The Importance of Self-Care for Intuitive Eating

Happy September 1st! We’re starting this month off with SELF-CARE.

You all know that I am a huge advocate of self-care.  That is, taking time for yourself to do things you enjoy, that make you feel wonderful, and fulfilled.  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.  The rest of my day feels calm, happier, and runs smoothly overall when I make the time to do this.   

The Importance of Self-Care for Intuitive Eating

Did you know that self-care is also a big part of intuitive eating?  

Let’s think about this with a question.  When you feel your best, do you feel like you make better choices in terms of food?  When you are feeling confident, calm, and loving toward yourself, you are more likely to listen to your body, and your body is most likely craving wholesome, real, delicious foods (the best versions of your favorite foods).  

When we are in stress mode, or aren’t take time for ourselves, we are less likely to listen to what our body truly wants.  And, in turn, we begin to choose fast, cheap, less exciting foods.  This leaves us feeling unsatisfied, and constantly searching for more.   

I had a six-month client share this with me this week: “…as I arrived to work people were heading out to the café to buy a breakfast & coffee. In other weeks, I might go too thinking ‘it’s Friday, I deserve a treat’. But this week as I’ve been treating myself in other ways more often, I felt no need! This felt great…”

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.

Now, I’m not perfect, but I will say that after practicing intuitive eating for years now, even if my morning starts off on the wrong foot I can usually course correct throughout the day to continually feel better. How is this possible for me? Because I have so deeply rooted my belief that eating food will not actually make a non-food related situation better. Makes sense, right?

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) asking 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.

That being said, for most people, especially when you’re not too 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. 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. 

One thing I teach my clients is that time is not actually separated by days. If you think about it, time is just one long continuous strand. There is absolutely ZERO logical reason to wait until tomorrow or Monday to treat yourself better. You can instead make your very next choice one that feels better.   

Your body is so smart!  She 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.  

In addition, self-care is a form of primary food.  That is, 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
  • Being compassionate to yourself
  • Quiet time
  • Meditation
  • 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
  • Take a warm shower/bath
  • Give yourself a manicure
  • Talk on the phone to an old friend
  • Journaling
  • Buy yourself some flowers or a candle 
  • Take a class on a topic that you’ve been wanting to learn about
  • Rest in your “enough-ness”
  • Know that you are safe to feel your emotions
  • Be hospitable to yourself, just as you would to a visiting guest 
  • Make your home your sanctuary
  • Say ‘YES’ to a random desire
  • Many more!

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!

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!

Love, Paige

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