Ahoy there mi fitties!
Quick intuitive eating check in. I spent a week on vacation where the drinks and food (and wood fired pizza) were all included. Normally I would come home from such a vacation stuffed and disgusted with myself and then launch myself on a miserable 1200 calorie a day regime while working out.
And then I’d start the process all over again.
That didn’t happen this time. I indulged a bit here and there and sometimes passed up dessert (I did not, however, pass up champagne. Ever). I got back with my clothes feeling a wee bit tighter, and that went away after 2 or 3 days of back to normal eating.
I’m pretty much comfortable with the whole honoring my hunger/eating until satisfied concept. Now I’m working on really enjoying my food, savoring it, eating it slowly and pausing to reconnect with myself during the meal. My nutritionist (who specializes in intuitive eating, by the way, and if you’re thinking about starting this process I strongly encourage you to the point of being pushy to work with a professional because it will make your life so much better) encouraged me to spend some time looking at my food and smelling my food and really engaging with my meal. That’s a weird feeling, I’ll be honest. I think we snarf down our food because we feel there is something bad or gluttonous about eating real meals. I told my nutritionist it feels a little bit indecent — sort of like sex with the lights on. 😉
When we eat our food quickly and without thinking about it, it’s like we’re not really eating at all. And in a society that is so anxious about food and our bodies, we want to feel like we don’t eat. We can’t pretend we’re not eating when we focus on our meal. And actually slowing down and savoring the food feels… well, WRONG.
So, yeah, I’m working on that.
Someone asked me weeks ago, and I wanted to blog about it but I’ve just been doing things in my head lately, about using meal plans. Can you be an intuitive eater and still use a meal plan.
Well, first, I’ve been an intuitive eater for, ohhh, 4 months now. So although I am an expert on everything and am never, EVER wrong (okay, that ONE time, but only once), my opinions about intuitive eating are just that — opinions. As I mentioned above, please try to find a nutritionist or therapist who specializes in intuitive eating. This link will help you look one up. Or you can use your Google machine to find one.
In my opinion, intuitive eating is a personal experience and it should look different from person to person. My lifestyle and my body is different than yours, so the way I eat really shouldn’t be the way you eat. Part of me really rebels at the thought of an eating plan. The person who concocted that eating plan doesn’t know you. They don’t know your activity or where you are in your hormonal cycle or how much muscle you have. They don’t know how tall you are or how old you are! Those things MATTER! So my slightly hysterical impulse is to scream NO! Don’t give your power to someone else to make decisions on what and how much you should be eating! YOU make those decisions for yourself! Your body! Yourself!
But I may be overreacting a teeny tiny bit.
Possibly, for some of us, a suggested meal plan may be helpful, especially if we’ve spent a life time nibbling on tiny little diet meals and denying ourselves real meals. Maybe a meal plan would help us understand what an appropriate meal might look like for our individual needs. Another reason to seek professional guidance: My nutritionist gave me several templates to work from so I could get an idea of what someone with my activity level should be eating.
A meal plan may help you to see that an athlete should not be only eating lettuce with a few sprinkles of cheese on top for lunch. A meal plan can give you ideas of how to get enough calories when you’re used to eating plain oatmeal and egg whites for breakfast.
The danger is to view the meal plan as a set in stone mandate of how you should eat. What if you’re hungrier one day because you were very active? Or shit, maybe you’re just hungry because you’re HUNGRY. Or maybe you’re not as hungry one day because it’s hot and you don’t feel like eating and even though the meal plan recommends a snack you just don’t feel like eating the snack.
I think as long as you’re very clear that the meal “plan” is really a “suggestion” and you — and ONLY YOU — can possibly know when and to what extent you need to eat, they can be useful. They might even give you a little sense of security if you’re not used to making your own choices about food; you won’t be completely on your own when it comes to making decisions about what to eat.
I hope this helps! Eventually, I’d like to get my blog a little better organized so if you want to check out my intuitive eating resources/experiences, you can find them in one place (I do have a search bar on the site for you).
In the meantime, these are my experiences:
6. In which I realize I just can’t keep dieting anymore because life is too fucking short.