Why Try Intuitive Eating?

nutrition May 14, 2019

A lot of people ask me questions like "Should I eat this?" or "Should I intermittent fast?" and I always give them an answer that leaves them staring wide-eyed at me.

"What does your body tell you?" 

Man, people hate that response. But it's the only truly good response and let me explain to you why that is. 

  • Every human body is absolutely different. Genetics. Age. Microbiome (that's your gut if you're wondering). Experiences. Emotions. They all play into how we handle foods. 
  • There is no right eating plan for all people. Can you imagine if we made all people go vegan or go on Keto? REVOLT! 
  • Your needs change over time. What you need today wasn't what you needed a decade ago. 

So the only response that truly honors you is to ask what your body says. Think about it-- if you ask me if you should eat chocolate cake or more kale, you probably know the answer, don't you? 

Of course, some answers don't come that easily. Should you intermittent fast? There is science to consider and safety precautions to fasting so there are things to consider, but when we think about these things we usually have a leaning towards yes or no, don't we? Sometimes we need help figuring out the details or easing our worry, but we generally know if it's something we want to explore. 

It's just about learning how to listen to your body and trusting your intuition. 

WHAT IS INTUITIVE EATING

It's basically listening to your body. When you eat something and you get congested or a bellyache afterward-- you connect the dots and adjust your diet accordingly. Or maybe when you eat another food, you get a burst of energy so since you love having more energy you add more of it to your diet. 

With intuitive eating, we get really in tune with our bodies and really begin to listen to it. We eat based on what our body tells us. The goal is that once we learn how to communicate with our bodies, we can maintain a healthy weight and feel great as the norm. 

If you want to break it down into the simplest idea possible here you go.

When you are hungry- you eat. When you are not hungry-- you don't eat. 

But it's not really that easy. Maaaaan, I wish it was. I would live off a diet of cookies and cheese (but not at the same time) and it would be glorious. But I'd also be severely malnourished and probably pretty obese.... but it would be fun for a few days. 

We have to first learn how to communicate with our bodies by learning the differences between cravings/food addictions + hunger or when we have an emotional connection to food such stress eating, emotional eating, or socially eating. If we can separate those things in our minds, then we can make good intuitive choices. For instance, if we think to ourselves "You just want to this entire large pizza because Boss McFartPants acted like a floppy willy at the meeting today" then we eat a normal size portion of pizza and maybe an extra side of salad if we are still hungry.  Or if we feel hungry, we can check in with ourselves and realize that we are not actually hungry-- we want comfort so we can provide ourselves comfort on a different level. 

Otherwise, we'd all be thinking "My intuition is telling me to eat a dozen cream puffs" and then we would be wondering why we weren't skinny since we were just following our body's feelings. TRUST ME. I've been there. That's called craving eating/binge eating/emotional eating, not intuitive eating.  Totally different things. We first have to work on learning how to communicate with our bodies before we can effectively intuitively eat.

CAN YOU INTUITIVELY EAT WITH OTHER DIETS?

Yes! I actually use intuitive eating with both a gluten-free, low carb diet and also with intermittent fasting. 

Remember, intuitive eating can be done anytime. It just takes an effort to be aware and connected to your body.

  • Eat the foods your body reacts positively to. 
  • Reduce or eliminate the foods your body doesn't react well to
  • Stop eating when you're full
  • Learn how to deal with emotional eating, cravings + food addictions.
  • Eat when you're hungry 
  • Don't eat when you aren't hungry. 

In fact, I am on hour 22 of fasting right now and I'm not hungry at all. That is often how I deal with my intermittent fasting days-- I start eating again when my body wants food. Sometimes it's 16 hours and sometimes it's over 24 hours later. 

I believe that our bodies get so used to eating in a pattern (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) that what we perceive as hunger is really a by-product of habit and insulin. But that is a story for another day! 

What do you think about intuitive eating? Would you try it? Or do you think it's a load of crappola? Have you tried it? How'd it work for you?

WANT TO GET HELP WITH INTUITIVE EATING?

If you want to get more help with intuitive eating, intermittent fasting or learning how to listen to your body, I am happy to help. As an integrative nutrition health coach, I can support you through the process. 

If you are interested in ongoing support, you can book a free consult with me. Or if you are more of the independent type, you may want to jump into a brainstorming session or an online course. Find out more information about what I offer here: Sherri Griffin Holistic Coaching

I look forward to talking with you! 

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