Adapting to Intuitive Eating

BIG DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a nutritionist. If you want factual information about how much/what you should be eating, please go and see a nutritionist. This article is simply my own opinion, and I am not educated enough to tell you exactly how you should eat. This is my experience. Furthermore, I do not promote yo-yo dieting or restricting.

Like many who have social media, I have found myself influenced by the amount of healthy eating and diet advice given across every platform. While some of it may be helpful (especially the licensed dieticians whose advice can be found in articles and across different platforms), some of it promotes restrictive eating or cutting whole food groups out (do not do this).

As someone who has been influenced by this, there have been times in my life where I have bought into restrictive eating – obsessing and feeling guilty whenever I would eat something outside of foods that are considered ‘safe’ in the dieting community.

Going into 2021, I have been focused on eliminating all diet and extreme workout culture from my life. In fact, when taking the time to unfollow accounts that were making me feel like I was never 'doing enough’ when it came to how I ate and exercised, I found a new method of eating.

This method is called ‘intuitive eating’. Basically, it’s what we would have done before the creation of so-called ‘fitness experts’ who promote unhealthy eating and exercise regimes. The basis of intuitive eating is formulated around how your body feels. If you are hungry, eat. When you are full, stop. Trust your body, not the number of calories on a container.

Reading this, I had a revelation. No calorie counting, no cutting out foods, no shaming yourself every time you chose the ‘unhealthy’ option over something that seemed healthier.

However (as I have discovered over the last month or so), is it easy to switch to this method of eating? Nope. Especially if you are like me and have been overly conscious of your eating habits.

Rather than listening to my body, I was determining what I needed from what I was being told by others. This is not sustainable.

Since making the transition to intuitive eating, I have found that I feel fuller longer, and I have more energy. Additionally, I have discovered that I love cooking and trying new recipes.

Since beginning to listen to my body to understand what I need, I have been eating far more protein. I choose filling and nutrient-rich foods for breakfast, lunch and snacks while keeping more of an open mind for dinner (meaning that I do not plan what I am going to eat for dinner and instead go with the flow).

It is all about balance.  Since my transition away from diet culture, the way that I look at food has changed. I find that food guilt plagues me far less and choosing healthier foods feels like a no-brainer because I also allow myself to have treats when I feel like it.

This is only the beginning of my journey – and while diet culture still surrounds me, I now am actively eliminating it from my timeline rather than hyper-fixating on it.

Life’s too short to not enjoy food! I encourage you to try intuitive eating – after all, we survived for thousands of years before diet culture was even created. Our body knows what it needs, and it will tell us.