Everything in life is about balance and that includes how we eat and our attitude towards eating. Being an intuitive eater enables you to trust your internal cues of hunger, appetite and satiety. It enables you to naturally balance your energy intake without dieting and restriction. The intuitive eater has a positive, relaxed and flexible attitude towards eating and is able to enjoy both nutritious and indulgent food choices.
We were all born with the ability to eat intuitively. As babies we cried for food because we were hungry. Once we were full we stopped eating and felt quite satisfied. Unfortunately, as we get older we learn or develop bad eating habits and we are constantly bombarded with negative messages about eating. We learn destructive ways of thinking that make us believe that to have the perfect body we must eat this way and buy this product to achieve this result regardless of the consequences that may follow.
Poor habits and misinformation can lead to weight gain, unhealthy weight loss, eating disorders and variety of emotional issues. We have to educate our selves and our children when it comes to healthy eating and we have to have a good relationship with food to achieve true balance.
Here are a few tips for general health. These tips do not apply to someone who is on a special diet, for example, someone dieting for medical reasons or someone dieting to prepare for a fitness competition.
Don’t Think “diet”. Think “balance”
Disregard what you hear and see in the media. There is no quick fix or miracle pill that will get you to and keep you at your goals. If weight loss isn’t achieved the proper way the chance of gaining all or most of it back is great. Remember, it’s a lifestyle change. Also, you really don’t have to pay a fortune for a program that controls the amount of food you eat. Learn about portion control and use a friend or family member as an accountability partner.
Grazing is really important for maintaining balance. Try to eat small meals or healthy snacks throughout the day being sure to balance the protein:fat:carb ratio for the most satisfaction. Eating every three hours is optimal. You don’t want to get to the point where you’re starving and willing to eat anything. This often leads to overeating and poor food choices followed by feelings of guilt and sometimes nausea!
Allow Yourself to Occasionally Indulge
Occasionally allow yourself to have a treat. If you deprive yourself for too long you will eventually cave. When that happens you will eat so much of this “forbidden” food and then you’ll feel the guilt. Denying yourself completely of a craving creates way too much stress and increases your cortisol levels which, of course, causes you to retain fat. A vicious cycle, so just treat yourself.
Don’t Judge Yourself
Make a decision, stick with it and accept it. Don’t beat yourself up later and second guess on whether you should have eaten “that’ or not. If you don’t think it was a good choice then just make a note to yourself and choose a healthier or better option next time. There really is no point to creating inner turmoil. Just learn from it and move on.
Stop Eating When You’re Full
I know this can be very hard to do sometimes especially when what you’re eating is extremely delicious! Don’t inhale your meal. Eat slow. Savour and enjoy every bite. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register that you’re full which is why it’s important to eat slow. If you inhale that delicious meal and overeat (which I have been guilty of doing on numerous occasions) you’ll suddenly reach a point (approximately 20 minutes later) where you realize,”Uh,oh. I think I’m going to puke!” This usually happens to me at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, lol. A very uncomfortable feeling again followed by guilt and a few extra pounds.
Remember That Food is for Nourishment, Not Comfort
Many people are emotional eaters and will turn to food for comfort. It’s important to understand that food will not heal emotional pain. It may eventually make you feel worse. Seek help. To achieve balance you will eventually have to deal with the source of the emotional pain.
As Dove Says “Love the Skin You’re In”
We all come in different shapes and sizes. Accept it. Don’t have unrealistic expectations of what you should look like and don’t try to be someone or something that you’re not. Don’t criticize yourself either. Self-acceptance and self-love are key to achieving balance. Give thanks everyday for your health. Having a positive self-image increases your self-esteem and self-confidence which enables you to make healthy choices.
Make exercise a part of your daily routine and make it fun. Find something that you like to do. Not everyone likes to lift weights or run marathons. If there’s a sport you enjoy, play it. If you find something you enjoy and look forward to it could mean the difference between choosing to plant yourself on the couch in front of the t.v. and getting in that workout. Set an achievable and reasonable goal for yourself. This will give you something to look forward to and motivate you to keep moving.
Enjoy All foods
Remember when you’re eating you want to maintain balance. Don’t deprive yourself of flavour or the odd snack. Go ahead! Have the salad dressing! Just don’t pour the entire bottle on your salad. Everything in moderation for health. You only have to be concerned if you consistently make poor food choices on a daily basis.
I encourage you to listen to your body and become an intuitive eater:)