Interview on Intuitive Eating

Hello Elisa, we had this amazing chat last week on food in general and intuitive eating. I am so impressed on your philosophy, which came through during the conversation. It totally rocked my world in the way of having something to eat, and this everlasting search for food came to a sudden end.

Hi, Simo! Thank you for doing this interview with me! 🙂 I would be happy to elaborate more of what we already talked about.

I was wondering how could you explain Intuitive eating, is it just eating whatever comes to your way, or is there something more to it? Should we all just eat and never think about what goes in and out?

Intuitive eating is about listening to your body as a whole functioning system. Your hunger and fullness cues, your cravings and emotions. It is also about listening to your brain because this is not separate from your body – having some common sense and taking into account some nutritional knowledge about food. So it is not only about listening to your cravings and, for example, eating junk food as much as your stomach could possibly take in, but also having some common sense about foods that says “Eat everything you want in balance so you can be fulfilled nutritionally, but also emotionally”. Intuitive eating, at its core, is about finding balance with eating – physically and mentally.

As there are some ancient health systems, which really certainly indicate, that some foods are good for our system and some are not. Some make us vibrate more faster and some slower, but where is the balance? How can you train your inner ear? It can sometimes be difficult to filter the information, which comes to you, and to decide what is right for your own needs.

Yes, it is indeed difficult, especially at first. And particularly when nowadays we are bombarded with nutrition messages like “Eat this and not that!”, “This is unhealthy and this is not” – and at the same time there are people who believe the opposite is true! So who or what information to trust? We may listen to someone else’s rules and restrictions more than we know how to listen to our body. That way we become very distant from our own bodies signals. But there is a way to return back to it, to find balance again.

For example, besides intuitive eating, I also teach people about eating disorder recovery as I myself suffered from bulimia and orthorexia in the past. Recovery is a process where you un-brainwash yourself (as I call it) from all the external rules and recommendations and instead start to learn, follow, and practice listening to your bodies signals. I think you can use the “recovery” I teach the same way for returning back to intuitive eating.

In recovery you can still take into account general health recommendations that make sense to you, that make you feel good and that serve you, but you start to let go of all the other ones that doesn’t. There is nothing bad about learning and trying out different things what might work for you, but also recognizing where things go out of balance and where the previous “healthy eating” becomes rather unhealthy, making you have all sorts of backlashes and negative side-effects. And sometimes intuitively you may just know that something feels “off” and is not right, so this is also a way to practice intuitive eating and trusting your body with taking account all the available nutrition information.

I may get confused on some things, that people are telling. Sometimes there are so inspiring experiences when someone has done something and you feel so drawn to their energy. I had this experience with pure fruitarian diet, which was so inspiring and I thought this is the only thing in my life now. But in a while it made my teeth really yellow. My question would be, how can we find this balance in being inspired to make new choiches, but which are still quite far away for our physical body.

Yes, it has happened to me too! Nothing bad about it. We can feel inspired to make healthy changes by other people’s examples. But again, it’s about trying it out without assuming that it will automatically work the same way it has worked for them. Also, we might not take into account their specific background or the fact that maybe it took them several years to get to the place where they are. Or that maybe they live in a totally different environment with a circle of friends who are on the same path as them. So maybe this way you can see how it is a very different scenario for every individual.

We can take all the knowledge we can get from them but not to forget about listening to our own body signals and intuition. Maybe for you, it’s good toeat fruit and it makes you feel balanced and healthy, but if you try to be 100% fruitarian your body mightsuffer because it is way out of balance for you for any reason.

Also, by changing my diet I have learned to let go of the all-or-nothing kind of mindset. For example, if I am inspired to eat more fruit, it does not have to mean I will be 100% fruitarian…or that I can never have any cooked food again. Making healthy choices does not have to be too quick, too extreme. For our body, a slow transition in moderate amounts, in the limits that feels best for us without getting out of balance, is way more healthy and sustainable in the long run.

It is interesting to note, that you said you are mostly vegan in your every day life. And, it seems it is not that much of a conscious decision, rather an intuitive one. Many people are setting different restrictions on themselves, that they must be vegan, or vegetarian, and that eggs are too round or milk is too white.. But in your case, it seems that the whole process of transitioning to a diet, which gives out compassion has been very natural thing.

Yes, I particularly said I am mostly vegan because I am not entirely vegan. In today’s world, a word “vegan” has become too much of what I do not like or want to represent. I am not a radical vegan or “You are a murderer!”-yelling vegan. I rather do not mention it at all because of all the assumptions people have about it. But yes, it is what I do mostly for ethical reasons. I have become so used to plant-based foods that I do not even think about it much. But, as we live in a society that is mostly still animal food based, with all the animal by-products and ingredients in a lot of foods, offered at family get-togethers and social events, I do not drive myself crazy about avoiding it at all costs either. If I would do it that way I feel I would again develop this disordered, all-or-nothing kind of mindset that was way too familiar in my eating disorder past. So I just eat mostly vegan or plant-based or vegetarian or however you may call my eating

And, there is also this aspect of respecting other person as well. We had this dicussion with Mariin, on fake leather and real leather, and we thought it is rather about enjoyment than getting arsed by toxins. Your take on this subject was also really sensible, that it is all about cooperation with the society we are living in. Having friendly relationships with family, friends etc.. That it is more important to appreciate this sense of love, and heartfulness in other people.

Is this question still about the vegan aspect? If yes, I agree. None of my friends or family are vegan and I still love, respect and treat them the same way as I would like to be treated. I think we cannot change the world with hate but more with being the positive example. We cannot change other people, but we can start with ourselves. Be the person you want to see in the world.

Can you tell about your work that you do as well. I really love this idea of going freelance, as you mentioned. You have also this little baby called recipe book and many more projects. Can you tell what you are up to and this perspective of a deep trust in doing your own thing.

I have a website http://www.followtheintuition.com where I teach about how to recover from eating disorders and how to become an intuitive eater. I have written a book about how to recover and published it on Amazon this year. Also, I offer one-on-one recover coaching. I write weekly articles and publish Youtube videos. As I have also studied graphic design I work as a freelancer in this area as well!

A long time ago I had a dream of having a free working schedule and to be able to work from home. I wanted to do some kind of online business, but at that time, had no idea how or what exactly I need to do for that. Or even what kind of business should it be. But my life has taught me that as long as you have a dream, you believe in it, and take action, somehow you will get it!

Thank you for answering to these questions and to you have something else to add? It is always interesting to hear inspiring people and their take on life. 🙂

I just want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to share my knowledge on your website and with your audience. I want to wish you success with all your work and I know you will help people with the content you share! 🙂

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