intuitive eating

Cereal at Midnight. Why I Follow Intuitive Eating.

This is going to sound a little crunchy but I’m really craving a beet salad for lunch!- If my sister was reading this she would roll her eyes at how naturally healthy I am and I would laugh with her because ya it totally sounds a little pretentious and far out.

It’s called intuitive eating and it’s something I follow, now unconsciously, which means if I have a craving for a certain food whether it be sweet or salty, rich or light I follow it.

I eat when I’m hungry and I stop when I’m full, but sometimes, I eat until the point of nausea because I’m having so much fun! Intuitive eating is not a diet, it’s a way of life (I just rolled my own eyes in case my sis didn’t catch that) where instead of following everyone else’s diet/nutrition advice you listen to your body and actually follow your own. This is assuming that you have a pretty good understanding of what is healthy and what isn’t. To climb on my soapbox for a minute; we live in a society where we are constantly told not to trust ourselves, to doubt our choices-the things we buy, the things we do, what we eat, and this is saying the exact opposite; that deep down in your magical inner wisdom YOU actually know exactly what is good and bad for you and only YOU can make that choice. Again assuming you already have all the available healthy information, and you do it’s called Google.

Disclaimer: I’m obviously not a Doctor or Scientist and I don’t play one on T.V.

Stress and emotional baggage can obviously affect the way we eat so that’s not to say if you are craving cheeseburgers for ten days straight that you are “honoring your body” and should sleep well at night. Still sleep well at night but definitely figure out what is REALLY making you want cheeseburgers every day. Is it emotional, stress? Is someone or something triggering a comfort-seeking action? The more you ask yourself those tough questions or allow yourself to let go of “nurtured” (remember nurture vs nature) behavior your intuition will strengthen and maybe one day you will have your own Jiminy Cricket on your shoulder.

I’d like to say I’ve been doing this since I was a kid. My mother never made me finish what was on my plates and thank God she didn’t! When I was full I stopped and if I was hungry later, even though for a parent it may have not been ideal, I ate again. It was more important to teach me to follow my own body than it was to eat all the food she made. Only once I remember eating when I was not hungry as a kid and that was because one of my little friends was eating some sort of cold cut meat that I never tried and I wanted to try it so bad so I lied and said I was hungry so I could eat it!!!!! EEEEeee!!!  I felt sick afterwards and also like I had done a disservice to my body so I haven’t done it since.

I totally believe your body will crave foods with nutrients or vitamins your body needs, so go ahead and eat them. Science may say otherwise. Sometimes I crave salads, sometimes I crave big ole ‘bowls of fruit.  I’ve craved burgers (maybe I need the iron), and sometimes at midnight, I’ll need a bowl of cereal. Science has mostly determined our cravings are psychological and influenced by culture which makes sense but I also know that science will be proved/disproved a million times over in my lifetime so while I do give it thought; if it doesn’t make sense to me I’m more likely to trust my intuition. Especially when eating.

I have also seen intuitive eating marketed as a trend and a diet fad but isn’t eating when you are hungry and eating what you want just common sense? If you travel often enough and outside the United States you will start to notice a big difference in how other people view and gather around food. In other countries meals are really looked at as a social experience where friends and family gather and the food is shared among many people. Here in the United States our cities and lives are built around commerce and efficiency and finance are key in our day-to-day. Side note this isn’t me talking shit about the US. After traveling around the country for the past five years for work I realized there are so many wonderful people and places here that you could never leave this country your entire life and still have a full existence.

Also important to note since this is a semi holistic blog is the fact that everything works together here which means you can’t throw down a ton of bread and butter because you are craving it and then look in the mirror and wonder where your abs are.

I am a big fan of the quote ” Stay ready so you never have to get ready”. I literally can make that work with anything including eating. Here’s how this quote makes sense with mindful eating:

  1. Prepare yourself-Do not expect to eat mindfully with an empty fridge or one that’s stocked with frozen pizzas. Get yourself ready with healthy fruits and vegetables so you have your army of healthy foods ready to go.
  2. Drink water- I’m not kidding. A huge portion of the time when you think you are hungry you are actually thirsty so mad sure you are listening to the truth of your body and not thirsty lies.
  3. Balance your cravings- I have eaten like a crazy athlete for periods of 5 months plus but most people can not do this and that’s OKAY!!!!! Allow yourself the treats you like every once in a while otherwise you will most likely do more damage than good. Psychologically you will start thinking of healthy eating as this separate thing that sucks and only hippies do and you’re just never going to have a six-pack so who cares.

The idea of intuitive eating is to get honest with yourself and understand your body and your bodies’ needs. If you can learn to listen to your body it will stop feeling like this separate entity that has its own ideas when it comes to your summer body.

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