Let’s head right on in to another round of Intuitive Tuesday shall we? Thanks for joining me!
I am not exactly sure when I made the decision to start eating intuitively. This blog has been around for over six months now, and I know that I was committed to eating intuitively before I started the blog, so it has been a little while. I thought that this would be a good time to check in with you guys and let you know how my journey with intuitive eating is going.
First of all, let’s recap what intuitive eating means to me.
Intuitive eating is eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full most of the time. It is allowing yourself to eat what satisfies and nourishes your body, without restricting certain foods. Intuitive eating means rejecting dieting, and all the thoughts that go along with it. It is accepting your body where it is at, and learning to love it. Intuitive eating is a journey, it is not about perfection. To learn more about intuitive eating, I highly suggest you check out this book (not an affiliate link).
Before I talk about if intuitive eating has been working for me, I want to share with you how I have been doing with it. I have been using the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating to help me on my journey. These principles are guidelines to help you learn to eat intuitively. They aren’t set in stone and don’t need to be followed 100% of the time for intuitive eating to work. I am proof of this!
1. Reject the Diet Mentality
I was doing great with this and then a couple of months ago I started looking up calorie recommendations online and kept an estimate of how many calories I was eating in my head. I definitely didn’t actually eat the recommended amount of calories, but the diet mentality was still there, resurfacing. This was triggered by reading a couple blogs that talked about calorie recommendations while exercising. I need to start skipping over triggering posts since this is still an area of weakness for me. I am happy to say that this didn’t last long, and I am no longer counting calories! I know that it absolutely doesn’t work for me, and actually leads to weight gain, and obsessive tendencies.
2. Honor Your Hunger
I tend it eat on Lochlyn’s schedule, not my own. I am getting better about knowing how much to eat so that I can make it to the next meal without being crazy hungry … with a few exceptions. I have to admit I drink coffee in the morning to satisfy my hunger while I wait for Lochlyn to wake up to have breakfast. I don’t like making breakfast while she is still sleeping because I am loud and tend to wake her up. I need to have some snack foods on hand to nibble on in case I find myself really hungry before it is breakfast time for us.
3. Make Peace with Food
I have a bad habit of eating Josh’s cereal and granola bars as a snack when I am not that hungry and don’t really even want them. They are Josh’s foods, and I feel guilty eating them. I think that “rebellious eating” could be why I always reach for them for a snack. I need to give myself permission to eat them. Josh doesn’t actually care, and we can always buy more. I also sometimes feel bad for eating a ton of less nutritious foods. This is mostly because I don’t feel great after eating them, and I know it will affect my running. I would like to work more on not seeing food as “good” or “bad”.
4. Challenge the Food Police
My progress with this is really tied to the last point. There are a few foods that I still view as “bad” or “off limits”. This is mostly because they are Josh’s, or will negatively affect my performance while running.
5. Respect Your Fullness
I feel like this is where I have made the most progress lately. I am proud to say that I am no longer a member of the clean plate club! I am learning to stop eating when I am full, and recognize the feeling. There have been a few nights recently that I haven’t eaten the dinner I made for my family because I was snacking too much before, and realized I wasn’t hungry. I am not proud of the snacking, but I am proud about not overdoing it! I still overeat from time to time, and sometimes if something is amazingly delicious, I give myself permission to overeat. Last weekend Josh and I ordered the most amazing dessert to share, and I ate more than I needed to. I definitely don’t regret that decision. It was amazing.
Source – I didn’t get a picture but this was what it looked like. White chocolate flatbread with cheesecake, berries, brownie crumbles and chocolate sauce. Topped with the most creamy vanilla ice cream. How could you not want to overeat with this?
6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor
This is so hard for me! I am trying to remember to ask myself what I feel like eating and then taking the time to really enjoy it. Limiting distractions is something that has helped me with this, but here has still been the odd meal or snack eaten in front of my computer, or phone. Like I mentioned above, it’s progress, not perfection! I love eating and reading at the same time. It is the perfect way to escape the real world and not feel your feelings…
7. Honor your Feelings Without Using Food
I didn’t realize that I ate my feelings until I started intuitive eating. I am learning to feel my feelings, even when I do turn to food if that makes sense. I still eat emotionally sometimes, but I am trying to figure out what I am feeling even if I do eat when I feel emotional. Some of my greatest triggers are stress, exhaustion, and loneliness.
8. Respect Your Body
Ahh, yes. This is tough, but oh so good. I feel like I do respect my body the majority of the time. I am taking this one step further and trying to learn to love my body. I am not there yet, but I will be!
9. Exercise – Feel the Difference
I got this. I love exercise. I have also learned that over-exercising can be a bad thing. There have been quite a few workouts lately that have been cut short, made easier, or even skipped because my body was telling me I needed to take it easy. I have also changed up my strength training routine because I recognized that coupled with running, it was getting to be too hard on my body.
10. Honor Your Health
This is a work in progress. I know how to eat healthy, and I would like to fuel myself with healthy foods as I know that it affects my running performance. I am working at paying attention to how my body feels after eating less healthy foods. It is encouraging me to fuel with healthier options for sure. I don’t eat healthy all the time, but I do try to make healthy choices if my body isn’t craving anything specific. When I am craving chocolate like crazy, I still eat it. I just try to choose something healthier if I am not craving it specifically.
Wow, that was a long update. I reviewed all of those points because I wanted you to see that I am not a perfect intuitive eater. I don’t follow the above principles all of the time. I still struggle with almost every single aspect of intuitive eating at some point during my day. The intuitive eating principles are there to help you out, not to hinder you or make you feel inadequate.
Now that we have gone over that, does intuitive eating actually work?
I have been working at intuitive eating for over six months now, and I can say without a doubt that, despite all of my weakness, intuitive eating has absolutely worked for me.
Since I started eating intuitively I have
- Given up dieting. I have relapsed a bit into the diet mentality, but I haven’t gone on an actual diet, and that is so great.
- Stopped binge eating. I haven’t binge ate since I started intuitive eating. This is my most favourite result of learning to eat intuitively. Giving yourself permission to eat is so rewarding.
- Cut back on overeating. I still overeat on occasion, and sometimes I even give myself permission to overeat. Overall, this habit has been squashed and I feel so much better now that I don’t have the shame and guilt that is associated with it.
- Not obsessed about food. Now I can actually live my life and food doesn’t have power or control over me. Thank God.
- Started respecting my body. My body can do amazing things. It is healthy, and it is mine. I don’t need to change it to be loved or accepted.
As you can see, intuitive eating has changed my life for the better. If you would like to improve your relationship with food, I would highly, highly suggest giving it a fair try. The book I mentioned above is a great starting point!
I also want to talk about something that a lot of people have asked me about since I started intuitive eating. Weight gain and weight loss. This post is long enough as it is, and I have a lot to say about the subject, so I am saving it for next week. Stay tuned because I plan to share with you whether I have gained or lost weight while intuitive eating!
If you have any questions about my journey or progress with intuitive eating I would love to hear them!