This past weekend, I woke up early on Saturday morning to get a good workout in at my local gym. On a normal weekend, I would come home from the gym and make some type of breakfast that involved eggs & toast & fruit (I know, such a basic breakfast). However, on this particular morning, my body was definitely NOT craving eggs. Instead, I chose to head to my favorite coffee shop and opted for a banana chocolate chip muffin & coffee. You may say that the egg breakfast was the “healthier” option but I’m here to say that the muffin was the “healthier” option.
Thanks to diet culture, we are taught to ignore our body’s cravings. We are taught to follow a specific plan in order to reach optimal health. The problem is that all body’s are different. One body might thrive on dairy or carbs while another might not. We do not know if our body is the one that would thrive because we are not taught how to listen. We are taught to simply follow a meal plan and not worry about what our body is telling us.
A diet might work for your for a few weeks or even a few months, but at some point, you are going to start feeling too restricted. You are going to start craving the “bad” foods. When you crave the “bad” foods, you will think it is because you lack willpower. When you eat the “bad” foods, I guarantee that you will feel guilty. Eventually this guilt and feeling like you lack willpower will get to you and you will give up on the diet completely.
There is a way to avoid this vicious cycle of on again, off again dieting and it’s called intuitive eating. To start intuitive eating, you first have to start listening to and understanding your body. Below are the steps I took to start my journey towards intuitive eating and ultimately, food freedom.
#1 - Understand the reasons behind wanting to diet.
Why are you choosing to diet? No matter your reason, dieting is not sustainable in the long-run.
#2 - Start looking at food as just food.
This is a mindset change that needs to happen. Diet culture teaches us to label certain foods as good and certain foods as bad. You will have to unlearn those labels and teach yourself to see food as just food - not good and not bad.
#3 - How does your body feel?
Start taking notes about how your body feels when you eat certain foods. How does your body feel when you eat dairy versus when you don’t? How does your body feel when you eat a bigger lunch versus a smaller lunch? What does your body crave on a cold morning versus a hot morning?
Taking these first steps is major if you want to start intuitive eating and ultimately reach a place of complete food freedom. Getting in touch with your body and learning how to help it thrive is the best thing you can do for yourself.