relationship with food.
For the first time in my life I was giving myself full permission to eat, and it was beautiful and it was freeing.
I don’t know what you are going to crave when you first start out on your intuitive eating journey, but it will most likely be the things you have been denying yourself most.
For me, that was Nanaimo bars, for Anne Lamott that was Cheezies and Frosting. For you, it may be Ben & Jerry’s or pepperoni pizza or creamed peas with maple syrup – who knows!
I can’t tell you what you will crave; I can only tell you this: honour your cravings.
They are there for a reason; it’s all part of the journey and the first few weeks are a very integral part of that. And I can assure you, you won’t be stuck eating Cheezies and frosting for the rest of your life!
Lauren is the Founder and Editor of Libero. She started Libero in April 2010, when she shared her story about her struggles with an eating disorder and depression. Now Lauren uses her writing and videos to advocate mental health and body positivity. In her spare time, she enjoys makeup artistry, playing Nintendo, and taking selfies with her furbaby, Zoey.
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