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The New Way of Eating

Dieting or restricting yourself of certain foods with the goal of losing weight is like a recipe for disaster in most cases. Research indicates that up to two-thirds of dieters regain more weight than they lose, and I can also attest to that. I have tried diets before, lost the weight and gained double the weight back. From my personal experiences and findings from credible studies, I am passionate about teaching my clients about adopting healthier eating strategies.

One option is intuitive eating. Intuitive eating focuses on learning how to read, interpret and follow your internal cues regarding the right amount of food for your body. By practicing intuitive eating we throw out all the prescriptive regimens and we focus eating on hunger cues, fullness cues and encouraging enjoying the eating experience.

We need to make peace with our food, and not tell ourselves we cannot have a certain food, because the way we are built, it often backfires with feelings of uncontrollable cravings and in most cases binging episodes. We always want what we cannot get!

I believe in the power of the mind, if you are not worried about the next meal, counting your calories and such, this puts you at ease and can help you eat when needed and stop when you get your first cue of fullness. This becomes easy to do because you are not worried about the fact that you have a certain number of days before your "cheat day" comes again, etc. You can eat everything in moderation with ease.

To understand the concept of intuitive eating, go back in time when you were young and think about your relationship with food then. Children ask for food when they are hungry, regardless of the time of the day, and they stop eating when they have had enough. Intuitive eating is biologically ingrained in us but we lose it as we get older because of the cultural norms that promote dieting, food and calorie restrictions.

When reading this you can probably wonder “would I not gain more weight when I am allowed to eat whatever I want?”. The answer is probably not. Once you make the “restricted foods” fair game, you can eat and enjoy them without guilt, then eating them becomes a harmless experience and consumption typically goes down. You turn the focus from scheduled eating to eating for satisfaction. The more you do it, the more you find that it takes much less food to feel you have had enough.

To get the best of eating for satisfaction you have to learn to slow down and savor your food, this way you can easily recognize when you are full and satisfied. Meal time should only be for eating, put away your cellphone and turn off the Television, remove all the distractions and maybe put on a little music in the background. Take the time to experience the taste, the smell, the texture of the food and this will allow you to enjoy what you are eating and help you feel satisfied with less.

To be successful at intuitive eating, you have to be careful of emotional eating. You need to be mindful with your eating by taking note of your thoughts, feelings and physical sensations. Come up with a plan of self-care to help cope with instances that can lead you to emotional eating. Instead of going for that tub of ice cream after a stressful day at work, you can try meditation, walking, going for a run, taking a bath, seeking out a friend to chat with or any activity that helps you find comfort. My coping activity is dancing, when I feel a bit stressed, I put on music and dance it all away. If you find this hard to do on your own, seeking help from a mental health professional can be a good option as well.

Look at food as medicine and as a way to support and fuel your body. Give intuitive eating a try, take charge of your eating habits and build a healthy relationship with food. Build on your self-confidence, love the body you are in while you are working for the body you want. Be patient, put in your best effort and when the time is right you will see the changes you are looking for.

Ps: Speak to your health professional before starting any new regimens.


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