Some of my clients will tell you how disappointed I was to discover that it wasn’t me who invented the concept of ‘Intuitive eating’!
I honestly thought that no one else had thought of it. The phrase had just cropped up naturally during a 1-2-1 session with a client, and I’d got all excited about it. I felt as though I’d stumbled onto something that could help the millions.
Luckily I had the intuition (!) to google it, before I wrote the book and got the t-shirts made 🙂
Anyway if you google it too, you’ll finds reams of information.
Here is what Wikipedia has to say on the subject:
‘ Intuitive eating is a nutrition philosophy based on the premise that becoming more attuned to the body’s natural hunger signals is a more effective way to attain a healthy weight, rather than keeping track of the amounts of energy and fats in foods. It’s a process that is intended to create a healthy relationship with food, mind and body, making it a popular treatment for disordered eating and eating disorders. Intuitive eating, just like many other dieting philosophies, goes by many names, including non-dieting or the non-diet approach, normal eating, wisdom eating, conscious eating and more.
This is my take on ‘intuitive eating’:
It goes like this: those of us who have followed diets, plans or programmes (whatever you want to call them) over a period of years have lost the ability to listen to what our bodies’ need in terms of nutrition.
We have become accustomed to following someone else’s rules on what we should and should not eat, and as a result we label foods ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
We also label ourselves ‘good’ or ‘bad’ depending on whether or not we have stuck to the diet rules. This has led us to not being able to trust ourselves to know what or how much to eat. The result for many of us who struggle with our weight is that we have come to believe that we only like to eat the ‘bad’ stuff. And/or we will feel deprived if we don’t have it.
Because I have been ‘watching my weight’ since my teens, the only times during my adult life that I have allowed myself to trust ME to choose what to eat was when I was pregnant.
During my pregnancies I let myself off the dieting hook, and inadvertently ate intuitively.
Surprisingly I craved fruit, especially peaches and nectarines and only gained 20lbs with each of my 3. Yet when I went back to ‘dieting’ after the births, I seemed to go back to craving biscuits, chocolate and crisps and guess what? (There was probably a very good reason for this which I’ll talk about later).
I gained more weight after having the babies, than I had before!
I noticed whilst away a long weekend recently, some of the benefits of eating intuitively.
My aim before I went was to relax, yet listen to my body.
Before each eating opportunity while I was away, I sniffed the air, smacked my tongue to the roof of my mouth and asked myself: was I hungry and if so what did I REALLY fancy to eat.
On 1 occasions I fancied chips, another time I had a Thai chicken curry and then there was the amazingly delicious cheesy omelette (I must have needed protein that day!). But my tongue smacking also led me to buying bananas and apples in the supermarket, passing on cake in the afternoon (Whaaaat? I honestly didn’t fancy it- but I did have a hot chocolate no cream-too claggy for me!).
I didn’t have a single dessert but on Saturday and Sunday, (not Friday) I fancied some wine, and I had a lovely cakey/bun thing for breakfast with my banana on Saturday. I totally enjoyed my intuitive eating experience and was half a pound lighter when I returned home.
Now I’m definitely not suggesting anyone abandons everything they have learnt about healthy eating all in one fell swoop.
But I am suggesting that where food is concerned, there is opportunity for some of us to practise listening to our bodies a bit more. The first step would be just to pause, and think about whether we are hungry; and if we are then with a little smack of the tongue, we could ask ourselves what we fancy.
We may surprise ourselves by finding that sometimes we really do fancy a bit of salad or a nice chicken breast.
Eating foods full of refined sugar, messes with your ability to eat intuitively in a healthy way.
Foods high in refined sugar i.e. biscuits, cake, white bread, lead us to craving more of the same.
Salty, fatty foods are moreish too!
Just saying! (Because I know some of you will be reading this and thinking ‘Yeah, right! Left to my own devices all I will intuitively want to eat is chocolate! You’ll probably find if you don’t start on it in the first place, you won’t desire it so much!)
What do you think? Do you already listen to your body? Do you know someone to whom eating intuitively comes naturally? Please talk to me in the comments!
Bye for now
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