My ultimate comfort food of choice is a grilled cheese. It’s a classic. Honestly, how can you go wrong with crispy buttered bread and melted cheese😍? You just can’t. Glad that’s settled😉
But as much as I love a grilled cheese sandwich, eating it everyday doesn’t work for my body or me.
When I began to eat intuitively, which is all about listening to my body’s hunger and satiety cues, I realized that my favorite comfort food came with side effects (i.e. feeling like a heavy snail).
On lazy days I don’t mind it. It’s the perfect set up for a nice movie on the couch. But to feel like that on a busy day? Not necessarily the best choice. Most days I choose food that not only tastes good, but is also going to give me sustaining energy throughout the day.
USING GENTLE NUTRITION
If you’re still debating whether or not intuitive eating is right for you let me introduce you to my BFF, gentle nutrition. Gentle nutrition doesn’t judge. She doesn’t define food as good or bad. Instead she guides you in making food choices based on health, your body’s functions, and enjoyment.
Gentle nutrition doesn’t restrict or make certain foods off limits. She encourages you to give yourself 100% unconditional permission to eat whatever you want.
Yes, I said it…anything. You might be thinking, “What?!! You can’t be serious. How can you be friends with her?” No joking around here. She’s my BFF for a reason. Let me explain…
When you start to eat intuitively you’ll RESPECT your body with balanced food choices.
Forewarning, don’t be alarmed if you find yourself ordering a burrito bowl from Chipotle packed with rice, beans, chicken, and guacamole (i.e. LASTING ENERGY) versus a hamburger and French fries.
Once you make ALL food fair game, those so-called “forbidden/bad” foods loose their charm and the excitement that comes with it. If you’ve restricted “bad” food in the past the diet rebel in you may come out full force. This isn’t unusual. But you’ll soon be calling on gentle nutrition to help you balance things out and nourish your body.
In case you’ve missed the memo, this isn’t a post that is going to tell you what foods you “should” eat. Instead, I want you to pay attention to how certain foods make you feel and let that be your guide.
There are 5 questions you can ask yourself when considering whether or not a food option sounds good…1
- In the past how has this food made my body feel while I was eating it?
- Did I like this feeling?
- How did I feel after I ate?
- Would I choose to feel that way again?
- Did this food or meal give me lasting energy?
After considering those questions, begin to pay attention to the message your body sends you.1 Listen to how you feel after eating the foods you choose. And remember, even though your taste-buds can guide your food choices it’s important to weigh everything.1
3 STEPS TO INTUITIVE EATING SUCCESS: LEARN, ENCOURAGE, PRACTICE
Becoming an intuitive eater takes practice. Be patient with yourself and keep in mind, intuitive eating doesn’t come naturally for most people. It can take anywhere from a few weeks, months, or even longer! Everyone has a different background and experience with food, which plays a part in your eating patterns and behavior.
So give yourself a pat on the back, you got the first part down. By reading this article you’re learning and laying the foundation in your mind, which will help you become an intuitive eater.
Next, encourage yourself! Use positive self-talk and this blog as a guide to remember why you decided to become an intuitive eater. Refer to the posts, How to Become an Intuitive Eater and Diet Recovery
The last and final step is the most important. Practice, practice, practice!
With practice you’ll learn how to trust your body. To help you build that trust, don’t be afraid to try different food. Eating a variety of foods will help you determine what you like and don’t, healthy or not. That way you can use gentle nutrition by eating foods for enjoyment and nourishment.
THE GOOD NEWS
Trust me when I say, there’s light at the end of the tunnel! Here are some things you have to look forward to by becoming an intuitive eater…
Research has found that intuitive eaters are less likely to engage in behaviors that lead to weight gain (i.e. binge eating, eating due to boredom, eating as a coping response), have higher body satisfaction, and a lower BMI.1 Most importantly, intuitive eaters have body respect.
- Tribole E, Resch E. Intuitive Eating: A revolutionary program that works. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin; 2012.