I first heard of intuitive eating as a “thing” on a twitter chat a couple of months ago. It sounded interesting, but I didn’t really think any more about it until just before the Princess Half when I started researching it online. I then ended up buying the book “Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works” on my iPad to keep me busy on my flight back from Disney. I read through about a third of the book on my flight and have been slowly working through the rest as I can.
Simply put, diets do not work for me in the long run. Over the years I have tried a few and they all had the same thing in common, either they had long lists food restrictions, or in some cases the diet is so restrictive that they give a list of foods you are allowed to eat instead since that list is much smaller, or they require you to “count” your food.
Whether it be points, macronutrient ratios, or calories I absolutely hate counting my food. I see how keeping a food log can help one realize just how much they have or haven’t ate, but what happens when you have eaten your allotted calories for the day and are legitimately still hungry? Here is where intuitive eating just makes more since to me.
Much like it sounds, intuitive eating is all about learning to trust your body to tell you what, when, and how much to eat. It sounds simple enough, but unlike all the diets out there you can’t just print out a shopping list and be on your way. Instead there is a lengthy road ahead of you as you work through the 10 principles of intuitive eating.
Principle 1 is to reject the diet mentality. For many, years of dieting and watching everything that they eat has been ingrained into their brains so this principle can be a huge first step to breaking free from their serial dieting.
I haven’t been a huge dieter, although I have always “watched what I ate” for as long as I can remember. Kicking the diet mentality has gone pretty well for me, but I do find myself trying to revert back to some dieting “tricks” I picked up along the way every once in awhile. On the bright side I am more aware of them now so they are not as much of a habit as they use to be, and I realize what I am doing.
Principle 2, honoring your hunger, is where I am currently at. I feel I will probably be stuck here for quite awhile. After suffering from an eating disorder in my younger teen years, being hungry doesn’t bother me all that much so I have to relearn my hunger cues. Not only do I need to learn what my cues are, but then I also need to honor them. I am notorious for not knowing what I want to eat, which is usually more of a battle between what I really want to eat and what I feel I *should* eat, which leads to me delaying my meal until I am starving and then I eat anything and everything I can get in my mouth fast enough to try and catch up to my hunger.
Yes, we can all see the flaw in this method, yet I do it over and over again and I really seem to be surprised each time it happens.
I will be covering the other 8 principle in future posts, as I am working on them myself, but a few things you should know, and keep in mind, about intuitive eating is that it is not so much a weight loss program as it is a listening to your body thing. Also your body has a natural weight, which probably will not be the weight you want it to be, so you have to dump the scale and trust how you feel.
Through observations over the years I know that my body likes to hang around 145 lbs. That is a weight I can usually maintain easily and the weight my body tends to naturally fall back into time after time. For my 5’4” body that put me on the high end of normal, according to all the BMI charts, but about 10-15 pounds over what they feel my “ideal” weight is. I fully expect, that through intuitive eating, I will find myself right back at that weight but I am hoping to switch some of my fat weight over to muscle weight through exercise and weight training.
Have you ever heard of or done intuitive eating before? What other “diets” or “lifestyle changes” have you tried in the past?