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{Note from Jessica: Today’s post is shared by my good friend, Lauren, author of Lauren Fowler. She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and yoga teacher who promotes a non-diet approach to nutrition and health. She wants everyone to connect to their bodies intuitive wisdom rather than following diets. She encourages the tools of intuitive eating and health at every size. Stop by LaurenFlower.co to read more about nutrition, intuitive eating, heart-based health, and yoga.}Have you ever felt overwhelmed or confused by the endless nutrition and health information out there? It’s okay if you do – I used to as well!

I didn’t know if I needed to follow a low-carb, high-fat, paleo, vegetarian, or gluten-free diet – or all of them mixed together! If I followed all the popular health blogs out there, I’d have nothing left to eat.

Luckily, with time and trust in my body, I’ve been able to use my BODY and its endless cues to guide me.

Yes, I still read up-to-date nutrition information and have found resources I trust – mainly ones on whole foods or functional medicine.

Yet, I know with experience that a very low-carb diet doesn’t work well for my body, that gluten and I don’t mix well at all, and I can still tolerate a little sugar daily (love my dark chocolate!). You may thrive on a low-carb diet, or you may realize that you can’t tolerate any sugar at all – that’s great for you.

Intuitive Eating

Besides whole food nutrition, my main philosophy is Intuitive Eating. Intuitive Eating is the idea that by listening to and trusting your body, it can guide you to finding the foods and style of eating that works best for you. It helped me move away from an obsessive, calorie-counting relationship with food to eating whole foods that nourish my body without stressing.

Intuitive Eating helps you move away from diet mindset. The diet mindset can take place on any style of eating – whether you’re following a diet plan or not. If you’re finding yourself obsessing about food, eating emotionally, labeling foods as “good” or “bad,” or feeling guilty for eating, you may be stuck in a diet mindset.

Luckily, with Intuitive Eating, you can start to trust and connect back with your body. I’ll share my top 5 tips to start integrating Intuitive Eating with your meals today.

1. Listen to your Hunger

Too often, we eat at noon because it’s lunchtime, or we eat the same amount of food each day out of habit. Yet, our body’s hunger signals vary from meal to meal and day to day. By tuning into your hunger, you can explore when you naturally feel hungry throughout the day and how hungry.

When you get to the point of ravenous, you’re more likely to eat fast and eat until you’re full. It’s hard to slow down your meal and enjoy it. If you don’t eat balanced meals, you may be hungry in between meals and crave sugar because your body is seeking quick energy.

Instead, start to eat at the point of moderate hunger where you recognize hunger in your body, yet you’re not starving. You may even need to recognize what mild or moderate hunger feels like rather than extreme hunger.

2. Ask yourself what you WANT to eat.

Start to eat the foods you enjoy and want to eat. If you’re only eating foods because you heard they are healthy or good for you, you probably won’t feel as satisfied from your meal.

Food is energy and nourishment, yet it’s also a source of pleasure. Food tastes delicious! When you take the time to ask your body what it wants to eat and prepare a meal, you’ll enjoy it much more. For example, in the winter, I often crave hearty soups and curries with warming spices. While in the summer, I just want fresh salads, fruit, and smoothies.

3. Start to notice how your BODY reacts to foods or meals.

After meals, pay attention to your body. Notice how satisfied the meal keeps you and when you start to get hungry again. Notice how energized or drained you feel after a meal.

For example, when I eat just a smoothie for breakfast, I’m hungry within the next hour or two. When I realized that, I started to add more protein to my breakfast to keep me satisfied, or move smoothies to a snack. I also know that days that I have more sugar than usual, I feel anxious and can’t think as clearly.

4. Take time to Savor your Food

Whatever you eat, enjoy it. Slow down and savor it. Food is meant to be pleasurable.

Too often, we don’t take time to eat, and we rush through our meal while checking our emails at our desk. Instead, give yourself the luxury to take time away from work, and have a delightful meal.

At dinner, make cooking an experience. Put on some music, and be mindful as you prepare and cook your meal. Use your nice dishes, or light a candle at your table.

These rituals are simple, yet they make meal-time a beautiful experience, and I notice they help me slow down and savor my food. When I’m slowing down and chewing well, my digestion works much better. I’m also more satisfied and can listen to my fullness levels rather than eating fast and finishing my meal unsatisfied.

5. Remember that You are an Individual & Trust your own Body

Everyone’s body is unique and will thrive on a different style of eating, usually with the basis of mainly whole foods. Recognize that what worked for your sister or friend may leave you feeling tired and irritable.

Your body is resilient and has the amazing capability to heal and recover from extreme situations. Trust that your body is healing, and support that with good nutrition, movement, sleep, and managing your stress levels.

When you see the newest diet or superfood out there, you can remember that you know what works for your own body rather than switching diets every month.

Intuitive Eating has transformed my relationship with food, as well as many of my clients. It’s brought me to a place where I naturally crave whole foods and know what works best with my body, but I don’t obsess or stress out about food.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

  • What Intuitive Eating tool can you add into your life?

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