Intuitive Eating and Why We Should All Be Doing This!
09 April 2015
So many people ask me, “What do I eat in a day?” This is a fantastic question, and an important one too. The common saying “you are what you eat” is as real as it gets, and I can’t emphasize enough just how true it is!
Think about this for a moment…everything you eat is digested and assimilated into your body. This means that each new cell that is generated in your body is formed through the energy created by the food you have eaten. In other words, all new cells in your body are in essence the product of whatever you eat. If you eat rubbish, your new cells are created accordingly; if you eat wholesome wholefoods, your cells are likewise formed and energised by that food. It is for this reason that people who eat well, look well. That radiating skin, shiny hair, sparkling eyes and all round glow that we all so desperately want, is simply a by-product of the food we eat.
So what should I eat?
The answer is simply….wholefoods! One ingredient foods. Foods that you can actually see! Not the stuff that comes in multi-coloured boxes or shiny and elaborate packaging – unless of course these have been created specifically from healthy wholefood ingredients.
The bulk of what we eat should come from wholefoods such as:
- Lean proteins
With this being said, the information provided needs to be applied in general terms as we all have completely different genetic makeups, fitness goals, workouts, lifestyles, and metabolisms. Even the healthiest foods can sometimes have varying effects on different people, depending on their genetic makeup. While packed with healthful benefits, garlic, for example, is one such a food that bares much discrepancy from person to person. For some garlic digests comfortably, and for others, garlic can cause stomach cramps. It is completely based on what the body likes and needs. The type of foods that our bodies function optimally on, will also differ from one point in time to the next. That is why is vital for us to become attuned to our body’s needs. Spending some time focussing on how your body responds to different foods is a great way to grasp a better understanding of where your body is at.
This is what we call intuitive eating. This means listening to your body to gauge the type of nutrition your body needs at a specific point in time. Intuitive eating DOES NOT mean giving in to cravings. Not at all. When you are properly in tune with your body, you will begin to properly understand the difference between a craving and a genuine nutritional need. These can be difficult to discern at first, but with practice and patience, you will become more familiar with your body and begin to more easily determine the difference between the two.
So how can I become an intuitive eater?
- Start by keeping a food journal. Create a table with the following headings: Food Choice, /Time of Eating/Reason for Food Choice / Associated Craving / Body's Reaction to Food. - This will assist you in becoming more familiar with your eating patterns, behaviours, cravings and the reaction your body has to different foods. You will be amazed at the realisations pertaining to your eating behaviours that will come to light.
- Chew your food properly and mindfully - try for at least 30 full chews for every bite
- Make sure you sit down when eating, and enjoy your meal.
- Try to make eating an activity on its own, without any distractions. Be careful of the activities you engage in while eating as you can develop learned mental associations between certain activities and food. If you snack regularly while watchingTV, you will notice thateverytiime you turn the TV on, you begin to feel peckish. Justthink about going to movies – I bet the first thing you think about is popcorn right?
- Eat wholefoods
- Stay away from anything processed
- See how your body responds to different foods – you may realise that dairy or grains for example don’t work well for your body, or maybe your body functions better on higher levels of protein. It really is so specific to what your body needs at a particular point in time.
- Lastly, enjoy your food. No need to be restrictive or prescriptive. Just listen to your body, choose wholefoods and drink plenty of water.
Yours in Health Always,