Five weeks ago, I embarked upon a food freedom journey. For 12 weeks, I’m working with a registered dietician who specialises in intuitive eating rather than intentional weight loss.
I came to this place of fully wanting food freedom — over intentional weight loss — only after I realised that every diet and “lifestyle change” left me more anxious and obsessed about food. That my preoccupation with food and eating never led to lasting weight loss. Instead, with every single lifestyle change, I reached a level of burnout where I just couldn’t do it anymore.
These experiences didn’t just leave me fatter and feeling more like a failure. They reinforced my dysfunctional relationship with food and my body.
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So, after a good deal of consideration, I finally decided to stop trying to lose weight. I’ve tried virtually every diet on the planet. I figured I might as well give intuitive eating a go.
Food freedom is just what it sounds like — the permission to eat food with freedom rather than guilt or shame. The permission to eat what you like as opposed to whatever you’ve been told you “should” be eating.
Embracing food freedom means no longer counting on your adherence to arbitrary food rules to tell you if you’ve been “good” or “bad” each day. With food freedom, you recognise that food and eating are not moral issues.
In theory, it all sounds quite simple. You trust your body to tell you when it’s hungry, what to eat, how much to eat, and when you are full. This is what most people do naturally, at least when they’re young and haven’t yet been bombarded by diet culture.
For folks like me, it’s a helluva lot more complicated. I’ve been told my whole life that I eat too much and move too little. Many of my health issues like lipedema, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and endometriosis have been overlooked or ignored as doctors told me to “just lose weight.”
As a result, I’m nearly 40, and I don’t know how to eat. I haven’t trusted my body for a very long time, and the process of learning how to trust myself now is surprisingly hard. These days, I find myself sitting with a lot of uncomfortable feelings. Picking them up and examining what’s really going on instead of planning out a binge, or eating emotionally just because that feels good in the moment.