Intuitive eating can be helpful in recovery from many eating issue, such as yo-yo dieting or food sensitivities. It requires that you take time to connect to yourself and are aware of the foods you are eating. It helps you learn to eat in a balanced and healthy way.
What is intuitive eating? According to Wikipedia, “Intuitive eating is a nutrition philosophy based on the premise that becoming more attuned to the body’s natural hunger signals is a more effective way to attain a healthy weight, rather than keeping track of the amounts of energy and fats in foods. It’s a process that is intended to create a healthy relationship with food, mind and body, making it a popular treatment for disordered eating and eating disorders. Intuitive eating, just like many other dieting philosophies, goes by many names, including non-dieting or the non-diet approach, normal eating, wisdom eating, conscious eating and more.” Simply said it is the belief that your body knows what is right for itself at any given time. When you look at this it also explains many cravings. Cravings can be your body’s way of letting you know it needs something. For example, if you crave ice cream, it could be you are actually eating too many “hot” foods that are creating excess heat in your body and you need to “cool” down. Or you it could be you speak a lot in public and your throat is dry by the end of the day. The cold soothes your throat and dairy helps create a layer of mucus that has dried out from the speaking.
Our bodies are amazing, they keep you breathing and your heart pumping blood without us making ever being aware of these functions. Since our bodies know how regulate every function within it, we can also say your body should also know what to eat. The truth is that we rarely allow it to tell us what it wants. We follow the latest trend or diet, disregarding signals we are getting. Most of us have lost that deep internal connection to our feelings and our intuition on many levels, what we eat being just one of them. We have been conditioned to follow many rules and be triggered by those patterns we have learned throughout life.
Many of us eat because, we always eat at 6:00 or we are in a social setting and there is food or my favorite one, is I am bored. Do you really ever stop yourself and ask: “am I hungry” or “is this cheesy, gloppy thing really what I want to eat?” ” What do I feel like eating right now?” ” What feels good and nourishing for my body right now?” I always need to remember to ask myself, “am I just thirsty?”
If you start to take the time to listen carefully you will learn what your body wants and needs to sustain itself.
Here are a few things to consider when learning to eat intuitively.
- Eat when you are hungry
- Drink a glass water if you feel hungry during the day, it could just be dehydration.
- Stop when you are satisfied (even if you still have food on you plate).
- Take time to thank your food, where it came from, who made it and acknowledge it is for your highest and greatest good. This allows you to tune into the food and yourself before you just dig in. This is where, saying grace or blessing came from in the olden day.
- Listen carefully to your body signals.
- Eat only what you want to eat, check in first and see how it looks, how it feels before you eat it. I can look at some foods and it just don’t feel right. I can sense a body reaction, it may be a tightening in my body, especially my chest, my stomach may let me know or I get another body sensation. Learn the cues your body is giving you.
- Avoid eating when stressed, sad, upset and angry or just zoned out or what I call unconscious.
- Pay attention to the food, the texture, the taste, the smell, how it looks on the plate, take it all in and create awareness around what you eat eating. Take time to savor and enjoy, not wolf something down to get onto the next thing on your to-do list.
- How do you feel after you have eaten something, take note, do you feel energetic, lethargic, more mucous, clearer in your thinking, foggy etc?
In the spring I will be launching an intuitive eating class, we will learn techniques like muscle testing, penduluming and EFT (tapping) to learn how to be more in tune with what you eat. You will learn to access your biggest supporter of eating well, YOURSELF! Learn to ignore the self that plays games and justifies your eating the bag of chips or chocolate candy you have stashed away. It’s the same part that turns on you and beats you up for eating it. Tune into the part that innately knows what you need, when and how much. The part that knows you are good, divine and loved. It’s your best friend, biggest cheerleader and most supportive diet monitor, once you learn to trust what it is telling you. Take the time to check in and it won’t lead you wrong. Learn to distinguish between the sometimes loud voice of your mind justify that it is ok to eat all the Ben and Jerry’s and the much subtler voice of you own intuition. It usually isn’t loud, nor will it justify anything, it will calmly and steadily be there, with its unwavering support letting you know it always has your best interest at heart.