Category: Intuitive Eating

Dieting isn’t Self Control

It’s Tuesday and I feel inspired to talk about eating again! That means it’s time for another round of Intuitive Tuesday. Not sure what I am talking about? Check out this page for more information…

intuitive tuesday

Last week I shared about what my eating habits have been like over the past couple months. Today, I want to pick up where I left off. My post ended with the realization that the “F* It Diet” wasn’t working for me. It wasn’t all bad. I was eating whatever I wanted with only a small amount of guilt, I was loving my body more and more, and I still wasn’t binge eating. All some major positives, but I knew that I could do better in my relationship with food.

I am back to working on the Intuitive Eating principles, with a few changes. I haven’t changed the guidelines, I think they are all good things, rather I have changed my view of them.

My issue with the “F* It Diet” is that I believe self control, and discipline are a good thing. In Galatians 5:22-23 it says that “The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and SELF CONTROL”. This means that you can’t do whatever you want to, whenever you want, and still be operating in love.

I think both Christians, and non-Christians can agree with that one. I wasn’t loving myself by eating whatever junk food I could find while watching Netflix every afternoon. I felt depressed, tired, and lethargic. I also wasn’t doing a good job at loving those around me. When I am not feeling my best, I am not the greatest mom, wife, or friend.

I have been thinking about the whole self control thing for awhile. I am realizing that when it comes to food, self control doesn’t equal dieting. Dieting is letting a set of food rules control your personal choices. I don’t think that self control is eating to look a certain way either. This is letting a particular body image control your eating habits. Self control isn’t even eating according to the Intuitive Eating principles. This is letting Intuitive Eating control your choices.

I think that self control means taking responsibility for your own actions. It means not giving responsibility to a diet, or any restrictive form of eating, but eating, and living, to be your best self. This is a lot harder than it sounds. It is so much easier to give the control over to something else and hope that it can make you happy. Just for the record – it can’t!

I do think that when exercising self control, it is important to keep your heart and mind in the right place and constantly examine your motives. You may think that you are making decisions, but in reality you could be influenced by something you saw earlier that day, or someone you spoke with, or whatever.

I think that the Intuitive Eating principles are good “self check-in” points. For example, one of the principles is “Respect your Fullness”. If you realize that you are eating when you aren’t hungry, it is a good time to stop and think about why are eating. Is it because what you are eating just tastes so good that you want to eat it anyways? Is it because you are lonely, or sad, or bored? It may be possible that these types of emotions are controlling your decision to eat, and you need to reexamine them. It also may just be that you really want to eat what is in front of you because it is that good, and that is completely okay too.

I guess I am saying all of this to say that I am back on board with Intuitive Eating, but I feel like my mindset towards it has changed. I don’t believe it is the answer I was looking for to heal my relationship with food. Intuitive eating is simply a tool to help me make good decisions when it comes to eating.

My answer is to man up … or I guess “woman up”, and take control myself. I got this. I am going to use self control to make good decisions because I love myself, and my family, and I want the best life I can possibly have for all of us.

lochlyn mom beach

 

How I’ve Been Eating Lately

I can’t really believe that it has been seven or eight months since I was blogging regularly. I do miss it, but I have also enjoyed spending my time doing other things.

I’m back today, and I want to fill you in on something that I used to talk about on the blog all the time –  intuitive eating – and more particularly, where I am at with it. So, without further ado, let’s have Intuitive Tuesday on a Wednesday! (I’m such a rebel).

intuitive tuesday

Intuitive eating is hard. I have often heard that it is harder than dieting, and I think that I might agree. (Since I haven’t shared about Intuitive Eating for awhile, if you don’t know what I am talking about, I highly recommend you read this book).

One area that I have struggled with when it comes to eating is learning to eat without distractions. I love curling up with a good book, my phone, Netflix, or whatever, and snacking mindlessly. Even now, I am drinking a smoothie as I type this – do smoothies really count as eating though?

mango smoothie

The Intuitive Eating Guidelines suggest that you should practice eating mindfully and without distractions. This is so hard for me for some reason.

Another challenge I have with intuitive eating is not eating when I am not hungry. I think deep down I believed that if I only ate when I was hungry (but not TOO hungry) and stopped when I was full (but not TOO full) I would find my ideal weight, heal my relationship with food, and all would be right in the world.

The Intuitive Eating book cautions that the Intuitive Eating guidelines should just be guidelines, and not rules, yet I was finding myself trying adhere to them 100% and beating myself up with I didn’t.

As we know from diet land, giving our body a strict set of “food rules” which we must adhere to is a recipe for disaster (hello binging). I didn’t end up binging, but I soon found myself binge watching Netflix and eating everything that sounded delicious every afternoon while Lochlyn was napping. I told myself not to eat in front of the computer, but then gave in. “Starting tomorrow I would eat more mindfully”. Man, this sounds just like “starting tomorrow I will follow my diet” – all too familiar.

After observing this behaviour, and beating myself up a little too long, I realized my mistake. I decided to look in completely the opposite direction and gave the “F* it diet” a try. On this “diet” you can eat what you want to, however much you want, whenever you want it, with no guilt. Kind of like intuitive eating, but without the whole listening to your body, and eating mindfully aspect.

How did this go for me? Not so good. I found myself binge watching Netflix and eating whatever was convenient, even if it didn’t sound good. I always waited until my “break” when Lochlyn took her nap in the afternoon to do this. By dinner time, I was full and didn’t feel like having dinner with my family. I still wanted to sit down with them, so I would eat a bit, and end up not feeling too great the rest of the night.  I didn’t binge eat, I did stop when I was full because I wanted to, but I wasn’t happy with my relationship with food. I started to feel depressed and lethargic, and I wasn’t quite sure what was wrong.

I can’t believe it took me as long as it did to realize that my eating habits needed to change. Honestly I think it was only a couple weeks ago that I had this epiphany.

I have some new thoughts about Intuitive Eating, and eating in general that I want to chat about, but I think that will have to wait until another post as this is getting lengthy.

 

Have you ever tried the “F* It Diet”? What did you think?

How about Intuitive Eating? Do you struggle with seeing the guidelines as rules?

Teaching a Toddler to Eat Intuitively

Welcome back to Intuitive Tuesday, thank you for following along with this little series!

intuitive tuesday

I mentioned last week that I wanted to chat about Lochlyn, and more specifically, teaching your little ones to eat intuitively.

This topic came up as I found myself starting to care more about Lochlyn’s weight. My little baby is not so little anymore. At one point Lochlyn was very small for her age. Not only was she small, but she wasn’t growing as quickly as her doctor would have liked. Between 0 and 5 months, Lochlyn was actually steadily dropping on the growth charts. At five months old was sitting around the 4th percentile. This was a bit worrisome as she was somewhere around the 85th percentile when she was born (she weighed 8 pounds).

4 months old

 

Four months old

I started feeding Lochlyn solid foods a bit early as per my doctor’s recommendations. I focused on feeding her calorie dense foods. I praised her for eating a lot, and encouraged her to eat everything I made for her. She grew like crazy.

nine months

 

Nine months old

Eventually I stopped focusing on feeding Lochlyn calorie dense foods, but I still try to feed her balanced meals. I don’t encourage her to clear her plate, but she often does by throwing whatever she doesn’t want to eat on the floor! I wish that I didn’t worry so much about Lochlyn gaining weight when she was younger, or trying to get her to eat as much as possible. I guess I learned my lesson and I will remember it for the future.

twelve months

12 months old

In the past 9 months Lochlyn has gone from the 4th percentile to the 98th percentile. This has been so hard with clothes – I feel like she only wears an outfit a couple times before she grows out of it! It also made me stop to consider her eating habits. This has also been hard for me. I know Lochlyn is healthy, and happy, but I was worried about how heavy she was. I constantly have to remind myself that weight isn’t the issue, as much as eating habits. I also have to remind myself that I weighed 30 pounds at one year old, and 33 pounds at 2 years old. Her body will regulate itself.

fifteen months

Lochlyn today

Anyways, last week I decided I needed to pay more attention to how Lochlyn was eating, and how I was feeding her. I very quickly realized that I wasn’t encouraging her to eat intuitively. Without intending to, I was limiting certain foods, and trying to get her to eat more “nutritious” food, even if she didn’t want to.

For example, my sweet little girl absolutely loves bananas. We always have a bowl of bananas sitting on our counter, and often at meal time, she is more interested in the bowl of bananas, than what I have prepared for her. I have always allowed her to eat bananas, but I would stop her at one banana a day. I usually wouldn’t offer her a banana until after she finished her meal. Sounds like typical parenting, but this doesn’t really equate to intuitive eating…

I noticed I was doing this with other types of food as well. I would allow Lochlyn to eat anything that she wanted, but I would ration it. I wasn’t starving her, I would just try to get her to eat other foods instead of the food that she really wanted. If she didn’t show an interest in a more “nutritious” type of food, I would feed it to her myself on and spoon, and force her to at least taste it.

Lochlyn is not a picky eater, she eats everything. The only food she doesn’t like is salmon (weirdo). Sometimes she just prefers one type of food to another.

funny cake picture

Last week I made the decision to start encouraging Lochlyn to eat intuitively. I decided that the best way to do this would be to offer Lochlyn a few different types of foods at meal time, and allow her to choose what she would like to eat, and how much of it she wanted. The first meal I tried this with was breakfast. I offered her peanut butter toast, plain yogurt, and banana slices. Of course, Lochlyn immediately pointed at the bananas, indicating that she wanted them. I allowed her to eat a full banana. Once it was gone, she pointed at the bowl of bananas on the counter. I sliced up another one, and offered it to her. She ate the entire thing, and then again, pointed at the bowl. I offered her another one, and she proceeded to eat the entire thing. She then ate some of her toast and yogurt, and was satisfied.

Since this meal, I have been offering her bananas a couple times a day, and I have found that her interest in them is starting to dwindle. Her three bananas went down to two, and then one. Last night, she was satisfied after eating only half of a banana.

I realized that because I wasn’t allowing Lochlyn to eat as much banana as she wanted, she would eat every last bite every time I offered it to her. This also went for other foods, like cheese, avocado, and other types of fruit. After only a week of allowing Lochlyn to eat freely I have noticed a big difference. She no longer eats every single bite of her favourite foods. She is satisfied with less.

I do want to point out that the reason why I am encouraging Lochlyn to eat intuitively isn’t so that she will eat less. I am okay with Lochlyn’s weight, and that she is growing so quickly. I have a big, beautiful, healthy baby, and that is awesome! My concern is that I want her to have a healthy relationship with food. I don’t want to teach her to restrict food from an early age, or that food needs to be rationed. I don’t want to pass any of my disordered eating habits on to her.

Sometimes this isn’t easy. I actually think feeding your children intuitively can be harder than learning to eat that way yourself. It isn’t harder for kids to learn, but harder for parents to give up the control, and allow their kids to make their own decisions. It seems wrong to allow a very chubby toddler to eat whatever they want to, but I believe that limiting food intake causes some serious problems.

bikini babe

I have so much more to say about this subject, but I think I will save it for another day. Next week I plan to talk about more practical steps to take to teach your little one to eat intuitively. I would love to hear your advice in the comments too!

 

What are your biggest challenges with teaching your child to eat intuitively? What are your favourite tips?

Anyone else deal with weight issues with their baby/kids?

 

Falling off the Bandwagon

Intuitive Tuesday is back, and today I want to share how my journey is going with you guys. Before I do, please check out my Intuitive Tuesday page if you are new here!

intuitive tuesday

It’s been a little bit blue around here lately. I guess I have been feeling pretty sorry for myself after injuring my knee. I am sad that I couldn’t run my half marathon, and won’t be able to run for awhile. All this sadness has definitely affected my eating.

At first, I thought that I would chat a little bit about “falling off the band wagon” with intuitive eating. You know what I mean… when you kind of let it go to the wayside for a bit, and find yourself not eating so intuitively.

Then I realized that you can’t really “fall off the band wagon” with intuitive eating. Intuitive eating isn’t a diet. It isn’t a set of rules. I would even go so far as to say that there isn’t a right and wrong way to do it. Intuitive eating is just learning to eat in a way that works for you, that involves a healthy relationship with food, and that makes your body feel good.

Lately I haven’t been eating in a way that makes my body feel good, but that is okay. I am still learning how this whole intuitive eating thing works. We all go through highs and lows in life and I guess I am just in a bit of a low. The great thing about lows is that you usually come out of them stronger and better off than if you didn’t go through them at all. My little intuitive eating low is going to teach me a lot about eating intuitively.

A couple weeks before my half marathon, I really wanted to dial-in my nutrition. I still wanted to eat intuitively, but I also wanted to lay off the sugar a little bit and focus on eating healthy, whole foods. This didn’t really happen, and I ended up feeling guilty about it. Not good.

When I injured myself after attempting to run the race I was pretty upset and admittedly I turned to food more than I would have liked. At the same time I told myself that since I couldn’t exercise, and I couldn’t run run, I should focus on eating healthy. I bought a ton of vegetables, and even though my knee was super painful, I continued to make healthy meals..

I found myself wanting to eat all the sugar in the process, and I felt bad about it.

gummy shark candy

Once I started feeling bad, I noticed that I just ate more and more of these sweet and sugary foods, which of course led to me feeling even more bad. Anyways, I am sure you are all familiar with the cycle.

Long story short, I started realizing that I haven’t been eating mindfully, and I have some food labels that I need to get rid of again. I obviously have started seeing sweet and sugary foods as “bad”. Which is a little frustrating after I worked so hard to get rid of all my food labels. I have also started thinking about different restrictive ways that I could eat that may help me lose weight, or eat “healthier” foods.

This whole thing has showed me that intuitive eating may be a life-long process. You don’t just suddenly reach intuitive eating perfection and never have to work on it again. I was doing really well with being in tune with my body and allowing it to have whatever it wanted. Now I am having a harder time with that.

My plan of attack for the moment is to think about what is causing me to want to eat all the sugary foods, and also what is causing me to think that I shouldn’t…

1. I have been listening to some running podcasts, which may not be the best idea. First of all they make me sad that I can’t run, and other people can. Secondly, they mention running nutrition, and more specifically, eating a certain type of diet, and avoiding certain foods. Bad idea for me. No more running podcasts for the moment. Instead I plan on delving back into the intuitive eating community and surrounding myself with other people that live this kind of lifestyle. This is how I started shifting my mindset when I wanted to give up dieting in the first place, so I feel like it would be a good place to start.

2. Find some other way to be active. My knee is starting to get better, and I can now ride the recumbent bike. I can also go to the gym to do some of my physio exercises instead of working out in the basement. Being active makes me happy, and so does getting out of the house.

3. I have been eating emotionally, and I am trying to be okay with that. I want to be mindful of taking the time to pause and figure out what I am actually feeling before I try to drown my emotions with food. I also want to find other things that make me feel good, besides eating. I mentioned above that exercise makes me happy, but I don’t want it to be my source of happiness. Another thing that makes me feel happy and centred is spending time in the word (reading the bible). I haven’t been doing this much lately, and I know I am a better person when I do, and I would much prefer God to be my source of happiness than exercise or food.

4. Love myself at this moment. Even if I can’t run, or exercise. Even if I may gain a few pounds in the process. Even if I want to eat an ice cream sandwich and chocolate almonds for breakfast (yes that did happen). I want to love myself through all of that. It is just food. It doesn’t make me a bad person. It doesn’t make me less beautiful, or loveable, or bad, or good, or anything. Thank God for that.

out of breath 10k

 

Do you think it is possible to fall off the bandwagon with Intuitive Eating, or do you agree that the lows are all just a part of the process?

Does exercise help you to eat more intuitively, or hinder it? 

Intuitive Eating Journal

As I promised yesterday – I want to a day of food journalling with you. Since I am sharing my eats, I am linking up with Jen over at Peas and Crayons for What I Ate Wednesday. Be sure to check out the link-up!

what i ate wednesday

I don’t journal all my eats on a regular basis, but I have noticed that lately I haven’t been eating as intuitively as I would like to. The week leading up to my half marathon I was trying to pay more attention to what I ate, and wanted to cut out sugar and less nutritious foods. This didn’t really work. I find that when I restrict myself I end up eating whatever I tell myself I shouldn’t eat. Now this past week I have been stuck at home injured, and I think that I was eating to comfort myself a little bit.

I think that food journalling is a great way to remind yourself to eat mindfully since it forces you to take the time to think about what you are doing. When I journal my eats, I don’t keep track of calories, or macros, or anything like that. I more try to pay attention to how I am feeling before and after I eat, and how hungry I am.

Below is an Intuitive Eating food journal template for those of you that are interested. I haven’t actually tried it since my printer isn’t working, so let me know if you give it a go! I would love any feedback you can give me to make it better.

intuitive eating journal

Alright, so after that long intro, let’s jump right to my day of eats yesterday.

ricotta egg scramble Sorry for the blurry photo!

  • 8:45 am
  • Hunger Level: 2-3
  • Feelings/mood: Impatient with Lochlyn. She was really hungry and clinging to my legs while I was trying to make breakfast.
  • What do I want?: Something salty. Eggs. I have been craving eggs for awhile now.
  • What did I eat?: An egg scramble with sautéed veggies and ricotta cheese and a piece of toast.
  • Where/distractions: At kitchen table while feeding Lochlyn breakfast. My mom called as I was finishing so I was a bit distracted at the end.
  • Fullness Level: 6
  • Satisfaction/Comments: I liked this breakfast and I did feel satisfied after.

I tend to eat my main meals with Lochlyn, so I follow her schedule more than my own. If I am not very hungry I just eat less and know I can always have a snack later. Lunch time came pretty early yesterday.

quinoa black bean salad

  • 11:00 am
  • Hunger Level: 5
  • Feelings/mood: My knee was really sore at this time. I was also feeling ambitious with the big “to-do” list I had in my head
  • What do I want?: Nothing really, I’m not very hungry yet.
  • What did I eat?: Cumin Lime Black Bean Quinoa Salad
  • Where/Distractions: At the kitchen table with Lochlyn. I kept catching myself bringing my phone out to distract me. I need to keep this in another room when we are eating!
  • Fullness level: 6
  • Satisfaction/Comments: The dressing on this was really yummy, I wish I had made extra! I am getting tired of black beans though, so I didn’t enjoy this as much as I could have.

After lunch and some household chores, it was nap time! This is usually my “me time” and I often find myself craving something sweet. Yesterday was no exception

  • 12:35 pm
  • Hunger Level: 6
  • Feelings/mood: tired, don’t want to do knee exercises
  • What do I want: candy/something sweet

I didn’t actually eat anything at that point as I recognized I wasn’t hungry and just wanted a break. I had been on my feet almost all morning so I took this time to rest my knee, do some strengthening exercises, and watch a movie. My movie of choice? Nanny Diaries! I had never seen this before and I really enjoyed it. It definitely touched my mama’s heart a little bit.

I had plans to take Lochlyn to the beach when she woke up so I made sure to make myself a snack before the movie was over.

chocolate cherry smoothie

  • 2:10 pm
  • Hunger Level: 4
  • Feelings/mood: happy, rested, excited for the beach
  • What do I want?: something cold and sweet
  • What did I eat?: A chocolate cherry smoothie inspired by this one. Yum!
  • Where/distractions: In front of computer, watching a movie
  • Fullness Level: 6
  • Satisfaction/comments: This was delicious, and I think I would have enjoyed it more if it wasn’t in front of a movie. I found myself wanting that candy again once it was gone.

After Lochlyn’s nap we went to the beach and then came home to shower and make dinner. On my way in the door I found myself craving that candy again. Third times a charm, I guess, since I grabbed a handful on the way upstairs to shower.

gummy shark candy

  • 4:50 pm
  • Hunger Level: 4
  • Feelings/mood: happy, rushed to shower and get dinner ready
  • What do I want?: candy! Weird as I don’t usually crave candy.
  • What did I eat?: Gummy shark candy
  • Where/Distractions: While walking to the shower.
  • Fullness Level: 4
  • Satisfaction/Comments: This was yummy! I found myself wanting more, but then I thought about dinner and realized I actually would rather have that. I knew if I ate too much candy dinner wouldn’t sound appetizing anymore so I held off.

After a quick shower with my little one I got dinner on the table. Not the easiest task with a toddler chasing the cat around. She is obsessed with pulling Eeyore’s tail at the moment.

edamame stir fry

  • 6:20  pm
  • Hunger Level: 4
  • Feelings/mood: tired, happy that Josh is home
  • What do I want?: Something crunchy with lots of veggies
  • What did I eat?: Speedy Veggie ‘n’ Brown Rice Noodle Bowl, and more candies for dessert
  • Where/Distractions: At the kitchen table with the family
  • Satisfaction/Comments: This was so yummy, I wish I made more. I found myself not really satisfied after dinner. I could have gone for seconds, but I wanted to save some for Josh to take for lunch tomorrow, so I reached for more candies instead.

After dinner Josh and I tidied up the kitchen and then I went upstairs with Lochlyn to finish the laundry. By the time Lochlyn was in bed I my knee was starting to get really sore again so I decided to read in bed for awhile and then go to sleep early. I felt pretty hungry before bed but I decided that sleep sounded better than food, so I didn’t eat anything else.

Areas to improve: One of my biggest weaknesses with intuitive eating is taking the time to enjoy what I am eating. I often let distractions get in the way, and yesterday was no exception. Today I plan to keep my phone in another room at mealtime, so I’m not tempted to pick it up.

I was really craving those candies yesterday, and I think part of it is because I have been trying to limit them. I know for myself that when I tell myself a certain food is “bad” or “unhealthy” I tend to crave it and eat it even more. That being said, I haven’t been binge eating them, which is something that I would have done in the past, so I know I am making some progress.

I also found myself leaving the dinner table not really satisfied. I need to work on making bigger servings for our family, or making a side that we can have along with dinner so that we are full after.

Exercise notes: no exercise yesterday unless you count the strengthening exercises I did to help my injured knee.

 

Thanks for sticking around to read all that! If you are new to intuitive eating, you should check out my intuitive eating page! It will explain what I am going on about, including all the different categories in my food journal.

 

Do you find that you crave foods more when you put them “off limits”?

 

It Is Possible

Would you believe me if I told you that it is possible to stop being so obsessed with food?

it is possible

You may believe me when I say it is possible for other people, but the thing is, most of us don’t believe that it is possible for ourselves. You aren’t an exception. I promise you that if I can stop obsessing about food, anybody can. Even you. Especially you.

Since I started intuitive eating, I am learning that…

It is possible to not think about everything that you are going to eat during the day ahead of time and plan it all out.

It is possible to stop fantasizing about food when you aren’t even hungry.

It is possible to not spend hours a day looking at pictures or recipes of delicious food.

It is possible to love your family, friends, and even hobbies more than food.

It is possible to quit studying different weight loss tactics and eating regimes.

It is possible to watch food advertisements on TV without feeling guilty for wanting to taste all the amazing-looking food. It is also possible to watch them and have no desire to taste it at all.

It is possible to stop thinking of food as bad, or good, but to think of it as simply food.

It is possible to trust yourself around your most favourite “bad” foods. It is possible to buy them and keep them in your cupboard and not eat them all within two hours. You may not believe me, but it is.

It is possible to eat a serving of that favourite food and then put it away, and feel 100% satisfied. It is also possible to eat three servings of that same food and not feel mad at yourself afterwards.

It is possible to stop thinking about that favourite food after you satisfied your craving. It is even possible to forget about that food altogether.

It is possible to eat what you want, when you want it, without overdoing it.

It is possible to stop seeing food as an enemy.

It is possible to eat without guilt, or shame, or disgust, or self-hatred.

It is actually possible to eat with satisfaction, and enjoyment, and to love yourself while doing it.

It is entirely possible to stop being obsessed with food. And to be happy about it.

intuitive tuesday

Thanks for stopping by for Intuitive Tuesday!

New to this series? You can learn more about it here.

Been reading for awhile? I so appreciate your support with my intuitive eating journey. Thanks for following along!

 

Your turn! If you have tried intuitive eating what is something that it has made possible for you?

Or … what is one thing that you would like to stop obsessing about when it comes to food? 

The Nurturing Voice

Last week’s Intuitive Tuesday post was about dealing with “the voice“. If you haven’t read it, I encourage you to, as it will help explain today’s post. To summarize it though, “the voice” is all the negative and judgemental thoughts that we still have about food, even when we have consciously made the decision to stop restricting it.

Today I want to talk about a different kind of voice.

But first – not sure what I am talking about when I mention Intuitive Tuesday? I explain it all here.

intuitive tuesday

It is hard to get rid of the negative voices in our head, if we don’t replace them with something positive. We are going to have thoughts, we can’t clear our mind completely, so we need to work at making these thoughts positive, and helpful, and encouraging, and – healthy.

The other day at the gym I heard a mom-friend of mine talking about the diet plan that she was on. She explained how hard she was on herself when it came to her appearance and what she allowed herself to eat. I knew exactly where she was coming from, and I really felt for her. I am a type A perfectionist. I am great at placing really high expectations on myself, and then beating myself up if I don’t achieve what I had hoped to. From what I have learned, a lot of dieters, and restrictive eaters have this same trait.

Being a perfectionist isn’t a bad thing. It means you strive for excellence, and that you try your best at everything you do. A lot of the world’s most creative and successful people were/are perfectionists. There is a downside though, and that is what happens when our expectations are too high, and we can’t quite meat them. Failure to a perfectionist means that one little thing went wrong. If you mess up even in one area, you have messed up in everything.

Dieting is very hard for a perfectionist. This is because eating even one bite of a restricted food results in massive failure. The negative voices that ensue once this kind of failure takes place are crazy. For some reason we think that beating ourselves up when we aren’t perfect will make us better. We can’t accept, or even love ourselves until we reach the ultimate place of perfection and therefore happiness. I really felt for my friend because I knew what she meant when she said she was hard on herself. The inner struggle that takes place around food is tough.

The book Intuitive Eating suggests developing a voice within yourself called “The Nurturer”. The book explains that this voice “has the ability to reassure you that you’re okay and that everything will turn out fine” p 104. You have probably heard the advice that you should treat your inner self like how you would treat your best friend. That is what this voice is all about.

For example, rather than getting mad at yourself for eating something restricted, like a cookie, this positive voice reminds us that “it is okay to have a cookie. Eating a cookie is normal” (p. 104). Simply eating a cookie would have been a surefire way to set off a binge for me in the past. I felt guilty for eating it, and listened to the voices in my head that made me feel extremely bad. I would then rebel against them and eat everything I could find making me feel 1000 times worse. Developing an inner voice of reason, patience and understanding helped to ward off these crazy episodes.

I like to focus on positive thoughts, and reason, when the negative ones start surfacing. I try to counter the condemning voices with positive ones. If I start to feel bad about what I am eating, I like to focus on all the good things that intuitive eating as done for me, and all the bad things that dieting has. When it comes to body image, I like to remind myself of what my body does for me on a daily basis. It doesn’t matter so much that my stomach isn’t flat, when I think about how it carried around a baby for 9 months! Reminding myself that my legs allowed me to go for a run, or go to work, or even just perform daily tasks without hindering me, makes me thankful for them, not critical of their size or shape.

In short, what I really want to say today is to be nice to yourself. Intuitive eating is hard. It is something that you can’t be perfect in. Eating in general is hard. It is something that you can’t be perfect in, and as long as you set expectations on yourself for be perfect, you will fail. Your body won’t ever be perfect. Your athletic ability won’t be perfect. Even if you were to achieve your “perfect ideals” it wouldn’t make you more happy.

When you have negative thoughts about food, or body image, or even life in general, try to counter them with positive and affirming thoughts. Over time your inner thought life will be so much more positive! This is something that will actually make you more happy!

I am going to challenge myself to this too. I could use some more happiness in my life!

 

What are some positive thoughts that you use to counter negative ones?

Are you a perfectionist? Do you see this as a good or bad personality trait? I am a perfectionist to the extreme, and I see it as a good thing, that can also go very bad if I’m not careful! 

Dealing With the “Voice”

Last week was hard. This was probably due to the fact that I worked four days instead of two, and that Lochlyn had some pretty rough nights since she was teething. I am sure that my house being a complete disaster, and having to do 5000 loads of laundry didn’t help either. On top of all that; Lochlyn’s stomach has still been a little bit upset from having the flu a few weeks ago, and my stomach has been off too.

13 months bath time

On Wednesday night I woke up in the middle of the night feeling really nauseous. I couldn’t sleep for a couple of hours, and finally decided to try eating something. I ate a few crackers and almost right away the nausea was gone and I went back to sleep. On Sunday afternoon I wasn’t feeling good again at all. It was my long run day, and I should have had quite the appetite, but I couldn’t bring myself to eat much even though I was hungry. The only thing that sounded good was vanilla soft serve ice cream. While doing groceries I scoured the freezer section, but couldn’t find anything that I really wanted. I ended up hauling Lochlyn over to Dairy Queen and picking up a dipped cone. After eating it my nausea was completely gone. My weird stomach thing totally felt like being pregnant – I’m definitely not!  It was a good reminder that our bodies know what they need, and we just have to listen to them and not over think it. I am lactose intolerant, and the last thing that logically would make my stomach feel better is ice cream. Weird.

Anyways, it’s Tuesday, so let’s talk about living (mostly eating!) intuitively shall we?

intuitive tuesday

I read this really great email from Isabel Foxen Duke last week. It was on a subject that I have been thinking about for quite some time, but wasn’t quite sure how to put it into words. Isabel nailed it, but here some of my own thoughts.

I often hear people say that intuitive eating wouldn’t work for them, or for other people that they know, because they don’t crave nutritious food. If they ate whatever they craved, without restrictions, they would end up eating only “junk” food all the time, and they would overeat it, leading to some pretty unhealthy habits.

I don’t think the problem of ONLY wanting “junk” food can be attributed to your body’s cravings. I’m not a nutrition expert, or psychologist or anything, but in my opinion, it is mostly about what is going on in your head.

Eating without restrictions means that you allow yourself to eat whatever you want. It is perfectly okay to eat ice cream, chocolate, chips (or chocolate chips!), french fries, whatever. The thing is, you aren’t truly eating without restrictions until you deal with that little voice that says you shouldn’t be eating certain foods.

I am sure you know what voice I am talking about… the one that tells you that certain foods are “bad” or “good”. The voice that says that as long as you are eating certain types of foods, you will never lose weight, or be healthy. You try to ignore the voice rather than deal with it and maybe you even allow yourself to eat whatever you want to because you are trying out this intuitive eating thing, or maybe even because you just don’t give a damn. the unfortunate fact is, even if you are eating previously restricted foods, if you still feel like it is “wrong” it isn’t going to work so well.

I am all too familiar with that quiet voice that judges our food choices. In fact, I deal with it daily. Most ex-dieters, health-conscious people, and even those of us that grew up with concerned and well-meaning parents, have that voice. Actually, most people that have access to any form of media have some judgements about certain foods.

That voice really messes up eating intuitively. Allowing yourself to eat what your body is craving, but still having thoughts that you shouldn’t be, practically defeats the whole purpose of unrestricted eating. You still feel “bad” for eating certain foods and those feelings of “badness” will most likely lead to overeating and possibly even binging. You may even feel the need to go back on a diet, just so you can control yourself around those “bad” foods.

If you don’t deal with that voice, every time you want to eat, you will probably reach for something “bad” because you can. It’s that rebellious nature inside all of us – you “allow” yourself to eat unrestricted, but still feel guilty about it.

For me, a lot of my disordered eating habits were attributed to rebelliousness. As long as that voice tells me I shouldn’t be eating something, I can rebel against it, which leads to eating everything just for the sake of eating…

When I went to go get ice cream yesterday, I had to deal with that voice. I had run 9 miles earlier that day, and the voice told me that I should eat something more nutritious to help with recovery. It told me that I shouldn’t eat ice cream for dinner, and that I should be embarrassed for driving to Dairy Queen and waiting in line at the drive through just to pick up a cone all for myself. I am glad that I put the voice in it’s place and listened to my body because that cone tasted amazing, and my body felt great after eating it.

How do you get rid of the voice, so that you can make unbiased and truly unrestricted food choices?

I think one of the ways is to develop a new voice. A voice of grace, understanding, and reason. A voice that says that it is okay to eat less-nutrtious foods, and that you aren’t “bad” for doing so.

Earlier on in my intuitive eating journey, I journaled a lot about what foods I saw as “bad” and “good”. I even wrote down why I thought these foods were bad, and why I may be wrong about them. For example, I saw pretty much everything with white sugar as “bad”. I guess the reasons why sugar isn’t nutritious are obvious, but my main reason for not eating it was because I thought that sugar would make me gain weight, especially in my belly. I also thought that there was no health benefits to sugar. I listed my favourite foods containing sugar that I restricted, and wrote down reasons that they may be good for me. For example one of the things I wrote down was carrot cake. Carrot cake is good because it is a reminder of when my aunt made it for me just because she knew it was my favorite. Also, I just simply love it, and taking the time to savour and enjoy it is good for my soul! Running has taught me that simple, fast digesting carbohydrates such as sugar and white flour actually have their place – they are great if you need a quick, low fibre and fast digesting burst of energy. I probably wouldn’t choose carrot cake as fuel, but it wouldn’t be the worst thing ever!

When that voice tries to tell you that you shouldn’t be eating something, take a moment to think before you eat it. Think about why “the voice” is wrong, and where that thought came from. Then, think about whether you actually really want this food, or whether you are just eating it because you can. Also, be patient with yourself. It took a long time to build up that negative voice, it will also take time to turn it into a positive one!

 

 Thanks for stopping by!

How to Start Intuitive Eating

This is the one post that I always make sure I get around to writing each week. I think that this is because living intuitively, and especially eating intuitively is something that is so important to me. It has completely changed my life for the better, and writing these posts has helped keep me on track with it. Thanks for stopping for another Intuitive Tuesday post!

intuitive tuesday

Today’s post is all about how to start eating intuitively…

I didn’t make the step to start eating intuitively all at once. I had spent the past few years letting diets dictate what I ate and when. Even when I needed to gain weight to get pregnant, I was still tallying calories up in my head, and trying to eat only foods I considered “healthy”. Making the decision to give up control and let my body tell me what to eat was  scary.

My experience with dieting and food rules became a downward spiral in my life. It did get better with pregnancy, but once I had Lochlyn and had some baby weight to lose, I recognized old patterns emerging, and knew I needed to deal with them.

pregnant with eeyore

How did I make the jump from dieting and food restriction to eating freely and listening to my body? It’s something I haven’t talked about much on the blog…

It started with recognizing that calorie counting, food restriction, and following different weight loss trends, were not working for me. They only led to binge eating, depression, self hatred … you get the picture. I knew that this was not what I wanted for Lochlyn. I had to make a change, and fast, because her little eyes were on me every moment that she was awake. I also needed to make the change for myself. What I was doing to my physical and mental health was not worth possibly losing a few points (and probably gaining them back later).

baby eating  breakfast

I am not sure when I first heard of the term “intuitive eating” but it was something that had been in the back of my mind for awhile. After Lochlyn was born, I started researching what it was all about. I read multiple blogs that promoted either intuitive eating, or were against dieting. I hadn’t made the decision to quit dieting at this point, but I was curious about what other options were. Some of my favourite blogs were (and still are):

  • Snack Therapy – especially love this blog for promoting positive body image
  • The F* It Diet (not intuitive eating, but she has some great tips and advice)
  • The Anti Diet Project <—- Kelsey Miller has been a huge inspiration to me!

After reading through blogs like these for awhile, I started to experiment more with my eating. I started ditching my food rules, and allowing my body to eat what it wanted and when. I also started questioning why I thought my body needed to look a certain way. I ordered a workbook through The F* It Diet, and although I never finished it, it really helped me uncover some of my messed up beliefs and work through them.

I stayed away from reading anything online that promoted dieting, restrictive eating, or even things like calorie allowances or IIFYM. Blog posts with titles like “How to Reduce your Sugar Intake” or “The Negative Side Effects of Sugar” were no-gos for me. I couldn’t read about how another blogger had lost five pounds, or discuss a diet that my friend was trying. This may seem extreme, but anything like this made me want to start dieting again. Now that I have been eating intuitively for over 6 months, I sometimes read posts like this if I am familiar with the author, but I am still very careful with what I am reading, and make sure I don’t finish if something seems like it could be triggering for me. I also find that most of the time I am just not interested in reading posts like this anymore.

After reading intuitive eating/anti-dieting blogs for awhile, I started to become more curious about the book Intuitive Eating. I was hesitant to read it up to this point because I didn’t want to get into anything that promoted any kind of restricted eating habits. I was scared that the book would tell me that I couldn’t eat if I wasn’t hungry, and or that I couldn’t eat in front of the TV, etc. I didn’t want to limit myself after all the freedom I was starting to find with food.

I ordered the book Intuitive Eating online, and once I started reading it, I became fully convinced that the Intuitive Eating lifestyle would only benefit me. I was committed to trying it out, and giving it a very fair chance. I loved that the book didn’t contain rules, but simply guidelines and recommendations to help you out along your journey with intuitive eating. I also found the book super educating. I couldn’t believe all the statistics about dieting, and yet when I considered myself and other dieters that I knew – they all lined up.

intuitive eating book

Before I even finished reading the book, I wrote a blog post titled “Why I Will Never Diet Again“. That settled it for me. I had made a public declaration. No more dieting.

Writing Intuitive Tuesday blog posts provide me with an outlet, and an accountability to intuitive eating. It helps me focus in on different aspects of intuitive eating anywhere I am at with them. I am not even close to being a perfect intuitive eater, but the lifestyle has already positively affected my life in a huge way, and I can’t imagine ever going back to dieting or restricted eating.

birthday sushi

If intuitive eating is something that you are curious about, or something that you would like to try, here are some tips/ideas that could help you start the journey. These are ideas that worked for me, but I encourage you to search out what works for you!

  • Think about the effects of dieting and/or restricted eating in your own life. Make a list or start journaling if it helps you. Use this list as a reminder if you are tempted to try another diet.
  • Educate yourself. Read Intuitive Eating, and/or find other books that promote the idea of letting your body tell you what it needs and when. (Please be careful with what books you are reading. Some could be another diet in disguise!)
  • Avoid anything that may trigger the diet mentality. Be careful with what books you read, and what you read online. Don’t allow yourself to read anything that promotes dieting, food restrictions or negative body image. Also be careful about who you spend time with and what you talk about. Friends are powerful influencers!
  • Get involved in the community. Read blogs that promote intuitive eating, or anti-dieting. If you know other intuitive eaters, talk to them about it! Don’t be afraid to reach out to other people online with questions!
  • Be gentle with yourself, and allow yourself to start the process slow if you need to. Don’t make yourself do it before you are ready. Intuitive eating isn’t like dieting. You can’t just pick it up in a day.
  • Find someone to keep you accountable. I have been very open to my husband about my experience with intuitive eating, and it is something that we talk about often. Posting about my experiences on the blog has also helped keep me accountable and motivated.

 

I would love to hear more tips and ideas from you! If you have given up dieting, how and why did you do it?

 

 

Weight Changes and Intuitive Eating

I apologize for the late post, but as promised, this Tuesday, I am going to talk about whether I have gained or lost weight while intuitive eating. If you aren’t sure what this whole Intuitive Tuesday thing is about, you can head on over to this page for a quick explanation :) Before I tell you how my weight has changed, let’s have a quick chat about weight and intuitive eating, shall we?

intuitive tuesday

I believe that one of the biggest reasons why people don’t take the step to try eating intuitively is fear.

Fear that you won’t stop eating if you allow yourself to eat freely.

Fear that you will never crave healthy foods, and just eat all the “junk” food all the time.

Fear of weight gain.

To most of us, the words alone are terrifying. Yet why is gaining weight so scary? Where did we get that idea from? Who has brainwashed us into thinking that our body needs to look a certain way, and be a certain size? That we need to eat certain foods, in certain amounts, at certain times? That we should all fit into a cookie cutter mold, that our culture has deemed beautiful? It’s pretty messed up.

Learning to eat intuitively doesn’t mean that you will gain weight … but you might. It doesn’t mean that you will lose weight … but that could happen too.

Eating intuitively isn’t about what you weigh at all and it isn’t about what you look like. Weight gain or loss is simply a side effect of learning to trust your body. Intuitive eating is all about eating what your body is craving, when it is hungry, and stopping when your body is full. So simple, and so not a diet. Please don’t make it into one.

According to Intuitive Eating, learning to listen to your hunger and fullness cues will result in your body finding it’s “natural” weight, and maintaining it. If you were overeating, binge eating, or emotional eating, prior to starting intuitive eating, you will likely lose weight. If you are under-eating, dieting, or restricting food, you may gain weight (p. 33). Keep in mind that weight changes are a side effect of eating intuitively, not its focus.

weight changes

Okay, my little rant is over now. I promised I would tell you whether or not I have gained weight since I started intuitive eating, so let’s get to it…

I don’t know exactly when the last time I weighed myself was. I know it was right around the time that I decided to give up dieting. I also know that it was before I started this little blog. That would mean that it was probably around 7-ish months ago. At this time, I weighed approximately 10 pounds more than I did before I got pregnant.

Shortly after, I decided to put my scale away, and stop weighing myself. I didn’t struggle with compulsively weighing myself when I made this decision, but I knew that the scale wasn’t benefiting me at all. I decided that it would just hinder my journey with intuitive eating, and learning to trust my body.

I definitely recommend not weighing yourself. It was/is awesome.

A couple weekends ago, Josh and I booked a hotel, and spent the night away together. We checked into our hotel in the early afternoon, and pretty much right away I noticed that there was a scale in the bathroom. The thought crossed my mind that I hadn’t weighed myself in so long, and I was curious about how my weight had changed. I decided not to weight myself right away, but to think about it for a while first.

Let’s fast forward to that evening, when I made up my mind to do it. I didn’t have the excited, impulsive, anxious feeling I used to when I stepped on the scale, I mostly felt curiosity. Before I stepped on it, I prepared myself with the reminder that my weight is just a number and that it doesn’t mean anything good or bad. Weighing less or more would both be okay, good actually, because I knew that I was learning to eat intuitively and that my body was slowly finding its “natural” weight.

So what did I see when I stepped on the scale?

I had lost weight.

Since I started intuitive eating, I have lost almost 10 pounds.

Initially, I was shocked. I have honestly been eating whatever I want to. I have consumed a Costco-sized cheesecake all to myself (not all at once!), a million chocolate almonds, all the cream cheese icing, and a ton of other high-calorie foods. I don’t always stop eating when I am full, or only eat when I am hungry. I am still trying to figure this whole intuitive eating thing out. When I look in the mirror, I can’t tell that I have lost weight. I can tell that my legs are bigger and stronger though. I have increased my weights a ton at the gym too, so I know that I have gained muscle. How have I lost weight?

Well … I haven’t been binge eating, I haven’t been eating way past the point of fullness, and I haven’t been obsessing about food. I think this is why I have lost weight even though I have been eating a lot. It also took me approximately 7 months to lose that weight. The changes my body went through were very gradual.

Stepping on that scale did mess up my thoughts and therefore my eating for the next couple of days. Not big time, but I noticed it. I ate a lot more chocolate, and foods that I used to restrict in the past. I told myself it was okay to eat whatever I wanted to since I had done so for the past few months and still lost weight. This is true, but shouldn’t be abused. I was eating when my body didn’t need to, just because my mind told me that I should, since it was permissible. I guess I still have some restrictive eating thoughts that need to be dealt with.

Once I recognized these thoughts, I made a point to deal with them quickly. Now, I don’t plan to weigh myself for at least another six months, or at my next dr.’s appointment anyway!

While stepping on the scale did mess up my thinking for a bit, it has also given me new encouragement and confidence in intuitive eating. Not because I have lost weight, but because I believe I am closer to reaching my body’s “natural” weight. This is exciting for me because I can see how my relationship with food has improved, and that I am starting to figure out how this whole intuitive eating thing works.

 

Please don’t congratulate me for losing weight. As I mentioned above, weight loss isn’t good or bad in itself, but simply a symptom of the whole intuitive eating process. For me, losing weight is a positive because it means that my body is closer to finding its “natural weight”. Thank you!

Do you weigh yourself often?

Any questions for me regarding this topic, or intuitive eating in general?