Question: I bought Intuitive Eating about 18 months ago after dieting since age 10. I am now 33, and have also tried starving myself and have binged and purged since I was 15. Your book seemed like the answer to my prayers. I quit Weight Watchers in August 2010 after 4 years, 50 pounds lost and countless vomiting episodes whenever I “overate.” I started the intuitive eating program, which was so opposite of what I’ve been taught. I have gained about 40 pounds since I started intuitive eating, so I know I must be doing something wrong. I see a therapist who is trying to help me overcome my obsessive thoughts and self-hatred about my weight. It is always on my mind and I positively hate myself. At least when I was thinner, I felt better about myself. Hungry, but I looked better. Please help me if you can. I just got engaged and the thought of my fat ass in a wedding dress is terrifying. This should be a very happy time for me, but its extremely stressful because I’m so afraid of being a whale of a bride. I will do just about anything at this point to lose weight, but I also know that I have to stop purging eventually.

Answer by Elyse: I’m so sorry that you’ve been suffering with your relationship with food for much of your life! I’m also thrilled that you’ve had the opportunity to find hope for healing your eating issues with Intuitive Eating. What’s most important at this time is to understand that you are re-bounding from years of diet thinking. It takes a long time to truly trust that you will never forbid certain foods and that you’ve made peace with all foods. Until that happens and until you put weight loss on the back burner, it’s very common to see this rebound eating take place.

It’s also very important that you are working on your emotional issues with your therapist. To fully heal your eating disorder, learning to respect your body and have compassion for yourself is critical. You have just gotten engaged, so it’s clear that your fiancĂ© loves you as you are. Buy a beautiful dress for your wedding, and let go of trying to lose weight. As your eating normalizes, so will your weight, but focusing on weight loss will only sabotage your process.

I highly suggest that you join our free Intuitive Eating community. This is a forum where you can get support from others who are struggling as you are. It might also be helpful for you to find a Nutrition Therapist who is certified as an Intuitive Eating counselor to guide you through this process.

I wish you peace and happiness in your life, and ultimately you will feel the joy that comes from letting go of diet thinking and self judgment.

Take care,