Intuitive Eating, written by two Registered Dietitians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, is a book and philosophy I’ve been very eager to read up on. This pandemic has granted me that time to do so, and while I am only a few chapters in, I feel grateful to be learning, relating and connecting to this content.

“Intuitive eating is a self-care eating framework, which integrates instinct, emotion, and rational thought…”, per Evelyn and Elyse.

With so many fad diets out on the market, we have been pulled so far away from our own body’s intuition with food- now becoming accustomed to food rules, restrictions, timing, and “will power”. Chronic dieting with calorie restriction can affect our metabolism, create an obsession with food, cause binge eating and even result in a greater weight gain than prior to beginning a new diet. This is not your fault, but the dieting’s misconception of good health and what is best for your body.

While there is so much to learn in this book, here are a first few takeaways and beginning ways to get more in tune with your body –

Ditch the diet mentality

This takes time, but it is essential to first forget all the promises those diets have tricked you into believing. Diets do not work. There is research to attest to it. It says to acknowledge the physical and psychological damage that dieting has done. Forget “willpower”, forget “should” and “shouldn’t” s, forget the discouragement of the scale. Rather, respect yourself, show compassion, and trust the process along with your body.

Positive self-talk and self-love come into play here as well – and an area that is a journey, not a destination. Prioritize yourself and your health, which you are worthy and deserving of. Try to identify that inner voice and adjust the conversation to more rational thinking. As well, take time to find out what brings you sincere joy. And how can that be implemented into your day-to-day life.

Practice mindfulness

This is a big one. We are within a very fast-paced society that would benefit from slowing down, being more conscious and living more in the present moment. When we practice mindfulness and are able to become more aware, we can tune into how we’re feeling; how certain foods are linked to certain emotions; what alternative and healthier strategies work to help to those emotions; our hunger and fullness levels; the texture, taste, and smell of food; what foods we enjoy and don’t enjoy; how foods make us feel; and much more. You are able to determine what is most satisfying and nourishing for your body. These realizations can be pretty surprising to individuals.

Incorporating different practices for mindfulness helps our body’s get used to thinking this way – whether this is journaling how you feel before and after your intake; praying or expressing thanks before your meal; taking three slow breaths before a meal; chewing thoroughly; putting your fork down in between each bite; taking time to emerge yourself in the meal through smell, taste, texture; allowing at least 20 minutes after you eat to sit and notice how your fullness changes; etc. One might work best for you, or a combination.

Other mindfulness strategies I encourage with clients are meditation, deep breathing, journaling, reading, coloring books, listening to music, or walking – whatever fits for your own self-care routine. You deserve that time for reflection and digestion of your day and thoughts.

Honor Your Body and Make Peace

Our bodies are much smarter than we may think. Those hunger cues that we feel when we wake up, after a workout, or mid-afternoon is our body’s way of communicating with us. “We need energy. Energy comes from food.” Each food group has a specific benefit and essential function in our body. When we restrict (calories or any one specific food group), our body’s biology acts up – not an issue of willpower – and can cause more cravings and an obsession with food.

“Cravings run rampant as soon as we’re restricted from any kind of substance – whether it is clothing, fresh air, scenery, or especially with food.” When we categorize foods as “good”, “bad” or “guilty”, we make them seem off-limits, which can cause larger cravings and larger quantities consumed.

“When you give yourself permission to not be deprived, you simultaneously let go of the guilt!” By understanding that that food is always available to you [and not just “allowed” on certain occasions even], it gives the body the ability to choose a healthier and satisfying portion for your self, creating a much more enjoyable experience. Interestingly enough, you may even find yourself not liking a particular food at all.

As said, this process is a journey, and something that will always need work – for myself included. Grant yourself that time and space, & enjoy the ride. Will continue to share. ✨

Stay Well. Xo

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