Editor’s note: Ali Bonar is a Kween (duh), food Instagramer, influencer, eating disorder recovery advocate, and someone we’ve worked with closely at MIXT (keep your eyes peeled for Fall 2018 imagery). She agreed to guest write a blog post for us about her relationship with food, and how she’s found peace and power within herself by eating intuitively. You can check her out on Instagram, or her granola butter company, here.
How I Ditched Eating Perfectly Clean For an Intuitive Approach
For as long as I can remember, I was the least intuitive eater alive. I’d go out to dinner with my friends and automatically scan for the healthiest option on the menu, not once pausing to think “What sounds good? What am I craving?”
Friends would praise me, in awe of my “self control” and “incredible willpower.” But what they didn’t know what that as soon as I got home from dinner, I raided my pantry and inhaled everything in sight. The phrase “it’s complicated” didn’t even begin to describe my relationship with food: I’d restrict myself during the day, opting for only the healthiest of foods. But one bite of something unhealthy, and I dove headfirst into the pantry, throwing my entire diet out the window.
During these binges, thoughts like: “I’ll start tomorrow” and “I might as well eat it all now, since I’ll be restricting the rest of the week” permeated my mind. I knew I needed help, but I had no idea where to start. Plus, I was terrified.
I began working with a nutritional therapist who taught me some pretty incredible things:
Food is nourishment. It sounds so simple, but this shifted my entire frame of mind. I had always looked at food as the enemy, something to avoid at all costs and control myself around. Once I began trying to add more food in to nourish and fuel my body, everything changed.
Honor your body’s cravings. Our bodies are phenomenal machines. They’re brilliant. Those cravings you feel? They’re for a reason. Listen to your body and give it what it wants, and it’ll do incredible things for you in return (i.e. allowing you to live your best life, etc).
It’s never about the food. I was convinced that if I ate the perfect diet, my life would follow suit and also become perfect (a girl can dream, right?) Turns out, food is a wonderful coping mechanism that many people use to avoid, mask or suppress emotions.
Intuitive eating is not a diet. Intuitive eating is not a 30-day plan that will help you shed inches. Intuitive eating means turning inward and listening to what your body is craving. Sometimes that means fueling it with nourishing foods… and sometimes that means tacos with your friends at 2am.
It’s all a big journey, and I’m still learning. But though this process I have found that filling my diet with lots of veggies, whole grains, proteins and healthy fats allows me to feel my best. And leaving lots of room for fun foods, because tacos with friends at 2am fulfills a part of my soul that no kale salad ever could.