Intuitive Eating Burnout

intuitive eating stress management Jun 27, 2021
Girl eating a burger at the beach

When was the last time you felt like you had *all* of the energy in the world to accomplish everything on your to-do list? Sounds like a fantasy, right?

 

Not to mention the fact that you’ve decided to pursue Intuitive Eating and ditch dieting for good, and all of a sudden taking care of your needs feels like you don’t even know where to start AND you don’t have the time.

 

Many of us feel completely burned out from our jobs, home life, and the responsibilities that come with being an adult (oh, so fun), and adding on healing your relationship with food and your body feels like the straw that might break the camel's back.

 

So how do we continue to show up in our lives, take care of our responsibilities, show up for our families, AND tend to our needs? Especially when it comes to getting off the diet hamster wheel and liberating ourselves from physical and mental restriction?

 

High expectations also play a big role in creating burnout.

 

When we leave diet culture, we’re sick of setting big goals for ourselves as it relates to food and our bodies only to get burned out on them.

 

Burnout is mostly a product of stress on a daily basis, and being entrenched in diet culture is absolutely a daily stressor.

 

Take this into consideration when you’re recovering from diet culture and attempting to move forward with Intuitive Eating. “Residual” stress from dieting is a real thing, and awareness of that can help you extend even more self-compassion as you break free from years of chronic dieting and choose to heal.

 

Diet culture set high expectations for us. It expects us to be dedicated to our goals, nailing our fitness routine, and sticking to our diet plan (whether that’s a meal plan, eliminating certain foods, tracking calories or points), and eventually, this leads to what we call diet burnout, which leads to hitting diet rock bottom. This process can make us resent everything about our bodies, food, and fitness (at least for a time, but reclaiming your life from diet culture will help).

 

Aside from diet culture setting high expectations for us, we also set high expectations for ourselves. Sometimes we get burned out from our own negative thoughts about ourselves and the situations we’re in.

 

These high expectations lead to mental, emotional, and physical burnout. Burnout can make it difficult to do even the simplest things, so everything starts to feel like a chore.

 

Many of us don’t even realize we’re feeling burned out until it’s too late. At that point, it’s hard to recover without doing a hard reset on your life.

 

The key to letting the process of Intuitive Eating take its course is to eliminate overwhelm and prevent burnout. Or to at least recognize the signs of it when it’s happening, and take the necessary steps to manage your stress.

 

The problem is that I see all too often women using the same exhaustive measures they used in diet culture to apply to Intuitive Eating.

 

  • They need to do it the right way.
  • They need to figure it out ASAP.
  • They need to know all the do’s and don’ts.
  • They need to follow all the Intuitive Eating principles all at once.
  • They need to plan and execute.

 

These are all leftover sentiments of diet culture, and that’s completely normal considering diet culture has been a part of your life for so long.

 

But just because it’s normal doesn’t mean you can’t work to prevent it.

 

The key to preventing Intuitive Eating Burnout is to DARE TO LET GO.

 

  • Let go of the pressure to do it the right way.
  • Let go of the timeline and expectation that you’ll have arrived at food freedom and body acceptance in [x] days/weeks/months.
  • Let go of the pressure you put on yourself to show up consistently every day.
  • Let go of the expectations.

 

Give yourself permission to go at YOUR OWN PACE.

 

If you can bring awareness to the signs of burnout and where you might be overexerting yourself, you can take positive action before anything gets worse.

 

Keep reading to see if you’re experiencing these 7 signs of burnout and how you can deal with them positively!

 

7 SIGNS OF BURNOUT (AND HOW TO DEAL WITH THEM)

 

Are you dealing with burnout on a regular basis? Here are 7 signs you might be burned out plus tips to help you hit the reset button on daily stress to keep you committed to pursuing a life free from body and food fixation!

 

Most of us only notice burnout when we’re already in the depths of it. For example, I only recognize it when it gets to the point where I feel completely drained – mentally, emotionally, and physically. This doesn’t bode well for your Intuitive Eating journey. If we can recognize the signs ahead of time, we can give ourselves some extra care in the moment.

 

Here are seven signs you might be experiencing burnout right now and how you can deal with it!

 

1. Your to-do list feels extra overwhelming.

 

If your to-do list is overwhelming you on a daily basis, even if it’s things you enjoy doing, it might be a sign that you’re burning yourself out. When we try to cram too much into our day, we overwork ourselves and/or feel guilty when we don’t get everything done.

 

Instead, simplify your workload. Ask yourself how can I make this easier for myself? Is this necessary for me to do today? What's the kindest thing I can do for myself today? If you’re unsure of how to structure a day that isn’t overwhelming, I highly recommend reading The Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino.

 

2. You’re overly exhausted.

 

If you need five cups of coffee or lots of caffeine to keep your eyes open during the day, it’s a sign that you’re not taking care of yourself properly. This is where it’s important to check in with yourself and make sure you’re taking care of your basic needs.

 

Are you getting enough sleep? Are you eating enough? Are you eating regularly? Are you moving in ways that honor your body (that includes rest and recovery)? Have you had enough water? Sometimes the simplest things have the biggest impact on our energy levels.

 

3. You’re struggling to find motivation.

 

Maybe you wake up in the morning and snooze your alarm until you have to rush out the door. You know exactly what you need to work on that day, but you just don’t have the motivation to do it.

 

To combat this feeling, identify what’s out of alignment in your life. Have you identified your values? Identifying your values is foundational for creating your ideal life/food freedom/body acceptance vision. Spend some time thinking about your vision for the future and where you want to be five years from now. Once you’ve identified a few key things that you want to manifest in your life, use those to fuel your actions and keep you going.

 

4. Your self-talk is negative.

 

Stress can play some powerful mind tricks on us. When we’re overwhelmed or exhausted, our minds tend to gravitate to a negative place. If you notice that you’re always thinking in negatives or being especially hard on yourself, it could be because you haven’t given yourself time to rest and recharge.

 

When you feel weighed down by a negative mindset, make sure to give yourself grace. No one holds you to such high standards as you do, and it’s okay to give yourself a break. Say positive affirmations, journal your thoughts out, and take time to truly relax.

 

5. You keep snapping at others.

 

People are annoying, that’s a fact. But if you’re noticing that you’re more irritable than usual, it might be a sign that burnout is affecting your overall mood. It’s easy to take things out on other people, but it never results in anything worthwhile.

 

Instead, take responsibility for your time and energy. Make sure you’re not over-committing yourself and taking on things that will drain you. Set boundaries around your time and energy so you can enjoy some much-needed alone time.

 

6. Everything feels like a chore.

 

If you feel like you’re doing nothing on a daily basis that excites you or brings you joy, the monotony of daily life will start to take its toll. Most of us are living on autopilot and do the same things every day, so it’s important to incorporate a little fun into your schedule.

 

Make a conscious effort to add things into your day that you can look forward to. Maybe that’s talking with a friend, going for a walk, listening to music, writing, practicing yoga, reading, etc. If you try to do something a little different each day, it will make life feel more fun.

 

7. You don’t have time to practice self-care.

 

Self-care can be a huge help when it comes to dealing with burnout. The tricky part is actually making the time for self-care. If you don’t have time for self-care, it’s probably because you’re prioritizing everyone else’s needs above your own.

 

Instead, give yourself permission to rest. Whether you have ten minutes or an hour, there are ways to fit self-care into your schedule every single day. Self-care is the ultimate remedy for burnout, so treat it like a priority in your life.

 

WHAT ARE YOUR BEST TIPS TO COMBAT BURNOUT?

 

After reading this list, I encourage you to check in with yourself and see if any of these signs of burnout are showing up in your life. This may not seem directly related to Intuitive Eating and your body image journey, but I assure you that if you wear yourself out in all other areas, you’ll be burned out before you can even say “food freedom”.

 

As you pursue your Intuitive Eating journey it may require you to ease up in other areas of your life, so that you CAN focus more of your time and energy to healing and repairing your relationship with food and your body. Just know it won’t be that way forever. With time, patience, extra self-compassion, and using the Intuitive Eating principles as your guide, you will have a better relationship with food, fitness, and your body. It might feel like it takes up more of your brain space initially, but I promise there will come a day when you won’t think about food or your body NEAR as often.

 

A final reminder that this list is not the be-all-end-all. There are so many different ways that burnout can manifest, particularly as it relates to Intuitive Eating. The important thing is to tune into your mental, emotional, and physical well-being so you can recognize when you need to take a step back and recharge.

Want to stop dieting, but are worried about weight gain + feeling out of control around food? Have you heard about Intuitive Eating but don't really understand it or are looking for the Cliff notes version? I got you, sis. Download my free Intuitive Eating (30+ pages) Ebook today!

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