Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Ditching the Diet Mentality: Intuitive Eating

I have always strived for my blog to be a journal of sorts. Chronicling everyday life while highlighting my passions. One of my passions is for healthy living. Lately, I feel like I am not practicing what I know and love.  I have set forth on numerous diets and lifestyle changes this year only to bail half way through leaving me feeling like a complete failure. This past month was the last straw and I knew something had to change. So, I did the complete opposite of the norm and ditched the diet completely!

Looking back over the years I noticed a pattern. When I place myself on a diet I develop a tendency to binge, both before my diet begins and during due to feeling restricted.  How am I hoping to solve this? Intuitive eating.

Intuitive eating: Eat only when hungry, don't feel guilty about food, and eat whatever your body is craving. 

Let me share my inner psychology nerd for a second. Intuitive eating is based off habituation strategy. Habituation is the diminishing of a physiological or emotional response to a frequently repeated stimulus. When applied to eating it means that allowing yourself to eat what you are craving, but typically don’t indulge in, will decrease the temptation or “sparkle” of the food.

This past month, I tried this with Peanut Butter M&M’s. I have always had the mindset that I can’t indulge in candy or keep it in the house. I was sure I had an insatiable appetite for anything peanut butter. But the first time I gave myself permission to eat as many as I wanted, I was surprised that I was satisfied after just a few handfuls. By day three, the candy was already less tempting. Now they don't seem as scary as they did before when I walk by the candy isle. Removing the danger sign helped me realize that they are just a treat and don't have special power over me.

There are three main guidelines that I am following on this journey.

ID hunger signs.- Know your hunger signs and aim to eat only when you're hungry. 

Slow down.- Instead of inhaling dinner, sit at the table while you eat and make the meal last at least 20 minutes. When you go slow, it's easier to read your body's hunger and fullness signals.

Portion Control - Be conscious of how much you’re eating. Eat whatever your body is craving just be aware of serving size. Portion out one serving at a time. If you’re not satisfied with one serving then you can enjoy more.

I realize that I can't change how I view food overnight. I have had a distorted relationship with food for a long time; dieting disconnected me from how food makes my body feel.  But with time, I hope to get to a better place.  The goal is to repair my relationship with food and my body and have weight loss as a side effect of that.

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  1. I love this. For so long I got trapped in the 5 small meals a day mentality. Guess what ..often I would force my self to eat a meal when I wasn't hungry. What sense does that make? I agree we should just listen to our bodies!
    The Lady Lawyer

  2. love this post! i try to focus on intuitive eating and not just grabbing food whenever. it's hard to not be so snacky!

  3. I'm all about intuitive eating and if I crave something (though usually healthy), I don't feel bad eating it!

  4. Portion control is a big problem for me. I was *naturally* skinny as a teenager, but my mom was convinced that I was anorexic. She began hounding me into eating double portions, large-sized orders, and second plates. Years later, as a 27-year-old, I still have difficulty forcing myself to eat less. So many normal portions look small to me.

  5. I really like these tips. I need to figure out what role food plays in my life.

    ~Ashley @ A Cute Angle

  6. Awesome post! I'm all about the portion control, but sometimes it's sooooo hard to step away. Weight Watchers really helped me, and I think it's because it is more intuitive than strict strict diets. I could NEVER succeed on those. Good luck with everything!!!


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