The honeymoon period

img_4100When you are in the first stages of Intuitive Eating, there is what people call a honeymoon period. Because you are giving yourself permission to eat anything you want as much as you want, initially your body reacts with excitement due to the former restrictions and wants to eat ALL THE THINGS!

The funny thing about the honeymoon period is that its length can vary and it can even vary for different foods. In my case, I have definitely experienced varying lengths of honeymoon periods.

There’s a business called Doughnut Time that has a branch not far from my work. They make at least 2 different vegan doughnuts each day and they’re particularly tasty.

When I first started the Intuitive Eating program, I went and bought myself a doughnut a few days in a row. This was part of making sure my brain was truly convinced that I could have one whenever I wanted to. If I felt like one, I had one. Within a few short weeks I have realised that on most days I just don’t feel like a doughnut. The excitement disappears when there are no restrictions. In their book, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch refer to this as habituation. The other night I shared one with my partner as they had a new flavour we hadn’t tried before that looked particularly delicious. I was quite satisfied with half and have no idea when I’ll want another.

On the other hand, I have had a much longer honeymoon period with chick’n burgers.

There’s a great chain of veggie fast food here called Lord of the Fries. They do burgers, hot dogs, fries, etc and are fully vegetarian. Everything on the menu can be veganised, all their sauces (including their delicious Belgian mayo!) are vegan and they have vegan cheese as an option. There are 4 of their stores within an easy walk of my office and I’m a fan of their chick’n burger.

When I started Intuitive Eating, I consciously gave myself permission to go to Lord of the Fries for lunch whenever I felt like it. What I didn’t realise for a while though is that I had only given myself pseudo-permission or partial permission. While I thought I was being free with my permission I found that after I had already been twice in one week, I was thinking that I should get something ‘healthier’ as that was enough for one week. These thoughts undermined the permission I thought I’d given myself and I was still feeling restricted even though I’d consciously said okay.

Once I realised this is what I had done, I had to be very clear to give myself unconditional permission and go every day for a chick’n burger if that’s what I felt like that day. I ended up having one every day for a week. The restrictive thoughts kept wanting to come back but I accepted them for what they are; a relic of past dieting and cultural messages and noticed them and then let them go. I’m confident I have now finally managed to convince myself that I truly can get a chick’n burger any time I want and I’m starting to notice that I genuinely am wanting them less.

I’m not sure the chick’n burger honeymoon period is quite over yet, and I may still go through a few more honeymoon periods with other foods I haven’t hit yet, but for now I’m feeling pretty chill with where I’m at.

The key is though, you must give yourself full unconditional permission or it just doesn’t work.

I’m sure grateful to Christy’s course for helping me get to this point and I’m excited about where it will take me next

~ B

Intuitive Eating


This is on my pinup board these days. I am even more sure of Intuitive Eating and its role in changing my life for the better than when I first read the book a few months ago. I found the stars while clearing out stuff and put them there because they’re pretty 🙂 In the past those same stars have been ‘earned’ for eating ‘right’ and exercising. I’m glad that stuff is in the past. Now I get stars just because. And why not?

I’m so grateful to Lacy from Rise & Resist for recommending the Intuitive Eating book on the podcast. It was just the right thing for me at the perfect time. Following McDougall along with other things was really messing with my head and I was starting to realise that for my mental health I had to stop having so many rules about food. I thought this would mean I would have to deprioritise my physical health but turns out that’s not the case at all. Once you start reading the science behind Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size you realise this whole thing is actually better than any kind of restriction.

One of the first things I realised is that despite never consciously going ‘on a diet’ I’ve spent most of my adult life caught up in the diet mentality, mostly under the sneaky pseudonym of ‘healthy eating’.

I knew that reading the book wouldn’t be enough to make the change with all the diet culture that was so ingrained from the past and that we are all continually bombarded with. So I’ve been listening to lots of podcasts on the topic and also signed up for an online course. I’m currently somewhere around ‘challenge the food police’ at the moment 🙂

It’s a slow process and I know I have a way to go but I’m already feeling so much better mentally and physically and I’m really looking forward to eventually become an Intuitive Eater 🙂

I’m also accepting that my ‘set point weight’ is not what I’d always strived for/thought I should or could be. This is challenging, mostly because I hear others’ voices about it, but also really freeing.

There’s a reason nutrition is at the end of the process. Not because it doesn’t matter but because if you focus on it too early it is too wound up with restrictive/dieting thoughts and will send you backwards. I know that I’m definitely not in a head space right now to focus on nutrition at all. These women know their stuff 🙂

On my run the other day I listened to Rise & Resist and it was so great to hear Holly and Lacy reflect on Intuitive Eating 12 months in. Holly’s even going to do an Olympic lifting comp without tracking calories or macros, but just sticking to IE. So inspiring!

~ B

Day at the Museum


Today we went to see the Jurassic World Exhibition at the museum. It was a pretty fun day out all in all. I love Melbourne and the trams and we were able to catch a tram there with a pleasant walk at either end. I feel like they probably let a few too many people in each time slot as the exhibition was pretty crowded but it was cool and they’d done a great job of the dinosaurs and getting them to move in pretty realistic ways.

Afterwards we went to one of our favourite restaurant in the city and had some sweet and sour (vegan) pork with vegetarian fried rice. I’ve always been a fan of sweet and sour and haven’t managed to replicate the sauce the way I really like it, but the way this place does it? Just delicious 🙂 Afterwards I really felt like dessert but wasn’t sure whether to have the banana fritter that I’d had there before and really enjoyed, or to head across for a doughnut.

It was decided that I’d check which vegan doughnuts (donuts?) were available and the decision was made. They normally offer 2 vegan options daily, but this time they had 4. I’m hoping this is a sign that they’ve noticed the demand and that they will keep it up. We were going to get 3 as there are 3 people in our household but they offer a discount for 4, so….


In the end we got 2 of the Morrissey (choc donut with sprinkles and peanut butter cookie dough), a Sia Later (red velvet with a delicious icing) and a Rainbow one with a lemon glaze and skittles. They’re not all gone yet because we stop eating when we’re no longer hungry here now, but they have been thoroughly enjoyed so far and rest assured will be finished before they’re no good any more.

I’m also about finished Module 1 of Christy Harrison’s Intuitive Eating course. I’ve enrolled in this because, after reading the book, I’ve been convinced that this is what I need to do and how I want to live my life, but I know that I need reinforcement of the principles and support and reminders to ensure that I don’t ultimately just go back to haphazardly alternating between not caring and restricting. There are too many forces in this world trying to bring us there. I have been getting a lot out of her podcasts so thought it was worth giving the course a go. So far it looks promising.

~ B

Separating veganism from ‘healthy’ plant-based diet

I’ve always been uncomfortable with the conflation between health/weight loss and veganism. In some ways it’s an unfortunate result of food being a very large and obvious area of animal exploitation. But when the health/weight loss and veganisam are conflated it’s actually dangerous. It’s important for people to realise that you can be vegan and get adequate nutrition regardless of your lifestyle, but when veganism is constantly ‘sold’ as a way to lose weight or become lean or even to get healthy, people will be harmed by seeing veganism as yet another possible solution to the never ending problem of finding the perfect ‘diet’.

In my mind, the term ‘ethical vegan’ is redundant as to be vegan is to be inherently ethical in your choices. Because I don’t want any sentient beings to be harmed and I know that I can eat in such a way that I do not contribute to that harm, the only option I have, if I am to like, value and respect myself, is to be vegan. Animal products are no more seen as food to me than is the option of eating human flesh. Veganism is not about restriction any more than not eating human flesh is a restriction.

Unfortunately, it is seen as a restriction, and this as well as the way it is sold as a health solution, means that it is often used as an excuse for restricting and leads many people to put it in the ‘doesn’t work’ basket along with all the diets.

But it’s not a diet.

Anyway, realising all this is making me all the more motivated to learn as much as I can about Intuitive Eating. What is clearly needed is Intuitive Eating resources for vegans. This is what I hope to create. If you have any ideas or thoughts, let me know 🙂

~ B

PS – the picture on the left is baked potatoes with baked beans and Daiya cheddar cheese, on the right are 2 jam donuts and a caramel slice, all vegan, nothing ‘restrictive’ about it


Today’s challenge

I’m taking a few days off work at the moment to get a bunch of things done that I don’t really have time for usually. One of the things on today’s list was to buy some jeans. A couple of pairs of jeans that I had before would fit me on ‘good days’ but mostly they were too tight and uncomfortable.

So today I set out to buy a couple of new pairs in a size that fit. There’s nothing like looking at yourself in a change room mirror to really test your focus on Intuitive Eating and body positivity and not wanting to change what you eat based on what your body looks like. Especially when the comparison you start doing against all the others in the shop leaves you feeling pretty darn inadequate.

I’m glad that I went in feeling good. As I said, I’ve had a couple of days off and I’ve been checking things off my list and the sun was shining so I was feeling pretty happy and relaxed. That certainly helped but I still started doubting myself, my worth and everything I’m doing at the moment.

I’m also glad that I’ve been listening to a bunch of Intuitive Eating podcasts as I had downloaded all the available episodes of Food Psych. So I kept reminding myself to think about how I feel physically at the moment rather than the shape of my body. I’ve been running 3 x per week and doing a 30 minute strength workout 3 x per week and feeling great during both. I’ve also noticed my fitness in between times, climbing stairs or running to public transport, is pretty good. I managed to mostly replace the negative messages with helpful ones.

I’m still tempted to start bringing back some food rules, but I know that’s not for the best. I’ve also just enrolled in Christy Harrison’s 13 week Intuitive Eating course, because I know that I need some help reinforcing the concepts. I’m pretty sure that this is something I want to be doing for the rest of my life, so I figured it was worth the investment. Today’s challenge has made it clear to me that I was right to think I need reinforcement. There’s still a way to go before I can truly call myself an Intuitive Eater.

~ B

Being flexible

IMG_1681.JPGIt’s important, as much as you may (or may not!) have a routine or a program, to allow yourself to swap things around when you need or want to.

Yesterday, I was scheduled to run but when my alarm went off I could hear it absolutely pouring with rain outside. Now I don’t mind a bit of a run in the rain but this was really heavy and I did not feel like it. For a moment I contemplated rolling over for another half hours sleep but instead I decided to do the workout I had planned for today.

Now I’ve always loved doing upper body weights. I enjoy lifting and I especially love to feel that my muscles have worked hard afterwards. I feel strong then and I like it. So I got up and did some biceps and triceps exercises and after a good stretch I felt fantastic.

It’s been a while since I have felt so good because I had been too caught up in eating the ‘right’ way and looking right and fitting workouts in at times that didn’t suit me, etc etc. Now that my primary goal with exercise and food is to do what I feel like doing, I’m remembering what it was like to love it.

I felt so good that I wanted to run around punching the air and I even did a bit because why the hell not, right?

More specific goals will come but for the moment, I still need to get out of the diet mindset and the persistent thoughts that exercise is for the purpose of weight loss and looking a certain way. Until I’ve worked through that, it will just mean going backwards if I try to do more.

It’s a slow process and that’s okay. Whatever you’re doing today, I hope it’s something that feels good 🙂

~ B

Starting out

I’ve just finished reading the Intuitive Eating book and am already feeling like it’s going to change my life for the better. I know that probably sounds hyperbolic or whatever, but I’m not sure I can even describe the feelings I’ve had reading and realising just how damaged that I and my relationship with food and with my body, had become.

I thought that because I wasn’t ‘dieting’ but rather ‘eating healthy’ that I was above all the body issues but I realised that it was just another term to cover up really trying to do the exact same thing.

Throughout childhood, messages from everywhere, but especially from home, were that skinny was good and that anything else was bad. Food intake, both quantity and type was watched closely, but mostly any sign of fat was commented on. That kind of thing is hard to let go of.

It looks like I definitely hadn’t and vegan groups had just made it all that much harder. There is so much focus on ‘health’ in the vegan movement that is often thinly (or not even) disguised fat shaming. It is often said that if you’re not super fit, healthy and attractive, then you are a bad vegan and not a good representative for veganism. This is bullshit!

Most recently, I had read Dr McDougall’s book ‘The Starch Solution’. I had thought that I was in a really good headspace and would be able to take in the health message and learn about all the ‘right’ foods to eat but just not take in the constant fat shaming talk that is throughout the book.

I was wrong. I didn’t realise how far I was getting back down that hole until I was really struggling. I was feeling mentally and emotionally crap and really struggling to force myself to get out and exercise and not enjoying it at all. I used to enjoy exercise so this was a big problem.

I know that to get to the point of true Intuitive Eating will take some time and I am sure that there will be stumbles along the way, but some of the basic tenets of the concept have already helped me enormously. To change the mindset from ‘bad’ and ‘good’ foods to, if you don’t love it, don’t eat it and if you love it, savour it. No food is off limits and all food will always be available (yes I’m vegan, and no I don’t consider products of animal harm to be food, so this still applies in full).

The other basic concept, which is one I’ve followed in the past but had somehow lost, is that exercise is to make you feel good, nothing more, nothing less. It is not to lose weight. So I came up with a plan that fits in with my busy schedule but is also in line with what I love to do. I work out best in the mornings and I really only have half an hour (getting up at 4:40 is quite early enough!)

So now I am running 3 x per week. I’ve been doing the C25K again and have just finished week 5. I skip the 5 minute cool down as I walk my dog immediately after I run anyway.

3 x per week I do a 30 minute strength workout. Because I’m not a big fan of squats, lunges or push ups, but I don’t mind doing a little bit and I appreciate the benefits, I do 8 squats, 8 lunges and 10 push ups each time. Then I do a couple of sets of weights alternating between arms, chest & back, and shoulders. Then I finish with either a set of crunches or a 60 second plank. Enjoyable, quick and pretty well rounded I think.

I’ve been doing this for around 3 weeks now and I’ve been looking forward to my workouts again for the first time in ages. Saturday is generally my rest day as I’m flat out taking my kid to all the sporting activities.

I will blog about my ups and downs on this journey because I like writing and I think it will help me to keep all my thoughts together. I also like the idea of it maybe helping someone else in the same way that I often find comfort and assistance in others’ words.

If you do decide to follow my journey, I hope you enjoy it. And just remember, all bodies are good bodies.

~ B