Hello beautiful people!
I am so sorry for being MIA! I've been studying/taking finals for my RD program, but today was my last exam so I am officially back in action!
Now, there are so many buzz words flying around now like keto, vegan, intermittent fasting etc... One, well technically two buzzwords (or one buzz concept) I want to touch on is intuitive eating.
By definition, intuitive means, "using or based on what one feels to be true without conscious reasoning, instinctive." So when we pair this definition with the word eating, we get instinctive eating. I'm sure you're wondering what that means, so let me break it down for you simply. It means, listen to your body, eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full. I know super complicated right (LOL)?
When this post came to my mind, I started focusing more on my thought process when it came to food and if I eat intuitively. Well.... I definitely do not. I intermittent fast on a daily basis mainly because it works with my schedule, but also because of the touted health benefits such as fat loss, increased focus, memory and longevity just to name a few. However, even though I've been fasting daily for a few years now, there are days when I am really hungry in the morning (2 hours after waking) yet I deny myself food until a specific time in the afternoon so I end up fasting for 16-18 hours.
I track macros and will eat a bit past the point of fullness to ensure I consume all my food to hit a target I have set for myself. I also get caught up in one way of eating. For example, I have been following a ketogenic eating pattern for a few weeks now and before then I was strictly eating plant based. My point is, I feel anxiety switching from one eating pattern to the next. So, am I eating instinctively, definitely not. The question we have to ask ourselves is why?
So much of our daily lives are encompassed by what, when and why we eat. Food has become a primary focus, when it really is only meant to sustain our activity, not become an activity within itself. With all the diet books, programs, commercials, challenges and gyms popping up, its no wonder our society is constantly becoming more fixated on what we put in our mouths, instead of what comes out of them (topic for another day, lol).
So how can you intuitively eat? For starters, build a shopping list of whole foods (no processed or packaged crap) that you enjoy. Think of foods that are healthy but you've been told to avoid. For example, I've avoided fruit like the plague due to following keto. This week I decided to incorporate some fruits I love like blackberries, apples and pears. And guess what.... I didn't gain weight! After allowing myself to have that for a few days, I noticed I didn't really want it anymore.
Whole foods offer you the benefit of not counting calories. You will know when you're truly full and need to stop eating. They're also packed with much more nutrients than anything packaged.
You can also start journaling. Being more in tune with your emotions will help create a balance between your physical and emotional needs. Whether on paper, on the computer or voice recording, let your emotions out.
Last, but not least, don't let anyone dictate how, what or when you should be eating or what you're doing in general. If you're not hungry in the morning, don't eat. Yes I said it, breakfast is not the most important meal of the day. Learn to trust your body and listen when it's trying to speak to you. Listen to your mind as well. Intuition is not this trippy thing that we make it out to be. Basically, learn to trust yourself. There's so much emphasis on guidelines, diet gurus, industry etc that we've lost sight of our ability to make our own determinations regarding what works for us as individuals.
So I challenge you to follow guidelines you've set for yourself. If you've already experienced failure with what the world tells you to do, what have you got to lose?