You are a part of nature, and your body has come equipped with miraculous tools for health and survival. One of those tools is an inherent wisdom for how to be healthy and vital. Your body knows exactly what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat, and so on. Your cells and tissues have the wisdom of eternity guiding the way.
It’s a mistake to give your mind or the mind of others the job of choosing how to take care of your body. Most minds are cluttered with so much noise and chaos, that to give your health over to the mind will result in more of the same. The mind is the reason our bodies get out of balance. The mind is the reason we overeat. The mind is the reason we eat foods that make us feel sick. The mind isn’t isn’t the best tool we have for taking care of our bodies.
Did you know that the average woman will go on over 100 diets in her lifetime?! If you’ve tried multiple diets, it’s important to know that you didn’t “fail” at any of those diets. The simple truth is that diets are superficial band aids created by the same mind that gets us into physical messes in the first place.
There are millions of diets, and I’m here to tell you, You Do Not Need Another Diet! Not now, and not ever again. The only thing you will ever need to attain a healthy weight & radiant energy is something you already have…Intuition.
Enter Intuitive Eating
Intuitive eating is exactly what it sounds like. You rely and listen to your intuition to inform you on nurturing and nourishing your body. That means you will let go of ever again feeling guilty, afraid, frustrated, or confused about food. You will let go of counting, measuring, and tracking. You will, most of all, use your mind to listen to your body rather than using your mind to tell the body what it needs.
Intuitive eating also entails letting go of your current mental constructs around food. You may be using food as a form of reward or distraction. You may be using food as a soothing mechanism, or a way to avoid feeling difficult emotions. You may be using food as a punishment or a way to feel love. Noticing these patterns and letting them go, bit by bit, is part of the intuitive eating process, too.
The Benefits of Intuitive Eating
- Having a sense of ease and flow around nourishing your body.
- Having a greater level of total health. You won’t just look great, but you’ll have a beautiful sense of vitality.
- Releasing trapped emotions typically covered up with dieting or junk food
- Feeling peaceful. For many women, intuitive eating is a path that allows the dropping of decades worth of baggage around food.
- Building connection and presence with your body. This means showing up for yourself in ways you never did before.
Silence The Inner Saboteur
If you tell a twelve year old not to swear, all they want to do is swear. If you’re told not to think about a giant purple elephant, all you’ll think about is a giant purple elephant. What you focus on and resist grows in intensity. It activates your inner saboteur. Highly restrictive diets are no different.
Have you noticed that when you start counting every bite of food you eat, all you think about all day is food? For some people, this way of eating works perfectly for losing weight. But if you’re one of the many who end up rebounding after counting like crazy, it’s got nothing to do with your will power. It has everything to do with your attention and focus being on what you “can’t” eat.
Another thing that can happen with strict dieting is “cheating” and “sneaking” behavior. Late night visits to the fridge that feel compulsive, or a chocolate bar feeling like you absolutely MUST eat it. This compulsive behavior can sometimes be a result of your inner saboteur railing against you.
With intuitive eating, you’re eating what your body needs when you’re guided to, and living life when you’re not. It’s that simple. This sense of ease and freedom takes the inner saboteur completely out of the equation. There’s nothing to “sabotage” because there is no diet.
Intuitive Eating isn’t a Free for All
You might be reading all of this so far and thinking “But if I don’t have a diet, all I’ll do is eat pizza all day.” Eating junk food constantly would be eating without concern for the body. That is the complete opposite from intuitive eating.
When you eat intuitively, you’re paying attention to how food affects your system. Very few of us feel vital and nourished after a binge of pizza. So, you might have some pizza, and then notice digestive discomfort. Tuning into the digestive discomfort, you’ll listen to your body’s cues and make different choices based on what your body is telling you directly.
The Mind’s Wants Vs. The Body’s Wants
The mind’s food preferences are based on everything except the body. Most unhealthy food choices are rooted in the following
The Root of Unhealthy Choices
- Distracting from difficult emotions
- Soothing difficult emotions
- Camouflaging difficult emotions
Essentially, the mind’s unhealthy food choices are done to avoid feeling. The mind craves foods based on mood, memories, and avoiding feelings.
This doesn’t just apply to unhealthy food, though. Diets that involve hyper focusing on foods. This hyper focus to is usually to avoid feelings and issues that underly the need for the diet in the first place.
If any of this resonates with you, it’s time to embrace intuitive eating.
How to Eat Intuitively
Now I’m going to give some guidelines that will help you to make this a part of your life. These guidelines are not set in stone. You can use anything that resonates with you, and leave what doesn’t. Intuitive eating is about flow and ease. Go with what brings a sense of flow to your body and life.
The only hard and fast rule in intuitive eating is that you feel and listen to your body.
How we listen to our bodies
- Feel into what’s happening on a regular basis.
- Notice what you’re feeling without judging
- Notice sensations
- Notice emotions
- Notice your level of energy
- Notice anything your body is experiencing
- Let go of thinking when you feel into your body
A quick little body check-in might take a few seconds to a few minutes. You can also spend more time checking in with your body with some body-mind practices. These aren’t necessary, but they will help you to tune into your body in a solid way.
- Walking 10k steps per day
- Sitting meditation
- Qi Gong
- Foam Rolling
- Lay down on a yoga mat and just sense into your body
The foundation of intuitive eating is the practice of tuning into your body on a very regular basis.
When you’ve tuned in, you can make intuitive choices. If you’re not present in your body, your food choices are more likely to be based in the cravings of your mind, or based on habitual eating patterns.
Some Loose Guidelines
Since there’s only one hard rule in intuitive eating, I’m calling the following Loose Guidelines. Aim for these, but remember, listen to your body first. If any of these don’t work for you, skip them.
Loose Guideline #1 – Keep Processed Foods to a Minimum
Processed foods are any foods that aren’t in their natural form. That means breads, pastas, cereals, and general junk food. If you wouldn’t be able to pick it from the earth, it’s processed.
Processed foods throw off your hormones and hunger cues. They can also be addictive. Enjoy them when you eat them, but try to remember that Whole Foods are the star of the show.
Loose Guideline #2 – Eat whole, natural foods that you’re drawn to
This is anything that comes from the earth. When you’re eating these foods, your body is in balance with nature.
Loose Guideline #3 – Get 10k steps per day
This will help you to tune in. As animals on this planet, we’re meant to move. Movement helps us to connect with our instincts and know what we need to eat.
Loose Guideline #4 Keep your mindset positive
Your mind and body are one whole. When you’re thinking positively, your cells are in a healthier state. This will help your entire being to be healthy, and balanced.
Loose Guideline #5 – Get good sleep
Sleep is essential to human beings. We need good quality sleep to balance our hormones, and keep our brains healthy. Sleep will also regulate your appetite.
Loose Guideline #6 – Eat mindfully
Be present with your food when you eat it. Enjoy the textures, flavors, and sensations that arise during eating.
Listening to the Cues
Many people experience cues and begrudge them. With intuitive eating, we see the cues our bodies give us as valuable information.
- Hunger – Honor your hunger, and also use hunger to help with food choices. Notice if certain foods make you hungrier. If you are “constantly hungry” it’s a good sign that the foods you’re eating aren’t a great match for your system.
- Energy Levels – Eat foods that make you feel energized, and notice if certain foods make you feel sluggish
- Digestion & Elimination – Notice if you experience any digestive issues with certain foods
- Skin – Notice if skin issues seem to flare up around eating certain foods.
- Cognition – Notice the foods that make your mind sharp or dull
- Mood – Notice the effect different foods have on your mood. Avoid foods that irritate or aggravate your natural tendencies. Sugar, for instance, is a very common trigger for anxiety and depression
- Sleep Quality – Notice the quality of your sleep around the food you eat. Sugar is a common sleep disruptor.
- Stubborn body fat – If you have excess body fat that won’t go away “no matter what”, take an intuitive look at the foods you’re eating, and consider if any of them are causing inflammation in your body.
If you get symptoms in any of the above categories, see them a gentle cues to change some things in your diet. This is where your intuition comes in. Many times, we might seek certain symptoms on google, and try to tweak our diets from advice of outside sources.
I invite you to tweak your diet based on your own intuition FIRST. If you have a flare up of acne, for instance, go within and consider which foods might be irritating your system. Be open to the inner guidance you receive, try it out for a few weeks, THEN if it still isn’t cleared up, search for information from outside sources.
Going Beyond The Scale
Most women have one measure of success when it comes to dieting, and that’s a number on the scale. Instead of looking to the scale, you can also use the following to measure success
- How your clothes fit
- How you feel overall
- Your mood
- The flow of your entire life
- Your sense of peace
- Your overall relationship with food
- Your overall relationship with yourself
- Your overall relationship with your body
Sure, we could stand on a scale every morning and let the number it says determine our “success”. OR we could use our body to enjoy life.
After fifteen years in the health and fitness industry, I’ve never had much use for scales. I weigh myself at my annual gynecology appointment, and have maintained the same weight for almost every visit. I’m not saying to throw your scale away, I’m just saying if you do, don’t lose any sleep over it.
A New Way of Living
This is not another diet. This is a new way of living.
The old way of dieting was rooted in putting band-aids on imbalanced ways of living.
The new way is rooted in being in balance, and not needing band-aids at all.
Balance can only be achieved with a connection to the body. Through this connection to the body, you are able to be at home no matter where you go.
May you know your inherent greatness, and may you rejoice in the miraculous body that contains you in this life.