VIP Q+A: Answering Your Questions on Intuitive Eating, Cravings, Cleanses, and Staying Healthy On Vacation

An Intuitive Eater Answers Popular Questions About Cleanses and Staying Healthy on Vacation

Today I’m answering several of your questions. I have a HUGE list of questions from you all and to get through them, I figured it would be good to put some of the most commonly asked and similar ones together in this post. So here we go! You can see some past VIP Q+A’s here.

Q #1: “What does eating intuitively mean to you?”

A: Intuitive eating means a lot of things to me! But in a nutshell I’d say that it means listening to my body by eating foods that feel good for her and eating them in a way that feels good for her. It means being mindful when I eat.

It also means focusing on my LIFE more than I focus on food so that food is secondary and life is PRIMARY. It means not dieting or having any rules around food. It means that all foods are okay and I don’t have to have guilt around any food choices that I make (even if I eat too much in one sitting or something doesn’t sit right).

Q #2: “How do you maintain your healthy lifestyle (both food and exercise) while traveling?”

A: I honestly feel that my lifestyle is EASY AS CAN BE to maintain no matter where I am. If I feel like I need movement, I’ll suggest getting outside for a walk or hike. If no one else wants to go, I’ll wake up early and do something on my own.

I listen to my fullness signals. I use opportunities for fresh food to eat fresh foods. I really enjoy all that we’re eating and I listen to what I want and do the best I can with the options that I have (even if it’s not many). I recognize that eating while traveling is not exactly the same as eating while at home and that’s okay. 

Q #3: “Do you ever feel the need to do a cleanse?”

A: Not anymore. At this point, I feel cleanses are too extreme for me and they just stress me out. They make me think about food WAY more than I normally would and I don’t enjoy that. If my body is feeling off, rather than suggesting a cleanse for myself I’ll just check in and ask what I need.

I’ll ask myself questions like: What would feel good to include in my grocery list this week? What does my body need? How do I want to feel this week? What can I do to honor myself and my body this week? What are my needs? 

That said, I don’t have any judgement on people who choose to do a cleanse. I believe that we’re all aiming to feel good and that’s okay. If I have any encouragement for all of you it’s to just know a cleanse isn’t the only way. And if you do choose to cleanse, intuitive eating is a beautiful follow-up option. 

Also, I wouldn’t encourage anyone to do a cleanse to lose weight. Make sure it’s for the right reasons for you. Because, in my experience, weight loss on a cleanse is not sustainable.

My intuitive eating journey started with a cleanse where I cut out processed sugar, all grains, and dairy for four weeks. The goal was to reset my relationship to food. Through this four weeks I was blessed to learn that I am in control of feeling good and that I was safe to let go of counting calories for good.

I was so strict with dieting and calorie counting that a cleanse actually felt like more freedom to me, if you can believe that.

The takeaway here is to ask yourself what you believe is best for you.

At this point in my journey, I’m where I’ve always wanted to be. Feeling free with food, I don’t feel the desire to diet and I am able to be ultra compassionate with myself and my body (even when I’m having a hard day or don’t feel my best). So a cleanse or diet never crosses my mind.

Q #4: “Do you ever cut out certain foods for a period of time?”

A: I haven’t cut any foods 100% out in years. However, if something isn’t making me feel well I’m definitely okay with having less of it. I always listen to my body first because I believe my body craves foods that are best for her.

For example, rarely do I crave fruits or sugars. I’m not saying these foods aren’t good for me, but I don’t feel the need to “eat enough fruit” since my body doesn’t naturally crave it. If I do crave it, then I eat it. If I don’t, I don’t worry about it.

Another example: dairy. There are some seasons (usually when stress is higher) where dairy really bothers me. I’ve only learned this through eating intuitively. When I feel like it’s bothering me I’ll choose fun dairy alternatives (like the cream cheese I’ve been enjoying this week).

I don’t make any rules, I just choose alternatives wherever it would feel good and I remember that my number one goal is to feel good. When I feel good (mentally, physically, and emotionally), life feels good.

Q #5: “How do you find a balance between intuitive eating and controlling your cravings?”

A: I don’t focus on controlling cravings, ever. Rather, I focus on increasing mindfulness and increasing foods that I enjoy and that satisfy me. I get intentional about making meal time special.

For example, when I used to get intense sugar cravings instead of trying to control the craving I’d plan to make my experiences eating sugar more enjoyable. I’d plan to go grab a delicious almond croissant at my favorite coffee shop on the weekend and would slowly savor it with a cappuccino.

I find that when I try to control cravings they just get bigger. When I focus on getting calm about the food, the need to control goes away and the craving gets smaller.

Cravings are important. They teach us what to pay attention to and show us what we need. Sometimes our need is emotional, sometimes physical. Pay attention and get used to being curious about what you need. What are you missing? Do you need fun? To laugh? Rest? Take a break? Check-in.

That’s it for now! Did you like this post where I answered several questions at once? Let me know! And if you’d like to leave a question for me to answer in my next VIP Q+A please do so in the comments! I keep a running list and will answer all questions that I feel will be relatable for you.

Love, Paige
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