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Will Power and Intuitive Eating


Will Power and Intuitive Eating

As I sit down to write, my mind is pulled in 100 directions.


Firstly, I have a client in 25 minutes, so I am constrained by time. For better or worse, I want to put my thoughts on this page in that amount of time. 


Time constraints- that’s a funny concept here – should I go down the restriction route- talking about how restriction and boundaries can often help us flourish.


On my podcast episode where Danielle Interviews Ashley Cohen – she actually talks about this- that restriction/boundaries creates more creativity. Her example was becoming religious, having to dress modestly, that restriction created more creativity – dress modest AND stylish- can it be done – YES, she proved so (btw mazel tov Ashley on your new baby boy!)


Time constraint is also actually a very interesting things when it comes to Judaism – women are not bound by time bound mitzvos (commandments)- such as praying within the confines of prayer times.


Ah, restriction when it comes to food- can I plug that in here. Well – I think for starters – if you are here you know how I feel about food restriction, that most of the time it does not end well. It can either end in seriously becoming overly obsessed with the amount you eat and how much you weigh and/or it can end up with binge eating, eating out of control, way past fullness to the point of feeling sick. It can cause any of these things, all these things and anything in between that spectrum.


But I am finding myself saying more and more to clients, you can exercise self control while doing intuitive eating. But even as I write it, I already hear the potential contradiction.


Contrary to popular belief, Intuitive Eating DOES NOT and WILL NOT EVER mean – eat whatever you want, whenever you want. Intuitive Eating is composed of 10 principles, each created and designed to help you feel comfortable and safe around ALL foods.


Let me tell you a scenario from my own personal life that happened a few days ago to illustrate this point. I am picking something fresh in my mind so I can remember many of the details.


On Thursday night, my husband brought home sushi at around 10 pm.

I had just finished exercising after seeing clients back to back. I was tired and I was also actually hungry. On that same day, I ate a bagel for lunch and I had 1 slice of pizza for dinner. I really wasn’t so thrilled to eat the pizza for dinner because I like having a protein, carb, fat and vegetable for dinner but I actually was using the Intuitive Eating principles by eating mindfully, practicing self care by allowing the easier option to work for dinner, rejecting diet mentality that tells me too much carbs are bad, honoring my hunger, respecting my fullness, allowing satisfaction, respecting my body by eating the amount that felt right for me. 


However, I was very hungry at 10pm.

That is something I find annoying because for me, if I try to go to sleep hungry, I just won’t sleep. I don’t really want to eat at 10pm on most nights, its inconvenient, I already cooked so many of my meals, I am often too tired to figure out what I even want which diminishes a lot of the satisfaction, but again, I do respect my body and know myself enough that if I try to go to sleep that hungry, I will not succeed and my night will likely go badly, I will end up eating at some point and it’s just better to eat and move on (for me).

Anyways, the sushi. When he brought it home, I accessed my level of hunger.

I believed one roll would do the trick. The brown rice, California roll, one of my favorites. It’s filling and delicious. As I started eating the first roll, I picked from the toppings on another roll for flavor and crunch. 


I ended up eating both rolls. I think half way through the second I realized I was comfortably full and I wanted to stop, but I didn’t. 


If I can pull this story apart, I would say that stopping right there would have meant exercising will power. This is not coming from a judgmental place, rather a place of self awareness and reflection.

I probably didn’t stop eating because at 10:30pm I am kind of out of will power. I am short on mindfulness and self awareness.

I ate past fullness and I didn’t feel comfortable. It wasn’t awful at all, it was a bit uncomfortable. The next day, when I saw sushi in the fridge, I remembered the feeling I had the night before and instead I chose a very satisfying, delicious salad. I know I like the taste of sushi, but at that point, I didn’t want to feel how I felt the night before.


That to me is choosing food from a place of self care and not self punishment.

I will say that this does take time and patience. It takes a certain amount of body acceptance as well. As you learn the cues of your body which you have likely turned off from dieting, you may sometimes overeat or undereat (for you). There is no need to panic or judge yourself, I am welcoming you to do some self exploration. Whether it’s exploring the way your own body works or how your emotions work, this is a journey of self exploration on all levels.


This is why I often say Intuitive Eating can lead to Intuitive Living.

Because through this process and journey, I learn so much about myself. I learn so much about my ability to care and nourish myself. I learn how to do that for others as well. 


I learn to pay attention to myself, my needs, my desires, who I am as a whole person. 


So as I often say on my podcast, Instagram and blog, I don’t blame you for wanting to lose weight, we live in a world that puts thinness on a very high pedestal. But I do want more for you. I want your life to be full of so many things. I want there to be headspace for all the things in your life that honor you, respect you, your whole self, not your broken, thin obsessed, dieting self. 


Thank you for being here! To check out more blogs like this one:

Check out my most popular blog post here:

If you are ready to make peace with food and never say diet again, check out my website and apply for a free 20 minute clarity call. I look forward to hearing from you!

Gila Glassberg, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, holding an inclusive variety of foods

Gila Glassberg is a Master's level registered dietitian and a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. As a teenager, she was faced with constant diet talk, body shaming and obsessive guilt around food. She struggled with disordered eating. This is what propelled her into the field of nutrition. She uses a non-diet, weight-neutral approach called Intuitive Eating. She helps growth oriented women break out of chronic dieting, and regain clarity into what is really important to them.

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