Since I am a dietitian, would I say my eating is perfect. Well yes, I think I would. Not because I eat all the recommended servings of vegetables (because I totally do not do that), not because my plate always looks colorful (sometimes everything on my plate is yellow and that’s just the way it is), not because I eat only organic and wholesome (I’m human and money doesn’t grow on trees) but because it is messy and delicious and sometimes ugly and sometimes beautiful and definitely not perfect (because what does that even mean?) but perfect for me. I’m human, just like you, and my life revolves around food, just like you (because hello, that’s how we LIVE!). I go out with friends and munch on the free nuts provided just like you, I have an extra large bowl of popcorn because I know I will cry at any movie and will need the popcorn to soak up my tears. I look forward to Thanksgiving because I can sit around eating, drinking and playing games all day. Some days I follow the dietary guidelines and some days I don’t and that is normal, that is perfect and that is life. What I don’t do is set food rules for myself, I eat when I want to eat, I listen to my hunger and fullness cues (sometimes, and sometimes I don’t and that is OK). I do not beat myself up for having a cookie and cake and a cupcake all in the same day (because it’s a birthday party and I came to party). Nutrition can be as complex and as simple as you make it, and I’m not sure about you but I definitely need some things to be simple in my life.
How do I start eating perfectly? you might be asking. And by perfectly, I’m sure you mean just perfect for you because perfect eating doesn’t exist. Well, throughout my experience and many others, the way to “perfect” eating is by intuitively eating. What is intuitively eating? You might be asking now. Intuitive Eating is eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full. It is learning to listen to your hunger and fullness cues to be able to eat appropriately for how much your body needs. Your body knows exactly how much it needs and it will tell you, we just need to listen. YOUR BODY IS AMAZING!!
Think about a 2 year old - they eat when they are hungry and they stop when they are full and there is nothing you are going to do to change that. They are completely in-tune to their hunger and fullness cues. When we start to get older, we stop listening to our bodies. "I’m on a diet so I can’t eat even if I am hungry." "I’m too busy at work to stop and eat lunch." "I’m not a breakfast person." Once we stop listening, our bodies are smart enough not to waste vital energy it needs to give you cues when it knows you aren’t going to listen. Therefore, these cues become quiet because we have trained our bodies that this is what it needs to do to survive. Isn’t it amazing how your body just wants to work the best for you! Luckily, these cues are still there! We just have to provide our bodies with good nourishment and begin to respect our bodies and listen to our cues. Once you are able to do that, you will have a sustainable eating pattern that will last a lifetime and adjust to whatever life throws at you. To live and eat intuitively is extremely freeing, I promise!
For more information on Intuitive Eating visit the website of the original gurus: Evelyn Tribole, MS, RDN and Elyse Resch, MS, RDN. They have amazing books! Life changing!
Also, many dietitians help counsel and teach people how to eat intuitively, me included, so please reach out to your fellow dietitians for assistance!
I want to hear from you! Please comment below if you have heard of Intuitive Eating before, or is this the first time you are hearing about it?