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  • Writer's pictureTalia Cooper

That Time I Tried to Eat All the BBQ

Often when I tell people that I'm a body liberation and intuitive eating coach, the conversation goes something like this:

Kindly, interested person (K-I-P): What's intuitive eating? Me: It's a process by which you relearn to trust your body.

K-I-P: Cool! Trust how?

Me: In all the ways! Including letting your body tell you what, when, and how much to eat. K-I-P: Wait, so you can eat whatever you want? Me: Yes. K-I-P: Whenever you want? Me: Yes. K-I-P: Wow that's awesome! I mean for you. But if it were me I would just eat [pizza and ice cream*] forever. *There are slight variations on the pizza and ice cream theme. :)

I get it because this was pretty much my response when I first learned about intuitive eating. Maybe this would work for someone with more self-control, I thought, But micro-managing my eating is the only thing keeping me from diving into a swimming pool of sugary treats. Or so I thought. But: have you ever actually tried to eat bottomless pizza and ice cream? Like for days (or weeks) on-end? Breakfast: pizza. Lunch: ice cream. Dinner: pizza. Breakfast: ice cream, and on and on? I did. Not with pizza and ice cream, but with meat.

My story about the time I tried to eat ALL THE BBQ:

Several years ago my partner and I did a road trip from New York to California taking the southern route. To both of us, that meant one obvious thing: barbecue. We ate our way through the states: ribs and brisket, steak and burgers, eating meat for pretty much every meal. By the time we hit Alabama we were already getting a little beef-weary, but we knew there was still so much deliciousness to come! We were on a mission. So we dragged ourselves to the next restaurant on our list. We opened up our menus. And let me tell you: we just could not.

When the waitress came we obnoxiously asked her about every available vegetable; "Could we get a double order of green beans?" "Could we get the barbecue with a side of corn, but without the barbecue?" Our waitress acted impressed, "Wow, y'all are so good and healthy!" She proclaimed (feeding the common notion that eating greens is a sign of virtue). But there was nothing virtuous about it. It was not about self control. It wasn't because we felt guilty for what we'd eaten before. It was simple: our bodies desperately craved vegetables. The green beans and corn were just okay (which made sense since they were famous for their meat, not their greens). Still, we licked the plate. We spent the next few days seeking out as many fruits and veggies as we could find, and I'm happy to report that by the time we got to Texas we were ready to eat barbecue again... well, at least a little bit.

This is obviously an extreme example, but extremes tend to make for good learning. And what I learned is that I really can trust my body to tell me what it needs. With intuitive eating, we don't have to worry about counting micro and macro nutrients because bodies were built to track that on their own (sans perfectionism).

So: if your body likes [pizza and ice cream]- go ahead and enjoy it. When you're practicing "full allowance," your body has a way of working it out.

("Full allowance" means that you don't just eat the food, but that you emotionally let yourself enjoy the experience without derision.) Sending body love and delicious food, Talia P.S. If any of this is confusing - I get it! We've been taught that we need to control ourselves around food, and here I'm saying it's actually about trust. You're welcome to schedule a free call to ask questions.


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