If you haven’t yet heard the term Intuitive Eating, then I am excited for you, but first, a little head’s up:
This is going to sound bad before it sounds good, so hang with me, okay?
First: the background behind Intuitive Eating.
If you are someone who is mindful of your health and wellness, then you’ve probably taken in a lot of confusing misinformation over the years.
Let’s say just for the sake of argument you’re a mom in your mid-forties. If that’s the case you probably can remember when we were hit with the low-fat diet trend.
And if you participated at all in that little gem of a diet, then you will remember: it was miserable!
But that was just one of the hundreds of diet trends that have taken hold and died off since you were a child, right?
The most important element of this discussion is this: they’ve taken hold. And they’ve died off.
Even if you were to tell me “But Weight Watchers has been around forever!” I would tell you: yes, and they have changed their approach, over and over again.
So if you were also to tell me, “Cori, I have no idea how to eat!” I would say to you: I get it, and I’m sorry.
Most all of us, myself included, have handed over our authority when it comes to how to fuel and nourish our bodies.
It happens, at least for me and I bet for you, in the most innocent of ways: you don’t feel healthy or good in your body, and you want to feel healthy and good in your body.
So you look for a resource that will help you attain that goal. You think about a friend or family member who looks amazing and seems healthy and happy, or who has recently lost weight. Or you see the latest celebrity in the checkout line magazine rack, and how she raves about her diet plan.
And you decide to try it. And it may work, for a bit. You may even feel amazing, for a bit!
But here is what I think you know as well as I do: nothing works forever.
Diets are not natural.
Diets are you, trying to force yourself to eat and live accordingly to someone else’s rules!
And anytime you’re eating according to someone else’s rules, you are handing over your authority and your wisdom. You are saying, “I can’t choose healthy, nourishing, yummy foods on my own.”
Here’s the important question anytime you start a diet: Do you feel like you’re missing any foods or wish you could have just a little bit of “x”? if the answer is yes, then you need to know: this will not be sustainable, it will not become a lifestyle, which means any results you get will. not. last.
(I said it would sound bad, but there’s good coming! Read on!!)
When you accept that no diet is the answer, that’s when Intuitive Eating can set you free!
Intuitive Eating is simply: Learning to eat by listening to your body.
The term intuitive means “using or based on what one feels to be true even without conscious reasoning; instinctive.”
I want you to eat based on instincts. When you eat intuitively, you connect to your body and listen to what it tells you it wants. Rather than following someone else’s rules, you discover what your body needs, and eat accordingly.
And here’s a wonderful little truth: your body wants to eat well!
You know this already: when you eat lots of nutrient-dense, healthy, whole foods, you feel better!
And while there are some nonsensical diets out there that prescribe all meat or super low calories or drinking all protein shakes, the truth is: most of us do feel better when we begin a sensible and healthy diet plan, because our bodies love sensible and healthy foods!
The goal is that you choose those sensible and healthy foods on your own, without anyone telling you to do so! That is the definition of intuitive eating, and man, is it ever empowering!
The day that you realize that you are free of diets, for good, you will be on cloud nine! When you discover that you feel lean and strong and healthy in your body, and you aren’t listening to anyone else telling you what to eat? Wow: that’s freedom!
It’s also how it is meant to be, and how you are meant to live, my friend.
A couple quick truths about Intuitive Eating:
Intuitive Eating is not a “lose twenty pounds by that wedding” plan.
Because it’s not a plan at all! It is a way of life! So, if you choose this path, you need to know that you will feel better immediately, but you will not be starving or counting or losing weight quickly.
Intuitive Eating should be a journey of small steps.
When you go on a diet, they tell you all the things you’re supposed to stop eating, and all the foods you’re supposed to eat. All at once, you go on the diet and you make all the changes.
When it comes to Intuitive Eating, your body may tell you that you want to cut out a few things, and add a few things, but the changes are likely to feel more subtle. More gentle. Easier and less forced.
And that brings us to our tip for today to get you started:
To get started with Intuitive Eating: Think one small change, make it a habit, then one more small change. Repeat as many times as you need.
It really is that simple. My own journey with intuitive eating began almost seven years ago, and I will tell you: I eat so much better than I did seven years ago, but it’s never felt forced or hard!
Many would look at how I eat now and think, “I could never eat like that.” And the funniest thing about that is: if me seven years ago saw how I eat now, that me would say the same thing!
I eat super healthy. I also love my fries and chocolate (chocolate every single day) and cocktails and chicken wings! And it feels easy and natural, and at 48 I am the healthiest I have ever been. And I haven’t been on a diet in seven years and don’t plan to ever go on one again.
It all started with one simple change. Once that became a habit and I no longer had to really think about it, I added another simple change.
You can do this, too! Let’s talk about how to get started!
First: adopt a “I’m done dieting and I am going to listen to my body” mindset.
This step is essential. You are making a long-term commitment, and you won’t lose 25 pounds by next month. That isn’t this. This is a healthy lifestyle. This is you, choosing to care for you, rather than letting someone else tell you how to care for you.
Next: choose your first simple change.
Maybe you already know where you want to start. Is there some habit with your nutrition that, when you do it consistently, you just feel better?
Then start there. Make that your first simple change.
But if you’re not sure where to start, I’ve got some suggestions.
I’ve seen many moms find a lot of success by beginning intuitive eating with a healthy water habit. Set a goal to drink half your body weight in ounces per day. (So if you weigh 150, you want to drink 75 ounces per day.)
When you are truly properly hydrated you are less likely to mistake thirst for hunger, less likely to munch mindlessly, and will simply feel better from the natural, healthy detox process that goes with drinking plenty of water.
Get your five a day.
You know you want your kids to eat five servings of fruits and veggies a day, right? But… are you?
Maybe you’re currently eating one or even zero servings a day, and five a day is too big a leap. Then strive for two more than your average!
Much like water, when you consume the healthy, fiber-filled, nutrient-dense veggies and fruits your body needs and craves, you’re going to have less room for the less-nutrient-dense foods you’d like to eat less of, anyway!
Make more meals at home.
Are you currently eating out, or ordering in, four nights a week? Cut it down by one or two, and make those meals at home. Same goes for lunches at work. See how you feel if you start packing your own lunch!
Add a daily superfood meal or snack.
I can’t not mention Shakeology! The reason I absolutely must mention it is that it changed the game for me. Adding it into my daily nutrition over eight years ago was a decision I will never regret.
That one quick shake gives me more nutrition in a few minutes than I could ever put together my making a meal in my kitchen. It’s that simple, and while I’ve changed the timing over the years- some days it’s breakfast, others it’s lunch or a snack- I am so grateful for this habit.
Add a big green salad at the start of every dinner, or for every lunch.
This combines a bunch of great tips, right? Get a leg up on that goal of your daily five, with all the benefits of fiber and phytonutrients. Starting your dinner with a big green salad also will make you less likely to load up on the heavier parts of dinner, leaving you feeling full with less!
Make your own “salad smoothie” or other healthy smoothie.
I love my salad smoothie! Whenever I am able, I try to have my salad smoothie at the time of the day when I am most likely to mindlessly snack: while making dinner.
I throw a couple handfuls of spinach, some berries, maybe some frozen fruit, water, and a tablespoon or so of honey into the blender, smoothie the heck out of it, and chug.
Not only does this habit keep me from mindless snacking, I find that I don’t sit down to dinner so hungry I want to eat everything in sight!
These are a few ideas, but I know you can come up with more!
Use these ideas, or use these ideas as a jumping-off point for your own ideas, but know this: start with one simple habit, nail it, and scale it.
Choose one simple habit you know will make you feel better. That’s it!
This isn’t about overhauling everything. It’s about simple changes, one at a time, when your body asks for them.
And it’s most definitely about that mindset.
Choose to listen to your body, and your body will thank you by telling you what it needs.
You can do this! And if you are truly struggling with where to start, please know: I would love to connect with you!
A look at nutrition is a part of any coaching package, and I also offer intuitive eating coaching as well. You are still your own guru, I’ll just help you tap into your wisdom!
Finally, you can always download our Intuitive Eating PDF! You’ll find more information and tips there.
So there you have it! You have learned about what Intuitive Eating is, you’ve discovered why diets don’t work and why it’s time to say “buh-bye” for GOOD, and you have some tips to get started by adopting one simple habit change at a time.
I hope you’ll dive in today, but no matter what, I want you to know: everything you need is inside you. Your body, your mind, your spirit are all ready to lead you, whenever you are ready. And I’m here to be your cheerleader, your coach, your encourager, anytime you’d like to let me!
Make it an amazing, nutritious, fun day!