We’ve talked at length about macros, and what your perfect split may be, how to meal prep, and all that jazz… so what happens after the calorie counting and macro splits are over? Welcome to the land of intuitive eating… if you don’t know what that is, you will shortly. We’ll cover why counting macros is an important step to the intuitive eating life, portion control, and how intuitive eating can help you build a healthy relationship with food. 

INTUITIVE EATING… WTF IS THAT?

  1. According to WebMD, “intuitive eating” is defined as “making peace with all types of food.” When you eat intuitively, you remove the labels of “good” and “bad” and food is just food. When you’re hungry, you eat.
    • Intuitive eating is cool as hell because it’s a giant middle finger at cookie cutter restriction diets that make us all miserable. 
    • While following strict rules on the front end of the process may lead to the fat loss you’re seeking, after a while you’re going to hit maintenance mode, and that’s where intuitive eating comes in to play.
  2. Eat when you’re hungry. That’s the whole premise. Trust your body and give it nourishment when it tells you it’s needed. Choose foods that make you feel good and pay attention to when your stomach says you’re full.
    • Don’t deprive yourself of foods you love, because that can lead to cravings, binging, and the cycle of disordered eating can begin again.
    • Respect your emotions. This is important, especially for those of us who have ovaries… emotions are… a thing for us once a month, but don’t eat to satisfy emotions. It won’t fix your boredom, loneliness, anxiety, or anger. 
      1. If you find yourself going to food for emotional comfort often, please check in with your therapist to get to the root of the issue.
  3. There are more studies being done on intuitive eating as we speak, but so far research is showing that those who usually eat intuitively might not lose weight but they have lower BMIs and better mental health.
    • INTUITIVE EATING MAY NOT BE FOR EVERYONE. If you have diabetes, or high blood pressure, you may have some food restrictions, so check with your doctor before you start eating intuitively.
  4. Counting calories is a very important step to intuitive eating. Why? Because it sets you up for nearly perfect portion control in the future.
    • Notice, we said “nearly perfect,” because perfection isn’t realistic nor attainable. You’re a human, not a robot, you don’t have to be ultra-precise on how many grains of rice are in your bowl.

AWW, PORTION CONTROL… OH!!! (that’s a Prince reference lol)

We’ve talked about portion control and portion sizes before, but I wanted to present it a different way today that made a lightbulb go off for me: the majority of people tend to eat all of what they serve themselves.

When you think about it that way…. it’s not really wrong, is it? Learning what portion sizes are can help to prevent overeating. But where do you start, if you don’t know or aren’t sure what portion sizes are?

  1. There is a difference between portion sizes and SERVING sizes. The best example I can think of is rice, a portion size of rice is approximately the size of a fist (or a cup a cup, or roughly 150-200g), while the serving size (once cooked) is nearly double that (1 serving is a half cup uncooked, and ends up being roughly 2 cups cooked…. two portions)
    • To put this another way, portion size is the amount of food you choose to eat (and we’ll cover the rough “guidelines for those in a minute”), while serving size is the amount of food listed on the nutrition label, they are not mutually exclusive.
  2. Use your hands as a serving guide (especially if you don’t want to, or weighing your food complicates your relationship with it)
    • The tip of your thumb is approximately one tablespoon (thus the one thumb measurements for fats)
    • The palm of your hand is approx. 3 oz (ie: a palm sized, or two depending on your goals, of protein)
    • A cupped hand is approx. a half a cup (ie: nuts, ice cream, starches)
    • A full fist is approx. a full cup (ie: rice, fruits, veggies)
  3. Restaurant servings, as we know, are HUGE. There’s research that shows that the average portion at a restaurant is over 2.5 times to up to EIGHT FUCKING TIMES larger than a standard serving. That’s insane.
    • When eating out, ask for a half a serving, or even cut your meal in half, ask for a box and save the rest for later. You aren’t being a bother by doing this, you’re taking care of numero uno (and possibly shitting your pants later, let’s be honest)
    • Typically, when I eat out, I’ll look for what I think will be my best bet for the most protein and then go from there. I almost always get the steamed veggies as the side (because that’s my preference) and almost always get a side salad with the dressing on the side, mainly because I can’t stand how much dressing restaurants cake on their tiny ass salads. (this may not be how you choose to go about things, and that’s ok. Just be aware of the portion sizes. And if you want the fries, get the fucking fries. I’m willing to bet you don’t eat out all the time)
  4. If you’re feeling ok with it and you think it will help in the beginning, invest in a food scale. For both of us, we really were able to visualize what those actual portions looked like, and now I nail it within a few grams every single time I check (which is from time to time now)
  5. One last tid bit: as much fun as it is, try to stop eating straight from the container, or the bag, or the box of whatever it is you’re eating. It’s nearly impossible to know exactly how much you’re eating especially if you’re just watching tv, or a movie, etc. Mindless eating almost always leads to over indulging.

BUILDING A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD BY LISTENING TO YOUR BODY

  1. From healthline dot com: A good relationship with food involves having unconditional permission to eat the foods that make you feel good physically and mentally. No foods are off limits, and you feel no guilt upon eating foods that are typically labeled “good” or “bad”
  2. Before you can repair your relationship with food, you have to UNDERSTAND your relationship with food.
    • Some signs that you may have a bad relationship with food:(again from healthline dot com article)
      • you feel guilty after eating (anything)
      • you restrict foods because  they’re labeled “bad:
      • you have a list of rules surrounding food
      • you rely on a calorie counter to tell you when you’re done eating for the day
      • you ignore your body’s natural hunger cues
      • you feel anxiety or stress in social situations because you don’t want to be judged for your food choices
      • you find that you’re restricting/binging food
  3. Listening to your body is difficult for most of us. Whether that means eating or taking rest days. There are a few ways that you can implement a healthier relationship with food:
    • Savor the flavor. Like, actually ENJOYING your food. What flavors are you picking up, what’s the texture like, how do you FEEL physically when you’re eating what you’re eating? Sounds lame, maybe, but it works!
    • Pay attention to WHY you are eating. Are you really hungry? Is this a craving? Did what I end up eating actually make me feel NOT hungry, or was this because of another reason or emotion? (Ie: stress, etc) paying attention to how you are feeling before, during, and after you eat is healthy, btw.
    • YOUR plate. A lot of times we feel like we have to justify what we’re eating if we’ve labeled it as “bad” or “good”, I’m eating pizza because this week was shit, I’m having a salad because I have to because I ate pizza yesterday…. k. stop doing that. Eat what you food you feel is best for you in that moment. Like, cool, eat pizza, it isn’t good or bad, it just is. It’s food. It’s nourishment. You don’t have to overindulge and you don’t have to undereat, you just need to eat.

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