If you’ve spent your entire life influenced by the negative patterns and destructive thoughts brought on by the diet industry, then you are not alone. So many women simply STRUGGLE with trying to learn how to have a better, and healthier relationship with food. And most importantly, be able to eat in a way that is stress and guilt free.
Today, I want to look at why intuitive eating CAN be your answer to that. But more importantly, how you can go about transitioning to intuitive eating AFTER you’ve reached your fat loss or weight loss goals.
What is Intuitive Eating?
Before we get into the in’s and out’s about how to incorporate this amazing approach to your nutrition, I want to discuss exactly what intuitive eating is.
Intuitive eating is an approach to nourishing your body in away that involves actually paying attention to natural hunger cues. It doesn’t rely on dieting and meal plans. Instead, it offers you an opportunity to pay attention and LISTEN to your body in a deeper way – based off of your natural rhythms.
When we were born, this was innately in us.
Think about it – when a baby is hungry, she cries. When she is fed and full, she simply stops eating. As she grows into a toddler, she will ask for food simply when she wants to eat. Some days, that might be more than others depending on how much she’s running around, playing, and being vibrant and alive.
But something happens along the way as she gets older…
Her parents force her to finish everything on her plate. She begins getting influences about foods, categorizing things into “good” and “bad”.
Before you know it, she’s an adult who has forgotten about how to listen to her biological urges around hunger. And has developed an unhealthy relationship with food.
This is likely where you are, and today… I want to give you some tips about how and why you should get back to your hunger cue driven habits.
Intuitive Eating by Definition Is…
First off, let’s begin by saying that intuitive eating is NOT a diet. It is a way of eating that allows someone to break free of the diet mentality, to embrace eating in a way that is healthy, devoid of emotional eating, and the attachment to food that so many suffer from day in and day out.
While traditional dieting has you focused on what you CANNOT eat, intuitive eating focuses on what you can and WANT to eat. It puts you in the driver’s seat to being the expert for YOUR body and needs.
It’s not focused on calorie counting, macro portioning, or rationing food off. It’s about, instead, eating in a way to relearn how to eat – outside of the diet mentality.
Why is it Better for Long Term Weight Maintenance?
The thing about intuitive eating is that it’s NOT about weight loss.
In fact, I like to encourage this way of eating when a client has gotten to a point where they have ALREADY reached their physical goals. And they are in effect, looking to simply maintain those changes in a more natural way.
The issue with most approaches is that you are taught how to lose weight, or change your body in some major way through dieting.
But what happens AFTER the diet is over?
Many women, go right back to their old ways, old habits, old emotional food issues. And thus, end up gaining every single pound back that they’ve lost.
They haven’t truly gained the skills to change their body for good, for the long term.
That’s exactly why learning how to incorporate intuitive eating into your approach to nourishing your body is SO crucial.
It’s important that you BREAK FREE of the dieting mentality.
Relearning how to listen to your body’s cues, and eating in a way that is both satisfying and natural for you is an important part of the process. You don’t want to be a slave to your diet forever do you?
Well, intuitive eating, in my opinion (and in our approach to reaching a client’s goals) is a crucial part of the process. What we’ve found is that clients have a MUCH greater chance at long term success once they’ve established that food is not the enemy.
When you take the pressure OFF of worrying about what you’re putting into your body, you stand less of a chance at relapsing back into old habits and mindsets that don’t serve you. And you become more free to instinctively fuel your body to maintain your inspiring fitness lifestyle forever.
But HOW Do You Get to This Point? Especially IF Your Goal is Weight Loss?
I’ll tell you what…
In most very traditional intuitive eating circles, dieting as a whole is frowned upon.
It kind of makes some feel as though they are wrong for wanting to lose weight, drop fat, and actually change their body. But the truth of the matter IS that in order to do that, you will have to go through the phases of being on a traditional diet at some point.
HOW you approach that diet is extremely crucial.
Taking a Flexible Dieting Approach to Fat Loss
One of the best ways I’ve found to transition a client from working through the process of changing their body, to the point where they can successfully establish intuitive eating as their way to maintain those changes, is by way of flexible dieting.
With flexible dieting, although you are focused on being in a caloric deficit to effect change in your body, you aren’t so restrictive that you drive yourself insane. Much like you would with a regular approach to dieting.
You allow yourself to eat foods that you want, and foods that you crave.
Even while in the face of fat or weight loss.
So that could be following a specific caloric/macro structure, or maybe even a fully written meal plan.
But, along the way you are allowing yourself to spread out and enjoy the foods you want within that set up. Often swapping out daily staples whenever you wish, as long as it fits your macros or calories overall.
We use this as the foundational level for ALL of our clients.
What’s beautiful is that we teach women that you CAN enjoy the foods you love, without being totally restrictive, in order to reach your physical goals.
Nothing is completely off limits.
And it’s that kind of freedom that sets you up for success long term.
You begin to see how food isn’t the enemy, instead it’s the greatest ally when it comes to your fitness goals.Food isn't the enemy, instead it's the greatest ally when it comes to your fitness goals. Click To Tweet
5 Ways to Transition to Intuitive Eating After Successfully Achieving Fat or Weight Loss
Let’s be honest here…
Change doesn’t come instantly, nor does it come over night.
So it will likely take you some time to get into the groove of actually being able to transition to intuitive eating as a part of your everyday life.
What I want to do for you instead is share 5 tips that you can actually apply to your approach to nutrition, right now, that can down the line help you to transition to an intuitive eating lifestyle.
These are perfect for those who are looking to break free of the dieting mentality, and get on track with a way of eating that will serve them for life.
Begin Intuitive Eating After Establishing Healthy Habits Through Tracking
I think for many women, knowing WHAT to eat is just as important as knowing WHEN to eat.
You can’t just tell someone to “eat healthy” or “eat clean” because the fitness industry has done quite a job at skewing these perceptions completely.
So, I like to encourage women to first relearn what they’ve come to know about nutrition. And more importantly to really dig deep into the SCIENCE behind the “why”:
- They need to eat a certain amount of calories per day to see the body respond in various ways.
- Is it important to include all macros in your meal planning – and not cut things completely out.
- It’s crucial for you to understand the role of vitamins and minerals in your diet.
- Why you don’t have to obsess about eating carbs at night, or worrying about eating too late, or why starving yourself isn’t the key to success.
The list can go on and on. That’s just a few things to ask “why” about.
But the more you understand, the better you can execute the HEALTHY HABITS AND BASIC PRINCIPLES about what can help you to better get to your goals. And begin to drop the anxieties and pressure you have around food.
In my coaching and mentorship programs, we spend a LARGE AMOUNT OF TIME helping clients to re-establish these healthy boundaries around their relationship with food. And give them the tools to eventually successfully transition to intuitive eating after goals are achieved.
Drop the Scales and Start to Eyeball
This is one of the reasons why I like to suggest clients wait until AFTER you are at a point where you are satisfied with your body.
And for a small portion of you, you might need to simply STOP CHASING THE DIETING MENTALITY, and start embracing where you are. This is especially important if you have a truly disordered relationship with food (please make sure to seek professional help in the healing process).
The idea behind intuitive eating is to NOT have to rely on scales and measuring. And to listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues to help you to eat without pressure or guilt.
The downside is that when you do this, weight loss may not be the end result. Instead, you’ll often find that your weight can stay relatively the same – or for some, creep up just a little bit.
And you have to be ok with that.
The First Step in The Process is Dropping The Food Scale
If you’ve been measuring your food for quite some time, you likely have a vague idea about what food serving sizes roughly look like.
I’d say to allow yourself each day to get OFF of measuring your foods, and instead start eyeballing it instead.
Use your hands to help determine serving sizes.
And use this as a guideline to determine how much you should serve yourself. The measurements won’t be perfect, but at least you start to switch your mind AWAY from relying on food scales. If you don’t plan to use a scale for the rest of your life, this is a step every woman should take as she nears the end of her diet, and prepares to transition to a sustainable lifestyle.
Pay Attention to Your Body’s Rhythm for Eating
We miss our hunger cues SO MUCH as women.
And a lot of that is because we fail to stop and THINK about how we truly feel. Physically, mentally, emotionally, and more.
When you start to live your life feeling truly present, moment to moment, you’ll begin to better connect with when to eat based off of true hunger.
So for this tip, stop what you’ve been doing, and start asking yourself crucial questions.
- When do you get hungry?
- What kinds of food do you crave when hungry?
- Are you ACTUALLY hungry or are you filling emotional urges to eat?
- How does exercise affect hunger?
- When do you typically eat your meals?
- How many hours can you go between meals?
Once you start digging deeply and noticing how your body tells you what and when to eat, this process becomes so much smoother. Remember, intuitive eating is about satisfying your NATURAL URGES to fuel your body. Not based on rigid rules or regulations that set you up to fail in the long run.
While Eating – Do It Slowly and Pay Attention to When You’re Full
You know when you’ve heard folks talk about ENJOYING every bite? To slow down and truly experience food?
Well this is where we will fit that into your transition to intuitive eating.
It’s crazy how many of us can just mindlessly blow through an entire pizza, or a box of cookies, an entire bag of chips… I mean literally INHALE them – and do it without even thinking.
And this doesn’t even have to be junk food. Many of us devour and inhale our normal day to day meals without even thinking.
In order to start fueling your body in a healthy way, and feel incredibly satisfied in the process, I want you to begin to slow down.
TRULY TASTE YOUR FOOD.
Take note of the flavors. Drink water in between bites. Let your mouth and palate really enjoy the meal in front of you.
Ever wonder how you can get so full eating at a restaurant vs eating at home? Well, the dining experience makes you slow down!
So take some of that and put it into action with your everyday life. You’ll be surprised to see that your appetite may not be as robust as you once thought.
You’ll also learn how to identify when you are indeed truly full, and begin to step away from overindulgence when it comes to your eating.
Don’t Obsess – Enjoy All Things in Moderation
The final tip to help you to transition from dieting to intuitive eating is to simply find ways to enjoy ALL THE THINGS!
It’s going to be really important that you wrap your head around the fact that you CAN actually enjoy food – and still see results. And what better way to play with that than during the time you are transitioning away from meal plans.
It’s at this point that I want you to start to put in motion the same principles I teach every single one of my clients.
I have general rules or guidelines as to how you like to eat each day with a flexible approach:
- Make a point to eat 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of veggies each day.
- Designate when you have treats or off plan meals to do so guilt free.
- Allow yourself to enjoy a variety of foods, and don’t restrict yourself too much.
- If you’re having a craving, give in. Just be mindful of serving sizes – see above.
- After enjoy a craved food, MOVE ON WITH YOUR LIFE. It’s not that serious.
- Keep in mind that foods are not off limits. If you take the pressure off, you can take your control back.
- Be sure to keep drinking a ton of water throughout the day.
- This has enormous health benefits on its own.
- But also helps the body to regulate hunger.
- Swap out foods whenever you wish, rigidity in the diet gets you nowhere.
In conclusion, I really hope that today’s article sheds a little more light on how you too can approach your eating in a much better – and smarter way.
Ready to let go of the dieting “chains” and find your freedom as you transform your body? Come and talk to me about your goals…
I’m currently taking on clients in my two coaching programs!
- My VIP 1:1 Coaching and Mentorship Program
- My Empowered Feminine Fitness Group Coaching Program
Both are amazing programs that take these principles about dieting, and spells it all out for you in a way to get to your goals without driving yourself insane.
Let’s discuss what’s been holding you back the most when it comes to your diet. And then come up with some solutions to help you to better feed your body, transform from inside out, and become the best version of you -EVER.