3 Steps to Intuitive Eating – Marriage and Food Intuition

Intuitive Eating and Marriage. That sounds like a rather odd combination? Surprisingly, it’s not. I just got back from my 2-week long honeymoon (it was absolutely amazing) and I am pretty sure I have discovered what might just be the ticket (or at least my ticket) to being an intuitive eater for good.

How I Got Married and Became an Intuitive Eater

I married an intuitive eater.

When we first started going out, I mostly ate just like Bobby (my husband) – but it can be hard to keep up with a 19-year-old boy, not to mention the fact that it’s not that good for your waistline.

For the next few years I tried to eat intuitively, and eventually something stuck. Creating good new habits takes work. But sometimes you can get a kick in the pants, or find motivation that will get your butt in gear. Here are the three steps that helped me (finally!) truly embrace eating intuitively:

  1. Name your flaw: I have an odd relationship with food. I knew that I did not eat intuitively. Lots of oatmeal does not a dinner make. For years I berated myself for not being able to “just snap out of it”, which many people seemed to think was good advice.
  2. Reframe the flaw: I have two glorious weeks to be completely free around food. Before I left for my honeymoon, I decided that it didn’t matter how much weight I gained while I was gone; I wanted to enjoy myself and I wanted to have fun on my honeymoon! (It turns out that I didn’t gain a pound – in fact, I lost 1-2.) Maybe your reframe could be, “I have a chance to completely change the way I eat,” or “I love eating locally and organically,” or “I am a great role model for my children,” and so on. This should be a positive statement about YOU that has at least a remote connection to that initial flaw you named above.
  3. Own it! I am an intuitive eater. This one is all about the power of positive thinking. “Fake it ‘til you make it.” Focus on your successes. Keep going. Push through. Pretend. If you can’t be an intuitive eater just yet, pretend you are anyway. Just don’t give up.

Why did it work for me this time? Because I keep trying. And because I followed all three steps, not just the first one. I’d named the flaw before (over and over again) but I never turned it into something positive. I think (hope) that everyone who tries to quit something fails the first few times (if they don’t fail, they are either lying or superhuman). If you quit smoking successfully, you probably “quit” several times before you succeeded. (Note: I do not smoke, but this is a good common example.) It’s the same with food – if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!

An Intuitive Eating Dinner

Open-faced tuna melts. Mine (2 slices of whole wheat bread, tuna salad, tomatoes, and melted cheese):

Bobby’s (sesame seed bagel, tuna salad, cheddar cheese):

My easy tuna salad recipe. Dessert was tart frozen yogurt (shared) from Trader Joe’s. Then wine – a mix of Trader Joe’s wine (Dr. Beckermann Auslese Rheinhessen – it’s a white wine and it’s fantastic – sweet and refreshing) mixed with seltzer:

Are you an intuitive eater? Why or why not?

22 Replies to “3 Steps to Intuitive Eating – Marriage and Food Intuition”

  1. I always look to Sean and his eating patterns as well—men eat so intuitively most of the time and he is a great role model to me!

    and I definitely try to eat intuitively–I do great most days of the week.

  2. I have tried intuitive eating in the past — but I realized that living/working in NYC means I am often VERY disconnected from my intuition! There’s so much here to distract you. While intuitive eating was a great exercise for me, and taught me a lot about my “natural” eating habits, I decided at some point earlier this year that I didn’t want to focus on food as much as I had been, and that meant letting go of the pressure to be so closely in touch with my hunger/cravings. Now, I’ve been eating much more habitually, and it’s taken a lot of the pressure off—i.e., even if I’m not super-hungry at 1 or 2 pm, I’ll take my lunch break and just eat a smaller lunch, so I won’t have to spend the afternoon thinking, “am I hungry yet?” I also keep much less food in the house, so I don’t spend a long time deciding what I’m craving—I just try to keep healthy food around and eat what’s there.
    Maybe this means I misunderstood what “intuitive eating” was before, and have just now found it . . . not sure.
    Anyway, I’m so happy that you’ve found a more peaceful relationship with food through marriage!! and I agree, “snap out of it” is terrible advice!

  3. Great post Maggie! So happy to hear you and Bobby enjoyed your honeymoon. Some days I think I’m an intuitive eater, and other days I totally fall back into my old structured habits. Haven’t been too good with step #3, but you’re right, I just need to keep trying. I will say that being pregnant has helped a lot as I’m been much more likely to just go with my cravings and eat when I’m hungry, and I hope to continue eating this way after the baby is born.

    Beautiful photo of the two of you. 🙂

    Not sure how to keep your recipes from “dropping down”. Try emailing the WordPress folks. They’re always super helpful whenever I have questions.

  4. It’s funny, your blog has been inundated about posts about the ‘love layer’ and the possible negative effects that a relationship can have on body/eating issues. Maybe it’s because I am still struggling for normalcy, but one thing I’ve definitely noticed about my own relationship is that it’s almost the other way around? When I am with my boyfriend for a weekend or something, I always suck it up and am just kind of like “okay fine I will eat what he does, not go crazy with the portions, and just deal with gaining weight.” Of course, I snack a hell of a lot less when I am with him BUT I do end up eating white pasta (WHAT?!?!), bread, and actual fats, and the funny thing? Even though I feel like absolute shit about myself, I usually lose weight and feel far more satisfied.

  5. Love that photo of you two! I have to admit, I’m not much of an intuitive eater – I often eat at pretty regular times and pre-plan meals. My husband though is one though – I should probably try more to take some tips from him.

  6. First, I haven’t said congratulations! You two always look so sweet together in those pictures.

    Second, I agree with intuitive eating and it would have saved me a ton of grief during those years when dairy was making me so ill! Overall though, I’ve had a good relationship with food, and think the attitude you are going with is awesome.

  7. Congratulations on your marriage! Great photo of you and Bobby. I liked your idea and what you did to align your eating habits with his, because he had good habits (how brilliant). I enjoyed reading your story and glad that you are always working at it. Like the idea of reframing.

  8. Great post, Maggie! Though I don’t consider myself after having an actual eating disorder, intuitive eating is still a struggle for me. For example, at this very moment, my “intuition” tells me to bake a new dessert recipe which will be my lunch, while my brain tells me to have a green smoothie…haha, we shall see who wins that battle…

    It’s such a difficult road but it sounds like you have come a long way. You should be proud of yourself!

  9. Thanks for the post Maggie! First, that picture of you guys is gorgeous. I just started to realize my relationship with food isn’t great. And I’m trying to embrace intuitive eating principles more and more and turn away from the food rules that have been governing the way I eat.

  10. Good for you for finding what intuitive eating means for you!

    Check out the recipes page on my blog and tell me if that is what you mean. If so, email me and I can tell you what I did. And give you a couple of options.

  11. That’s such great advice on intuitive eating! I’m working on it, but it’s hard! I’ve always been such a calorie counter, that I have trouble just letting my stomach do some of the thinking! Great reminders though, I’m going to work on it!

  12. Congrats on the marriage!

    I am not an intuitive eater…yet. Maybe after I get done with these competitions. I probably still won’t be for fear of looking like I used to. I’m just being honest. 🙂

  13. Congratulations, and I’m glad you enjoyed your honeymoon!
    This post resonated very much with me – I began making a concerted effort to eat more normally around the time I met my partner, and four years later, he’s taught me a lot about intuitive eating. Not only is he a good role model when it comes to food, but the post-anorexia support has been amazing (and life changing). I think it’s curious how sometimes others start us along on better paths, but then we’re able to truly own the changes that come about as a result!

  14. such a great entry maggie! i love this, especially because i have that “just want to snap out of it” mentality because i’m sick of not being able to eat intuitively! but i know i have a screwy relationship with food and will keep working on it!

  15. Maggie, you know I struggle with the same binge/restrict cycle, and I am so inspired that you seem to have completely conquered it! I love your tips and am going to write them down in my journal tonight, with my own answers. Thank you, and CONGRATS, again!

  16. i havent eaten intuitively for over two years. that is when i realized i needed to lose weight, and so i started eating 5 small meals a day, i was very strict with my meal planning and also very diligent. when wedding prep and the actual wedding and honeymoon came.. i was too busy to meal plan and too busy to grocery shop! eating intuitively was my only option. now that i’ve been home from my honeymoon for a couple weeks, i’ve continued this way of eating. i love it. it is true, it goes hand in hand with marriage. i wouldn’t want to have to eat different food at different times now that i am married and living with someone. i love enjoying meals together.. and it really is so simple: eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full!

    great post, maggie. look forward to reading the next 2 (i saw these linked in your catch up post)

    also, CONGRATULATIONS on the wedding! i know i am a little late, but i’ve been out of the blog loop 😉


  17. I love this post, just like everyone else does. Its true! Being married I am always focused on what I need to make for the hubs so I kinda go on what he wants and it has helped me be more relaxed as well. Its nice to share meals and focus on the conversation versus calories, etc.

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