I like reading and I want to be thinner and healthier so it goes without saying that I’ve read dozens upon dozens of self-help books on dieting, exercise, healthy living, emotional eating, and so on. Some advice rings true, some advice makes me cringe because I know I’ll fail before I even start. Here I’ve compiled the recommendations that I want to work at including in my life.
Follow Intuitive Eating Guidelines
Intuitive eating means that I should listen to my body as opposed to following the suggestions in a book. Yep, it’s ironic that I just mentioned that this article includes the guidelines I’ve gleaned from books. However, these are the suggestions that make sense to me. Some I can do some of the time, others I’ve yet to introduce into my lifestyle.
In The Four Day Win, Martha Beck suggests that if a person can do something four times or over four days then they accept the action as a thing that they do on a regular basis as opposed to something they’ve tried just one or two times. By the time you something for a month, then chances are it’s a habit that has become part of who you are. Of course, I won’t be able to introduce all of these actions all at once, but every few (four) days, I can try introducing another habit.
Conscious Eating for Life
I’ll eat only when hungry. This also involves learning what hunger feels like. Sometimes I feel my stomach rumble other times my entire body slows down and I feel depressed. And let’s not forget the times when I snap and get really testy if I don’t have something to eat.
I’ll eat what I want to eat as opposed to what I think I should eat. This means if I’m hungry for apple pie I won’t try to substitute an apple. Again, I can only eat if I’m hungry as opposed to just craving something. I’ve learned that if I really pay attention to a craving that oftentimes I’m not really hungry, I just want to eat more.
I’ll eat slowly and consciously so I can enjoy what I’m eating and notice when I’m starting to get full.
I’ll stop eating when my stomach is satisfied, which is totally different from when my mind is satisfied. I find this incredibly difficult. If food is on my plate I’ll keep eating even if I can feel the food distending my stomach.
Although these four habits are few in number, they take considerable effort. For anyone who eats emotionally to feel numb, gets caught up in binge eating until bursting, or ignores hunger because that 190 calorie diet shake is supposed to make you feel fuller longer, intuitive eating isn’t, well, intuitive. The guidelines make sense, but after years of sending both my body and mind conflicting messages (“1200 calories is all I should need” “if I don’t pay attention to what I’m eating, the calories won’t count”), this takes effort and attention to the body I’ve ignored for so long.