Strange, But FREE!

You guys are absolutely incredible!

The outpour of support via comment, email, and text over the last 24 hours regarding yesterday’s “coming out” post has had me on an emotional roller coaster all day…seriously, my heart has been touched in more ways than I could ever express.

And since I know you are all still waiting on the edge of your seats,
why don’t we pick up where we left off…

So I’m not exactly sure when the (food) scale made me it’s b!^$#, but I do remember the first time I weighed out a salad…


I still think “salad artist” should be an acceptable resume addition! πŸ˜‰

Up until a certain point, I was fine with just throwing veggies on a plate and simply measuring the “big ticket” items (cheese, avocado, nuts, dressing) but one day that just wasn’t enough…I wanted my numbers to be perfect…everything had to add up just right.*

*Odd since I never even liked math when I was in school.

But it was kinda fun at first…like a game…or a puzzle! Plug in the numbers and out pops your prize…wait, where’s my pony?

But then my handy dandy OCD kicked in…whatever I ate had to be EVEN. If it wasn’t a full serving, it had to be a half a serving…a fourth…or mayyyyybe I could do a third. But I could never just throw on a “sprinkling” of seeds or a “handful” of nuts…because well hell, then I’d have to Google the calorie count of one almond!

Samoa Cookie Pancakes

Unfortunately, pancakesΒ were no exception.

Besides what went IN the cakes (did you know 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract has 6 calories?), the toppings were always measured and ready before the photography session started…that way I didn’t get distracted and heaven forbid sprinkle 1.873 tablespoons
of coconut on top! 😯

Also let it be known that if it was on the plate, it had to be eaten. Having always grown up with the “clean your plate” mentality, once it was served, none could remain.

At one point, I realized how much time this was taking…I mean, not only did I have to measure everything out, but THEN I had to log it all. So I decided that one day a week I would not track. I was nervous at first…I felt like I would go “crazy” and just eat everything…mainly because that’s EXACTLY what happenedΒ over Christmas
but surprisingly, it wasn’t that bad!

Whole Foods

The man-friend and I went out to eat. I didn’t have to check online to check nutrition values first OR taste-tigate (tasting + investigating) my food to determine if the mashed potatoes were made with milk or cream for “guess logging”.

But no matter what, I always felt better when I woke up the next day and knew I was “allowed” to count again. I felt that if I had eaten too much the day before, I could make up for it by being “good” and tracking diligently.

Then, one day Sarah surprised me withΒ this post. AΒ couple days later,Β there wasΒ this postΒ from Meg….and then this post from Meghan…and then THIS post from Allie!Β Ok, ok, I can take a hint! πŸ˜‰

So on March 8, 2013, I stopped counting.

I figured, what better way to start fresh than on a day where it would be easiest not to track…with my scheduled knee surgery, I COULDN’T eat! And the next day, after a lonnnnnnnng night of insomniaΒ and catching up on blogs (where I saw Kammie’s vlog),
I decided I would try intuitive eating!

The first week was the hardest, but I can honestly say that I’ve never ONCE felt compelled to log into MFP to “check” myself. I just didn’t know WHAT to eat!

Then there was the first time I tried “listening” to a craving…

I wanted crunch, chocolate, and…something else (though I wasn’t sure what). So I went into the kitchen and threw something together.

Crunch Craving

Apple, celery, and pretzel pieces, covered in a mix of peanut flour, dark chocolate cocoa powder, stevia, and water.

#strangebutgood even when I’m not trying! πŸ˜‰

So I sat down with my bowl of goodness, half expecting some sort of revelation…light to burst forth from my spoon…or something like that. I finished the bowl…I got up…put it in the sink…and then this happened…


God only knows how many handfuls of pretzels, dipped in about 6500 things from the fridge.

Not my proudest moment.

Obviously, I needed some help here…some direction…some support!

So I bought a book

Intuitive Eating

And after only three chapters, I was nodding my head so much I looked like I belonged on the dashboard of a Buick.

So that was my direction, but what about support?

IE ChallengeAfter talking with Meg and getting TONS of positive feedback, I decided to join Jamie Mendell’s IE Challenge.

It’s been two and a half weeks since I started eating intuitively and while I have gotten a LOT better at recognizing my cravings, listening to my hunger/satiety cues, and recognizing emotional eating, it’s all been through trial and error. Having a guide, along with the support of the other participants, helps me feel better prepared to face this journey to find my intuitive eater…my peace…to finally be FREE!

Strange But FREE

Please know that this is just MY story. I am by NO means putting anyone down or trying to dissuade them from calorie counting…if it works for you…FANTASTIC!

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92 Responses to Strange, But FREE!

  1. Oh Heather I can relate to this so much…especially about being a slave to the number and it’s a horrible place to be in mentally….it makes something as pleasurable and basic as eating so exhausting! Food would constantly be on my find and I would be thinking of various ways to get the best bang for my calories. Like you I decided to go cold turkey one day and I had plenty of times where I’d revert back to tallying up the numbers after a few days but then after a while, something clicked and I just stopped..every time I wanted to quickly total up the numbers, I made a conscious effort not to. Sometimes eating foods/amounts I had no idea about helped. Over time I felt mentally so much more liberated, I started loving and appreciating food again (rather than be scared that I would eat over my calorie allotment) and I didn’t balloon. I also started enjoying my workouts so much more because I wasn’t thinking of it as a means to burn off extra calories- my end goal was only to zone out and get an endorphin rush…sometimes that meant going all-out and other days it meant going for a very low-intense workout. While there’s so much more I could probably add to this, I just want to say you are on the right track and if you’d ever like some support or advice, I’m more than happy to help :)!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Oh my gosh, Khushboo! Thank you SO much!! Wow, I just read through this TWICE and I now have the biggest smile on my face!

      “…and I would be thinking of various ways to get the best bang for my calories.” <- YES! That was SO me!! It helps so much to know hear how happy you are on the other side of things. I know I can do this, I can become an intuitive eater, but I also know it's going to take time...and I've never been the most patient of people. Thank you for the motivation/inspiration to really push through this to get to the other side! xoxo

  2. ahhhh love this. counting eery calories like this makes life exhausting, no? i can’t imagine how liberated (and scared) you must have felt on march 8!

  3. I’m so glad you’re finding peace with intuitive eating because you are a rock star and totally deserve it. I’m not sure what you’d call my eating philosophy (eat real food, eat what I want, when I want with emphasis on the good things: fruits, veggies, healthy fats, good carbs, lean proteins), but it’s probably pretty close to intuitive eating. I’ve been doing this for two years now and even with a couple pound fluctuation in the winter time (which is typical and normal), my weight has never been lower and I’ve never felt better. I eat butter, cheese, eggs, gelato, veggies, fruit and I don’t feel deprived in the slightest. I also believe (this might sound crazy) if you’re really craving something, it’s got some type of nutrient you’re body is asking for at that moment.

    I’m so proud of you for opening up about all this. I can’t imagine it was easy, and I suspect it’s probably nerve wracking waiting for people’s reactions, but you are awesome, plain and simple. If you need any support, I’m here for you, and I’ve got your back.

    • Meghan, Cows are like that. (I am in no way suggesting that you are a cow, Heather. Far from it.) You put out a salt lick and the cows will head over when they feel the need for salt. They don’t stand there and lick the block down to the nub in one sitting.
      I firmly believe that if a cow is smart enough to know when it needs certain nutrients, shouldn’t we be able to listen to our bodies, too?

      Heather, rock on. You’re doing an amazing job and I appreciate your candor.

      • Maybe I’m finally growing up but being compared to a bovine creature doesn’t irk me at all. In fact, I find it kind of funny. If cows do it, all the more reason we should be able to.

      • kissmybroccoli says:

        “I firmly believe that if a cow is smart enough to know when it needs certain nutrients, shouldn’t we be able to listen to our bodies, too?” <- Omg, YESSSSSS! My goal in be more like a cow...only without the girth...or the saggy tits! πŸ˜‰ Lol

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Oh Meghan! Thank you SO much! Oh my gosh, YOU are the friggin’ rock star! I’ve admired your perspective on food/fitness/body image from the beginning and honestly caught myself a few times wondering what you “had” that I didn’t…why I just couldn’t seem to accept things for how they were and move on. You are absolutely amazing at stepping back and seeing the bigger picture yet you can still appreciate all the little pieces and I LOVE you for that! I also love how you always seem to give me just the right amount of ego boost to get me through the day without making it difficult to be in a room with me! πŸ˜‰

      And I am finally actually SEEING that cravings DO actually mean something! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pushed aside a thought/craving because well, I thought I “knew” better!

      • Now my ego is huge. Oh wait, it already was…oops.

        I don’t have anything you don’t, I promise. I’m older so I’ve had longer to come to terms with the food. Also, the Hubby had a really bad, unexplainable health scare a few years ago with so much fallout, we were both pretty miserable. He was up to five or six doctors with no end in sight. Around that same time, I gave up meat for lent, so as a result he ate less meat (I’m not saying meat was the culprit but I certainly wasn’t buying grass fed, organic back then). Then I signed up for an organic CSA share and suddenly we were surrounded by veggies, so we ate lots veggies. Lots and lots of veggies along with fruit which I’ve always loved. His health problems started to disappear, and I started to get my man back. I switched his milk to organic (although he’s into almond milk now), I started reading labels and stopped buying/eating things I couldn’t pronounce, especially the so called healthy ones. The changes happened over the course of several months (and are still ongoing), but ultimately changing our food cured his health issues. Whenever we falter for any length of time on our way of eating, the health problems creep back in so I no longer believe it’s a coincidence. A nice little side effect of all this is I actually feel better than I ever have and after years of struggle, my weight is at a number I’m happy with (and no worries, I’m not underweight, nor am I overweight). In the words of Goldilocks, I’m juuuust right.

        One more thing (sorry for the big rambling comment), whatever you do, it has to be something you enjoy because if it’s going to work, you’re going to be doing it forever. Hence, the reason I don’t restrict, although I do try to do things in moderation and in a balanced way.

        I’m so glad you’re finding happiness with this, and I can’t wait to hear what your cravings are actually saying. I’m glad somebody else’s produce talks to them.

        • kissmybroccoli says:

          Wow! I’ve believed for a LONG time now that our health has a LOT to do with how we treat our bodies and what we put inside them, but to hear a story of how someone was affected by this first hand still amazes me! I think it is FANTASTIC that the hubby is on board with all of this…not like he wouldn’t be being caught in the middle and seeing just HOW subtle changes can make a difference. I wish SO much that I could somehow convince my parents of this. They have what you would call “typical” ailments…nothing life-threatening, but I can see how they’re lifestyles are eventually going to catch up with them and I really wish I could do something to stop it. I have managed to rub off a little on my mom…especially since she reads the blog, but dad just doesn’t “get” it. I swear he still thinks I choke down the salads I make for myself! Why can’t he see that I eat it because I LIKE it and because I LOVE the way it makes me feel? Ugh…talking about YOUR rambling comment! Ha!

          Love you girl! And I swear, the day teleportation devices make it to the shelves, you better believe I’ll be on your doorstep within minutes! πŸ˜‰

  4. I am love love loving these posts! I actually bought that book as well, but haven’t finished it yet. I’ve been on my own IE Journey since January. The boyfriend has helped that a LOT and I’m so thankful for that!

    Thank you for sharing your story, Heather!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Oh my gosh, that’s awesome Liz!! And I’m so happy to hear the boy is supporting you! I finally made it to the 5th chapter over the weekend…definitely opening my eyes on a lot of things and helping me understand some “problems” I thought for sure were only MY problems!

  5. Fran@BCDC says:

    Heather, it is SO hard to figure out what will work to help us be a healthy person at a healthy weight. It’s true that each person’s road to discovery is different. For me, Weight Watchers has been a huge help. I started 26 years ago and I haven’t looked back. I’ve learned so much. But you need to find out what works for You. The next person has to figure out what works for Her. We can all share ideas and suggestions and that’s a great thing about the blogging world. You learn new ideas without even trying. I’ll be looking forward to hearing how you do. I must say, I’m not sure what all is on that dinner plate, but it looks delicious! Have a great day!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      “But you need to find out what works for You.” <- So true, Fran...SO TRUE! For the last couple of years, I've compared myself (and my eating habits) to others in the blogging community instead of taking into consideration that we are all DIFFERENT! Therefore, something that works for one person may not work for ME! I started to realize that in the middle of the mess I was making of calorie counting, but I was still trying so hard to fit myself into a mold I had created. Only now am I able to step back and take notice of my differences, embrace them, and figure out what's best for ME! I'm so happy for you that discovered your path. I know Weight Watchers has helped so many people in the past!

  6. I seriously love you and your honesty! Your story definitely shows out numbers can mess with our heads. Some people thrive off them, some struggle with them. There was a great conversation at HLS two years ago where they talked about both sides of numbers when it comes to healthy eating and fitness. It was super interesting and I could definitely relate to BOTH sides of it. Good luck with the Intuitive Eating! I’m interested in knowing more about it, especially since I’ve been hearing about it a lot lately, I’ll have to check out that book!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Oh yeah, for the longest time, I was that person who felt I could be on either side of the numbers. I should have known once I started getting “picky” about my numbers when I was running (distance, time, pace), that it had the possibility to carry over into other parts of my life as well. I can definitely count it as a great learning experience!

      I’m hoping to do a post here soon on some thoughts on the book and also some realizations I’ve had regarding the intuitive eating process. I’ve made it further into the book now and things are really starting to match up and make sense…definitely worth the read!

  7. Lizzi says:

    I am soooo glad you’re speaking about this, and so so proud of you. I actually noticed your eating and attitude to food seemed to be getting more and more rigid, and I’m kinda sorry I didn’t say anything :/ but ya know…didn’t want to speak up where it wasn’t my place, etc etc. I’ve well and truly been down this road before and it is NO WAY TO LIVE. I don’t wish that kind of anxiety upon anyone. I related a lot to this post…I remember breaking down and crying after perfecting calculating the exact calorie content of a fruit salad, hysterically repeating ‘BUT IM NOT A NUMBERS PERSON, THIS IS NOT WHO I AM.’ Hah.
    Anyway, I’m so pleased you seem on the right path! Much loveeee xxx

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Lizzi!!!!! Oh my gosh girl, I’ve missed you!! I saw your name pop up in the list of comments and I swear I thought I was seeing things! Don’t be sorry at all, love! Had anyone actually said something to me about it, I probably would have just denied that there was a problem and kept right on my narrow little number path! And yeah, I could totally see myself having done the same thing with the fruit salad…sad how quickly we can lose sight of things, huh?

      Love you! Miss you! Leave me more comment love so I know you’re out there! πŸ˜‰ xoxo

  8. OH MY GOSH! The whole serving thing you talked about – not being able to JUST sprinkle/scoop/etc. – TOTALLY MEEEEEEEEEE! OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!!!!! YEP! But, so not there any more πŸ˜€

    But seriously, it drove me NUTS! I couldn’t just have a few crumbles of granola! I neeeeeeded it to have x amount of carbs/serving.

    I am so proud of you for sharing more of your story love. It’s so true, raw, and honest and I really just want to give you a giant Meg hug πŸ˜‰ People love those ya know?? πŸ˜‰

    Love you thank your taste buds are still a bit strange even when you eat intuitively πŸ˜‰

    You have inspired me to buy that book… I just need to get to that book store. I think it will even help me out! πŸ˜€

    Love you and oh so proud <3

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Yes!!! It will help SO much! I’m sorry, for some reason, I thought you’d already read it! A lot of the things you’ve been talking to me about lately are explained in the book…that along with what Jamie has been telling us is really helping me understand some things!

      Love you and all your crazy smiley faces! And you better believe I’m getting my fair share of Meg hugs in May! πŸ˜‰

  9. I can relate to this so much, I’m going through it all right now!! Thanks for posting and continuing to share, it will be so helpful to me and to others. I need to learn to deal with my cravings appropriately, much like that delicious apple/pretzel combo!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Aww, you’re welcome, Laurie! I’m just glad to know that it is serving to help others who are going through the same thing! The craving is one of the biggest parts of intuitive eating…and I am honestly starting to see that when your body TRULY craves something, it is trying to tell you that it needs a certain nutrient that you aren’t getting enough of. And the longer you deny that craving and deprive your body, the stronger the backlash will be! The journey isn’t easy, but you can do it if you commit to it! And you definitely DON’T have to do it alone! If you ever need any support/advice/or just someone to vent to, just remember, I’m only an email away! πŸ™‚ xoxo

  10. Leigh-Ann says:

    wow! i could have written this post myself. this is exactly what I’m going through right now. I stopped tracking (have been for 9 years) two weeks ago and people don’t understand that it is SO hard. i feel like my tracker is calling my name constantly. i’m at my healthy weight(i’m a personal trainer/BS in exercise phys/ RD to be), but am so afraid of the whole “eating everything & gaining a million lbs” thing, so I totally identify with you! great post girl πŸ™‚

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Thank you so much Leigh-Ann! And congratulations to YOU!! Giving up tracking after NINE YEARS?! That is no small feat! I can relate completely to your fear of gorging and gaining back all the weight, but honestly, in the last couple of weeks, I’ve noticed that I’ve been more in tune to my hunger/satiety cues than ever before and even when I do “mess up” and go past the mark of full, my body naturally makes up for it later that day or the next day…just remember, it’s all about balance in the LONG RUN…not in only 24 hours. Our bodies don’t “start over” at midnight! πŸ˜‰ You’ve got this girl! Be a rebel! Tell that tracker to shove it and then fix yourself something that you would normally feel “guilty” about tracking…listen to your body…stop when your satisfied…and learn from your feelings! πŸ™‚

  11. Eric says:

    The more you count, the less time you have to make me Elvis burgers! OM NOM

  12. I’m sad to admit that I did in fact know that 1/2 tsp. of vanilla has 6 calories. I can relate to this post SO much, you have no idea. I remember weighing my veggies and needing to make sure that my meals contained exact serving sizes, and I remember never being able to grab a random handful of something when I was feeling peckish because I didn’t know how many calories were in it. I’m so happy that you decided to “come out” and share your struggles with counting and measuring because you have no idea how many people are struggling with the same thing, and how many people you’ll help with your own journey to intuitive eating. Love you, lady. You’re a freakin’ rockstar <3

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Gah, it feels so good to know I’m not alone…I swear once I finally “woke up” and saw what I was doing, I felt like a crazy person…assuming no one in their right mind would be acting like this…I mean, it’s just FOOD! Thanks for making me feel normal! πŸ˜‰ Love you back! xoxo

  13. I read this while waving my lighter and singing “I’m as free as a birrrrrd now…”

    I heart you, my strangely free friend. And now I’m going to put celery in all kind of strange things today.

  14. Well, I hope you know how I feel about this. Although I haven’t chosen to do the “official” intuitive eating process/journey, I have researched it and learned a lot from watching OTHERS experience it. I’m so proud of you, of myself, of all of us who are breaking free. Know that there will be setbacks, of course, but I am always here to listen, respond, laugh, commiserate, and STILL eat strange, strange foods. πŸ™‚

    P.S. I must have been channeling you this morning because all I wanted in my life was a pancake.

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Thank you SO much girlie! I swear without you being my sounding board in that first week or so, I’m not sure I would have stuck with it…because it WAS hard in the beginning! And I owe you a BIG stack of pancakes in May…just be thinking of what strange and/or good flavors you want them to be! πŸ˜€

  15. you are FREEEEEE–and it feels so good!! (and terrifying at the same time).. keep it up, heather! i am proud of you, friend xoxo

  16. Just read this and your “Thoughts on Being Thoughtless Post”. Ah, Heather, first of all thank you so much for peeling back the curtain, taking a (huge) risk, and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. (Is it weird that I want to give you a huge hug right now? πŸ˜‰ ) Not only did I absolutely love reading your posts (excellently written), but I could also relate. I recently opened up on my blog about my story with similar issues ( ) and it was scary. I was nervous and not sure how it would be received. But, it was a story, a message I felt needed to be shared.

    I think this is an issue that many readers and bloggers in the healthy living community deal with or experience in some form or fashion and it’s precisely why I’m so passionate about my blog and the message I get to relay through it. πŸ˜€

    I’m so happy you’re throwing out the scale and all the calorie counting and finding peace with yourself and your body. It’s not an easy journey. When I was going through my recovery, the book, “Intuitive Eating”, was a really huge help. If I can be of any help/support in your journey, let me know (for reals – these aren’t just nice, fluffy, empty words). Weird or not, since I know we’re practically strangers, I’m sending you a HUGE hug. πŸ˜€ XOXO

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Wow! What an incredible post! You laid it all out there in the best (and most relatable) way possible! Thank you so much for linking it. I love how you drive home the message at the end with focussing on the bigger picture…the WHOLE aspect of health instead of zeroing in and obsessing over one thing or another. I have to admit, I’ve always seemed to be to one extreme or another in all aspects of my life…honestly, I should have seen this one coming. But you know what they say about hindsight!

      Thank you so SO much, Ali for your kind/supportive words! And please, I’m a hugger by nature, so I graciously accept your HUGE cyber hug…and then give you one right BACK! πŸ˜€ xoxoxo

  17. Emily says:

    I love this, I love this, I love this…
    Intuitive eating definitely doesn’t happen over night, especially when you’ve grown accustomed to counting & controlling everything. But, it WILL get easier. I’m right there with you on the journey and, even though it hasn’t been perfect, I feel more free than I’ve felt in years. It’s amazing.

    SO proud of you, Heather!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Thank you, Emily! And YES to feeling FREEEEEEE! I’m happy to hear you’re on your own journey! I know what you mean…it has it’s ups and downs…moments where I feel like I’ve totally “got this in the bag” and then BAM, I stumble…but it’s the bigger picture that counts and it really IS amazing!

  18. Well, thank you for posting part 2 so quickly! Since I’m just now catching up, I didn’t even have to wait! πŸ™‚
    I have that book. I haven’t read all of it though. But, based on what I do know- eating intuitively doesn’t work for me- because I feel physically hungry a lot. Someone commented on my post that intuitive eating is especially hard when you have a heavy exercise routine- because your body just craves more fuel (which totally makes sense). So, it can work for some, but not all I guess.
    I hope you find that balance, love. For me, it took trying about 100 different things and I THINK I’m finally there (but will, no doubt, still need some fine-tuning!).

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Haha, well didn’t that just work out great? Just as exciting as cutting line at the bank? πŸ˜‰

      I never thought about how eating intuitively would affect people who are as active as you. You would think after a while, it would still balance out…once your body realized the give and take of the calories and didn’t feel the need to lapse into starvation mode. Interesting.

      I’m excited to see how your new journey works out! I’m so happy for you that you finally feel you’ve found your way and I wish you SO much luck because you deserve every bit of success! πŸ˜€ Love you gorgeous! xoxo

  19. Love this! I’m so glad you’re giving up the counting Heather…it’s so much more freeing, isn’t it? I definitely remember the not being able to grab handfuls of things sort of mentality – I hated guesswork, and I didn’t want to have to log it all later (or figure out how many calories were in stuff like 1/2 teaspoon vanilla – which, yes I did know. le sigh).
    And you will LOVE that book. I bought it when I was in ED recovery and I still peruse it once in a while – it’s pretty brilliant.

  20. Allie says:

    YEAAAAAH! Rock on with yo’ free self! I’ve had some slip-ups/set-backs, but I’m ready to tackle another month of just working on CARING LESS and ENJOYING MORE when it comes to food–’cause those two are just so tied together. This (and yesterday’s) post just make me happy, I’m so glad your food and health journey is continuing, evolving, and, most importantly, STAYING STRANGE.

  21. Jacelyn says:

    I am so glad you posted on this subject. Possessively counting calories is my addiction. Its funny because when I started my journey to loose some weight I had guidelines from a trainer friend of what I should be consuming and ideas for snacks. Since I was brand new to the idea of “healthy” food items and what is actually nutritious it was super helpful. I listened to my body, ate when I was hungry, chose proper snacks, understood portion sizes etc. Than it all came crashing down when I gradually lost all the weight I wanted too! Weird timing I know! BUT than I wanted more, I wanted to loose more pounds, fix this, do something with whatever jiggle that was etc. Then I started thinking too much…”I have to have this for breakfast”, “oh I haven’t eaten I should have a snack??”, “I just workout, I should eat..” “I don’t think I ate enough today, I should eat?” I was planning meals for the next day and it wasn’t even mid -afternoon yet! I even started getting particularly crazy with how many calories I burned or hitting a certain number. Oh my. I know I need to stop counting calories but when I did I felt like I lost control and gained pounds so I know my counting goes hand in hand with my fear for pounds. Horrid mindset I know. I am slowly trying to be less strict with counting and working on just listening to my body when I am hungry and what I am craving. I really just wanted to say THANKYOU for being real. I love your blog!! It is helpful and reassuring to know that I am not alone in my struggles. keep bROCKiling! πŸ™‚

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      “keep bROCKiling!” <- Omg, LOVE it!! That gradual progression...that's how we get sucked in...we don't see the subtle changes until they've already come together and formed a completely different version of us! According to the Intuitive Eating book, it IS normal to have some weight fluctuations after giving up strict counting, but after a while, once your body gets accustomed to the change, you begin to "settle" into your healthy weight. While I decided to give counting up cold turkey, I know that's not easy for everyone. Have you tried taking a break during the week? One day...or maybe even just one MEAL where you don't track? You could do this for a while until you feel that you can trust yourself to do more. Just a suggestion...I hate to see someone stuck in a situation like this and I'd love to help if I can! Also, I really REALLY would recommend the IE's been so enlightening throughout this process and is really helping me see that I'm not alone in a lot of my "disordered" thoughts. Know that I'm here if you ever want to talk/vent about things...I'm only an email away...and like I said, I'd love to help in any way I can! πŸ™‚

  22. OCD is a killer! I think we all have it to some degree, it’s just a matter of what form it takes on. I love that you shared this. I love that you’re finding you path. We are not a one size fits all type of being, so finding what works for you is such a freeing feeling! Thank you for sharing. I think you are amazing!

    P.S. I’m emailing you!

  23. Madi says:

    I did the March challenge and honestly it was the best thing ever. I’ve wrote a couple blog posts about my experience. I just started reading the book too and it’s amazing! keep us updated on what you think about it!

  24. This book has been getting a lot of press lately!! I haven’t read that specific book, but I am familiar with what intuitive eating entails. It’s a fantastic approach to re-establish a healthy relationship with food. Which is ultra important! I’m so happy that you are enjoying the transition. You are learning so much along the way, too–about food, preferences, even yourself. Way to go!!

  25. I’m excited to see how your intuitive eating challenge goes & what exactly it’s all about. How is it so different from just eating food & not counting? I’m curious about the whole thing, but for me, I think calorie counting HELPS me. Like you said, we’re all different & just need to do what works for us. Congrats on your new challenge/journey! πŸ™‚

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Thank you Karey! The biggest difference that I’ve noticed with intuitive eating versus just not calorie counting is that it is really teaching me to do away with the many “food rules” I’ve given myself over the years…even those I didn’t know I’d created! It’s also helping me to see that all food can (and should) be created equal! I’m also FINALLY learning how to really focus on my satiety cues and being in tune to my cravings. That has helped me a TON because frankly, I’ve always been a chronic overeater. Instead of it just “eating food” I’m eating with a purpose know…I’m appreciating it, savoring it, and surprisingly NOT obsessing about it like I have in the past! πŸ˜€

  26. Yep yep and yep! I was totally the same in that I had to have full or evenly divided servings of everything. I could never have just sprinkled coconut on top of something. I love that you’re being so honest about this. Thank you!

  27. Heather, I already told you but it bears repeating: You’re awesome. For bringing up the courage to write these honest posts (though I can’t imagine anybody judging you for them), starting your journey to intuitive eating and, well, just in general.
    From measuring and logging everything – though I wasn’t going into smaller items like garlic – to “looking forward” to being allowed to log again after a count-free day (how ridiculous, right?!): I can relate to so much in this and your previous post. I’m sure, though, that you will find your way back to intuitive eating – and am hoping to finally find mine, too.
    Oh, and by the way: I’d totally eat that apple-peanut-chocolate-sauce-pretzel mix any time. Minus the celery because that’s just too green for me ;).

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Haha! Hmm, ok, what about a little spinach then? πŸ˜‰ I joke, I joke!

      Thank you so much for the support MP!! I’m just glad to finally see that I’m not alone and I wasn’t the only “crazy lady” out there constantly worrying/thinking about food! I’m so glad you’ve found yourself on a healthy path free from all the numbers and preconceived notions of what/when/where we “should” eat! The freedom is amazing, isn’t it? πŸ˜€

      • Gooood idea. Honestly, Spinach would be perfectly fine!
        While I wish I could say so I’m definitely not free from what/when/where regarding food yet. You’re my intuitive eating role model now – as if you hadn’t been already :).

        • kissmybroccoli says:

          Aww, sweetie!! I will do my absolute BEST to help you in any way that I can…we will get there TOGETHER! πŸ˜€

  28. I totally bought that book a while ago! But it’s at my house in Chicago and I won’t be there for a while. Anyway. It’s once again scary how much of this I can relate to. I actually AM a numbers person (hello, physics major…) which does not make for anything good in this situation.

    I’m so glad to see you joined Jamie’s intuitive eating challenge – I *really* wanted to, but at this point in my life I can’t shell out the $$ for it. Maybe some time in the future, but I’ve already learned a lot about it from others’ blogs. I’m so glad you’re doing this <3

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Did you get a chance to read the whole thing? I’m only a few chapters in, but it’s amazing how much my eyes have been opened…to thoughts and feelings I didn’t even realize I had! I understand that there are a lot of people out there thinking the same thing as far as the money goes with this challenge…that’s why I’m hoping to be able to share what I can to help anyone else out there get further in their own journey. It’s been amazing ride so far, so I really want others to have a chance to experience the same! πŸ™‚

  29. First of all, this is a HUGE thing to admit and make public and you should be SO proud of yourself, lovely!

    My coeliac disease/food intolerance struggle really screwed up my intuitive eating skills. I never wanted to eat – I lost a tonne of weight because I was so incredibly sick and I survived off chocolate (because I knew I could eat a little bit of chocolate for the same amount of calories as something much larger) and plain bread (which actually made me sicker) because everytime I ate, I got sicker. Once we figured everything out and I stopped eating gluten, my body could finally gain weight (as the gluten was stopping my body from absorbing anything) and I needed to start trying harder.

    The doctor was the one who suggested the food scales and the meal plan – and I despised it. I got trapped into a mindset where I couldn’t eat something unless I weighed it as I wouldn’t be eating enough and I’d lose weight and I’d get sicker (totally the opposite of most people – but those same fears still existed). My portion control was way off and what I thought was a tonne of food was actually a tiny little bit – so the scales helped – but I felt like I was stuck in this horribly controlled world.

    After a while – I got sick of the scales. The doctors had set me my first weight gaining goal and once I reached it, I finally convinced them to let me try things my way. Now I am much, much freer with food – and so much happier! I can finally ENJOY food again after spending so much time hating it because it made me sick – and then hating it because it was so controlled.

    Intuitive eating for me still isn’t there – I get sick a lot and I often don’t feel like eating, but I still need to because I don’t have that extra weight to fall back on. For a long time, eating when I wasn’t hungry felt wrong because so many other people were intuitive eating and I felt I was doing wrong by my body – when in actual fact, I was doing the right thing for my body by eating.

    Once again, we all can’t fit in the same box! What works for me won’t work for you – and what works for you mightn’t necessarily work for your next door neighbour. Everyone’s different and we all need to realise that!

    And once again, Heather – good on your for being so open and honest! You should be SO incredibly proud <3

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Aww, thank you SO much Kristy! And seriously, you are the PERFECT example of just how different we are from one another! I hate that you had to go through all of that! I can only imagine how frustrating that whole process must have been for you, but I am so glad to hear that you have found that happy place where you can do things your own way instead of having to go by some prescribed plan. And not only did you gain a better understanding about your body, but you became a MARVELOUS gluten-free baker! πŸ˜€

      PS, I STILL need to make some of your protein muffins! xoxo

      • Make sure you do – they are amazing! (I change favourites all the time – but with Easter just gone, I’m still favouriting the protein brownies) When I was nannying full time they were a must-pack to get me through the long days.

  30. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and story. I too have been following along with Meg’s journey of IE and now yours too and it has really got me thinking. I’m not sure I’m ready to jump right into it yet but I do know weighing food and counting every single calorie that goes in is no way to live long term. You are truly an inspiration as always πŸ˜€

    On a completely other note I’ve nominated you for a Liebster blog award, I know you have already gotten one in the past but I think you deserve another one πŸ™‚

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Aww, thank you SO much Jan! I’ll be sure to check that out! And I’m hoping to share more of my journey in the next few weeks…I’ve seen such dramatic changes in my attitude and perspective when it comes to food and I really REALLY would love to share that experience with others! It’s amazing, I thought for sure if I gave up counting that I would just eat everything in sight but after seeing how to tap into my cravings and satiety cues, I am finally feeling satisfied and NOT obsessing about food (ie, WHEN my next meal will be, WHAT it will be, etc)! πŸ™‚

  31. I just love your honesty. Thanks for opening up and putting this out there Heather. I think many of us can completely relate. You are a rock star in my eyes.

  32. This is awesome, as well as your previous post. There are so many bloggers who are ‘coming out’ so to speak and it is so inspiring. Admittedly, as a teenager with a history of disordered eating, it is so easy to get caught up in ‘well all the other bloggers are doing it!” through food fads and products that often I quickly chicken out of trying. But knowing that everyone has hard days, nobody has the ‘perfect’ diet helps to put it in perspective and keep pushing forward, and learning to just eat again!! To just scoop and sprinkle and dance and laugh and sleep with a smile on my face. Thank you Heather, for your amazing, beautiful honesty.

    Also for your pancakes;)

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Aww, you are SO welcome, Lacey! But seriously, thank YOU for commiserating with me…I can’t tell you how much it has meant to me to read over all the comments on these last two posts and see that I’ve not been alone in all of this and that there ARE others out there in the same place I WAS and in the same place I’m in NOW!

      And this definitely justifies a good pancake celebration soon! πŸ˜‰

  33. I can’t wait to hear how you like Jamie’s program after hearing such good things from Meg and Clare! I definitely know how it feels to be relieved of the feeling of burden that comes along with counting. Also, celery and apples were made for each other because they both have that amazing crunchiness. Yum, just saying…

    You rock girl :-).

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Haha, thanks girlie! Should’ve known I could count on you to understand my weird tendencies…and crunchaholicism! πŸ˜‰

      I’m SO excited to share more about what discoveries I’ve made and the thoughts I’ve had in the last few weeks with the intuitive eating…even BEFORE the program began…I’m just struggling to organize all my thoughts right now so my next post doesn’t end up being a small novel! Lol

  34. Ahhhh Heather I am so proud of you!!! I know how hard it is to break out of that controlling mindset when it comes to food. And to admit it publicly on your blog? Even harder. So basically you are amazing and I’m sure this post will be an inspiration to many! πŸ™‚

  35. woo-hoo!! YAY!! doing a happy dance for you!
    It is so freeing to not count. I still tend to eat when I’m not hungry and to overeat out of sheer habit, but intuitive eating is so freeing! I can recall lots of conversations I have had with Sarah and Meg about this, and it is so exciting for me to see my friends stop counting and break free from the calories and weighing. I was in such bondage a year or so ago, and I’m so glad that you are breaking out of that. I love you for your honesty! I wish I could give you a huge hug right now!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Awww, thank you so much sweetie!! oh my gosh, it is SO freeing! Definitely a constant learning process, but overall, I couldn’t be happier with my decision to do this! Sending you the biggest cyber-hug possible right now! πŸ˜‰

  36. Great post Heather! I can relate to SO much of it. Have a great Easter weekend!

  37. We all have to find our own way – that is what it is all about! I obviously misunderstood your previous post. IE is not for me.. I can’t do it & at my age – it just is not workable based on what happens to my bod but it was not for me when I was younger. I will say that I was not as diligent & crazed as some… I knew my approximates & what made them up so I could go from there. If I had a new food, I would understand the stats & make adjustments from that but I was never a crazy weigh everything type of person.

    I hope this helps you!!

    Me, I would eat bread & cookies with IE! πŸ˜‰ Kidding! πŸ˜‰

  38. I really liked reading this post, I have been loosely tracking my calories and feel like I might step away from it for a little while and see if it makes a difference. I like the idea of intuitive eating.

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      It really is incredible! I wish I had given it more of a chance in the past, but I guess now I only appreciate the whole concept even more…it’s so much more than just “eating what you want”…it’s really getting to know yourself…what you like, what you don’t like, what fuels you best! It’s amazing how much I’m learning!

  39. Lee says:

    It can definitely be a slippery slope. I’m glad that you were able to recognize that your behaviors weren’t making you happy.

    I’ve read that book before, but I never really tried to put the practice into play. I’m eager to hear how it goes for you.

  40. I’m so glad to hear this, good luck! Food isn’t about counting calories, it’s about giving your body what it wants and needs πŸ™‚

    Aaaand that strange combo looks frickin’ DELICIOUS.

  41. I’ve heard of some bloggers starting intuitive eating, but so far not many finished success stories. I can’t wait to read about your progression with it and what you find to work/not work.

    I can relate to everything you’ve done. I thought it was fun. Like a simple math equation. The lower the better! NOT. Measuring lettuce and fruit just seems so crazy now. I still remember the grams of everything and I haven’t even used a scale in almost a year!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Oh I hear ya! I was actually starting to be able to do gram to ounce conversion by memory towards the end of it all! Craziness!

      I’m planning a post now to show some of the things that have worked/not worked for me over the last few weeks…I’m thinking it will help to show everybody exactly what I mean when I say it’s been “trial and error” because THAT is no joke!

  42. I never liked math either (suck at it) but suddenly became all about the numbers when counting calories. oiye.

    i haven’t tried intuitive eating. but it seems like something to look into. πŸ™‚

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      It really is a fantastic concept! If you can find the IE book…even if you just flip through the first couple of chapters at a bookstore, it will open your eyes to so much…especially the part where it breaks down eating styles into categories…the careful eater, the unconscious eater, the professional dieter…it’s all very relatable!

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  44. I may have to check out that book! Sounds interesting. My pesonal journey started a few years back and one of the first things I knew was that I did NOT want to count calories. I wanted to be in it for the long haul and I just couldn’t imagine doing it for the rest of my life when I wanted results to “stick” if you will.

    I’ve been really successful with my own method of madness, but I agree that it works for some people! And good for them! I think the important thing is finding what does work for YOU ya know? πŸ™‚

  45. Krystle says:

    That was awesome. I love it.

    I’m sorry, but I have to know. Where can i buy those pretzels???????

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  50. I’m so glad I found these posts of yours…I feel like you’re describing me!! I have an issue with eating straight out of the fridge and eating handfuls of pretzels!! It’s so weird to admit you’ve crossed a line from being healthy to being obsessive and unhealthy, without blogs I never would have known.

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Something I’m beginning to see…it’s ALL about perspective. If we PERCEIVE that we are doing “bad” then we will focus only on that and then we will dig ourselves a hole out of guilt and shame. We just have to see that life is not about control. It’s not about the “good” and the “bad”. It’s about being happy with (and loving) ourselves, appreciating all the things we’ve done, what we’ve come from, and living like we have reason to! πŸ™‚

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