Coming off a long holiday weekend (I hope you all enjoyed yours as much as I did mine!!), I have been thinking a lot of about eating. Makes sense right? I mean it seems like every holiday, social gathering, night out, celebration of just about anything revolves around food and getting together for a meal. Also, my pants are fitting a little snugger today than they were last week so that is also probably why I am thinking about food right now! Luckily, I can wear yoga pants to work so I am not totally uncomfortable but I definitely indulged a bit this weekend which led me to think about what my relationship with food used to be like and what it is now. That train of thought led me to want to write about the topic of this post: Intuitive Eating also know as the “Un-Diet”. In a world full of fad diets, get skinny quick ideas, fat burning teas, juice cleanses and all the other crazy things you can name that promise to be the solution all your weight loss problems, my question is, “When did we stop simply listening to our bodies”?!?!
If you have read any of my other posts that talk about eating and nutrition, you may recall I am completely opposed to the concept of dieting. After all, the first three letters of the word spell out D-I-E for heaven’s sake! Even the word itself is trying to warn you that it isn’t a good idea to buy into what it is selling. I dislike the whole idea of dieting so much I try very hard to remove it from my vocabulary altogether. To me “dieting” is a dirty word. I personally don’t believe in restricting yourself so much from a particular food group or groups that life becomes miserable and food becomes the enemy. Food should be a tool. It should be something that if used properly helps your body each and every day feel its best and function at its highest levels. Food can be an incredible ally if we treat it correctly. The problem has become we use food for all kinds of reasons other than what it is really intended for. Eating shouldn’t be an activity you do when you are bored. Or happy. Or sad. It should be something you do because your body is telling you it is time to eat.
Now I don’t want to come off sounding like a party pooper here. I am not saying you shouldn’t eat that piece of birthday cake being passed around at the office party or go out and enjoy a nice dinner for a special occasion or heck even reward yourself after a long week with an ice cream cone. Those things are perfectly ok to do in moderation. What I am talking about here is the other 95% of the time when you are just deciding when to eat and what you will be reaching for on any given day.
Before I go any further, I want to make sure I state that this method of “un-dieting” is how I prefer to eat. It works for me and my body and my mind. It may not be for everybody and I am not saying if you are doing it a different way than you are doing it wrong. And like any philosophy of eating, getting healthy, exercising, or losing weight there are pluses and minuses to this technique as well. That being said, I LOVE the idea behind Intuitive Eating which in a very drilled down manner basically entails you eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full. On a deeper level what intuitive eating encourages is you being in tune with your body… and that I am a big fan of!
The concept of Intuitive Eating was born from the minds of Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, a well-renowned dietician and nutritionist respectively. I heavily gravitate toward this way of eating because for me it just makes sense in ways traditional diets don’t and here’s why:
- Where traditional diets tell you to ignore what your body is saying and asking for by restricting, counting and/or weighing everything you eat, Intuitive Eating says that is crazy. It asks that you simply listen to your body and eat until you are full.
- Where traditional diets tell you to ignore your hunger, Intuitive Eating says pay attention to and honor that hunger by eating so you don’t end up starving and then binging later on.
- Where traditional diets seem to make the food the enemy, Intuitive Eating say oh heck no! Food is something that should be enjoyed and eating should be a pleasurable experience.
- Where traditional diets tell you it’s all about the number you see on the scale, Intuitive Eating says you are much more than that! It asks you to respect your body no matter the shape, size or weight and just to fuel it properly so it can take care of you.
- Intuitive Eating even addresses exercise with the philosophy that you don’t have to go workout for hours on end every single day or be in the gym lifting the heaviest weights possible to be healthy. It encourages you just to move your body in ways you enjoy for reasons other than how you look on the outside such as warding off chronic diseases, feeling healthy, strong and energized.
What is not to love about this concept?? Eat because your body is asking you to. Enjoy the process. Stop when you are full. It is a simple idea and again for me just really makes a heck of a lot of sense. I also really love this idea because it emphasizes your overall eating patterns as a predictor of your health. And what does that mean to someone like me who is currently sitting at her desk feeling a little bit rounder than I was at the end of last week? It means don’t worry about it!! One holiday weekend of eating more than I normally do isn’t going to derail my progress or force me into a tailspin that I can’t recover from. Intuitive Eating simply says go back to listening to your body today and eat when you feel hungry. No need to freak out and starve yourself or go run ten miles (not that I would make it ten miles at this current juncture) or otherwise beat yourself up because of a that half of a pound I might have gained. What a beautiful and freeing feeling!
Food was the enemy for me for years you guys. Because of that I mistreated my body, basically starving it and in the process making my life in general pretty miserable. Since I adapted the concept of Intuitive Eating my life has changed in hugely positive ways. I have been eating like this for about a year now and I can honestly say in conjunction with being active 4-5 times a week I have never felt better. I have a MUCH healthier relationship with food these days, one that I probably haven’t had since I was a kid when everything we did was instinctual.
I know I have said this before…just listen to your bodies y’all! It knows what it needs when it needs it and I promise you it won’t steer you wrong! Below are some pics from my weekend…let me know how yours was!!