Heal your relationship with food through intuitive eating: My experience at a health forum

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It’s a sad fact that nowadays, most people don’t know how to listen to their bodies. In a world plagued with food fads and unrealistic beauty standards, it’s easy to start listening to external sources and effecting a mind-body disconnection when it comes to nutrition.

To deal with this ever-growing problem, the popular wellness and lifestyle bloggers Nicole Modic (@kalejunkie) and Molly Alliman (@balancebymolly) hosted an event where all things relating to intuitive eating were discussed. The event was held at the True Botanicals flagship store in San Francisco, a gorgeous venue featuring natural tones and artfully decorated lounge areas — perfect for winding down and settling in for a few hours of quality discussions revolving around developing healthy mindsets around food.

Modic and Alliman began the session by recounting their histories with eating disorders — both of the bloggers having experienced difficulties involving binge eating and orthorexia. Modic shared her struggle in coming to terms with her career as a lawyer and battling a yearslong eating disorder (spoiler: Modic is no longer a lawyer and is living her passion of being a recipe creator and lifestyle blogger!), and Alliman discussed her unhealthy relationship with food in college and her development of orthorexic tendencies. This discussion was, however, incredibly uplifting, as both women are now thriving and live their days with healthy and forgiving mindsets when it comes to food.

And as to how Modic and Alliman achieved that healthy mindset? The practice of eating intuitively was certainly a game-changer. At the event, Modic and Alliman described intuitive eating as the practice of listening to one’s own body when it comes to, well, eating. Rather than obsessing over portion sizes or demonizing certain foods, to eat intuitively means to be aware of your body’s needs and to give it the fuel it requires in response to this knowledge. Sure, you’re supposed to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full, but the practice of intuitive eating goes WAY beyond that: It means being forgiving and compassionate with your body when it comes to your food choices. 

Say, for example, that you’re craving a warm and gooey chocolate chip cookie. You might suppress this feeling for a few hours or days, but to what end? Eating one cookie certainly won’t ruin your “fitness goals” or tarnish your self-worth in the slightest. Removing taboos from foods and giving yourself the grace of enjoying them (in moderation, of course!) is key to achieving a balanced and loving mentality, in which food in no way controls you or restricts you from enjoying life to its fullest.

The topics of forgiveness and compassion were two themes strongly present in the event. Modic and Alliman made it clear that listening to one’s own body and banishing an unhealthy and restrictive mentality requires a lot of self-love. The path to achieving an intuitive mindset is a journey — this journey (like many others) is often paved with setbacks and challenges. To fully instill the practice of intuitive eating within your life, being gentle and forgiving with your body is a necessity. After all, rather than seeing food as “calories in, calories out,” it should be considered as both a form of nourishment AND a source of joy. 

In the end, I left Modic and Alliman’s event feeling more inspired than ever to cultivate an intuitive eating practice in my own life. After all, what better way is there to eat than by constantly checking in with what your body is telling you? Your body’s hunger cues, cravings and energy levels are all direct reflections of what is happening on the inside and learning to interpret these messages is truly the key to achieving a balanced and happy relationship with food.

Contact Jazmin Cubilla at [email protected].