Intuitive Eating – Part 1

Posted: March 23, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Hola amigas! :) Como estan? I guess I am in Spanish mode after my Monday night tutoring sessions. ;) Moving on now. Man, a lot of you enjoy Popchips or really want to try them! Let me work on that okay? ;) And also hello to some new readers that have popped up the past couple of days. I love seeing new faces around here. Makes me smile big like this - :D . And of course love to all of my regular pals. :)

Onto today's topic. Intuitive eating. Something that should be so so simple, but is in fact very difficult for many. Especially those of us who have spent time in the crazy world called "Dietland". I know that this style of eating was foreign to me for a long time. Even now it takes practice on top of more practice. Pretty much learning how to eat all over again.

Source - us.123rf.com

But it is becoming more and more natural for me. For example, yesterday when my stomach felt a little "off" and I didn't feel like eating much. In previous situations, I would have eaten by the clock (check out the post from Jen about that) and I would have force-fed myself despite not feeling well. Or, on the other hand, I would have reveled in a loss of appetite with the mindset of it helping me to lose whatever weight I was working on losing at the time. Silly, huh? I sure think so! Which is why I listened to my body yesterday and did what it was asking.

Today my appetite has been more normal with some differences. Such as not being hungry first thing in the morning. So I guzzled some water and drank some tea instead, before heading to the gym for 15 min on the elliptical and a power class. I did enjoy a full breakfast when I got back and had lunch only a couple of hours later because I was hungry again. What 3 hour rule? Forget that nonsense that I used to follow! I was hungry and was going to eat.

I began making my typical lunch of a wrap with some fruit and perhaps some raw veggies on the side. Amidst spreading laughing cow on my wrap, I thought SALT. I was hankering for something more salty. Instead of saying, "no that's bad" or pushing that desire aside, I put away the grapes and grabbed a bag of this to accompany my wrap and apple instead.

SmartPop mini popcorn bag

Perfection. It satisfied me and my hunger just as I hoped it would. A big step in intuitive eating. Or as I think of it, having a normal relationship with food. No guilt, no worries, no stress. And I completely give credit to being more aware of listening to my body and its food requests for fueling my lifestyle. Intuitive eating is something I believe we all should strive for if we don't already have that balance. Which leads me to doing more in depth posts about this topic in the upcoming weeks. Ya dig? :)

Awhile ago, I read the book Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch.

These posts won't necessarily be a book review since it has been awhile since reading the book, but simply sharing their ideals, which you can find at the website. What is intuitive eating? It is having control over food. It is understanding your own body and its particular needs. It is eating the way that suits YOU. Not your family, not your friends, not popular bloggers, not what the diet books you read tell you. Simply what works for YOU. It is understanding true  hunger versus emotional hunger. It is letting go of food rules and labels of "good", "bad", "clean", "superfood", etc. It is health.

Why are people wary of this style of eating? What concerns are there? Why do people give up on it? It can be hard starting out and for a good long while. We don't understand our bodies as well as we think we do. We have deep rooted notions and behaviors of how we are "supposed to" eat and don't want to let them go. We fear losing control instead of gaining it. Or think by limiting calories/fat/carbs/eating hours/etc we in fact are in control of our bodies, when in reality that is not the case.  Basically, we don't trust ourselves.

In upcoming posts, I hope to share some of the principles so that together we can learn some ways to trust our bodies. To honor our natural hunger. To declare freedom from the dieting mentality that we think we have shaken but still controls us in sneaky ways.  To get back what is rightfully ours. Our happiness and our true health - physically, mentally, and emotionally. Will you join me?

What are your thoughts on intuitive eating? Do you believe you practice it, even when you take a really close look at your eating habits? Check out the QUIZ on intuitive eating - find it on the sidebar of the site since there is no direct link. *For some reason the results don't calculate, but it still gives an idea of some actions that relate to levels of intuitive eating.*

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30 Comments to “Intuitive Eating – Part 1”
  1. I read the book a few years ago and I LOVED it! I was an intuitive eater up until I last competed, then struggled a bit with the ‘clock’ after, but I am back to it. I wish competing and IE together were a possibility!

    • Tina says:

      HUGE ditto to this! I was eating very intuitively until competition prep and I didn’t even do as hardcore of a diet. I struggled for a bit after the show and now am way back more to my usualy approach. :)

  2. Heather says:

    i’m definitely working on intuitive eating…but it’s taken a long time to even slightly recover from years of disordered eating, so it’s slow going. but it’s nice to notice even little things about my habits changing!

  3. Thanks so much for this post and the link to the site. This is something I struggle with. I try hard to maintain a healthy diet, but tend to really get mad at myself for indulgences. I don’t keep lots of things in the house any longer and just simply do not allow myself to eat them (like Baked Cheetos). I try really hard to keep the idea of balance in mind, as in, it’s ok to enjoy food indulgences in moderation, but there is still always that nagging guilt. It’s not so bad that I do anything silly like go do extra cardio, I just make promises to be better. I have started trying to remember that each day is a new day for new opportunities.

  4. lisaou11 says:

    I’ve read this book and loved it. Putting in the principles does take word and being mindful but I think it’s worth it. I still struggle and I’m not 100 percent intuitive yet, but I am much better than I was a year ago. Progress right?

  5. Susan says:

    I really need to read that book, as intuitive eating is still something I’m working on. I’m really good at eating what I’m craving… it’s just eating it WHEN I’m craving it. I tend to overeat when I try to let my belly do the talking – I’m not good at recognizing my proper hunger signals yet!

  6. Jenn N. says:

    I don’t label my eating aside from the fact I eat real food most of the time. My eating varies depending on my goals. Right now I’m don’t have any weight goals so I’m just eating real food when I’m hungry and not giving it much thought. As long as I choose real food 90% of the time (not always easy) then I feel good and my clothes fit well. If I decide to cut for a competition then I will start paying attention to calories and macros. My comp diet doesn’t really vary much from my regular diet aside from the portions are more controlled and the macros more thought out/planned which I don’t necessarily find to be a bad thing…just a different choice. I suppose if it made me crazy then I’d need to rethink it but I don’t have much trouble flowing between the two choices. That said I never compete to win so I don’t get as lean as most girls…that could account for less “comp dieting” stress. I am considering doing another show in a few months so I’ll need to switch gears. I actually enjoy the comp prep (SO MUCH MORE) than the actually comp. I think the “boundaries” make me more creative in many ways in and out of the kitchen! I’m also one of those people who loves lists and charts maybe that’s why the comp diet doesn’t feel super restrictive to me. ;-)

    • Tina says:

      I agree that comp prep is something completely different. Same with being sure to eat enough during intense training for a race or something similar. But for basic health, intuitive is the way to go imo. :)

  7. This post is great! I definitely believe in eating when you’re hungry (aka. eating like you’re a first grader!). I gained so much weight my first year of college because I ate when I thought were the times one was supposed to eat. BUT, I would just then eat a little bit and then eat a whole lot later. Intuitively eating I think should be the way people need to eat, and I think this is way better than dieting or anything. Listening to one’s body is so important to eating healthy AND right. Love this post!

  8. eatspinlive says:

    what a great post!! And I always go to popcorn when I need a snack or am in the mood for something salty! Great choice! :)

  9. Sarah says:

    I purchased that book a few months ago and really enjoy the many thoughts and suggestions it suggested. This is an extremely amazing post. I really need to get my food relationship under control. Intuitive eating is an effective way for me to achieve my goals.

  10. homecookedem says:

    Great post!! I read that book a year ago and loved it. It didn’t work magic on me right away, but over time I’ve made lots of progress and have listened to my body more and more. I used to be like clockwork too, so I can totally relate.

  11. LOVE this post. I’ve seen a lot about the Intuitive Eating book/method, and I’ve always been incredibly intrigued by it. I *do* feel as though I have too many diet-related “rules” in my head, and I don’t even know how they got there! I guess they’ve accumulated over years of researching how to be *healthy,* and inevitably ideas such as “eating several mini meals,” “avoiding white carbs,” and “I MUST eat some sort of vegetable with each meal” have become ingrained in my mind. Over time, my normal relationship with food has become, well, not-so-normal. I’d love to get this book because I truly believe that a healthy MENTAL relationship with food is more important than the food itself…

  12. You’re so right…so many of us are used to eating what we think we should when we think we should that we forget to listen to our bodies. We shut off the signals and deprive and then either deal with an ED later of end up saying “F it” and giving up on healthy eating. I have really started to listen to my body in the past few months…almost a year! I would love to read that book.

  13. Katie says:

    Hmm, I think I’m the only one who didn’t like that book. I didn’t get past the first 50 pages, because it seemed like more of a “diet” book instead of a “way of life/eating”. Maybe there really isn’t much of a difference, but I’d like to think there is.

    • Tina says:

      It does talk about how eating that way will help you lose weight and have a bit of a focus on that, which I too didn’t care for. But I love the overall concept of it. Thanks for pointing that out and reminding me of it.

  14. Jennifer says:

    This post goes perfectly with mine! Thanks for the blog shout out. :) I’m really glad you shared a lot of your feelings on this subject and what you got from the book. I look forward to hearing more about it.

  15. Really enjoyed this post! For a long time I ate by the clock and I ate by the calorie content of food. If it wasn’t “time” I wasn’t allowed to have it. If it contained too many calories, nope – forget it! Now, I have grown so much from those days and actually ENJOY food again. Especially since I am pregnant… it has taught me even more about listening to my body, and the little one inside of me. It has taught me to TRUST my body. At the beginning of pregnancy I thought “man I am going to blow up without doing all my running..” have I? Nope. This is true for ANYONE. Even taking rest days from exercise or indulging a little more on their favourite foods… it will not make you burst or balloon up over night :)

    • Tina says:

      I really learned to trust my body as well and give up the dieting mindset when I got pregnant with my daughter. Thank God for her for so many reasons. And she continues to inspire me to have a healthy attitude. I’m so glad you are gaining those same benefits with your pregnancy. :)

  16. lessonstolearn says:

    Great post! I struggle with intuitive eating, but I try real hard. It is frustrating because eating is so basic. Unfortunately, somewhere in the process of growing up, many of us learn to use food as a crutch and as comfort. I love watching kids eat! They know how its done!

  17. Sophie says:

    I read that book for a nutrition class in college. I had never heard of intuitive eating. At the time I was in a place where I was being incredibly restrictive with my diet, and it helped me see that I have to listen to my body. We did a lot of exercises with it (recording how you are feeling/hunger/satiety) and it was amazing!

  18. lindsey says:

    Love your posts, Tina! So insightful!

    I read the book and did enjoy it. The concept is so simple, yet due to the emotional pull food does have on us, it can be hard!

    I know that I eat for a lot of other reasons besides hunger…and while I am OK with that, there are sometimes when I overeat too much and I really just don’t listen to my body at all!

    I think I will always be a work in progress, and again, I am OK with that. Perfection does not exist!

    • Tina says:

      Amen to that! All we can do is be insightful of our bodies and their needs and do our best. And I also like how the book mentions it being okay to eat for emotional reasons if you are aware of it and its a conscious decision. Like you said, I eat for reasons other than hunger at times too, but am okay with it. Can’t wait to see you in a few weeks!

  19. Therese says:

    I wouldn’t know how to begin eating intuitively if I tried. You hit the nail on the head…I just don’t trust myself. I’m afraid if I let go of the structure I would just go crazy and start eating everything in sight!

    Something to work on for sure…

  20. I finally figured out intuitive eating about 4 years ago! It was a long process, but it was so worth it! By just letting myself have whatever I wanted, I lost about 10 lbs without even trying! If I really wanted a huge bag of candy, I just ate it! And it was so liberating.

  21. [...] feels good and your choices will eventually go the nutritious route naturally. I firmly believe in intuitive eating and loving exercise. If I had my way, there would be no focus on the scale, clothing size, or [...]

  22. katie says:

    Hey! I love your blog and your posts! I just read this and was inspired to write about my own journey with intuitive eating! :) I linked your post as a resource! :) Check it out, and keep up the good work! :)
    http://www.dashingdish.com/2010/04/make-peace-with-food-and-start-enjoying-your-body/

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