I hear a lot of competitors say they would like to be able to eat intuitively one day. They may be tired of following a restrictive diet or constantly tracking macros, and they want to feel more freedom with their food choices.
The principle of intuitive eating itself is about trusting your body and its cues to determine when you eat, what you eat, and how much you eat. But I think there is an opportunity to go much deeper than that!
If you wait to eat until you are hungry, you are more likely to eat past the point of hunger because your thought have been consumed with food and feeling satiated. Compare that with eating throughout the day and being able to go into a meal without the need to overcompensate for that deficit.
On one hand, you can wait for an intense hunger signal, on the other hand you can be proactive and use the awareness from waiting too long to eat sooner moving forward.
Here are a few things to help you eat intuitively without intuitive eating:
1) Being mindful
Ask yourself what your body needs right now and if the need can be met within your macros/meal plan. For example if your meal plan calls for an apple, but you are craving an orange and you notice you are lacking in calcium, potassium and vitamin C in your micronutrients, you may consider how would making that substitution feel to your body or in support of your long term goals?
2) Practicing listening to your intuition
Try to listen more while you are on a meal plan to set you up for success when you are off of that plan. Every time you eat something, take a moment and write down how it made you feel or what led to the decision. In doing this, you may develop a great reference sheet to support decision making in the future.
3) Consider is how you feel
Before you eat, think of how the food will make you feel.
Bringing mindfulness to your decisions is a great way to bring your intuition into a set nutrition plan or macros.
In a single breath, you just want to avoid being on autopilot with your food decisions because then as soon as you are presented with a decision off plan, you may lack the awareness necessary to trust your intuition with food.
If you never take the time to truly listen and honor yourself, it is unfair to expect yourself to be able to handle a free meal, intuitive eating day, or a trip without tracking.
In my food relationship program, I have a full journal that includes a set of mealtime rituals and daily reflections. This program is a lot of deep, intentional, introspective work. This is something that I'm very passionate about and I love bringing mindfulness to the table-literally, to encourage people to connect back to their bodies.
Our body has this innate ability to guide us to what's best for us. If we truly believe that our body wants to function at an optimal level then we can trust our body, but we have to be willing to put in the work to get there.
I can't wait to hear how you apply these tactics for yourself!
Please share this with a friend if you think it would help them.
Remember; Start with mindfulness. Start by asking your body how she feels after, before, and during meals. And reference your past experiences.
You can't go wrong if you're present!!