I wouldn’t impose my diet on anyone else, and I’m not saying that eating like me would particularly benefit everyone or anyone. I don’t think it’s a good idea to eat like me but I do think it could be a really good idea to look at food relationships the way I have.
I’ve never been a big emotional eater really. I have other things in my life for comfort. My diet is mostly made up of foods that I have a physical reaction too. If anything I’m a happy eater rather than a comfort one. A have a slight tendency to want to amplify a fun day out with food, or celebrate with food rather than use it to cheer myself up.
How I eat (roughly in order of importance):
• I tend to eat chicken as my final meal of the day. I find that I sleep better than I do with red meat.
• If I go too long without good quality red meat I feel a bit sluggish and I crave it. A steak for lunch once a week or every 10 days works.
• Bread and pasta can make me feel a bit bloated, and it feels like it sits heavy. I’m not gluten intolerant, and I can have a portion without any ill effects and it’s very mild when I do experience negative effects. Knowing this means that I don’t eat much of it but I don’t avoid it.
• Processed carbs have a similar but greater response. Doughy or processed pizza doesn’t make me feel great but I make a good homemade pizza and this doesn’t bother me so I’d rather do that from time to time.
• 250ml of icecream (1/2 a tub) is plenty for me. Any more and I regret it.
• Breakfast is usually eggs. They satisfy my hunger and they taste great.
• White rice gives me a tonne of energy and I feel great eating it. I have a small/medium portion most nights and I try to eat it before I play sport.
• I crave fatty foods more than carby foods. For a weight loss goal I would reduce my carb intake rather than my fat intake.
• Veganism doesn’t really work for me. Partially because it’s low fat and high carb in nature but also I have always found reliance on beans and pulses to slow digestion and leave me simultaneously feeling both full and hungry.
• Losing weight during the hockey season leads to me feeling low on energy in training and in games. If I decide I want to be a little lighter. I lose weight fairly quickly in the off season and maintain it in the season. For example when I switched back from playing rugby to hockey, I wanted to be about 10kg lighter so I lost that over 5 weeks in the summer using a ketogenic diet and steady state exercise, then I slowly reintroduced carbs and increased exercise intensity.
This isn’t an exhaustive list but it gives you an idea of what I have discovered. I challenge you to create your own list using the experiences you already have and some new experimenting.
As the news travels that dieting is toxic and harmful to a person; new diets take on new identities. Just like pyramid schemes, the first rule for a new diet is that they have to state categorically that they aren’t a diet. Intuitive eating stipulates explicitly that, but it’s motives are much more honest and it’s an approach that incorporates most of the elements I’ve written about in part one of this blog post.
It’s principals are:
1. Abandon the diet mentality
Intuitive eating is anti diet. It encourages you to eat how you want to eat rather than finding an existing diet to rigidly follow
1. Listen to your hunger
You eat when you feel hungry and don’t allow hunger to build to the point where you are likely to overeat. Stopping the homeostatic hormones in charge of hunger in their tracks.
1. Take a neutral stance on food
Get rid of ideas about what you should or shouldn’t eat.
1. Pay attention to your fullness
Your body will tell you when it’s full just as it does when you are hungry. Take some time to listen to those signs and don’t overeat.
1. Rediscover a love of food
Make your eating experience enjoyable. Have a meal that tastes good to you. Sit down to eat it.
When you make eating a pleasurable experience, you may find it takes less food to satisfy you.
1. Remove the emotion from food
I don’t fully agree with this point as I’ve said above in my post but it’s a key principal of intuitive eating and an aspiration for intuitive eaters.
1. Respect your body
Rather than criticizing your body for how it looks and what you perceive is wrong with it, recognize it as capable and beautiful just as it is.
1. Exercise — in a way that you enjoy
Find ways to move your body that you enjoy. Shift the focus from losing weight to feeling energized, strong, and alive.
In summary, intuitive eating teaches you that food you eat should taste good and make you feel good.
Remember that it’s your overall food patterns that shape your health. One meal or snack isn’t going to make or break your health.