Intuitive Eating encourages us to trust our bodies. To work with them. To trust them to guide us when something feels “off.”
Intuitive Eating also encourages us to let go of the rules. For example, “sugar is bad” or “grains are bad.” To stop labeling foods “good” or “bad.”
Because there are so many external rules out there. Many of us have rules that we’ve carried around for years but hardly even know where/why we picked them up.
Our bodies are not one size fits all. So, for example, what might work great for Marco (my husband) to eat might make me sick to my stomach.
Intuitive eating gives you the space to pay attention. The space to slow down enough to register what is and isn’t working for you.
So what about when you sense that a food is not working for you?
For example, you notice that anytime you eat chickpea pasta you get major gas (this is actually me!). Or when you eat tomatoes you get heartburn. Or when you eat grains you have diarrhea.
These are real experiences for people.
So if you’re the person who gets diarrhea when she eats grains, do you keep eating them?
This is where CHOICE comes in.
Nothing is off limits. You’re aware of the fact that you’re an adult and that if you’d like to eat grains, you can. You will just have diarrhea later…
The mindset is: grains aren’t “forbidden,” but instead… you have the freedom to choose how you want to feel and then to make a choice from there.
It’s like if you have $30.00 in your checking account and you’re contemplating spending $35.00 on a shirt. You know you’re going to have to suffer the consequence of an overdraft charge. Are you okay with that?
You CAN swipe your card right then and there and overdraft. You’ve got the card in your hand, the reader right in front of you, it would take 3 seconds to swipe.
What about my future self? Is she going to be okay with this decision? (Your future self can be the you 5-minutes from now.)
If not, you would choose to NOT spend $35.00. So in this case, is saying “no” anti-intuitive? No… in fact, it’s very intuitive.
You’re making a choice not just for your current self, but your future self.
“NO” is just as much an intuitive choice as “YES” is. Just check the heart of your “yes” or “no.” Is it coming from self-care? Or deprivation/rules? Is it considering what would feel good for you?
If you are okay with the consequence of that action, then you may choose to spend the $35.00.
I kind of squirm out of my seat at this example because I personally don’t want you to have to suffer through diarrhea or overdraft charges (especially overdraft charges)! But the choice is ultimately yours, and that’s empowering to recognize.
Instead of relying on OTHER people to tell you what to do, you get to choose. And this lesson will take you into the rest of your life. It’s a sustainable lesson/practice to learn – to check in with yourself about your decisions.
So, knowing the consequences of certain foods for you… does that make these foods “bad”?
NO. Grains themselves aren’t bad… they work for some people, just not you. You can still eat them. You’re not bad if you do. But you might get diarrhea.
So if you WANT to feel good and NOT have diarrhea most of the time, what do you do?
You set yourself up for success by planning ahead and bringing foods into your home that are deliciously grain free. You have many options that you LOVE, you do not feel deprived.
You feel grateful that you get to feel good and eat what you love, too.
If you “love” grains and feel sad that you can’t eat them, find your favorite alternatives and know that you CAN eat grains if you really want them. You just may have some consequences, which aren’t the end of the world… and might be worth it to you from time to time. That’s okay too. (I’m not talking about severe allergies here, like a peanut allergy that will make you go into anaphylactic shock – don’t do that. That food IS off limits for you, lovingly.)
Intuitive Eating is for everyone.
In listening to your body, calmly… if you sense that something is making you feel “off,” you do not have to eat it. This is part of intuitive eating: learning what works for you – what feels good, and what doesn’t feel good.
Within the intuitive eating community there isn’t that much language for people who have food sensitivities.
And I think the reason for this is that many of us have rules we have adopted that don’t serve us. Rather, we just don’t eat grains because we heard that they’re bad… Or we think they’ll make us gain weight.
Let me just say, those reasons (a food is “bad” or might cause weight gain) are NOT sustainable reasons to not eat a food and if you’re staying away from a food simply because you’re worried it will make you gain weight or that it’s just “bad…” I encourage you to tune-IN to your body and question those beliefs… What if that food actually worked fine for you? How freeing would that be?
The goal is to not let food run your life, but instead create a relationship with food that feels so peaceful and nourishing that it enables you to do more of what you want in your life.
And getting of the diet rollercoaster train where you’re constantly searching for the next best answer… stepping off slowly… into a safe and steady ground, slowing down… paying attention, and loving caring for yourself.
That’s what we’re doing here. Finding what does or doesn’t work for you.
We need to clear the clutter of it all. Clear the clutter of ALL of the rules. Even the rules around “but is this intuitive of me?” If it is for you, then it is. If it’s not, then it’s not.
YOU get to define what is intuitive for you.
Find what works for you. Get to a place where you know what feels good and what doesn’t, and honor that.
My perspective, I only have one shot at my time here on earth. I want to feel my best, but I don’t want my desire to feel my best to shackle me. Meaning, I will listening to my body as often as I can to set her up to feel her best, and I will also relish in the freedom of not having to have strict rules so I can go live my life.
I hope this post was helpful for you! I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. What questions do you have? Share them with me!