Intuitive Eating was the tool that helped me gain freedom from food and dieting. It is one of the most fundamental mindsets that help us break diet rules and nourish you body in the way it TRULY NEEDS to be nourished.
Calorie-Counting is such a hard habit to break. We believe that by monitoring our caloric intake, we can ensure that we will avoid putting on weight (or even achieve weight-loss!)
Here is a bit of a personal story:
I used a diet calculator that I found on the internet that told me I needed 1,300 calories a day to maintain my weight. So, I ate that amount because that would be considered "safe" in my weight-loss journey. I was listening to a robotic calculation INSTEAD of listening to myself. In following that magic number, I what I really achieved was 3pm crashes, dizzy spells, constant yawning, chills and CONSTANT hunger! So even after my two rice cakes and an insistent growling stomach at 4pm, I would ignore that, follow my 2.5 hour rule, and wait until my 6:30 dinner. That mindset was the antithesis of intuitive.
I never considered intuitive eating to be "real" a concept until one day, during an appointment with my nutritionist. She was working on getting me to let go of calorie-counting and I told her I was AFRAID of losing control and "blowing up". She said to me "Nicole, how do you expect your body to gain weight, when it is BEGGING you for fuel? You will never gain weight when you are eating in response to your body asking you for food." Those words stuck with me from the moment she said them. It made so much sense. The next day, I tried to not use my calorie counter and challenged myself to LISTEN. Every time I would feel a hunger cue, I ate, with confidence and trust, that my body would utilize it. I did it in small steps, began to mix up my food choices, and constantly asked myself what I wanted and needed to feel good. And voila! I felt better, I ran better, I spun better, I avoided yawning, I was more focused, and I looked more HEALTHY! So with that said, I wanted to provide my 11 steps to intuitive eating that helped me gain freedom and feel better.
11 KEY STEPS IN YOUR INTUITIVE EATING JOURNEY
1. Reject diet mentality and metrics
2. Remember that time is a made up concept. We don’t need a “fixed amount of time” between meals If your stomach is growling under ANY circumstances, you eat.
3. Recognize your hunger - remember, it’s not just the stomach growling. If you can't stop yawning, feel exhausted, need to sleep, have a headache or feel cold, those are all signs you might need food!
4. Be mindful - take a bite and enjoy the taste, texture, etc.
5. Challenge the food police - you need all the food groups, so no popo needed.✌️
6. Acknowledge your fullness (8/10 is the sweet spot)
7. Satisfy your cravings. Remember, cravings mean your body is asking you for it.
8. Cope with your feelings through alternative mechanisms - journaling, calling a friend, bubble bath, creative arts.
9. Remember, your body is always smarter than your mind.
10. Avoid "earning" your food via exercise. Reverse the narrative ;) Earn your exercise via food.
11. Honor your health. Wrap your arms around your knees and remind yourself to take care of the vessel that has always cared for you.
The ultimate goal would be to learn to trust your body to make the food choices that feel good for you without judgment or pressure from society and diet culture.