I’ve been thinking a lot about intuitive eating/mindful eating lately – paying attention to what I’m eating instead of reading or watching TV whilst chewing, noticing where I am on the hunger/fullness scale and eating when I need to before I get all shaky or stopping before I get all bloaty.
So this article by Emily Fonnesback, a registered dietitian, was right up my alley. Even the title is awesome:
Intuitive Eating: Do You Feel Out of Control? Congratulations, You’re Normal!
She opens the post by talking about how once we start eating intuitively – not categorizing foods as “good” or “bad,” no longer dieting, following the whims of our taste buds and feeling free to eat without judgement, we will probably start to feel out of control:
“At this phase you may be very concerned. In fact, you may actually describe this experience as a food addiction or ascribe it to a lack of will-power and self-control (two very misguided terms when discussing food). Let me put your mind at ease…it’s neither. It’s learning to love food again. It’s learning how to get out of your head and into your body. It’s using your intuition to guide you, and that will always be a process.”
I loved this. It’s so ingrained in our brains to think of any indulgence (regarding food, anyway) as bad and pathetic and gluttonous and addicted that’s it’s really become part of our shared human consciousness. At least for women – I don’t really know that men suffer from this particular form of socially approved self-flagellation (feel free to correct me on this, guys). Seriously, eat a piece of cake – or God forbid, TWO pieces of cake – and you’re suddenly the source of all evil (or at least all cellulite).
This is completely ridiculous, and I love how Emily (great name, right?) describes the process of overcoming that.
Once we’ve re-established our relationships with food and our bodies, Emily gives us the low-down on how to proceed:
“Remember, the whole point of Intuitive Eating means working with your body instead of against it. In all your rebelling, make sure not rebel against yourself. Health comes when your mind and body work together. In fact intuition is a scientific finding – the way your brain takes in your surroundings while also reading information from your body are both accounted for in order to help you make a decision. However, you must put yourself in a position to draw on this wisdom by truly connecting to yourself and your surroundings.”
All of this loving-and-working-with-your-body stuff is EXACTLY what I’m hoping to learn to do by becoming a dietitian myself, and I so much loved reading her advice. It’s something I need to remember every day, not just with food but with everything.
But yeah, it works really well with food too 🙂
Read her whole piece here, and be prepared to have your entire perspective changed! Trusting ourselves and our own judgements is not something we’re told to do very often in this world of self-help books, WebMD, and social networking, where everyone – even people we don’t know – get to weigh in on every decision. But it’s such an important step on the road to health and happiness.
How do you feel about mindful eating? Is it something you’re willing to try? Can you eat without watching TV?!?