Why Self-Care is an Essential Part of Intuitive Eating

Self-care is an essential piece of intuitive eating. Believe it or not, intuitive "eating" is not all about food. So let's chat about it...

Hello gorgeous!

You all know that I am an advocate of self-care: taking time for yourself to do things you enjoy, that make you feel wonderful, and fulfilled. UMM, yes please!

Self-care looks different for each person! For example, one of my favorite things to do for self-care is waking up in the morning, grabbing a nice cup of coffee, getting cozy under my most “fuzzy” blankets, and doing my quiet time.

I also love hitting the gym early in the morning, pushing my limits, and then getting fully dressed for the day. All of these things give me STRENGTH and put a SPRING in my step for the day. I talk about them more in my e-Book, if you’re looking for deeper inspiration.

When I do these three things (quiet time with coffee, a workout, and getting dressed for the day) the rest of my day feels calm, happier, and feels as if it runs more smoothly overall.

Self-care is an essential piece of intuitive eating. Believe it or not, intuitive “eating” is not all about food. So let’s chat about it…

The Importance of Self-Care for Intuitive Eating

Let me ask you a question: When YOU dive into your day feeling your best, do you make choices that feel better? Think about this in terms of both food and non-food choices, alike. Are you more productive at work? More confident in yourself? More loving toward your spouse or co-workers?

When you feel confident, calm and loving toward yourself (that is, making choices from a place of “I love myself and want to take really good care of myself”) you are more likely to listen to your body. In turn, your body is also more likely to crave wholesome, nourishing foods as she is already feeling “filled up” with primary foods (“non-food sources of nourishment”).

When we’re in stress mode, or aren’t taking time for ourselves, we are less likely to listen to what our bodies truly want. We begin to choose fast, cheap, less exciting foods. We end up choosing whatever is convenient (like our kid’s leftovers) instead of asking ourselves what we want. This leaves us feeling unsatisfied, which leads to constantly searching for more. Relate?

I recently had a six-month client share this with me: “As I arrived to work on Tuesday people were heading out to the café to buy breakfast sandwiches. In other weeks, I might go too thinking ‘I deserve a treat!’ but this week, as I’ve been treating myself in other ways, I felt no need! I was already fulfilled and I didn’t feel like I “deserved” a treat. I knew “rewarding myself” with a food that my body didn’t actually want, wouldn’t feel good. This felt so empowering.”

Mornings

For me, starting my morning off with quiet time and reflection supports my desire to listen to my body and understand what she is truly craving. Tuning in first thing in the morning, helps me to better tune-in all day long. It’s like I’m already in the practice of tuning in, so it’s easier.

After years of practicing intuitive eating, even if my morning starts off on the wrong foot, I can course correct throughout the day to continually feel better.

How is this possible, you might be wondering? I used to wonder how people did this. How did they course correct in the middle of a day that already felt “messed up” or “ruined”?

It’s because I have so deeply rooted my belief that eating food will not actually make a non-food related situation better. It’s an absolute truth for me.

I course correct by:

  1. pausing to acknowledge my feelings (not to criticize them or try not to have them);
  2. taking a minute to stop and pray/ask for help; and,
  3. ask myself what I actually need in the moment to feel better–most of the time it’s that I feel scrambled and I just need to jot a few things down on paper to feel calm and clear. I need to go from scattered to centered.

That said, for most people, especially when you’re not far from your dieting days, when you feel super rushed or feel stressed as soon as you wake up, you’ll tend to go for fast/quick foods that will not satisfy you, or that you’re not actually craving. Relate?

There are a number of reasons for this, some of which are: you’re stressed, you’re rushing, or you simply feel like your whole day is already messed up (a definite black and white mentality).

Time is Fake

Something I teach my clients is that time is continual.

Let me explain what I mean by that… If you think about it, time is just one long continuous strand. We created times and days and weeks and months so that we could function as a society (understandably – ha!).

That said, there is absolutely ZERO logical reason to wait until “tomorrow” or “Monday” to treat yourself better. Instead, I encourage my clients (and myself) to make our very next choice one that feels better. Whether it’s a food or non-food choice.

We can ask ourselves “What’s next? What choice can I make that is MORE in line with how I want to feel?”

Your Bod is Smart

Your body knows when you are treating her well.

This includes self-care: being self-compassionate, doing things that bring you joy regularly, and taking the time to appreciate where you are right now (even if you’re simultaneously striving to grow and be better).

Self-care is a form of primary food. Meaning, if we are practicing self-care, then the reliance on food (a secondary food) for emotional comfort begins to lessen, because we are feeling much more confident and loving towards ourselves.

Your body knows when you are making her a priority. Practicing self-care will reduce urges to binge, overeat, mindlessly snack, and instead will allow you to be more trusting of your body and her ability to know exactly what you need.

What are some other examples of self-care? It is different for each person! So try to find something that you truly enjoy, does not feel forced, and makes you feel confident and beautiful.

Some ideas might include:

  • Calming walks and getting some fresh air
  • Being compassionate to yourself
  • Quiet time
  • Getting dressed up for no reason
  • Buying a cute outfit that makes you feel amazing
  • Getting a fresh new haircut or brow wax
  • Simply sitting outside and enjoying the fresh air
  • Reading a book
  • Taking a warm shower/bath
  • Giving yourself a manicure or getting your nails done
  • Talking on the phone to an old friend
  • Journaling
  • Buying yourself flowers or a candle
  • Taking a class on a topic you’ve been wanting to learn about
  • Resting in your “enough-ness”
  • Getting in a great sweaty workout
  • Trusting that you are safe to feel your emotions
  • Being hospitable to yourself, just as you would to a visiting guest
  • Make your home your sanctuary
  • Say ‘YES’ to a random desire
  • Getting your hair done
  • Scheduling a day off in advance
  • Checking in and asking “what do I want to do for fun right now?” or “what would feel good right now?”
  • Hanging out or making a plan with girlfriends (women need women!)
  • Many more! Share YOURS with me!

Learning to be kind to yourself is key to intuitive eating and living. Self-care is such an important part of loving yourself, therefore making intuitive eating so much easier — food is only ONE PART of intuitive eating!

Your Turn!

What helps you feel relaxed and cared for? Is there anything NEW you can take away from this post? Any AH-HA’s? Let me know! Share in the comments. Let’s chat!

Love, Paige
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