In this episode, we are answering one of our listener’s questions: How do you stay eating intuitively while living a scheduled life? This is a really great question! So we are going dig into that!
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Resources mentioned in this episode:
- 7 Day Spark
- Eating with Intention
- Wellness Circle
- Winter Detox
- Submit a Question for the Show
- Meditation Guide
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What is intuitive eating?
Intuitive eating is very, very similar to mindful eating which is something that has been really popular in the media. Mindful eating and intuitive eating are practices allowing yourself to become aware of both the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food preparation and consumption but doing so by respecting your own inner wisdom. It’s about connecting to your body and understanding how your body both reacts to and has a need for, nutrition.
Intuitive eating is not about judging food for your body as good or bad, healthy or not healthy, but tuning in to both pleasure and hunger and fullness/satisfaction cues to guide your decision about whether or not to eat, instead of following plans, counting calories, and other restrictive diet-culture rituals.
Intuitive eating also recognizes that emotions and situations and cognitive distortions affect how we relate to food. This style of eating, as in my body wisdom program, works to give alternative solutions for dealing with these things outside of food.
Intuitive Eating vs. Dieting
One of the main principles that I teach in my body wisdom program is at the principle of intuitive eating—that is to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you are full. You can also say, stop when you are satisfied. There are a number of strategies you can use to get there and we can’t cover them all in this format but one that I’ve talked about a lot is not scheduling your meals.
When you are eating intuitively, whether you eat one meal or six, and whether they are big or small, or carb-heavy or not, is based on what your body needs and how YOUR body reacts and feels with certain foods. If you eat cake, you don’t judge or feel guilt or shame yourself. If it makes your body feel bad, if it takes away from your pleasure then you learn from it and move forward.
In dieting, on the other hand, when you eat three meals + two snacks a day at 8, 10, 12, 2, and 5 o’clock, it is because you were told to. It’s because you are disregarding your inner wisdom in favor of a schedule on paper. You are eating if you are hungry or not, and you are not eating when you are hungry. You are effectively restricting no matter which side of the hunger you are on.
How do I become an intuitive eater?
In my Body Wisdom Method, there are 10 steps to becoming an intuitive eater and kicking diet culture to the curb.
While we can’t possibly cover the full course in this episode, I do want to touch on the first and second steps. Some people find they can jump right in and do these steps alone and some need more support, and that’s okay too, I know it’s scary, I have been there and done this. All the steps are covered in depth and one by one in my mini-course – Eating with Intention.
The first and second steps are generally the hardest to get through because often, this stuff has been ingrained in us for decades and is still thrown at us daily.
Step 1 Kick Diet Mentality to the Curb.
We are going to come right out of the gate and fully reject diet culture and the mentality that comes with it. You’ve heard me compare this to a good old fashioned bra burning in the 60s and 70s…you are going to simply clear out all of the physical proof that you have been a victim of diet culture. This is the step where you allow yourself to have all the feels, even angry ones at the lies that you have been fed.
It’s time to go Marie Kondo on your dieting past lives. Throw out the diet books and magazine articles. Unfollow all those social media accounts that offer you false hope of losing weight fast, losing weight easily, and/or even claiming to help you lose weight permanently. Allow yourself to get mad at all of the lies that have led you to feel like you were a failure every time the newest fad diet stopped working for you and you gained back the weight and then some.
It’s really important to fully step into this step. If you are holding on to the slightest sliver of hope that a better diet is right around the corner, you won’t be able to integrate and return to your body’s innate biological wisdom.
Step 2 Turn inwards and Tune In.
The second step, after you have a bonfire with all the books and lies you have been fed, is to embrace your body’s cues and signals, and keep your body fed. This is as simple as eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you are satisfied, and not letting hunger get too far out of control. When hunger is excessive (like after you have been restricting) your super smart human suit triggers a survival mode, a primal drive to overeat.
It’s key to keep your body fed, and tune into your cues because once you reach the moment of excessive hunger, this primal drive will override all intentions of conscious eating. Learning to honor this first biological signal of hunger sets the stage for the remaining eight steps and re-building trust with yourself and food.
As I mentioned, sometimes this information is enough to kick you into high gear and move forward into your journey of returning to your innate intuitive eating habits. If you would like more support, I have a number of programs that can help. I encourage you to schedule a complimentary 15-minute call with me to see if the Body Wisdom Program or the Eating with Intention program might be right for you. You can jump on the schedule here. (NEW LINK)
Any time we are doing deep habit shattering work like this, I always like to include a holistic and energetic view. It’s important to be in touch with your inner cues and there are a few tools that can help you do this.
Meditation: This isn’t a new concept and science has widely determined that meditation helps literally every aspect of being human. It can be intimidating though, so I do recommend my free Meditation Guide.
Crystals: Amethyst is a great tool for this type of work. You can add it to your space, carry it on your person, meditate with it, place it in your bath, or even make yourself a gem elixir with it.
Yoga: This is one of the best body-mind syncing tools available. Some of you may not be ready for this depending on where you are in their Body Wisdom/Intuitive Eating journey, because it can be easy to try and associate yoga movement with a goal of X amount of calorie burn. But when and if you are ready to move for pleasure, yoga is the most amazing experience of connecting the body-mind. If you are local to my practice, I teach accessible yoga each week at the Lake Cities Library and other community locations, and if you are located anywhere else in the world, stay tuned as our online accessible yoga studio is on it’s way.
Energy Medicine: This is the simple act of physically re-tuning your body’s energy systems and neuro-lymphatic points to provide a deeper connection and balance in your body. Through a series of testing and re-balancing, we shift energetic patterns to provide you with a renewed and more grounded sensation. These are tools that you can learn and practice on yourself. You can schedule an appointment with me locally or virtually for this.
How do you remain intuitive in a scheduled life?
This really brings me to the entire point of this episode – answering the question, “How do you remain intuitive in a scheduled life?” the follow up to that question being if you have a lunch break at 12 and you aren’t hungry but you know you can’t eat again until 6, then what do you do?
Here’s the thing – MOST of us, (and if you aren’t this person then know that I absolutely want to help you—just send me your specifics and we can work out HOW this looks) don’t live in a food desert and don’t work in a place that we can’t/won’t have any access to sustenance at all for 5-6 minutes much less 5-6 hours.
Check in first, maybe even with an unbiased third party view and see. Am I really unable to have anything to eat for that long? Is it possible that there is a stubborn block or habit that I’m not wanting to break through, such as preparing in advance or really just not wanting whatever is available? (Both of those are valid, by the way.)
Part of having body wisdom and learning to eat intuitively is honoring your biological hunger. Generally when I see people in the predicament of “unable to eat from 12p – 6p and starving” it’s because they didn’t honor the biological need at breakfast, or at lunch, or at their other opportunities when they begin to feel hunger.
So here are some tips to adjust:
1- Prepare in advance. Bring portable snacks. Look at your schedule in advance and know if you are going to be stuck for an extended period of time (legitimately stuck) and prepare for that with eating the appropriate meal in advance of that or bringing a portable snack.
2- Honor your hunger. If you are starving during a period of time where you “can’t” eat that generally means that your body needs food. Sometimes when we try to dive into intuitive eating on our own, eating when we are hungry means that we eat very little or not much at all. This means we need to step back a little bit because we are still wrapped up in diet culture.
I will touch on a popular movement called Intermittent Fasting. IF can be very beneficial for lots of things in our human suit, it can reduce inflammation and there are many many other benefits BUT in order to use it effectively, in order for it not to be another method of controlling your food intake outside your body’s wisdom, it needs to be done in a way that works for you biologically.
3-Give yourself unconditional permission to eat enough to be satisfied. Enough said there.
4- Remember that eating scale. It’s always okay to get back to the basics. Remember that zero means you are starving to death and ten means that you are Thanksgiving stuffed. There‘s lots of room for you to flex the scale in there. So do feel like you have to stick to exacts, use it as a guide.
So let’s do a quick recap.
To wrap this up, let’s go over what you can to maintain your intuitive eating
- Be prepared like a scout. This is the number one best thing to do!
- Honor your hunger and fullness by giving yourself unconditional permission to eat and you can always go back to your eating scale.
- Get moving!
You can change the way you think and reframe your relationship with sugar and even avoid the nasty breakup and rebound.
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