Today I’m going to share with you the most valuable piece of nutrition advice that I’ve ever received. This one simple technique will mean that you never have to diet again, and I know today’s post could ruffle a few feathers in the diet industry – they hate when I tell you this sort of stuff because it means they sell fewer products!
I’m going to teach you about intuitive eating, but before I get into the meat and potatoes of this post let me tell you why I felt inspired to write about this topic.
- I recently shared this information with a client and the results were amazing. She was immediately released from the pressure of dieting and concern about overeating. After seeing her success I knew that you would appreciate it too.
- This week I have observed so many people mindlessly eating while performing everyday tasks such as driving, texting, and talking on the phone (or all three at once … naughty Californians). Just this morning a woman in the car behind me slurped continuously from her huge smoothie for what seemed like miles. It made me wonder if she even tasted what she was drinking or realized that she must be getting full.
- Finally, I am frustrated with fitness magazines ordering us what and when to eat. The reality is that everyone is different and there is no “one-size-fits-all” way of eating. The professionals may have good insight and recommendations, but only you have the final answer for what will make you happier, healthier and at easewith your ideal weight.
For these reasons, I’m very excited to spill the beans on what the dieting industry doesn’t want you to know. The secret to living at your ideal weight is this:
“Eat when you are hungry. Stop when you are full.”
I’m not kidding – it really is as simple as that.
Intuitive eating enables you to live at your ideal weight because you are listening to your body and eating only what it wants. However, you may find that this is sometimes different to what your eyes and brain want (*cough* CHOCOLATE CAKE *cough*).
By adopting intuitive eating habits you can let go of the fear of overeating, fighting cravings or being pressured in social situations when certain trigger foods – such as the ones that make you binge – are being served.
The challenge is knowing how to implement this advice. In our diet-obsessed culture people can no longer think for themselves when it comes to basic nutrition. We’ve become so disconnected from our bodies that it’s hard to know when we are hungry and when we are full. We live and eat with so much distraction that we frequently devour more than our body wants or needs.
Read on for my 3 Step Strategy to adopting intuitive eating and freeing yourself from the diet industry’s clutches.
Decide what to eat
Have you ever eaten something and then realized that it’s not what you felt like? When this happens you’re full but not satiated, which leads to snacking and overeating until you find the flavor that your tastebuds were looking for. Instead of rushing to eat something, stop for a moment to consider if that’s what you really feel like.
Implement this advice
Next time you eat ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I truly hungry or simply thirsty or bored?
- What do I really want to eat?
- Do I want cold or warm?
- What texture?
- What flavor?
- What benefit am I looking to get from this food?
- Is this a main meal or a small snack?
- What is the healthiest version of this that I could choose?
Once you have decided what you want to eat it’s time to move on to how you are going to eat it.
Prepare to eat
Let’s be honest ladies, we have all had those moments of standing/crouching/sitting in front of an open fridge door with a fork and spoon, or spent some quality Netflix time with an entire jar of cookies or potato chips.
When you take the time to arrange your meal on a plate you are not only practicing portion control but you are also telling your body: “Heads up – I’m about to eat, please start revving your digestive engine!”
The eyes enjoy a visual feast as much as the taste buds do and these sensory events set off nerve impulses that trigger the release of digestive enzymes that will eventually break down the food to release its nutrients. When you mindlessly transfer food into your mouth from a bag or box you are skipping the very first stage of the digestive process.
Implement this advice
To make the eating experience more enjoyable I recommend investing in a pretty plate, bowl and glass. Find something that is perfectly sized for your portions and then arrange your food in a way that makes it look appetizing.
Once you have plated up your meal it’s time to eat it…..mindfully.
You should eat with as few distractions as possible. Don’t eat while walking, driving or working at your computer. In an ideal world you also wouldn’t eat while watching TV, but I’ll admit that I do it and I think that you can still practice intuitive eating while catching up on ‘Say Yes To The Dress’.
Implement this advice
Do your best to minimize the external distractions and eat in a mindful way. Chew your food properly and place your silverware down in between mouthfuls to stop yourself from shoveling food in like a hungry robot. Breathe between bites and enjoy your food!
Aim for at least two nights a week when you sit at the table rather than in front of the TV and talk with your fiance. Not only will it be a fun date night but you may notice that you actually eat less when you converse over dinner.
Stop and Reflect
In French Women Don’t Get Fat Mireille Guiliano writes that she eats half of her plate then pauses to reflect on her appetite. If she is still hungry she eats half of the remaining half and pauses again. She continues eating in this way until she is satisfied but not overly full.
Implement this advice
Don’t feel obligated to eat everything on your plate. Once you have finished your meal take a moment to reflect on how you feel. Was it the right amount of food? Has it impacted your mood positively or negatively? Do you feel healthier and happier? Write down your thoughts so that next time you can make any changes that are necessary and continue to improve your intuitive eating practice.
I hope that you found this information helpful and that you feel confident to release the diet shackles once and for all. I would love to hear from you about your experience with intuitive eating.