This is a biggie for those of us who eat for reasons other than fuel. Let’s say you’re prone to reaching for the doughnuts after a stressful day at work, or your go-to treat after doing something you weren’t looking forward to is a bag of crisps, you’ll know all too well what I mean about eating when you’re not hungry.
If you sign up to a diet plan, they tell you prescriptively what to eat when, and for those who use food just as fuel this can be really handy. Likewise, many PTs ask their clients to record what they’re eating, which can be a great way to stop and think about what you’re going to eat before it goes into your mouth. However, both of these ways ultimately cause a feeling of deprivation in those of us who use food as an emotional crutch as well as fuel.
If I’m not describing you, you probably already intuitively tune into your hunger and you’re good to go. However… if you’ve read the above and thought “how the hell does she know that I do that?” then read on…
Intuitive eating is (for emotional eaters and yo-yo dieters) an amazing thing. It takes time. You have to overcome a lot of gremlins in your head, and you often find yourself faced with societal beliefs that mean others still believe you should diet. Intuitive eating is just that – you eat what your body wants when it wants it. You take away the norms around food, so if you want apple crumble for dinner (like really genuinely craving it, not just fancy it cos it’s sweet and yummy) then have it. You don’t have to have some savoury thing beforehand to justify it.
Yeah, it goes against all that “you can only have pudding if you clear your plate”. It goes against lunch at lunchtime, breakfast and breakfast time and so on. If you want bubble and squeak for breakfast, because your body is telling you that’s what you need, then that’s what you have.
Now, this is by no means a quick fix. You don’t get free of the gremlins overnight. It is also absolutely not a weight loss tool. Yes, some people do lose weight because they work through some of their non-hungry gremlins and end up eating less because their body needs less. Others gain some weight because their body has been stuck in the yo-yo diet rut for so long that it needs to find its natural weight. But the beauty of it is that weight isn’t the measure. How YOU feel is the measure. What YOU need is the measure.
This is a very brief overview of a much more in depth topic, but if I’ve piqued your interest I would strongly suggest you look up Beyond Chocolate. It’s a great way to start your own journey to intuitive eating.