I have been on every diet out there. Weight Watchers, Keto, low fat, cleanses, shakes, and even appetite suppressants. I am a reformed diet Coke and Lean Cuisine eater and have done extreme low-calorie diets. If it was a weight loss promise, I’ve chased it.
I’m not saying I didn’t lose weight with dieting over the years and I’ve managed to keep most of it off. But, the yo-yo-ing, feeling of restriction, the guilt and sense of failure when I went off track were all things that I hated.
About 2 years ago, I decided to stop restricting and to start listening…to my body. I started to tune into how food made me feel (physically and mentally) and how it reacted when I had too much or too little. I started following cues and eating when my body said it was hungry. I STOPPED designing my diet around what society says is right and listened to science.
And, guess what? My body has reacted in a very positive way. No deprivation. No energy highs and lows. No pressure to eat at a certain time or a certain way because it’s something my friend/relative/coworker is doing.
It’s not some kind of complicated program. And, it doesn’t require much more than observation and some tracking/journaling.
It’s called intuitive eating and it works.
It’s a proven method to help you get out of that “on again, off again” mindset.
Intuitive eating is simply listening to your body’s cues and letting them dictate when and how much you eat.
I know it seems overly simplistic but it really is that SIMPLE.
Most of us rely on our environment for our cues (when to eat, how much, and what kinds of food, etc.). That can lead you to constantly get caught up in whatever current “trendy diet” is hot right now. Eat fat, not carbs! Eat protein, not fat! Eat plants, not animals! Eat animals, not plants!
It’s no wonder people are completely confused. I’VE BEEN CONFUSED and I know nutrition! When you rely solely on “what’s out there” for guidance, it leads to an endless cycle of guilt and disappointment.
Intuitive eating simply means slowing down to LISTEN to your body - and then making decisions based on THAT.
---> It means eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you are comfortably full.
---> It also means eating foods that help YOU feel energized and healthy vs. bloated and tired.
As a result, no foods are “good” or “bad.” Yes, I’ll say it again...no foods are good or bad!
If you’re not used to eating that way, it also can sound a little scary not to have specific guidelines. I loved the guidelines of a diet. I felt like I had control, even if I was miserable. With intuitive eating, you have to relearn how to eat. Not the physical act of eating but the psychological side of eating.
Over time you will learn what foods make you feel energized and which ones leave you feeling depleted – and how much food your body actually likes to eat before it feels too full.
So … how do you get started? It’s pretty easy. There are no guidelines other than:
1. Wait for your body to TELL you it’s hungry
2. And then enjoy your food, until your body tells you it’s full.
You’re eating when you’re physically HUNGRY not because you’re bored, stressed, thirsty, or because people around you are eating.
Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to share some quick tips to help you be successful tapping into YOUR body’s signals and intuitive eating.
And, guess what? This “diet” works. Research proves it. Studies have linked intuitive eating to healthier psychological attitudes, lower body mass index (BMI), and weight maintenance. And, it’s better for your mental health. Participants in intuitive eating studies improved their self-esteem, body image, and overall quality of life while experiencing less depression and anxiety*.
Sounds like a win-win, right? Are you willing to give it a try? What do you have to lose by honoring your body and listening to its cues? Stress, anxiety, a few pounds?
I’d love to know if you are willing to try this way of eating. Email me with your thoughts, questions, etc. firstname.lastname@example.org.