For the past couple of weeks I have been truly committed to eating intuitively. This being said, it hasn’t been as easy ride. As I continue to eat more and my metabolism rises, so does my hunger. When hunger arises you have two options; satisfy your body’s cues or essentially restrict. Now this being said restricting doesn’t always mean not putting food in your body, it could simply be choosing a different type of food in place of what your mind is telling you that you want.
I’ve tried a lot of different diet tactics and have yet to find the ideal one that suits my body. When I was younger, and even up until high school I couldn’t trust my body; and that’s what lead me to starting my first diet. Then I became obsessed with what was going into my body because I saw that with dedication I could change the way my body felt and looked. I’ve been overweight to underweight and now just trying to find a sense of balance which is why I turned to intuitive eating.
What is it?
Intuitive eating is the attempt to create a healthy relationship with food and your health in general. You learn to nourish your body with food when you crave it instead of eating out of emotion.
First things first you need to determine why it is you crave certain foods. For the past week or so I have been using a journal to document my feelings when I want to eat something, and again after I’m finished. For example I’ve been tracking my feelings when I have cravings for carbs and often it’s because I didn’t eat enough earlier in the day. When I’m feeling bored I’ve noticed that I snack a lot more and have been satisfying my cues with handfuls of raw nuts. For someone who feared fats for so long now I’m finally able to see that when I eat them I feel a sense of satisfaction.
For months I would wake up during the night hours technically not “binging” but would eat huge amounts of high carb sugar filled food that I wouldn’t let myself eat during the day. Since I have been allowing myself to indulge in what my body actually wants during the day my cravings have been less intense and I have been sleeping through the night without waking up and feeling the need to eat out of emotion.
photo: today’s dietitian
Why intuitive eating works for me
- I’ve said the final goodbye to my fitness pal. Counting calories, macros, vitamins or whatever else people track these days is exhausting.. I’ve been that girl that used to run to her phone to add in that I ate a 20 calorie mini egg during Easter… Not so fun.
- I finally feel a sense of freedom from not only calorie tracking but from a routine I was in for too long.
- I’m less stressed in general because I no longer have the burden of worrying about what goes into my body. I simply eat.
- I’m trying new things! Try tracking a meal in a foreign country that’s written in another language. I spent my first couple of months abroad afraid to try new things because I wasn’t able to break down what I was eating.
Of course this type of eating isn’t going to work for everyone, until they find a sense of balance in the other parts of their lives. People crave foods for reasons much more complex than the simple desire for it. This could be from the endless amount of marketing towards unhealthy foods we see everyday, unhappiness in their marriage, their career, or other unseen medical problems. These primary foods as integrative nutrition refers to them are the first step to achieving a healthy lifestyle.
How did I become off balance?
I don’t want to sit here and put blame on anyone for my own choices but our eating habits are brought on from a young age and stay with us throughout our life. Growing up I ate sugary cereal, frozen french fries and endless bowls of ice cream. I continued this way until I realized that I was old enough to make my own decisions regarding my health, which could have been implemented long before I did. I started eating healthier, exercising more and for a period of time I felt on top of the world. This was the balance we strive for.
Then I took my new found lifestyle too far and lost that balance. My primary foods were not being fulfilled leading to my eating habits to suffer. That was three years ago. I have finally taken it on myself to embark in a journey to find that balance once again and I plan to do so by first addressing the issues with those primary foods such as my relationships, physical activity and my career or better yet, lack of it. Something I have come to terms with is that changes don’t happen over night but with time and hard work they will.