Intuitive Eating

March has been a much needed month to step back from blogging and other things to really get some things organized with my business. I know that I haven't been blogging as much, and I do miss it a lot just interacting with you guys but I really am proud of the work that I've been able to get done because blogging does take a lot of time. I also have become a young life leader with my husband as you all know, and I can't wait to share about the journey to that and how that all happened and why and also what that looks like in the future. 

For now, I wanted to write about intuitive eating which is something that I'm doing now and something that many of the girls on my team either have questions about or that are wanting to experiment with. I want to first explain where this term comes from which is mostly from the book Intuitive Eating ! Shocker I know ;) haha! This author has really been able to coin this term that now is used in the fitness industry like wild fire. I've talked with my husband and many friends about how honestly, this word can make me uncomfortable but I also understand it's origin and intentions. Let me explain "how to" on the transition to this for me and my personal experience, and also about why I don't like it. lol! 

Intuitive eating simply means eating what you want. Hello. Revolutionary I know ;) The women in my life, like my family, don't use this term to describe the way that they eat. They just do it. The fact that we have to name this just makes me sad that this isn't something that we naturally do. For example, no one would ever say "I'm intuitively walking" because walking is so second nature that you don't have to THINK in order to do. That's how I WISH food was, but it's not so it's something that has to be addressed with many women. 

Why did I switch? 

You probably saw me go back and forth on starting another reverse diet, and the truth is that would be cool to be able to do something like that and do another reverse. Intuitive eating does not mean that I'm not making healthy choices in a balanced format or that I don't think that counting macros is liberating, life changing, and amazing. I think all of those things and that will never change. I just simply am to that point in my life where I know my hunger signals and I trust that and I trust my choices in food. I think far too many times we get so focused on numbers and rules that we forget to trust those instincts that God gave us. I kept trying to have goals in my diet like "I want to reach this carb amount" and I still have those, but I've just decided it's so much less pressure right now with everything else going on to just forget about all of that and just eat. Some days I eat less, some days I eat more and it all balances out. I'm also going to be in front of a lot of kids now, and it's something that I take very seriously and am not going to be picking foods that are "macro friendly" just to hit my precious macros. Negative. If we are going to Dairy Queen, I'm going to get ice cream with the kids. You get the point.

How do you make the switch?

There is no right way to do this, and I could write all day about it. The first thing that I would tell you is that if you cannot make the switch very gracefully then I think there might be a bigger issue at hand with fear (or obsession) of food and that is something to consider. I know that it's a journey though and takes time and I get that. Second, be gracious with yourself and give yourself time to trust yourself. There are a few different types of people with intuitive eating. The ones that would eat burgers and cake all day and the ones that will only eat chicken and veggies if they don't have carbs to reach. 

Many say that they under eat if they trust themselves to make the choices, and that's something that is just going to take a little bit to get used to. If you are someone that over eats, then I honestly think that's almost a little easier to work on because if you can tap into your hunger and full signals then you're good. 

Intuitive eating can mean more than just healthy eating. For many, healthy "clean" eating intuitively is not something that they are going to do day in and out so it's more a lifestyle meant to be focused on mostly healthy foods, but being able to eat whatever "bad" food that you want, any day at any time, and being able to listen to your cravings in that. For example, if you see a pastry in the coffee shop on a Tuesday, you don't wait until some cheat meal that you get to have it. You eat it then, but if you've already had breakfast and you truly aren't hungry for a pastry, then you don't eat the pastry. There might be some days where you have doughnuts for breakfast, a burger for lunch and pizza for dinner but there are other days when your body says "Man, I feel gross and I'd love some veggies and a salad" and you should be able to tell that. If you don't feel good, then you know that your body would feel better with healthy delicious foods so if you are still stuffing yourself with fries because that's what emotionally feels good then that's NOT what we want. Intuitive eating does not mean just eating crap all the all. I am still focused on a very healthy lifestyle and for me, that means being plant based 89% of the time, but if I'm with someone then I'm going to eat what is provided or if I'm with kids with Young Life, I don't want them to wonder about my diet. I want them to see someone that has a healthy relationship with food not restricting but is still very healthy. 

There are two verses in the bible that address this, in my opinion.

Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscious.
— 1 Corinthians 10:25
When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is provided for you.
— Luke 10:8

Whomever I'm with, I never want the conversation to be about my food choices as we all know as a healthy person, people ask constant questions and joke constantly about it. That's not because I mind talking about it to help people that might want to ask questions, but just that I feel like it's not of importance. It is what it is. It takes away from the more intimate conversations that can be had. For example, if Paul was with vegetarians, he ate vegetarian. If he was with meat eaters, he ate meat. The most important thing for him was portraying Christ in all that he did.  

For those that eat in overabundance if they aren't tracking macros, then I think that listening to your full signals needs to be something that is a conscious decision and that you focus on for a long time before you are able to trust yourself. I know it took me a long long time and is a learned art. I would stand up after every meal like WHEW I am so full (and it drove me crazy!) Sometimes it really does take when you are sitting at your meal, eating very slowly, and assessing where you're at and are you full? This seems so ridiculous, but honestly I know from working with many girls on a daily basis that this is something that is MAJORLY struggled with. You have a plate full of food, you eat it all at a restaurant after "intuitively" picking what you want, and then you feel miserably full. You do NOT have to clean your plate. You can leave food there if you aren't hungry. It's a conscious decision more than we realize to assess whether you are full or not because many times you aren't going to feel it until like 20 minutes later when it gets to your stomach.

Lastly, when you are sitting down a restaurant and have been someone that counted macros in the past, you are going to probably aim more towards the salads and healthier options. That is totally fine IF that's what you truly want and feel that your body would love in that meal. Intuitive eating is different though. It's being able to separate from that and seeing the menu and exiting from macro counting brain and saying "Okay, what do I actually want right now? What is my body craving?" and choosing based on that. 

This was a lot, but I believe it's vital in the journey of many as I know that we all don't want to be counting numbers forever.

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