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Let’s Try “Intuitive Eating”

May 22, 2019

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Have you noticed how much dining in or out has changed in recent years? First of all: everything has to be recorded on one’s phone. Then we have to listen to a litany of: a) I’m on a diet, b) no carbohydrates, c) I’m a vegetarian, d) no salt ever, e) white sugar is a killer, f) no peanuts ever.

Ad infinitum. Ad absurdum.

I want to tear my hair out and utter, “I haven’t seen you in weeks. I want to catch up. For this one meal can you please just order. If you break a rule for ONE MEAL it won’t be the end of the world.” Of course, good manners prevail and I don’t say any of this.

With this in mind, I was definitely intrigued by an article I ran across in the January 2019 issue of Glamour magazine titled, “Eat Like You Like It” written by Christine Byrne. It caught my eye because the subhead read: “When was the last time you sat down and really enjoyed your food, without guilt or second guessing? Can’t remember? Maybe it’s time to try intuitive eating.”

DITCH THE DIET CHALLENGE

Yes, you read that correctly. This idea says that, “you’re not a failure because you can’t hack a low-carbohydrate diet and lose weight. Instead, try a new approach called, “intuitive eating” that encourages folks to eat things THEY ENJOY and pay attention to how different foods make them feel.

In other words, giving yourself permission to eat foods that SATISFY you or make you feel is one of the keys to intuitive eating. For example, if you eat a doughnut for breakfast – does the sugar rush give you a headache? Does your energy crash before it should? There’s no right or wrong answer BUT eventually you’ll come around to thinking, “maybe blueberries and yogurt would be a better deal.”

CHOOSE NOURISHMENT, NOT GUILT

Intuitive-eating experts talk a lot about “gentle nutrition” which is about making food choices that honor your health – not cause stress. You get to be in charge of your body. Intuitive eating puts you front and center. No one is the boss of you. You eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. Many people find that when they stop counting calories and start eating in a balanced way that feels right, their weight doesn’t change. But their RELATIONSHIP with food changes dramatically. “Guilt is not something that should be associated with eating” is the quickest way to think about this.

Listen carefully – put yourself in charge of your own body

Photo: Courtesy of Glamour

FOUR STEPS FOR YOU

#1

LISTEN TO YOUR HUNGER: Give your body enough energy to fuel your day and similarly, learn to recognize when you are comfortably full.

#2

RESPECT YOUR BODY: The goal is to accept your own body and treat it kindly. Easier said than done. But give yourself time to undo what you’ve conditioned yourself to believe.

#3

LOSE THE FOOD POLICE: Stop labeling certain foods as good or bad. It’s known that our bodies react to this restriction with cravings and overeating. Yes, that’s correct. Ever eat one potato chip or one French fry?

#4

FOCUS ON SATISFACTION: Mindful eating (being present when you’re putting anything in your mouth) is important. But intuitive eating goes beyond this. “Without thinking about how certain foods make you feel – (eating what you want, when you want) is NOT going to be a satisfying experience.

Intuitive eating is about being in tune with those feelings and making decisions based on that, NOT what others are telling you. I think this is great advice.

Shaun Nelson-Henrick


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