What intuitive eating and toddler sleep have in common [it’s way more than you’d think!]

I know the days following a holiday weekend can be extra challenging around food / body image.

If you’re feeling the pressure to diet or the negative self talk and food rules are feeling extra loud today, I want to share something with you.

When I had Osh almost four years ago, my doula shared with me an incredible dose of wisdom. She said, ‘don’t pray for him to sleep through the night, pray to find joy in the nighttime feedings.’

Well, I had no idea how many of those middle of the night moments there would be and how much I would need her words of wisdom.

Both of my kiddos woke up multiple times a night until close to 10 months old and when they finally started sleeping through the night (or at least until 3 or 4 AM) it was like gulping a gigantic glass of ice water after spending all day in 95 degree humid-heat.

I loved those midnight moments but by the time it happened, I was so grateful (and ready) for the longer stretch of rest.

Recently, however, we knew it was time for the next sleep transition: to move Osh into his ‘big kid bed.’

We tried to make the switch happen and then changed our minds, oh, about three times.

Every time we’d try, he would stroll out of the room over and over again: for snacks, snuggles, another book, back rubs, or just because he felt scared. It was a big change for him, after all.

But there were only so many times we’d walk him back into his room before Tim and I would look at each other, exhausted, before pulling the pack n’ play back out in desperation.

Osh wasn’t the only one who was scared of the transition! So were we.

Of course we wanted him to sleep in his big bed but we also (really) wanted sleep. And it was scary to think of the transition period we were definitely going to have to go through to get him to a place of comfort in the new space. A transition period that was going to mean not sleeping again for a bit.

We were ready for the outcome but we were full of questions and overwhelmed with the unknown of the process:

How long until he’d stay in his room all night? (IF EVER! I was still trying to sleep in my parents’ room in high school so nobody can tell me ‘it will happen eventually’… I was 18 and scared of being alone in the dark!)? How many times a night would we be walking back and forth? Would the baby get woken up, too? She just started sleeping! Could we handle more weeks or… DON’T SAY MONTHS of not sleeping? Would we ever sleep through the night again?

Right about now you might be thinking, WHAT THE HECK DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH INTUITIVE EATING?

A whole heck of a lot actually. Stick with me…

When I was so done with restricting my food, counting my calories, obsessing over every ingredient, picking my body apart, letting the number on the scale rule my life, and letting my days be dictated by my workout schedule, I discovered intuitive eating.

knew intuitive eating was the next step in my journey and growth.

I wanted it: the food freedom, the non-obsessive health, the joyful movement, the ease in my own body, and more.

But, I wanted to feel in control. And the rules and restriction had given me some sense of that.

So, while I wanted the growth and the freedom…

I was scared to let go.

It was scary to think of the transition period I was definitely going to have to go through to get to a place of comfort in a new kind of relationship with food, movement, and my body. A transition period that was going to mean not feeling totally in control all the time.

I was ready for the outcome but I was full of questions and overwhelmed with the unknown of the process.

What would happen to my body? Could I actually learn to hear what my body needed? Who would I be without the food rules? Would I be ok if I didn’t follow the workout schedule? What would people think of me? How would my identify shift? Would I be lovable? What if I failed?

So, I’d try for a few hours or a few days and then, just like we pulled out Osh’s pack n’ play, I’d re-download my food tracking app. Or make a new workout schedule. Or jump back on the scale.

I tried intuitive eating and then changed my mind, oh, about three times.

Until one day I decided that no matter how challenging it was, no matter how uncomfortable, no matter how long it took, I was willing to be in the ‘figuring it out’ and committed to staying. Staying with myself, on the journey, in the growing pains.

I made and kept the promise to myself to go all in.

Last week, that’s exactly what we did with Osh. We put away the pack n’ play and promised that no matter how long it took, or how many times we had to walk him back into the room, or how many midnight snacks or ‘one more books’ or back rubs that we were going to be in the ‘figuring it out’ and committed to staying.

Tim and I looked at each other and promised to go all in.

In both cases it was a little (sometimes a lot) rough and there were some moments when it was (sometimes very) uncomfortable but worth it.

It’s ok to be ready for the outcome but afraid of the process. It’s ok to go back and forth for a while. But there comes that moment when you know that no matter how uncomfortable or challenging it’s going to be, it’s worth it.

Where in your life are you ready to promise (and keep the promise) to go all in?

xo, Sim

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