IMPORTANT: This blog represents just PART of a WHOLE journey. You’ll get the most out of it if you start from the beginning.
It was a Saturday afternoon in late 2018, and I was bored. The gym I owned with my brother had closed a few months before, leading me to move back to my hometown. All my belongings were in boxes in my parent’s garage, and I found myself searching through their bookshelves to find something to do.
Amongst the complete works of Shakespeare, old encyclopaedias, and bird-watching guides, I came across a book called “Beyond Chocolate” written by sisters, Sophie and Audrey Boss. The book had the tagline, “How to Stop Yo-yo Dieting and Lose Weight For Good”. At the time, I was working as an online trainer selling body-positive weight loss (as if body-positive weight loss is really a thing… 2023 me is eye-rolling hard at that dumbass suggestion), so the book grabbed my attention.
I expected Beyond Chocolate to be like every other diet book I’ve read – yet another unoriginal attempt to get folks to eat less and move more – but I was so wrong. In fact, this particular book was about to change the entire trajectory of my life.
The Boss’ book, wasn’t like any other dieting book I’ve ever read. Rather than ‘hacks’ to control what I ate, Sophie and Audrey were instead, giving me permission to eat whatever the f*ck I wanted. They weren’t telling me to diet at all. Instead, they were giving my first introduction to the world of mindful and intuitive eating.
As a trainer, I was used to the words, “food” and “fuel” fitting together, I’d never heard anyone until that point put the words “mindful” and “eating” into the same sentence. The very idea that food was anything more than simply calories and energy was a fricking revelation to me. Instead of people’s shitty relationship with food being blamed on a lack of willpower, discipline, or knowledge, this book blamed our food problems on our society’s culture of dieting itself. And so began the next part of my Anti-Fitness Project journey – the part that began the hard task of separating food from the weight loss industry.
You may, like many readers of my Anti-Fitness journey blog already know what mindful eating is, so I won’t bore you with a long blog about intuitive eating principles. However, if you’re new to the world of intuitive eating or simply need a reminder, here’s a summary of what this new way of looking at food entails, and I’d highly recommend watching this video which gives some excellent advice on how to start integrating it into your life.
Addressing emotional eating is a huge part of intuitive eating which deserves highlighting, so here’s a great article about it.
Why not snuggle up onto your sofa and enjoy this short documentary explaining why diets don’t work. It features some famous names in the Anti-Diet circle.
And here’s a bunch of the books that I read on intuitive and mindful eating in no particular order:
- Beyond Chocolate: Sophie and Audrey Boss
- The Food Addiction Recovery Workbook: Carolyn Coker Ross
- The Emotional Eating Workbook: Carolyn Coker Ross
- Just Eat It: Laura Thomas
- On Eating: Susie Orbach
- Overcoming Overeating: Jane R. Hirschmann & Carol H. Munter
- Why You Eat What You Eat: Rachel Herz
- Intuitive Eating (and the workbook of the same name): Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch
- Body Positive Power: Megan Jayne Crabbe
- The F*ck It Diet: Caroline Dooner
- Anti-Diet: Christy Harrison
As I said, if you’re new to intuitive eating, my suggestion would be to check out a few of the books above that has all the nitty-gritty details. So much has been written about the subject and I don’t think I can add any deeper insights into the traditional systems of doing it, which is why I’m keeping this post short and sweet. But for those of you who already know about intuitive eating or have had trouble embracing it, I’ve got you covered. I’ve written a follow-up post where I share my own experience with the mindful eating approach.
As I went on my journey with food, I realized that some aspects of traditional intuitive eating didn’t quite fit with me, and so I wanted to share my perspective. Throughout your whole Anti-Fitness journey, I want you to get used to questioning the systems other people use to solve their problems. Because whilst they might fit for others, they might not for you. A huge part of being Anti-Fitness is that you understand your own uniqueness. But here’s the deal, I only recommend reading my take if you’ve already given the traditional intuitive eating format a fair shot. It’s got a tonne of valuable lessons that I wouldn’t want you to miss out on.
So, if you’re already a seasoned intuitive eater or have tried it before and didn’t vibe with it, read part two of this post for my insights.