Eat Clean. Read the Labels. Count the Calories. Count your Points. Restrict XYZ. Good Foods. Bad Foods. Organic Foods. Shakes. Supplements. Resets.
Food should not be this hard.
How many times have you tried out new diets? Did you lose a lot of weight at the beginning? Did you gain it all back? Maybe a little bit extra? Did it leave you feeling guilty?
Let me start by saying you are not a failure.
The Diet Industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that banks on the fact that their clients will fail. The Diet Mentality is constantly coming at us from all angles. We are constantly surrounded by marketing images and ads promising that when you lose the weight you will be happier, healthier and more successful.
So much of this is FALSE and I could write a blog that gives you all the whys and science behind this, but I would lose you part way through a GIANT Blog Post. So let's get straight to the point, shall we?
When it comes to diets, we are given a set of rules to abide by which causes us to label our foods - “good” and “bad”. And let’s face it, who doesn’t like to get down with their bad selves every once in while. It’s like telling a toddler to not touch something… and all they can focus on is touching that thing.
Let's switch the mindset here. Ditch the labels, ditch the rule, and ditch the diet mentality. Honour your hunger. Make peace with food. This is the basis of Intuitive Eating.
You may have heard the term “Intuitive Eating” being tossed around - and a lot of these "diets" being sold still come with a whole bunch of rules attached. Warning: if there is one rule, one restriction - RUN THE OTHER WAY!
My Intuitive Eating journey began almost a year ago. I came into it sick of diets, sick of false promises and angry at being lied to by the diet industry. The first thing I did was I got rid of the all the labels - this was hard, because it is so engrained into me. It's engrained into all of us.
I have a love for popcorn that runs deep. I would make myself these giant vats of popcorn. I would even wait for the kids to go bed, so I wouldn’t have to share - I’m not kidding. I would promise myself that this was the last time I would ever eat popcorn again, so I had to have it all - the Last Supper mentality kicking in full force.
So, I gave myself permission to eat all the popcorn, and boy, did I ever eat popcorn. Until one day, it didn’t feel important to have it. Don’t get me wrong - I still love popcorn. Without the label it didn’t feel like I was going to deprive myself of popcorn down the road, so I could tune into my body and decide if tonight was the night for popcorn. Sometimes it was, sometimes it wasn't. It also took a lot less popcorn to satiate my desire for it. Overall, it was a win win situation.
Let’s talk cravings. No matter how you look at it, a craving stems from the feeling of deprivation. What if the food you are craving is not a sign of weakness, but your body telling you what it needs? It could stem from avoiding a labelled "bad" food, but a craving could also be telling you what fuel you need, and the craving is a food where you will get this fuel you need. Your body uses protein, carbs and fat. With that said, protein is NOT the preferred method for energy production.
If you are cutting carbs or fats from your diet - your body will begin craving these things, because it needs that fuel to optimize energy production - especially when you are exercising! The longer you ignore it the more out of control you will feel and you will slip into binge cycle that feels like you could eat all the food. This is a primal drive to fuel your body.
Speaking of feeling out of control, when was your last meal or snack? When we don't eat at regular intervals, it is hard to check in with yourself to see what you feel like eating - this is when we reach for the quickest and most flavourful foods - Ketchup Chips, anyone?
So with all of this in mind, what can we do about it?
This isn’t a quick fix and it won't always be perfect - progress over perfection. But I do want to leave you with some guidelines to help you adequately fuel your body - it’s just a small sliver of information - but you can check out the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating.
- Eat every 3-5 hours
- Include all three macronutrients with every meal - protein, carbs and fats
- Aim for 3-5 servings of micronutrients daily - fruits and vegetables.
- Get rid of the labels - not gonna lie, this one is hard.
Start small, especially if this looks different from what you normally do. Pick one thing until it becomes easy and then add another - like one extra serving of fruit a day.
Change is hard. Take your time.
And if this resonated with you, please post a comment below and let me know your thoughts!
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