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Unleashing the Intuitive Eater

July 2, 2011

I’d like to preface this post with the disclaimer that I started it on Thursday night, but I got too tired and did not finish it until now. I am a day behind, so I’ll be posting Thursday and Friday eats back-to-back. That should provide plenty of reading material over the weekend. Smile

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My favorite part about Intuitive Eating is that it’s focused on rediscovering the pleasure of eating and rebuilding your body image. After doing various diets for 5 years, and luckily being to maintain my weight loss and not falling into the yo-yo trap, I’ve come to the point where I am pretty happy with my current weight (I can stand to lose 5lbs, but I think that’s normal for even the skinniest and healthiest people). My main struggle these days is to enjoy food without feelings of guilt. I have a growing list of “healthy” or “good” foods and anything that I consume not on that list automatically triggers instant regret and remorse. I get very frustrated and critical of myself when I make the “wrong” choice at one meal, which led me to give up on whatever diet I was on for the day or weekend and triggered the binge cycle. Intuitive eating claims to break the diet cycle in 5 stages.

Stage one: Hitting diet bottom – Like in the AA program, the first step is acceptance that you have an obsession with food, counting calories, and watching the scale. Once you come to realization that you are unhappy eating and living this way, you can move onto stage two. Oh, I am so there, I won’t deny it.

Stage two: Exploration – This is where you’ll be re-acquainting yourself with body signals like hunger, taste preferences, satiety and making peace with food by having unconditional permission to eat. Seriously?! I can eat whatever I want without feeling guilty?! The more satisfied you are, the less you worry about food and the less you will eat when not hungry. It takes time to properly identify hunger and fullness levels, so there might be a couple pound weight gain in the stage, but it will be temporary. Now, the real cost of the pleasure pursuit comes out, but I’ll play along.

Stage three: Crystallization – The learnings from your exploration stage turn into behavior changes. Food choices and responses to biological signals become automatic and intuitive. You will no longer be obsessive over food and know how to control your emotional feelings to prevent bingeing. This is where the weight loss takes place for your body to reach its ideal size. I am guessing this is where I start to eat less. I worry this might be difficult after my stomach’s been stretched out from my exploration journey.

Stage four: Intuitive eater awakens – By this point you have developed an intuitive eating style, and your body will start desiring healthier and lighter choices as it makes you feel better physically. Since you know that nothing is off-limits, chocolate cake carries the same significance in your mind as an apple. Do they really think I could consider an apple as an equal replacement for cannoli?

Stage five: Treasure the pleasure – You will discard unappealing foods and get more satisfaction from nutritious meals. Your weight will stabilize and maintenance becomes effortless. In other words, you will become a picky eater Smile

Intuitive eating promises to make you more content with food and get your body to its natural weight level. All of this sounds too good to be true, so I am feeling skeptical yet curious as I get started. So what did my eating day look like as I entered stage 2?

I started off with a banana wrap before heading for a short run.

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I purposely tried to keep my speed down to 9-10 min/mile as I am taking it easy from now on until my half.

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My mid-morning snack of Oikos Honey Yogurt, raspberries and Galaxy Granola.

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I was getting pretty sick of my plain Greek Yogurt from Trader Joe’s so I bought various kinds for comparison. So far my favorites are Chobani vanilla 0% and Oikos Honey.

Lunch was the usual chicken salad, but I added more chicken and avocado (feels so liberating to not weigh out the exact portions for accurate calorie count). I also topped off the salad with crushed lentil chips to give it some crunch.

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I had to rush through the mid-afternoon snack of apples with peanut butter as I only had 10 minutes between meetings.

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I had a cinnamon raisin GNU bar later in the afternoon. It tasted amazing but all that extra fiber made me feel bloated. I don’t think I’ll be getting any more of these. I get enough fiber in my diet already.

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I’ve been wanting to incorporate more vegetarian dishes (not to the extreme when I was following the Eat to Live in preparation for the wedding). I am also trying to use up the veggies before Eric and I head out on another summer getaway to Oregon coast so I sautéed onions, sweet potato, green beans and chickpeas with some Lemon and Herb Marinade.

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Unfortunately, lack of protein left me unsatisfied, and I overdid it on dessert and late night snacks, but it’s ok. I don’t feel bad about it as I am exploring and learning my body’s responses to various foods. So one conclusion we can draw already is that I need to have a  substantial dinner with lean protein to keep me full in the evenings.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Erin permalink
    July 2, 2011 1:23 pm

    I am not a fan of fiber one bars for the same reason. I think I get alot of fiber in my cereal so I’ve switched to fruit instead for a snack. I’m loving your posts! I have made a grocery list from your various foods & meals. I think I give up on watching what I eat because I get sick of eating the samethings & get bored. I am doing my first 5K in Sept. & you have inspired me SO much. I should come out to James bootcamp for some one on one lessons! HA!

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