I enjoy eating intuitively. I have tried almost every diet out there and I found myself starving, obsessing, gaining weight or in a foul mood on every single one of them. Eating intuitively has given me freedom from guilt, respect for myself, the space in my mind to think about other things, and the ability to nourish my body how it wants. If you have never done it before and always followed a diet, I urge you to try it out. It may take a little while to get down, but once you do... it is invigorating and makes you feel like you can actually enjoy food again.
Here are some key points to keep in mind while intuitively eating.
-Respect your body: Learn to develop a new relationship with yourself and actually want to feed it healthy foods. I am sure you heard the saying, "Your body is not a trash can." To me than means not feeding it junk on a daily basis, but understanding when it is ok to treat yourself. I believe intuitively eating means you eat fresh whole foods eighty percent of the time while enjoying more decadent treats twenty percent of the time.
-Forget the diet mentality: Dieting comes with so many rules and regulations about how much of each food you should be consuming and when. Intuitively eating is listening to your body's signals to when it wants food, when you should stop eating and what you should feed your body. Intuitive eating is not one size fits all. We are all different ages, experiencing differing biomechanics, we all have our own unique schedules, our bodies respond differently to other types of food, etc. Dieting is structured. Intuitive eating is flexible and tailored to your specific lifestyle.
-Honor your hunger: When you are starting to feel munchie, take note to that feeling. Is your belly talking or your mind just being bored? If it is your head, go do something that will distract yourself from reaching for food. If it is your belly, eat! Take a moment to be with your body and recognize what it is asking for. Most likely if you just had a salad, you will be craving protein or a sandwich. If you just had a spaghetti bowl, you may be craving fruit. Honor what your body is asking for.
-Put your fork down when you are satisfied: Putting your fork down when you are full is too late. That is the quickest way to put on extra weight. Eat slowly and enjoy each bite. Take note to how you are feeling as you are eating. As soon as you feel satisfied, your fork goes down. I know the entree may be so delicious, but one more bite will be on your tastebuds for 10 seconds! Is 10 seconds worth the extra calories?
-Fresh foods= Fresh energy: When you feed yourself foods from the earth, you feel so incredibly alive. Your body starts to heal itself from the inside out and you will notice a glow about you. Your energy will increase, you will feel lighter, you will sleep better, your digestion will be smoother and your confidence will soar. There is nothing like having fresh foods in your every day meal plan.
-Do not compromise what you eat through exercise: People make the mistake by thinking they "earned" or "deserve" chips or cookies because they worked out. Equating food with exercise can become a crutch for some people and will wind up gaining weight or becoming obsessed. When you workout, think what foods will compliment your exercise regimen and increase the chances you will feel even better. Thinking of earning a donut while you are running is counterproductive and most likely that donut will have more calories in it than what you burned off during your run. Running because you ate a donut is not healthy either. You are basically punishing yourself for the act of treating yourself to a dessert. Food should never be labeled as good nor bad. The question that should go through your mind however is, "is this healthy for my body?".