These days everyone is obsessed with food intake. Diets, tracking, weighing, measuring. There are so many ways that people are monitoring what they are eating, but do you want to get away from all of that? Is it taking its toll on you mentally or physically? Has all of this made mealtimes a chore?
Intuitive or Ad-Lib eating is essentially following your body’s natural instinct.
This means never eating for the sake of it- only feeding yourself meals when you are actually hungry.
You don’t eat from emotions.
You don’t eat because it’s a social situation.
You don’t eat because of the time of day it is.
You eat when you receives true and genuine hunger signals from your body.
It’s tough. It’s a tough habit to crack.
We are all emotional creatures at heart. Ignoring the happy brain signals that come from seeing free biscuits in the office break room and saying “I’m not actually hungry,” fights against the emotional want to eat that treat and get that kick we crave. Eating is so often connected to a feeling, something we as humans find it difficult to detach from.
Similarly, we are creatures of habit, and we’ve become so used to eating three square meals a day because that’s what we were taught. Fighting against that and saying “I know it’s dinner time, but I’m actually still full from earlier,” takes a LOT of willpower.
This style of eating is primal. Eating to survive is built within us, just as it is with any living organism. It’s possible, we can relearn it.
It might just be a crazy dream of mine, but think of the issues that would be diminished if we all ate like this. Food wastage, obesity in both adults and children, other forms of eating disorders, and, of course, wasting money on food you don’t need- all these problems would definitely be impacted positively!
This method of eating requires minimal planning and you can stick to it without sacrifices like you might have to make on a diet. Bonus!
However, having said this you do still have to eat well. You still need to make sure you are getting your protein and your good fats, along with all your fruit and veg and complex carbs- basically: make healthy choices.
Intuitive eating is about eating as much or as little as you need, whenever your body needs to do so. It’s a very organic style, and this should be reflected in the nutrient-dense fuel you put into it.
Fuel yourself with good food and feel good. Simple.
As always, a nourished body will work at its optimum, and will recover from any training at its most efficient rate; processed foods will make you crash.
So how much do I actually eat?
Quite simply, that depends.
Your activity levels, your muscle mass, your body fat percentage-they’ll all dictate how much you should be taking in.
The point of eating intuitively is listening to how much your body needs, and when you are full: STOP.
Ignore the voices in your head that say “I may as well finish the plate,” or “I’m satisfied but I’m not stuffed so I’ll have a little more...”
Listen to your body.
When you feel satisfied, push your plate away, leave what’s left. It takes tremendous willpower.
Stop before it becomes about gluttony or emotions and you’ll feel very proud. And if you can do that at every meal? Well, imagine the calories you’ll save..
As with any skill, this needs practice.
Just as you would keep training to play the piano or ride a bike, you must practice, be consistent, and be prepared to make a lot of mistakes. AND learn from them.
Find out what your body needs/feels, not what your brain wants.
This is how Mother Nature wanted you to eat.
My advice is to incorporate this style into your weekly schedule first, and attempt just one day of it out of the seven. Take notes, make a journal, and be critical of everything when you step back and analyse. When you’re ready, you can commit more days.
Over time you’ll start to be able to distinguish between hunger signals from the body and cravings from the brain more easily.
Another thing to note is that you should keep yourself topped up with lots of fluids between you feeding sessions, as this will curb a lot of cravings and binges.
If I’m honest with you, this is tough.
Crack this, and there’s a lot to be said about your positive relationship with food. Viewing it as fuel and not an emotional trigger is a tough mindset to develop, but well worth it.
You’ll feel instantly different.
Knowing how to listen to your body is genuinely a gold mine.
Have you tried this before or are you going to? I want to hear from you!!
If you have more nutritional or training questions always feel free to get in touch.