I was pretty cute in my teenage years. I wouldn’t describe myself as particularly beautiful at that time in my life – in fact I was more awkward than anything. I wasn’t sure who I was for a very long time. For many years I felt trapped between who I wanted to be, and what I felt others expected of me. I had ventures into health and beauty, but all that stuck with me was my adolescent softness – an extra 15lbs I carried around no matter what.
Always searching for a sense of belonging.
From then and on into my early 20’s, my journey towards finding where I “fit in” nutritionally I have been vegetarian, vegan, paleo, and keto. I’ve tried a great many things to figure out what works for me – but nothing ever really felt quite right. As a vegetarian, I missed meat – and eventually caved for teriyaki beef when out for dinner with my family one night. I never looked back. Yet later, I would take the plunge straight into veganism, but it didn’t align with my values, and I didn’t particularly feel the health benefits I expected (sorry vegans). I found adopting a paleo diet unmanageable for my busy lifestyle, and again I just never got the benefits I anticipated. Going keto was great! Until I wanted to put on some quick muscle, and then I found it wasn’t going to work for me anymore.
I have thought to myself “maybe I don’t fit into any particular lifestyle of eating”. But as my journey continued I have found that’s not exactly true.
I have come to think of eating as a way of maintaining peace and harmony with my body. I have learned to identify the signals that my body gives me, and interpret those into messages of what my body is saying it needs on any given day. This is intuitive eating.
Cranky? I probably just need some fruit (gotta love me some sugar). Tired and lethargic? Sweet potato and oatmeal, because complex carbs are great to fuel me for the day. Stomach ache? I will opt for soup or smoothies – something that won’t make my stomach work so hard. Anxious? I always go for light foods like lean proteins and greens – the harder my stomach works to digest, the worse my anxiety always gets!
I eat for my mood, and I also eat for satisfaction. I want my food to be yummy, I want to feel full. But I don’t want my food to make me tired or irritable. I want to eat foods that are not only good for my body, but also work to calm and heal my mind.
Intuitive eating promotes a healthy relationship with your body and with food. There are no “bad” foods; it is based only on the needs of your body at that time. It is wildly flexible.
It is, plain and simple, conscious eating.
I enjoy learning about the benefits of different nutritional lifestyles, but I’m in it for the long haul with intuitive eating.
What works (or doesn’t work!) for you guys?