Patience, like trust, can only be learned with experience

I was thinking yesterday about my journey from undiagnosed eating disorder, to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, all the way to intuitive eating and eating competence. Do you know how long has this journey taken so far? 15 years! And counting!

I wish I could say that I learned to trust food and my body in a week. Heck, I’d be happy to say it took me a month! Instead, it took me almost a year just to learn that dieting was damaging my health and about half as long to start trusting my body’s intuition and food.

Embracing trust feels absolutely wonderful now that I can do it. But I had two companions along the journey that were absolutely indispensable: patience and experience.

Good things come to those who wait

I didn’t always have patience on my intuitive eating journey. Just a few years ago I would feel lost while traveling if I couldn’t find the type of organic apple I needed to eat. I wasn’t dieting at the time and yet, I was scared of food and easily impatient with limited food selections. And don’t get me started about eating at restaurants I wasn’t familiar with! I once threw a huge tantrum at an Asian restaurant because I couldn’t understand the menu — that happened just 4 years ago!

My impatience was born of searching for a final goal, a moment when I could say “I’m done, I know all there is to know about food and I am fully eating competent.” After 15 years I find I’m nowhere near that. Instead what I have is something much more precious:

Patience.

Big deal, right? And yet, think what a gift patience can be. I’m not talking here about the patience you need when you’re stuck in traffic or waiting for the an appointment at the doctor’s office. The patience I’m talking about is the type of peaceful attitude that comes from having no end goal, no results to run after, and all the time in the world to be happy.

There’s only trying

Experimenting is the only way to test patience and build trust. Without experience, trust and patience are meaningless. Reading about trust and patience is like trying to learn skydiving by reading a book about parachutes. I share a lot of information on this blog and on my website, but none of it will make a difference until you give it a try.

Take a week or, if you’re really brave, take a month. In this time try giving up all diets and eat what your body tells you to eat. Try spacing out your food in meals and snacks. Try cooking for one meal a week, even if cooking is just assembling food from boxes and cans. While you try, read more about dieting detox and try the exercises of fearless eaters.

A week or even a month of “uncontrolled” eating will not ruin your health, trust me. Even if you only ate cookies and fries every day for a week your health is unlikely to suffer. It takes years for food to actually affect health in a meaningful way. And actually, your worries and stress about losing weight and dieting are more likely to cause damages faster than food ever could.

But don’t take my word for it: try. And after you try, share your thoughts with me in the comments or send me an email at valentina@valiantnutrition.com. I’d love to hear all about it 🙂

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

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