A Few Thoughts on Snacking & Intuitive Eating

I just read a beautiful post on Kylie Mitchell’s blog about being kind to your body and how it’s not meant to stay/look the same for your whole life. I wouldn’t do it any justice by recapping it, so you should definitelyhave a read of it here, pals!

There was something in particular that really caught my eye in Kylie’s post. She said she’s a "3 meals and a 2-6 snacks kinda person" and I just loved that. We’re told by so many different sources that we should only have 2-3 snacks a day, or that we should have bigger meals so that we don’t "need" to eat any snacks at all. When Kylie wrote that, my whole body and mind felt this big sense of relief. Since I’ve been practising intuitive eating and listening to my hunger cues, I’ve actually found myself being quite hungry in between meal times. In the beginning of my recovery, I thought it was my body’s way of adjusting to how it was meant to be fuelling itself, since I had been restricting/starving myself for so long during my ED. But then, after a couple of months, I was still hungry in between meals and most of the time, wanted a mini-meal instead of a snack.

Intuitive eating, as freeing and wonderful as it is, can be really difficult sometimes. When your hunger signals and body are telling you that you’re hungry, it’s so hard not to revert back to old disordered eating thinking/behaviours: "but you JUST ATE an hour ago! You’re not meant to eat again for another 3 hours!" And, of course, you also get people around you putting so much value on their eating behaviours; "I’ve just been so naughty lately and I just can’t stop eating! I’ve been eating so much in between meals! It’s so bad!"

The disordered eating version of you immediately makes you compare yourself to other people and diet rules that you’ve adhered to in the past. You start to think that maybe you shouldn’t listen to what your body is telling you and just restrict for another couple of hours, so you can be "good" and not break any of the rules that have been ingrained in your mind.

It’s a constant battle with yourself and it can be exhausting. What I think is so important, though, is to remember that:

The goal of your disordered eating and any thoughts and behaviours associated with it is to bring you down. My disordered eating used to tell me that if I just kept restricting, I would be thinner and therefore would be happier. It promised me a world full of sunshine and daisies if I could just keep under a certain amount of calories; if I could just restrict my sugar intake; if I could just starve myself a little bit more. The reality? I might’ve been thinner than I am now but goodness, I was so incredibly unhappy.

Intuitive eating helps you become the best version of yourself. It doesn’t insult your intelligence. It lets you make the decisions. Not anyone else; not bullshit diet culture or other people. It helps you recognise what you need to eat, and more importantly what you want to eat… And it doesn’t tell you that you can only have it if you exercise and burn off enough calories.

So, when I read Kylie’s blog post, I was just so excited when I read that she has lots of snacks because it goes against every bit of diet culture I’ve ever come across. I thought, "She really knows what she wants and needs and she just goes for it. I love that!" I didn’t even think about the fact that she’s pregnant. Then I read the comments and one woman had written that she was relieved to read that too because she snacks a lot as well. Then, as I read on, my ED voice became concerned: this woman said that she was growing a human, so of course she had to eat more!

Rationally, I know that is totally true. You really do eat for two when you’re expecting. (Not that I know from experience, but it’s common sense, no?!) But my ED voice immediately came into play as soon as I read this woman’s comment… I suddenly felt disheartened because I thought, "Oh, they only eat 2-6 snacks a day because they’re pregnant. I’m not pregnant. I’m not eating for 2. Maybe I am eating too much!" And my whole disordered eating thinking came flooding back into my brain. UGH.

Then, the new bad-ass bitch, normal and intuitive eating me stepped in and told my ED voice to hit the bricks. "Stop comparing yourself and your habits to other people! You’re getting so good at listening to and honouring your body! Don’t doubt that! Don’t doubt yourself!"

So, I wont. And you shouldn’t either, my loves.

I’m a 2-6 snack kinda person, just like Kylie. I’m not pregnant, but I still eat lots of snacks during the day. And she might as well, after she’s had her baby. But guess what? That’s her business. And what I eat is mine. Only I know what I want and need, and only you know what you want and need. And that’s pretty dang special.

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