How should you eat?
Okay, from the jump- let’s just go ahead and define some terms here:
1) The kinds of foods that a person, animal, or community habitually eats
“a vegetarian diet”
Synonyms: selection of food, food, foodstuffs
2) A special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight, or for medical reasons
“Jen didn’t have any of her birthday cake, because she said her diet didn’t allow her to”
Synonyms: personal hell
the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.
"we shall allow our intuition to guide us"
synonyms: instinct, intuitiveness; More
okay so to simplify further
Diet : restriction :: Intuitive eating: freedom
This is going to be a touchy subject, so here is your chance…
either strap in for the ride, or GTFO. Either option is valid!
Disclaimer: This is my opinion, strictly based off of my personal research, and what I’ve gathered from those around me, material read etc., I am NOT a dietician, so take what you will.
Everyone nowadays has something to say regarding the way that we should eat. And a lot of them start off the same way, identifying that there are many people pushing a program around losing weight, healthy diet, etc., but what THEY have to offer is this most viable option and here’s why blah blah. And you know what, those people aren’t wrong, and some of those programs are effective and life changing, etc.
But for myself, and the majority of people in my life, it is just not feasible to banish ourselves to live a life free of chocolate cake, bacon, pasta, or booze. Assigning certain foods or food as good or bad can cause detrimental effects to one’s relationship with food.
For anyone who is struggling around their relationship with food, I would suggest reading Intuitive Eating Evelyn Tribole M.S., R.D. and Elyse Resch, M.S., R.D., F.A.D.A.. The idea behind it being that one should use their intuition, learning to understand their bodies reaction and interpreting their bodies hunger signals in order to discern what, how much, and when they should eat.
Once you allow yourself unconditional permission to eat WHATEVER you want *GASP*… and learn how to interpret your bodies reaction and hunger signals, you will be free from the guilt, and control of food. No more of the “well I’m being bad today, but I’ll be good for the rest of the week”. Once food doesn’t become a reward, or something to be controlled or controlling you- you may observe that the foods you craved aren’t actually as alluring as they used to be now that they are not forbidden. Or that, that cupcake in reality is pretty dry, or that it is REALLY good but now because there isn’t this
“last supper” *mentality because you have unconditional permission to eat whatever you want, that you only need a few bites to be satisfied.
Last supper mentality being, “I better have (insert sinful treat here) now because tomorrow I’m giving it up forever”
If you can truly instill the belief that food, any food, is available to you whenever you want it, food loses it’s power over you. So we enter this arena in which we are focusing our intention on understanding our bodies, understanding the difference between emotional hunger and true hunger, understanding why you crave a certain food or what reaction your body has to a certain food.
Whenever I restricted a food group, or had a salad when I really wanted a burger- it generally ended up with me gorging on whatever carbohydrates or fat laden foods I could get my hands on. And y’all that would piss. me. The. Fuck. off. Here I am with enough dedication to be able to get up at 5:30am every day of the work week to work out but I can’t keep myself from having a pint of ice cream or like 5000 cookies (I have a sweet tooth)?!? But it wasn’t a dedication problem.
The inherent nature of dieting relies on the basis that there are food rules that you rely on to restrict your food type, calorie amount etc. in order to reach a certain goal. Instead of trusting and listening to your intuitive cues, you rely on these rules to guide you to a goal. You in a sense, are not allowing yourself to trust the feedback that your body is built to give you.
So then you see what Evelyn and Elyse refer to as the “Seesaw effect”
You start this diet- you deprive yourself of the foods you see as bad so your “guilt” factor is low, because hey- you’re “being good”. BUT, your deprivation builds. The the more you deprive yourself the less guilty you are.
What goes up must come down folks.
It’s girl scout cookie season, so you say to yourself, “ya know what- fuck it, I’ve been so good I’ve worked out so much, I’m going to kill myself if I don’t get to have at least one cookie”.
One box of samoas later, you aren’t deprived because you got to fulfill the craving, BUT extremely guilty. So you vow to restrict yourself even more, and work out extra hard. And the cycle continues.
When you eat intuitively and manifest your attention into understanding what your underlying anxieties and issues that have manifested itself in a need to control, you can begin to heal or find a healthy way to deal with whatever is the underlying issue.
I’m not saying that if you have celiacs that you should eat gluten, or if youre a vegetarian because you fundamentally believe that killing animals is wrong. I get that.
But how can you give up chocolate cake forever, if you fundamentally know that it is not evil?
I went to Italy and France for two weeks and decided to let go of my food rules in order to savor the world renowned flavors the cuisine of these places had to offer. And then a funny thing happened… When I decided to let go of my food rules, and eat whatever I wanted, knowing that I could get more or something else whenever I wanted- I began to eat intuitively. And next thing I know a month from the I’ve lost weight, and I’m eating pasta, and chocolate.. I was floored.
Your body knows what it needs, if you learn to listen, and take care of yourself. You can eat whatever you want in moderation- you know why? Because your body will tell you. That means, if you eat a few bites of pasta and you feel satiated, you learn to respect that. Or if, you have a lot of ice cream one night, and your not someone who tolerates dairy well, and you have a horrible stomach ache and your face breaks out, learn to respect those cues as well. Take an inventory of how you feel.
Trust me, I didn’t want to believe this either. I had held on to my food rules for so long, it had become part of my identity. Separating from them felt like I was purposefully cutting the strings of my parachute, mid plane jump, and I was absolutely terrified.
But this, intuitive eating, is what I know is sustainable for me in the long term .