I’ve been reading up on healthy eating as I really want to get my skin cleared up and I also want to start taking better care of what I put inside my body, not just on it.
Intuitive Eating has been quite interesting so far. It’s written by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch and the concept of Intuitive Eating is pretty simple: eat when you want to eat but be able to distinguish between whether your wanting to eat is based on physical, emotional, unconscious or comfort hunger.
Being able to listen to your body is the key factor in Intuitive Eating. Learning to recognise the signs takes some time and effort and it’s important to work out which of the other categories you fall in to help you change your concept of hunger.
I’m an unconscious eater. I tend to graze and just eat without even realising it. I’m not as bad as some people and I actually come under two other categories that come under unconscious eater: Refuse-Not Unconscious Eater and Waste-Not Unconscious Eater. The Refuse-Not Unconscious eater means that whenever there is food around, you tend to eat it regardless of whether you are hungry or not without even giving it a second thought. The Waste-Not Unconscious eaters means that there are issues surrounding waste (clearly), in that you want the best value and feel that leaving food is wasteful and will continue to force yourself to eat to ensure that there is nothing left.
I will add that I’m also another type of eater which doesn’t really fit under the categories. Having previously been studying full time and holding down two jobs that required shift work, I became someone who would just eat as I didn’t know when I’d be able to sit down for another meal again. And although I haven’t worked in that sort of environment in about 2 years, that habit has still stuck with me. It’s quite similar to me always going to the bathroom before I leave somewhere. My friends always give me hell but as I usually travel for more than an hour without being able to use a bathroom and having been stuck on trains for hours and desperately needing to pee, it’s become a habit as I don’t want to fall into those traps again.
So identifying what sort of eater I am has been helpful. It’s also been helpful keeping note of what I’m eating and when I’m eating. Am I eating because I’m physically hungry or am I eating because I feel it’s time to eat?
It’s funny. In the book it talks about how toddlers are very adept at intuitive eating however parents begin to stress and so coerce their kids into eating, thus having the kids lose their ability to determine physical hunger. A study mentioned in the book revealed that if you give a toddler free range of what they want to eat and when they want to eat, they will usually consume enough calories and will generally include all food groups to cover their nutritional needs.
That is exactly what I want to get back to. I want to be able to eat what I want, when I want but not because I feel a need to, but because my body needs me to. I want to learn to look for the signs that I’m actually hungry and not just bored.
It’ll be interesting as I get further into the book to discover other tips and tricks and whether it’s something that I’ll be able to change.
What I like so far about this approach is that it isn’t’ about denying yourself from eating. Far from it. It’s about listening to your body and it’s needs. That doesn’t mean that if there’s cake I can’t eat it because I’m not hungry. It’s about eating when you’re hungry the majority of the time and knowing that you can enjoy food without having to feel guilty about it.