2016 was really not a great year for my body image.
Weight gain, losing my mojo at the gym and other setbacks had me stuck in a rut and feeling like I wasn't good enough. So when I discovered the concept of intuitive eating, it was just what I needed in my life! If you read this blog or my weekly letters, you’ll know how passionate I am about listening to my intuition, and encouraging others to do the same.
So why was I completely ignoring my intuition when it came to food?! I was suppressing my body’s queues and messages about food, in favour of restriction, tracking and rules. Now, don’t get me wrong, knowing what’s in your food and knowing how to structure meals to get a good balance of macro/micro nutrients can be so beneficial; doing so was an essential education for me. But once you know the basics, there is no need to spend all day weighing foods, tirelessly noting every detail in My Fitness Pal and just being unhealthily focused on the specifics.
Intuitive eating is simple.
My body tells me when I am full. My body tells me when I am hungry. My body tells me when a certain food energises and nourishes me, and it sure as hell tells me when a certain food doesn’t. Deep down, we all know this. Yet, on a daily basis, we choose to ignore our inner guidance in favour of the latest fad diet, or whatever our favourite Instagram star eats for breakfast.
A helpful tip for introducing this concept into your life is a simple question to ask yourself…
“What food will serve me best in this moment?”
Food serves a purpose. It nourishes and sustains us for a long day. It refuels our body after a workout. It brings us pleasure and an opportunity for celebration with others. Food can feed our body and mind, yes, but it also feeds our soul. I don’t know about you, but feeling miserable spending a large part of my day staring at My Fitness Pal does not feed my soul.
I anticipate most people will have the same reaction I did when I first heard about intuitive eating...“But what if my body tells me it wants to eat cookies, bagels and pizza for every meal, 24/7?”
To which I answer…no it doesn’t! Like I say, deep down, our body tells us which foods make us feel good, if we’re willing to listen. We can indulge (and should) in any and all the foods we want. However, when we over eat certain things, our bodies will let us know to eat that food in moderation in the future! We might feel bloated, lethargic, heavy or just hungry again soon after.
Intuitive eating has helped me approach food from a place of love and respect for my body. My food choices are steered by how I want to feel, rather than numbing my feelings in that moment. Now I’ve been practicing this for a while, I can tell the difference between, “that looks good, I'd love to taste some” and “I am exhausted, emotional or upset and I want this food to fix me”. If intuitive eating sounds like something you'd benefit from, I highly recommend you look into it more.
For a sound nutrition education to get those basics down, I highly recommend Zanna’s book ‘Strong’, as she has a similar intuitive approach. If you’re struggling with emotional eating, dieting, self esteem or any related issues, Mel Well’s work changed my mindset completely and I love her book ‘The Goddess Revolution’. And it goes without saying, if you are really suffering with this on a daily basis, please don’t be afraid to seek professional help!
B-eat is a great resource to start with.
Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! See you tomorrow with a new post. ❤️