Five Steps To Eating Intuitively
Hi lovely readers! Today I am writing about a subject that is near and dear to my heart. Learning how to eat intuitively and respect my body has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have had in my journey to health. Here are five steps that I think are helpful to eating intuitively, i.e. listening to your body.
1. Change your mindset- and this will change everything. If you wake up in the morning and immediately start thinking about all of the things you can’t eat but want to have you will be in a state of deprivation all day. Believe it or not the mind has a great deal of power in controlling your hunger and cravings. So the more you tell yourself that you “can’t” eat ice cream or you “shouldn’t” eat pizza, the more likely you are to have a slip up and total binge fest. The simple solution? Change your mindset. Tell yourself, “I can eat that but I don’t want it.” Because truthfully and intuitively you don’t. No human body is deficient in ice cream. BUT you can certainly be deficient in calcium or fat which could be causing the cravings; this leads me to the next step
2. Nourish Your Body- There was a time when all I could think about was when I would get my next Ben and Jerry’s fix. I’m not kidding, I thought about this multiple times a day. Then I would eventually give in and instead of eating a serving size of the sweet crack, I ate the entire pint. I felt so guilty because I knew I was harming my body but somehow the ice cream always won! It wasn’t until I realized the root of this ice cream attack that I was able to fix it and get rid of it for good. My diet was lacking one VERY important aspect. Healthy fats! (and probably some calcium) Back then I would measure the amount of nut butter I would use carefully with a teaspoon or tablespoon. I counted my calories and watched my fat intake vigilently (that is of course until I ate my weight in ice cream). Because I was depriving my body of what it needed it was trying to get it anywhere it could. As soon as I started to nourish my body with a whole food, plant strong diet I stopped craving ice cream! Honestly! Of course there are times when I choose to indulge now but the difference is that now it is my choice. What is the take-away from this long winded story? Feed yourself! Make sure you are getting proper nutrients and calories every day. Do not obsess over you fat intake. Instead focus healthy fat sources and on eating whole foods, from morning till night. And I promise you, whatever your monster craving is it won’t be knocking on your door anytime soon.
3. Stay Hydrated- This may seem like a given, but it is absolutely essential. Drink your water and drink it all! Hunger and dehydration are often mistaken for the same feeling. If you are not drinking at least 64oz of water a day- you are probably dehydrated. So drink up! By the way, I am not talking about vitamin water or soda water or juice or any other “fun” water alternative. I am talking about water, pure water is the best way to hydrate on a regular basis.
4. Forgive Yourself- There is no such thing as being perfect. If and when you eat something that is not great for you, breathe deeply and remember it is ok! So you ate a brownie or a piece of cheesecake, it is not the end of the world. You can get right back on track immediately following whatever road bump you hit. But if you spend a lot of time feeling guilty and obsessing over your splurge or “cheat”, you will end up creating a mountain out of a molehill. Stress is terrible for your insides and can certainly throw your hormones off causing you to hold onto weight and to eat more, especially junk food. So remember, it’s ok not to be perfect but it is absolutely important to forgive yourself and let go when you take a step off your healthy eating path.
5. Get to Know Your Body- This one requires a little more effort , but it is absolutely worth it. Get to know your body from the inside. You can do this with a physical practice like running, dancing, or Yoga. If you spend time being physical you will start to feel your body differently; allowing you to feel your internal cues. Another amazing way to connect with your internal body is through a meditation practice. Mediation will help you clear away your thoughts and mental clutter, and will help you to start feeling your core self. When you get into this groove, there really is no stopping you. I'm not saying a yogi practicing meditation guru doesn't have their moments of cravings and over eating, I'm simply saying that it is a lot less often and a lot less common for that person. Go on a walk, a swim, a hike, sit your butt on a cushion and close your eyes. Whatever you choose to do, do it well and do it often. You will start to feel more connected to your body in a short matter of time. Then it is a lot easier to decipher whether you are having hunger pains or you are bored.
That is a lot of information! I hope it is helpful. Don't forget to have fun, and be happy because after all this is the only life you've got. Food is important but happiness is key. I would love to hear from you! Have you practiced intuitive eating? What your experience with it been?