Blog Project: Intuitive Eating Chapter 1 – How I got here

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Her name was Charlotte. I’d known her since we were both six. I watched her on the bus on a day 10 years later, when we were in year 11 at school.

At that time I I had an eating disorder that was slowly, secretly, but very much definitely, taking control of me.

Because of that it was people’s bodies that I looked at, and that day I was looking at Charlotte’s.

Her body was bigger than mine, although we were about the same height. She was athletic; I knew she was on a swimming team, she played football and netball, but even if I didn’t know that already I could see she just oozed energy in how she moved. I was fascinated by how inviting it looked, to be in a body like hers.

She bounced between seats on the bus that day, laughing and messing around with a big group of boys and girls. She was also eating. Eating whilst laughing, smiling, and messing around between the bus seats.

(I couldn’t remember the last time I’d smiled when I ate)

Charlotte was talking about what club training she’d got after school that day (netball) and saying that she needed to get home in time for a meal beforehand.

She said, proudly and happily, “I love eating. I eat five meals a day!”

I continued looking at her body with what she’d just said echoing in my ears, in disbelief/shock/envy.

She wasn’t thin. She took up space. She filled her clothes. Yet, she looked relaxed. It looked like she enjoyed her body without even thinking about it. This was so, so alien to me. I couldn’t stop watching.

I didn’t have the words to describe it back then, but looking back I know that she looked and acted like she did, with freedom and power, because she was fed, fit, and strong, from a place hardwired into her. Nothing had interfered with her ability to eat and move intuitively, without it being a mental struggle.

She was relaxed about eating. She wasn’t restricted by rules or worries about food. She “exercised” for fun.

She didn’t think twice about eating enough.

I looked at her body jealously. And that felt confusing. She was happy with her body, and I LIKED her body, even though she wasn’t thin? But what about all those messages I’d internalised about thinness being what I should be working on at all times as part and parcel of becoming an adult, and a female adult at that?

To be clear: I was mentally ill at this stage. This was beyond the ongoing sigh of the adult women around me saying “I need to lose a few pounds”. But if you’ve been brought up as a woman in capitalist, western society, you’ll recognise the trajectory I was on. Most of us have been on it, and so many still are, whether we’re actively doing something towards it or not –

we’re in a state of  “thinner would be better”.

Back to the bus that day, what did Charlotte have that I wanted? She looked happy, proud, fully engaged with life, and strong – both in her body, energy and confidence. Deep down, I suspected they were not unrelated qualities.

If I could have recognised and articulated it back then, I’d have gotten where I am today, MUCH sooner. I wanted what her body meant about her relationship with herself – respect, care, enjoyment.

Today, I am Charlotte.

You’re hopefully not in the same place I was on the bus that day at 16 years old, but the pleasure and happiness that I saw in Charlotte came from movement enthusiasm and relaxation around food, and that is what I want for you.

I don’t think this journey should be gatekept.

When the world charges you to subscribe to it’s ideals of trapping you in a cycle of changing your body because it’s not quite good enough (diet companies), I want to give you the opposite, for free, in a series of blog posts.

I didn’t invent intuitive eating, cleverer people than I did and clever people than I can teach you how to do it. But, I am going to take you blog post by blog post through the main principles and how I apply them to my life alongside training because that’s a different experience than just applying intuitive eating.

How I apply the principles is outlined in the graphics below.

Stick around for each blog post. There will be prompts, if you want to start implementing this, to work on each principle on your own. I highly recommend you use my words as a starting point for your own journey with intuitive eating as an active woman though.

I’m pretty sure Charlotte has forgotten I ever existed. But, I’m grateful to her wherever she is. I hope what’s coming helps you too, if you’re stuck anywhere on the journey I’ve come on.

I won’t be selling you anything from this blog project, my paid work is strength and fitness training, but if you want to say thanks and support this project you can buy me a coffee here: 

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