Where did you first hear the word diet? Was it from your mother’s lips when she grabbed her love handles with utter disgust? Was it from your best friend when she sighed wistfully at your plate of French fries and said, “If only I was five pounds skinnier.”
As women from a young age, we are inundated with an abundance of negative emotions concerning our weight – shame, remorse, frustration, and anger, just to name a few. It’s like a toxic gas that floats into our lives and infects the very cells that make up who we are.
I grew up in a very body-positive household but when I walked out those doors, I was taught the opposite of what my parent’s preached. I rallied against it, like a rebellious teenager, hell bent on proving society wrong. But even I fell victim to disordered eating, thinking my illness was the answer to staying skinny. It took me almost three years to tune out the noise and focus on the needs and wants of my body, instead of what was being shoved down my throat.Only YOU can recognize what you need to nourish your body and soul. Click To Tweet
I’m here today writing this post because Intuitive Eating was what changed my mindset toward one of positivity and love. My hope is you will walk away after reading this, one tiny step closer to realizing that only YOU can recognize what you need to nourish your body and soul. So if you’re ready to dive in, then put down your cell phone and let’s begin.
What is Intuitive Eating?
We live in an age of distractions. We have Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, text messaging and endless apps on our phones to keep us entertained. However, there is one glaring problem with never being bored. We have no freaking clue how to sit still and recognize all the emotions we might be feeling. We bury them under a mountain of technology because we don’t set aside a moment to just breathe.
Recognizing our emotions allows us to tap into the innate intelligence of our bodies and it’s better than counting calories or sipping green juice for a week straight. Because who else understands our bodies better than we do? Can I get a heck, yes?Intuitive Eating – tuning in and listening to our inner voice, telling us what we are truly craving. Click To Tweet
Think back to the last time you wanted a piece of chocolate cake or a cookie. Were you stressed out because your boss is an asshole dictator? Or were you happy because you received a raise and felt like celebrating? Now, let me ask another question – did you indulge in that craving? Did you let the sweetness hit your tongue, eternally grateful chocolate was invented and savor each blissful morsel? Or did you lay in bed obsessing about the cake, until finally you gave in and raided the fridge like a zombie on a quest for brains?
For a long time, I was the zombie in option B. Then it dawned on me that by saying hey! I would love a triple ice cream sundae right now with whipped cream and hot fudge, was equally okay to thinking, hey! I would love a huge kale salad right about now. You’ll find once you stop denying yourself what you want, you’ll start craving foods you had no idea you even liked, ahem, brussel sprouts.
If this sounds like a bunch of baloney to you, I get it! Changing your thought process around food requires some serious brain re-mapping. Like I said, it took me three years before I stopped listening to everyone else’s opinions about what kind of nourishment my body needed. Once I turned down the dial though, it was life giving.
Need proof? At the bottom of this post is a one-week challenge that puts Intuitive Eating into action. Let me follow along on your journey! Tag #tuneinandlisten on Facebook and Instagram.
Parasympathetic VS. Sympathetic Mode.
These two states of being are very rarely mentioned when people talk about intuitive eating but I feel it’s an important piece of the puzzle. If you don’t know what those terms above mean, then let me explain real quick.
Parasympathetic – rest and digest
Sympathetic – flight or fight mode.
When we’re in sympathetic mode, your pupils are dilated, your heart rate is increased and your saliva is inhibited. On the opposite end of the spectrum, when you’re in parasympathetic mode, your pupils are constricted and your heartbeat is slow and steady. Can you guess which mode is best for digestion? Correct – parasympathetic.
We are a nation of eating on the go. Food is viewed as fuel, not nourishment, which is why we no longer hear the signals our body is sending us. We have to drop down into a parasympathetic state and focus on the taste, smells and sensations around us to truly walk away from our meals satisfied.
How do we do this exactly? By slowing down. Go outside, sit on a park bench and breathe in the summer air. For each bite you take, set down your fork and chew for 30 seconds. Give your food your undivided attention. Once you master this step, you’re on the path to Intuitive Eating.
Three Day Challenge Intuitive Eating Challenge
For the next three days, I want you to keep a food journal and record everything you eat. Yes, everything. This food journal is for your eyes only. I want you to see tangible proof between what you’re feeling and what you’re putting in your body.
Before every meal, record what emotion you’re experiencing – you can either write it down or you can draw it. Then proceed with your meal. Once you’re finished eating, record what you ate. At the end of the three days, review the information and look for any patterns. Click here to grab your three day food journal!
Share your findings with #tuneinandlisten on Instagram and Facebook.