One of my favorite topics to talk about, write about, and speak about is intuitive eating!
Intuitive eating changed my life, both personally and professionally, and I could not be more thankful for Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole for writing the amazing Intuitive Eating book, and also the new Intuitive Eating workbook.
Intuitive eating has become so much more than a book. I believe it has truly become a movement that more dietitians (and clients!) are embracing as a way to eat that is rooted in knowing what works for you as an individual human being. In my opinion, intuitive eating is knowing what works for you as a whole person, combining your own knowledge, intuition of your body, and compassion for yourself.
One of my clients asked me last week why she was “messing up” with intuitive eating.
She wasn’t following hunger/fullness cues to the best of her ability and also was struggling with the idea of needing a meal plan guide to follow, especially at breakfast when she wasn’t in tune with her body for various reasons. She felt really guilty for not being a “perfect” intuitive eater. Her first instinct was to say she “failed” at intuitive eating.
But, spoiler alert:
There is no messing up in intuitive eating.
Of course you can do things “wrong” like skipping a meal or overeating too much food to the point it doesn’t feel good. BUT intuitive eating holds compassion for when things like this happen and teaches us to tune into our bodies for information. Some questions to ask yourself may include:
- “What got in the way of my nourishment?”
- “What feels best for my body?”
- “Is there anything else going on that prevented me from doing what I know feels good?”
- “Does anything else in my life need attention?”
- “Am I using food (or using restriction) as a way to cope with feelings?”
- “What can I do differently next time?”
So with this particular client, she was able to see that having some sort of flexible “meal plan” at times where she needed that gentle guide was actually something that intuitive eating would embrace and call “self-care”. She was able to hold that knowledge as being the best possible outcome for her at this point in her life.
I also pointed out that intuitive eating embraces change. The only consistent thing in our eating is that we will all change over time. Our food preferences may change, our portions may change, and our bodies may change, and it is all okay. I encourage you to use these questions when you feel like you’re “messing up” with intuitive eating and let me know if it’s helpful in any way 🙂
Jennifer is a Registered Dietitian and the owner of Eat With Knowledge in Nyack, NY. She is on a mission to help people heal from diets, and find peace and balance with their food choices. She leads a team of dietitians who support the philosophy, “Feel Fabulous about Food!”