Recognizing Intuitive Eating
One of the things that I find most challenging about transitioning to a non-diet, intuitive eating approach to my eating, is that that the practical implications of what that means aren’t spelled out.
When I’m in the middle of an opportunity though, if I can recognize it, it pretty much slaps me across the face. They tend to be really small things I find myself thinking or doing that I realize are diet thoughts trying to have their way with me (again).
I was at the grocery story preparing to check the last item off my g’list. Dinner was going to be some leftover broccoli cauliflower cheese soup goodness. I’ve been really appreciating having some good bread, homemade or otherwise, with my soup lately so I added a single roll to the list.
I stood in front of the station of rolls and looked everything over. I knew I wanted something a bit dense. I wanted a nice crust. This ruled out things like croissants.
I knew I was going to dip it into my soup and wanted the soup to shine. That meant that I wanted an “unflavored” and “unadorned” roll, not something with rye flour or seeds on top.
I was looking at 3 options. 1) a whole wheat roll, 2) a multi-grain roll, 3) a hexagonally shaped “white” roll.
The Satisfaction Factor
Number 6 of the 10 Intuitive Eating Principles is “Discover the Satisfaction Factor”. You can check out the full list here.
In that moment, it was the color and shape of that hexagonal roll that was calling to me.
The diet demons in my head were screaming that multi-grain was the best choice but that the whole wheat roll would be acceptable. Principle 6 guides me to pick the one I actually want. I bagged that cute hexagonal roll and proceeded to head home.
So Worth It
The roll, toasted and buttered, was absolutely delicious. It hit the spot in part because it was EXACTLY what I wanted. I was disappointed to not have a bit more to go with my second helping of the soup. but another intuitive eating principle helps me to make peace with that.
Principle 3 – Make Peace with Food
Another intuitive eating opportunity in that moment came from Principle 3) Make Peace With Food. It guides me to give myself unconditional permission to eat.
Unconditional permission to eat in this case manifests in at least two ways for me. The first is in how I feel about eating the bread at all and the second is in my knowledge that I can have more in the future.
Food Is Not the Enemy
My last diet, which I’ve talked about in prior posts, allowed only whole grains. If the word flour was in the first 3 ingredients, it was off-limits and there are people who go so far as to not allow it in the list of ingredients at all. From my former diet’s standards, I was breaking the rules and blatantly indulging in “not my food.”
In this case, making peace with food calls me to remember that I can have, and even enjoy, the bread. Eating it or anything else with a sense that I am doing something wrong may result in feelings of guilt. I may have the urge to “over indulge” because I’ll need to go back to being “good” tomorrow. Not to mention the stress of breaking the “rule” could actually impact my digestion and prevent my body from optimally processing its nutrients.
The second way principle 3 helps me is to remember that I can have more tomorrow if I want it. I purchased one roll and was a bit disappointed that I didn’t have a bit more because I was having more soup not because the bread was gone.
When I am eating something that tastes good, I need to remind myself that I can have more at any time. I have the ability to cook/bake, shop for or order basically anything I want. If I finish the roll today, I can get another tomorrow. Whether I actually will do that or even WANT to do that isn’t actually the point. It’s a mindset thing. It’s about eating from a sense of abundance rather than scarcity.
I hope you have found this reflection on how intuitive eating applies to the real world to be beneficial. Did any examples of this come up for you as you were reading this? I’d love to keep the conversation going in the comments or via email.
If you want another practical way to think about intuitive eating, I’ll send it to you via email. Get your own copy of the 7 steps here: 7 Steps to Eating More Intuitively