In 2017, it seems like everyone is on a specific diet. People have become obsessed with good vs. bad fats, animal vs. plant protein, gluten free, dairy free, on and on. Vegan, low carb high fat, keto, paleo, Atkins, South Beach…..ahhhh!! One week coconut oil is the devil, the next week it is a superfood that kills cancer. If you peruse the isles of your local book store, you will be inundated with the latest diet gurus and celebs selling their program on how to lose weight, each book contradicting the next. It’s completely maddening and let’s just be real, who has time to sort through all of these diets and theories????
As a Health Coach, I was lucky to receive an education on all these dietary theories, hundreds of them, but even I find myself wanting to hide in the corner and throw my hands up in the air in complete defeat.
It wasn’t that long ago that we all just existed without trying to adhere to the latest fad diet, without diet gurus or celebrity chefs telling us how to feed our body. We used to rely on good old intuition. Back in the day, you just ate something, you intuitively knew what to eat and how to prepare it without having a complete mental meltdown.
It’s time to bring back intuitive eating.
Here’s the truth. I’m going to let you in on a big nutrition secret. Ready?
Being healthy is not complicated. The body knows what it wants to eat, it’s the brain that gets in the way.
Classic example: You heard about a new diet and how your friend, Jane, lost 20 pounds in a month. So, you hop in your car, run to the local bookstore and buy the book. This time you’re really going to do it. You follow the diet guidelines religiously. No cheat days, no slacking. You are KILLIN it. After a week of eating this way, you feel like shit. You’re bloated, you’re tired, you’ve actually gained weight. You feel like a failure. You followed the diet to the tee, and you aren’t getting the same results as Jane. You feel completely defeated.
Here’s the thing, you don’t have to read nutrition books or the latest diet fad to know what foods are right or wrong for you.
Instead, you need to start listening to your body and the ways in which it tries to communicate with you. Start to build a deep relationship with your body and use this relationship to help you cultivate the ability to eat intuitively.
You don’t need to get expensive laboratory testing done to see what foods you should or shouldn’t eat, you already have free, round the clock access to the most sophisticated laboratory for testing how foods affect your mind, body and spirit. You are living in it! Your body is a super sophisticated bio-computer. The trick is learning to listen to the feedback your body is constantly trying to tell you.
To tap into intuitive eating, the first step is to acknowledge that your body is a highly intelligent machine that at any given moment is conducting thousands of functions without you even having to think about it. In every yoga class I teach, I make a point to leave a couple minutes to recognize and acknowledge the body. To feel the heart beating, to feel your chest rise and fall with each breath.
Know on a deep level that you can trust your body, that you don’t need the latest celebrity to tell you how to feel healthy in your own body.
Now you might be saying to yourself, “This is all fine and dandy, but how do I really learn to listen to what my body is telling me?”
How to Develop Intuitive Eating: Step by Step
Are you ready for a little bit of homework? Grab your journal, or even the notes section on your cell phone. Start small. Every morning, write down EXACTLY what you ate for breakfast. Then write down how you feel immediately after eating and then again two hours later. Do this for 2 weeks straight, every morning. Switch your breakfast up, try some eggs and bacon one day, some cereal the next day, oatmeal, a muffin, maybe a bagel and cream cheese, some sauteed veggies and toast. Get some variety in your breakfast and start to make the connection between what you eat and how it makes you feel.
After the 2 weeks, you will understand yourself better and how different foods make you feel. Start to cut back or eliminate the foods that make you feel yucky. After the 2 weeks, you can start to expand this food journaling experiment to your whole daily intake. Be a detective. Eat a variety of foods and don’t worry about adhering to a particular diet. Start to discover how different foods and liquids affect you. Notice how your body feels and how each change of diet affects you not just physically, but mentally as well.
Have you ever tried a diet that didn’t work for you? How did you know it wasn’t right for you? I’d love to hear about it! Share your experience in the comments below!