Intuitive eating is a journey. At first it takes time and commitment but once you are used to your new lifestyle it will feel natural and take little time. The rewards are not only when you “finish” but are realized in every step you take along the way.
In the morning you wake up and don’t have to judge yourself by a number on the scale. You look in the mirror and smile at yourself just as you are. You remind yourself you don’t have to be perfect to be awesome. You ask “am I hungry?” as you go downstairs. You feel a smidge but not just yet. You start your day but pretty soon feel your hunger kick in. You ask yourself what you feel like eating. Do you want something hot/cold, sweet/sour, crunchy/soft, filling/light? Today you want something warm and soft and sweet so you decide on oatmeal with raisins and walnuts with a little coffee. Every day is different. Once you are ready you sit at the table and take a moment to center yourself. You have set up a nice place to eat. Somewhere you can sit comfortably without distraction and just enjoy your food and company. You let yourself be present and enjoy your meal. You really taste and enjoy the food. Once you feel satisfied you stop. You don’t have to finish all your food if you are feeling full. If you finish but want more you eat a bit more. Your body tells you when you are satisfied.
You pack a lunch for work. You pick something that sounds good to you. Today you decide on something soft and sour: Chinese food, with some crunchy baby carrots since crunchy foods feel good for when you get stressed at work. You pack a water bottle and put some lemon slices in it since you like that tangy flavoring. You love a bit of sweet so you ad some chocolate kisses in a baggie. You no longer beat yourself up for enjoying a sweet treat. You haven’t “broken” your plan. You like something sweet sometimes and that is fine. All foods are fine. When your lunch break starts you ask– am I hungry? If not you might wait a bit. You honor your hunger. Some days you have to eat at a set time and you don’t get too upset since you know that that can happen. Life is not perfect.
After a difficult day you destress by taking a walk, journaling, talking with a friend, or perhaps yoga. You have learned the ways that work for you to handle issues without using food.
At some point in the day you choose to exercise since you know your body feels good when it is active and it helps you reach your health goals. Maybe you take Zumba or boxing or Tai Chi or walk outside. You do something you love so much it doesn’t even feel like exercise.
Since you are satisfied with your meals you don’t spend lots of time thinking about your next meal or counting calories or deciding which food fits on your set “plan”. The time you used to spend thinking about food is now free to think about things that enhance your life. You have learned that you can be trusted to feed yourself well. You don’t have to get advice from a plan to tell you what is “right”. You feel empowered to make choices that are appropriate for you. You take care of your health and your eating behaviors and lifestyle allows for all foods. You enjoy a feeling of health and empowerment and eating is natural and enjoyable.
Sarah Gold is an intuitive eater, dietitian, chocolate lover, and dog lover,