We are innately intuitive eaters. If you have ever watched a child eat, you have seen this in practice: eat nothing but a slice of cheese for one meal and the next eating as much as the adults at the table. They are naturally listening to their hunger and satiety cues and ultimately balancing their intake.
Intuitive eating is about following your intuition and natural feelings of satiety, hunger, and cravings. This means that we can ignore food rules, counting macros or calories, or otherwise control when and what we eat.
But this doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want.
Ultimately, it is about being in tune with our bodies. And paying attention to what you are eating as well as hunger cues that vary from a growling stomach: weakness, lightheadedness, headaches.
This takes practice and some time to settle in. For example, if you are someone that restricts ice cream because you can’t have a bite without eating the whole pint, that may be because you have been restricting for so long that ice cream has become taboo. My recommendation is to buy that ice cream and see what happens. Maybe the first day you eat the whole pint. But after a while, perhaps a small scoop will be satisfying. Continue to buy the ice cream and eventually you will start to forget that it is in the freezer.
What about fueling on the run?
It is important to fuel on long runs, and sometimes that can feel very prescriptive and full of rules: eating every hour, refueling post-run with protein and carbohydrates, ensuring you are hydrated.
So how can you fuel intuitively? It is a bit more practical.
“Practical fueling” is considered to be when you know you need to eat now because you will be starving after the workout if you don’t. It is important that you listen to both the practical side as well as the intuitive side of your hunger; They may disagree at times. But the key to practicing intuitive eating and fueling is to pay attention.
At first, you may eat too much, have a sloshing stomach, or find yourself bonking. But paying attention to what feels good to you before, during, and after your run will help you fine-tune your consumption.
How can you do it?
- Rethink weight goals: don’t compare yourself to anyone else, or your past self. Eat as your current body desires, now.
- There are no bad or good foods: All foods fit!
- Pay attention to your thoughts around food – Are you eating out of boredom? Is it a reward?
- Most of all, have patience with yourself and know that it will all “balance out” with a little time and practice.
Are you interested in learning more about intuitive eating? Send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org