Intuitive Living, Freedom & Joy

Oh hey, how are you? I’ve been distracted from the computer this week, but I have a good excuse in that I’ve been spending as much time outside as possible in the gorgeous, sunny weather we’ve had here in California:

Intuitive Living from Carrie on Living |

Intuitive Living by Carrie on Living |

Intuitive Living by Carrie on Living |

I’m happy to be here today, though, because I’ve been meaning to write more about how the whole “intuitive eating” thing has been going for me, especially in terms of addressing disordered eating patterns. The term refers to the book by the same name that has been really important for my emotional health:

Intuitive Eating book featured on Carrie on Living | Incidentally, I’m featured today in an interview series about recovery from eating disorders hosted by my online friend, Jordan Younger, author of the Balanced Blonde blog. <—I’m so grateful to be in a place that can be considered recovery…YAY.

The whole concept of giving up dieting was life-changing, and maybe even life-saving, for me. As someone who has always had a difficult relationship with food and felt like my body needed changing, I fully admit that it’s a tough concept to let go of parameters for when and what to eat and to take a whole different approach.

At first glance, you might think that intuitive eating means eating crap with no guilt, but it’s really about self-awareness and mindfulness. My interpretation is that it’s more about listening to all of your needs and then choosing foods consciously. If you still have reservations about this idea, I would encourage you to check out the book before making a judgment; it’s powerful, powerful stuff.

Another book that I just picked up at the library recently and has had an impact on my thinking is The Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson:

Intuitive Living by Carrie on Living |

I’m not as interested in the dietary aspects of this book as much as the information on exercise and rest in the context of our evolutionary biology. Mark is a former top-notch athlete and has come full-circle when it comes to the repetitive cardiovascular training, what he calls “chronic cardio.” You can listen to a podcast on the topic here.

Where am I going with all of this? Have I give up everything I learned about nutrition and healthy living? Nah, I don’t think so, I kind of think of it as Intuitive Living. The idea is that if I can stay in tune with my emotional needs, then I’m much better at identifying my physical needs including food, rest, recreation, and physical activity. I find myself asking questions before I jump into a pattern, such as would I benefit from extra sleep or would it be better to tackle an early morning workout? Would I feel better having dessert (no judgment!) or connecting with a friend? It changes every time.

It’s a challenge, no doubt, and I’m not free from comparing myself to others, judging myself for mistakes, or getting caught up in fads or charismatic personalities. And, I should say that Intuitive Living also means that I still have to do things that I really don’t want to do, but, hey, we all have responsibilities and that’s a part of modern life. But, when it comes down to it, when I am truly honest with myself and love myself for who I am today, then I feel more freedom and joy than I have ever known.

Intuitive Living from Carrie on Living |

It feels so good for me to be able to express my thoughts on this topic here, because it keeps me sticking with it and I also love your input. Does this topic of intuitive eating or intuitive living resonate with you? Talk to me!

My goal is to provide inspiration for healthy, balanced living. I’d love to have you follow me on my social media accounts, too @carrieonliving: FacebookInstagramPinterest, and Twitter.

P.S. I have a Carrie on Living Amazon affiliate store where I list all of my favorite beauty items, kitchen devices, books, and other cool stuff. Your purchase using my link provides me with a small commission that helps keep my blog going so thank you in advance for your support!


  1. says

    Carrie, I love that you are relishing your new lifestyle. And the environment you live in is simply spectacular! Your post here is a great reminder that we all need to slow down and “realize” ourselves on a daily basis… we are so caught up in everyday, bustling noise of modern life that it can be very hard to listen to our own intuition. Self included here for sure. I have lately been taking comfort in the simplest of things. Life is so precious and it’s important to be thankful for all of our blessings, especially our self-awareness. The books sound very interesting, thanks for letting us know about them!

    Stay strong and true to yourself my friend,

    • says

      Hi Helyn, thank you for the lovely, kind words. I’m so thankful to be living close to the beach where I am reminded every single day about how beautiful and precious life can be. Like all of us, I’ve been in some very bad situations and environments where it was easy to forget that. Slowing down and enjoying the simple things is what it’s all about for me, too. Xoxo!!!

  2. Geoffrey Levens, L.Ac. says

    This is great! Reminded me of something I learned long ago about music. Though there are a few (like my sister!) who can just sit down at the piano an improvise beautifully from the time they are children, with no training or background, most require something a bit different to get to the improve/intuitional playing. They study, learn scales, chord progressions, specific rhythmic forms and practice a lot. Then they get to drop all that and just play by “ear”, by intuition. I think this is exactly what you have done/are doing. You have learned from long study and hard work what is healthy and what isn’t and what works in your body and now you get to play your own song!

    Rock on!

    • says

      Geoffrey, you have no idea how meaningful your comment is for me. I recently sold my piano because, while I had grown up playing, I never enjoyed it and I had no natural talent. So, while I still love listening to music (and am so envious of those who have an ear for it!), it was tedious and burdensome for me to play and the piano was a reminder of forcing myself to do something that didn’t feel right. So, while there is certainly value in dedication and study, at a certain point it also makes sense to just go with our intuition and do what comes naturally. I’ll turn 40 this year and I’m only finally realizing that I’m the only one who can determine what makes sense for me in this moment. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

      • Geoffrey Levens, L.Ac. says

        Carrie, sad/funny, I had same experience w/ piano only I think I may actually have had some natural ability (entire family musical but me!). Only lessons available were classical, play what is written, and nothing else. That was in 1950’s and early 60’s. Gave it up at about age 12 or so maybe 13. Never quite had “something”, drive, what ever to go back and learn the basics for improv. Got hooked deeply by surfing age 13 and that became my creative outlet until now really.

        • says

          Hi Geoffrey, I was taught piano the same way: classical and only read what is written. I do have an interest in other musical instruments, but I just haven’t made the effort to try anything else. I love that you said surfing is your creative outlet – I never thought about it in that way, but it makes me appreciate how other activities in my life feel creative to me (Zumba, for instance!).

  3. Deanna says

    I’m at my healthiest when I’m doing intuitive eating; my challenge is how to do that AND care for my family / provide a healthy variety of food for them! Thanks for your encouragement.

  4. says

    Hi Carrie,

    I second the supportive comments of Helyn and Jeffrey above. Also would add that I used to live in Southern Cal in my youth and every time I see one of those photos of it you share I get to go back to how it felt to be with the ocean, which I really needed for about 10 years of my life. So thank you for that! Secondly, I just don’t know how I would have gotten as far as I’ve gotten on my own journey if I did not honor my intuition, which always listens to my body. So glad you are finding that in your own way! xo

  5. says

    An OCD therapist I used to see recommended to me the book Intuitive Eating, and I still have yet to read it. I’ve heard such amazing, amazing things about it. I’m definitely going to download it on my Kindle now that you’ve reminded me! (Another great book, one from the ED world, is “Life Without Ed” by Jenni Schaefer, in case you’re interested. It’s all about recovery.) I’ve been trying to listen to my body lately and eat intuitively, but it’s so much harder than it seems. It sounds easy, right? To simply eat what your body tells you to. But having an eating disorder messes with your intuition. I’m sad to say I’m pretty out of touch with mine at the moment. I keep going back and forth between eating “everything” and cutting out things that I think are somehow harming my health. I’m trying to eat what my body tells me to, yet most of the time I have no idea what it’s telling me. Obviously I need to get reading. 🙂 I’m so happy that you’re on such a great track right now. The next time I head up to the Central Coast I’m going to make it a priority to have lunch with you!! I feel like we’re the type that could talk for hours. I seriously relate to you so much.

    • says

      Jenni, hi and thanks for being so honest about your struggles. I probably should have noted that I was in a group therapy situation for about a year and a half to actually learn to identify and deal with my emotions. It was the hardest work I’ve ever done. The book ended up capping off that whole experience for me, although I also worked with an eating disorders specialist too.

      On a completely separate note, I am very much looking forward to when we can get together in person, I feel as if we already know each other well. Sending you healing, loving strength for everything that you are.

  6. says

    I recently read Intuitive Eating and it was so eye opening and informative. I really related to “the food police” and have been working at silencing them! Throughout the book I saw myself in the people they were describing. I lost a large amount of weight and realized that I was starting to develop some unhealthy disordered eating habits and behaviour. I would totally recommend the book to anyone struggling with disordered eating. I am still working at eating intuitively….small steps each day. Thanks for writing about this topic and for sharing your story.

    • says

      You’re welcome, Kate, and thanks for sending me this note! I agree, the food police are out there and, while they might be helping some, they definitely didn’t help me in the long run. I’m also taking baby steps at the whole intuitive eating thing. I haven’t even finished reading the book because I can only process a few pages a day. It’s a whole different approach, but I love it and it makes so much sense to me. Xoxo.

  7. says

    Carrie, I loved this post! I admire your strength and honesty – it’s not always easy to ignore the judgments and criticism from others – I think more people should listen to their intuition/gut and not worry about what others think. I am so happy that you’re happy! And the views where you live are incredible. I will forever be a work in progress when it comes to self love and battling body dysmorphic disorder, but it’s inspiring people like you who keep me going!
    Lots of love,

    • says

      Thank you, Mandy!!! I so identify with being a work in progress and dealing with the body dysmorphic stuff. One of my favorite outcomes of working with my eating disorders counselor was that every time I look in the mirror and feel the need to criticize, I instead say “it is my job to love my body just the way it is.” I don’t know if this helps at all, but it has been an amazing piece of advice for me and sometimes just helps enough to get me to move on. You’re awesome, and I’m so glad we connected. Much love back ‘atcha! Xoxo.

  8. Amanda says

    Carrie, I really am enjoying your posts lately. I think this is a book I need to get familiar with. I have been trying to figure out why I don’t take care of myself as well as I know I should. I love reading and studying the whole health and wellness and fitness world, yet don’t go through with it myself. I recently had a small epiphany, in thinking I don’t think I love my true self enough as others do. Why and how do we do this to ourselves? If we don’t like/love ourselves, how can we put any love out there? To our mind, body, soul or spouses? Please keep going with these topics. I am starting to resignate with the “eating disorder” topic, and I never thought that was me. Thanks for letting me vent Carrie! 🙂

    • says

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Amanda! I think this is a common theme that we don’t treat ourselves anywhere near as kindly or compassionately as we do our friends or even strangers. For instance, I would never, ever think the negative thoughts about others that I often put on myself, or hold others up to perfectionist standards that I somehow think apply to me. It’s a very sad situation, but the control to change this it is up to each of us. For me, I had to get to the point where I truly believe (okay, not all the time, but hopefully most of the time), that I am worthy of love and kindness, and that I don’t have to perfect to deserve any of those things…I’m perfect just the way I am! Sending you lots of love on your journey. Xoxoxoxo.

  9. says

    I love seeing your progress with all of this. You seem to be doing so well with it. I still seem to be struggling, but it gets better as time goes on and seeing your progress make me want to keep working at it (that’s what it is sometimes – work!).
    Thank you for sharing your experiences and tips =)

    • says

      If writing about my journey helps you in any way, Kimmy, then that is enough to keep me talking about it. Sometimes I feel so self-centered in focusing on my problems, but it makes me feel better knowing that I’m motivating you to keep at it. Your comments make me keep moving forward too. Sending you much love. Xoxo.

  10. Patsey Manning says

    Hi, Carrie. So glad you are enjoying the beauties of California, and taking advantage of its’ natural wonders. Also glad that you are doing well!

  11. Donna says

    Hi Carrie,

    First off, I am long overdue in voicing my support for you in all that’s going on. Your physical and emotional health are the most important thing, and for any supporters you may have lost along the way, there remain those of us out here who continue to support you, without judgement or doctrinaire superiority. There can’t be one answer – if only human beings were that simple!

    But I am interested in this topic. Like many, it get into the “all or nothing”, “good vs bad” trap, and the resulting unhelpful self punishment over anything less than perfection. I did pick up the book and would be interested in reading about your exploration.

    Keep well, and know you are supported and appreciated.

    • says

      Thank you, Donna, I can’t tell you how much your support means to me. I liked the way you phrased your comments, too, and they certainly resonate with me. I do plan to wrote more about the Intuitive Eating stuff in the future and I’m planning a series of interviews with other women who have some powerful lessons to share. This is most certainly a journey for each of us, and I’m honored to have your attention and support.

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