How to do it
Do you hate restrictive diets? Do you hate all diets? If so, we have something in common. Welcome to the idea of having a cookie once in a while, or everyday. You do you. But, I’ll teach you to do the most healthy you.
Intuitive eating is best defined as listening to your body’s needs and eating the foods that it wants. It is eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full. It is literally giving the body what it wants. By now you may have questions. Questions like, how do I eat intuitively when my days and weeks are all scheduled? How do I know what my body needs? How do I separate what my mind wants from what my body needs? I will answer these and more. With practice you can eat intuitively as well as guilt free.
Listen and feel
It will take practice and time in the beginning, but as time goes on your intuition will be quicker and louder. Until then, start out by being still. Feel hungry? Bring your awareness to your stomach. Be still and listen. You may feel a pull towards something. For example, the first time I felt pulled towards a food it was radishes. I had never even bought radishes, but suddenly they sounded so good and my body hummed with delight when I got them. You may not feel anything the first time, that’s okay. Keep practicing and skip on to the next step.
Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full
Even if you don’t choose food intuitively, this is good advice. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. This can be easily accomplished with mindful eating. Pay attention when you eat. Savor your food. You will notice much quicker when you have had enough and you won’t feel deprived when you stop eating.
Eating intuitively can really mess up meal times for me, I find I eat less food but more meals. It is difficult when you’re day is planned and scheduled down to the minute. I would advise to have food readily available as much as your day allows and to give up control. Let go the ideas of when you should and shouldn’t eat, just eat when you are hungry.
Of course, you can’t just buy food one meal at a time. You have to plan ahead, you have to grocery shop. Just apply the same method of feeling I described earlier and try it at the grocery store. Try it as you meal plan for the week. Who says your body can’t know what it needs all ahead of time? I like to plan meals by finding recipes from pinterest. I look at the pictures and I read the ingredients. I choose the meals that appeal to me and I write down the ingredients. When I am at the store I obviously get those ingredients but I will also spend more time in the vegetable section and get anything extra that my body wants. I can integrate them into my meals later.
Separating the wants from the needs
Calming the mind with the breath and listening to the gut is the best way to discern the two. But, sometimes, don’t bother. Maybe my body never really needs that cookie but my mind does. Maybe it is emotional eating, maybe it isn’t. I don’t need to justify it, not to myself or to others. If restricting your diet in the past hasn’t worked, then it’s not going to work now. Just eat the damn cookie. Or two. Or five. Don’t be afraid of food and don’t care about the rules. Your body knows what it wants, listen to it and give up control.