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How long does it take to become an intuitive eater?

I wish I could tell you, but it really depends on a lot of things. Our society is geared up for quick fixes, fast results, easy solutions. Unfortunately, becoming an intuitive eater is none of those. Intuitive eating can be life changing, but often requires changing life-long habits and beliefs, which can be challenging to navigate and takes time and perseverance.


There is also no particular ‘end point’ to it, where you can say: Now I have reached my goal!

It is an ongoing way of living and learning, confronting and exploring. There are, of course, factors that can influence how long it will take you to get to a place where you feel comfortable with your body and the food you eat.


Let’s have a look at them:


Your history with dieting

Long-term chronic dieting, yo-yo dieting and obsession with counting calories and macros, or restricting foods will take their toll on your ability to perceive internal cues. That means your hunger signals might be on mute, you eat for emotional reasons more than you don’t, you don’t really know when to stop or you don’t even know what foods you like anymore.


It will take some time to reawaken those signals, to explore what hunger feels like for you and to find out which foods bring you joy and taste great for you. It also means unpacking some of the emotional reasons you turn to food for; looking at what you are really hungry for.


an empty white plate with a sad face drawn onto it and cutlery put on it, a pink background

Eating disorders

If you have suffered with an eating disorder, you may find that your beliefs around food and your body are very distorted and negative, and that your anxiety around food is high. To address this you will need to explore your belief system and its origins. This can be challenging as it will often require a lot of unpacking in terms of emotions, and is best done with a professional. This work goes deep, but intuitive eating is a wonderful way to heal and recover from an eating disorder. There really is no way of knowing how long that road is going to be because everyone is so different.


Commitment

It’s quite simple: the more you commit to making changes and working on incorporating the principles of intuitive eating into your life, the sooner you will feel like you are making big strides to food freedom! But that is often easier said than done. I always encourage my clients to go at their own pace: as long as you commit to the process and are happy to spend time really exploring the aspects most relevant to you, you will move in the right direction.


Willingness to change and openness to new ideas

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