Intuitive Eating: In Practice

 

Intuitive –

adjective
  1. using or based on what one feels to be true even without conscious reasoning; instinctive.

Intuitive eating is an approach to eating that I learned about during my dietetic internship at Gundersen Lutheran in 2009. We were introduced to this book (which I HIGHLY recommend for anyone who has a uneasy relationship with food – http://amzn.to/2ooIg1C)

Actually, I LEARNED intuitive eating as a baby – we all did.

Essentially it is all about really listening to your body, and eating when you are physically hungry, stopping when satisfied, and choosing mostly healthy foods that will nourish our body.

As babies, we all ate intuitively. When we were hungry, we cried – some of us still do this – and we were fed. There was no “dinner time” or “stress binges because of work”, it was purely eating for nourishment.

As soon as stress, time constraints and morals were introduced to food – this changed the eating game.

We stopped listening to our bodies physical hunger cues – because we HAD to eat at a certain time, or we ate something on the go because we were in a rush, and didn’t have time to sit down and enjoy a meal.

This is what over time can create a very disordered relationship with food.

Eventually, certain foods get blamed for our out of shape bodies – carbs, fats, sugar, fast food, etc. – when in reality – the blame is on all of the above, but mostly the primo suspect – YOU.

When was the last time you truly felt hungry? If fat loss is your goal – hunger is a normal feeling, and should be a normal feeling before eating again. I’m not saying you need to be ready to pass out from being so hungry. Rather, just a little pit in your stomach, 4-5 hours after your last meal is usually a good sign that it’s time to eat again.

I decided to put this is practice on Easter Sunday. We had an awesome brunch at 10AM. I didn’t eat anything beforehand (which normally I eat by 7-8AM) so I was hungry – and I went to town. I kept note of everything I ate at the brunch, but didn’t track it (yet).

Because of all the amazingly palatable and beautiful foods at the brunch, I felt it was safe to assume that I was close to my fat and carb intakes for the entire day. I definitely ate beyond satisfaction, and into a little discomfort (not intuitive).

With that, I decided I wouldn’t eat again until I truly felt hungry – if at all. We went and worked out, and went for a walk, and I still wasn’t hungry.

About 7PM came around and finally, I felt hunger – just a little. As I stated before, I assumed that I reached my limit on carbs and fat for the day. Because of this, dinner was a very lean chicken breast and veggies on the grill.

After eating dinner, I decided to plug everything in to MyFitnessPal and see where I ended up for the day (also had my workout shake, and a few candies)

(still being 300 calories short of my workout calorie goal was fine – assuming I forgot to track something from brunch)

This bigger picture here is how being in tune with your body is the ultimate form of portion control. Remove morals, emotion, time constraints, etc. from eating and just try listening to what your body tells you.

When it is time to eat, eat what you already know is a good choice – I don’t need to get into that.

Eat when you feel hungry, stop when satisfied, and choose mostly nutritious foods. That is it.

 

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Stay healthy my friends,